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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Islam and Charles Dickens

Arab/Turkish/Islamic references in the literature of Charles Dickens

Seems a strange title, right? Well, it’s not as strange as the facts that we are about to present. As we all know the truth can be stranger than fiction. And in this case there are strange facts in fiction!

It is my belief that Europe was heavily influenced by writings in Arabic coming from their interaction with the Muslim world. This occurred for centuries much like western literature and movies do now until there was a deliberate move to remove anything that indicated that there was an outside influence. We think that it occurred somewhere in the 19th century or even earlier than that.

Here are the references that we have found:

There are references to the Arabian nights text which is interesting as the first translation was a French one then an English one in the 18th centuries. So what language were they reading it in?

David Copperfield

“Perhaps some Arabian-night magician opened the place for the day...” p.397 Penguin popular classics Chapter 33 Blissful.

A tale of two cities
'If thou be changed into this shape by the will of God,' say the seers to the enchanted, in the wise Arabian stories,108 'then remain so! ...p.317

Great Expectations
“Sketchy airy pictures of himself conducting Clara Barley to the land of the Arabian nights...”

Little Dorrit

“Brought for forty purses by one of the princes of Arabian Nights..”
P.447 Wordsworth classics

The Old Curiosity Shop
“Do you feel like the Grand Turk?”

The Ottoman Sultan?

“If this is not a dream. I have woke up, by mistake, in an Arabian Night.”

A somewhat fazed description of ablution

Oliver Twist
“A Turk turns his face, after washing it well, to the East, when he says his prayers...”

Hard Times
Nothing at all!

More ramblings

Barnaby Rudge

“And hear her child recommended to peruse the adventures of a Turk and a Mussulman.” P342. Penguins

“Mussulman: Muslim, follower of Islam, natural: One naturally deficient in intellect, a fool or idiot. natural children: Illegitimate children. ...” p.716

“... a fabulous bird of stupendous size that appears several times in The Arabian Nights. round-house: Lock-up or place of detention. runts, fantails...”(ibid)

Selected Short stories

“Abd-al-Kedir (1807-83) an Arab leader noted for his skilful battles against the French...” in note 3 on page 417 referring to page 142.

“A Tobbaco-smokey French man in Algerine wrapper, peaked hood behind, who might be Abd-el-Kedir..”
p.142 Penguin

Amir AbdulQadir who fought the French occupation of Algeria for many years. So he may have gained some notoriety in England because he defeated the French so much!

Christmas books

“The lady makes signs to the tow kings in the tree, who softy descend. It is the setting of the Arabian nights.”
Hurd and Houghton

Martin Chuzzlewit
“And there was Abudah, the merchant, with the terrible little old woman hobbling out of the box in his bedroom: and there was a mighty talisman – the rare Arabian Nights – with Cassim Babba.”
P. 78 Penguin classics

Baba Qasim?
“Arab Steed.”

Arabian Steed

Dombey and Son
“It’s an Arabian night: that’s what it is,” said Richard. “I am in Damascus or Grand Cairo.”
P.251 Binglow, brown and Co.

Nicholas Nickleby
Wordsworth Classics
"A silver spoon in a Morocco case.."
Another evidence of trade.

"Yellow turban..."
Yellow turbans were worn by the Angels at the Battle of Badr and this again shows proof of trade from either the Arab world or from India.

"He was dressed in a gorgeous morning gown, with a waistcoat and Turkish trousers..."

Relaxing again!

"Lounging on an ottoma..."
Where do you think Ottoman style of furniture comes from?!

"Timour the Tartar.."
A reference to Tamerlane (1336-1405.d).

"Ferocious Turk."
More bad press!

A Christmas Carol

"Why it's Ali Baba!" "It's dear old honest Ali Baba!"

"And the Sultan's groom turned upside by Genii,"

Food evidence of trade

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

"A Turkish sweetmeat, sir."

The influence of Islam runs so deep in the Europe that it takes some digging to find jewels but then again you are not going to find jewels on the ground you are going to find them deep in the ground!

Also note that it is very difficult to gauge a culture. He would not have put references to things that people had no knowledge of. Yes, he would've wrote about things that people had not known but if he gave a cultural reference to something then he would've expected it to be understood. Given that most of his works were published in parts in newspapers the readership must've known something about Islam.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Feet feelers – beware!

If you see me in the masjid and I have come into a line of the congregation, please do not touch my foot with yours!! I know that you feel that it is your duty to touch my foot and that you must move your foot in prayer so you can touch my foot. Please do not do it.

I do realise that there is no mention of touching the feet by all of the greatest minds of Islam. The exception is one group who ‘think’ that everyone ‘missed’ the hadith! This is backbiting against all the scholars who preceded us.

The real problem I have about this is that when someone comes and stands next to me then pushes their foot next to mine, the whole point of the prayer is gone! I was concentrating on my prayer before you came and stood on my foot. Now, all I am going is thinking why is he touching my foot? Worse still is when I move my feet away then they move their feet closer! So the whole prayer is ruined because I am not attaining anything from the prayer. All I am doing is avoiding your foot!

So please brother don’t touch my feet with yours. It annoys me and puts me off my prayer. Fine, if you want to touch feet then do it with your friends but don’t do it to me!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

When imparting knowledge

Chapter Twenty Four

When you reach a point that you can teach a certain science or law it becomes obligatory for you to teach it. So try to find people that you can teach this can be anyone.

