The Conditions Of Repentance

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: How many are the conditions of repentance?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah,

Repentance is immediately obligatory from every sin, major or minor. Allah Most High says, “Turn to Allah in repentance all together, O believers, so that you may be successful.” (Sura al-Nur 24:31)

Imam Nawawi mentions three central conditions for valid repentance (tawba):

(1) leaving the sin altogether,

(2) having remorse over having committed the sin, and

(3) firmly resolving never to return to the sin.

If the sin relates to the right of another human being, then, additionally, (4) that right must be returned. But some note that this point is actually a separate duty (wajib) outside of the act of repentance for the initial wrongdoing — the correcting of which, may or may not affect the acceptability of your repentance. If distinct, what this means is that withholding the right would become another, separate sin.

Moreover, the scholars explain that there are also a few other conditions which apply to repentance, including doing so:

(5) before the sun rises from the west,

(6) before one’s soul begins exiting the body, and

(7) sincerely, such as out of fear of His wrath and punishment, and not for any worldly reason.

Repentance from one sin is valid even if a person is engaged in other sins, and it is valid even if a person has returned to the same sin time and again, on condition that each time he met the conditions of valid repentance. Lastly, the most optimal manner of repenting is by praying the Prayer of Repentance (salat al-tawba).

The Accepted Hajj, Becoming Muslim and Rights

Although there are a number of traditions (ahadith) which speak of the slate of the person who performs an accepted hajj or becomes Muslim being wiped clean from sin, such narrations do not relate to actual rights which need to be fulfilled and lifted from one’s dues. Accordingly, debts owed to others, for example, need to be repaid and prayers and fasts that were omitted (by the Muslim) need to be made up. What is wiped away is the original sin and not the duty to subsequently correct the wrong?

In a beautiful tradition (hadith) of the Beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), he informed us that, “The one who repents from sin is like the one who has no sin.” (Ibn Majah) And in one of the Aphorisms (al-Hikam) of Ibn ‘Ata Illah al-Sakandari (may Allah sanctify his secret), he says, “There is no grave sin when you faced by His Eternal Grace.” But the basis is to be balanced, between fearing for the acceptance of one’s repentance and hopeful in the mercy of the Ever-Merciful.

(Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin/Sharh Sahih Muslim; Birgivi, al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya, with Nabulsi and Khadimi’s respective commentaries; Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid ‘ala Jawharat al-Tawhid)

Please also see: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance) and: Major vs Minor Sins, and Haram vs. Makruh Tahriman and: Prayer of Repentance: Salat al-Tawba

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan, and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based on his family.

Playing With A Conch

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamualaikum, We went to the Bahamas last year and my kids bought a conch and for fun blow into it. Is this haram? My father has told them that the Hindus use it and we should not.

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum assaalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

It is better to discontinue the use of the conch. It is used by Hindus in their religious ceremonies, so it is superior to avoid it.

Imitating the Disbelievers

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Whoever imitates a people he is one of them.” (Abu Dawud). This hadith is intended to dissuade the believers from attempting to imitate disbelievers and the morally corrupt in matters specific to them and their identity. Doing so would be impermissible and sinful.

There is a lot of detail to this topic, but what is relevant here is the issue of the act of worship they do with the conch. It’s clear that your children do not try to imitate the Hindu ritual, but there is a strong association between the conch and the ritual so it is best avoided. (Itr, I’lam al Anam)

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with erudite scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish, and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic with teachers such as Dr. Ashraf Muneeb, Dr. Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr. Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr. Mansur Abu Zina, and others. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabir and Shaykh Yahya Qandil. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Clarifying Innovations in Islam

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question: What is blameworthy innovation? Did the Messenger of Allah distinguish between a praiseworthy and blameworthy innovation? What is the proof for reciting specific surahs at the grave, a specific amount of times?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

May Allah bless you for your inquiry and your desire to know the sunnah of our beloved Prophet [Allah bless him and give him peace]

Blameworthy innovation is that which is newly introduced to the religion and goes against the Qur’an, Sunnah of the Prophet [may Allah bless him and give him peace], and the consensus of the scholars. This is the innovation of misguidance mentioned by the Prophet. It is considered strictly prohibited (Haram) and one of the grave sins.

