بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Some of the problems with the way knowledge is sought today
[The difference between the previous section (in Part 3) and this one is that the former discussed those who were NOT seeking knowledge, whereas the latter will discuss those who are already seeking knowledge.]
1) Seeking knowledge as a “fashion”
[One of my friends asked me to mention this on my blog. I told her that I was already planning to!]
What do I mean by this? Well, it seems that these days it’s all the trend to be a “student of knowledge”.
People attend a one week crash course on Islam and after that, they appoint themselves muftis of their area…
[It seems that everyone is trying to win the “How many fatwas can I pass in an hour” award.]
Subhan Allah, is this what knowledge is sought for? So that we can show everyone how “knowledgeable” and “pious” we are? Sadly, it seems that for some people, this is indeed the case.
Brothers and sisters, Islamic knowledge is not sought to increase us in the coolness factor, but rather to increase in the khashya (fear of Allah) factor:
إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّـهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ
“It is only those who have knowledge among his slaves that fear Allah.” [Surah Faatir (35) : 28]
So, as I mentioned in the last part, we need to keep our intentions in check. We shouldn’t be doing this to get entrance into celebrity shaikhdom.
2) Having bad thoughts about Allah
Many people today have very low ambitions with regards to seeking knowledge.
Instead of doing dua (supplication) to Allah, relying upon Him and having good thoughts about Him (i.e. that He would fulfill your duas and make it easy for you to get knowledge), many people just give up because they think they can’t do any better. They think seeking knowledge is very difficult.
What happens after this? Well, seeking knowledge does indeed become very difficult for them and they barely get to the low standard that they set for themselves.
They assume that they were right all along, when in reality, this difficulty arose as a punishment for them due to their bad thoughts about Allah.
يقول الله تعالى : أنا عند ظن عبدي بي ، وأنا معه إذا ذكرني ، فإن ذكرني في نفسه ذكرته في نفسي ، وإن ذكرني في ملأ ذكرته في ملأ خير منهم ، وإن تقرب إلي شبرا تقربت إليه ذراعا ، وإن تقرب إلي ذراعا تقربت إليه باعا ، وإن أتاني يمشي أتيته هرولة
مَا قَدَرُوا اللَّـهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ
“They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.” [Surah Al-Hajj (22) : 74]
This story (make sure to read until the end) will help you understand what I mean.
So, please Brothers and Sisters, have good thoughts about Allah and have high ambitions with regards to seeking knowledge.
3) Seeking knowledge from the wrong sources
This knowledge was sent down by Allah, the Most High, so we need to make sure we get it from the right sources.
What are the main sources? Well, the Quran and the Sunnah obviously. This is what Allah has ordered us to refer to.
[The Sunnah is the way of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahi alaihi wasallam). The Sunnah has been transmitted to us via the authentic ahadeeth (plural of hadeeth).]
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّـهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ ۖ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.” [Surah An-Nisaa (4) : 59]
[Note: “Those who are in authority” refers to the rulers and the scholars.]
Some people have been misled to believe that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) only came with the Quran. They don’t believe in following the Sunnah.
If we are not required to follow the Sunnah, then why does Allah say:
مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمْ وَمَا غَوَىٰ
وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ
إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَىٰ
“Your companion (Muhammad) has neither gone astray nor has erred. Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is only an Inspiration that is inspired.” [Surah An-Najm (53) : 2-4]
And why does He say:
لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّـهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّـهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّـهَ كَثِيرًا
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” [Surah Al-Ahzab (33) : 21]
Unfortunately, some of these individuals (they call themselves “Quraniyoon” although they are far from being the people of the Quran!) will still reject all the ahadeeth (which is very dangerous because rejecting the Sunnah in its totality is major disbelief that expels a person from the fold of Islam).
Subhan Allah, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallan) warned us about such people!
ألا إني أوتيت الكتاب ومثله معه ، ألا يوشك رجل شبعان على أريكته يقول : عليكم بهذا القرآن ، فما وجدتم فيه من حلال فأحلوه ، وما وجدتم فيه من حرام فحرموه ، ألا لا يحل لكم لحم الحمار الأهلي ، ولا كل ذي ناب من السبع ، ولا لقطة معاهد ، إلا أن يستغني عنها صاحبها ، ومن نزل بقوم فعليهم أن يقروه ، فإن لم يقروه فله أن يغصبهم بمثل قراه
It was narrated from Al-Miqdam ibn Madi Yakrib (radiallahu anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Verily, I have been given the Book and something like it with it, but soon a satiated man will be on his couch and he will say: ‘You should adhere to this Quran. Whatever you find permitted in it, take it as permissible, and whatever you find forbidden in it, take it as forbidden.’
But Lo! The domesticated donkey is not permissible for you (to eat), nor every predator that has fangs, not the lost property of a muahid (non-Muslim with whom there is a covenant) unless its owner has given it up.
Whoever stops among a people, they are obliged to entertain him, and if they do not entertain him, then he has the right to take from them an amount equivalent to that which they should have entertained him.” [Sunan Abee Dawood, Hadeeth No. 4604. Graded ‘sahih’ by Al-Albani, Sahih Sunan Abee Dawood, Hadeeth No. 4604.]
