Monthly Archives: January 2008

The Chapter on Dhikr from at-Targhib wa at-Tarhib by Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani

1. Encouragement to remember Allah often, secretly and openly, and to presevere in it; what is reported about someone who does not remember Allah often

1. Abu Huryara reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Allah Almighty says, ‘I am in My slave’s opinion of Me and I am with Him when He remembers Me. When he remembers Me in himself, I mention him in Myself. If he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in a better assembly than them.’ If he comes near Me by a handspan, I come near him a cubit. If he comes near Me by a cubit, I come near a fathom. When he comes to walking, I come to him running.”

(Muslim and al-Bukhari, Ahmad has at the end of it, Qatada said, “Allah is quicker to forgive.”)

2. ‘Abdullah ibn Busr reported a man said, “Messenger of Allah, the laws of Islam are too much for me. Tell me something I can cling to.” He said, “Your tongue should remain moist with the remembrance of Allah.” (at-Tirmidhi)

3. Abu’d-Darda’ reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Shall I inform you of the best of your actions and the purest of your property and the highest of your degrees and what is better for you than spending gold and silver and better for you than encountering the enemy and striking their necks and their striking your necks?” They said, “Yes, indeed!” He said, “Remembrance of Allah Almighty.” MuÔadh ibn Jabal said, “There is nothing which saves from the punishment of Allah more than remembrance of Allah.” (Ahmad, Ibn Abi’d-Dunya, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

4. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Do a lot of remembrance of Allah until they say, ‘He is mad.'” (Ahmad, Abu Ya’la and Ibn Hibban)

5. Abu Musa reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “If one man has some dirhams in his possession which he divides and another remembers Allah, the one who remembers Allah is better.” One variant has, “There is no sadaqa better than remembrance of Allah.” (at-Tabarani)

6. Umm Anas reported that she said, “Messenger of Allah, command me.” He said, “Avoid acts of disobedience: that is the best jihad. Do a lot of invoking Allah. You do not bring Allah anything he loves more than a lot of remembrance.” (at-Tabarani. In one variant, “Remember Allah a lot. It is the action which Allah loves most to reveive.” At-Tabarani notes that Umm Anas is not the mother of Anas ibn Malik.)

2. Encouraging attending gatherings of dhikr and meeting together to remember Allah

7. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Allah Almighty has angels who travel the highways and by-ways seeking out the people of dhikr. When they find people remembering Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, they call out to one another, ‘Come to what you hunger for!’ and they enfold them with their wings stretching up to the lowest heaven. Their Lord – who knows them better – asks them, ‘What are My slaves saying?’ They say, ‘They are glorifying You, proclaiming Your greatness, praising You and magnifying You.’ He says, ‘Have they seen Me?’ They say, ‘No, by Allah, they have not seen You.’ He says, ‘How would it be if they were to see Me?’ [extra ‘He said’s deleted] They say, ‘If they were to see You, they would worship You even more intensely and magnify You even more intensely and glorify You even more intensely.’ He says, ‘What are they asking Me for?’They say, ‘They are asking You for the Garden.’ He says, ‘Have they seen it?’ They say, ‘No, by Allah, they have not seen it.'” He says, ‘How would it be if they were to see it?’ They say, ‘If they were to see it, they would yearn for it even more strongly and seek it even more assiduously and would have an even greater desire for it.’ He says, ‘What are they seeking refuge from?’ ‘They are seeking refuge from the Fire.’ He says, ‘Have they seen it?’ He says, ‘How would it be if they were to see it?’ They say, ‘If they were to see it, they would flee from it even harder and have an even greater fear of it.’ He says, ‘I testify to you that I have forgiven them.’ One of angels says, ‘Among them is so-and-so who is not one of them. He came to get something he needed.’ He says, ‘They are sitting and the one sitting with them will not be wretched.'” (al-Bukhari)

8. ÔAbdullah ibn ‘Umar reported: “I asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, what is the booty of the assemblies of dhikr?’ He replied, ‘The booty of the asemblies of dhikr is the Garden.'” (Ahmad)

9. Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “When you come upon the meadows of the Garden, graze in them.” He was asked, “What are the meadows of the Garden?” “Circles of dhikr.” he replied. (at-Tirmidhi)

10. ‘Amr ibn ÔAbasa said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah say about the right hand of the All-Merciful, ‘Both His hands are right hands. There are men who are not Prophets or martyrs the whiteness of whose faces overpowers the sight of those who look. The Prophets and martyrs envy their seat and proximity to Allah Almighty.’ He was asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, who are they?’ He replied, ‘A mixture of isolated people from the tribes who meet to remember Allah and select the best words as someone who eats dates selects the best ones.'” (at-Tabarani)

3. Warning against sitting where Allah is not mentioned nor the prayer said on His Prophet

11. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said, “Whenever people sit in a place where they do not mention Allah or bless their Prophet, loss descends on them. If He wishes, He will punish them. If He wishes, He will forgive them.” (Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi)

4. Encouraging words which expiate the hubbub of the assembly

12. Rafi’ ibn Khadij reported that when his Companions met with him, at the end of it when the Messenger of Allah wanted to get up, he said, “Glory be to You, O Allah, and by Your praise. I testify that there is no god but Allah. I ask forgiveness of You and repent to You. I have acted badly and have wronged myself, so forgive me. Only You forgive wrong actions.” They said, “Messenger of Allah, are these words which you originated?” “Yes,” he replied, “Jibra’il came to me and said, “O Muhammad, they are the expiations of the gathering.” (an-Nasa’i)

13. ÔAbdullah ibn ÔAmr ibn al-ÔAs said that he said, “There are certain words which someone can say in a gathering devoted to good or a gathering of dhikr by which Allah will seal the gathering as the page is sealed with a seal. They are: ‘Glory be to You, O Allah, and with Your praise. There is no god but You. I ask You for forgiveness and turn to You.'” (Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban

5. Encouraging saying “la ilaha illa’llah” and its excellence

14. Abu Hurayra said, “I asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, who will be the person happiest with your intercession on the Day of Rising?’ The Messenger of Allah replied, ‘I think that none would ask about this before you since I know your eagerness for hadith [learning]. The person happiest with my intercession on the Day of Rising will be the one who says: “There is no god but Allah” sincerely from his heart.'” (al-Bukhari)

15. Jabir reported that the Prophet said, “The best dhikr is ‘La ilaha illa’llah,’ and the best supplication is ‘al-hamdu lillah‘.” (an-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah)

16. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Do a lot of the shahada, testifying that there is no god but Allah before there comes a barrier between you and it.” (Abu Ya’la)

17. He reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Renew your faith.” He was asked, “Messenger of Allah, how do we renew our faith?” He replied, “Say often: ‘There is no god but Allah.'” (Ahmad and at-Tabarani)

18. ÔAmr said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah say, “I know some words which, if a person says it truly from his heart and dies on that, he will be unlawful to the Fire: ‘There is no god but Allah’.” (al-Hakim)

Encouraging saying “There is no god but Allah alone with no partner”

19. Abu Ayyub reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Anyone who says, ‘There is no god but Allah alone with no partner. His is the kingdom and His is the praise. He has power over everything’ ten times, it is as if he had set free four slaves of the descendants of Isma’il.” (Agreed upon)

20. Ya’qub ibn ÔAsim reported that two of the Companions of the Prophet heard the Prophet say, “No one at all says “There is no god but Allah alone with no partner. The kingdom and praise belong to Him and He has power over everything” sincerely with his soul, affirming it with his heart, articulating it with his tongue but that Allah splits open the heaven so that He can look at the one on the earth who says it, and it is a right of the slave at whom Allah looks that He grant him his request.” (an-Nasa’i)

6. Encouraging glorification, takbir, the shahada, and praise in its various forms

21. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Two words are light on the tongue, heavy in the balance, beloved to the Merciful: ‘Glory be to Allah and by His praise. Glory be to Allah, the Immense.'” (Agreed upon)

22. Abu Umama reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Whoever dreads to endure the night, or is miserly about spending money, or is too cowardly to fight the enemy should say often: ‘Glory be to Allah and with His praise.’ It is more beloved to Allah than a mountain of gold spent in the Way of Allah.” (at-Tabarani)

23. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Anyone who says, ‘Glory be to Allah and with His praise’ a hundred times a day will have his sins fall away, even if they are like the froth of the sea.” (Muslim and at-Tirmidhi)

24. Mus’ab ibn SaÔd (ibn Abi Waqqas) said that his father said, “We were with the Messenger of Allah when he asked, ‘Are any of you able to earn a thousand good deeds every day?’ One of those who was sitting there asked him, ‘How can someone earn a thousand good deeds?’ He said, ‘Glorifying a hundred times is written as a thousand good deeds or a thousand errors fall away from him.'” (Muslim and an-Nasa’i)

25. Samura ibn Jundub reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “The dearest of words to Allah are four: ‘Glory be to Allah; Praise be to Allah; There is no god but Allah; and Allah is greater.’ It does not matter whichever of them you say first.”(Muslim and an-Nasa’i, He added, “They are part of the Qur’an.”.)

26. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet passed by him when he was planting a seedling and he asked, “Abu Hurayra, what is that which you are planting?” He said, “Seedlings.” He said, “Shall I not direct you to a seedling better than this? ‘Glory be to Allah. Praise be to Allah. Allah is greater, and there is no god but Allah.’ Each word of them will plant a tree for you in the Garden.” (Ibn Majah)

27. Umm Hani’ said, “The Messenger of Allah passed by me one day and I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, I am old and weak, so command me something I can do sitting.’ He said, ‘Say “Glory be to Allah” a hundred times: it is equal to a hundred slaves of the descendants of IsmaÔil you set free. Say “Praise be to Allah” a hundred times: it is equal to a hundred horses saddled and bridled and ridden in the Way of Allah. Say “Allah is greater” a hundred times: it is equal to a hundred camels garlanded and facing qibla. Say “There is no god but Allah” a hundred times. (I think he said) It fills up what is between heaven and earth. On that day no one will have a better action presented that which will be presented for you unless he brings the like of what you bring.'” (Ahmad, at-Tabarani and al-Bayhaqi)

28. Abu Dharr reported that some of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah *said, “Messenger of Allah, the wealthy have appropriated the rewards. They pray as we pray and they fast as we fast, but they give sadaqa since they have more wealth.”He said, “Did not Allah give you that which you can give as sadaqa? Every glorification is sadaqa. Every takbir is sadaqa. Every praise is sadaqa. Every ‘la ilaha illa’llah‘ is sadaqa. Commanding the right is sadaqa. Forbidding the wrong is sadaqa.” (Muslim and Ibn Majah)

29. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Take your protection.”They asked, “Messenger of Allah, from an enemy present?” He replied, “No, but your protection against the Fire. Say: ‘Glory be to Allah. There is no god but Allah, and Allah is greater.’ They will come on the Day of Rising in front and behind you. They are lasting righteous ones.” (an-Nasa’i and al-Bayhaqi. At-Tabarani has it in al-Awsat and adds, “There is no strength or power except by Allah.”)

30. ÔAbdullah ibn MasÔud said, “Anyone who is tight-fisted about giving money, fears the struggle against the enemy and is wearied by the night should often say, “There is no god but Allah. Allah is greater. Praise be to Allah and glory be to Allah.'” (At-Tabarani)

31. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Any words which do not with praise are mutilated.” (Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah)

7. Encouraging saying, “Glory be to Allah,” “Praise be to Allah”, “There is no god but Allah” and “Allah is greater” in mosques

32. Umm al-Mu’minin Juwayriyya bint al-Harith reported that the Prophet left her and then he returned after the sun was well risen and she was still sitting there. He said, “You are still in the state you were when I left you?” She said, “Yes.” The Prophet said, “I said four words three times after I left you. If they were to be weighed against everything you have recited today they would outweigh it: ‘Glory be to Allah and by His praise in number as great as His creation and His own pleasure, the weight of His Throne and the ink of His words.'”(Muslim and the Four)

33. ‘A’isha bint SaÔd ibn Abi Waqqas related from her father that, together with the Messenger of Allah, he visited a woman and in front of her were some date-stones – or pebbles – which she was using to glorify Allah. He said, ‘Shall I inform you what is easier for you than this – or better?’ He said, ‘Glory be to Allah by the number of things He has created in the heaven and glory be to Allah by the number of things He has created in the earth and glory be to Allah by the number of things in between them and glory be to Allah by the number of things He has created. Then say, “Allah is greater” in the same way and “Praise be to Allah” in the same way, and “There is no god but Allah” in the same way and “There is no power nor strength except by Allah” in the same way.'” (Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi)

8. Encouraging saying “There is no power nor strength except by Allah”

34. Abu Musa said that the Prophet said, “Say: ‘There is no power nor strength except by Allah.’ It is one of the treasures of the Garden.” (Agreed upon, and in the transmission of an-Nasa’i: “Whoever says ‘There is no strength nor power except by Allah’, it is the cure for ninety-nine illnesses, the least of which is worry.”)

9. Encouraging the dhikrs which are said in the morning and the evening

35. Mu’adh ibn ÔAbdullah ibn Khubayb reported that his father said, “We went out on a very dark and rainy night looking for the Messenger of Allah to lead us in the prayer. We found him and he said, ‘Speak.’ I did not say anything,.’ Then he said, ‘Say,’ and I did not say anything. Then he said, ‘Say,’ and I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, what shall I say?’ He said, ‘Recite, “Say: He is God, One,” and the suras of seeking refuge in the evening and the morning three times, it will be enough to protect you in respect of everything.'” (Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, and an-Nasa’i)

36. Shaddad ibn Aws reported that the Prophet said, “The best way to ask forgiveness is to say, ‘O Allah, You are my Lord. There is no god but You. You created me and I am Your slave. I comply with Your covenant and Your promise as much as I can. I seek refuge with you from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge my sin, so forgive me. Only You can forgive sins.’ Anyone who says it during the night having confidence in it and dies before morning will enter the Garden. Anyone who says this during the day having confidence in it and dies on that day before evening will enter the Garden. ”

(Al-Bukhari, an-Nasa’i and at-Tirmidhi who has: “No one says it in the evening and then the decree comes to him before morning but that the Garden is mandatory for him. He does not say it in the morning and then the decree comes to him before evening but that the Garden is mandatory for him.”)

37. Abu Hurayra said, “A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘Messenger of Allah, what agony I suffered last night from a scorpion which stung me yesterday!’ He said, ‘If you had said in the evening, “I seek refuge with the perfect words of Allah from the evil of what He has created,” it would not have harmed you.”(Muslim and the four;)

38. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “On the Day of Rising no one will bring anything better than someone who says in the morning and evening, ‘Glory be to Allah and by His praise’ a hundred times except someone who says the same as he says or more.”

(Muslim, the people of the three Sunans, and Ibn Abi’d-Dunya. In Abu Dawud, “Glory be to Allah the Immense.” Al-Hakim said “Anyone who says in the morning ‘Glory be to Allah and by His praise,’ a hundred times, and a hundred times in the evening, his sins will be forgiven even if they more than the forth of the sea.”)

39. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said,”Anyone who says, ‘There is no god but Allah alone with no partner. His is the kingdom and His is the praise, and He has power over everything’ a hundred times a day has the same reward as if he had freed ten slaves, and a hundred good deeds are written for him and a hundred bad deeds are effaced from him and he has protection from Shaytan on that day until evening. No one will do anything better than he does except a man who does it more than he did.” (Agreed upon)

40. Aban ibn ‘Uthman said that he heard ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan say that the Messenger of Allah said, “No slave of Allah says in the morning every day and the evening every night, ‘In the name of Allah by whose name nothing in the earth or the heaven can be harmed. He is the Hearing, the Knowing,’ three times without that ensuring that nothing will harm him.” Aban suffered from a stroke which left him semi-paralysed on one side. He was asked about it and said, “I did not say it that day so that Allah could carry out His decree.” (The four)

41. Abu’d-Darda’ said, “If anyone says in the morning and evening, ‘Allah is enough for me. There is no god but Him. I have relied on Him and He is the Lord of the Immense Throne’ seven times, Allah will spare him what worries him (whether he is truthful or lying).” (Abu Dawud)

42. Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “If anyone says in the morning or the evening, ‘O Allah, I testify to You and I testify to the bearers of Your throne, Your angels and all Your creation that You are Allah and there is no god but You and Muhammad is Your slave and Messenger,’ Allah will free a quarter of him from the fire. If anyone says it twice, Allah will free half of him from the Fire. If anyone says it three times, Allah will free three-quarters of him from the Fire. If anyone says it four times, Allah will free all of him from the Fire.'”

43. Al-Mundhir, the Companion of the Messenger of Allah, said when he was in North Africa, “I heard the Messenger of Allah say, ‘If anyone says in the morning “I am pleased with with Allah as a Lord, Islam with a deen and Muhammad as a Prophet” I am the leader who will take his hand to admit him to the Garden.”‘” (at-Tabarani)

44. ‘Abdullah ibn Ghannam al-Bayadi reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “If anyone says in the morning, ‘O Allah, whatever blessing comes to me or any of Your creation in the morning is from You alone with no partner; praise is Yours and thanks is to You’ has fulfilled the thankfulness due for the day. If he says the like of that in the evening, he has fulfilled the thankfulness due for the night. ” (Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i)

45. Ibn ‘Umar said, “The Messenger of Allah did not omit these words in the evening and morning: ‘O Allah, I ask You for pardon and well-being in this world and the Next. O Allah, I ask You for pardon and well-being in my deen and this world, my family and my property. O Allah, veil my defects and protect me from what I fear. O Allah, preserve me in front of me and behind me, to my right and to my left, and above me. I seek refuge with Your might from unexpected harm from under me.” (Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah)

46. Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah said to Fatima, “What will prevent you from listening to my advice to you? You should say in the morning and evening: ‘O Living, O Self-Sustaining, I seek help by Your mercy. Put all my affairs in order for me. Do not entrust me to myself for the blink of an eye.'” (an-Nasa’i)

47. Al-Hasan stated that Samura ibn Jundub said, “Shall I inform you of a hadith which I heard from the Messenger of Allah several times, and from Abu Bakr several times and from ÔUmar several times?” “Yes,” was the reply. He said, “If anyone says in the morning and the evening, ‘O Allah, You created me and You guide me; You give me food and drink; You make me die and give me life,’ he will not ask for anything but that He will give it to him.” He said, “I met ÔAbdullah ibn Salam and said, ‘Shall I inform you of a hadith which I heard from the Messenger of Allah several times, and from Abu Bakr several times and from ÔUmar several times?’ He said, ‘Yes,’ and recounted this hadith. He said, ‘By my mother and father, the Messenger of Allah said those words. Allah Almighty gave them to Musa, peace be upon him and he used to pray with them seven times every day, and he never asked Allah for something but that Allah gave it to him.” (At-Tabarani)

