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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sheikh Samir Al-Nass

Implementing Quran

What's in a name? Giving your child a Muslim name?

You called your child what? Are you joking? You know, it never ceases to make me cringe when I hear the names that some parents give their children. I am not joking about this but it is something horrific. If only the child knew the meaning of the name; what would they say? Would they not cringe as I do? Well anyway as ever is granddad is going to give advice. Well that's what someone called it when my mouth opens and words come  out!

Where did you get it from?

Yes, where did you that from? I have never heard of it before and you have picked it out of fresh air and placed it before me! If it was a dagger I would quote Shakespeare! Now due to the Indo Pak slang of Arabic words good names are given a totally different meanings. The famous example is Thamina which in Arabic means priceless. This is what daughters are like to their fathers but when you read that Tha as sa the meaning changes totally. So Thamina becomes Samina which means fat. This name corruption would make those who understand Arabic howl with laughter when they hear it!

Iqra is another common girls name. It's the first word revealed of the Quran but what does it mean? It's a common verb in the imperative form meaning read. It's not a name! Okay? It's not a name! Also giving children names that are not names is not proper at all! Read, come over here!

Lists and personalities

The list of incorrect name is very long and it makes me shudder to even think of them! Names that are titles can be okay, as long as you do not tell people to use the entire title when calling them! Like Zayn Al-Abideen etc. Other names that should not be given like Yasrab/He drinks, dhahan/brain, siham/arrows, Nadeem/regret and the list goes on.

Also avoid name of personalities that have bad names in Islamic history; like Yazid, Hajaj, Pervez, Ummayyah/ the name of the tribe against Ahl Al-Bayt and it also means illiterate etc. And all their ilk should be avoided at all costs. If you  have a name that has a bad connotation then change your name by deed poll for goodness sake!

99 names

Now this is a very contentious issue that many do not understand. The Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) advised to give names with praise or servitude linked in them. Like his blessed name or a name that means slave of Allah or one of the 99 names.

The only problem is when people use the second part of the word omitting Abd/slave. The common example is Haseeb; his name should be Abdulhasseb but now it's just Haseeb. This is permissible but should be avoided because of potential harm in it. Why? Because Allah has attributes/siffat and creation has characteristics/khuluq. These are two different things, look in the Quran how Allah describes the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) as Rauf/compassionate and raheem/merciful. These are not attributes/safat like Allah rather these are characteristics which makes them permissible and different. Because most people misunderstand them, in particular, our petrol fueled friends; they should be avoided. (In terms of usage). So someone can name their child any of the names of the 99 names except Al-Rahman and of course the name Allah. The last two are not to be used under any circumstances. Even though the other terms are permissible it does not mean that they should be used it's better not to. Names in common usage are Majid and Ali etc.

The word Abd Al-Nabi or Ghulam Nabi have much controversy because it's not understood what abd means. Abd has two meanings one is servant and other is slave. (Abdul is not a name it means slave of - that's not a name!) The common misunderstanding of the word Abd is that is means slave and there is no other possible meaning. When Abdulmustafa is used its a servant but not in terms of worship. Servant meaning khadim not anything other. Slavehood is solely for Allah and not for anything or anyone else. So someone can have the name Abdulmustafa meaning the servant of Mustafa. This is not shirk because it means servant not slave. Similar is the name Ghulam Mustafa and so on. Do not forget the name that is not possible to give is Sami ullah which means the hearing of Allah. This is something that's highly disliked or even unlawful. No one can be the hearing of Allah (the Exalted). Do not allow someone to give this name to their children.

The Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) had servants himself. Zayd ibn Al-Harith (may Allah be pleased with him) was a gift to him by our lady Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her); for their wedding.