One of the most important things that you will realise is that you will be repeating your knowledge over and over again. In some cases you will be repeating the same answer to the same person, several times.

Sometimes when you have answered a question, the questioner will feel that you have not answered the question and will keep asking you the same question. This is some of the types of things that you’ll face when teaching.

Also know that you will face attacks from people who are less knowledgeable than yourself. Sometimes it’s out of arrogance and other times its out of ignorance. Either way you have to be prepared for complaints against your knowledge even complaints against you.

This is part of the path of knowledge that there are many thorns in your way when teaching. It is not simply about getting the best seat in the room and delivering the lesson. You will face attacks and you have to be ready for them.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf

Be Peacemakers

Islam and Shakespeare

Islam and Shakespeare
The Arab/Turkish/Islamic influence in Shakespeare

In the book ‘What Islam did for us’ Tim Wallace Murphy states, (P.215) “European culture owes an immense and immeasurable debt to the world of Islam.” Elsewhere he states, (ibid) “We in the West owe a debt to the Muslim world that can never be repaid.”

What is this debt? What is it exactly that the West owes to Muslim world? The author does not elaborate and I feel that it was necessary for him to do so because we cannot fully appreciate what he means until we find out what he knows. 

Another historical account is the threat of Queen Victoria to abdicate, if more was not done to assist the Ottomans. These jewels of the past need to be unearthed and placed for people to see that Islam effected the course of more things than the media and others give us credit for. 

This is an attempt to look at the Islamic and Arab influences in the works of the great playwright William Shakespeare. He must have lived in a time when Islamic culture had permeated the western world. Yet, this is not documented anywhere nor is it spoken about. One of the best commentaries of any time are the works of literacy and looking into them can help us understand something that we have all lost in the great wastelands of time.

We do believe that there was a conscience effort in the 18th and 19th centuries to remove anything that related to Islam from the modern western world. This was done by forwarding works that had Islamic influences but were not sourced. So the stories that they took were hidden away and their own works replaced them. This is not only about literature this is about other aspects such as science, philosophy and much more.


For example in the Shakespeare play Macbeth the following appears: Lady Macbeth, “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand." (Act five scene one) 

This extraordinary piece of information must have meant something to the people who say the play; as his plays were aimed at the average person. So perfumes from Arabia must have reached a level of fame that others would know instantly what he meant without explaination. There are no footnotes or other explanatory notes to explain this but someone in our time would have difficulty understanding it. Macbeth was said to be written between 1603-07 and if history books are to be believed then there was very little contact between Britain and the Islamic World but this small quote proves that all wrong. There must have been some contact or at least some trade that have a reached a notoriety that average people knew about. It could possibly compared to Curry in our time, an item that is from the East but has arrived at a level of notoriety that the average man would know what you meant when you said, “Let’s go for a curry.” So the area of research in terms of literature would be something that would be worth pursing by examining any available texts of that time.

Merchant of Venice

The Prince of Morocco has a speaking part, albeit small, but it’s there. This shows us again that the culture of Venice must had Muslims trading there which is also significant. In act 2 scene one ‘a tawny moor’ all in white speaks. This is an accurate depiction of Muslim dress as it is part of Islamic tradition to wear white as it was recommended by the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) himself.

He says, “Mislike me not for my complexion,” the commentary referring to the dark colour of the Moor. Moors are generally depicted as black men who marauded their way into parts of Europe. Though he could have been Berber or Arab. Strangely the text states that his attire was all white and in a BBC adaptation, he wore black!

He also comments on his bravery fighting for Sultan Solyman, who can be without doubt, a reference to Suleman the magnificent; he being one of the greatest of the Ottoman Sultans. It is also interesting that Suleman died in 1566 and this story was written between 1596-8; more than thirty years after his death. So if this prince had fought for the Sultan then he would have been very old at least in his sixties. As the Sultan died at the age of 71. He also speaks about fighting the Persians which is also interesting because the Ottomans fought against the Shia Safavid Empire, many times. So Shakespeare was aware of this as must, at least some, of his audience. The Sultan also employed a naval army in the Mediterranean region.

King Henry the Sixth Part one

At the end of scene two
“Was Mahomet inspired with a dove?”

According to the Arden Shakespeare series on this work edited by Edward Burns p. 140 It refers to the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon, “Sceptical Elizabethan accounts of his powers, following a medieval tradition, allege that he attracted a dove to appear to speak to him by lodging corn in his ear.”

Scene three

“This be Damascus, be thou cursed Cain, To slay thy brother Abel, if thou wilt.”
Damascus being the place where Cain killed his brother Abel Genesis 4.8.

King Richard the Third

Scene V
“What, think you we are Turks or infidels?”
After Richard ordered the execution of another person. A response due to misrepresentation of the Ottoman empire.

Titus Andronicus

Has a character called Aaron but this more likely to be a follower of the Jewish tradition and the play is set in Rome and not in the authors time.

The Comedy of Errors
Act four Scene 1
“That’s cover’d o’er with Turkish tapestry.”
A possible reference to a tapestry made by the Ottomans and this indicates to a luxury item of cloth. Tapestry was a mode of communication and in British history none was more famous than the Bayeux tapestry.

