Monthly Archives: April 2007

Surah Baqarah Ayah 44 – An admonition for preachers without practice.

 

(أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ﴾﴿وَأَنتُمْ تَتْلُونَ الْكِتَـبَ أَفَلاَ تَعْقِلُونَ)

 

Enjoin you Al Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practice it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture [the Taurat]! Have you then no sense? (Surah Al Baqarah: Ayah 44)

 

Ayah 44 addresses the religious scholars of the Jews, and reprimands them for a strange contradiction in their behaviour – they used to advise their friends and relatives to follow the Holy Prophet (May Allah shower peace and blessings upon him) and to be steadfast in their Islamic faith, which shows that they regarded Islam as the true faith, but, being enslaved to their desires were not prepared to accept this faith themselves, although they were regular readers of the Torah and knew how emphatically it denounces the scholar who does not act upon his knowledge. Though externally addressed to the Jewish scholars, the verse, in a large sense, condemns all those who preach good deeds to others but do not act upon this principle, who ask others to have fear of Allah but show no such fear in their own behaviour. The hadith speaks in detail of the dreadful punishments these men will have to bear in the other world. The blessed companion Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reports that on the Night of Ascension, The Holy Prophet (May Allah shower peace and blessings upon him) passed by some people whose lips and tongues were being cut with scissors made of fire; on being questioned as to who they were, Jibreel (May Allah send salutations upon him) explained that they were certain avaricious preachers of the Holy Prophet’s (May Allah showers peace and blessing upon them) ummah who bade others to good deeds but ignored themselves (Ibn Kathir). According to a hadith reported by Ibn Asakir, certain people living in Paradise will find some of their acquaintances in the fire of hell., and ask them, “How is it that you find yourselves in hell, while we have attained paradise just on the account of the good deeds we had learnt from you?”; those in hell will reply: “We used to say all that with our tongues, but never acted upon what we said.” (Ibn Kathir)

All this should not be taken to mean that it is not permissible for a man who has himself been slack in good deeds, or is in some way a transgressor, to give a good counsellor preach to others, nor that a man who has been indulging in a certain sin may not dissuade others from committing that sin For doing a good deed is one form of virtue and persuading others to do this good deed is another form of virtue in its own right. Obviously, if one has given up one form of virtue it does not necessary for him to give up the other form as-well. For example, if a man does not offer prescribed Salah, it is not necessary to offer fast too. Similarly if a man does not offer his prayers, it does not argue that he should not be allowed to ask others to offer their prayers. In the same way , doing something prohibited by the Shariah is one sin, and not to dissuade those whom he can from him influence from this misdeed is another kind, and committing one kind of sin does not necessarily entail committing the other sin as well. (Ruh al Ma’ani)

Imam Malik has cited Sa’id ibn Jubayr as saying that if everyone decides to refrain from persuading others to good deeds and dissuading from evil deeds on the assumption that he himself is a sinner and can have no right to preach to others until and unless he has purged himself of all sins, there would be no one left to give good counsel to people, for who can be totally free of sins? According to Hasan of Basra, this is exactly what Satan wants that, obsessed by this false notion of purity, people should neglect their obligation to provide religious instruction and good counsel to others. (Qurtubi)

Maulana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanvi used to say that when he became aware of a certain bad habit in himself, he would expressly denounce this particular tendency in his sermons so that the barakah of the sermon should help him get rid of it.

In short, Ayah 44 does not imply that the man who has been indifferent to good deeds in his own life is not allowed to preach or to give good counsel, but that the man who preaches should not neglect good deeds in his own life. Now, a new question arises here – it is not permissible for a preacher and a non-preacher alike to neglect good deeds, then why should the preacher alone be specifically discussed in this context? We would reply that such negligence is , no doubt, impermissable for both, but the crime of the preacher is more serious and reprehensible than that of the non-preacher, for the former commits a crime knowing that it is a crime, and cannot plead ignorance as an excuse. On the contrary, the non-preacher, especially if he is illiterate, may be committing the sin of not trying to acquire knowledge, but, as far as the transgression of the Shariah is concerned, he can, to a certain degree plead ignorance of the law as his excuse. Moreover, if a scholar or a preacher commits a sin, he is actually mocking at the Shariah. The blessed companion Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reports from the Holy Prophet (May Allah peace and blessings upon him) that on the Day of Judgement, Allah will forgive illiterate and ignorant people much more readily that He will the scholars. ( Ma’arif al Quran Volume 1 – Mufti Muhammad Shafi)

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The Meaning of Jihad.

The dictionary meaning of jihad is to make a great effort or overexert(to do something). In the terminology of Shariah it is to exert one’s life, property, tongue, pen to raise the word of Allah and to fight the enemy.

Imam Raghib Isphahani has said that jihad is of three kinds:

  1. Fighting the known enemy.
  2. Fighting the devil and his promptings.
  3. Fighting the unreasonable demands of one’s ownself.

In other words, fighting whatever hinders obedience to Allah is jihad. Normally, the hindrance comes from these places, so jihad has three kinds. After mentionaing the three kinds, Imam Raghib said the words of the Quran that embrace all of them:

وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ

“And struggle hard for Allah as is due to Him” (Surah al Hajj: Ayah 78)

Some Ahadith, therefore, define jihad as warding off eveil demands of the nafs (self).