Does Al/the matter and Raab

We look at Surah Yusuf for the best story of a family separated and reunited. That's why it's so important. Yusuf (upon him peace) helps a man with a dream and he says 'mention me to your lord' (verse 42); this is used in term of king and not in terms of lordship of God. Here, the word is not used like Raab Al-'Alameen/Lord of universe or otherwise. Normally Raab is used with another noun and not on its own. But most of all look at the context before becoming the judge, jury and executioner.
Also latter we that the Pharaoh is called Al-'Aziz and this title is given to Yusuf (upon him peace). Had it been shirk/polytheism Yusuf would not have allowed it. Also ال does not make a difference because it just means the.

Picked from the Quran

We all love the Quran but let's detach our emotions from it. Picking a name out of the Quran without understanding and out of context; its irrational and dangerous. Why? Because you do not understand what the name means or what the context is. You pick out a name like Rauwada which sounds good but it means flowing; it's not a child's name! Neither is naming your child after an item like a sword or an arrow. So do not pick a name from the Quran without knowing what it means exactly. Or else you want to call your child a silly name that does not mean what you think it means! Change the name!

Do not forget that the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) changed names of companions that had bad meanings. Abu Hurayrah's name before Islam was AbdusShams/Slave of the sun. The Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) changed it to Abdurrahman/Slave of the All-Merciful.

One of his wives had an incorrect name and he changed it into Zaynab. why is it important to change names? The Arabs have a saying that everyone has a share of their name. So if you call your daughter Samina do not be surprised if she is fat! Or if you call your son saghir/small and his growth is stunted!

Culture and language

This does play a part too because a meaning of one name in Hindi might not mean that same thing in Arabic. So I would recommend looking for the meaning of a name generally in Arabic before considering names. Although  it does not mean you have to name your children with Arabic only names rather the meaning must be good. Naheem means praise of God in the language of Hindi but in Arabic it could mean clearing ones throat or avarice. It could also be a corruption of Naeem.

Also there are lot of badly spelt names, so please spell them correctly.

How should I choose a name?

Simple start by names of any Prophet, their wives or family then companions. Find out the meaning of the names. Check the meaning of the name with a book of Muslim names. Email me if you have to! Then feel free to give it and relax. Please do not let me hear daft names that are not names.
Also please spell them in Arabic not your local tongue! Usman/Osman should be Uthman etc. You have not a clue how tired I am from hearing names that not names! Peace!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Commentary on the Quranic verse, “Remember me; I shall remember you.”

Commentary on the Quranic verse, “Remember me; I shall remember you.”

From Tafsir Al-Khateeb Al-Sharbini also known Al-Siraj Al-Munir fi Al-‘Ianat ‘ala Ma’rifah ba’d Ma’ani kalam Rubbuna Al-Hakim Al-Khabir

By Sheikh Muhammad ibn Ahmed Al-Khateeb Al-Sharbini Al-Misri (977 h) p.119/120.

Commentary on the Quranic verse, “Remember me; I shall remember you.
Surah Al-Baqarah 2:152.

“Remember me,” by acts of obedience like prayer and magnification, “I shall remember you,” Ibn ‘Abbas said by his support and Sa’id ibn Jubair said by his forgiveness. It was stated, “Remember me in blessing and affluence and I shall remember in difficult and tribulation.” As is stated by the Exalted, “And had he not been one of those who glorifiers; He would have tarried in its belly till the day when they are raised.” (Surah As-Safah 37:143-144.) 

In a divine hadith Allah, the Exalted, states, “Allah (The Exalted) said I am affirm my servants opinion of me; therefore I am with him when he remembers me; if he mentions me to himself; I mention him to myself; if he mentions me to a gathering; I mention him in a better gathering. If he approaches to the extent of a hand span; I approach him to the extent of a cubit; if he approaches me the extent of a cubit; I approach him walking and he comes to me walking, I approaching him rapidly.” (Bukhari 7405 and Muslim 2675) 

In another narration the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “Allah, the Exalted, said, “O son of Adam if you mention me in yourself and I shall mention you to myself. If you mention me in a gathering I mention you in gathering better than it. If you approach me a hand span I approach him a cubit. If you approach me by a cubit then I approach him walking. If he walks to me then I approach him rapidly. If he asks me I give. If he does not ask me then I am angry with him.” (‘Abdurrazak in Al-Musanaf 20575).  

