Are Diseases Contagious?

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked how one reconciles hadith and science on contagion.

I have a teacher who is an alim from the Deobandi school of thought. My understanding of disease was that Allah created germs and that many germs are the reason for the spread of disease as they can be passed on when in proximity of a sick person, by the will of Allah.

But my teacher said that this is incorrect and that the hadith “There is no contagion [of disease]” means that illness or sickness is only inherently from Allah, and that germs or genetics have zero part in it. Likewise he was of the opinion that it is not Islamic to take baseless precautions against disease, as the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, ate with a leper out of the same bowl, and that no explicit Islamic commandment exists to warn the believers of something harmful about diseases being passed on. (The ahadith about dipping the fly, visiting the sick, and eating fallen food off the floor – which I believe and follow, but don’t see it in-conflict with my current understanding of Allah controlling who gets sick or not – lending strength to his argument).

The only exception he said would be against leprosy, citing the hadith “flee from the leper,” but even that according to him, quoting Ibn Hajar, was so that someone with weak faith would not lose faith if he were to get infected.

He has not studied biology so I’m not able to explain how genes are inherited. Hence I cannot adequately frame my question with regards to diseases being passed down through genes, but he applies the hadith “there is no contagion [of disease]” to these as well and says the doctor saying “because it runs in your family” is something they have to say, and not necessarily the truth of the matter).

I believe that the Qur’an and Sunna cannot be in conflict with science, so I hope you will be able to explain this to me fully. Is there another school of thought on the matter? How do we explain this hadith in light of the scientific evidence of inherited diseases and infectious diseases?

Jazak Allah khayr.

The sunna of Allah in the world is that matters are normatively correlated to their respective causes. Accordingly, the basis would be that accepting the causation of contagious illnesses or genetic disorders is not at all in conflict with our tenets of faith (‘aqida).

Realities: Tawhid and Moral Responsibility

The believer is always looking at the world with two eyes: the eye of divine oneness (tawhid), and the eye of moral responsibility (taklif). The result of the former is the recognition that Allah alone is the sole doer, and none besides; at every moment, He is the only Creator and Sustainer. As for the latter eye, it is the appreciation of the “causal” relationships between things of this world, and responding to them in an appropriate manner.

The tradition (hadith) in question is reported on the authority of our Master Abu Huraira (may Allah be well-pleased with him) in which he said the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “There is no contagion [of disease]. There is no bad omen. There is no reincarnation as a bird. There is no worm in the stomach.” (Bukhari

Imam Turibishti explained the interpretation of this tradition by speaking about the hadith corpus as an organic whole. He noted that the Lawgiver does not intend to negate realities understood medicinally, in this case, but to negate the independent nature of such realities. What this does is that it allows us to affirm the divine creative act for every single thing. Hence, it is true to say that germs and other microscopic organisms don’t intrinsically, nor necessarily, make another person sick.

Taking the Means 

Yet, at the same time, other traditions explain to us how to take the means to avoid difficulties from matters which have a correlation and relationship to harm. For instance, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) instructed to avoid the leper, and when a leper sought to pledge allegiance to him physically, he had him return his hand to himself.

Having said that, there were other scholars who held fast to what is explicitly stated in this and other traditions. Given what we now know about the nature of the world, germs and the like, it would seem that a such a position is, practically, somewhat untenable to hold.

The upshot, then, is to appreciate the reality of Allah’s creating, the total dependence of creation upon their Creator, and the fact that there is a sunna in the cosmos whereby one thing leads to the other, by Allah’s creating the former, the latter and the relationship between them. (Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh al-Mishkat al-Masabih)

Please also see Concepts of Health and Disease within an Islamic Framework, by Shaykh Jamir Meah and Does Modern Science Confirm the Hadith that Says There is an Antidote in the Wing of a Fly?

And Allah Most High knows best

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Uncreated Beings Besides Allah?

Ustadh Farid Dingle is questioned about the possibility of their being other creators besides Allah.

Are there other uncreated beings alongside Allah? Seeing as how the definition of god is the one who created the universe and creation, is it possible for there to be uncreated beings that Allah did not create? A being that created their own universe and creation. That is not regarded as god by us but regarded as god by their own creation that they have created.

