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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf

Constructive Approaches to Building a Moral Society parts one to three

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Signs of Success

Chapter Sixteen

This will only become clear after a period of time. Unless you have insight then you may be able to tell in a short space of time. You will find the circumstances around your studies easy in that there is not excessive hardship.

Although this is not the only sign. The greatest sign will be when your teacher answers your question without you asking it. The question may be from a question that you may or may not have got the answer for or from a question you are about to ask. This is an amazing sign and if you get it with a particular teacher then stick to that teacher for as long as possible.

There are other signs like you may come across books that no one else has or that you’ll answer a question without realising you knew the answer! Sometimes you may find a book with much blessings and this book was meant to be found by you. Sometimes you may be asked something that you once knew but could not recall then the question is asked and out comes the answer!

Or you may find the time spent studying with a scholar; more beneficial than other times that you study. When you see some signs be thankful for the endless graces of Allah (mighty and majestic) and keep studying.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Chapter Fifteen

Knowledge is the most important thing that you’ll do in your life; you have to treat it like that. You have to give it, its right, it is truth and you have to ready to carry it to people but most of all yourself. Learn the basics, everything that you need everyday, and then affirm yourself in it, until you know it well.

Know that you have to study to get somewhere and you have to keep studying in order to get to your destination. When you know it enough you must teach even just to one person and don’t every turn anyone down.

You must leave things that take you away from knowledge or knowledge will leave you, it’s that simple. You must devote yourself to knowledge it must be your only concern and all your concerns.

People of knowledge need to be sincere in obtaining knowledge, not for show or grandiose or to win arguments or elevate yourself in front of others. It has to be solely for Allah and to revive the religion in yourself first; through the means of practice.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Character with other students

Chapter Thirteen

This is something that I have the most difficulty with. I am struggling to implement this myself.

You may be studying with the teacher in a small group or a large group either way, be aware of the needs of those around you. Some of them may know more than you and they may also know less but realise their intention may make them excel faster and quicker than you.

You might hear a question, from them, asked that you can answer, should remain silent and allow the teacher to answer. Take note of the answer; as you will always get more from the teacher. If you answer the question then you loose the chance to learn more, you know the answer but the teacher may give you more details that you did not know. So, now you can add more details to your answer.

If you know more than the students around you, you should let them have the floor for questions, prefer them to yourself for questions. When they have asked their questions and then ask yours especially if they have benefit. Sometimes you may know that asking a certain question will benefit those around you so ask that question.

You should let them finish and not interrupt their voices or questions, allow them time. If you know more then you should not be overbearing in the class as this will have a negative effect on the class. This may even cause people to leave the class as they can get easily disenchanted, when the subject is difficult.

You should give and return Salams and not show arrogance, as it will destroy you, internally and externally. Be kind to them and help them in their studies, if you are asked a question then answer and thank Allah Subhanu wa ta’ala, for sending someone to confirm your knowledge.

Help your fellow student as much as you are able to do so and do not see any action as small for them.

Do not be so arrogant as not to ask them for clarification, as they may have caught what you missed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Instructions of the teacher

Chapter Fourteen

You should try your up most to follow through on any instructions that the teacher has given you. They want the best for you and you can get benefit from things that you may not have initially seen.

If the teacher tells you to do something disliked or Haram, if its haram you should not do it and re-consider your decision to study with him. If its disliked it may be minor or major, avoid if major.

If the teacher says something once you could be forgiven for forgetting and if he repeats it then, you must follow up. He/She is stressing the importance of this, try the action at least once but this action should not upset anyone, nor should cause discomfort to anyone. For example praying Tahajjud, try it but if they say something unreasonable then leave it.

If it's to revise or repeat something, repeat or revise the lesson as much as you can, this can only bring benefit.

One important note is that the scholar will be able to know what's best for the student and this will mean to avoid certain books. Purely because if you read a certain book it may confuse your current knowledge. The example of this is a student of the Shafi school reading texts which include Hanafi rules he may not be able to distinguishing them. This could cause the student to mix between the schools without knowing.

