Monthly Archives: July 2008

“There is Taqwa and There is Fatwa”

Sometimes Taqwa and sometimes Fatwa ?

A person may, of his own accord, opt to eschew any work that is in the least bit questionable, to make certain that all of his income is lawful and that nothing is tainted with any unlawful enterprise. He may do so to make sure that he does not in any way whatsoever contributes to encouraging another person in sin. He may simply wish to be free to speak out against sinful behavior and help prevent people from falling into it.

All of these intentions for avoiding questionable work are certainly good. It is certainly an act of piety to refrain from lawful work when some questionable practices are involved in it. This level of piety is easy for those who crave it, but it is certainly difficult in and of itself.

Abstinence from work that is essentially lawful, because it exposes the person to some doubtful matters, means that person must restrain himself from what benefits him materially and from engaging with society in an easy and familiar manner. Therefore, it requires a high level of piety and faith.

This is why a scholar is not supposed to give a general verdict to people that requires them to exercise such a high level of pious aloofness from society. Such a ruling is only suitable for those individuals whom the scholar knows have the strength of faith to bear it.

We see this in the practice of the illustrious scholar Ahmad b. Hanbal. It was his habit to ascertain the circumstances, status, and piety of the people who asked a ruling of him before he would give them his reply.

Once a woman came to him and asked him if she could open her home while she was weaving at night and to avail herself of the sultan’s lamplight. Ahmad asked her who she was. She told him that she was the sister of Bishr al-Hâfî. When he heard that, he said: “Do not do your weaving in that lamplight.”

To understand why Ahmad gave her such a harsh ruling about something that is certainly lawful – she was certainly not stealing from the public light – we must know who Bishr al-Hâfî was. Bishr al-Hâfî was an eminent narrator of hadîth who was a student of such illustrious scholars as Imam Mâlik and `Abd Allah b. Mubârak. Al-Dhahabî tells us that “he was known for his excessive piety, reserve, and sincerity.” [Siyar A`lâm al-Nubalâ’ (10/470)]

Bishr al-Hâfî and his family were people who were careful never to partake of the public wealth, relying exclusively on their own industry for everything. Al-Dhahabî relates to us that when Bishr came to Baghdâd, he would not drink from the sultan’s reservoirs. He instead drank the river water until it injured his throat and he returned to his sister in pain. He made his livelihood through weaving, and that was his only source of income. [Siyar A`lâm al-Nubalâ’ (10/471)]

In this case, Ahmad b. Hanbal took the woman’s status and circumstances into account, and he answered her in a way that was commensurate with her level of piety.

As for people whose circumstances are less that ideal, giving them such legal verdicts will only contribute to their working menial jobs or remaining unemployed. They will simply be forced into hardships which they cannot bear and burdens which Islam does not require them to shoulder. It is feared that such people could grow despondent and displeased with Allah’s decree. It is not allowed for such people to remain aloof from certain things that are merely disliked in Islamic Law, if it might lead them to fall into what is certainly sinful.

Sheikh Qays b. Muhammad Âl Mubârak, professor at King Faisal University

[Islam Today]

Leave a comment

Filed under Character, Fiqh, Islam, Poems/Quotes, Religion, Tasawwuf

Keep Away From Mutual Enmity

When a quarrel intensifies, when its roots go deeper, its thorns become branches and branches increase in number, then the freshness of the fruits of faith is adversely affected. Softness, sympathy, satisfaction and peace, which are encouraged by the Islamic teachings, receive a setback. Performance of worship loses its righteousness, while the self get no benefit from it.

Many a time mutual quarrels perturb the persons who claim to be wise. When this happens, they take recourse to lowly and superficial things, and sometimes indulge in dangerous acts which only increase difficulties and bring troubles. When a man is displeased, his eyes become prejudiced and ignore the camel and object to gnat. Such eyes do not appreciate the beauty of the peacock, for they only see its ugly feet and claws. If a slight defect is present, it turns the molehill into a mountain. And sometimes the internal rancour and jealousy affect them so badly that no hesitation is felt in inventing imaginary stories. Islam disapproves of all these manifestations of ill feeling and advises to abstain from them. It declares their avoidance as the most virtuous form of worship.

The Prophet said: “Listen, may I not tell you something more important than salat, fasting and charity?” The people requested him to do so. He said: “To keep the mutual relationship on the right footing, because the defect in the mutual relationship is a thing which shaves a thing clean. I do not mean that it shaves the hair, but that it shaves (removes) the religion.” (at-Tirmidhi)

Many a time Satan is not able to persuade wise men to worship idols, but since he is very keen on misguiding and ruining men, he manages to succeed in driving them away from God, so much so that these wise men become more indifferent in respecting the rights of God than the idolaters themselves. The best method adopted by the devil for this purpose is to sow the seeds of enmity in the hearts of the people. When this enmity develops into a fire and open hostilities result, he enjoys the scene. This fire burns man’s present and future into ashes and totally destroys their relationship and virtues.