I am asking this question because I have a thought going through my head that before the existence of any creation Allah had a quarrel with other uncreated things over who is more powerful. And that is why Allah has created the mankind and jinn to worship him; to prove to the other uncreated things that He is the most powerful.

I also go through thoughts that other uncreated beings alongside Allah do exist, but they all live in peace and that they all have created their own things and only the things they created regard them to be gods but not the things that the other uncreated things have created.

I know this sounds like it is against the teachings of Islam and I have tried to find anything that goes against this but I can neither find any convincing evidence against this claim or for it. The Qur’an mentions the impossibility of multiple gods in Sura al-Anbiya 21:22. But that only had to do with multiple gods creating the same thing.

My question is to do with multiple uncreated beings that create their own creation who are not regarded as god by the creation of other uncreated beings, but regarded as god by their own creation.

Please I would like for you to clear this up for me and give me an answer as soon as possible, because I am extremely confused and I need to desperately know what is the answer against this claim.

I also have other thoughts that Allah has sexual organs. I go through this thought because Allah mentions he has hands and a shin. I need to know what is the response to all of the above queries I have.

Dear questioner, I would strongly advise you to listen to this series of podcasts: Why Islam Is True.

Regarding your question, it is logically impossible that there be multiple creators because that necessitate a level of dependency in being or actions.

Were there other beings with the power to create and destroy, nothing would stop them from destroying each other, and then they wouldn’t have necessary existence. Similarly, if there were there beings with the power to create and destroy, the execution of such powers would be contingent upon the agreement of other such beings, and this would also be a dependency.

In short, the being that keeps everything in existence and keeps things the specific way everything is exists without any dependency whatsoever, and this dictates that it (He) be one.

As for His not having body parts, this also returns to His freedom of need: parts take up a certain among of space and this would entail that He needs space to exist. Verses that mention His hand or face are metaphorical. For more detail, please see Literalism and the Attributes of Allah.

Theologically, whenever anyone returns the whole of existence to one being, that being must be completely self-explainable: that it is and what is does cannot return to some other external determiner.

This is why the Big Bang cannot be the reason for the universe, Brahma, Jesus or, anything else apart from Allah as He is in the Qur’an.

Allah summarizes this beautifully in Sura al-Ikhlas 112: 1-4.

Say: It is the Allah is One, the One to Whom all else returns;
Never has He had children, nor was He ever born;
And there was [and never will be] anything equal to Him.

Again, listen to the podcasts and this will be more than clear, insha Allah.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Will Hell Be Emptied?

Ustadh Farid Dingle answers a question on a hadith about Hell being emptied.

would like to know if the Hadith in Kanz al-Ummal vol. 14, number 39505 is authentic? It says that there will be one day when hell will be empty. Shukran for your answer!

Wassalam

Hell-Fire will last forever. This is an agreed upon tenet of faith.

The hadith #39505 in Kanz al-Ummal is:

There will come a day that Jahannam will be dried crops, reddened completely empty.

The source given is Tabarani. It seems like it could be a misprint, and the it is “and another [day] in which it is completely empty.” A similar hadith is found in Khatib’s Tarikh.

The editor of Juz fihi ma intaqa Ibn Mardawayhi min hadith al-Tabarani, Badr ibn Abdullah al-Badr, states that this hadith has been deemed weak by al-Haythami, and deemed fabricated by al-Dhahabi, Ibn al-Jawzi and al-Suyuti.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Am I a Kafir for Not loving Allah?

Ustadh Farid Dingle advises on feeling no love for Allah and how to rectify this.

I used to love Allah but my iman got weaker and now I feel indifferent to Allah. I don’t love or hate Him. Partly because I used to blame Allah for things. This is a real lack of love, not just waswasa or a dip in iman.

Is it kufr to truly not love Allah? Please answer me immediately.

Belief in Allah means that you know He exists and accept it as a fact. This is called iman. If you do this, you are a believer.

Whether one fears, loves, reveres, or hopes in Him as you really should, is another issue. Worshipping Allah as you really should is called ihsan.

Please see Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s Commentary on the Hadith of Gibril for more detail.