So listen to the teacher and pay attention.

If he does scold you on an issue then do not repeat it and correct yourself.

Monday, May 18, 2009

“A Muslim slave is better than a polytheist.”

“A Muslim slave is better than a polytheist.”
Quran - the Heffer 2:221

The prohibition of the female Muslim marring the non Muslim male is not about actions alone. The belief of Muslim is better that the non Muslim on any day of the week and on the most important day, the last day.

One of the principles of the sacred law is that it protects lineage and religion. A Muslim woman who marries a non Muslim man risks losing her religion and the religion of the child. A child that is brought into this environment can be nothing but mixed up and this could lead to disbelief.
This is not about being far or equality because men are allowed but look at the results. Many Muslim men who marry non-Muslim women have lost their children to disbelief.

Faith is the most important factor here and there cannot be any skating around the issue. If a Muslim woman marries a non-Muslim male then this is a major sin. As long as she does not believe that what she is doing is permissible then she is still a Muslim but if she says it is permissible then she has left Islam.

We have reached a time where there are many single female Muslims and do not forget that there are many single male Muslims.

A Muslim man has to respect the religion of his non-Muslim wife, he believes in her Prophet, Moses, Jesus and Yahya (upon them all peace). He respects her book and he has to by sacred law to pay for her daily needs: food, housing etc. A non-Muslim man on other hand doesn't believe in her Prophet or religion. So he could cause her to loss in her religious action. For example he might prevent her fasting because he doesn't like it or he might stop her praying. He may also refuse to pay for any of her daily needs; he is not obliged to do this. A person may find a non Muslims character better than a Muslims but what they have to bear in mind is that the non Muslim belief is what is important. Also do you want that person to be with you in paradise? Ask them to accept Islam even if it is just verbally.

The non Muslim female is able to complain to a shariah council because of her Muslim husband but neither the non Muslim or the Muslim wife (married together) have recourse in a shariah court of law as their marriage is not valid.

Also, how do they deal with the issues when a non-Muslim wants to bring alcohol and pork into the home? How can children be protected from these? When they see their parents do haram would not this encourage them to do similar?

So the reason here is that the non-Muslim man cannot fulfil her rights either worldly or religiously. If he did then he would be Muslim. This is in order to protect the woman from harm.

All this is academic because Allah (mighty and majestic) has stated in the Quran that:

"Do not marry unbelieving women (idolaters), until they believe: A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allures you. Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe: A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allures you. Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the Fire. But God beckons by His Grace to the Garden (of bliss) and forgiveness, and makes His Signs clear to mankind: That they may celebrate His praise.”
The Heffer 2:221

The Quranic passage is clear marry a disbeliever and you are approaching the fire whilst God is calling you to paradise.

At the same time I do have a lot of sympathy for single brothers and sisters but we cannot sell ourselves short. A partner from the Indo - pak world, despite all their apparent problems, is better than a disbeliever. Although, this is a secondary option that must be considered.

Most important of all we should not sit here and debate the Quran - this is prohibited for people to do. If there is an unclear meaning then we go to the scholars but what we do not need to do this seen as the meaning is clear.

Please note we cannot abrogate a ruling of the Quran as this is God's ruling for us. What would we be if we ignore this ruling? Who are we following then? The whims of our caprices?

If you are a Muslim lady in this situation then ask your husband to convert even if he just says it verbally and does not act on it. This will change your whole situation and if he will not convert to save your marriage then was he worth it in the first place?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sheikh Atabek Shukurov


“Do not backbite each other, would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?” (49:12)

“Woe betide every backbiter, derider.” (104:1)

Backbiting is defined as mentioning someone in a way that they would not like. You have to mention their name or the person who you are talking about has to know who you are talking about; if they do not know who you are talking about then it is not backbiting.
(Some of the scholars say if that person was behind you and heard what you had to say, would it hurt him? If it does then it is backbiting.)