48. Abu’d-Darda’ reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Anyone who says the prayer on me ten times in the morning and ten times in the evening will obtain my intercession on the Day of Rising,”

(At-Tabarani with two isnads, one of which is excellent)

49. Zayd ibn Thabit reported that the Messenger of Allah taught him a supplication and commanded him to promise to do it and that his family should do it every day. He said: “He should say in the morning, ‘O Allah, at Your service. Good is in Your hand and from You to You. O Allah, whatever word I say, oath I make or vow I make, You will is before it, What You wish will be and what you do not wish will not be. There is no power or strength except by You. You have power over everything. O Allah, whatever prayer I pray is for the on whom I pray and whatever curse I make is against the one I curse. You are my Protector in this world and the Next. Make me die a Muslim and join me to the righteous. O Allah, I ask you for pleasure with the Decree, pleasant life after death, the pleasure of looking at Your face, and yearning to meet You without harmful distress or misleading sedition. I seek refuge with You, O Allah, lest I wrong or be wronged, or transgress or be transgressed against, or acquire a wrong action or a sin which is not forgiven, O Allah, Creator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the Unseen and the Visible, O Master of Majesty and Generosity, I entrust to You in this life and I call on You to testify. Allah is enough of a witness. I testify that there is no god but You alone with no partner. Yours is the kingdom and praise is Yours. You have power over everything. I testify that Muhammad is Your slave and Messenger. I testify that Your promise is true, meeting Your is true, the Garden is true, the Fire is true and the Hour is true. It is coming without doubt. You will raise whoever is in the graves. If You entrust me to myself, You entrust me to weakness, disgrace, sin and error. I can only trust in Your mercy, so forgive me all my sins. None but You forgive sins. Turn to me. You are the Ever-Turning, All-Merciful.'” (Ahmad and at-Tabarani)

10. Encouraging words which are said when one goes to bed and what has come about someone who rises from sleep without mentioning Allah

50. Al-Bara’ ibn ‘Azib said, “The Prophet said, ‘When you go to your bed, do wudu’ as you do for the prayer and then lie down on your right side and said, ‘O Allah, I have surrendered my soul to You, I have turned my face towards You, I have entrusted my affair to You and I have sought refuge in You out of desire for You and fear of You. There is no shelter nor place of safety from You except with You. I have believed in Your Book which You sent down and Your Prophet whom You sent.’ Then if you die in the night, you will die in the natural harmonious form of man. Make them the last thing that you say.” He said, “I repeated them to the Prophet and when I reached the words, ‘Your Book which You sent down,’ I said, ‘and your Message.’ He said, ‘No: “Your Prophet whom You sent.'” (Agreed upon. In al-Bukhari and at-Tirmidhi, “If you die in the night, you die on the natural form. If you reach the morning, you obtain good.”)

51. ÔAbdullah ibn ÔAmr ib al-‘As reported that the Prophet said, “There are two qualities in which a Muslim does not persevere in but that he will enter the Garden. They are easy but those who do them are few: After every prayer, he should glorify Allah ten times, praise Him ten times, and say the takbir ten times. That is 150 on the tongue and 150,000 in the balance. When he goes to bed, he should say the takbir 34 times, praise Allah 33 times and glorify Him 33 times. That is 100 on the tongue and a thousand in the balance.’ I saw the Messenger of Allah count them. They asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, how is it that they are easy and those who do them few?’ He said, ‘Shaytan comes to one of you when he goes to sleep and makes him fall asleep before he says them, and he comes when he is praying and reminds him of a need before he says them.” (Abu Dawud, and at-Tirmidhi)

52. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “If, when someone retires to his bed and says. ‘There is no god but Allah alone with no partner. His is the Kingdom and praise is His. He has power over everything and there is no power nor strength except by Allah. Glory be to Allah and praise be to Allah. There is no god but Allah, and Allah is greater,’ he will be forgiven his sins or errors, even if they are like the froth of the sea.” (an-Nasa’i)

11. Encouraging words said when someone wakes up in the night

53. ‘Ubada ibn as-Samit reported that the Prophet said, “If someone wakes up at night and says, ‘There is no god but Allah alone with no partner. The kingdom is His and His is the praise. He has power over everything. Praise belongs to Allah. Glory be to Allah. There is no god but Allah. Allah is greater. There is no strength nor power except by Allah,’ and then says, ‘O Allah, forgive me’ or makes supplication to Allah,’ it will be answered. If he does wudu’, then his prayer will be accepted.” (al-Bukhari and the Four)

12. Encouraging dhikrs said after Subh, ‘Asr and Maghrib

54. Abu Dharr reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “If, after the Fajr prayer, anyone says while his feet are still folded before speaking, ‘There is no god ut Allah alone with no partner. His is the kingdom and praise is His. He gives life and makes die, and He has power over everything’ ten times, Allah will write for him ten good deeds, efface ten evil deeds from him, and raise him ten degrees, and that day he is protected from every very disliked thing, guarded against shaytan, and no sin will overtake him in that day unless it is associating with Allah.” (At-Tirmidhi)

55. Al-Harith ibn Muslim at-Tamimi said, “The Prophet said to me, ‘When you pray Subh, say seven times before speaking, ‘O Allah, protect me from the Fire.’ If you die on that day, Allah will write for you protection from the Fire. When you pray Maghrib, say seven times before speaking, ‘O Allah, protect me from the Fire.’ If you die that night, Allah will write for you protection from the Fire.’ (an-Nasa’i, and Abu Dawud)

13. Encouraging what is said and done by someone who has a dream he dislikes

56. Jabir reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “When one of you has a dream he dislikes, he should spit to his left three times and seek refuge with Allah from the Accursed Shaytan three times and then turn over onto his other side.” (Muslim, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i)

57. Abu Qatada reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “The true dream is from Allah and the confused dream is from Shaytan. Whoever sees something he dsilieks should spit three times to his left and seek refuge from shaytan. It will not harm him” (Agreed upon. The four relate it. In one variant, “When he sees something he dislikes, he should seek refuge in Allah from its evil and from shaytan. He should spit three times to his left and not tell anyone about it.” They have the like of it from Abu Hurayra which says, “Ésomething he dislikes should not recount it to anyone, and he should get up and pray.”)

14. Encouraging ayats and dhikrs said after the obligatory prayers

58. Sumayy reported from Abu Salih that Abu Hurayra reported that the poor of the Muhajirun came to the Messenger of Allah and said, “The wealthy have appropriated the high degrees and abiding bliss.” He said, “How is that?” He said, “They pray as we pray and they fast as we fast, but they give sadaqa and we do not give sadaqa and they set free slaves and we do not set free slaves.” The Messenger of Allah said, “Shall I inform you of something by which you will overtake those who have preceded you and precede those who come after you and no one will be better than you unless he does the same as you do?” They said, “By all means, Messenger of Allah.” He said, “You should say ‘Glory be to Allah,’ ‘Praise be to Allah,’ and ‘Allah is greater’ thirty-three times after every prayer.”

Abu Salih said, “The poor Muhajirun then returned to the Messenger of Allah and said, “Our brothers who possess property heard about what we were doing and they have done the same.” The Messenger of Allah said, “That is a favour which Allah gives to anyone He wills.”

Sumayya said, “Some of my family related this hadith and said., “I was weak. He told you: Say ‘Glory be to Allah’ 33 times, ‘Praise be to Allah’ 33 times, and the takbir 34 times.” He said, “I returned to Abu Salih and said that to him and he took my hand and said, ‘Allah is great; Glory be to Allah, and Praise be to Allah’ until he said them all 33 times.”

(Agreed upon. This is the version of Muslim, He also has, “Anyone who say after every prayer, ‘Glory be to Allah’ thirty-three times, ‘Praise belongs to Allah’ thirty-three times and ‘Allah is greater’ thirty-three times and says to complete the hundred, ‘There is no god but Allah alone with no partner. He has the kingdom and He has the praise and He has power over everything,’ will be forgiven his errors, even if they are like the foam of the sea.” Malik and Ibn Khuzayma transmitted it, but Malik said, “His sins will be forgiven, even if they are like the foam of the sea.” Abu Dawud transmitted it. Abu Dharr said, “Messenger of Allah, the wealthy have appropriated the rewards.” In it he said, “They have excess wealth which they give sadaqa and we do not have wealth to give as sadaqa.” He said, “Abu Dharr, shall I teach you words by which you will catch those before you?” He said in it, “Say the takbir 33 times after every prayer .” He said in it, “Complete it with ‘There is no god but Allah.'” At-Tirmidhi and an-Nasa’i transmitted it.”)