This understanding is explained below.

What is Innovation?

The word for innovation in the Arabic language is (بدعة – Bid’ah). Bid’ah, lexically means something newly introduced not based on any previous example. This meaning can be seen in the verse:

(Allah is the) the originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is. [al-Baqarah – 117]
But when we discuss the word Bid’ah in the context of the Sacred Law, the Scholars have defined it in the following ways:

Imam al-Shafi’ [may Allah be pleased with him] said, “Bid’ah is two. The praiseworthy bid’ah and the blameworthy bid’ah. Thus that which coincides with the Sunnah is praiseworthy and that which goes against the Sunnah is blameworthy.

Imam al-Bayhaqi relates that Imam al-Shafi’ [may Allah be pleased with them both] also said, “Newly introduced matters are two types: that which was introduced and goes against the Book (i.e. the Qur’an), or the Sunnah, or the consensus of the scholars, then it is an innovation of misguidance; and that which was newly introduced of good which does not go against any of that, then it is not blameworthy

Types of Innovation

This distinguishment between blameworthy and praiseworthy innovations can be clearly understood from the statement of the Prophet [may Allah bless him and give him peace],

The Messenger of Allah [may Allah bless him and give him peace] said, “Whoever initiates, in Islam, a good sunnah (practice), then for him is its reward and the reward of all who practice upon it, after him, without decreasing from their rewards, anything. And whoever initiates, in Islam, an evil sunnah, then for him is its sin and the sin of all who practice, after him, without decreasing from their sins, anything.” [Muslim]

In this context we now can understand what the Prophet [may Allah bless him and give him peace] meant when he said:

Every newly introduce matter is an innovation (bid’ah) and every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the fire. [Ahmad; Tirmidhi]

If we take this narration to its fullest apparent meaning then many aspects of our worldly and religious lives would also be considered innovation (bid’ah). We would have to discard our telephones and computers, remove the lights and carpets from the masjid, no longer drive cars, etc… And if one were to claim that it only refers to innovation in the religion, then they have not taken the apparent meaning of ‘every’.

How to understand primary texts:

Regarding verses of the Qur’an and the body of Prophetic Narrations, we must examine them as a whole. We cannot use one narration and disregard others. All of the aforementioned narrations, when observed together, indicate a distinction between the two types of innovation. That which is blameworthy is, therefore ‘in the fire’. And that which is not blameworthy which would be considered (sunnah hasanah) a good practice, for which one will be rewarded, as mentioned by the Prophet [may Allah bless him].

Examples of praiseworthy innovations

The Companions [may Allah be pleased with them all] introduced matters, both in and after the time of the Prophet. For example:

It is narrated that ‘Umar [may Allah be pleased with him] said, “A man came while the people were in prayer. Once he reached the rows (of prayer) he said, “Allah is most certainly the greatest, much abundant praise is due to Allah, and glory be to Allah morning and evening.’ When the Prophet [may Allah bless him and give him peace] finished the prayer, He said, ‘Who is the one who said those words?’ The man replied, ‘I am, O’ Messenger of Allah, I swear by Allah, I only intended good by them.’ He said, ‘I surely have seen the doors of the heavens open for them.’” Ibn ‘Umar [may Allah be pleased with them] said, “Since the day I heard them, I haven’t left them.” [Sahih Muslim]

It is narrated the Rifa’ah bin Raaf’i [may Allah be pleased with him] said, “We were once praying behind the Prophet [may Allah bless him and give him peace] and when he raised his head from the bowing position (ruk’u), he said, ‘Allah hears the one who praises Him.’ A man from behind us said, ‘O’ our Lord for You is all praise, abundant, blessed, and pure praise.’ When finishing the prayer He (i.e. the Prophet) said, ‘Who is the one who spoke?’ He (the man) said, ‘I did.’ He said, ‘I have seen some thirty angels racing to see which of them can write it down.’” [al-Bukhari]

In these two of many, many examples, it is clear how the Companions [may Allah be pleased with them] understood innovation. Other examples are:

Gathering the Qur’an into one book
Taraweeh Prayer behind an Imam
Islamic Seminaries
Recordings of Qur’anic Recitation
Books of Islamic Law
The Science of Hadith

And this list goes on…

Allah, Most High, says in the Qur’an:

…and whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he prohibits you from, then desist. And fear Allah. Verily Allah is severe in punishment. [Qur’an: 59.7]

Allah, Most High, never said, ‘whatever the Messenger did not do, then refrain.’ Our Mother ‘Aisha [may Allah be pleased with her] relates that the Messenger of Allah [may Allah bless him and give him peace] said, “Whoever introduces into this affair of ours (i.e. Islam) that which is not of it, then it is rejected.’

This narration clearly indicates that there will be matters introduced that are of the religion and thus not rejected.

Qur’anic Recitation at the Cemetery

Reciting Qur’an at the grave of the deceased is a practice rooted in the Prophetic Sunnah and practiced by the righteous since the time of the Companions [may Allah be pleased with them] till present-day.

Specifying amounts of recitation

As for stipulating a specific amount of any particular surah or verse other than what is narrated in the Prophetic Hadith, then there is nothing wrong with this. As long as one doesn’t deem such an amount to be obligatory or force others to do that amount, no more, no less, it is permissible and not an innovation.

It is narrated by M’aqil bin Yasaar [may Allah be pleased with him] that the Prophet said, “YaSeen is the heart of the Qur’an, no one recites it, seeking Allah and the final abode, except that Allah forgives him. Recite it over your deceased.” [Abu Dawud]

Note: The word deceased here is literal. The metaphorical meaning of ‘those on the verge of death’ is not taken. This is because to leave the literal meaning for a metaphorical interpretation would necessitate a legal reason to do so, which is not found.

Al-Hafiz al-Suyuti [may Allah be pleased with them] mentioned, “Whoever enters the cemetery, then recites al-Fatihah, al-Takaathur, and al-Ikhlaas, then says, ‘I give the reward of what I recited of Your speech to the people of the graves, from the believing men and women, they will be intercessors for him on the Day of Rising.” [al-Qawaa’id]

Al-Nasaai narrates, as well as al-Raaf’i in his (Tarikh) and Abu Muhammad al-Samaqandi in his (Fada’il of Surah al-Ikhlas), the narration of ‘Ali [may Allah be pleased with him], that he said, “Whoever passes by a graveyard and recites ‘Say! He Allah is one.’ 11 times then gifts the reward of it to the deceased, he is rewarded according to the number of the deceased.”

Lastly, it must be noted, that even though some of the narrations related to this topic are of weaker transmission than others, that does not mean they cannot be acted upon. Many scholars have considered it permissible to act upon weak transmissions. Some have said that the permissibility is absolute and others have stipulated conditions. Either way, it falls under a matter of difference of opinion amongst authentic scholarship, and differences of opinion when they come from the authorized scholarship are respected.

May Allah bless you and Allah Knows Best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of the Qur’an and the Islamic sciences.

Should I Advise My Sister To Get Back With Her Boyfriend?

Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle

Question: Should I advise my Muslim sister to get back with her boyfriend for the sake of their daughter?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

Dear questioner,

There is quite a lot in your question, so I will try to tackle it from a few different angles.

In summary, though, do get involved with your sister’s life, and be there for her wherever she is in her religious life, but make sure she knows that she can only continue her relationship with her ex-boyfriend in an Islamic marriage.

Mending together

Your sisters need you. And you need them. Mending, both emotionally and psychologically, takes time, but one of the greatest catalysts is family support.

The modern, almost designed breakup of the family unit is itself a cause of weakened emotional strength — a strength that we all rely on as an immunity to the ‘flings and arrows’ of the chaos of This World (Dunya). Sometimes circumstances force us to separate ourselves from our immediate kith and kin, but we always need to work to rebuild these ties for immediate benefit in This World, and our benefit in the next. So keep in contact with them, and help them through their religious confusion, because you too need them in your life.

