Monthly Archives: March 2008

The Muslims Personality and Balance: al’Iz al-Din Abdu al-Salam on Surah al-Fatiha

The Sultan of the ‘Ulem al’Iz al-Din ‘Abdu al-Salam wrote:

“The way to Allah is made up of the apparent and the inner. Its apparent path is Shari’ah and its actualization is the inner. Two words bring both the apparent and the inner together: “It is You alone we worship and it is You alone we beseech for assistance.” “It is you Alone we worship” is the Shar’iah and “It is You alone we beseech for help” is the inner.”

From Miftah al-Kunuz

 

[Imam Suhaib Webb

 

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The Romans and The Chinese in Decorating

Once some Chinese told a King: “We are very well known for our ability to decorate and adorn buildings”. Then some Romans said: “We are able to produce more splendid decorations and adornments.” Thereupon the King said: “All right, we shall test your abilities to see who is best”.

“The Romans and the Chinese came before the King, while the Romans were noted for being more knowledgeable.”

Then the Chinese told the King: “Give us a house so that we may decorate it. Let the house be hidden behind a curtain so that these Romans cannot copy or imitate our decorations.” According to these conditions they started decorating the house in their own excellent manner.

Then the Romans said: “We shall prepare a decorated house our own, just opposite the spot where the Chinese shall work, so that you may easily ascertain by comparing the two houses, as to whose work is better.”

The Romans also started working behind a curtain in a secret way, they did not make any decorated paintings. They merely started cleaning and polishing the wall of the house until in the end the wall of the house started shining like a mirror.

Then came the time of the test. The curtains were removed and the result was that the beautiful paintings and pictures in the house of the Chinese became reflected on the wall of the Romans so that their art appeared more beautiful. The King came along.

“He saw the decorations made by the Chinese. So beautiful were they that they drove the mind away. Thereafter the King inspected the Romans’ decorations. And was astonished at what he saw. Whatever the King saw on the other side, here appeared more beautiful. So that through the efforts of decorating, the eyes were popping out of their sockets.”

Maulana Rumi compared the work of the Romans to that done by the Saintly ones because these Saintly ones place great emphasis upon cleaning the heart and through the blessings of that, without studying books and revision, they become decorated with beautiful character.

“However, the Saintly ones cleanse and polish their hearts profusely, whereby greed, stinginess and enmity is removed from it.

One Saint says: “Our law is to keep the heart like a mirror, clean and free of dust. And our way is this, that to retain therein, is a major crime.”

(Ma’aarif – e – Mathanwi, Maulana Hakeem Akhtar)

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Praying against oneself?

Muslim (3014) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not pray against yourselves, do not pray against your children, do not pray against your wealth, lest that coincide with a time when Allaah is asked and He answers your prayer.”

And Muslim (920) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not pray against yourselves, except for good things, for the angels say Ameen to whatever you say.”

And Muslim (6288) narrated from Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) visited a Muslim man who had grown weak like a chicken. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him: “Did you pray for anything or ask Him for anything?” He said: Yes, I used to say: O Allaah, whatever punishment You are going to give me in the Hereafter, give it to me in this world. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Subhaan Allaah! You cannot bear it. Why didn’t you say: O Allaah, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and protect us from the torment of the Fire?” Then he prayed to Allaah for him, and He healed him.

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Compassion and Mercy of the Prophet Muhammad

Qadi Iyyad

Excerpted from Ash-Shifaa

© Madinah Press 1991

Translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley

As for compassion, tenderness and mercy to all creation, Allah said about him: “Grievous to him is what you suffer, anxious for you, compassionate is he, merciful to the believers.” (10:128) Allah says: “We only sent you as a mercy to all the worlds.” (21:107)

Part of his excellence is that Allah gave him two of His names, saying: “merciful, compassionate to the believers.”