59. Mu’adh ibn Jabal reported that the Messenger of Allah took him by the hand and said, “Mu’adh, by Allah, I love you.” Mu’adh said, “May my mother and father be your ransom, Messenger of Allah. By Allah, I love you.” He said, “Mu’adh, I advise you not to fail to say after every prayer, ‘O Allah, help me to remember You and thank You and worship You well.'” Mu’adh advised as-Sanabihi to do that. (Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i)

15. Encouraging words said by someone who is alarmed at night

60. ‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb reported from his father from his grandfather that the Messenger of Allah said, “When one you is alarmed in sleep, he should say, ‘I seek refuge with the perfect words of Allah from His anger, from the evil of His servants and from the whisperings of shaytan and lest they be present,’ and they will not harm him.” ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr used to teach it those of his children who were sensible, and in the case of those who were not, he wrote it in a page and then hung it from their necks.” (The three)

61. Abu’t-Tayyah said, “I asked ‘Abdu’r-Rahman ibn Khanbash at-Tamimi, who was old, ‘Did you met the Messenger of Allah ?’ ‘Yes,’ he replied. I asked, ‘What did he act do the night when the shaytans of the jinn came at him?’ He said, ‘The shaytan came down that night to the Messenger of Allah from the valleys and ravines. Among them was a shaytan with a fiery torch in his hand with which he intended to burn the face of the Messenger of Allah. Jibril descended to him and said, ‘Muhammad, speak.’ He asked, ‘What should I say?’ He said, ‘Say: “I seek refuge with the complete words of Allah from the evil of what He created, originated, and produced, and from the evil of what descends from the sky and from the evil of what ascends in it, and from the evil of the trials of the night and day, and from the evil of from the evil of every visitant at night except that which knocks with good, O All-Mericiful.”‘ The fire was put out and Allah Almighty defeated them.” (Ahmad and Abu Ya’la)

16. Encouraging what is said when one leaves his house for the mosque and elsewhere and when he enters it

62. Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “If, when a man leaveshis house, he says, ‘In the name of Allah. I have relied on Allah and there is no power nor strength except by Allah,’ he will he told, ‘It is enough for you. You have been guided, spared and protected,’ and Shaytan will be kept far from him.”

(At-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa’i; and Ibn Hibban)

63. Jabir reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah say, “When a man enters his house and mentions the name of Allah both when he enters and when he eats, Shaytan says to his companions, ‘You have no lodging and no meal.’ When he enters and does not mention Allah when he enters, Shaytan says, ‘You have lodging.’ When he does not mention Allah Almighty when he eats, he says, ‘You have lodging and a meal.'”(Muslim and the four)

17. Encouraging what is said when there is whispering in the prayers and at other times

64. ‘Uthman ibn Abi’l-‘As reported that he went to the Prophet and said, ‘Messenger of Allah, Shaytan comes between me and my prayer and my recitation and confuses me.’ He said, “That is a Shaytan called Khinzab. When you feel that, seek refuge in Allah from him and spit to your left three times.’ I did that and Allah removed it from me.” (Muslim.)

65. ‘A’isha reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Shaytan comes to one of you and asks, ‘Who created you?’ He says, ‘Allah. Then he says, ‘Who created Allah?’ If one of you experiences that, he should say, ‘I believe in Allah and His Messenger.’ That will remove it.'” (Ahmad, Abu Ya’la, and al-Bazzar)

67. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Shaytan comes to one you and says, ‘Who created such-and-such? Who created such-and-such?’ until he says, ‘Who created your Lord?’ When it reaches that, seek refuge with Allah and leave it.”

(Agreed upon. In the varant of Muslim, “Say: ‘I believe in Allah and His Messenger.'” In the variant of Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i, “Say, ‘He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute. He begetteth not, nor is He begotten, and there is none like unto Him.’ Then he should spit to his left three times and seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan.” In the variant of an-Nasa’i, “He should seek refuge from him and his temptations.”)

(Courtesy of Ustadha ‘Aisha Bewley)


Filed under Aqidah/Belief, Hadith, Islam, Religion, Tasawwuf

Letter to a New Muslim by Hajj Abdassamad Clarke

In the Name of Allah, the All Merciful, the Most Merciful

And may Allah bless Muhammad and his family and companions and grant them peace.

Letter to a New Muslim

Allah, exalted is He, says that whose meaning is:

Who could say anything better

than someone who summons to Allah

and acts rightly

and says, “I am one of the Muslims”? (Surah Fussilat: 33)

You have accepted Islam. You have realised that you have a Lord Who created you, and Who has decreed your destiny, both the good and the bad of it, the sweet and the sour of it, Who hears your prayers, Who knows you well – for does He not know what He created? – Who guides you and has guided you to Islam, Who is Generous, Merciful and Powerful, Swift to take reckoning, and Who has both beautiful and majestic attributes. You realise that your Merciful Lord sent messages to you personally by means of His messengers, the last of whom was the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, Muhammad. You believe that the Book of Allah is the Speech of Allah, speaking to you.

You are probably stunned that your culture concealed the truth of Islam for more than a thousand years, and lied about it to you and to your ancestors. You have been overwhelmed to find that Allah is the Truth, the Real, that the Garden and the Fire are true, that countless prophets and messengers have been sent to mankind including ‘Isa (Jesus), Musa (Moses), Ibrahim (Abraham), Nuh (Noah) and Adam, and many more whose names you do not know, in all corners of the earth throughout history, peace be upon all of them, and that now you live in the time of the last prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, whose message abrogates all other messages and whose way of life, Islam, is for all mankind of every race and language until the end of time.

You belong to a community that extends eastward from China to western Europe, and into the Americas, south to the southern tip of Africa, and north to cold Asiatic lands. It is a community that blends Arabs, Turks, Persians, Chinese, Africans, Malays and Indonesians, Indians and Pakistanis, and increasing numbers of Germans, Spanish, English and Italians, and Mayans, Incas, Guyanans and Caribbeans. This community is more than a quarter of all humanity.

You are probably aware of the amazing wealth and beauty of the architecture, workmanship and craftsmanship of Muslim life, the great corpus of poetry and song, and the huge cultural heritage of scholarship on the sciences of Islam, commentary on the Qur’an, elaboration of the law in a most sophisticated manner, studies of the hadith literature, and dictionaries of the Arabic language, etc.

However, in the midst of all of this, you are also struck by the fact that you are not only a new Muslim, but are considered to be a ‘revert’ or a ‘convert’, and are expected to qualify that further, by all manner of people, both Muslim and non-Muslim, and to become: Sunni, Sufi, salafi, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali, or to adhere to ‘Traditional Islam’, or political Islam, become a ‘moderate’ Muslim or be regarded as a fundamentalist or extremist. But you have simply accepted Islam and are content to be a Muslim. You are probably perplexed that membership of these sub-divisions also seems necessarily to place you in a position of opposition to others, sometimes with an actual dislike verging on hatred, or with a slight antipathy, or, as in the case of the legal schools, with a courtesy which you suspect masks a deeper hostility.

You also see and sometimes intuit that there are those who see ‘the West’ as utterly opposed to Islam and who are thus themselves explicitly in opposition to it and yet others who are intent on imitating ‘the West’ in every possible way and see no other way forward for Islam than in such imitation.

So this is a puzzle, but as a new Muslim, you may feel yourself not in a position to hold to your original intuition that Islam itself is enough and that you are simply a Muslim. It is the purpose of this open letter to try to convince you that it is indeed more than enough simply to be a Muslim. But I would also like to show that the groupings to which you are being called, and the labels being used all have some substance to them and to persuade you that there is also a reality in belonging to these groups and that they are all Muslims and part of the greater Muslim community. Nevertheless the great secret is to remain simply a Muslim. Perhaps you are beginning to realise that this is something whose meaning we do not completely know and needs to be reclaimed.

But where to start? First of all, I will limit myself to matters in which different groups of Muslims are right in what they adhere to because they are things that all the Muslims agree upon without entering into areas on which there is disagreement. In this I will ask your patience, because we must tackle some demanding concepts and really try to get to grips with some of the ideas at work here.

Let us start with political Islam, and let us for that purpose take the much maligned Hizb at-Tahrir. Although there are other groups who place emphasis on the political aspects of Islam, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, we will take this one group since they are in the headlines at present. The truth is that the Hizb have taken hold of one of the important threads of Islam, the issue of governance.

Allah says that whose meaning is:

You who have iman! obey Allah and obey the Messenger

and those in command among you.

(Surat an-Nisa’: 58)

The third group mentioned in this verse, ‘those in command among you‘, according to the majority of the people of knowledge, are the rulers and leaders of the Muslims, and the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, agreed unanimously on the election of a caliph.

Much of the Shari’ah cannot be put into effect without a ruler, or a qadi appointed by a ruler, and there is no doubt that caliphate is the traditional expression of Muslim governance, although we must also be clear that we are grossly over-simplifying our history since even a cursory glance at it reveals all sorts of counter-Caliphates, sultanates, kingdoms and Amirates throughout the last near millennium and a half. Yet all of these forms can clearly be comprised under the heading of communities under the leadership of ‘those in command among you‘.

Indeed, governance is built into much of Islam. For example, zakah is collected by men appointed by the ruler and is distributed by them. The ruler must decide the beginning and end of Ramadan. He appoints imams of the major mosques, and he appoints regulators (muhtasibs) who keep the market free of usury and make sure that the weights and measures are just. He is the one who will decide whether or not the Muslims under his care are at war or not, something that may not be decided by groups of fighters in the mountains or guerrillas hiding in the cities. So the Hizb are quite right in that there is no real way to separate the religion of Islam from politics, and the politics of Islam is quite clearly there in the Book and the Sunnah.