It is not disbelief (kufr) to not love Allah, but it is sin and lack of ihsan that one must strive to work on. If you don’t feel like you fear or love Allah, at least act like you do, because the hand teaches the heart.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Ishraq, Chasht, and Awwabin Prayers

Shaykh Jamir Meah explains the prayers of ishraq, duha, and awwabin, their virtues and rewards.

  1. What is the difference between the ishraq, chasht, and awwabin prayers. Why are these separately described in hadiths?
  2. When should we pray the ishraq, chasht, and awwabin prayers.
  3. What are the virtues mentioned in sahih hadith of praying the ishraq, chasht, and awwabin prayers?

I pray you are well insha Allah.  

There is a difference of opinion on whether the Ishraq prayer and the Duha prayer, termed “Chasht” in the sub-continent, are two distinct prayers or one and the same prayer.  

This difference of opinion is based on the varying hadiths which indicate the two possibilities, such as “In the morning when the sun rises to the same height as it is at the time of Asr, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, used to perform two cycles of prayer. When the sun rose in the east to the height where it is in the west at the time of Dhuhr, he performed four cycles of prayer.” (Tirmidhi)

Both prayers are prayed after sunrise. However, the majority of jurists held that they are one and the same prayer. They explain the apparent discrepancies in hadiths as referring to an “optimal” time to pray it, i.e. straight after sunrise, and a “permissible” time to pray it, i.e. any time before noon. However, if one prays them separately as two distinct prayers this would be valid. And Allah knows best.  

The minimum cycles of the prayer are 2, and the maximum cycles are 8 . Some hold the maximum to be 12, though 8 is preferable to all. Ideally, it is prayed in cycles of two or four. 

Benefits of the Ishraq–Duha Prayer

Among the benefits of the ishraq or duha prayer, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, mentioned that

  1. It helps you accomplish all responsibilities for that day.
  2. A castle of gold is built in Paradise for the person.
  3. One’s sins are forgiven even though they are as much as the foam of the sea.
  4. One obtains the reward of one Hajj and one Umra – if one prays Fajr in congregation, then remains seated in the same place while engaging in remembrance until after sunrise, and then performs two cycles of prayer. (Mishkat; Tirmidhi)

Salat al-Awwabin (The Prayer of the Righteous)

Salat al-Awwabin is a sunna prayer that is prayed between Maghrib and ‘Isha. This position is held by many scholars and is based on various chains of narrations, which though individually weak, when combined, lend weight, especially in regards to virtuous actions. One example of the weak ahadith is, “Whoever prays six cycles of prayer after Maghrib and does not say anything bad in between them, will have a reward equal to the worship of twelve years.” (Tirmidhi)

Furthermore, it has been established in sound narrations that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, did pray voluntary pray in between Maghrib and Isha; “Hudhayfa said, ‘I came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and prayed Maghrib with him. When he had finished the prayer, he stood and prayed, and he kept praying until he prayed Isha.’” (Ahmad) And it has been narrated in various reports that the Companions would pray between Maghrib and Isha.  

However, other scholars hold that Salat al-Awwabin is the same as the Duha prayer, based on the wording found in the hadith, “The Prayer of the Penitent (Salat al-Awwabin) is when the feet of young camels are scalded [by the heat of sand].” (Muslim)

Salat al-Awwabin is prayed in cycles of two or four. The minimum is two cycles of prayer and its maximum is twenty cycles.  

The benefits of praying Salat al-Awwabin include, all of one’s sins being forgiven even if they are as much as the foam of the sea, and if one prays six cycles, it would be equal to the reward of twelve years of worship. (Tabarani; Tirmidhi)

(Tarshi al-Mustarshidin; Bushra al-Karim; Ahkam al-Qur’an)

Warmest salam,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Photos of the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat answers questions on images of the Prophet found online.

I am confused. The photos that are on Google and YouTube of the Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace be upon him, are they real or are they just uploaded by others to misguide Muslims?

I pray you are well.

Depicting the Prophets and Companions

Is is not permissible to depict the Messenger of Allah – or any other prophet, Allah bless them all and give them peace, in picture or video format. This is a matter of consensus and the verdict issued by al-Azhar University in 1968, the Islamic Research Council in 1972, the Egyptian Fatwa Ministry in 1980, and others more recently.