King John
Act 2 Scene 1
“Richard, that robb’d the lion of his heart and fought the holy wars in Palestine.”
More war propaganda. 

The Taming of the Shrew
Act 2 Scene 1

“Fine linen, Turkey cushions bost with pearl.”
More proof of trade between England and the Ottoman Empire.

King Richard the Second
Act 4 Scene 1
“Streaming the ensign of the Christian cross; against black pagans, Turks and Saracens.”
More Crusader vigour as well as racism.

King Henry the fourth Part one
Act 1 Scene 2
“What say’st thou to a hare, or the melancholy of a Moor-ditch?”
A ditch that used to surround the city of London.

King Henry the Fourth Part two
Act 2 Scene 3
“And every word a lie, duer paid to the hearer than the Turk’s Tribute.”
Act 5 scene 3
“This is the English, not the Turkish court.”
Two references which are unclear.

King Henry the Fifth
Act 1 scene 2
“Like the Turkish mute, shall have a tongueless mouth.”
A reference to the play Bajazet which is about the Ottoman Sultan Bayezud I 1360-1403.
Act 5 scene 2
“Compound a boy, half French, half English, that shall go to Constantinople and take the Turk by the beard?”
The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople modern day Istanbul still ringing in their ears.
Also reference to the beard which is interesting because beards were common place in England, at the time.

Act 3 Scene 2
“If the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me.”
Another reference.

He is described as a moor most likely he was a Muslim yet he fights against the Ottomans in Cyprus which even now remains disputed somewhat.
Act 1 Scene 3
“The Ottomites reverend and gracious.”
“Valiant Othello we must straight employ you against the general enemy Ottoman.”
“These moors are unchangeable in their wills.”
Proof that the Muslims did not break their treaties.

Act5 scene2
“Drop tears as fast as the Arabian Trees; their medicinable gum.”
Maybe gum tree or even Miswak tree?

Antony and Cleopatra
Act 3 scene 2

“O Anthony! O thou Arabian bird.”
The Phoenix.

Act 4 scene 2
“I would my son were in Arabia, and thy tribe before him.”
Arabian culture.

King Henry the eighth
Act 1 scene 1
“They made Britain India.”
In reference to their new trade route that by passed the Ottomans.

The phoenix and the turtle
“Let the bird of loudest lay; on the sole Arabian tree; herald sad and trumpet be; to whose sound chaste wings obey.”

And on that final note I bid you good morrow and good night!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf

Shaykh Murabtal Haaj’s Fatwa on Following One of the Four Accepted Madhhabs
Translated by Hamza Yusuf Hanson
[Note: Hyperlinks within this document are links to footnotes at the bottom of the page]

In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Amongst the most important replies that I have given, is my reply concerning the one who has deviated to the point where he censures the importance of studying the branches [furu'] of jurisprudence, and we seek refuge in Allah from the deviation of such a wandering deviant. Would that he simply had claimed independent reasoning (ijtihad) for himself only, and Allah is his reckoner, but abandoned the call of Muslims to leave that which is incumbent upon them. In our reply to such a one, we make mention what the scholars of the methodological bases of Islamic jurisprudence (usuli’un) and the Imams of jurisprudence themselves have said about such a matter. As for my labelling him a deviant, it is only because he has desired to impose upon common people the precious rank of absolute independent reasoning [ijtihad], about which Muhammad an-Nabigha said,
And ijtihad in the land of the Moroccans,
The western phoenix has taken to flight with it.

I say in reply, that the following of qualified scholarship (taqlid) is an obligation on anyone other than an absolute mujtahid. I shall make mention of all his prerequisites if Allah wills. [Sidi Abdullah Ould Hajj Ibrahim] has said in his Maraqi as-Sa’ud:
“[taqlid] is necessary for other than the one who has achieved the rank of absolute ijtihad. Even if he is a limited [mujtahid] who is unable [to perform absolute ijtihad].”

Commenting on this line, [Sidi Abdullah] said in Nashru al-bunud,
“It means that taqlid is an obligation on anyone who is not an absolute mujtahid, even if he has achieved the limited rank of ijtihad muqayyad . . . [until he says], ‘And ask the people of the reminder, if you yourselves do not know.’”
By using the line of Muhammad an-Nabigha above, I am in no way claiming that all ijtihad has been severed in every land; how [could I say such a thing] when [Sidi Abdullah] says in Maraqi as-sa’ud:
“The earth will never be void of a mujtahid scholar until its very foundations shake.”

He also said,
“[Regarding] the necessity of binding to a specific madhhab, the [scholars] have mentioned its obligation upon anyone falling short [of the conditions of ijtihad].”

He says in Nashru al-bunud,
“It means that it is incumbent for whoever falls short of achieving the rank of absolute ijtihad to follow a particular madhhab.”
Again, in Maraqi as-Sa’ud, Sidi Abdullah says,
“The consensus today is on the four, and all have prohibited following [any] others.”
He says in Nashru al-bunud,
“This means that the consensus of the scholars today is on the four schools of thought, and I mean by the schools of Malik, Abu Hanifa, Shafi’i and Ahmad. Indeed, all of the scholars have prohibited following any other school of an independent and absolute mujtahid since the eighth century when the school of Dawud adh-Dhahiri died out and until the 12th Century and all subsequent ones.”
In the chapter concerning inferential reasoning, from Maraqi as-sa’ud, [Sidi Abdullah] says,
“As for the one who is not a mujtahid, then basing his actions on primary textual evidence [Qur’an and hadith] is not permissible.”

