Monthly Archives: March 2010

Allah is al-Mu’min (The Giver of Security)

Sheikh Salman al-Oadah
Wed, 02/24/2010

We find this name of Allah in the verse: “Allah says: “He is Allah, besides whom there is no God, the King, the Holy One, Peace, the Giver of Security.” [Sūrah al-Hashr: 23]

This name has various shades of meaning.

The Fulfiller of Promises

One of the meanings of this name is: “the true one who always fulfills His promise.”

“Indeed, Allah never breaks His promise.” [Sūrah Āl `Imrān: 9]

Allah provides His servants with their sustenance and wellbeing in this world. He forgives them their sins, and in the Hereafter, He rewards them for their good deeds.

He is also the one who fulfills the good expectations that His servants have of Him. He does not disappoint them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) relates that Allah says: “I am as my servant thinks of Me. So think of Me as you will.” [Sahīh al-Bukhārī (7405) and Sahīh Muslim (2675)]

Allah guarantees His servants that they will face no injustice or wrong in the Hereafter. Allah says: “On this Day, every soul shall be rewarded for what it has earned; no injustice (shall be done) this Day. Surely Allah is quick in reckoning.” [Sūrah Ghāfir: 17]

“Then, on that Day, no soul will be wronged in the least, and you shall be repaid naught but the merit of your past deeds.” [Sūrah YāSīn: 54]

In the Sunnah, we read the story of the man who said: “My Lord! Will You grant me protection from injustice?”

He replied: “But of course.”

The man said: “I permit nothing for myself except a witness from myself.”

He said: “Suffice yourself as a witness upon you today, and the noble recording angels as witnesses.” [Sahīh Muslim (2969)]

Allah protects those who are oppressed from their oppressors. He also grants the oppressors timer to right their wrongs, but when He decides to take them to task, there is no escape from Him. [Sahīh al-Bukhārī (4686)]

Allah grants security to the oppressed. He protects them, supports them, and gives them sanctuary. Allah says: “Say: In whose hand is the dominion over all things – who gives protection, while against Him there is no protection – if you have knowledge?” [Sūrah al-Mu’minīn: 88]

The Giver of Security

Another meaning of the name al-Mu’min is “the one who bestows security upon His servants.”

Allah says: “(He) who provides them with food against hunger, and with security against fear” [Sūrah Quraysh: 4]

Allah bestows the blessing of security upon His servants in so many ways. He promises the believers who fear Him that He will exchange their fear for security: “He will change (their state), after fear, to one of security and peace.” [Sūrah al-Nūr: 55]

Allah will do the same for the believers in the Hereafter. He will placate their fears with His bountiful rewards and with His mercy. They will enjoy Paradise with their hearts at peace. Allah says about them: “They will say: Lo! Of old, among our people, we were ever fearful; but Allah has been gracious to us and has saved us from the punishment of the scorching wind.” [Sūrah al-Tūr: 26-27]

He also says about the denizens of Paradise: “Enter the Garden; you shall have no fear, nor shall you grieve.” [Sūrah al-A`rāf: 49]

Allah assures us that the denizens of Paradise will experience nothing of fear or grief. They will abide forever in a state of love and good expectations. This is an indication of their worth and their lofty status.

Likewise, Allah describes Mecca as the “Land of Security” due to the special religious observances that are prescribed for it on account of the reverence that is owed to it. The game animals found in its precincts are not to be hunted. Its plants are not to be picked. Lost valuables which are found there are not to be picked up, except for the sake of person who is looking for them. In this way, security is extended to every human being, bird, and beast.

The Giver of Faith

Another meaning of al-Mu’min is “the giver of faith”. Allah sends to us His Messengers and reveals to them His Books. He establishes for us the proof that His Messengers are genuine in what they relate from Him. He teaches us, through them, about His noble names and His attributes of perfection.