There are many reasons for this. One of them is that it opens the doors of derision directed to the prophets, Allah bless them and give them peace; whereas Allah has honored them to the highest degree. We live in a time where anyone and everyone can comment on matters online. Sadly, there are those whose vile comments are leveled against the greatest of people – due to ignorance, animosity, or sheer malice.

Therefore, the aversion of this is given precedence over any and all other potential benefits. Looking at such images, therefore, would have the same rulings.

Any pictures you do find, if they are there to depict his beauty, they cannot do it justice. And if they are there for any other vile purpose – it is best not to sully your sight with them.

The ruling has also been extended to depicting the Companions. Many of the sources used to produce such material are not sound, therefore there is the element of falsely ascribing events and quotes to people in this. There are other matters which further support this ruling.

Seeing the Messenger, Blessings and Peace Be upon Him

I recommend that you study the beautiful life and qualities of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. Those who throw themselves into this and those who send many blessings upon him, are often blessed with seeing him in their dreams.

In a narration found in Sahih al-Bukhari, he said, “Whoever sees me in a dream will see me in a waking state; Shaytan cannot take my form.” Some of the ulema, such as Imam al-Suyuti, have commented on this hadith saying that some of the righteous – such as Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili and others – see him in a waking state during their lives. For the generality of believers, this usually happens at the point of death, and through this great blessing they attain a good death. (Jassus, Qasim; Sharh Shamaʾil al-Tirmidhi)

May Allah honor us with the vision of His beloved, Allah bless him and give him peace, in this life before the next. Amin. 

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Criticizing a Companion

Shaykh Jamir Meah is asked about speaking ill of the Companions.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

If one has the i‘tiqad of Ahl al-Sunna, but criticizes, or speaks ill, or curses a Companion of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, what is his state?

  1. Is he still among the Ahl al-Sunna, but with an opinion of Ahl al-Bid‘a?
  2. Or is he totally Ahl al-Bid‘a, because the i‘tiqad of Ahl al-Sunna cannot be separated, as iman (belief) cannot be separated?

Jazak Allah khayr.

I pray you’re well insha Allah.

While love and veneration of the Companions of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, is not a fundamental tenant of Sunni doctrine, it is nevertheless a benchmark of one’s belief in, love and obeisance of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, which is a central component of Islam.

Insulting the Companions

Those who insult or disrespect the Companions have disobeyed the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, and have a serious issue in their faith. This is clear from the many pre-emptive narrations of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. Among them:

Do not abuse my companions, for if one of you were to spend the weight of mount Uhud in gold it would not surpass a small amount of their charity or even half of that. (Bukhari)

The best people are those living in my generation. (Bukhari)

The Ansar: no one loves them but a believer and no one hates them but a hypocrite. Whoever loves them, Allah will love him, and whoever hates them, Allah will hate him. (Bukhari)

Ruling on Those Who Insult the Companions

While Sunni scholars do not state that those who insult the Companions fall out of the pale of Islam, the position on such people are stern. Illustrious Imams such as al-Hafidh ibn Hajr and al-Dhahabi explicitly call such people zanadiqa (sing; zindiq), which is another name for a hypocrite (munafiq). (Al-Isaba fi Tamyiz al-Sahaba; al-Kaba’ir)

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

The Prophet’s Funeral Prayer

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat answers a question about the number of people who attended the Prophet’s funeral prayer, blessings and peace be upon him.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Who is the only wife of Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, who attended his funeral prayer?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

I could not find any reference to only one of the wives of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, attending his funeral prayer. Rather, the earlier, later, and contemporary experts on the Sira, such as Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Salihi, and Muhammad Ali al-Sallabi, all say that first the male companions went in groups and prayed over him individually without an imam. They were then followed by the female companions, then children, and then the slaves.

The outward purport of this is that all of the wives of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, would have been there. There was no one to prevent them, and the prayer was not conducted in the mosque.

(Al-Sallabi, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya; al-Salihi, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad; Samira al Zayid, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya).