He says in Nashru al-bunud,
“It means that it is prohibited for other than a mujtahid to base his actions upon a direct text from either the Book or the Sunna even if its transmission was sound because of the sheer likelihood of there being other considerations such as abrogation, limitations, specificity to certain situations, and other such matters that none but the mujtahid fully comprehends with precision. Thus, nothing can save him from Allah the Exalted excepted following a mujtahid.

Imam al-Qarafi says,
‘And beware of doing what some students do when they reason directly from the hadith, and yet they don’t know their soundness, let alone what has been mentioned [by the Imams] concerning the subtleties involved in them; by doing this, they went astray and led others astray. And whoever interprets a verse or hadith in a manner that deviates from its intended meaning without proof [dalil] is a kafir.’”

As for the conditions of the absolute and independent ijtihad, they are mentioned in the Maraqi as-sa’ud in the following line and what follows:

“And that [word ‘faqih’2] is synonymous with the [word] ‘mujtahid’ coupled with those things which bear upon [him] the burden of responsibility,
Such as his being of extreme intelligence by nature, and there is some debate about one who is known to reject juristic analogy [qiyas]
He knows the [juristic] responsibilities through intellectual proofs unless a clear transmitted proof indicates otherwise.

[Sidi Abdullah] says [in his commentary] Nashru al-bunud,
“This means that among the conditions of ijtihad is that [the mujtahid] knows that he must adhere to the intellectual proof which is the foundational condition [al-bara’atu al-asliyya3] until a transmitted proof from a sacred law indicates otherwise.”

He then goes on to mention the other conditions of a mujtahid:
[The sciences of] grammar, prosody, philology, combined with those of usul and rhetoric he must master.
According to the people of precision, [he must know] where the judgements can be found without the condition of having memorized the actual texts.

[All of the above must be known] according to a middle ranked mastery at least. He must also know those matters upon which there is consensus.

[Moreover, he must know] things such as the condition of single hadiths and what carries the authority of great numbers of transmissions; also [knowledge of] what is sound and what is weak is necessary.
Furthermore, what has been abrogated and what abrogates, as well as the conditions under which a verse was revealed or a hadith was transmitted is a condition that must be met.

The states of the narrators and the companions [must also be known]. Therefore, you may follow anyone who fulfils these conditions mentioned above according to the soundest opinion.

So, consider all of the above-mentioned, and may Allah have mercy upon you, and [may you] see for yourself whether your companion is characterized by such qualities and fulfils these conditions—and I highly doubt it. More likely, he is just pointing people to himself in his demands that the people of this age take their judgements directly from the Book and Sunna. If, on the other hand, he does not possess the necessary conditions, then further discussion is useless.

In Muhammad ‘Illish’s, Fath al-‘Ali al-Malik, there are many strong rebukes for those who wish to force people to abandon the study of the judicial branches and take directly from the Book and the Sunna. The actual text of the question put to him is as follows:

“What do you say about someone who was following one of the four Imams, may Allah the Exalted be pleased with them, and then left claiming that he could derive his judgements directly form the Qur’an and the soundly transmitted hadiths, thus leaving the books of jurisprudence and inclining towards the view of Ahmad bin Idris? Moreover, he says to the one who clings to the speech of the Imams and their followers, “I say to you ‘Allah and His Messenger say’, and you reply ‘Malik said’ and ‘Ibn al-Qasim said’ or ‘Khalil said.’”

To this, Imam ‘Illish replies:
“My answer to this all this is as follows: Praise be to Allah, and Prayer and Safety be upon our Master Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah. It is not permissible for a common person to abandon following the four Imams and take directly from the textual sources of the Qur’an and the hadiths for the simple reason that this entails a great many conditions that have been clarified in the books of usul. Moreover, these conditions are rarely met by the great scholars, especially in these last days in which Islam has become a stranger just as it began a stranger.”

Ibn ‘Uyyana, may Allah be pleased with him, has said,
“The hadiths are a source of error except for the jurists.”
What he means is that people, other than the scholars, might interpret a tradition based on an apparent meaning, and yet [the hadith may] have another interpretation based on some other hadith that clarifies the meaning or some proof that remains hidden [to the common people]. After a long discussion, he remarks,
“That as for their saying, ‘How can you leave clear Qur’anic verses and sound hadiths and follow the Imams in their ijtihads, which have a clear probability of error,’”

His answer to them is as follows:
“Surely the following of our [rightly guided] Imams is not abandoning the Qur’anic verses or the sound hadiths; it is the very essence of adhering to them and taking our judgements from them. This is because the Qur’an has not come down to us except by means of these very Imams [who are more worthy of following] by virtue of being more knowledgeable than us in [the sciences of] the abrogating and abrogated, the absolute and the conditional, the equivocal and the clarifying, the probabilistic and the plain, the circumstances surrounding revelation and their various meanings, as well as their possible interpretations and various linguistic and philological considerations, [not to mention] the various other ancillary sciences [involved in understanding the Qur’an] needed.