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The Noblest Supplication for Asking Forgiveness

Sheikh Salman al-Oadah

Mon, 03/01/2010

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught his Companions the best supplication for beseeching Allah’s forgiveness. He taught them to say the following prayer every morning and evening:

“O Allah! You are my Lord. There is no God besides You. You created me, and I am your servant, and I honor Your covenant and Your promise as much as I can. I seek refuge with You from the evil that I do. I come to You by Your grace, and I come to You with my sins. So forgive me, for no one forgives sins but You.” [Sahīh al-Bukhārī (6307)]

This is most certainly the supplication of a believer, but of a believer who admits to stumbling into error; who says: “I honor Your covenant and Your promise as much as I can” and who appeals to the Lord with the words: “I seek refuge with You from the evil that I do. I come to You by Your grace, and I come to You with my sins.”

When we offer this supplication, we profess that our sins are all the more wrong in light of Allah’s blessings and grace that He showers upon us, but alas we have sinned and appeal to Allah in His infinite grace to forgive us.

This supplication is rich in meaning. There are so many ways in which it remedies the ills of the hearts of those who utter it.

Consider the words: “You created me, and I am your servant, and I honor Your covenant and Your promise as much as I can.” How honestly can we say these words? Even more, by uttering these worlds, we are reaffirming that our commitment to fulfill our covenant with our Lord to the best of our abilities. It is also a reminder to us of the covenant that we have with our Creator, which is mention in the following verse of the Qur’an:

“And when your Lord brought forth from the children of Adam, from their backs, their descendants, and made them bear witness against their own souls: Am I not your Lord? They said: ‘Yes! we bear witness.’ Lest you should say on the day of resurrection: ‘Surely we were heedless of this.’” [Sūrah al-A`rāf: 172]

We should appeal to Allah with this supplication for forgiveness whenever we commit a sin. We should also offer it every morning and evening, for if we do so, it will bring us a greater assurance that Allah in His grace will forgive us our mistakes and transgressions. It will also ensure that we cultivate our hearts to be penitent and humble.


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Arif-billah Shaykh Dr. Abdul Hayy Arifi (Allah have mercy on him) said;

‘For two minutes talk to Allah any time during the day telling Him,
“O Allah! I am inept, weak, unworthy, and unable to do any thing significant. Please, do have Your special benevolence for me.”
Say this all.

Can’t you even do this?
You certainly have the power to articulate this.

(And if you do so,) Then you will see how your (spiritual) condition changes (for the better).
This is an alchemy prescription by our Shaykh Hakim al-Umma (Allah have mercy on him).’

(Malfoozat e Arifi 58)


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Renew Your Faith

Sheikh Sâlih al-Mughâmisî, professor at the Islamic University in Madinah
Thu, 11/27/2008
Faith is the most precious of possessions. It is the greatest gift. Allah has made it the distinction of those who are destined for Paradise.

Allah says: “Are those who believe like those who are iniquitous? They are not the same.” [Sûrah al-Sajdah: 18]

We must value the gift of faith. Allah withheld the gift of faith from some of the closest relatives of His Messengers, like Abraham’s father and one of Noah’s sons. They were so close to those noble Prophets, but they were not blessed to have faith. Be thankful that Allah has bestowed this blessing on you. We must praise Him for giving us this gift. We would not have been guided had it not been for Allah guiding us.

We should take care of this most valuable gift. We must safeguard it. We must not let it deteriorate or fall into peril. How do we do this?

It is well-known that faith increases and decreases. Faith increases most effectively through the performance of good deeds.

Abû Hurayrah relates the following:

Once when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sitting with his Companions, he asked: “Who among you started his day fasting?”

Abû Bakr said: “I am fasting.”

Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked: “Who among you has visited the sick?”

Abû Bakr said: “I have.”

Then the Prophet asked: “Who among you gave food to the poor?”

Abû Bakr who answered: “I have.”

The Prophet then asked: “Who attended a funeral procession today?”

Abû Bakr again replied in the affirmative.

At this point, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “These deeds do not come together in a single person except that the person is admitted into Paradise.” [Sahîh Muslim]

Consider how Abû Bakr engaged in all of these good deeds in a single day. We should not be surprised to know that, on another occasion, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said about Abû Bakr: “Abû Bakr’s faith weighs as much as the faith of the rest of my followers put together.”