The Messenger of Allah said: “The Satan has been disappointed that he would not be worshipped in the Arabian Peninsula, but he has not been disappointed from kindling the fire of fighting among the people.” (Muslim)

It means that when wickedness takes roots in the hearts, when people start hating love and brotherhood, and when these are destroyed, people then revert to cruelty and enmity, and break all those relations and links which Allah has commanded to be kept; thus spreading corruption on this earth.



Filed under Character, Hadith, Islam, Religion, Tasawwuf

Anecdotes on the Condemnation of al-Ghibah (gossip/backbiting)

1 – It is reported from al-Hasan al-Basri (may Allah have mercy on him) that a man said to him: “You have gossiped about me. He (al-Hasan) said: “You have not reached such a position that you can control my Hasanat!” [Translator’s Note: The Islamic teaching is that the Hasanat (rewards) of the one who gossips will be awarded to the victim.]

2 – Someone was told: “So-and-so has gossiped about you” – so he sent him a dish of dates, with the message: “I heard that you had given me your Hasanat as a gift, and I want to return the favour; please excuse me for not being able to pay back in full.”

3 – It was reported from Ibn Mubarak (may Allah have mercy on him) that he said: “If I were to gossip about anyone, I would gossip about my parents, for they have more right to my Hasanat.”

4 – Ghibah is the hospitality of the wrongdoer.

5 – From Amr ibn al-As (radhiallahu `anhu); He passed by a dead mule, and said to some of his companions: “It would be better for a man to eat his fill from the meat of this than from the flesh of his fellow-Muslims.” [Sahih al-Targhib at-Tarhib]

6 – A man mentioned something bad about another to his friend. His friend said to him: “Do you go out and fight against the Romans?” He said, “No.” His friend asked: “Do you go out and fight against the Turks?” He said, “No.” The friend said: “The Romans are safe from you, and the Turks are safe from you, but your Muslim brothers are not safe from you!”

7 – If you are unable to do three things, then you must do three (other) things: if you cannot do good, then stop doing evil; if you cannot benefit people, then do not harm them; if you cannot fast, then do not eat the flesh of the people.

8 – The poet said:

“If a man is wise and fears Allah,
This will keep him too busy to concern himself with the faults of others,
Just as the weak and sick person is concerned with his own pain
To think of the pain of others.”


Leave a comment

Filed under Character, Hadith, Islam, Religion, Tasawwuf

Contemplate And Be Thankful

Remember the favours of Allah upon you and how they surround you from above and below – indeed, from every direction.

“And if you would count the graces of Allah, never could you be able to count them.” (Qur’an 14:34)

Health, safety, nourishment, clothing, air, and water – these all point to the world being yours, yet you do not realize it. You possess all that life has to offer, yet remain ignorant.

“He has completed and perfected His Graces upon you, [both] apparent [i.e. Islamic Monotheism, and the lawful pleasures of this world, including health, good looks, etc.] and hidden [i.e. one’s faith in Allah, guidance for doing righteous deeds and also the pleasures and delights of the Hereafter in Paradise, etc.].” (Qur’an 31:20)

You have at your disposal two eyes, a tongue, lips, two hands, and two legs.

“Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you both [Jinns and men] deny?” (Qur’an 55:13)

Can you picture yourself walking without feet? Should you take it lightly that you slumber soundly while misery hinders the sleep of many? Should you forget that you fill yourself with both delicious dishes and cool water while the pleasure of good food and drink is impossible for some, due to sickness and disease? Consider those faculties of hearing and seeing with which you have been endowed. Look at your healthy skin and be grateful that you have been saved from diseases that attack it. Reflect on your powers of reasoning and remember those that suffer from mental ailments.

Would you sell your ability to hear and see for the weight of Mount Uhud in gold, or your ability to speak for huge castles? You have been given abundant favours, yet you feign ignorance. Notwithstanding warm bread, cool water, easy sleep, and good health, you remain despondent and depressed. You think about what you do not have and are ungrateful for what you have been given. You are troubled by a loss in wealth, yet you have the key to happiness and many blessings. Contemplate and be thankful.

“And also in your ownselves [are signs], will you not then see?” (Qur’an 51:21)

Reflect upon yourself, your family, your friends, and the entire world that is around you.

“They recognize the grace of Allah, yet they deny it.” (Qur’an 16:83)


Leave a comment

Filed under Character, Islam, Religion, Tasawwuf

Regarding the Special Virtues of Worship in the Month of Rajab

There is considerable disagreement among people about this month called Rajab. Unfortunately, it seems that few of those who are engaged in the dispute have the requisite knowledge to discuss the matter properly. Some people claim that there is special virtue in fasting in Rajab during the day, while others say that there is special virtue in praying during this month in the late watches of the night. Some people, without knowing the significance of what they are saying, have elevated Rajab in preference over all other months, even the four sacred months whose preference is established by the sacred texts. The general Muslim public has become understandably confused. Because of this, it is the duty of the people of knowledge to explain the truth about this month.