Ibn Shihab said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went on a raid [and he mentioned Hunayn]. The Messenger of Allah gave Safwan ibn Umayya a hundred camels, then a hundred, then a hundred.” Ibn Shihab said, “Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab related that Safwan said, ‘By Allah, he gave me what he gave me. He was the most hated of people to me and he continued to give to me until he was the most beloved of people to me.’

It is related that a bedouin came asking for something from him. He gave the man something and said, “Have I been good to you?” The bedouin said, “No, you have not and you have not done well.” The Muslims became angry and went for him. The Prophet indicated that they should hold off. Then the Prophet got up and went into his house. Then the Prophet sent for him and added something to his gift and said, “Have I been good to you?” The bedouin replied, “Yes, may Allah repay you well in family and tribe.” The Prophet said, “You said what you said and that angered my Companions. If you like, say what you said in my presence in their presence so as to remove what they harbour in their breasts against you.” He said, “Yes.” He came back later and the Prophet said, “This bedouin said what he said and then we gave him more. He claims that he is content. Isn’t that so?” He said, “Yes, may Allah repay you well in your family and tribe.” The Prophet said, “The example of this man and me is like a man who has a she-camel who bolts from him. People chase it and they only make it shy away more. The owner calls to them to stay clear of him and his she-camel, saying, ‘I am more compassionate and better to it than you.’ He goes in front of it and takes some clods of dirt and drives it back until it comes and kneels. He saddles and mounts it. If I had given you your heads when the man said what he said, you would have killed him and he would have entered the Fire.”(Al-Bazzar from Abu Hurayra)

It is related that the Prophet said, “None of you should come to me with anything about any of my Companions for I do not want to go out to you except with a clear heart.” (Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi from Ibn Mas’ud)

Part of his compassion towards his community was that he made things easy for them. He disliked doing certain things out of the fear that they would become obligatory for them. He said, “If I had not been compassionate to my community, I would have commanded them to use the siwak every time they did wudu’.” (Muslim and al-Bukhari.)

There is also the tradition about the night prayer and the one forbidding them to fast continuously and the one about his dislike of entering the Ka’ba lest it became incumbent on his community and his desire that his Lord should make his curse against them a mercy to them. When he heard a child weeping, he would shorten the prayer.

An instance of his compassion was that he called on his Lord and made a compact with Him saying, “If ever I curse a man or make an invocation against him, make it zakat for him and mercy, prayer, purification and an act of drawing-near by which he will draw near to you on the Day of Rising.” (Muslim and al-Bukhari and Abu Hurayra)

When his people rejected him, Jibril came to him and said, “Allah has heard what your people say to you and how they reject you. He has ordered the angels of the mountains to obey whatever you tell them to do.” The angel of the mountains called him, greeted him and said, “Send me to do what you wish. If you wish, I will crush them between the two mountains of Makka.” The Prophet said, “Rather, I hope that Allah will bring forth from their loins those who will worship Allah alone and not associate anything with Him.” (Muslim and al-Bukhari and the Six Books)

Ibn al-Munkadir related that Jibril told the Prophet, “Allah has ordered heaven, earth and mountains to obey you.” He said, “Reprieve my community. Perhaps Allah will turn to them.” (Mursal hadith)

‘A’isha said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was never given a choice between two things but that he chose the easier of the two.”

Ibn Mas’ud said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was careful when he admonished us, fearing he would tire us.” (Muslim and al-Bukhari)

‘A’isha was riding an unruly camel which was recalcitrant and started to hit it repeatedly, The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “You must have compassion.” (Al-Bayhaqi)

Source: Islaam.com

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Fiqh – Proper Understanding

The ability to reason and to understand is one of the greatest blessings that Allah has bestowed upon the human being. When a person has proper understanding and couples it with a correct and noble purpose, that person is sure to find guidance and to walk upon the straight path. This is why we beseech Allah in all of our prayers with: “Guide us to the straight path.”

Understanding is by the grace of Allah. It is a light by which we discern what is correct from what is corrupt and what is true from what is false. People are not all equal in their ability to understand. Everyone is unique. If all were equal in understanding, then we would find all scholars and experts in perpetual agreement. No one would ever be praised or admired for his or her insights or erudition.