لا ألفين أحدكم متكئا على أريكته يأتيه الأمر من أمري مما أمرت به أو نهيت عنه فيقول : لا ندري ما وجدنا في كتاب الله اتبعناه
It was narrated from Ubaidullah ibn Abee Rafi from his father that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Let me not find one of you reclining on his couch, and when he hears of a command that I have enjoined or a prohibition that I have issued, he says: ‘We do not know; what we find in the Book of Allah, we follow.'” [Sunan Abee Dawood, Hadeeth No. 4605. Graded ‘sahih’ by Al-Albani, Sahih Sunan Abee Dawood, Hadeeth No. 4605.]
Of course, these people are unmoved by the above narrations because they don’t believe in them!
من أطاعني فقد أطاع الله ، ومن عصاني فقد عصى الله
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “He who obeys me, obeys Allah, and he who disobeys me, disobeys Allah.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 4, Hadeeth No. 204]
So, it makes no difference whether the order or prohibition is mentioned in the Quran or the Sunnah, as they both have the same legal weight (i.e. nobody can use “It’s not in the Quran, it’s only in the Sunnah” as an excuse).
Note: The ahadeeth have been gathered in many books by the early scholars. Some of these books like Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim contain only authentic ahadeeth. However, the others contain both authentic and inauthentic (weak) ahadeeth, so one needs to check the scholars’ gradings of each hadeeth to determine its authenticity.
For example, if they say that it is “sahih” or “hasan” then that means that it is authentic. If they say “daeef” or “mawdoo” then this hadeeth is not accepted as it is not authentic. Of course, there are times when there is disagreement over the authenticity of a hadeeth.
To know more about this issue, one would need to study a subject called “Usool Al-Hadeeth”. I’ll discuss this in more detail in Part 6, insha-Allah.
Okay, so we’re all agreed that we need to follow the Quran and Sunnah. How do we interpret them though?
Do we use our own logic and desires? Or do we follow someone?
The answer is that we follow the the Quran and Sunnah according to the understanding of the Sahaabah (the Companions of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).
Why, you ask? Well, when Allah revealed the Quran and Sunnah (yes, this is also revelation), they were revealed with a particular understanding. Who better to ask than the generation that accompanied the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and lived the events that surrounded the revelation of the Quran?
We know that Allah is pleased with them so how can we put our own understanding over theirs, when we don’t even know our own status before Allah and whether or not He is pleased with us???
Also, Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) have praised the Sahaabah and asked us to follow them:
خير الناس قرني ، ثم الذين يلونهم ، ثم الذين يلونهم ، ثم يجيء من بعدهم قوم : تسبق شهادتهم أيمانهم ، وأيمانهم شهادتهم
Narrated by Abdullah (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wassalam) said, “The best people are those of my generation, and then those who will come after them (the next generation), and then those who will come after them (i.e. the next generation), and then after them, there will come people whose witness will precede their oaths, and whose oaths will precede their witness.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 8, Hadeeth No. 437]
[Note: The first three generations are called the Sahaabah (the Companions), the Tabieen (the followers i.e. those that accompanied the Sahaabah) and the Atbaa At-Tabieen (the followers of the followers i.e. those that accompanied the Tabieen). These three generations are often referred to as the “Salaf” (i.e. the predecessors). So, we understand Islam according to the understanding of the Salaf due to the fact that they were singled out by the Prophet (sallallalahu alaihi wasallam).
When we say “Salaf”, we mean the whole group, not just one person. Hence, if they all agreed on a matter, we follow their opinion. End of discussion.]
[Note #2: It seems that today some people have become so brave that they think nothing of saying bad things about the Sahaabah. If we truly believe in Allah and the Last day, then we need to keep our mouths shut with regards to the Prophets (alaihissalam) and the Sahaabah (radiallahu anhum). These are the people that are the most beloved to Allah so we should never even dream of saying anything negative about any of them.]