The Hizb are also one group representing the trend called ‘modernism’, which, if stated as our need to grapple with the modern age, then the case is inarguable. Indeed, we could argue that it is the essential characteristic of Islam that it is destined to be fit for every age and every society until the end of time. Not only does the law of Islam contain specific timeless rulings, but it contains within itself procedures to meet every new situation and to bring answers to new questions on the basis of what we already have of verses of the Qur’an, known Sunnahs, the consensus of the people of knowledge and previous judgements.

That is simply in the legal sense, but Islam is always modern, or rather let us say that it is ‘new’, and if not, something has gone wrong. It is not new because of the impact of external cultures; but because it is new it subjects each age to its higher evaluation and retains what is acceptable and rejects what is unacceptable. The modernism that says that we must revise or reform Islam on the basis of what we understand from science or other contemporary institutions is already out of date, since the science they elevate is already under intense scrutiny from within its own citadel and in serious crisis. Such people yearn for the precise mechanical order of Newton which has already been swept away by the uncertainties of the quantum order.

Islam has always been new. The first appearance of Islam was new, and in the words of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, it was a stranger. He said:

“Islam began as a stranger and it will come again as a stranger as it began, so fragrant good fortune for the strangers.” This hadith is narrated by Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him and is included in the collection of Sahih Muslim among others.

The great Andalusian civilisation was completely new. The arrival of the Ottomans was completely new. Each civilisation of Islam has been new.

After political Islam and modernism, let us take a look at forms of Islam that emphasis tradition; let us look at the salafis or as they are sometimes known derogatorily the wahhabis. They place emphasis on the practice of the salaf: the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the right-acting first generations, and in that they are quite correct. Abu Nahih al-‘Irbad ibn Sariyah, may Allah be pleased with him, is reported to have said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, admonished us with an admonition by which the hearts became frightened and the eyes flowed with tears, so we said, ‘Messenger of Allah, it is as if it were a farewell admonition, so advise us.’ He said, ‘I advise you to have taqwa1 of Allah, mighty is He and majestic, and to hear and obey even if a slave is given command over you.2 Whoever of you lives will see many disagreements, so you must take hold of my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided3 caliphs who take the right way4. Bite on it with the molar teeth. Beware of newly introduced matters, for every newly introduced matter is an innovation, and every innovation is a going astray, and every straying is in the Fire.” Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi narrated it and [at-Tirmidhi] said, “A good sahih hadith.” And Imam an-Nawawi discerningly included it in his selection of those forty hadith about which the people of knowledge agree that they are indispensable. This well known hadith is one of very many that make clear that one must hold to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and to the Sunnah of the caliphs who took the right way. So the salafi insistence on this is not something new and is not something that was lost, but rather it is and has always been a matter of agreement among the Muslims, and indeed there are too many verses of the Qur’an and traditions of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on this matter for there to be any doubt about it.

There are similar groups whose orientation one might say is towards tradition and the past and carefully preserving the sources of Islam, and who can argue with them about the importance of that?

Then let us take a glance at those who place more stress on the spiritual aspect of Islam. For the sufis, in the preliminary stages Sufism consists of purification of the heart and one’s behaviour from destructive traits such as showing-off, envy, miserliness, greed, anger and hatred and then the embodiment of the noble qualities of character such as generosity, forbearance, steadfastness, and vigilance, etc. They aspire to a true and direct knowledge (marifah) of Allah, exalted is He, quite unlike the knowledge acquired from books or from study, although not contradicting that necessary scholarly knowledge. Very many of the people of knowledge take the position that its sciences are obligatory for every single Muslim man and woman. That is because there are numerous verses of the Qur’an and hadith of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, showing the importance of authentic knowledge of Him and that the negative qualities of character are fatal and that the noble qualities of character are of the very essence of what the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was sent for. He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is narrated to have said:

“I was only sent to perfect the noble generous qualities of character.” This is narrated by Imam al-Bukhari and by a number of other eminent hadith scholars, and is only one out of numerous texts which stress the importance of this point.

Some Muslims agree on this but differ about terminology, so that rather than talking about Sufism, they talk about ‘purification of the self’ (tazkiyat an-nafs). Taking that into account, and since both groups agree on the essence of the matter, only differing about terminology, it is clear that the Muslims are unanimous on the importance of this science.

But if someone thought that because of the spiritual and inner dimensions of Islam one could dispense with the outward aspects of it, or if he believed in an inner interpretation that negated the clear outward meanings, it would be a corruption of Islam. Rather, Sufism is an important and significant aspect of our way whose importance only becomes clearer in the context of the traditional sources and politics, i.e. it is a part of a whole.

Now let us turn to terms such as ‘traditional Islam’ – which is a modern coinage – or ‘Sunni’ Islam, both used for a similar purpose which we might refer to as belonging to Ahl as-sunnah wa al-jamaah ‘the people of the Sunnah and the community (jamaah)’. This was a term that was coined to cover different groups within the Muslim community, which, although differing in some points of practice and doctrine, are considered to stay within the acceptable parameters of Islam: that is those who adhere to the four legal schools – the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali, to the two schools of aqidah – the Maturidi and the Ash’ari and to the school of Sufism that derives from Imam al-Junayd, which is the Sufism whose proofs are from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah. So this umbrella is used to cover a number of different positions that Muslims have adopted, admitting that they are acceptable even though there are differences between them.

Here it is important to remember that the people covered by this term are Muslims, not merely Sunnis or even ‘Sunni’ Muslims, for to talk of ‘Sunni’ Muslims almost suggests that there is another acceptable type of Islam, which is not the case.

Although Muslims follow the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i or Hanbali schools, which are themselves comprised within the body known as the People of the Sunnah and the Community, they ought not to be defined by them, i.e. one may follow the madhhab of Abu Hanifah, for example, but one is not a Hanafi Muslim, but a Muslim. Moreover, the truth is that the vast majority of Muslims do not, properly speaking, have a madhhab at all. The ruler of a society must choose someone to act as qadi and mufti and they must necessarily follow the fiqh of one of the well known imams, since they will never reach the level of being able to derive judgements from the Qur’an and the Sunnah by themselves, and this is the consensus of the people of knowledge. The Muslim will ask the mufti or imam for the answers to various problems and issues, and the answer he receives will be according to one of these well known schools, but he still remains a Muslim and not defined by the school of his mufti or imam. In that sense, madhhabism is a corruption, although the madhhabs themselves are all acceptable. So, incidentally, we are again pointed to the importance of leadership, since leaders determine the path taken in these matters.

All of the above is about groups within the fold of Islam. It is necessary to address the matter of one of the groups outside of the acceptable parameters of Islam: the Shi’ah. This term covers a wide range of groups some of whom, such as the Ismailis, are clearly doctrinally so far from Islam as to be non-Muslims, or have doctrines containing elements that remove them from Islam, such as those who declare all of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all, to be unbelievers. The main body of the Shi’ah are beyond the bounds acceptable in Islam, but one hesitates to issue a blanket condemnation of them since unnecessary accusations of kufr are abhorrent. If we were to look for merit in them, we would say that it is love of the family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, such as ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and his wife and descendants, may Allah be pleased with them. Respect and love for the family of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is something of high importance in Islam, and is ordinarily to be found among Muslims. There are many proofs of its importance in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah, the most immediate of which is the fact that the very prayer we perform five times a day concludes with the famous dua, “O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as you blessed Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim…” However, we do not let the undoubted merit of Sayyiduna ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, blind us to the equally evident high standing of the other great Companions, which is documented in the Qur’an itself and in numerous uncontested hadith.

Now we turn to our theme of Islam and the West. Although we are not blind to the machinations of imperial and colonial powers in the past and present, we are loathe to view the West as a monolithic entity implacably opposed to Islam, particularly since we ourselves are its fruit. A careful study of European history, in my view, shows that the West has been making its way towards Islam for a very long time. In that, it has been thwarted by vested interests, such as the church and usury finance, which feel threatened by Islam. But a deep reading of our history shows that we have been moving beyond the imperial Roman heritage and the falsifications of doctrine and religion that the churches foisted on us, and the only logical place for the West to go is Islam. A proof of that is the very fact that a talk such as this is needed for the great numbers of people entering Islam here in the UK.

In that context, I would like to return to speaking to you about your position in this.

Do not in the midst of all this succumb, may Allah protect you and me, to the disappointment and disillusionment that has set in for others in similar situations, when after the initial excitement over the discovery of this great hidden treasure of Islam they found out that many Muslims and Muslim communities fail quite seriously to live up to it. They slowly drifted away from mosques dominated by their own ethnic divisions and quarrels. They rarely go right out of Islam, but the enthusiasm has gone, and at best, their Islam became a habit, a religion. That disillusionment is impossible if you see yourself as responsible, along with your brothers and sisters, for bringing about Islam in our time in these lands. You will have no time for disappointment and depression then.

We have summed up in a very cursory way some things about the different Muslim groups that exist, trying to show that each one has something of value and something true in what it adheres to. Indeed, even in their grouping together under leaders and working together to establish what they believe to be true, there is also a valuable point, for the group is an attempt to do what we should be doing which is to bring about community. Even though we habitually consider such groupings divisive, yet the truth is that forming a community and obeying leaders is closer to the way of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the Companions than living as isolated families and individuals in a secular state. That such groups ought to become communities and ought naturally to extend a welcome to all Muslims and to regard all Muslims as their brothers and sisters and to naturally come to coalesce with each other to form larger communities capable of being considered societies, we consider obvious. So it is really time for the Muslims at large to learn from these matters and to begin to come together in communities under freely chosen leaders, and to put into effect whatever of Islam we are able in our lives here and now, most importantly the fallen pillar of zakah.