The guidance brought by our Prophet (peace be upon him) concerning the months of the year has been carefully preserved and passed down to us. The Companions committed this knowledge to memory and related it faithfully to those who came after them. This has come to us in the form of numerous authentic hadîth in the many hadîth anthologies that we have.

In all of this Prophetic guidance, no mention is made of the special virtues of Rajab. If the Prophet (peace be upon him) had said anything about it, the Companions would certainly have conveyed it to us, just like they conveyed to us what the Prophet (peace be upon him) had said regarding other months of the year.

Alas, the tale-weavers among the preachers and storytellers could not resist adding to the Sunnah what is not part of it. They contributed hadîth of their own manufacture extolling the virtues of the month of Rajab, and particularly the special merits or prayer and fasting during within that month. However, those storytellers were unaware of the fact that the Sunnah had erudite scholars ready to champion it and defend its frontiers.

What is most startling is to hear those who have some acquaintance with the knowledge of the Sunnah fall victim to such hadîth, relating them and acting upon them, unaware that those hadîth are false and rejected. Indeed, every hadîth about fasting in Rajab and offering prayers during certain nights in Rajab is a fabrication, as has been mentioned by not a few scholars.

Ibn Rajab writes in al-Latâ’if (1/194):

There is nothing authentic regarding any special prayer to be performed in Rajab. The hadîth that are related about the virtue of the Raghâ’ib Prayer to be performed on the first Thursday night in Rajab is a lie, a falsehood of no authenticity. This prayer is an innovation, as attested to by the majority of scholars. Among the prominent later scholars who have mentioned this are al-Hâfiz Isma`îl al-Ansârî, Abû Bakr al-Sam`ânî, Abû Fadl b. Nâsir, and Abû al-Faraj Ibn al-Jawzî.

There is nothing authentic regarding any special virtue for fasting the month of Rajab related from the Prophet (peace be upon him) or from his Companions.

Ibn Taymiyah writes in Majmû` al-Fatâwâ (25/29):

As for fasting Rajab in particular, all the hadîth about it are weak; indeed they are fabricated. People of knowledge do not rely upon any of them. They are not of the kind of weak hadîth that might be related regarding the virtues of deeds; they are all fabrications and lies.

Ibn Qayyîm says, in al-Manâr al-Munîf (96) before mentioning a number of these spurous hadîth:

All of the hadîth that mention fasting in Rajab or praying certain nights therein are deliberately fabricated lies.

Ibn Hajar writes in Tabyîn al-`Ajab (23):

There is nothing found regarding any virtue for the month of Rajab, nor for fasting it or fasting any particular part of it, nor for praying on any particular night of it, that can be regarded an authentic hadîth that can hold up as evidence. The greats scholar Abû Ismâ`îl al-Harawî al-Hâfiz came to this same conclusion before me.

He also writes (33):

The hadîth found concerning the virtues of Rajab or for fasting it or any part f it are of two categories: weak and fabricated.

And (40):

There are found regarding the virtues of Rajab such false hadîth that there is nothing wrong with pointing them out so that no one will be deceived by them.

Many eminent scholars have said that not a single hadîth regarding the virtues of Rajab is authentic, including Ibn Dahiyyah al-Kalbî and Abû al-Fadl b. Nâsir.

The following are some of these hadîth:

1. “Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha`bân is my month, and Ramadan is the month of my nation.”

This statement has been related as coming from two Companions: Abû Sa`îd al-Khudrî and Anas b. Mâlik.

As for the narration attributed to Abû Sa`ûd al-Khudrî, Ibn al-Jawzî mentions it in al-Mawdû`ât (2/576) and Ibn `Irâq in al-Tanzîh al-Sharî`ah (2/151) with a chain of transmission from Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Naqqâsh.

The hadîth’s text is given at length, including a discussion of the virtues of fasting the month of Rajab. Ibn al-Jawzî then comments: “This hadîth is fabricated. Al-Kassâ’î is unknown and al-Naqqâsh is accused of lying.”

Ibn Hajar says in Tabyîn al`Ajab (23): “This chain of transmission has been put together…The responsibility of this hadîth belongs to al-Naqqâsh. He is the author of the book Shifâ’ al-Sudûr , a book which he fills chiefly with lies and calumnies.”

Al-Khatîb al-Baghdâdî writes in Târîkh Baghdâd (2/602) regarding al-Naqqâsh: “His hadîth are rejected with well-known chains of transmission. Talhah b. Muhammad b. Ja`far al-Hâfiz says: ‘al-Naqqâsh used to lie regarding hadîth and mostly told stories.’”