In a narration the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “Allah, Mighty and Majestic, said, “I am with my servant when he mentions me and when he moves his lips.” (Al-Bukhari and Ibn Majah 3792). 

In a narration a bedouin came to the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) and asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah which is the most virtuous action?’ He replied, “To leave the world whilst your tongue is moist with the remembrance of Allah.” (At-Tirmidhi 3375 and Ibn Majah 3793). 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunni’s don’t read books!

A few months ago I met an old friend from my University days. He began to tell me about his woes and his life. Though we were not complaining he told me about the Islamic shop that he had opened. He talked about the stock he had got damaged and so on. Then he said something shockingly straight to the core of the matter of our communities in the west. "Sunnis don’t read!"

His shop was open for a matter of months before it was closed. Why because his books did not sell! This might seem trivial to many of you but this is of upmost importance to Islam. Without learning and teaching any religious tradition dies out. It’s that simple! If there is no knowledge; there is no religion. Full stop.

Another equally sad story was that another book shop was set to close because of many factors and guess what he said to me? Sunni’s don’t read! This was one of the causes of the decline of his business. 

It’s very sad to say many scholars do not emphasis learning to any of their students. Even if they do then they only emphasise their own teachers and ignore those more qualified. This is just like nepotism.   

The amount of effort it takes to get a book out is considerable. It can take years and in that time someone can come along and beat you to the punch by releasing their version!

The main support of Wahabism and other groups are the scholars who say do not learn or study. To be honest I do not consider anyone who belittles knowledge as a scholar. All he is a story teller so he should be ignored and his opinion should be flushed away into the sewer! 

Many a time born Muslims come across those who enter Islam and find them more knowledgeable. This is shocking for many who experience it. But what else are you going to expect? Just because you are born Muslim does not give you all the knowledge of Islam. And by the same token neither does being someone who has studied a few years give you superiority. After many years of study I sometimes find that others know things I do not. 

So how do we get out of this mess? Simple get learning! Find someone in your area who is teaching Fiqh and Aquida. Then look for a spiritual master to work on your nafs. Fiqh/law study either the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi schools as the Hanbali’s have all but died out. Aquida/Islamic belief the teacher needs to be Ashari or Maturdi to be sure. If there are other than this then be careful and refrain from studying with them. Your spiritual master needs to have an authorisation from his teachers and he should name them as should the teachers of the first two sciences should. 

Remove the state of ignorance and work hard to propel yourself out of this mire. Tajweed, marriage, buying and selling are also other fields that you need some knowledge of. So you have your work cut for you. The names of the scholars on this blog will give you an indication of who to study with.
There is a pleasure in learning that you will not find elsewhere. So go ahead and experience it. Use this blog as much as you can. Search the labels and benefit from the greatest religion that is full of beauty that most of us were unaware of until we looked...

Oh yeah and start reading books!  Yes you Sunni get reading! And read this!

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Passing of a Great Wali

We were saddened to hear of the passing of the great Wali Sheikh Nazim of Cyprus. He has benefited the Muslims with sincere service for many decades. He helped those who sought guidance as well as write many works.

Our condolences go out to the families and his Murids. In this difficult time his Murids should take solace in the recorded lessons and books of the Sheikh. So they can continue to benefit and move on with their spiritual training. 

As long as one has these and continues to make dua for the Sheikh; there will remain a connection between the Murids and the Sheikh. As Awliyah do not just benefit by their lives; they also benefit after their passing. So the Murids should not be saddened greatly.

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, "Death is the gift for the believer." 

Awliyah look forward to death because they will meet their Creator. They have looked forward to this meeting for several years.

His Murids should now wait to see who is taking their path forward and renew their allegiance. The one who takes the path on will adhere to the teachings of the Sheikh and not fabricate his own.
It remains for us to follow those who follow the Prophets (upon them all peace). 

Please see link to Awliyah if you are not familiar with them.