I hope that clarifies matters. May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Two Hadiths about ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Muayt

Shaykh Jamir Meah clarifies two hadiths concerning the fate of ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Muayt and his children, ‘Umarah and Yazid.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I just read the account of the battle of Badr in Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him. He records the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, telling ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Muayt that Hell will take care of his children before his execution. Also, below is a hadith from Sunan Abu Dawud.

Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud. Ibrahim said, “Al-Dahhak ibn Qays intended to appoint Masruq as governor. Thereupon Umarah ibn Uqbah said to him: Are you appointing a man from the remnants of the murderers of Uthman? Masruq said to him, ‘Ibn Mas‘ud narrated to us, and he was trustworthy in respect of traditions, that when the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, intended to kill your father, he said: Who will look after my children?’ He replied: ‘Fire. I also like for you what the Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace be upon him, liked for you.’”

What is the authenticity of these two reports? Why would the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, utter such harsh words? And how can we reconcile them with his character, blessings and peace be upon him, as a mercy to the worlds? Need help.

Your brother in faith.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Thank you for your question.

The event of Uqbah bin Mu’ayt’s execution is one of many incidents that those seeking to undermine Islam and skew the perfect character of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, choose to focus upon. When read objectively, these narrations do not present any issues, nor contradict the noble rank of the Prophet or his being a mercy to the worlds, blessings and peace be upon him.

Uqbah bin Mu’ayt

Uqbah bin Mu’ayt was one of the fiercest and vilest antagonists of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, and the Muslims. Despite being a neighbor to the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, his acts of hatred towards the Prophet include; insults, mockery, throwing the entrails, blood, and waste of a camel on the Prophet as he prayed at the Kaba. Stepping on the Prophet’s neck while he was in prostration, spitting in the Prophet’s face, attempted murder of the Prophet by strangulation, blessings and peace be upon him, rejoicing at the death of the Prophet’s son Abdullah, and much more.

As you rightly said, the death of Uqbah is mentioned in the books of Prophetic biography, such as Ibn Ishaq. After the Muslims won at Badr, the enemy soldiers were taken captive. The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, ordered that two of these captives were to be executed; Uqbah being one of them. This is absolutely understandable given his vitriol towards the Muslims and the suffering he had caused.

When about to be put to death, ‘Uqbah said, “Who will look after my children?” to which the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, answered, “The Fire.” Then he was executed. (Sunan Abu Dawud. The hadith has a sound chain of transmission.)

The Fire

The scholars have commentated on what the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, had meant by his answer “The Fire,” and it suffices us to quote what they have said as an explanation:

There are two opinions to his answer ‘The Fire,’ blessings and peace be upon him. The first is that the Fire will be their [‘Uqbah’s children’s] destruction, meaning if the Fire is to apply to them then so will it be [i.e if they die as disbelievers, then that will also be their fate].

The second possibility is that he, blessings and peace be upon him, was using a specific style of speech [uslub al hakim – in Arabic rhetoric, when one addresses a person with words that are not anticipated by the addressee, and which goes against the outward understanding of the word, in order to make it known that the import of the words are directed specifically to the person addressed], so the meaning is, ‘For you is the Fire,’ i.e. ‘Concern yourself with yourself and what is destined for you in the Fire, and leave the affairs of your children alone, for Allah is their Provider … and this [second opinion] is the correct opinion.
(Sharh Mishkat al-Masabih)

Perhaps the Prophet’s words “The Fire,” blessings and peace be upon him, were meant as additional castigation and punishment [of ‘Uqbah], not that he, blessings and peace be upon him, was stating that his [‘Uqbah’s] children will be in the Fire, for Walid and Umarah became Muslims on the Conquest of Mecca, and Allah is pleased with all the Companions. (Sharh Sunan Abu Dawud li Ibn Raslan)

In regards this event, we should note the following:

    1. 1. The plea of ‘Uqbah, “What about my children?” was a desperate attempt to escape the deserving death penalty and to be taken instead as a slave.

2. At least one of his sons, Yazid was legally an adult and a disbeliever at the time, who assisted the Quraysh at the Battle of Badr. Both he and his brother Umarah later became Muslims.

