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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Umar ibn Abdulaziz and the Bedouin

They say that in the days of Umar ibn Abdulaziz a sever drought occurred. A party of Bedouins came to the court of Umar ibn Abdulaziz headed by a man who was to state their case, which was as follows, ‘The skin on our bodies is parched through lack of nourishment. Our relief is in your public funds. The money in the public treasury is of three kinds only: it belongs either to God or to his slaves or to you. If it belongs to God, he has no need of it, so give it to His slaves; if it belongs to God’s slaves, give it them: if it belongs to you, then (Quran 12:88) ‘Give it to us in charity. Truly, Allah recompenses the charitable.”

Tears came to the eyes of Umar ibn Abdulaziz, and he replied, ‘It is as you have said.’ Then he ordered that their needs be satisfied from the Treasury. The Nomad (spokesman) requested permission to leave, and Umar ibn Abdulaziz said to him, ‘O’ man, you have stated the case of God’s slaves to me. State my case likewise to Allah the exalted!’ The Bedouin turned his face to the sky and said, ‘O’ Lord. In your strength and glory do for Umar Ibn Abdulaziz what he has done for your slaves.’

At that very moment a cloud came up and rain began to fall. During the rainstorm a large hailstone came down, and dropped onto a baked brick and broke. Out of it came a letter, which said, ‘This is a warrant from me, Allah the exalted, to Umar ibn Abdulaziz. I have exempted Umar ibn Abdulaziz from the hellfire.’

Imam Ghazali Counsel for Kings p.68 translated by F.R.C. Bagley

See post on Supplication/Dua'

Umar ibn Abdulaziz (may bestow upon him mercy) was the khalifh of the Muslim world from 717-720. He is sometimes referred to as the fifth rightly guided khalifh.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Calling someone a disbeliever/Kafir

One of the worst things that a Muslim can do, is call his fellow Muslim a disbeliever/Kafir. This issue is the topic of our following post.

This happens far too much in many communities and groups. We seem to enjoy labelling groups of people at every given opportunity. We are concerned about this as it has become a common practice and we need to move away from this mentality.

There is not one group that is free from this, just about every group is doing this. We are not talking about scholars who warn about certain issues that need to be addressed. But do they need to be spoken about every time someone makes a public speech? It was fitna/tribulation in the past and now thanks to the over zealous its a modern issue.

The majority of people call each other Kafirs just because someone does not believe in what they are following or their group or there interpretation of an issue. So this is really about rejecting group mentalities not about rejecting Islam but so many of us reject what one group says and then call them Kafirs. This ignorance has to stop, it really does I am so tired of this backward mentality. The most shocking thing about this fact is that almost everyone is doing this! Irrespective of the group that they belong to, they are all doing it!

Reading the following prophetic narration should be enough to make you stop and think before you move your mouths next time:

 قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: أيما أمرئ قال لأخيه يا كافر فقد باء بها أحدهما، إن كان كما قال، وإلا رجعت عليه. رواه البخاري ومسلم.

Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (May Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “If a man addresses his brother as, ‘O’ Disbeliever,’ it returns to one of them; either it is as he said or it returns to him.” (Agreed upon – in both Bukhari 10/427 and Muslim 60)

Do you really want to take the chance of calling someone a disbeliever and this curse returning to you? Do you really want to take that chance? Are you really that sure of yourself? The curse of disbelief returns to the one who said it; if that person he labelled as a disbeliever was not worthy of that name. There are so many people who have not studied Islamic belief but find it totally acceptable to call someone a disbeliever. How can you when you have not studied Islamic belief? How can you be certain what is in people’s hearts? Don’t we remember what happened to Usama ibn Zaid (may Allah be pleased with them) when he killed a man who testified to Islam but this individual after testifing kept coming back to fight the Muslims? The Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) kept asking Usama if he looked into his heart? Usama was so upset that he almost wished that he had not accepted Islam. This is how severe this problem is.

Abu Dhar (may Allah be pleased with him) said that he heard the Messenger of God (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) say, “Whoever addresses a man as a disbeliever or calls him the enemy of God, and he is not, then it returns to him.” (Agreed upon Bukhari 10/377 Muslim 61)

Is this not enough for you to stop this nonsense? Are we following the Sunna of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessing upon him) or are we making up our own? As it seems that people have abandoned this Sunna a long, long time ago. I have yet to find a hadith that the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings be upon him) addressed anyone as a disbeliever but we find this word as easy to use as breathing.