We can consider the story of David and Solomon (peace be upon them). The Prophet (peace be upon him) related it as follows [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (3427) and Sahîh Muslim (1720)]:

Two women went out with their children. One of them was attacked by a wolf who took her child away. The women then started to argue over the remaining child and appealed their case to David (peace be upon him). He ruled in favor of the elder of the two women.

Then they went to Solomon. He asked: “How did he command you?” The women told him. He then said: “Bring me a knife. I will divide the child between you.”

The younger woman asked: “Will you cut him in half?” He replied in the affirmative. She said: “Do not do it! Give my share to her.”

Solomon then said: “He is your son.” And awarded the child to her.

Allah says in the Qur’ân about another case where two men disputed: “And David and Solomon, when they gave judgment concerning the field, when people’s sheep had strayed and browsed therein by night; and We were witnesses to their judgment. And We made Solomon to understand (the case); and unto each of them We gave judgment and knowledge.” [Sûrah al-Anbiya’: 78-79]

We first notice that Allah says: “We made Solomon to understand (the case)”. Here Allah is showing us that he alone had understanding of this matter.

Allah then praises both David and Solomon on account of their knowledge and wisdom when He says: “and unto each of them We gave judgment and knowledge.” David had also been well-known for his precise thinking and his keen mind.

Understanding of something is to know it as it truly is. In Arabic, the word for this is fahm. There is another word in Arabic for understanding, more precise in its meaning. This word is fiqh. This is the word that is used in Islamic terminology for “Islamic Law”

Fiqh linguistically is a special understanding that comprises understanding the mind as well as in the heart and through one’s actions. This word – fiqh – appears in the Qur’ân roughly twenty times. If we consider how this word is employed, we see that it is not used to refer merely to understanding some meaning. Following the meaning of an instruction blindly might indicate that the instruction was understood, but it does not indicate that acute understanding referred to in Arabic as fiqh. This requires a person to sense the matter in its entirely and grasp all of its implications.

Allah says: “Wherever you are, death will overtake you, though you are in lofty towers, and if a benefit comes to them, they say: This is from Allah; and if a misfortune befalls them, they say: This is from you (O Muhammad). Say: All is from Allah, but what is the matter with these people that they do not make approach to understanding what is told (to them)?” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 78]

Allah says: “They said: O Shu`ayb! We do not understand much of what you say and most surely we see you to be weak among us, and were it not for your family we would surely stone you, and you are not mighty against us.” [Surah Hûd: 91]

Allah says: “And who is more unjust than one who is reminded of the communications of his Lord, then turns away from them and forgets what his two hands have sent before? Surely We have placed veils over their hearts lest they should understand it and a heaviness in their ears; and if you call them to the guidance, even then they will never follow the right course.” [Sûrah al-Kahf: 57]

In each of these cases, the people in question understood the meaning of the words that they had been told. They might even have committed those words to memory. Nevertheless, their hearts were unaffected and they could not accept the implications of what those words meant.

This understanding that is fiqh is something that must be actively developed. It is partly instinctive and partly acquired. A person who possesses this aptitude to a high degree is someone who has a natural gift of understanding and then develops it through knowledge and concerted effort.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The best of you in the times of ignorance are the best of you after accepting Islam, if they acquire understanding.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (3494) and Sahîh Muslim (2526)]

Perhaps what the Prophet (peace be upon him) meant is that a strong natural aptitude combined with proper Islamic guidance is the ideal, and those who whom Allah blesses to possess both are the best pf people.

Islamic Law – which is referred to as the science of Fiqh – has understanding as its ultimate objective. There are two aspects to the understanding that the field of Islamic Law requires from the scholar:

1. Understanding of the circumstances. The situation under consideration must be understood from all angles. All factors need to be accounted for, including those that vary according to time, place, and circumstance. This is what is needed to derive accurate knowledge of the situation in its proper context, so that everything about it can be explained in a rational manner.