3. ‘Uqbah had done everything in his power to hurt and destroy the Muslims, who up until Badr, had not fought with the Quraysh at all. ‘Uqbah was well aware of what the loss at Badr would mean for him. Additionally, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, had previously warned him that he would execute him one day for his oppression and aggression, but since ‘Uqbah was in a position of power, he mocked the warning.

Harshness

The response of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, to ‘Uqbah’s plea was deserved and just. If the response seems harsh to some, then it is important to know that the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, never took personal revenge or acted out of spitefulness for the sake of his own person and grievances.

The person of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, is an intrinsic part of the the religion, and abuse and attack on his person is abuse of Allah, the religion of Islam, and the Muslims in general. And it is for their relentless and vehement crimes against Allah, his religion, and the Muslims, that certain figures such as ‘Uqbah were put to death and given harsh treatment. This is the context in which the answer of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, is correctly understood.

This is made clear by the fact that Allah revealed a verse mentioning the death of ‘Uqbah, “On the day when the wrong-doer gnaws his hands, he will say: ‘Ah, would that I had chosen a way together with the messenger!’” (Sura al-Furqan 25:27)

If critics take exception at the Prophet’s words, blessings and peace be upon him, and use it as a proof of a lack of his mercy and an example of a barbaric “medieval” nature (particularly compared to the false “meek-as-a-lamb” image put forward in regards the personality of Christ) they need only to look at the New Testament to find similar “harsh” expressions reportedly expressed by Christ, such as when he addresses the scribes and Pharisees and their evil designs against him and his followers: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Mathew 23:33) In other words, Hellfire has now become your fate.

Perspective

Given what we have mentioned above, it’s important to now put the death of ‘Uqbah in perspective. Out of seventy something captives taken at Badr, only two were executed: ‘Uqbah being one of them. And this was due to their unrelenting persecution of the Muslims.

As for the remaining prisoners of war, we will allow the words of William Muir, who we should note was a Christian evangelic orientalist, and held very biased and unfair criticisms of Islam, to describe for us the treatment of the remaining captives from the Battle of Badr, so we may draw our own conclusions as to the mercy and character of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him:

In pursuance of Mahomet’s commands, the citizens of Medina, and such of the refugees as possessed houses, received the prisoners, and treated them with much consideration. ‘Blessings be on the men of Medina!’ said one of these prisoners in later days; ‘they made us ride, while they themselves walked: they gave us wheaten bread to eat when there was little of it, contenting themselves with dates. (The Life of Mahomet)

Turning the Other Cheek

From the above, it is clear that these is not the cold-hearted acts of a callous leader, nor the principles of a barbaric religion, as some would have people believe to be the case.

For mercy to be attributed to a person, it does not mean that the person is obliged to always turn the other cheek or pardon, nor to refrain from exacting just punishment. This is a false notion. In the same way, God’s punishing those who deserve punishment does not inhibit His being attributed by Mercy or being deserving of the Names Al-Rahman and Al-Rahim: the Most Merciful and Most Compassionate.

Merciful Not Weak

In worldly affairs, particularly affairs of the state, every situation must be assessed on merit, and sometimes it is necessary to exact the law or bring people to justice. To not do so in situations which demand it can be considered a weakness and dangerous.

It is well known that in war, there are times when certain individuals must be put to death. For not only are they deserving of such a fate for their heinous crimes, but it also serves the purpose of putting a final end to the threat they pose (and thereby bringing justice and peace), sending a clear warning to enemies that such aggression will not be tolerated, as well as showing a sign of strength.

We see a similar incident concerning Salahuddin al-Ayyubi and Reginald (Reynald) of Chatillon when the former regained Jerusalem from the crusaders. Salahuddin had captured King Guy of Jerusalem and Reginald, and chose to spare the life of the King, yet did not extend the pardon to Reginald, who was a particularly lawless crusader who had robbed, killed, and enslaved Muslim civilians, as well attempting to dig up and kidnap the body of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him!

Reginald was executed shortly after being captured by Salahuddin. Yet despite this, Salahuddin remains a revered figure who was and still is acknowledged and praised a great deal in the West for his chivalry, generosity, and mercy. Salahuddin’s decision to execute Reginald is generally accepted as an expected and normal decision of a military leader in that situation.