وَالسَّابِقُونَ الْأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللَّـهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
“And the first to embrace Islam of the Muhajiroon (those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah) and the Ansar (the citizens of Al-Madinah who helped and gave aid to the Muhajiroon) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” [Surah At-Tawbah (9) :100]
أتينا العرباض بن سارية ، وهو ممن نزل فيه ولا على الذين إذا ما أتوك لتحملهم قلت لا أجد ما أحملكم عليه فسلمنا ، وقلنا : أتيناك ؛ زائرين ، وعائدين ، ومقتبسين . فقال العرباض : صلى بنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ذات يوم ، ثم أقبل علينا ، فوعظنا موعظة بليغة ، ذرفت منها العيون ، ووجلت منها القلوب . فقال قائل : يا رسول الله ! كأن هذه موعظة مودع ، فماذا تعهد إلينا ؟ فقال : أوصيكم بتقوى الله والسمع والطاعة وإن عبدا حبشيا ، فإنه من يعش منكم بعدي فسيرى اختلافا كثيرا ، فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء المهديين الراشدين تمسكوا بها ، وعضوا عليها بالنواجذ ، وإياكم ومحدثات الأمور فإن كل محدثة بدعة ، وكل بدعة ضلالة
Abdur Rahman ibn Amr As-Sulami and Hujr ibn Hujr said: “We came to Al-Irbaad ibn Saariyah who was one of those concerning whom the ayah (verse)
وَلَا عَلَى الَّذِينَ إِذَا مَا أَتَوْكَ لِتَحْمِلَهُمْ قُلْتَ لَا أَجِدُ مَا أَحْمِلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ
“Nor (is there blame) on those who came to you to be provided with mounts, and when you said: ‘I can find no mounts for you,’…” [Surah At-Tawbah (9): 92]
was revealed. We greeted him and said: ‘We have come to you, to visit you, and benefit from you.’ Al-Irbaad said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) led us in prayer one day, then he turned to face us, and he exhorted us in an eloquent speech upon which our eyes filled with tears, and our hearts filled with fear. Someone said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, it is as if this is a farewell address. What do you enjoin upon us?’ He said: ‘I enjoin you to fear Allah, and to hear and obey, even if (the leader appointed over you) be an Ethiopian slave. Whoever among you lives after I am gone will see great disputes. You must adhere to my Sunnah and the way of the rightly guided khalifas. Hold on to it and cling fast to it. And beware of newly invented matters, for every newly invented matter is an innovation, and even innovation is a deviation.'” [Sunan Abee Dawood, Hadeeth No. 4607. Graded ‘sahih’ by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan Abee Dawood, Hadeeth No. 4607.]
[The rightly guided khalifas are Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq, Umar ibn Al-Khattab, Uthman ibn Al-Affan and Ali ibn Abee Taalib (radiallahu anhum), the four best Companions. Other scholars also added Al-Hasan ibn Alee ibn Abee Taalib (radiallahu anhu) as one of the rightly guided khalifas as some ahadeeth point to the rightly guided caliphate as totaling 30 years and the first four khalifas only total 29.5 years in their rule so they added the 6 months of Al-Hasan’s rule to that.]
This isn’t the only hadeeth where the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) foretold the fitnah (trials and tribulations). The following hadeeth is something that should really stun us into action:
ليأتين على أمتي ما أتى على بني إسرائيل حذو النعل بالنعل حتى إن كان منهم من أتى أمه علانية لكان في أمتي من يصنع ذلك . وإن بني إسرائيل تفرقت على ثنتين وسبعين ملة ، وتفترق أمتي على ثلاث وسبعين ملة كلهم في النار إلا ملة واحدة ، قال من هي يا رسول الله ؟ قال : ما أنا عليه وأصحابي
Abdullah ibn Amr (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “What befell Bani Israil will befall my Ummah (nation), step by step, such that if there was one who had intercourse with his mother in the open, there would be someone from my Ummah who would do that. Indeed, Bani Israil split into 72 sects and my Ummah will split into 73 sects. All of them in the Fire except one sect.” He (Abdullah ibn Amr) said: “And which is it, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “What I and my Companions are upon.” [Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2641. Graded ‘hasan’ by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2641.]
والذي نفس محمد بيده لتفترقن أمتي على ثلاث وسبعين فرقة واحدة في الجنة وثنتان وسبعون في النار قيل يا رسول الله من هم قال الجماعة
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam): “I swear by the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, my Ummah will split into 73 sects, one in Paradise and 72 in the Fire.” It was said: “O Messenger of Allah, who are they?” He said: “Al-Jamaah (the main body)”. [Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadeeth No. 3992. Graded ‘sahih’ by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadeeth No. 3992.]
A few points about this hadeeth:
1) The saved sect is referred to as Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah (the people of the Sunnah) and the other sects are generally referred to as Ahlul Bidaa (the people of innovation). Of course, Ahlul Bidaa is composed of several sects like the Shia, the Sufis, etc. And of course, sects like the Shia and the Sufis are composed of even more sub-sects…
2) People should not assume that these 73 sects are all equal sized! It could be that some of them are large whilst others have a few followers.
Ahlus Sunnah, on the other hand, is quite large, because the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) called them “Al-Jamaah”.
3) “In the fire” does not necessarily mean that all these sects and those who follow them are out of the fold of Islam. Some of them are but many of them are not. As the scholars pointed out, some of these will remain in the fire forever (i.e. as they exited the fold of Islam) but many of them will be there for a time and not for eternity as they were still Muslims.
4) For those who are always confused about all the different groups and who to follow, the answer is provided in this hadeeth: Follow the Sahaabah.
When the Sahaabah (radiallahu anhum) or the scholars after them agreed over a particular issue, we are obliged to follow that opinion because Allah says:
وَمَن يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَىٰ وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّىٰ وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ ۖ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا
“And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination.” [Surah An-Nisaa (4) : 115]
So, we need to make sure that we follow the ijmaa (consensus) of the scholars.
What about if we have some questions? Who do we ask? After all, the Salaf aren’t around!