“Also, they took all of that from the students of the companions (tabi’in) who received their instruction from the companions themselves, who received their instructions from the Lawgiver himself, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, divinely protected from every mistake, who bore witness that the first three generations of Muslims would be ones of virtue and righteousness. Furthermore, the prophetic traditions have also reached us through their means given that they were also more knowledgeable than us through their means given that they were also more knowledgeable than those who came after them concerning the rigorously authenticated (sahih), the well authenticated (hasan), and the weak (da’if) channels of transmission, as well as the marfu’u4, mursal5, mutawatir6, ahad7, mu’dal8 and gharib9 transmissions.

“Thus, as far as this little band of men is concerned, there is only one of two possibilities: either they are attributing ignorance to Imams whose knowledge is considered by consensus to have reached human perfection as witnessed in several traditions of the truthful Lawgiver, upon him be prayers and peace, or they are actually attributing misguidance and lack of din to Imams who are all from the best of generations by the testimony of the magnificent Messenger himself, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Surely, it is not the eyes that are blind, but blind are the hearts in our breasts.

As for their saying to the one who imitates Malik, for example, “We say to you ‘Allah says’ or ‘the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, says’ and you reply, ‘Malik says’, or ‘Ibn al-Qasim says’, or ‘Khalil says’, for example,” our response is that the follower who says, “Malik says . . . etc.,” means that, “Malik says based on his deep understanding of the Word of Allah, or of the words of the Messenger, or of those firmly adhering to the actions of the companions, or of the tabi’in who understood clearly the Word of Allah and the word of the Messenger of Allah or took their example from the actions of His Messenger.” And the meaning of [a follower] saying “Ibn al-Qasim said . . .” is that he has [faithfully] transmitted what Malik said based on his understanding of the Word of Allah or of what Ibn al-Qasim himself understood from the word of Allah the Most Exalted. And the meaning of him saying, “Khalil said . . . .”, for example, is that he is transmitting only from those [Imams] aforementioned. As for Malik and Ibn al-Qasim, they are both Imams whose spiritual and judicial authority is agreed upon by unanimous consensus of this Umma; and they are both from the best of generations.

As for the one who leaves their leadership and says, “Allah said and His Messenger said . . . ,” he has relied solely on his own understanding despite the fact that he is incapable of having any precision in the verses and hadiths that he quotes since he is unable even to provide chains of transmission [with any authority], let alone that he lacks knowledge concerning the abrogated, the absolute and the conditional, the ambiguous and the clarifying, the apparent and the textual, the general and the specific, the dimensions of the Arabic and the cause for revelation, the various linguistic considerations, and other various ancillary sciences needed. So, consider for yourself which is preferable: the word of a follower who simply quotes the understanding of Malik, an Imam by consensus—or the word of this ignoramus who said “Allah said and His Messenger said . . . .” But it is not the sight that goes blind, but rather the hearts in our breasts.

Furthermore, know that the origin of this deviation is from the Dhahiriyya10 who appeared in Andalucia [Muslim Spain] and whose power waxed from a period until Allah obliterated all traces of them until this little band of men set about to revive their beliefs. Imam al-Barzuli said, “The first one ever to attack the Mudawwana11 was Sa’id bin al-Haddad .”

If you consider carefully the above-mentioned texts, you will realize that the one who censures you from following [the Imams] is truly a deviant. And I am using the word “deviant” to describe them only because the scholars [before me] have labelled this little band and their view (madhhab) as deviant. Moreover, you should know that those who condemn your adherence to the Imams have been fully refuted by Muhammad al-Khadir bin Mayyaba with the most piercing of refutations, and he himself called them, in his book, “the people of deviation and heterodoxy.” He called his book, Refuting the people of deviation of heterodoxy who attack the following [taqlid] of the Imams of independent reasoning, and I used to have a copy but no longer do. So, my brother, I seriously warn you from following the madhhab of these people and even from sitting in their company, unless there is an absolute necessity, and certainly from listening to anything they have to say, because the scholars have declared their ideas deviant.

Ibn al-Hajj says in his book, al-Madkhal,
“Umar ibn al-‘Aziz said, ‘Never give one whose heart is deviant access to your two ears, for surely you never know what may find fixity in you.’”

I ask Allah to make you and me from those who listen to matters and follow the best of them.
Murabtal Haaj, Mauritania


1. Ahmad ibn Idris Shihabudin as-Sanhaji al-Qarafi al-Maliki was born in Egypt in the seventh Century, and died there in the year 684. He was one of the greatest Maliki scholars who ever lived and is especially known for his work in methodology and law (usul al-fiqh). He was a master of the Arabic language and has remarkable works in grammar. His book adh-Dhakhira is a magisterial 14 volume work recently published in the Emirates, that looks at Maliki fiqh with proofs from usuli sources. He is buried in Qarafi in Egypt near Imam as-Shafi’i. May Allah have mercy on them both

2. Sidi Abdullah says in his commentary on this line that the faqih is synonymous with mujtahid in the science of usul. There are different types of faqih. A faqih according to the scholars of usul is anyone who has achieved the rank of ijtihad. According to the scholars of furu’u, a faqih is anyone who has reached the level of knowledge in which he can give valid juristic opinion. This latter definition is important considering endowments that are given to fuqaha. See Nashur al-bunud `ala maraqi as-sa’ud, kitab al-ijtihad fi al-furu’u (1409 Hijrah. Beirut: Maktabat al-Kutub. p.309)

3. The foundational condition is that a human being is not asked by Allah to do anything other than those things which have a firm proof through the transmission of the prophets, peace be upon them, and that the human being is only accountable for those things in which there is clear responsibility. All other matters are considered permissible because of the lack of a proof indicating their impermissibility.