Family ties are so important in Islam that Allah Most High equated it in the Quran with turning away from Islam:

‘And might it well be the case that, if you turned away, you will spread corruption on earth and violently sever your ties of relationship? [47:22]

It has also come in a Hadith Qudsi that the womb (the symbol of family ties) stood up before Allah and said, ‘Here I am seeking refuge from being cut off!’ At this Allah responded saying, ‘Yes, [I grant you that]. Will you be content if I keep closing whomsoever keeps you close, and cut off whomsoever cuts you off?’ To which she replied in the affirmative. [Bukhari and Muslim]

So in this vein, it would probably be a good idea to reach out to your brother too, even if he is in another country, and to parents too eventually. All of this is part of the healing process, and all of this is part of the completion of our faith.

The Letter of the Law

Before we proceed to the specifics of what to do in this scenario, we need to get our bearings on what the Sacred Law says about your sister’s relationship and her daughter.

You and I both know that an extramarital relationship between a man and woman is not halal, and that means that Allah hates it and will not make it bear fruits of happiness in the long run. For this reason, the Sacred Law does not recognize the legitimacy of fatherhood outside the fold of marriage: the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘The child is the bed’s [i.e. the mother’s], and the fornicator gets the stone.’ [Muslim] This hadith tells us that is not an issue of biological paternity, rather than only the mother is considered the mother in Allah’s eyes, and the biological father who was not married to the woman has no relationship to either one: he is not the child’s father. This is important to know and recognize, even if the law of the land states otherwise. It means that the daughter will never inherit from the biological father, and is not considered his mahram.

It is also worth noting that as we all know, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man. The only way that your sister and her former partner could get back together again would be by him becoming Muslim, and then the two getting married. This marriage would also make him the daughter’s mahram.

Trying your best

Now you are probably sitting there reading this and thinking to yourself that this is all well and good, but your sister does not look at things like this at this particular point in her life. Right now, she is trying to survive physically, financially, and emotionally as a single mother. From her current point of view, she is probably torn between love and hate, and toying with the idea of getting back with someone who has a vested interest in her and her (and his) daughter.

Given the situation, you really just have to try your best to realize the least amount of harm on all levels. What if she does go back to him and becomes Muslim? What if he doesn’t become Muslim? What if she doesn’t and just ends up a single mother? What if she just gets another boyfriend?

These are all possibilities that you have to factor in. So just be there for her in these decisions and turn her towards the most god-fearing choices she can actually make at this time in her life.

One of the scholars of the past said, ‘He who guides you to the This World has cheated you; he who guides you to doing acts of worship has tired you out, but he who guides to Allah Himself has given genuine advice.’ This is what she needs right now: a comprehensive will to turn to Allah that will translate into a genuine resolve to abide by His rules.

The golden principle is that Allah is running the show and that whenever we show genuine remorse and willingness to change, He opens solves things for us in unfathomable ways. This entails that we all decide to abide by the Sacred Law, leave the haram in our lives, and strive to perform what is incumbent upon us.

Allah Most High says, ‘Allah is the Protector of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light.’ [2: 257]

We ask Allah to takes us all out of the darkness and into His light. Amen.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.

Servanthood and Submission

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: What is the real meaning of servanthood [ubudiyya] and what is the authentic book I need to read to know more about submission?

Answer: Wa’alaykum Assalam. Thank you for your question.

Submitting to Allah Most High and being pleased with Allah are two necessary sides of faith. One realizes one’s slavehood by realizing one’s absolute neediness of Allah Most High, and recognizing that one’s works, or the acts of others, are only through the Will and Power of Allah.

Islam enters into every aspect of one’s life, inward and outward. One submits to Allah Most High through first following His commands and avoiding His prohibitions, and then increasing and cementing one’s submission through voluntary works and remembering Him at all times. Being grateful in word and deed towards Allah is a sure sign of slavehood. Contemplation on the world around one, including oneself, is part of the process of increasing in faith and knowing one’s Lord.

When the heart and limbs submit in this way, one maintains a balance of hope and fear. One seeks motivation through Him alone, and because such a person experiences love in his heart, he has mercy towards others in creation, following the way of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him). In this state being pleased with Allah Most High naturally ensues.

The best book to read to increase one’s slavehood is the Quran, contemplating on its meaning. One should also read the Sirah of the blessed Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him). Following this, one may read the works of Imam al Ghazali and Imam al Haddad.