Well, we ask the people of knowledge:
فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
“So ask of those who know the Scripture if you know not.” [Surah An-Nahl (16) : 43]
Subhan Allah, we need to take advantage of the true scholars before they die, because this is how the knowledge is taken away – with their deaths:
سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : إن الله لا يقبض العلم انتزاعا ينتزعه من العباد ، ولكن يقبض العلم بقبض العلماء ، حتى إذا لم يبق عالما ، اتخذ الناس رؤوسا جهالا ، فسئلوا ، فأفتوا بغير علم ، فضلوا وأضلوا
Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-Aas (radiallahu anhuma): I heard Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) saying, “Allah does not take away the knowledge, by taking it away from (the hearts of) the people, but takes it away by the death of the religious learned men till when none of the (religious learned men) remains, people will take as their leaders ignorant persons who when consulted will give their verdict without knowledge. So they will go astray and will lead the people astray.” [ٍSahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 1, Hadeeth No. 100]
And we should make sure to ask TRUSTWORTHY scholars not just anybody:
عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ سِيرِينَ، قَالَ إِنَّ هَذَا الْعِلْمَ دِينٌ فَانْظُرُوا عَمَّنْ تَأْخُذُونَ دِينَكُمْ
Muhammad ibn Sireen said, ““Knowledge is religion so be careful from whom you take your religion” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 26 of the Introduction]
This statement of Muhammad ibn Sireen is a rule that we should all live by. After all, who do we take our knowledge from? How did we judge whether they were upon the truth or not?
So, to all the readers, please apply this principle to every place where you get any sort of Islamic information – starting from this blog. [Yes, of course, you need to apply this principle to this blog as well. You thought I was going to exclude myself from the scrutiny?]
The scholars have a saying: The truth is not known by men. Men are known by the truth.
This means that you don’t take the person as being right and then follow him in everything. Rather you put the Quran and the Sunnah first, and then follow the person based on that.
After all, just because someone talks nicely and seems to be knowledgeable, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are right.
أنه قدم رجلان من المشرق فخطبا ، فعجب الناس لبيانهما ، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ( إن من البيان لسحرا ، أو : إن بعض البيان لسحر )
Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar (radialalhu anhuma): Two men came from the East and addressed the people who wondered at their eloquent speeches. On that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Some eloquent speech is as effective as magic.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 7, Hadeeth No. 662]
This hadeeth points to the dangers of those who are eloquent upon falsehood (it’s okay to be eloquent upon the truth), because these people will then mislead others due to their eloquence despite their lack of proofs from the Quran and the Sunnah. A very common occurrence these days!
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) warned us about these liars:
“ سَيَكُونُ فِي آخِرِ أُمَّتِي أُنَاسٌ يُحَدِّثُونَكُمْ مَا لَمْ تَسْمَعُوا أَنْتُمْ وَلاَ آبَاؤُكُمْ فَإِيَّاكُمْ وَإِيَّاهُمْ ”
The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wassalam) said: “There will be in the latter part of my Ummah a people that will relate to you ahadeeth of which you and your fathers never heard previously. So let you and them beware.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 15 of the Introduction]
“ يَكُونُ فِي آخِرِ الزَّمَانِ دَجَّالُونَ كَذَّابُونَ يَأْتُونَكُمْ مِنَ الأَحَادِيثِ بِمَا لَمْ تَسْمَعُوا أَنْتُمْ وَلاَ آبَاؤُكُمْ فَإِيَّاكُمْ وَإِيَّاهُمْ لاَ يُضِلُّونَكُمْ وَلاَ يَفْتِنُونَكُمْ ”
The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wassalam) said: “There will be in the last days liars and fabricators. They will come to you with ahadeeth of which you never heard, you or your fathers, so let you and them beware that they will not misguide you, and be a trial for you.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 16 of the Introduction]
So, we need to be cautious.
[Note: For those who would like to read more about this issue, a good place to start is the book where three of these ahadeeth are from: The Introduction to Sahih Muslim. This wasn’t been translated in the older versions of Sahih Muslim, but has been translated in the new Darussalam translation. However, you can read a separate translation of it here. You can read the ahadeeth in Arabic here.]
Now, someone might ask: How do we know which scholars to follow?
Insha-Allah, I’ll mention some tips (yes, tips not names) on how to do that in Part 6. However, the first way would be to do dua to Allah asking Him to guide you to the truth.
And Allah knows Better.
To be continued…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Sorry, the editing is not too good today as I’m out of time and I need to sleep.]
In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that Allah has more than 99 Names as He has Names which He has kept to Himself.
2) What about the Names of Allah which have been revealed in the Quran and the Sunnah*? Are they only 99 or more than that?
[*Those are the only two places where we can get the Names of Allah.]
Well, I’ve read two opinions on this.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Okay, I’ll pick up from where I left off yesterday.
So, the question was why a murderer who applied tawheed would eventually enter Paradise but a kind, generous disbeliever (meaning he did not apply tawheed) would never enter Paradise.
This is an issue that many people cannot understand and I’ll tell you why. It’s because they look at it from their perspective – therefore murder seems worse than shirk.
However, one needs to ask what the worst sin is, in the SIGHT OF ALLAH. Then one can get the correct perspective.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Subhan Allah, it’s amazing. I’ve noticed that when topics like “dawah” or “hijab” or “Hajj” or “Ramadan” or “the biography of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam)”, are discussed, many people flock to listen.
However, when the topic is aqeedah (creed) then………most of the people vanish.
And why is that, I wonder? The most important thing that a Muslim needs to have is the correct aqeedah. Everything else (ibaadah, good manners, etc) follows after that.