If you have a disagreement with a brother on a certain issue then do not discuss it because it could get worse and thus cause a greater problem. Generally, it is disliked for scholars to debate never mind the average person! So your job as an average Muslim is to be bothered about what you can change; if you are not a scholar then you should not be discussing these issues!

Have we forgotten this Quranic passage?

"O you who believe! Let not a folk deride a folk who may be better than they (are), not let women (deride) women who may be better than they are; neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. Bad is the name of lewdness after faith. And whoso turneth not in repentance, such are evil-doers."

The Private Apartments 49:11

The average person who is not a scholar has an excuse for his mistakes but the scholar does not. Sitting in gathering where people slander other groups is not the Sunna this is something else. This is something that the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) warned us not to do. The question is why are we doing the opposite? It looks like we have abandoned the Sunna years ago and made up our own by calling people disbelievers. Most of the time people have no theological basis to call someone a kafir, none whatsoever.

Does missing pillars invalidate ones Islam?

This is an another unfortunate misconception. Missing one of the five pillars does not take someone out of the fold of Islam. Unless they deny it by saying I do not have to pray at all or words to that effect. A person who does not pray is a sinful but is still a Muslim. (see Fiqh Al-Akbar Abu Hanifa)

Faith is according to the Hanafis: affirmation of the tongue with belief in the heart. Imam Maturidis says someone can be a believer with Allah even though they have not affirmed it on their tongue.

The Asharis say belief is Affirmation of the tongue, belief in the heart and acting on the pillars of Islam. Now, the difference being that both groups do not consider a Muslim who does not pray to be a disbeliever. Rather, they are sinful but still believers. Some groups have said that someone who does not practice is not a believer but the majority of Sunni opinion of both Maturdi and Ashari's is that they are sinful.

He (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The difference between worship and disbelief, is leaving the prayer.” (Abu Dawud 361, Ibn Majah 1391 and Ahmed 21737.)

Ibn Abbas (upon him mercy) says disbelief here means ingratitude or rejecting blessing not actual disbelief. They are sinful but this sin does not cause them to leave Islam. Only the Khawarij and Muzilites consider them to be outside the fold of Islam but this opinion is widely rejected. Though there are some 'sunni' groups who are trying to encourage people to practice Islam by unearthing this incorrect opinion. The only sin that would take someone out of Islam is openly denying the testification of faith.

What can cause disbelief?

It is an action or words that there is no possible interpretation other than disbelief. Like someone saying there is no God or insulting one of the Prophets.

Ashari and Maturdis differ in this. The Asharis say if someone denies what is commonly known about Islam that constitutes to disbelief like denying fasting is an obligation in Ramadan. Please click here for detailed description about sins causing disbelief.

The Maturdis say anything that can be decisively proven that is mass transmitted. Not something that only a few people know anything about.

Please note every misguided group will claim kufr disbelief can be done easily and every correct group will say that it cannot be done unless there is no other possible positive interpretation. Also know many people are unaware about their belief so are liable to commit major wrong actions without know it. Each group have 'matters' which cause disbelief but that is not true outside that group. We need to look at the tradition as a whole and not in isolation. Anyone who follows one scholar in isolation will be misguided.

What people think is disbelief but it is not 

This is a sad list because what most people think is disbelief is not actual disbelief because it might be a major sin. 

- Rejection of a group methodology. It might not be a sin, it might be sin.

-Dress, hats, ties etc. There are many incorrect Fatwas that state wearing a particular type of dress is belief. This is also incorrect. It might be a major sin for Muslim to look like a priest but not disbelief.

- Transmitting a statement of disbelief is not disbelief. When warning or explaining to someone.

- Seeing a fortune teller or horoscopes is a major sin not disbelief. The hadith is a warning because it is singular.

- Despairing of the mercy of Allah (the Exalted) is a major sin but not kufr.

- Rejecting rare hadith. This is complicated, because it is only disbelief if it mass transmitted. Otherwise it could be a sin but not kufr to reject rare hadith when it opposes other stronger hadith. 