Hadith of Masruq

You mentioned the hadith that, “Al-Dahhak ibn Qays intended to appoint Masruq as governor. Thereupon Umarah ibn Uqbah said to him, ‘Are you appointing a man from the remnants of the murderers of Uthman?’ Masruq said to him: ‘Ibn Mas‘ud narrated to us, and he was trustworthy in respect of traditions, that when the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, intended to kill your father, he said, “Who will look after my children?” He replied, “The Fire.” I also like for you what the Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace be upon him, liked for you.’” (Sunan Abu Dawud)

This hadith has a fair chain of transmission. What is apparent from the narration is that the words of Masruq: “I also like for you what the Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace be upon him, liked for you,” was a bitter retaliation to Umarah opposing his appointment as governor and connecting his name with assassination of Sayyidna Uthman. It is not to be understood as something the Prophet actually meant, as discussed above. And Allah knows best.

I hope this clarifies the matter.

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Was Uways al Qarni Martyred?

Shaykh Gibril Haddad gives a full and rounded answer to the question of the martyrdom of our master, Uways al Qarni, including biographical sources.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

1. Was our master Uways al Qarni, Allah be pleased with him, martyred in the Battle of Siffin while fighting on the side of our master Ali, Allah ennoble his face?

2. Could you relate a few narrations about Uways al Qarni, Allah be pleased with him, giving a general overview of his life?

Answer:

The answer to your first question is yes, and when he was found they counted more than forty cuts on his body as narrated by Ibn ‘Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq (9:438).

This is also documented in Tabaqat Ibn Sa‘d (6:205), Mustadrak al Hakim (3:402) and Hilyat al Awliya (2:86). See also the end of the chapter on Uways in Al Dhahabi’s Siyar A‘lam al Nubala’.

Historically his grave was well-known and visited in Raqqa province, to which Siffin belonged. But I am not sure whether it still exists or was destroyed by the supposed upholders of Islamic civilization and statehood.

The most comprehensive source on the biography of our liegelord Uways al Qarni, Allah be pleased with him, is in Ibn ‘Asakir’s Tarikh Dimashq (9:208-455). There is also an interesting entry on him in Ibn Hajar’s Al Isaba fi Tamyiz al Sahaba and an all-too-brief monograph on him by Mulla ‘Ali al Qari entitled Al Ma‘dan al ‘Adani fi Fadl Uways al Qarni.

All but the last of the above sources also mention the alternative account of his death subsequent to an illness on the return of a trip to Azerbaijan with our master Umar ibn al Khattab, Allah be pleased with him. However, the Hafiz Ibn Hajar said its chain contained a discarded narrator.

On our master Uways, you can find something here in English. However I will cite something below which you might not find anywhere else.

Al Khallal narrated in his book Al Hathth ‘ala al Tijara wa al Sina‘a (The Encouragement to Trade and Industry):

I [Abu Bakr al Marrudhi] told Abu ‘Abd Allah [Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal] of a man who quit buying and selling and swore to himself that no gold or silver would ever fall into his hand again. He left his big house without giving any instructions regarding it. He would go on the road and if he saw anything discarded he would take it from the trash. I [al Marrudhi] said to that man: “What is your proof for this? I do not think you have any proof for it other than Abu Mu‘awiya al Aswad [one of the Abdal].” The man said: “Yes, I do. Uways al Qarni! He would pass by garbage heaps (mazabil) and collect rags.”

He [Ahmad] confirmed his words and said: “He is definitely too strict on himself!” (qad shaddada `ala nafsih). Then he said: “Two poor souls once came to me asking me something very similar to this. One of them said he goes on the road and finds something like vegetables and such. I told them: ‘Why not find work? Do you want to be notorious?‘ They only replied: ‘And what do we care about notoriety?’”

Al Khallal also narrated with his chain that a man asked Uways al Qarni: “From where will livelihood come?” Uways said: “Tell him: Truly we declare and do swear that those hearts, when they start doubting, no admonishment will benefit them!”

May Allah have mercy on him and grant us his intercession on the Day of Mutual Cries.

GF Haddad