I’ve mentioned the importance of tawheed and aqeedah before and I’ll do so again.
[Note: Tawheed means “worshipping Allah alone” whereas Aqeedah is something that one firmly believes in and follows. So, our aqeedah is the aqeedah of tawheed.
Aqeedah is more general than tawheed. You can read a short explanation of this issue here.]
This is what Imam As-Saadi (rahimahullah) had to say about tawheed:
“There is nothing that produces such good results nor holds such a variety of virtues like tawheed”. [For more virtues of tawheed, you may refer to the article where this quote was taken from.]
Tawheed has different branches. One of those is the tawheed of Allah’s Names and Attributes.
As the scholars pointed out, the greatness of a subject depends on the greatness of its subject matter.
What does the tawheed of Allah’s Names and Attributes discuss? Well, it talks about Allah’s Beautiful Names and His Attributes which means that it is talking about Allah Himself.
Is there a subject matter greater than this? No.
Therefore, this is the greatest subject.
Also, one should realise that they cannot get close to Allah without knowing anything about Him! The more one knows about Allah’s Names and His Attributes, the more that they will love and obey Him.
So, if someone is interested in studying this subject, what should he/she do?
Well, the first thing to do is to make sure that you learn it from a person with proper aqeedah, because if you don’t, you’re finished. Your aqeedah will be in tatters if you ever study this great subject with any of the people of innovation.
Also, one should know that this field talks about two matters: 1) Allah’s Names and 2) His Attributes so one should study both matters.
A point of caution: This is not an easy subject although it is a very important one. So be patient, strive hard, and ask Allah to make it easy for you.
For those who might want to learn more about Allah’s Attributes, I would encourage them to read Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen’s (rahimahullah) explanation of Al-Aqeedah Al-Wasitiyyah.
Al-Aqeedah Al-Wasitiyyah is a book written by the amazing scholar Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullah) (he was the teacher of Imams Ibn Kathir and Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahumullah)) and it basically focus on the Attributes of Allah and what the Quran and the Sunnah say about them.
Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen was an awesome scholar, maasahaa Allah, who died about 10 years ago. He had a really wonderful way of explaining things so all the hard stuff looks easy.
I read Volume 1 of the translation of his book (the explanation of Al-Aqeedah Al-Wasitiyyah) and I loved it. Why?
– Well, it’s about my favourite subject (tawheed)
– He makes it so easy and tries to give many examples so that a person can understand the concept.
– His tafsir.
I know, you might be like “Tafsir? Isn’t that an explanation of the Quran? What does that have to do with a book on Aqeedah?”
Well, because a vast majority of the book are ayaat (verses) from the Quran and because he explains each of them, this book really ends up doubling as a book of tafsir.
[And Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen’s tafsir is another story. I need to write another post just to tell you how much I love reading his tafsir.]
– The heart softeners.
You know, there is nothing as heart softening as tawheed.
In this explanation, Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen keeps talking about “behavioural aspects” meaning how the knowledge of such and such attribute must make us behave. So, rather than being a technical book on tawheed, his explanation is very practical and useful for daily life.
So, am I going to link to this explanation? No, because it’s not online (not that I know of).
There is a summarised translation of this explanation online but it seems to be a quarter of the original size.
How can you get your hands on the two volume copy? Well, Darussalam is the one that published this book so you may it buy from them.
This is what the book looks like: http://store.dar-us-salam.com/nw/242.html
Just a few points:
1) Darussalam has another explanation of Al-Aqeedah Al-Wasitiyyah as well. That is a small book but the one that I’m talking about is much more detailed.
2) For those of you who might want to buy the Arabic copy and live in Dubai, I’d advise you to buy it from Al-Furqan bookstore. That’s where I bought my Arabic copy from and it’s a wonderful edition.
3) Would I recommend this book to complete beginners? Well, no. I think one should have some background of tawheed otherwise they might get a bit confused.
4) The book doesn’t just talk about Allah’s Attributes. There’s loads of other stuff mentioned there as well.
5) I’m not too good with book reviews but I hope that the post encourages you to read this book!
6)Yes, yes, yes. Anyone who knows me personally can borrow my Arabic or English copies, insha-Allah.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
First let me explain the title so that you understand where “navigate the drool” originated from (and no, it was not my brain) and what it means.
So, my teenage niece had come to Dubai this past month. One day, she mentioned how my 6 month old nephew (her cousin) had tasted all her clothes.
[Now, my nephew is a drool factory if there ever was one (and his drool production rises exponentially if he sees any FOOD).]
So, I showed the poor girl how she could hold him without getting covered in baby drool herself.
“Oh, so that’s how you navigate the drool!”, she said.
[To quote Sebastian the crab: “Teenagers.”]
So, you might be thinking that this post is about how to hold babies. However, this a Ramadan blog, not the online version “What to expect the first year”, so no, this post is not about babies.
What I meant, by the title, is how we could navigate away from the drool of the fitnah (trials and tribulations) that is engulfing our ummah today.
Think about it. We’re stuck in between all these situations and we don’t know how to navigate through them.
Okay, so what does this have to do with my nephew’s drool?