4. The transmission (sanad) goes to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) the hadith came from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

5. A tabi’i related it from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace); a companion (sahabah) is missing from the line of the transmission.

6. The hadith comes from so many sources that it is an absolute proof.

7. A hadith, that at some point in the line of transmission, has only one narrator.

8. Two people in a row are missing in the chain of narrators.

9. The narrator of the hadith is trustworthy, but no one else related the hadith.

10. The Dhahiriyya followed Daw’ud ad-Dhahiri’s madhhab.

11. Mudawwana: Imam Malik’s work of fiqh

Thursday, September 09, 2010


If all you have got, this Ramadan, is that you know your Naafs better then you have attained a great deal of good. Any desires that you had in Ramadan either came because of your habituation to them or that they came from the Naafs/Ego.

Realise that you can differentiate between what your Naafs is calling to and what satan is calling to. Satan gets the raw end of the deal sometimes as he gets the blame for our wrong actions. When all he does is see the desire in us to commit sins and then says go for it. Even though we have lead ourselves to that sin and when we pause, then he comes but do we blame our Naafs for leading us there? Most of us do not and many are unaware of this.

What is the Cure?

Read Imam Ghazali’s work on Breaking the two desires from Ihya Ulum Ud-Din. In it are many cures that need to be taken.

Sometimes denying oneself permissible things prevents one from moving to excess. Being excessive in permissible matters can cause one to fall into prohibited actions. For example if someone consumes too much food that can cause health problems.

Know that denying the Naafs is a path to Paradise. So do not be alarmed or upset about the result of finding out what it is really like. We all have one and we are all in the same boat. Yet, you are lucky because you know what to do now and so many people are totally unaware of difference hence cannot do anything about it.

The Naafs is like a child and must be trained. This does not happen overnight it takes time. You always have to be aware of this and be on guard. You may also which to read what we have written about Taqwa as that is also relevant to this topic. Also have a read about satan’s post Ramadan trick.



One of the secrets of Eid is that it is a time of gratitude and after satan has spent a month tied up he gets more grief when we celebrate Eid! We are grateful that we can eat again and we rejoice in visiting family and friends. Had there been no celebration then the day after fasting ended may have seemed pointless and may have caused satan to fight back strongly instead he gets further weakened as we celebrate thus getting stronger.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Ibn Rajab

Ibn Rajab Selection
Translated by Imam Zaid Shakir

In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

Ibn Rajab, May Allah Have Mercy on him, says in Lata'if al-Ma'arif:

In that Satan has been chained up during the month of Ramadan; and the fires of the carnal lusts have died down due to fasting; and the authority of the soul's vain inclination has been placed in isolation, and power has been turned over to the rule of the intellect, which rules justly; the sinner now has no excuse.

The clouds of heedlessness! Disperse from over the hearts.
The suns of piety and faith! Rise for this new day.
The pages wherein are recorded the deeds of the Fasting people! Elevate yourselves.
The hearts of the fasters! Be filled with humility.
The feet of those exerting themselves strenuously in their devotions! Prostrate to your Lord and bow in humility to Him.
The eyes of those passing the night in prayer! Do not sleep.
The sins of the penitent! Do not return.
The earth of the soul's vain inclinations! Absorb your water.
The sky of the elevated souls! Hold back your rain.
The lightning of longing for the Divine! Shine for the lovers of God.
The intimate thoughts of the Gnostics! Graze in the pastures of Godly bliss.
The aspirations of all who love other than God! May you find no contentment with your imperfect beloved.
Junayd! Be overjoyed.
Shibli! Come quickly.
Rabi'a! Listen carefully.

During these days the tables of Divine Blessings have been spread out for the fasters, and there is no one who has not been invited to the feast. The Almighty says, "O our folk! Respond to the caller of God." Al-Ahqaf: 31

O the lofty spiritual aspirations of the believers! Hasten. Paradise is for one who responds promptly and attains the blessings. Woe unto whomsoever is turned away at the door, and misses the invitation.

May Allah bless us all to respond to the invitation He extends to us during this blessed month.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sheikh Muhammad Makki al-Kittani
Translated by Arfan Shah

We present the biography of the virtuous Sheikh Muhammad Makki Al-Kittani (may Allah show him mercy) leader of the Syrian scholars. He is described by Sheikh Abu Fatah Abu Ghuda in the biography of the Sheikh Al-Kaffi in his book “Bachelor Scholars” page two hundred and sixty eight; he mentioned Shiekh As-Sayyid Makki Al-Kittani, “He is our teacher As-Sayyid As-Sharif Al-Jalil Sheikh Makki Al-Kittani (may Allah show him mercy) of Damascus; gatherer of virtue; inheritor of giants; exemplar; refuge of the scholars in leadership; virtuous intention in easing the difficulties; Spirit of Syria and one of its scholars; the refuge of the people from tribulations and harm and when his light went, his light did not re-emerge.”