We should stay away from backbiting because there is a hadith/prophetic narration when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when he saw people cutting themselves with cooper nails during the heavenly ascent.

Other hadith/prophetic narration

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Do you know what backbiting is?”
They said: “Allah and His Messenger know best.”
He said: “It is to mention about your brother something that he would dislike having mentioned about him.”
Someone asked, “O Messenger of Allah! What do you say if what you said about him was true?”
He replied: “If what you said about him is true, then you have backbitten him. If what you said about him is false, then you have slandered him.” [Muslim (2589)]

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Whoever can guarantee to me what is between his two lips and what is between his two legs, I can guarantee for him Paradise.” [al-Bukhârî (6474)]

Backbiting is a major sin in Islam, Haram/prohibited – it is punished for and cause punishment in the grave.

Some scholars say backbiting is worse than illegal fornication/Zina because if someone commits Zina then it’s between them and Allah (mighty and majestic) but backbiting is between you and others

It is not permissible to listen to backbiting, the listener is like the speaker

What situations allow you to backbite?
1. When someone has harmed you and are complaining to someone about your problem but this is with the condition that you are talking to someone who can stop it. i.e. Authorities.
2. To someone who can order that person to stop, such as a scholar
3. To advise a student that to study with a scholar but this is only about what directly affects the student.
4. When you are asked about someone to warn them (to marry or do business with).
5. To call someone by a name that comes from a defect in him but he does not mind
6. About a bad person who sins openly

The Reasons for backbiting are many:
1. Pride
2. A group think they are better than another
3. To jest
4. Envy
5. Debase


If you hear someone backbiting then you must:
1. stop them or leave them
2. reject it in your heart – if you remain sat there

Part of repentance from backbiting is to pray for that person (this will remove the sickness from the heart)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf

The Perfect path parts one to five

Avenzoar or Ibn Zuhr (1091–1161)

Spanish Muslim surgeon.

Admired by contemporaries, his work advanced the practice of surgery in both the Muslim and Christian worlds. Avenzoar approached medicine in a practical manner and his works included advice on diet as well as information on surgical and medical treatments. He described the role of the oesophagus, pericarditis (inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart), tracheotomy (surgical opening of the windpipe), and procedures for the removal of cataracts in the eyes and kidney stones. He also discovered the parasite for scabies, a contagious skin infection, and described treatments for inner ear infection and tumours.

Avenzoar's Kitab al‐Taisir fi al‐Mudawat wa al‐Tadbir/Practical Manual of Treatments and Diet and Kitab al‐Aghziya/Book on Foodstuffs were translated into Latin in the late 13th century and used in European universities until the 18th century.

Avenzoar studied at the University of Córdoba in Spain before spending time in the great medical centres of Baghdad and Cairo. He later worked for the rulers of Muslim Spain. Unlike many of his contemporaries Avenzoar required proof in all things and did not just accept the ideas of classical theorists such as Galen, whose beliefs were widely considered infallible. A number of his anatomical discoveries were made through dissections of the human body, although this work was limited as it was forbidden under Islamic law.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Annemarie Schimmel

Classical Sufism Parts one to five
The Muslim scholar talks about the beginnings of Sufism

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Cries of the Seagulls

One of the most exhilarating and inspiring moments of Islamic history, outside the prophetic period and what followed it, is the conquering of the city of Constantinople. This event marks the beginning of the Ottoman expansion into Europe.

It comes also as welcome relief to readers of history, as on the other side of Europe, the Spanish caliphate is flickering like a candle about to go out. So this event occurs as Islam is setting on one part of Europe and dawning on the other side. The Ottoman Sultan Muhammad or Mehmet, as the Turks say, heard the narration about the conqueror Constantinople, "Verily, you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader will he be, and what a wonderful army will that army be!" Imam Ahmed. (please see )

He was a young man at this point and when he conquered the city he was only twenty one years old! One of the first things he did was to change the Hagia Sofia into a masjid and ordered the call the prayer to be announced. The church was changed into a masjid and this continued for a nearly five hundred years until the Turkish republic changed it into a museum in 1935.