Actually, it has absolutely nothing to do with it. I just wanted to give you a likeness (between the drool and the fitnah). Also, I wanted to have a nice flashy title. If the title was something like “How to avoid fitnah”, then nobody would bother to read the post.
[It’s amazing. We’re always worried about keeping our bodies and clothes clean but we don’t worry as much about keeping our iman high and our aqeedah (creed) clean from any errors. Fitnah is something that has destroyed many a person’s aqeedah and caused their iman levels to plummet so we should all be careful as to how we deal with these trials and tribulations.]
So, how can we “navigate the drool”*?
[*So to clarify, according to Umm Muawiyah’s Dictionary of Self-Invented Words, that means “getting out of fitnah with our iman and our aqeedah intact”.]
Here are some short tips:
1) Do dua
Yes, there’s nothing quite like it. Only those whom Allah guides, are guided.
And remember, we should continuously be doing dua that Allah keeps us steadfast on the Straight Path.
2) Seek Knowledge
Too often, when people are warned about books or lectures that contain serious errors, they say: “But we didn’t hear/read anything wrong.”
Just a question, brothers and sisters: How would we know what was right or wrong without having any knowledge of Islam?
I hear so many people say “I think that…” when it comes to Islamic matters. However, what we think does not matter, rather what matters is what Allah has revealed in the Quran and the Sunnah.
So, we don’t have the right to decide what is right on our own, rather we need to keep referring back to the Quran and the Sunnah.
Also, I should point out that when we study the Quran and Sunnah, we need to refer to the books of the people of knowledge so that we don’t misunderstand the ayah (verse) or hadeeth due to our own lack of knowledge.
Now, you might say: “How would I know who the people of knowledge are?”
Well, I would say:
a) Ask Allah to guide you to them.
b) Do istikhara (the prayer for guidance) before joining any Islamic courses.
c) Start reading the books of the universally accepted scholars like Imams Bukhari, Ibn Kathir, Imam An-Nawawi, etc.
3) Keep company with the right people
“Right people” would be those of sound aqeedah (i.e. they have the correct understanding of tawheed).
It would also be those who busy themselves with beneficial matters and not with matters that do not concern them.
4) Avoid reading too many websites or forums or newspapers
This is something that I know from personal experience.
I used to frequent quite a lot of Islamic forums a few years ago. I would read all the different opinions on various issues (many of which had nothing to do with me).After this, I would feel that my heart had died.
Why did I feel that my heart had died? Well, I would read about one side of a topic (related to creed) and then read the other side elsewhere else on another forum and then I would get very confused, and I would get a very uneasy feeling in my heart.
I wasn’t the only one. I found out that quite a few people went through the same experience.
After a lot of thought, I realised that this was not beneficial knowledge and that I had to learn the basics before reading up on these deep issues.
So, I would advise everyone to seek beneficial knowledge. I see many brothers and sisters discussing the Islamic view on current events and other political issues, when they many of them don’t even know how to recite Surah Al-Fatihah properly or know how to pray according to the Sunnah.
Why worry about advanced issues that do not directly pertain to us when we don’t know much about the basic issues that we will be questioned about???
5) Do as many good deeds as possible
One of the things that happens to many people during the time of fitnah is that they spend far too much time dwelling on issues of no use (as I mentioned above) and cease to do good deeds.
Why waste one hour reading a blog or forum post about an advanced issue that confuses us when we can read a few pages of the Quran?
So, don’t waste your time with issues that are unclear to you, rather spend that time on deeds that you know that you will be rewarded for like prayer, charity, seeking knowledge, etc.
6) Keep silent
If we don’t know about an issue, we should just remain silent, because then we won’t be held accountable for what we’ve said.
من صمت نجا
Abdullah ibn Amr (radiallahu anhuma) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever is silent, is saved.” [Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2501. Graded “sahih” by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2501.]
This hadeeth is general and refers to all situations. So, if we were silent, we wouldn’t get into backbiting, tale bearing, etc.
[A point to note: The people of knowledge mentioned that saying good things is better than keeping silent.]
I think that if we followed the above tips, we should all be able to come out of the current events drool-free, insha-Allah.
PS. I certainly hope this post made sense. If not, at least you learnt a new term today…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
We spend so much time trying to rectify our limbs but we often forget that we need to rectify something else before that: our hearts.
Why? Well, because of the following hadeeth:
[I’m only putting the last portion.]
ألا وإن في الجسد مضغة : إذا صلحت صلح الجسد كله ، وإذا فسدت فسد الجسد كله ، ألا وهي القلب
The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam said): “Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 1, Hadeeth No. 50]
[So much for all those people who disobey Allah all the time and then have the nerve to say “But my heart is clean”!]
So, how does one know if one’s heart is sick and needs to be rectified? Here’s an article by Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) where he mentions some signs of a diseased heart:
Signs of a Diseased Heart
Ibn ul Qayyim (Rahimahullah) mentions in his monumental book Ighatha tul Lahfan min Masa’id ush Shatan Vol. 1 Pg. 68:
“Every muscle in the body was created to execute a specific function, by which, it can obtain the pinnacle of its performance. And the sickness of that particular body part is its failure to execute the function for which it was created or having some level of deficiency in performing it, if it even functions at all.