Please also refer to:

Slavehood to Allah and How We Look at Creation and People

Ubudiyya or True Kingship

Lastly, do not have doubts and misgivings about your relationship with Allah Most High. Such doubts are the work of the devil, who wants to severe your relationship with Him by constantly doubting your sincerity and works. Brush these thoughts aside and continue remembering Allah Most high whenever you can and do what you can in His way. We intend and we act and ask Allah to accept it from us, the rest we leave to Allah.

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Best Order To Study The Step One Courses

Answer by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: What is the best order to study the step-one courses?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

The step one courses are best studied in the following order:

1. Absolute Essentials of Islam (Hanafi or Shafi’i)

2. What Muslims Believe and Why: Dardir’s Kharida al-Bahiyya

3. How Islam Works: What is Religion, and How It Is Preserved, Transmitted, and Interpreted

4. On Worship (Purification, Prayer, Fasting, Zakat, and Hajj) – Hanafi, or Shafi’i

5. On Spirituality: Living the Sunna, Leaving Sin, and Acquiring Good Character: Ghazali’s Beginning of Guidance

6. Living Right: Halal and Haram and Living Prophetic Excellence (Hanafi or Shafi’i).

7. On Spirituality: Living the Sunna, Leaving Sin, and Acquiring Good Character: Ghazali’s Beginning of Guidance

The supplementary, self-study courses can be taken in any order. Whatever works best for you.

We only provide these courses in English, but you are welcome to study them elsewhere in Arabic if you have the opportunity. We also have a number of courses in Arabic in our Arabiyya catalog.

For spirituality, in addition to the courses in this step, there are a number of courses in our On-Demand library. Please consult those. You ask to contact your course instructor for more information.

I hope that helps. May Allah bless you with the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with erudite scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish, and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic with teachers such as Dr. Ashraf Muneeb, Dr. Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr. Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr. Mansur Abu Zina, and others. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabir and Shaykh Yahya Qandil. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Suplication In Prostration

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: What is the ruling of making supplication [dua] after prayer in prostration [sajdah]? So the prayer has ended and a person goes into prostration and makes dua. What do the Hanafi scholars say regarding this?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

Performing a prostration for no reason is neither deemed disliked nor an act of drawing closer to God.

However, when coupled with a du’a, this can be seen as prostration for a purpose, namely to humble oneself in front of God and supplicate to Him for one’s needs. As such, it would be permitted and rewarding in so far as it constitutes a form of submission to God.

The only time it would be disliked is if performing such a prostration will lead to people believing that it is an action that is a specific prophetic sunna or necessary. In most cases, this confusion is not expected. Nonetheless, it is an important consideration to keep in mind.

Sources: Ibn Abidin, Hashiya.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas was born and raised in New York and graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. Ustadh Salman’s personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government, media, and ethics. He is also an avid traveler and book collector. He currently resides in Amman with his wife.

Shahada Online

Answer by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: I converted to Islam online. Do I need to proclaim my shahada again with an Imam in a mosque?

Answer: Wa Alaykum al-Salam

Shukran for writing to us.

The testimony of faith recited by yourself through an online facility is valid and we welcome you the Religion Islam. You are now our brother/sister and as such we are obliged to support and assist each other.

While it is not incumbent upon you to “retake” the shahadah with an Imam in your locality, it is undoubtedly desired. It is necessary for you to attach yourself to a Muslim community and visiting and introducing yourself to one of the leaders of that community will prove to be beneficial. I would also like to advise you to take up one of the introductory courses on offer here at SeekersGuidance.

May Allah bless you and accept from us all, Amin.

[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

What Is The Difference Between God’s Will And His Love And Mercy?

Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle

Question: What Is The Difference Between God’s Will And His Love And Mercy?

Answer: Dear questioner,

Thank you kindly for your question, and may Allah increase you in light, knowledge and ambition.

Short answer:

Allah’s will is what we term one of Allah’s attributes [sifat], and its role is to specify how and when things come into existence. This is an attribute of His essence, and which He does not acquire by using it. He has always had a will.

His love and mercy, in technical terms, are simply a combination of His will and power when they result in something describable as loving or merciful from the slave’s point of view.