But I would like again to speak to you who have become a Muslim in this society at this time. Your place is very important. It is vital that you take the middle way of Islam, and I do not mean a way of compromise, but a way of balance. It is important that you become a Muslim in Britain rather than a ‘British Muslim’, because we are tired of all adjectives qualifying Islam. It is important that you subject British life to the values of Islam rather than trying to reform Islam according to British values. In that, you should also resist the pressure on you from your brother and sister Muslims to modify Islam in the other direction, i.e. to bring Arabic and Pakistani cultural elements into your Islam. Islam will spread here when it is clear that one does not cease to be British by becoming a Muslim, for Islam is not a culture but a filter for culture, with the unique challenge in this time of filtering the anti-culture of presentism that engages modern man today. Modern culture is against culture.

In this endeavour, your maintaining good relations with your parents and family, your old friends and acquaintances, your work colleagues and fellow students, is something so important that it is hard to over-stress. How much of Islam consists of good character and behaviour, generosity, courtesy and kindness! In the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, we have a good model. As indigenous Muslims you have an access to people in these islands. It may be enough that they simply know that you are a Muslim, if your conduct is in harmony with his, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. You are actually engaged in a historic event even if history does not record your name. So you have a double responsibility: you have the responsibility of maintaining a good opinion of and showing good behaviour to all Muslims, whatever groups they belong to, and you have the responsibility of being a forerunner of the Islamic society that is sure to come in these lands.

In that there is no avoiding the need for one core element of the message of Islam, which is so obvious that, even though, along with leadership, it is one of the threads of our letter to you, it is almost never stated explicitly in the literature: community. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and his Companions were a community. That is evident in the entire hadith literature. And if we link back to what we have talked about, it is the need for community that drives people to create and belong to groups.

Needless to say, a chilly mosque in which people come and go without meeting each other and without any care for each other’s well-being does not fulfil that requirement, and is certainly not based on the model of the Illuminated Madinah which our beloved Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, established.

In the prayer we make five times a day, and the Fatihah we recite, we ask Allah to “Guide us on the straight path,” asking Him for ‘us’, with no qualification of gender, race or culture, and not only for ‘me’. It is assumed at the most fundamental level of Islam that we are in community.

The one adjective qualifying our status in Islam that we have not refused is ‘new’, for if there is anything that a new age requires it is a new Muslim. And as we have stressed the importance of community, we must also add that the new Muslim will necessarily be in new communities.

But, what is community? This is a question worth asking, for it is easy to assume that we know what it means, but this is by no means clear. This word has received a great deal of mystification.

For an answer let us turn to the meaning of the word. We first of all find that it links in its etymology to the word ‘common’, i.e. what is common to a group of people. In its most extreme form everything is held in common, to the extent that men and women hold each other in common and there is no recognisable form of marriage. This is the extreme idealistic form of communism. It is there in Plato’s Republic. At the other extreme we have virtual communities, members of Facebook. People who use the same type of computer are considered to be communities. We are in community with people on the other side of the earth whom we have never met and never will, because we share an interest in some form of music. So relatively trivial things that people have in common are considered to make them communities, even to the extent of them suffering some rare syndrome. We posit that people are communities with respect to trivial matters, because they are not allowed to be communities in what really matters, and a great deal of what really matters is those things that are to do with money, property and wealth. The great undiscovered aspect of Islam is those matters that are to do with money and property, the most significant part of which for us is the fallen pillar of zakat, which we hope that Hajj Abdalhaqq Bewley will treat later today.

Humanism treats the essential thing that we have in common to be our humanity, but since Stalin, Genghis Khan and the serial killer can all claim that, it is not a particularly useful definition.

We say, and Allah knows best, that one of the key matters we have in common is our need. This is not merely need of things but our deep need of the Creator who brought us into being and sustains us in being at each instant. That need also manifests as our need of each other and our interconnectedness. Allah said:

Mankind! you are the poor in need of Allah

whereas Allah is the Rich Beyond Need, the Praiseworthy. (Surah Fatir: 15)

Humanity divide into two with respect to this need: those who acknowledge it and those who deny it. They are two communities and have always been so throughout history.

We also realise that it links to words such as commune and communicate. Commune is still used as a noun for a unit of urban government in Europe, but as a verb it is a particularly intense and intimate version of communicate. So let us dare the thought that community, as well as being a people who hold some things in common, is something in which communication takes place. Communication, as between human beings, we characterise as uncovering what has become covered and bringing it to light. Its opposite is what we experience today: the covering over of the truth, its concealment by clever argument and dialectic.

We would not characterise our age as community, because of its reliance on high-tech data and information, and its adversarial and dialectical approach to that information, and information’s propagation by expert priest-like figures and professionals who manipulate it to nefarious ends, which is the opposite of communication.

Moreover, we would find one essential element in Islam, and in every society that has had at some point the remnants of the Islam of an ancient prophet, and we hold that every people has had such a being among them at some point, that there are two levels of communication, only one of which modern man considers real: inter-human communication. However, the other vital element that every sane culture has always been alert to is communication with the Unseen Divine; talking to Him in earnest supplication and hearing His address to us in His revealed book.

So this is an attempt to open up the idea of community: it is those who have in common their deep existential need of the Creator and of each other, and those who communicate and commune.

You have to be such individuals that if no one else is acting as if in a community, you will yourselves create it. And if you cannot do that, you need to find people with whom you can do it. I do not mean to find a community, but to find people with whom you can express your community-making needs. Community is needed for the very prayer: Muslims pray in community. Community is needed for the zakah: we need others to give our sadaqah to; it is not merely that they need our sadaqah, although they may do, but that we need them to fulfil this aspect of our din, remembering that sadaqah can encompass many aspects of human behaviour along with the merely financial. Community is needed for the mutual reminder that is so intrinsic a part of Islam. We are a people who teach and are taught. Every Muslim has some arenas in which he teaches and some in which he is taught. Community is needed for our children to be able to emerge from the family into the world. Education means originally to “lead out”, to lead the child out of the child’s world and the safe zone of the family into the life it will need to live in its turn. Outwith community, children are led out into the world by institutions, and even the counter-culture, the anti-culture is now institutionalised, although people rarely recognise it. People almost never emerge from these overt and covert institutions. The community or the institution must not, however, be substitute safe worlds for the child but community is another natural means of its coming out into the world and into its adulthood in proper time.

Islam will have arrived in these lands when our children and grandchildren have taken on Islam as a completely natural expression of their being.

A core of our community is leadership. Islam is not a democracy. Democracy is the humanist thesis, hoping that, by the sheer numbers of people participating in the democratic process, we might escape from the tyranny of autocracy. But since Islam is not an autocracy, our first attempt to define our governance as the obedience of men to one of their own is simply not good enough either. Neither is Islam a theocracy; it is not the rule of priests and scholars. Islam is a nomocracy; it is the rule of law (nomos). So it is governance by one man counselled by, limited by and even directed by the people of knowledge among whom the people who have knowledge of the revealed law are the most significant, the fuqaha.

This is unarguably the very nature of Muslim society from the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, himself, through the Caliphates of the khulafa ar-rashidun, may Allah be pleased with them, right down to our epoch before the interregnum we now experience in the caliphate.

Therefore, Islam can be said to have fully arrived in these lands when communities of Muslims born and brought up here spring up under the leadership of the best of us, guided by fuqaha from these lands, knowledgeable first of all in the law and sciences of Islam, but also in the culture and history of these lands.

May Allah make you and me worthy of these responsibilities. Amin.

Assembly House, Norwich

Saturday 11th Dhi’l-Hijjah 1428/22nd December 2007

1 Taqwa is behaviour arising from fearful awareness of Allah, i.e. avoidance of everything He and His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, have prohibited and obedience to everything they have commanded.

2 Another ringing endorsement of the importance of leadership.

3 Mahdiyyun‘ means ‘rightly guided’.

4 Rashidin‘ which I have translated as ‘who took the right way’ is often mistranslated as ‘rightly guided’ which has a passive sense, whereas it has an active meaning.