The sickness of the hand is its inability to grab or clutch. The sickness of the eye is its inability to see or observe. The sickness of the tongue is its inability to utter. The sickness of the body is its inability to move in the natural order it was created to or its deficiency in doing do. The sickness of the heart is its inability to execute the functions it was created to perform such as; being conscious of Allah, knowing Allah, loving Allah, desiring to meet Allah and turning constantly towards Him, while giving precedence to this over the heart’s every ardent desire.
Consequently, if the slave knows everything else but fails to know Allah, it is as if he knows absolutely nothing. Even if he achieves some share or portion of what this transient life has to offer (from its many pleasures and desires) but fails to develop a solid intimate relationship with Allah which produces an ardent desire to meet Him emerging from a strong love of Him, then he has failed to achieve the bliss this life has to offer as well as forfeited the ultimate pleasure of his eye.
Rather if the heart is completely void of the knowledge of Allah and the desire to meet Him, then all of what he obtained from the pleasures and delights of this life will inevitably become a punishment for him. Thus he becomes a punisher of his own self, with the same exact thing he thought he was granting himself happiness and pleasure with. And this is from two angles:
The First: Because of the sorrow and grief that resulted from his forfeiture and his desire of the transient things of this life, it became a barrier between him and obtaining what his soul was utterly attached to.
The Second: Because he forfeited what was better, more beneficial and longer lasting for him, in that he never achieved it.
Hence, the beloved thing he attained was actually forfeited and the more beloved thing was never even achieved. Everyone who truly knows Allah loves Him and devotes his worship to Him sincerely and completely and does not give precedence to the other things that are beloved to him over Allah. And whoever does so, his heart is truly sick. Similar to the intestines of the human being, if it gives precedence to unhealthy food over food that is healthy, it loses its desire for the food that is actually healthy and accustoms
itself to the unhealthy food.
It is possible for the heart to become sick, and the sickness will continue to increase while the individual does not even realize it, due to his preoccupation and negligence regarding its wellbeing and the means by which this wellbeing is acquired. Rather the heart can die while the individual is not even aware of its demise. The indication that the heart is sick is that it is not affected by the injurious nature of evil, not bothered by the fact that it is ignorant of the haqq (i.e. truth), and its beliefs are flawed.
The heart that is full of life is affected by the injurious nature of evil and harmed by its ignorance of the truth based upon the extent of its life. But it is possible that the individual can recognize the sickness of his heart, however, tolerating the bitterness of the medicine to cure it could be just as painful as the sickness itself.
Thus he gives precedence to the continuity of the sickness over the difficulties found in the remedy because the remedy actually opposes his desires and this is the most difficult thing for the soul but there is nothing more beneficial for it.
At times the individual accustoms himself to patience then it dissolves and his steadfastness weakens and eventually subsides due to his lack of knowledge, foresight and impatience, like a person who traverses upon a frightening path that actually leads to safety and security. And he knows that if he exerts patience the fear will subside and he will attain the safety and security he desires.
Nonetheless, he is in dire need of unyielding perseverance and certainty about the path upon which he is traversing. And whenever his patience and certainty weakens he will turn back from the path and will not be able to endure the difficulties of it, especially if he is alone without a companion to traverse this path with him. He will begin to say: “Where did all the people go? I need someone to emulate!”
This is the state of most people and is also the main component of their destruction. So the one who is truly knowledgeable, never feels alienated because there is a lack of camaraderie upon the path he is traversing or because he was abandoned, especially when his heart recognizes that it has a camaraderie with the foremost generation, those upon whom Allah has bestowed His bounty upon from the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous, and how great is the company of these individuals.
Therefore the ability of the slave to traverse this path alone in search of his success is, in itself, proof of the sincerity in his quest.Ishaaq Ibn Ra’huyah (Rahimahullah), one of the contemporaries of Imam Ahmad, was asked about an issue and when he replied to it, someone said to him: “Your brother Ahmad Ibn Hanbal was asked the same question and responded with the same reply as you did!” So Ishaaq said: “I didn’t think anyone would agree with me in this issue!“
Thus Ishaaq didn’t feel alienated because no one agreed with him about the matter, even before the truth of the matter became apparent to everyone else and this is because, when the truth becomes apparent, it is not in need of anyone to testify on its behalf. For the heart can see the truth just as the eye can see the sun. If the individual sees the sun with his own eyes his knowledge and belief regarding it, is not in need of anyone testifying or agreeing to the confirmation of its rising.
Translated by Abu Azzubayr Shadeed Muhammad 1/26/11 corresponding to the 21st of Safar 1432H. USA.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[No, no, I am not Bengali, not even close. I just came across a translation of this book in Bengali by mistake.]
Yes, even more stuff on tawheed. Can anyone ever get tired of tawheed?
[Well, only if he/she has a really diseased heart, I suppose.]
Here’s one of the better books in English on this topic. It really simplifies matters greatly.
It’s one of those “must read” books.
[Click on the image to download the book.]
Here’s the Bengali translation. I’m assuming that it’s authentic. However, could someone, who knows Bengali, please check it against the English text as well? Jazakumullahu kheira.
One of the things that we all love about Ramadan is that it allows us to make a fresh start.