The hadîth has another chain of transmission going back to Abû Sa`îd al-Khudrî that al-Sahmî records in Târîkh Jurjân (225). Al-Sahmî then comments: “It is a hadîth with a succession of unknown and weak narrators.”

The hadîth from Abû Sa`îd has other spurious chains of transmission mentioned by Ibn Hajar in Tabyîn al-`Ahjab .

As for the attribution of this hadîth to Anas b. Mâlik, Ibn al-Jawzî mentions it in al-Mawdû`ât (2/436) with a chain of transmission that comes to us by way of the narrator Abû al-Hasan `Alî b. `Abd Allah b. Jahdam.

The text of this hadîth mentions the Raghâ’ib prayer.

Ibn al-Jawzî says: “This hadîth is fabricated against Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). Ibn Jahdam has been accused of fabricating hadîth and he has been called a liar. I heard our sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Hâfiz say that the narrators in this chain of transmission are all unknown. I have searched for them in all of the books and have not found them.”

Al-Dhahabî adds: “Perhaps those narrators were never even born.”

Al-Bayhaqî narrates the hadîth in Shu`ab al-Îmân (7/396) by way of another chain of transmission, then comments: “Its chain of transmission is rejected. It is a hadîth with a succession of weak and abandoned narrators.”

2. It is attributed to `Alî that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Indeed the month of Rajab is a great month. Whoever fasts a day of it will have it written to his credit as if he had fasted for a thousand years…”

This hadîth is mentioned by Ibn al-Jawzî in al-Mawdû`ât (2/578) with a chain of transmission coming by way of Ishâq b. Ibrâhîm al-Khatlî and including the narrators `Alî b. Zayd al-Qarrâ’î and Hârûn b. `Antarah. Ibn al-Jawzî comments: “This hadîth is not authentically related from the Prophet (peace be upon him).”

This hadîth has a chain of weak and rejected narrators. To start with, Ishâq b. Ibrâhîm al-Khatlî is extremely weak. [al-Dhahabî, Mîzân al-I`tidal (1/180)]

`Alî b, Zayd al-Qarrâ’î is referred to by al-Dhahabî as being “ruinous”.

As for Hârûn b. `Antarah, Ibn Hibbân says about him: “His hadîth are explicitly rejected. He narrates a good number of rejected hadîth, so much so that one’s heart upon hearing these hadîth starts to believe that he did so deliberately because of the great number of things that he relates which are baseless. His narrations can not be used for evidence in any capacity.”

Ibn Hajar mentions this hadîth in Tabyîn al-`Ajab wherein he accuses Ishâq b. Ibrâhîm al-Khatlî of lying.

Similar comments about this hadîth are given by al-Suyûtî and al-Shawkânî.

3. “In Paradise there is a river named Rajab, and whoever fasts a day in the month of Rajab, Allah will give him to drink from this river.”

This hadîth is mentioned by al-Bayhaqî in Shu`ab al-Îmân (8300), al-Asbahânî in al-Targhîb wa al-Tarhîb (1847), Ibn al-Jawzî in al-`Ilal al-Mutanâhiyah (2/555), al-Dhahabî in Mîzân al-I`tidâl (4/189) and by others by way of the narrator Mansûr b. Zayd al-Azdî.

Ibn al-Jawzî comments: “It is unauthentic and contains unknown narrators whom we cannot identify at all.”

Al-Dhahabî says: “Mansûr is unknown and the report is false.”

Al-Albânî declares the hadîth to be weak in his Silsilah al-Da`îfah (1898).

4. “Whoever fasts three days in the month of Harâm will have written to his credit the worship of seven hundred years.”

This hadîth is mentioned by al-Tabarânî in al-Mu`jam al-Awsat (1789), al-Bayhaqî in Fadâ’il al-Awqât (308), al-Khatîb al-Baghdâdî in al-Muwaddih (1/118). Ibn `Asâkir in Târîkh Dimashq (19/116).

Ibn al-Jawzî relates it in al-`Ilal al-Mutanâhiyah (2/554) as “Whoever fasts three days in the month of Harâm – Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – will have written to his credit the worship of seven hundred years.”

Al-Tabarânî relates it as being “the worship of two years”. It is related with other wordings as well.

Its chain of transmission contains Maslamah b. Râshid.

Abû Hâtim al-Râzî says about him: “His hadîth are contradictory.”

Al-Azdî says: “His narrations cannot be used as evidence.”

Al-Albânî declares the hadîth to be weak in his Silsilah al-Da`îfah (4611).


See also:

1 Comment

Filed under Fiqh, Hadith, Islam, Religion, Seeking knowledge, Sunnah