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Qadi Iyad wrote in Tartib al-Madarik: Know, may Allah grant you success, that the preponderance of the madhhab of Malik over others and the loftiness of his rank and his exalted degree by way of transmission and tradition is only denied by the obstinate or the shortsighted whom knowledge of that did not reach even though it is famously widespread in the books both of opponents and friends. Here we will affirm that in two proofs, the first of which is the well known sahih tradition transmitted about that from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, by way of hadith from trustworthy narrators, of them Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah from Ibn Jurayj from Abu az-Zubayr from Abu Salih from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “It is probable that people will strike the livers of camels seeking knowledge,” and in a narration, “yaltamisuna (seek) knowledge, but they will not find a knowledgeable man more knowledgeable,” and in a narration, “than the knowledgeable man of Madinah,” and in some of them, “the armpits of camels,” which is the place of the camels’s livers. People other than Sufyan have narrated it from Ibn Jurayj with the same hadith as that of Sufyan, among them al-Muharibi who transmitted it as a mawquf statement of Abu Hurayrah in its isnad Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari who is a trusted and trustworthy narrator. And this route is the most famous of its routes, and the narrators of this route are famous trustworthy narrators from all of whom al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated as did the people of the sahih hadith. Al-Maqburi also narrated it from Abu Hurayrah with another wording which Qadi Abu al-Bukhtari Wahb ibn Muntabih narrated from ‘Abd al-A’la ibn ‘Abdullah from al-Maqburi from Abu Hurayrah from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who said, “The Hour will not come about until people strike the livers of camels from every region to [go to] the knowledgeable man of Madinah seeking his knowledge,” except that Abu al-Bukhtari is weak in their view. And an-Nasa’i also narrated it and published it in his Musannaf from ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Kathir from Sufyan from Abu az-Zinad from Abu Salih from Abu Hurayrah who said: The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “You will strike the livers of camels and you will seek knowledge and you will not find a knowledgeable man more knowledgeable than the knowledgeable man of Madinah.”An-Nasa’i said, “This is mistaken, and the correct position is that it is from Abu az-Zubayr from Abu Salih.” And Abu Musa al-Ash’ari also narrated it from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in another wording which Ma’n ibn ‘Isa narrated from Abu al-Mundhir at-Tamimi Zuhayr who said: The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “People will go out from the east and the west seeking knowledge and they will not find a knowledgable man more knowledgeable than the knowledgeable man of Madinah.” Ibn Habib mentioned a hadith with its isnad from Abu Salih from Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah who said: The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The world will not come to an end until there will be a knowledgeable man in Madinah for whose sake the camels’s livers will be beaten, more knowledgeable than whom there will not be on the surface of the world.”Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah said in transmissions narrated in more than one route, “We think that what is meant by this hadith is Malik ibn Anas,” and in a narration, “It is Malik ibn Anas,” with the same being narrated of Ibn Jurayj and ‘Abd ar-Razzaq and it is narrated of Sufyan that he said, “I used to say that it was Ibn al-Musyyab until I said: At the time of Ibn al-Musayyab there were Sulayman and Salim and others; but today I have come to say that it is Malik.”And that is because he lived until he had no compeers in Madinah, and this is the sound transmission from Sufyan which trustworthy narrators and Imams narrated from him: Ibn Mahdi, Yahya ibn Ma’in, ‘Ali ibn al-Madini, az-Zubayr ibn Bakkar, Ishaq ibn Abi Isra’il, Dhuwayb ibn Ghamamah and others (all of them) had heard Sufyan saying in explanation of the hadith when he narrated it to them, “It is Malik,” or, “I think it or reckon it or see it to be,” or “they used to think it to be,” about which Ibn Mahdi said, “Sufyan meant by saying, ‘They used to think it to be,’ the Followers.” Qadi Abu ‘Abdullah at-Tustari said, “It is transmitted from others of his peers or from those who were above him, and that his degree in people’s estimation was this degree because of what they witnessed of his condition which resembled what is informed about him in this hadith.” He said, “And these hadith have come in two wordings: first, ‘They will not find a knowledgeable man more knowledgeable than the knowledgeable man of Madinah; and the other, ‘Than a knowledgeable man in Madinah,’ and both of them have sound meanings.”As for his words, ‘than a knowledgeable man in Madinah,’ he indicated a specific man who would be in it and not somewhere else, and we know of no one to whom the knowledge of Madinah reached who resided in it without leaving it or residing elsewhere at the time of Malik about whom there is consensus except for Malik. Nor did any of its ‘ulama’ deliver fatwa in Madinah and narrate hadith for sixty or more years with the people of the east and the west taking from and striking the livers of camels to get to him other than him.As for the narration, “The knowledgeable man of Madinah,” or “of the people of Madinah,” Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Makhzumi Abu al-Mughirah narrated that the interpretation of that is that as long as the Muslims seek knowledge they will not find anyone more knowledgeable than the knowledgeable man of Madinah whether he is there or elsewhere.So on that basis it would Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab because he in his own time was the ultimate, and then after him the others who were like him among the Shaykhs of Malik, and then after them Malik, and then after him those who undertook his knowledge and became the most knowledgeable of his companions about his madhhab. Then in the same manner as long as there is a seeker of knowledge and the People of Madinah have an imam.It is thus interpretable on this basis to say that it was Ibn Shihab in his time and al-’Umari in his time and Malik in his time. Then if the two wordings are united, Malik is singled out by his words, “than a knowledgeable man in Madinah,” and he is comprised among the total number of knowledgeable people of Madinah in the other wording. Some of the Malikis said: If you consider the great number of those who narrated from Malik of the ‘ulama’ of those who preceded him and were contemporary with him or came later than him, according to the different generations and regions, and the great number of journeys that were made to him, and the reliance that was placed upon him in his own time, it shows without doubt that he was the one intended by the hadith. Since we have not found any other ‘ulama’ of Madinah of those who preceded him or came after him who narrated and who took knowledge except for a few of those we found, and more than have gathered together those who narrated from him and one of them reached in naming those who were known to have narrated from him, apart from those not known, to one thousand narrators, and he gathered of them more than 1,300. The great number of those who went to him shows the fact that he was the most knowledgeable of the people of his time, which is the state and the description about which he, may Allah be merciful to him, gave notice, the right-acting first generations not doubting that he was the one intended by the hadith, and this tradition is counted as one of his miracles and one of his ayat, may Allah be merciful to him, among those things about which he informed of those things that were to be which came about just as he informed us about, may Allah be merciful to him.

(Courtesy of Abdassamad Clarke)

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Khawf and Raja – Fear and Hope, Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi from his At-Tashil li ‘ulum at-tanzil

Call on Him fearfully and eagerly. Allah’s mercy is close to the good-doers. (Surat al-A’raf: 56)

Allah united fear and eagerness so that the slave would be fearful-hopeful, as Allah, exalted is He, said:

“and hoping for His mercy and fearing his punishment” (Surat al-Isra’: 57)

For what necessitates fear is recognition of the seizing of Allah and the severity of His punishment, and what necessitates hope is recognition of the mercy of Allah and the vastness of His reward

He, exalted is He, said:

Tell My slaves that I am the All-Forgiving, the Most Merciful,
but also that My punishment is the Painful Punishment. (Al-Hijr: 49-50)

Whoever recognises the bounty of Allah hopes for Him, and whoever fears His punishment fears Him, and in that sense a hadith has been narrated. If the fear and hope of the mu’min were to be weighed they would be equal except that it is recommended that the slave should be throughout his life dominated by fear so that it will lead him to do acts of obedience and abandon bad deeds, but that he should be dominated by hope at the moment of death, because of his words, may Allah bless him and grant him peace:

“Let none of you die but with a good opinion of Allah, exalted is He.”

Know that fear has three degrees:

  • First, that it is weak, it occurs to the heart but does not have any effect on the inward nor in the outward, and so the existence of this is as if it did not exist.
  • Second, that it is strong so that it awakens the slave from his neglectfulness and carries him to become upright.
  • Third, that it is so strong as to amount to despair and losing hope, and this is not permissible. The best of affairs is the middlemost of them.

And people have three stations with respect to fear:

  • So the fear of the generality is of wrong actions.
  • The fear of the elite is of the seal [of destiny]
  • And the fear of the elite of the elite is of the foreordained decree because the seal of destiny is based on it.

There are three degrees of hope:

  • The first is hope of the mercy of Allah along with doing those things which would be a cause of it such as doing acts of obedience and giving up disobedience. And this is the praiseworthy hope.
  • The second is hope accompanying going beyond the limits and acts of disobedience, and this is self-deception.
  • And the third is that a person’s hope becomes so strong as to amount to a sense of security, and this is haram.

People have three stations with respect to hope:

  • The station of the generality is hope for the reward of Allah.
  • The station of the elite is hope for the good pleasure of Allah.
  • The station of the elite of the elite is hope for the meeting with Allah out of love for Him and longing for Him.
(Courtesy of

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Bad Attitudes – Don’t Give in to Them

You might be beset with times of weakness, and this might make you feel that you are a weak person. You imagine that your strength and abilities have left you for good. You don’t feel you have the strength to make any worthwhile effort, so even patience and persistence seem to be fruitless.

Do not give in to such feelings. We all go through such times. Our abilities wax and wane. If we resist letting such feelings defeat us, we will soon see our strength restored.

Disappointment is another feeling we should remain vigilant against. If we are not careful, it can shatter our self-confidence and make us feel that we are hopeless. Do not give in to this. We need to know that failure is not shameful as long as we gave it our utmost best and were sincere.

No person can be counted a failure unless he accepts defeat and gives up trying. Therefore, we must keep trying. With persistence, we can – with Allah’s grace – reach our goals.

At other times, you might be afflicted with feelings of pride. You might be very much impressed with yourself or with your achievements. You get all puffed up with yourself and begin to feel that you are uniquely gifted and praiseworthy. You feel you don’t need anyone else’s advice or guidance.

If you find yourself in this frame of mind, beware. Don’t give in to these feelings. Don’t let yourself get enamored of your own cleverness. Don’t become impressed with just how much you know.

The remedy here is to contemplate on your deficiencies. Think about the areas where you are lacking. Think about where you are weak. In this way, you can give a counterweight to your achievements and restore yourself to a balanced frame of mind.