2. Understanding of how to respond to the circumstances. We need to know what is required of us regarding situation under consideration. How we must act in this situation? What is Allah’s ruling that is taken from His Book and from the words of His Messenger (peace be upon him)? In other words: How is the Qur’ân and Sunnah to be applied to the situation?

This process is known as the exercise of juristic discretion – ijtihâd – where a scholar expends his best effort to arrive at Allah’s ruling for a given matter. It is an effort which brings either a single reward or a double reward.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) recognized this uncertainty. He said: “If a jurist engages in ijtihâd and is correct, he will have a double reward. If he engages ijtihâd and is incorrect, he will have a single reward.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (7352) and Sahîh Muslim (1716)]

This activity is precisely what the Caliph `Umar b. al-Khattâb meant when he wrote to Abû Mûsâ al-Ash`ârî the following famous instructions, the historicity of which the Muslims have widely accepted:

“Then understanding is the understanding that you come by in what is not (expressly stated) in the Qur’ân and Sunnah. Then compare these matters by analogy when they occur. Know that which is similar and what shares a resemblance. Then seek to find that which is most beloved to Allah in your opinion and nearest to the truth.”

We see the same activity being articulated in the Qur’an when Joseph (peace be upon him) was falsely accused of wrongdoing: “(Joseph) said: She it was who asked of me an evil act. And a witness of her own folk testified: If his shirt is torn from the front, then she speaks the truth and he is of the liars. But if his shirt is torn from behind, then she has lied and he is of the truthful.” [Sûrah Yûsuf: 26-27]

It is the same effort we saw being exerted by Solomon (peace be upon him) to arrive at the identity of the child’s true mother.

Source: Islamtoday

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May Allah’s Peace & Blessings Be Upon Him

There is no one whose memory is better preserved in writing than the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Volumes have been written about his life. Numerous poems have been written in his praise. Countless gatherings throughout the ages have been devoted to the retelling of his life and his deeds.

In his life, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) knew the utmost strength and the most debilitating weakness, he knew the limits of happiness and grief. Yet, under all circumstances, he remained the best role-model. He was always constant in his devotion to his Lord.

For thirteen years, he held out in Mecca with almost no one heeding his call. He never complained. He never became disgruntled. His few followers would come to him complaining, asking him to beseech his Lord to help them. He swore to them that Allah would help His religion and told them that they were wrong for being impatient. And in the end, Allah fulfilled His promise, and it was a sign of Muhammad’s prophethood. It was a victory for Allah’s word, and not a personal triumph for any human being.

We can see this success in how the delegations from all the tribes of Arabia converged on him to give him their pledge of allegiance as Muslims. Even then, at his moment of triumph, his temperament did not change. He showed not an ounce of pride. He never came to his own defense when anyone assailed him or abused him or haughtily scoffed at the faith.

This is how enmity faded away, hatred came to an end, and everyone became reconciled once again. His enemies knew even before his friends that he was truly a prophet, and that he had no ulterior motives or personal ambitions. They were astonished by his easygoing nature, how he avoided making things difficult, and how he kept himself composed and balanced under all circumstances no matter what the difficulties were.

Most people, by nature, show their best at certain times. At other times or in other circumstances, they are unremarkable. They might be very good examples for some people, but not for everyone.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was different. He had time for everyone. He know how to speak to all people on their own level so they could understand him. He would be most kind and considerate to everyone, and was equally compassionate, as long as those people were not armed assailants coming to attack the faith.

He voiced no objection to any lawful food, no matter how plain. He would not disdain the humblest of seats. Everyone could sit in his company. He never turned anyone away nor criticized anything that was served to him. Nor would he pretentiously forbid himself a delicacy. He liked nice things, but did not demand them or seek after them.

His life story is an open book to everyone – to those who love him and those who would disparage him. His every feature is described to us, his manner of speaking, and even the way he gestured with his hands. His eating habits, sleeping habits, traveling habits, likes and dislikes are all duly recorded. His family life is described to us, the kinds of jokes he would tell, and how he behaved when he was serious.