- There are things that are in books of fiqh and so forth, that the writer may deem as kufr but it is not kufr but major sin. He said it was kufr to stop people from doing it. So just because someone said doing 'X' is kufr, in a book, does not mean that is how it actually is.

Outwardly Muslim?

Ibn Daqiq Al-'Id said in commentary of the forty hadith of Imam Nawawi, "Al-Khattabi mentioned this, stating, “There are people who are outwardly Muslim but secretly disbelievers; we accept their outward Islam.’ This is the opinion of most of the scholars."

We do not pry about peoples faith. If they say that there are Muslim that is sufficient. The only exception is when there is a genuine reason to trust that.

Final points

After some reflection we would like to make our last point and this is aimed at some individuals. It is really quite shocking and disgusting to witness. Some people read statements of scholars or other people and then call them disbelievers. After such an act they then demand other people to call the scholar or person a disbeliver, if they do not follow them then they say, "He is a kafir and if you don't say he is a kafir that makes you a kafir!" Statements of disbelief can not be used as evidence to someones disbelief; this has been stated by the scholars of Islamic belief. Disbelief is that statement where there is no possibility of it meaning anything other than disbelief. Transmission of a statement of disbelief is not disbelief! So if someone transmitted a statement of disbelief from someone that does not make them a disbeliever nor does it make you a disbeliever, if you not call them a disbeliever!
Most of the people who are calling others disbelievers affirm one of their teachers claims and then they repeat it to others. The problem with this is that most of the cases that they are not disbelief, so the others repeat the mistakes of their teachers. This is nothing but a disaster. Even if you hear something but you are not taxed to repeat it nor should you. Stay quiet, really just stay quiet and do not repeat their mistakes lest you fall into the same problem.

A statement of disbelief has to be clear and without any other possible way of explaining it other than it being a statement of disbelief. If a statement is made we have to seek clarification because many a time people do not know what they are saying. Many people may repeat what they hear off television and not realise the meaning of what they have said. For these people we should leave them and not purse the matter because it might get worse.

How many times have great scholars of the past been attacked because of the ignorant who read their books and do not understand the terminology they use. Learn the frames of reference that scholars use then you will understand. Blurting off statements without understanding the frames of reference makes you look foolish.

The only person who can really judge someone is someone at their level. The man on the street who has yet to refrain from harming everyone he comes into contact with has no place to be standing judging anyone nevermind scholars!

This might be confusing to some but this happens a lot and it constantly shocks me when I hear it. I have heard this a lot and other people have asked me to call some Muslims disbelievers and when I refused, well you can guess what happened then. We need to stop this, we really do.

Also, if you call someone a disbeliever and you are wrong then the following occurs. You leave Islam and then your marriage is annulled, if you are married. So you have to repeat the testimony of faith and then re-new your marriage contract. This is not something you should take lightly. How many of us have left Islam, come back then not renewed our marriage contract and are therefore living in sin? Do you see the seriousness of this?

May Allah (Almighty and Majestic) forgive us all.

Read about the rights of Muslims click here

Some points about Doctrine/Aqida

Friday, January 15, 2010

Respecting scholars

Chapter Twenty One

This may be an obvious post about a subject that is well known and does not need to be spoken about. I have seen this recently and it needs re-iterating because it is really ugly.

No one should ever criticise another scholar, by name, when they are in the public domain. There is simply no excuse for it, none at all. If you do not like that teacher for whatever reason then hold your tongue and do not say anything. Do not do anything that could affect your learning because mocking scholars will make your learning harder.

One of the other points of respecting a scholar is respecting each others spiritual masters or murshids/sheikhs. Followers/murids of different leaders should not mock or debase other masters. This is not only wretched to hear about, it is even worse to see. So do not do this, ever.

If you have a negative feeling for a scholar, then hold it in and do not articulate it, ever.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How was the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) like the Quran?

We all know about the famous saying of Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) when she was asked about the character of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). But does anyone know the full narration?

Yazid ibn Babnus came to Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) and asked, "O' Mother of the believers; how was the character of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)? She said, "The character of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the Quran." Then she asked, "Do you recite the Believers?" (The Quranic chapter)

We said, "Yes."

She said, "Recite."