Since then it has been given to non-Muslims and they have removed the carpets, the decorations, most of the calligraphy and everything else. To the Muslims credit, they plastered over the pictures of Jesus (upon him peace) Yahya and other pictures. When they changed it into a masjid, they did not destroy what was previously there. This is a common feature in Islamic history, Muslims would use the best of the people that they came into contact with and used what the people were good at. They did not destory what they came into contact with.

The Byzantine researchers have removed almost everything that made it a masjid. It stands now as a cold building, devoid of life, devoid of a spirit, devoid of a soul. The only thing that remains in the masjid are the amazing wooden boards that have the divine name Allah (mighty and majestic), the name of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the names of the four rightly guided khalifs, Hassan and Hussain (may Allah be pleased with them all) written on them.

The divine name is obscured by elaborate scaffolding that extents from the centre of the prayer area up to the main dome. As they chip through some of the most beautiful calligraphy that I have ever seen, in search of a picture of Mary the mother of Jesus.

In Spain, the masjid of Cordoba was changed into a church at the command of the Christian rulers after the removal of the final khalif in Spain.

I remembered the thoughts of a famous author who saw it and was repulsed by the injustice done by the work of the builders on the masjid. Nothing that the author wrote in his three hundred page book affected me like the paragraph he wrote on this. I knew if I ever went there that maybe I would feel the same repulsion but, at least, I would be prepared for it.

So it would not be a shock, I would have prepared myself. Nothing prepared me for what I saw in Hagia Sofia, every cell of my being was nauseated. One of the party who went with us and told us that it was turned into a museum, I did not believe them. When I saw this with my own eyes I was horrified. I knew that secularism was very deeply rooted into the Turkish experience but there are some lines that cannot be crossed. This was a line that had been crossed.

I knew that Kemal had cancelled so many things but after his death, other political parties came and changed a lot of things back to how they were. The main difference between the Hagia Sofia and the Masjid in Cordoba was the masjid was on land "re-conquered" and there was little we do about it. The Christian leaders had broke the agreement to allow the Muslims worship without hindrance and maintain their places of worship. The Hagia Sofia was given up, here you go, you want it? You can have it.

I could understand if it was a non Muslim country but in a Muslim country, I could not except it.

The following narration gave me much needed solace. Abu Hurayra reports that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ''Have you heard of a town of which a part is in the sea?'' ''Yes.'' they said. He said, "The last hour shall not occur till 70,000 of the children of Ishaq shall attack it. When they come to it, they (Muslims) will not fight with arms, nor throw arrows. They will only say; There is no god but Allah, Allah is the greatest, and then on of its sides will fall down. They will recite for the second time : there is no god but Allah, Allah is the greatest, and then another of its side will fall down. After that they will say it for the third time: there is no god but Allah and Allah is the greatest, and then it will be opened for them and they will enter and acquire booty. While they will be dividing the booty, a proclaimer will come to them and say, "The Dajjal has come out!" Then they will leave everything and return." (Muslim)

Istanbul is city that has parts divided by waters. In any part of the city you will be close to water and the seagulls come so close, that you can hear them and see them.

I was walking down a city lane (closeby) and I thought that I heard a child cry but looking around, there was no child visible. Then I realised it was not a child it was seagulls, their cries were unlike anything that I heard. I had heard seagulls before but they did not sound like any seagulls that I had heard before. It is something that I will not forget in a hurry. The cries of seagulls...

This is a picture of how the masjid used to be...

Friday, May 08, 2009

Sheikh Adib Al-Kallas

Please see the link to the biography of the great Hanafi Sheikh Adib Al-Kallas (may Allah preserve and protect him).

Or you can see the complete biography by clicking on this link...

Sunday, May 03, 2009