In order to renew your faith and increase it, read the Qur’ân. Put your mind into it, and think carefully about what you are reading. There is no better way to remember Allah or beseech His favor than by using His own words.

Also, read the stories of the Prophets to learn about the exemplary lives of those who possessed the greatest faith of all. We can see how Abraham (peace be upon him) was willing to sacrifice his own son for the love of Allah, how he was willing to let Nimrod cast him into a bonfire, and how he gave hospitality to his guests, His heart was sincere in everything that he did and he always turned penitently to his Lord. Because of this, he earned the epithet “Friend of Allah.”

“And Allah took Abraham as a friend.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 125]

When we read about the lives of the Prophets and contemplate on the lessons that their lives teach us, it increases our faith and bolsters our conviction. Consider when Allah says: “They are the ones whom Allah guided, so follow their guidance.” [Sûrah al-An`âm: 90]

To further increase your faith, visit the graveyard. See how everyone’ s state in the physical world is made equal by death. Then consider how the status of their souls differs. How many believing souls are saying in expectation: “My Lord! Bring on the Day of Resurrection!” How many other souls are pleading in fear and dread: “My Lord! Do not bring on the Day of Judgment.”

May Allah increase us in faith and make us all God-fearing.


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Combining Prayers Habitually

Sheikh Sulaymân al-`Isâ

Wed, 01/01/2003

All praise is due to Allah and may peace and blessing be upon our Prophet Muhammad,

There are those who advocate combining together the Zuhr and `Asr prayers and likewise the Maghrib and `Ishâ’ prayers on a regular basis without any valid excuse. They argue that in the Qur’ân prayer is only mentioned three times in the day and night. They also cite the hadîth related by Ibn `Abbâs that the Prophet (peace be upon him) combined between Zuhr and `Asr and also between Maghrib and `Ishâ’ while in Madinah without there being a reason like fear, rain, or traveling.

Let us first look at the verse in question. Allah says: “Establish regular prayers at the Sun’s decline until the darkness of the night and the recital of the Qur’ân in the morning, for the recital of dawn is witnessed.” [Sûrah al-Isrâ’: 78].

Allah’s saying: “…at the Sun’s decline…” means its descent to the West from the meridian right after midday. Allah’s saying: “…until the darkness of the nigh…” together with the previous part of the verse: “at the sun’s decline” would cover the times of the four obligatory prayers: Zuhr, `Asr, Maghrib, and `Ishâ’.

Allah’s saying: “…the recital of the Qur’ân in the morning…” is a reference to the Morning (Fajr) Prayer. The Fajr Prayer is called the recital because it is preferable to read in it many verses of the Qur’ân. Therefore, this verse covers the five daily prayers. In the Sunnah, the exact times for these five prayers are given in detail.

Ibn Kathîr, after mentioning this verse in his commentary on the Qur’ân, says: “The Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), through his sayings and his actions, provides us with the exact times of these prayers as known and applied by Muslims today. This has been passed down from one generation to the next, century after century.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to pray each of the five prayers on time. In certain extenuating circumstances in which Allah grants a concession, he would combine prayers. It is a well-known principle in Islam that the Sunnah explains the Qur’ân. Allah says to His Prophet: “We have revealed to you the Reminder that you may make clear to men what has been revealed to them, and that haply they may reflect” [Sûrah al-Nahl: 44]

The advocates of combining prayers habitually also furnish as proof the hadîth of Ibn `Abbas related in Sahîh Muslim that the Messenger of Allah prayed Zuhr and Asr together, and also Maghrib and `Ishâ’, although he was neither in a state of fear nor on a journey. In another narration, the absence of rain is mentioned instead of a journey. A similar hadîth is narrated in Sunan al-Tirmidhî.