Anyone who studies his biography today – 1400 years after his time – will know more about him than they know about the people they follow today who are living among them.

Anyone who reads his biography today will know more about him than most people know about their spouses or their closest of friends. The prophets of the past were less well known to their people during their lifetimes than Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is known to us today. The reason for this is that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is meant to be an example for all people in all aspects of their lives.

The head of state, the business executive, the scholar, the spouse, the parent, the educator, the rich, the poor… they all find in the Prophet (peace be upon him) a complete example to guide them in all the affairs of their lives. All of us, without exception, can take him as our role model regardless of what challenges we might face.

When we read about the lives of other great people, we can find they made some remarkable achievements and had some admirable traits. We find pious people who were steadfast in their worship, scholars who were devoted to the pursuit of knowledge, ascetics who eschewed the world – people whose lives seem too difficult or remote to be practical examples for us. When we read about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), we feel his life to be close to ours, someone we can easily emulate, someone whose impeccable virtues we can indeed inculcate into our own lives.

He taught his Companions: “This religion is easy. No one becomes harsh and strict in the religion without it overwhelming him. So fulfill your duties as best you can, and rejoice. Rely upon the efforts of the morning and the evening and a little at night and you will reach your goal.” [Sahîh al-Bukharî (6463) and Sahîh Muslim (2816)]

Those who wish to follow the path of guidance are best advised to study the Prophet’s life carefully, learn its lessons and adopt them in full.

Allah has given this unique and honored status to no one else. This is because Allah gathered within the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the guidance of all the previous prophets whom He commanded humanity to follow. Allah says about the earlier Prophets ” Those were the (prophets) who received Allah’s guidance: so follow the guidance they received.” [Sûrah al-An`âm: 90]

Then Allah says specifically about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day, and who engages much in the praise of Allah.” [Sûrah al-Ahzâb: 21]

Many Muslims manage to emulate the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the outward aspects of worship and follow him, for instance, in their manner of performing their prayers and in observing their pilgrimage rites. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Pray as you have seen me praying.” He also said: “Take from me your pilgrimage rites.”

They also emulate the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the etiquettes of entering and leaving a building and in the etiquettes of dress, and other similar matters.

This is part of what it means to follow the Prophet’s example, but it is certainly not all that it means, nor is it more important than other aspects of emulating the Prophet’s example. We must emulate our Prophet’s example in how we relate to our Lord – in our sincerity and devotion to Allah. We need to do so in how we judge ourselves and appraise our actions, and in how we love Allah, pin our hopes on Allah, and fear Allah. These matters are more worthy of our concern, though we may be less conscious about them because they are inconspicuous. People are naturally encouraged to vie in things which are visible, things which solicit the praise and esteem of others. This is unfortunately not the case for matters that are seen by Allah alone.

This is why sometimes a person will take so much care in emulating the Prophet’s conduct in an outward aspect of worship or an outward habitual act and exaggerate the matter so much that he actually deviates from what is enjoined upon him by Islam. At the same time, he neglects to contemplate on the wisdom behind that outward action or what effect it is supposed to have upon his character.

All of these matters – even those related to aspects of pure worship – are enjoined upon us for some benefit in this world or in the next. They are not merely an end in themselves, but rather a means to bring about an effect upon the person who puts them into practice – a positive effect that can be seen by that person and by others.

May Allah bless us to love our Prophet and follow his example in both outward and inward matters. May Allah gather us together with him along with the prophets, the righteous, and the foremost in faith. Indeed they are the best of company.

Source: Islamtoday

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Imam Malik: His knowledge and Fiqh

He had a great eagerness for seeking knowledge, and in the beginning, when he did not have enough money for his needs, he dismantled the roof of his house and sold the wood. Then his finances improved. [5]

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[5] Qadi ‘Iyad, Tartib al-madarik, 1:127

(The Garden of the Hadith Scholars, Imam ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ad-Dihlawi)

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