Birth and upbringing

As-Sayyid Muhammad Al-Makki ibn Imam Muhammad ibn Idress Al-Kittani Al-Idressi Al-Hassani was born Fez (Maroc) in the year 1312 h/1894 ce. His lineage is traced back to our master Al-Hassan ibn Ali (may Allah be pleased with them).
The clothing that God dressed him is piety, love of knowledge, love of scholars from an early age. Brought up in a house of knowledge, happiness and honour. He was under much care and studied knowledge with his father; likewise he studied in Qaraween grand masjid. He continued from a childhood to maturity by the indication of his father. So he became skilled in swimming, shooting, horse riding, fishing, swordsmanship.

His trip to Medina and Egypt:

He migrated to Medina in the year one thousand, three hundred and twenty nine, together with his father Imam Muhammad ibn Ja’far Al-Kittani and his brother As-Sayyid Muhammad Al-Zamzami; intending to visit nobility, passing by Al-Azhar in Egypt. When the settled, for a period, on the wealth that Sheikh Makki Al-Kittani was given from the scholars of Al-Azhar. In Arabia he completed his memorisation of the Majestic Quran and continued to receive knowledge at the hands of its greatest scholars. They were: prophetic narration expert of the sacred sanctuaries ‘Umar Hamadan Al-Maharsi who he studied “Al-Ajrumiyyah,” “Al-Aliffyya of Ibn Malik,” some of the epistle of Ibn Abu Zaid Al-Qariwani; Mufti As-Sayyid Ahmed ibn Ismail Al-Barzaniji; Sheikh AbdulBaqi Al-Ansari Al-Lukuwi; Sheikh Abdulqadir As-Shabli Al-Tarablsi. As well as studying many of the books of prophetic narration at the hands of his father. During this trip he went to perform pilgrimage.
Then returned to Morocco by the agreement of the Sultan AbdulHafiz, he resided there for a number of years and he took from As-Sayyid Muhammad ibn Idress Al-Qadari, Sheikh Al-Juma’h Ahmed ibn Al-Khyat Az-Zakari and his uncle As-Sayyid Ahmed ibn Ja’far Al-Kittani, Abu Shayab Ad-Dakali, As-Sayyid Abdulkabir Al-Kittani and he received licences from them.

Settling in Damascus and receiving knowledge from its major scholars

In the midst of the First World War, he travelled with his father and brother to the Levante, Syria. Where he followed it by receiving knowledge upon the hands of its scholars and upon their leader of prophetic narrations Sheikh Badrudeen Al-Hassani, Sheikh Ameen Sawyd, Sheikh Tawfiq Al-Ayyubi and others. Then he travelled to Baghdad, then to India and took from some of its scholars. Then he returned to Damascus and remained there until the revolution of the Druze, when he returned to Morocco with his father. There, his father died in the city of “Fasfi” on the sixteenth of Ramadan in the year one thousand and forty five. Then he returned to Damascus and resided there, spread knowledge and beckoned to Allah (mighty and majestic).

Islamic and knowledge activities

He continued his lessons, knowledge activities and rectification from his house in the province of “As-Salahiyya;” Then he taught in the province of “Al-Mazan;” then in his house in the province of “Al-‘Amara;” as well as other majids in Damascus, like the grand Ummayyad, Sheikh Muhiyyudeen, As-Sanjaqar and other Syrian masjids; without wage. He studied various knowledge and sciences, specialising in Prophetic narration, their reporters and their comprehension, spirituality and Maliki jurisprudence. He focused upon the Muslim youth to direct them to the correctly in religious issues. Because of this intention he set up many gatherings and assemblies of thought with the objective to rectify the religion, and how to defeat the colonists. He founded (The youth association of Damascus) its house became a centre for citizens of the freedom fighters, the scholars and the educated elite. He was able with his sincerity and dedication to serve the religious and national issues that reinforced the position of the scholars. He wanted to effect reform thought, social, political; making it the focus of attention for party leaders and political forces. Seen as most of them sought his support and satisfaction, when they participated with him, in influencing the national and youth communities.

His Struggle

This was effective in combating against the invading French forces by calling to arms assisting his brothers of the nationalist leaders like: Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ashmari, Sheikh Hassan Al-Kharat and other leaders of the Syrian revolution.
As he (may Allah show him mercy) organised a Palestinian task force called “Palestinian Youth” from some students and followers which increased in the country of Syria from the Palestinian, Syrian and Jordanians. This was arranged with the fighters Al-Hajj Ameen Al-Hassani and Al-Hajj Farhan As-Sa’adi from the year nineteen thirty six. This began a daring action against the forces of the British and Zionist in occupied Palestine. This continued for several years, he was totally cognisant of the danger of the Zionist attack on life and the furore of the Arabic and Islamic nations. This led him to increase his support for the fighters in Palestine, materially and morally.

When the youth resistance was established in nineteen fifty six he took part in it; he was the deputy president to the confederation of scholars; he was drilled with his colleagues the scholars of Damascus on archery, carrying and weaponry, as is the noble tradition.