Before discussing this hadîth, we should bear in mind that the majority of scholars believe that combining between these prayers is unlawful except for one of the valid reasons that are explicitly stated in the sacred texts. They argue that there is clear textual evidence that the times for prayers are fixed. Therefore, no exceptions should be made without specific evidence detailing those exceptions. To support this, they cite the overwhelming evidence that the Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed his prayers at their proper times. However, there were a few scholars such as Ibn Sîrîn, Ibn Shubrumah, the Mâlikî jurist Ashhab, and the Shâfi`î jurist Ibn al-Mundhir, who said that combining these prayers together is permissible as long as there is some need to do so, but a person should not make a habit out of it.

Moreover, the scholars have disagreed on the meaning of this hadîth. Al-Nawawî said the following in his commentary on this hadîth:

These are the authentic narrations in Sahîh Muslim, as you can see. The scholars have different ways of interpreting them and understanding them. Al-Tirmidhî said at the end of his book: “There is no hadîth that the whole Islamic nation agreed to reject like the one related by Ibn `Abbâs in connection with combining prayers in Madînah without the excuse of fear or rain and the hadîth of killing the one who drinks liquor the fourth time he is charged with it.” What al-Tirmidhî says about drinking liquor is right. There is consensus that the hadîth that mentions killing the imbiber has been abrogated. However, in the case of the hadîth of Ibn `Abbâs, there is no consensus to abandon it. Instead, there are different opinions about what it means.

Some scholars understood the hadîth to refer to cases when it was raining, but their opinion is weak due to the narration of the hadîth that mentions it was not raining.

Other scholars thought it took place on a cloudy day. According to them, the Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed Zuhr and when clouds vanished, it turned out that it was the time of `Asr, so he prayed `Asr. This is nonsense, because even if it was a remote possibility in this for combining Zuhr and `Asr, it could not explain combining between Maghrib and `Ishâ’.

Others opined that the hadîth referred to postponing the first prayer until near the end of its prescribed period. When he finished praying it, the time for the next prayer had come in, and he prayed it as well, so it appeared as if he was combining the prayers. This does not match with the explicit understanding of the hadîth and the fact that Ibn `Abbâs used it as justification for combining his prayers.

Others gave sickness or some other excuse as the reason. This was mentioned by Ahmad and al-Qâdî Husayn and was preferred by al-Khattâbî and al-Rûiyânî. This is the preferred saying in explaining this hadîth as well as for what Ibn `Abbâs did and the approval that Abû Hurayrah gave Ibn `Abbâs when he did so. This makes sense, because the hardship in sickness is more than the hardship that comes from rain.

A group of scholars believed that combining prayers is permissible in residence as long as it is not taken as a habit. As we said before this is the opinion of Ashhab and Ibn Sirîn. This is the preferred saying of Ibn al-Mundhir. It is in line with the explicit meaning of Ibn `Abbâs’ statement: “He did not want to put hardship on his people.” Ibn `Abbâs did not mention any specific reason like sickness or something else.

– Quoted from al-Nawawî’s commentary of Sahîh Muslim ( 3/2149)

I hold the opinion that this last saying is the best. It is permissible to combine prayers in case of need, but this should not be taken as a habit. This is also the opinion of Ibn Taymiyah, who said:

Ibn `Abbâs was not traveling nor was there any rain, but he mentioned this narration as justification for combining his prayers. He knew that there was no rain, but Ibn `Abbâs was involved in something important for the Muslims as he was teaching the people what they needed to know about their religion and he believed that if he stopped at that time and came down from the pulpit, the opportunity would be lost. He deemed that the activity he was engaged in permitted him to combine prayers as the Prophet (peace be upon him) combined prayers in Madinah without there being fear or rain but for some other necessity… All the hadîth indicate that he combined prayers to make things easy for his people. Therefore, combining prayers is permissible if otherwise there would be some hardship that Allah had lifted from His nation. Combining prayers due to debilitating illness is all the more permissible. The same applies to the one who cannot maintain his purity for two prayers, like the woman whose bleeding continues past her menstrual cycle and the like. At the same time, we have a saying from `Umar b. al-Khattâb that combining of two prayers without an excuse is one the grievous sins.” [Ibn Taymiyah, Majmû` al-Fatâwâ]

The saying of Ibn Taymiyyah on this issue is correct in my opinion. It is permissible to combine between prayers for a valid reason, but this should not be taken as a habit. Whoever combines prayers without a valid reason and continues to do on the basis of Ibn `Abbâs’ hadîth has violated the Sunnah of our Prophet (peace be upon him) and gone against his guidance.