Many verses of the Quran also term jihad the spending of wealth for it:

وَتُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ

“and strive hard in the way of Allah with your riches and your lives” (Surah as Saff: Ayah 11)

The Prophet (May Allah shower peace and blessings upon him) said, “He who equips a warrior with material for war has also taken part in jihad.”

Another hadith says jihad is also waged with the tongue. And the ‘Ulema have included the pen because it puts the words of the tongue in writing.

We see the foregoing explanation that jihad is used in Shariah “to fight and defend against every obstruction on the path of Allah.” However in common parlance jihad generally implies “fighting the enemies of Islam” for which the Quran has used the word qitaal or muqaatalah. (Definition of the most important of the obligations, Jihad – Mufti Muhammad Shafi)

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Hafiz Ibn Hajar and Dhikr.

Hafiz ibn Hajar (May Allah have mercy on him) was a great scholar of hadith. In those days a reed pen was used and had to be sharpened now and then. When he had to pause while writing down Fath a Bari, the commentary on Saheeh al Bukhari, to sharpen the nib, he was reluctant to let loose moments go wasted. He made dhikr while the nib was sharpened. Thus when it (dhikr) becomes part of a man’s life, he cannot do without dhikr even for a moment. (Spiritual discourses – Mufti Taqi Uthmani)

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Controlling one’s tongue – Think before you speak.

If anyone asked Imam Shafi a question he kept quiet and did not give a promt answer. Someone asked him, “Imam, people ask you questions but you keep quiet for long (why is this so)?” Imam Shafi replied,

“(I keep quiet) until I know where excellence lies, in silence or in speech.”

(Spiritual discourses – Mufti Taqi Uthmani [edited for spelling]

 

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Ettiquettes of Learning and Studying ‘Ilm

  1. Rectify your intentions – Think why are you doing this.
  2. Stay well away from sins and bad habits.
  3. Respect those you learn your knowledge from.
  4. Serve those you learn your knowledge from.
  5. Respect religious books and similar resources.
  6. Respect and be courteous to your fellow students.
  7. Make an effort to gain knowledge: General study, Be punctual for lessons, Repetition and revision.
  8. Have a thirst to attain knowledge – dedicate yourself
  9. Be steadfast when gaining knowledge and be prepared to make sacrifices for it.
  10. Maintain an Islahi supervision under a Shaykh al Kamil.

(adapted from the teachings of Qari Muhammad Siddique Bandwi – Siraj al Uloom)

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Warning and Reproach for neglecting Salah.

The books on Hadith mention very severe punishment for those who neglect salah. From many traditions on the subject, only are reproduced in this chapter. Although a single warning from the most truthful Prphet (May Allah shower peace and blessings upon him) was enough,yet we find that, out of love and mercy for the his followers, he has cautioned them again and again and in various mannerlest they should neglect Salah and suffer the consequences.

Inspite of all of this, alas! We are unmindful of Salah, and we still have the audacity to consider ourselves devotees of the Prophet (May Allah shower peace and blessings upon him) and champions of Islam.

(Virtues of Salah – Shaykh al Hadith Zakariyyah Khandehlawi)

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Disappearance of Knowledge and Appearance of Ignorance – A Sign of the Hour.

Anas ibn Malik said, ” I shall tell you a hadith which I heard from the Messenger of Allah (May Allah shower peace and blessings upon him), and which no-one will tell you after me. I heard him say “Among the signs of the Hour will be disappearance of knowledge and the appearance of ignorance. Adultery will be prevalent and the drinking of wine will be common. The number of men will decrease and the number of women will increase until there will be fifty women to be looked after by one man.””

This hadith was reported in the two Shahihs from the hadith of Abd Rabbihi.

Abdullah said. “The Prophet (May Allah shower peace and blessings upon him) said, “Just before the Hour, there will be days in which knowledge will dissappear and ignorance appear, and there will be much killing.”” (Ibn Majah ; also narrated by Bukhari and Muslim, from the hadith of al-‘Amash.)

Hudhayfa ibn al Yaman said , “The Prophet (May Allah shower peace and blessings upon him) said,”Islam will become worn out like clothes are, until there will be no-one who knows what fasting, prayer, charity and rituals are. The Quran will disappear in one night, and no Ayah will be left on earth. Some groups of old people will be left who will say. We heard our forefathers saying La ilaha illa Allah, so we repeat it.”” Silah asked Hudhayfah, “What will saying La ilaha illa Allah do for them when they do not know what prayer, fasting, ritual and charity are?” Hudhayfah ignored him; then Silah repeated his question three times and each time Hudhayfah ignored him. Finally he answered. ” O Silah, it will save then from Hell”, and said it three times. (Ibn Majah), This indicates that in the last days knowledge will be taken from the people, and even the Quran will disappear from the Mushafs and from people’s hearts. People will be left without knowledge. Only the old people will tell them that they used to hear people saying La ilaha illa Allah ; and they will repeat it to feel close to Allah (Glorified and Exalted is he), so it will give them some blessing, even if they do not have any good deeds or beneficial knowledge.

Knowledge will be taken away from men and ignorance will increase during the last days, because Allah will abandon them. They will remain like this, and their ignorance and misguidance will increase until the end, as in the Hadith of the Prophet (May Allah shower peace and blessings upon him): “The hour will not come upon anyone who says Allah, Allah”; it will only come upon the most evil of men.” (The Signs before the Day of Judgement – Ibn Kathir)

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