"Successful indeed are the believers; Who are humble in their prayers..." Until we reached, "Those who pay heed to their prayers." Then she said, "That is how the character of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was."

(Ibn Kathir in Shamail relating from Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Hakim in Mastadarak 2/613, Imam Ahmed 6/54 from Imam Baghawi's Anwar fi Shamail An-Nabi Al-Mukhar p.164-5)

The full passages of that section is as follows:

The Believers 23:1-10

"Successful indeed are the believers;

Who are humble in their prayers;

And who shun vain conversation;

And who are payers of the poor-due;

And who guard their modesty -Save from their wives or the (slaves) that their right hands possess, for then they are not blameworthy;

But whoso craveth beyond that, such are transgressors - and who are shepherds of their pledge and their covenant,

And who pay heed to their prayers."

Umar ibn Al-Khattab said when revelation come to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) the sound of bees could be heard from him; so we paused for a moment then he faced the prayer direction; raised his hands and said, "O' Allah increase us and do not decrease us; honour us and do not dishonour; give us and do not deprive us; let us effect and not be effected; make us happy with you and you happy with us." Then he said, "Ten passages were sent to me; whoever practices them enters paradise." Then he recited, "Successful indeed are the Believers..." Until he reached the tenth passage. Narrated At-Tirmidhi and An-Nisa'i.

The main point of the passages are: humbleness, avoiding vain speech, paying zakat, only having conjugational affairs with wedded partner (s) or servant and keeping up the prayer.

So the important point here is that he practiced the points mentioned (and many more besides) in the passages and this was what his character was like. His character was based on practicing the Quran and that is why his character is great, because he practiced what was send to him.

We are hoping to post something more about this and in sha Allah we will soon, keep visiting!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Women's reward in Paradise in Islam

Muslim Women’s reward in paradise

We were asked this question a number of months ago and gave what we thought was a reasonable answer but it has now become clear that more explanation is needed. What was the question? What is the reward of Muslim women in paradise?

Partly due to the inflated responses of some men, we have been compelled to write about this issue and I shall endeavor to clarify any misconceptions. Some men seem to think that it is absolutely fine to boast about the reward that they will get in paradise then put down any females by assuming that their reward is little. They say that they are going to get seventy two virgins and the woman will receive very little reward. A woman who asked us this question almost questioned if there was any reward for women in paradise. This came as a shock to us and we had to start to search to find answers.

Ponder these Quranic passages:
“Men who surrender unto Allah, and women who surrender, and men who believe and women who believe, and men who obey and women who obey, and men who speak the truth and women who speak the truth, and men who persevere (in righteousness) and women who persevere, and men who are humble and women who are humble, and men who give alms and women who give alms, and men who fast and women who fast, and men who guard their modesty and women who guard (their modesty), and men who remember Allah much and women who remember - Allah hath prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward.” (The Clans 33:35)

“Whoever acts righteously, whether male or female, and is a believer, him verily we shall revive with a goodly life.” (The Bee 16:97)

Gender has no relevance when striving for paradise. Also note that the women here are included in the vast reward. So what could we get in paradise? The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “In paradise there are things that no ear has heard, no eye has seen and no one could contemplate.” (Muslim 2825)

“For men there is a share of what they earned, and for women, a share of what they earned. Pray to Allah for His grace.” (The Women 4.32)

So women like their male counterparts will get their share of what they have strived for in the world and this will not be lost.

“So, whoever does the smallest good act will see it.” (The Earthquake 99:7)

What about in Paradise?

“For them, with their Lord, there is what they wish. That is the reward of those who are good in their deeds.” (The Troops 39:34)

We do not need to emphasize that this is for all the inhabitant of paradise; that they will have whatever they wish for and if they do not want something then it is their choice. It is your paradise and you can choose to have whatever you wish.

It is also narrated that the believing women of paradise are superior to the maidens of paradise by seventy degrees. (Tafsir As-Sharbini Vol 4 p. 181)

Note that in another hadith it states that if one of the maidens of paradise were to spit into the oceans that they would turn sweet. If this is the beauty of the maiden what then would be the beauty of the Muslim woman in paradise?

Hut Full?