Fuller answer:

The use of theology (Ilm al Kalam)

Theology developed to clearly define exactly what we believe as Muslims, and to defend those beliefs. Because it is based on debate, it is purely academic, and puts aside much of the spiritual side of the Qur’an and its rhetoric. This is necessarily so because when things are not spelt out very pedantically, it defeats of the object of the science, which is precisely being very clear and pedantic.

This kind of approach is excellent when engaging in debate with a trinitarian, materialist, or agnostic, etc. : both sides define their terms, and work with some logical reasoning, and actually get somewhere. This is what Islamic theology does.

As such, the science of theology does not help us understand the nature of Allah’s love and mercy vis-a-vis our experience of it, because it is not the subject that it deals with.

Contextualising theology (Ilm al Kalam)

Since Islamic theology is just one among many traditional Islamic sciences, it is not necessary the only way to talk about Allah, nor it necessarily the more direct way to get to know Him in all His glory.

Reading the Quran and applying its teachings in one’s life — come weal or come woe — would probably be more helpful. (That’s not to say that there is anything un-Qur’anic about Islamic theology.) So too, losing a child, and working on one’s contentment with Allah’s will would teach things about Allah that no theologian could either put a definition to. Getting to know Allah on a spiritual level, is completely different knowing how to say certain very exacting things about Him in a technical way.

Islamic theology, like many other sciences such as grammar, hadith criticism, inheritance law, has a certain function in the preservation of the whole religion, and is not so useful outside of that function.

Dissecting the unfathomable

To make things very clear, the Muslim theologians breakdown Allah’s attributes into categories — with full knowledge that no one could ever understand His true reality.

They say that He has attributes that are eternal and that He never acquired. These describe His being. They are:

His existence
His beginninglessness
His endlessness
His oneness
His self-substistance (not needing anything, place, time, or determiner)
His utter dissimilarity to other beings
His power
His will
His knowledge
His hearing
His seeing
His speech
His life
(Jawharat al Tawhid, Laqqani)

Every other attribute or name of Allah can be categorised, technically speaking, into one or two of these attributes. So, for example, when we say and acknowledge tha Allah is forgiving: His forgiveness can be reduced to three attributes: knowledge, will, and power. He knew that the slave sinned, repented, and will enter Paradise; He willed that the slave sinned, repented, and will enter Paradise; and created the slave and his actions (the sin and the repentance) and entered him, by His omnipotent power, into Paradise.

Such attributes really describe what Allah does, and not what attributes He has. For this reason, they are called attributes of action.

So no one is claiming, or ever claimed, that Allah was not merciful or not loving, but it just served certain academic goals to reduce everything to the simplest level for our own human understanding.

Allah’s names and how He shows himself

Allah Most High says in the Qur’an, ‘And Allah’s are the most beautiful of names, so call on Him by them.’ (Qur’an, 7:180)

And the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘Verily Allah has ninety-nine names. Whoever grasps them, will enter Paradise.’ (Bukhari and Muslim) Hakim narrates the same hadith with two different chains that mention the ninety-nine names that we are all familiar with. For more detail, please see: Understanding the Most Beautiful Names: The 99 Names of Allah Explained in Detail

Contemplating upon these beautiful names, calling upon Him by them, and seeing and feeling them in one’s life, this is the really way to know Allah.

When you get you your paycheck, for example, and you thank Allah for providing you with a livelihood, He is showing you how he is al-Razzaq [the Ever-Providing]; when you see someone who does not worship Allah, He is showing you His names al-Khafid and al-Mani [the Abaser and the Withholder].

The more you recognise His names, the stronger this sense becomes, and you see that He is al-Qarib [the Close]. Even though you were not aware of Him, He was never unaware of you, and you feel the meaning of His name al-Wadud [the Loving-One].

‘Grasping’ Allah’s names has been explain by Abu Sulayman al-Khattabi his book on supplications to mean one of four things:

1. to recount the names so that one calls upon Him by each name.

2. to master them so that you ‘keep them in mind, and keep to their limits.’ meaning that one, for example calls upon Allah by His name al-Rahman [the Merciful One] bearing in mind that He is actually merciful, hoping for His mercy, and never giving up hope of his forgiveness.