Sheikh Ibn Bâz, in his marginal notes on Fath al-Bârî, writes: “The best way to view the hadîth is to understand that the Prophet (peace be upon him) combined between the said prayers particularly that day for some hardship, whether it was sickness, extreme cold, mud or something else. Ibn `Abbas, when he was asked about the reason for combining prayers, said it was to remove hardship from the people, which is a proper and correct answer.” [Fath al-Barî, (2/24)].

This should be enough evidence to demonstrate the mistake of those who combine their prayers habitually or without any valid reason.


Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalânî, Fath al-Barî, 2/23
Al-Nawawî, Commentary on Sahih Muslim, volume 3, pp. 2148-2150.
Al-Shawkânî, Nail al-Awtâr, 3, 227-230.
Ibn Taymiyah, Majmû` Fatâwa Ibn Taymiyyah, 24, 72-84.


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Want Allah to Forgive You? Forgive Others

If we want Allah to forgive us, we should be forgiving of others and willing to overlook their wrongs. This is part of what it means to be good to others. Allah describes his believing servants as “those who restrain their anger and are pardoning towards people.” He then says: “Indeed, Allah loves those who do good.” [Sūrah Āl `Imrān: 134]

Indeed, Allah says: “And let not those of you who possess wealth and abundance swear against giving to the near of kin and the poor and those who have had to emigrate for Allah’s sake. They should forgive and forebear. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” [Sūrah al-Nūr: 22]

Righteous deeds of all kinds bring us closer to Allah, but especially kindness to others. We should show kindness to all creatures as well as to human beings, whether this kindness comes in the form of our personal behavior, our sharing of our wealth, giving assistance with our abilities and our influence, or praying to Allah on their behalf. We need to especially consider the disenfranchised, the widows and orphans, and the poor.

The Prophet (peace be upon us) said:

There was a merchant who used to extend credit to people. If he found one of his customers to be in straightened means, he would say to his assistants: “Forgive them their debt, perhaps Allah will forgive us.” Allah did forgive him. [Sahīh al-Bukhārī (2078) and Sahīh Muslim (1562)]

Pardon, tolerance, and magnanimity should exemplify the way we treat one another. We should be willing to overlook the faults of others. We should even be willing at times to waive some of our rights. We should not always demand everything that is due to us. All relationships are a matter of give and take.

This applies to everyone we have dealings with. It is the way things should be between the husband and wife, between parents and children, between teachers and students, and between governors and the governed. In each of these relationships, there are clearly defined rights and duties, and we should do our best to fulfill them. However, in every relationship, people fass short at times. Forgiveness, forbearance, and pardon bring harmony and love into our relationships.

Imagine a marriage based solely on accounting for rights and obligations. Would there be any love or mercy in such a marriage, any room for tenderness and affection?

Tolerance and magnanimity, stabilize those relationships and bolster the esteem and human worth that people have for one another. By Allah’s grace, these qualities make our dealings more successful, and certainly make our dealings more pleasing to Allah.


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Muslims in Europe: A Report on 11 EU Cities

The Open Society Institute Muslims in Europe report series constitutes the comparative analysis of data from 11 cities in seven European countries. It points out common trends and offers recommendations at the local, national, and international levels, including to the European Union and to international organizations. While not representative of the situation of all Muslims in these cities, this report does capture a snapshot of the experiences of Muslim communities in select neighborhoods in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Antwerp, Berlin and Hamburg, Copenhagen, Leicester and Waltham Forest–London, Marseille and Paris, and Stockholm.

Muslims in Europe: A Report on 11 EU Cities


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