They said that they will have a ‘hut of women’ and whatever their wills desire of carnal pleasures. They based their claim on this hadith:

وقال عبد الله بن وهب: أخبرنا عمرو: أن دراجاً أبا السمح حدثه عن أبي الهيثم عن أبي سعيد عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال"أدنى أهل الجنة منزلة الذي له ثمانون ألف خادم، واثنتان وسبعون زوجة، وتنصب له قبة من لؤلؤ وزبرجد وياقوت كما بين الجابية وصنعاء "
الترمذي من حديث عمرو بن الحارث به

Abu Sa’eed narrates that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “The lowest station of the inhabitants of Paradise will attain eighty thousand servants, seventy two spouses and erected for him is a dome of pearls, chrysolite and ruby, similar to the distance between Al-Jabiyyah and San’a.” Narrated Imam At-Tirmidhi with a sound chain – Hassan Gharib.

Whenever I get a question that confuses me I try to look at the original sources and then use this as a base for my answers. Now their claim is that men get this reward and not the women. My first problem is that the hadith says ‘Ahl Al-Janna’ which we have translated as the inhabitants of paradise. Does this not include women? It must and it must also include Jinn. Note the hadith is Hassan Gharib which is a hadith that has a sound chain but has come to us from two chains of narrators. The next problem is the word ‘zawjah’ or spouses, which has been translated as women. We can understand this but if you look towards the rules in Arabic for the use of the number seventy, which precedes it, what follows must be a feminine singular noun. This leads us to say that this hadith includes women and Jinn, for the above reasons, to have multiple partners in paradise.

We can also examine the Quranic chapter the Heffer (2:25) which states, “They have purified partners, in there, and abide therein forever.” Partners (azawaj), as Zaynab Ansari rightly pointed out, is not gender specific.

Final Remarks

I would like to say this issue is somewhat a distraction to the concern that we should have which is what are we doing to make ourselves worthy of attaining it. That is what we shall be concerned with.

It really annoys me when some men deem deen to be a ‘man’ thing and that the women should stay at home. This is one of the reasons why men are no longer what they used to be because we have no women who can teach them the religion! If there are facilities for women then use them and accommodate them because other groups will get them and then where would we be!

So please brothers do not make Muslim women’s life harder by pointing out how many partners you will have and remember that they will have what they wish for as well. Paradise is for everyone and in paradise women will be rightly rewarded for putting up with us men!! Hmm, that reward could be endless if they are anything like me!

I would like to finish this post with this hadith:

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) once said, "Whoever enters Heaven shall find comfort and no distress; his garments shall not grow threadbare, neither shall his youth ever come to an end. In Heaven there shall be that which no eyes has seen, no ear has heard and which has never occured to mortal mind."

(Ibn Al-Mubarak, 512; Al-Bayhaqi, Ba'th from Remembrance of Death translation by Abdul Hakim Murad p.241)

There is no distress, no pain, no sadness in Paradise.

See my translation of a book about Paradise -What no eye has seen
Click here or here

Can women visit graves?

Treatment of Women in Islam

Commentary on 40 hadith about tribulation click here

Commentary on 17 benefits of tribulation click here

Commentary on 40 hadith of Imam Nawawi click here

Friday, January 01, 2010

Harm from others when learning

Chapter Twenty

Now that you are studying be prepared for harm from people. This can manifest itself in a number of different ways. Someone can belittle you when speaking about an issue which you have studied and they have not. Typically, someone may be talking to you about an issue and insist that what they said was correct. As well as denying what you have said even though it may be the soundest position.

They may not be aware that you have studied these issues or they may want to show their intelligence to you, by informing you about something that they think you do not know. This is bad enough with a student but with a scholar it's much worse. So use the appropriate manners by saying something like, I know you already know this... Then continue your statement or question.

If you are speaking with someone who has studied the religion with trusted scholars over the years; know that your opinion or what you have read in a book a few days ago may not be correct.

Also note that people may be jealous that you are studing with a certain scholar or a certain text. So be aware of this, you need to keep an eye on this. Although, it does not happen often because most people are unaware of the benefits of scared knowledge and the blessings that it brings. Even if you told you them what you are studying they may not know what it is!

You may also be subject to harm from other students which is something that you must bear in mind when you are around other students. Try your best to over look this type of behaviour and focus on your studies.