3. to comprehend them and take them as a firm belief.

4. to recites the whole Qur’an thereby reading out each of Allah names. (Shan al-Dua, Khattabi)

All in all, the comprehension and internalisation of His beautiful names is not an academic process, but rather a journey of putting them into practice, and deeping one’s appreciation of who and what He is.

Allah the Loving

In his book, Khattabi explained what Allah’s name al-Wadud means. He said that is derived from al-wudd [love], and has been understood in two ways:

The first is that is that has the sense of the passive participle, in that Allah is ‘the object of love of those who are close to Him by dint of their unceasing receipt of kindness and benefits from Him.’

The second acceptation is that it has the sense of the active participle in that ‘He loves His righteous slaves, in as much as He is content with them and accepts their deeds.’ (Shan al-Dua, Khattabi)

Raghib in his work on Qur’anic vocabulary adds another side to His love: His care and nurture of them. He quotes unknown hadith qudsi in which Allah says to Musa (upon whom be peace), ‘Never am I heedless of the small just because they are small, nor am I heedless of the elderly because they are elderly: I am the Loving [al-Wadud] and the Appreciative.’ (Mufradat Alfadh al-Quran, Raghib)

Conclusion

Although we do not technically count Allah’s love and mercy as one of His attributes, both stem from His names, and He is most definitely Merciful and Loving.

Our experience and appreciation of the names grows by learning about them, and keeping to their practical and spiritual implications.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to crafts lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.

Friday Prayer

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaikum, I am currently in a course and my classes are rigorous and the lunch break that we have doesn’t coincide with the time for the Jummah prayer at the masjid nearby. Leaving the class to go and pray would mean that i will have to be gone for an hour. Can you please advice what I should do regarding jummah?

Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum,

The Friday prayer is an obligation upon every able Muslim man. In the same way one is not permitted to miss the Dhuhr prayer, one cannot miss the Friday prayer with its additional conditions. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘People must cease from abandoning the Friday prayers or Allah will seal their hearts and then they will be among the negligent.’ [Muslim]

Given the above, explore the following options in order:

1. In the Hanafi school, the Jumu’ah prayer may be performed by three people. If there is three or more male Muslims in the course or college, then arrange to perform the Jumu’ah prayer on site. Please refer this brief answer and this detailed answer.

2. If there are not three or more Muslim males on site, then consider asking Muslims in the local vicinity, such as shops.

3. Find out if the course is run at other times, such as evenings and weekends.

4. Speak to the course instructors or classmates and discuss your options. Perhaps you could attend the Jumu’ah at he mosque and have another diligent student takes notes and go through the parts you missed at the end of the day with you.

5. If none of the above are options, then it leaves you in a difficult situation. The general ruling is if a job or training is necessary, there is no way to attend the Friday prayer, and to leave it to attend the prayer would result in much hardship, then there is some scope for missing the Friday prayer until the issue is resolved. However, given that your course is 15 weeks, and it is not clear if it is essential for you to take, the situation is problematic.

If the course is not essential for your livelihood, then I would explore other similar courses which permit you to attend the Friday prayer.

If the course is essential for your livelihood and no other option exists, then there may be some leeway to miss the Friday prayer and perform the Dhuhr prayer instead. This is akin to having to sit a crucial exam during the time of the Friday prayer. Some of our esteemed teachers stated it would be permitted to miss the prayer for this reason, as an extended analogy to what the fiqh books mention in regards missing the prayer due to fear of one’s food burning in the oven, or even due to some even milder excuses. However, one should do their upmost to explore other alternatives. And Allah Most High knows best.

Please pray Salatul Haja (The Prayer of Need) and something will open up for you insha’Allah. May Allah make things easy for you.

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. He travelled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years privately studying a range of Islamic sciences under the foremost scholars and muftis from the Ribat Tarim, specializating in Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies under many of Amman’s most prominent scholars, in a range of Islamic sciences, including Islamic theology, logic, legal principles and precepts, hadith studies, grammar and rhetoric, seerah, Quranic studies and tafsir. He is also an experienced homeopath.