Then there are times when you have so many worries that they weigh you down. Problems just seem to come from all directions. You might begin to imagine that this is what your life is about – one long list of problems. Pessimism tales over and you see your future as dark indeed with no light up ahead.

Do not give in to such pessimism. Never look at the bad without thinking about the good that lies ahead. Never mistake your present problems for being your lot in life.

Allah says: “So, verily, with every difficulty, there comes ease: Verily, with every difficulty there comes ease.” [Sûrah al-Inshirâh: 5-6]

You do your utmost to ascertain what is correct. You try so hard to always do what is right. You do everything in your power to avoid making a mistake towards another person. Nevertheless, you still slip and fall into error – over and over again.

Don’t let this make you to think that you should give up aspiring to excellence. Who is it that never sins?

When a person slips and slips again, Satan tries to put in that person’s heart the idea that he is a bad person – that he is far away from all that is good.

Satan wants to make you think that you are a hopeless case – predestined for damnation. He wants you to give up trying to be good.

Never give in to such thought. Remember what the Prophet (peace be upon him) told us: “Every one of Adam’s children is a sinner – and the best of sinners are those who repent.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2423) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (4241)]

Allah says: “Those who fear Allah, when a thought of evil from Satan assaults them, bring Allah to remembrance, when lo! they see aright!” [Sûrah al-A`râf: 201]

In this way, we will be able to ward off the gloom of hopelessness and despair.

Don’t give in.

(Courtesy of

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Ya Ilahal Kawni


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The topic of envy is a very important one. It is a serious problem that all of us need to cope with. Envy spreads through society like a frightful illness and it is an illness that demands treatment.

Envy is indeed a serious, sometimes fatal illness. It is an ignoble character trait that tears rifts between people, communities, and even nations. A community that is blackened by this loathsome quality is one wherein cooperation and love become virtually unknown. Enmity, hatred, and violence become the order of the day.

Envy occurs when we see some blessing in the hands of another and desire for that blessing to be lost to that person. Muslim scholars have defined this feeling in many ways, but all of their definitions contain this essential meaning – to wish for someone to lose something good that he or she has been blessed with.

Al-Nawawî describes envy in the following way: “Envy is to desire for someone who enjoys a blessing to become bereft of it, regardless of whether that blessing is of a religious or worldly nature.”

Al-Ghazâlî writes: “As far as envy is concerned, Islamic scholars define it as the hatred of a blessing and the love that the one so blessed by it will become bereft of it.”

Ibn al-Jawzî says: “Envy is to hope that the one being envied becomes bereft of a blessing that he enjoys without the envier necessarily acquiring a similar blessing for himself.”

Envy is something quite prevalent in the world. This is why the Qur’ân speaks about it often. Allah says: “Do they envy the people on account of what Allah has given them of His grace?” [ Sûrah al-Nisâ’ : 54]

Allah instructs us to seek refuge from “…the evil of the envier when he envies.” [ Sûrah al-Falaq : 5]

In the Qur’ân, we also have: “They shall say: Nay! You envy us.” [ Sûrah al-Fath : 15]

We must also not forget the famous story of Joseph (peace be upon him) and his brothers who envied his father’s love for him so much that they cast him into a well.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned against the ill consequences of envy upon the envier, saying: “Beware of envy, for indeed envy consumes one’s good deeds like fire consumes wood.” [ Sunan Abî Dâwûd (4903)]

He said: “The afflictions of the nations before you shall beset you: envy and rancor.” [ Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2510)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned so sternly against envy because of how dangerous and ruinous it is. It can bring us to destruction in both our worldly and spiritual lives.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Do not revile nor envy one another. Do not turn away from one another and do not sever ties. Be devotees of Allah and brothers to one another. It is not permissible for a Muslims to shun his brother for more than three days.” [ Sahîh al-Bukhârî (6065) and Sahîh Muslim (2559)]

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) also said: “In the worshipper’s heart, faith and envy cannot dwell together.” [ Sunan al-Nasâ’î (3109)]

Envy is indeed a great and deadly evil. When it strikes, it inevitably leaves destruction in its wake. Therefore, it is imperative that we understand the causes of envy, so that we can take preventative action. Though the causes of envy are numerous, they can be summarized as follows:

1. Weakness of faith and discontent with Allah’s providence. The heart of a person who is discontented is perpetually being rent apart and set ablaze. All it takes is for him to see someone else enjoying some blessing that he sees himself as deprived of. Such a person is unaware that it is indeed Allah who has apportioned His provisions for us all.

Being pleased and content with Allah’s decree of His provisions is the way to bring rest to the soul and tranquility to the heart.

2. Ignorance of the evil consequences of envy. An envious person is rarely able to appreciate what his envy will lead to; its negative repercussions upon his faith, his life, and the community in which he lives.

With respect to his faith, an envious person is angry and annoyed with Allah’s decree. He perceives his Lord as being unjust – glory be to Allah above what the envious ascribe to Him – since he is displeased that Allah bestowed upon another a blessing that He did not grant to him. This is a serious matter indeed.

With respect to his life, an envious person is eternally preoccupied with what Allah has given to others. He lives in a state of grief and depression as he looks upon the happiness that others enjoy while he is so deprived. His whole personality takes on a darker hue. Life becomes a burden to him. Contentment alludes him in everything and all that follows after his discontent is regret.

He becomes distanced from his community, as everyone, young and old, finds his company unpleasant. His own relatives often dislike him more than strangers, and he feels alienated at all times. His standing in society suffers, as does his professional life. He becomes an unproductive member of society.

3. Hatred, enmity, and rancor. These are some of the most serious reasons for envy. A person who harbors such ill feelings towards others automatically begins to feel envy towards them for whatever good they possess. In such a state, his hatred and envy can instigate him to inflict harm or injury upon them.

4. Astonishment. Allah tells us in the Qur’ân how the nations of the past spurned the Prophets who had been sent to them. They decried: “You are nothing but a man like ourselves!” [ Sûrah YâSîn : 15] “Should we believe in two men like ourselves!” [ Sûrah al-Mu’minûn : 47] Their astonishment that people like themselves could be elevated to the rank of Prophets led them to envy and as a consequence to disbelief.

5. Pride. The envy that the unbelievers felt for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stemmed from pride. “And they say: ‘Why is not this Qur’ân sent down to some leading man in either of the two (chief) cities?’” [ Sûrah al-Zukhruf : 31]

Abû Jahl gave his reason for disbelieving in the Prophet (peace be upon him) as follows: “We vie with the tribe of Bânû Manâf in nobility. They feed the people so we feed them people. They assume responsibilities so we assume them. They give so we give. So when we are neck in neck in the race, they declare: ‘We have a Prophet who receives revelation from Heaven.’ When will we be able to match that? By Allah! We shall never believe in him nor shall we ever believe what he says.”

We can see how the envy that filled Abû Jahl’s heart caused him to disbelieve. He could not bear to see how Allah was blessing the Prophet (peace be upon him) and honoring him with prophecy and with His Message.

6. Meanness of spirit. Some people simply loathe it when good befalls others. They take glee, rather, in hearing about their suffering and their misfortunes. Allah speaks about such people, saying: “If aught that is good befalls you, it grieves them; but if some misfortune overtakes you, they rejoice at it.” [ Sûrah Âl `Imrân : 120]

7. Rivalry. When people have similar ambitions, they can fear losing out to those others who share their ambitions. Al-Ghazâlî writes: “This applies only to people in competition with one another. As a consequence, each of them envies his rivals for whatever they achieve that brings them closer to their goals. This includes the envy suffered by co-wives with respect to their relationship with their husband. It also includes the envy that was felt by Joseph’s brothers for his success in engendering their father’s love. As Allah relates to us: ‘They said: Truly Joseph and his brother are loved more by our father than we.’ [ Sûrah Yûsuf : 8]”

Armed with the knowledge of what causes envy, we should do our utmost to avoid falling into it. We should work to remove these negative factors from our lives and block any path that might take us down the road to destruction.

The Sunnah recommends to us some things to do that will help us in this endeavor.

If we see something we covet and feel our envious gaze falling upon the blessings of another, we should make it our habit to say “ Mâ shâ’ Allah; lâ quwwata illâ bil-lâh .” meaning: It is what Allah has decreed; there is no power besides that which is Allah’s.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever sees something that he likes and then says: ‘ Mâ shâ’ Allah; lâ quwwata illâ bil-lâh ‘, will bring no harm to it.”

We should also pray to Allah to bless that person. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever among you sees with his brother something that pleases him should supplicate to Allah to bless him in it.” [ Musnad Ahmad (15550) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (3509)]

Putting this advice into practice will protect our hearts from envy and protect our brothers and sisters in faith from the harm that our envy might visit upon them.

There are also ways that are established in the Sunnah for us to beseech Allah’s protection from the harm of those who envy us.

We should read from the Qur’ân Sûrah al-Fâtihah and Âyah al-Kursî . The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If a worshipper reads the opening of the Book ( Sûrah al-Fâtihah ) and Âyah al-Kursî in his home, he will not be afflicted that day by the gaze of man or jinn.” [ al-Daylamî ]

We should also read the last two chapters of the Qur’ân: Sûrah al-Falaq and Sûrah al-Nâs to protect us from the evil of those who envy us.

(Courtesy of

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