Founding of the association of scholars and his leadership

After Syria independence he founded the association of scholars and was chosen as the deputy to president Sheikh Abu l’Khar Al-Madani, for a period. Then he became the president after the death of the erudite spiritual guide Abu l’Khar Al-Madani in the Islamic year one thousand and eighty. He remained its president until he returned to Allah in the year nineteen hundred and seventy three. This association included members of the best acting scholars in Syria. It included the gathering of the association of scholars of the virtuous erudite scholar Abu l’Khar Al-Madini, the president; the virtuous erudite scholar Ibrahim Al-Ghalini; the virtuous erudite scholar Hassan Habanaka Al-Madini; the virtuous erudite scholar Muhammad Salih Farfour; the virtuous erudite scholar Muhammad Sa’id Al-Burhani; the virtuous erudite scholar ‘Abdulwahab Dubs wa zayt; the erudite scholar ‘Abdulkarim Ar-Rifa’i; the erudite scholar ‘Abdurrahman Az-Za’bi; the virtuous erudite scholar ‘Abdurraouf Abu Tawq; the virtuous erudite scholar Muhammad Balanku legal edict of Halab and many others. It was the important assembly of religious and intellectual that influenced the social and political current events; especially the representatives of the Syrian elections.

His role in the political life of Syria

He had a prominent role in the political life in Syria after independence, until the beginning of this century. The leaders, ministers, presidents sought his support and acceptance.

His important role in the Morocco

Despite being busied with the problems of the East Arab countries, he worked towards rectifying the Arabs and Muslim there. But this did not prevent him and them from the importance of the Morocco. His house was a meeting point for freedom fighters, leaders, presidents and Moroccan students despite their differing upbringing and political membership. From that they sought to establish a political front for freedom in Morocco; through the support of his Moroccan brothers they provided physical support, political and religious support to the Moroccan and Algerian freedom fighters.

His call to found global Islamic association

He called for a global Islamic association in the noble city of Mecca. He was a founding member of its Council Constitutive.

He visited many kings, presidents, scholars of the Arab and Islamic world; heading a delegation of rightly guided scholars.

The Moroccan scholars were keen on establishing an association for scholars and they did not leave until most of the scholars were under the banner of this conference; they agreed take part in the city of “Fez.”

After his return from Western Africa he distanced himself from global work and just concentrated on beckoning to Allah (the exalted). His illness from physical and emotional scare did not prevent him from a battle during Ramadan. He prepared a division for war with the support of leading soldiers and individuals of the West Africans who participated in the war. He provided guidance to them, supplicated for them to encourage the Syrian to victory. Then he visited the Syrian and West African wounded officers and soldiers; giving them presents.

Physical and characteristic attributes

He was a man of average height; pale complexion; large limbs and build; broad shoulders; extremely pale body; large head; dark eyebrows; beautiful appearance; sweet speech; his tongue was Moroccan mixed with the Damascus dialect, sometimes and he wore the dress of the West African scholars.

A great scholar of great stature; possessing high moral conduct; frequent reciter of the noble Quran, constant in remembrance; concerned with the prophetic practice and its implementation; he commanded good and forbade evil; he loved the scholars and respected them when present and in absence; he praised those deserving of praise; he did not mention people expect by good; humble residence; he had a presence; generous; open handed; he specified a wide room for visitors, it was not empty day or night; traven for relatives; they arrived there, he began by greeting them; he divided his money into half for them and divided the other part into two: one for his guests and the other for his family.

He joked sweetly; self evident intuition; dazzling intellectual. The scholars of his era testified that he was a reference for Maliki Jurisprudence, spirituality, speech of the people, their guidance. His gatherings were gathering of vehemence, knowledge and invocation.

He disliked innovation; loved the prophetic practice; stopping at the prohibitions of Allah; inclined to weep; a deep sadness over the condition of the Muslims and troubles by pain in his body but he hid it from his relatives and patiently preserved.

His Death

Several weeks after a battle in Ramadan, in the year thirteen hundred and ninety three, he passed into the mercy Allah; after the sunset prayer on Monday the 16th of Dhul-Qaidah or the tenth of December nineteen hundred and seventy three. After a surgical operation in the Dar As-Shifa hospital he was prayed over in the Grand Ummayyad masjid on the following day. He was buried in the graveyard of his family in Bab As-Saghir during sunset; where masses of believers gave eulogies from the leading scholars, presidents, minsters, ambassadors and dignitaries. He received the speech of scholars at his grave; Sheikh Hassan Al-Khatib spoke as did Sheikh ‘Abduraof Abu Toaq. His condolences were received in the Grand Ummayyad Masjid, the Syrian and West African callers to prayer continued to recite the noble Quran on that day for his pure soul. The gatherings of condolences were held openly in Damascus, Rabat, Jeddah and the illuminated city Medina.

His offspring and students

He left behind, may Allah show him mercy, seven male children, innumerable students and followers; the elite of the leading scholars in Syria, Egypt, Arabia and Western Africa.

His distinguished students are; Sheikh Fatah, the virtuous Sheikh Tajuddeen, Ustad ‘Umar, the Engineer Muhammad Khalid, the researcher and doctor ‘AbdulQadir writer of the book “The choice prophetic narrations,” teachers of high Islamic sciences, chairman of the board of trustees in the Arab and Islamic teaching centres, Doctor ‘Abdullah and The Engineer Muhammad Ali. Every single one was distinguished in each of its Arab and Islamic country. They spread knowledge, thought and community; in addition to their work and special concerns. May Allah bless them and make their knowledge, righteousness continues in this blessed family.

From the Muntdiyat Al-Gharib with the extra and addition from “Ad-Dalil Al-Mashir” page 398-394 of Al-Habassi
History of the scholars of Damascus in the fourteen Islamic century 909 919-2