There’s just one little problem though: who said that we need to wait until Ramadan to make a fresh start?
Our ummah today has so many problems. Many Muslims are immersed in shirk (the worst of the sins), fornication (and its sisters: pornography and masturbation), anger management issues, family problems, riba (interest), backbiting and tale bearing, etc.
I could go on and on.
We all have issues that we need to straighten out. What are we doing about them though? And what are we supposed to do about them?
We all know that we need to make a fresh start (yes, ALL of us) but how?
Well, there’s a great story that tells us the way to go about doing that:
Abu Said al-Khudri (radiallahu anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) as saying: There was a person before you who had killed ninety-nine people and then made an inquiry about the learned persons of the world (who could show him the way to salvation). He was directed to a monk.
He came to him and told him that he had killed ninety-nine people and asked him whether there was any scope for his repentance to be accepted. He said: No. He killed him also and thus completed one hundred.
He then asked about the learned persons of the earth and he was directed to a scholar, and he told him that he had killed one hundred persons and asked him whether there was any scope for his repentance to be accepted. He said: Yes; what stands between you and the repentance? You better go to such and such land; there are people devoted to prayer and worship and you also worship along with them and do not come to the land of yours since it was an evil land (for you).
So he went away and he had hardly covered half the distance when death came to him and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment.
The angels of mercy said: This man has come as a penitent and remorseful to Allah and the angels of punishment said: He has done no good at all. Then there came another angel in the form of a human being in order to decide between them. He said: You measure the land to which he has drawn near.
[Allah commanded the earth (from where) he wanted to come out to move itself away and to the other earth (where he wanted to go) to draw nearer.]
They measured it and found him nearer to the land where he intended to go (the land of piety), and so the angels of mercy took possession of it.
Qatada said that Hasan told him that it was said to them that as death approached him, he crawled upon his chest (and managed) to slip in the land of mercy.
[Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 6662. The addition in brackets is from Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth no. 6664]
Here are the lessons that I* learnt from this story:
[*Just so you don’t think that this is some sort of scholarly analysis.]
1) We need to realise that what we are doing is wrong and we have to WANT to change for the better.
From what I’ve personally seen from many people, this seems to be the number one factor as to why some people are unable to change: they simply don’t want to.
Yes, they might claim they want to change but when they are brought face to face with their issues, they simply ignore it.
This man (i.e. the murderer) wanted to change and make a fresh start and due to this, it was made easy for him.
So, admitting our faults and wanting to improve is the first (and most difficult) step towards starting a new life.
2) It does not matter what the sin is.
The sin of the man was murder. The only sin worse than that is shirk.
Some people think that their sins are too great to be forgiven or that they have done too many bad things.
That’s absolutely false.
Allah forgives all sins if a person sincerely repents from them.
So, don’t worry about what you have done in the past, rather focus on repenting from your sins.
What is true love?
And who should we love and how should we love?
Before we come to what “true” love is, I’ll try to answer the other two questions, insha-Allah:
1) Who should we love?
Well, before we answer this, we need to understand that there are two kinds of love. Shaikh Salih Al-Fawzan states:
“Generally, love is of two kinds: particular and general. The first kind is the love connected with worship, which requires perfect submission and obedience to the worshipped one. This kind is only to be confined to Allah.
The second kind of love may exist in the following forms:
1. It may be an intrinsic attachment such as the hungry craving for food.
2. It may be a feeling of tender concern such as the parental care of a child.
3. It may also be a feeling of amiability such as cordial relations between friends.
All these forms do not necessitate submission or surrender and do not consequently affect due attachment to Allah. Although these forms are not acts of shirk (polytheism), they should be subsequent to real and true emotional attachment to Allah, which is maintained in Allah’s saying:
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ أَندَادًا يُحِبُّونَهُمْ كَحُبِّ اللَّـهِ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِّلَّـهِ
“And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allah as rivals (to Allah). They love them as they love Allah. But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else).” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 165]“
[Quoted from “Guide to Sound Creed”, pg. 75]
I’ll come back to this ayah (verse), insha-Allah, in future parts, because this is one of the most important ayaat pertaining to the love of Allah.
2) How should we love?
Now that we know that our love is to be directed to Allah as He is the one deserving of it, how should we love Him?
Is it just by proclaiming “I love Allah!”
Well, no. As we can see from the previous ayah, even the disbelievers love Allah but Allah says that the believers love Him more. So how exactly do the believers love Allah?
Well, this is answered in another ayah:
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّـهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّـهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Surah Aal-Imran (3) : 31]
It is mentioned that this ayah was revealed after some people “claimed” to be love Allah.
As we can see, this ayah tells us how to PROVE that we love Allah.
And how do we prove it? By following the way of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam).
Why is that? Let me explain:
If we love Allah, we’ll try to gain His love. He has revealed to the Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) what He loves and what He does not love. Therefore, we need to follow the Messenger’s (salallahu alaihi wasallam) way so that we do that which Allah loves and keep away from that which He does not love. This is how we will gain His love.
Ask yourself: do you claim to love Allah? If so, do you follow the Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam)?
Remember: Actions speak louder than words.
Insha-Allah, I’ll talk more about following and loving the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) in the next part.