Translations of the Qur’an and Blind following (taqlid)

Question: As a student, is it dangerous to learn specific translations of the Qur’an or hadith? Is that a form of blind following (taqlid)?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

As a student of any Islamic science, you have to blindly follow some part of the learning process, especially if you are learning Arabic. Even reading a dictionary is blind following. How do you know that Ibn Mandhur, Zabidi, or Firuzabadi, or any other lexicologists were right? They certainly don’t present any raw linguistic data collected by Farahidi, Sibawayhi, Ibn Durayd, or any other early lexicologist. Ultimately, ijtihad in its absolute sense would mean that you never follow anyone else in any conclusions they ever make. This kind of thinking is extreme and not practical.

The same would apply to a lot of hadith discussions. Often we have to trust the judgment of hadith critic without really being able to judge for ourselves. This means that even advanced scholars are doing multiple levels of taqlid.

Practically, as a student, one has to blindly follow one’s teachers’ facts and arguments, accept their presentations of the discussions, and accept the translations they give you. This is just part of the learning process that cannot be avoided. Please also see:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ee7n7dgS0SE

So in the beginning, all you can do is take a translation as it is, and bit by bit as you learn more Arabic, Fiqh, Aqida, Hadith, Tafsir, etc., you will see better how the translate the Qur’an and the Hadith in a way that makes sense to you.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

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.

Is It Permissible for Me To Leave My Home To Learn Traditional Islam Despite My Parents’ Insistence That I Study Under a Salafi?

Question: My parents tell me that I am misguided because I follow a madhab and reject good innovation. They believe that one should see the opinions of the four imams and then follow the ruling given by a scholar who picks the one with the most evidence. They forbid me to seek knowledge anywhere besides Salafi scholars. Can I leave my home against their wishes to learn in traditional Islam? If my parents only allow me to marry a Salafi in the future, can I get married with a different wali, such as a paternal uncle or grandfather?

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,
Thank you for your question. I empathize with your frustration at not being able to convince your parents of the truth. By the grace of Allah, and with time, they will come around; perhaps the truth will come to them through you and your future spouse or even your children.

Disobeying parents

There is some leeway to taking matters into your own hands when you are prevented from learning obligatory religious knowledge by your parents. Please see the details here:

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/hanafi-fiqh/when-may-parents-be-disobeyed-and-how/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/parents/promise-to-ones-parents/

Tact

Because you are in the rare circumstance where you are right, and your parents are wrong, it would be permissible for you to seek correct and authentic traditional knowledge of Islam, but you would do better to do it without breaking their hearts. Can you take classes online? Can you speak to them with respect and politeness about this topic and ask them to hear you out sometimes, even if they disagree? Can you practice what you know without displaying it outwardly all the time? Can you go out to learn but come back within the limits that they set? Perhaps show them this article:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/who-or-what-is-a-salafi/

Marriage

There would be some details around the subject of your marriage to a man that they might not approve of, but you should not worry about those details now. The bottom line is that there is always a way out for a girl who wants to choose the right spouse for herself when her parents are pushing for the wrong man for her religion. See the details here:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/hanafi-fiqh/can-marry-secret-minimum-conditions-valid-marriage-order-avoid-fornication/

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next, and I pray that Allah facilitates these matters for you.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Is It Permissible To Listen To Islamic Content In the Bathroom?

Question:
Assalamu ‘Alaykum.

Is it permissible to listen to Islamic podcasts (lectures, khutbahs, etc.) while in the bathroom?

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

It wouldn’t be permissible to listen to Islamic content in the bathroom if you are relieving yourself or doing something with your ‘awra uncovered, such as performing a ghusl or removing bodily hair.

Other than that, when cleaning or brushing one’s teeth, it would be permissible. One is rewarded for venerating matters that are connected to Allah. Intend veneration when not listening to what you would otherwise want to, and you’ll be rewarded.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim

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 many erudite scholars. 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. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital. He was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

How to acquire a sound heart

Dear questioner,
May Allah bless you and increase you in good.
I pray this finds you in the best of health.
Gaining a pure heart is something that requires work and effort as well as learning. However, it is one of the most important of matters in both abodes. Allah, Most High, says, “The Day when neither wealth nor children will help Except for him who comes to God with a sound heart.” ( Quran 26: 88-89)
Seek knowledge before everything
The scholars mention that the first obligation upon every Muslim is to know Allah. Knowing Allah means learning the science of Aqida or creed. Followed after that would be learning Tahara and Salah and so forth. Next, one should learn the rulings of interaction with others [mu’amalat]. For example, a person who is getting married needs to know the commands related to marriage. A person who is doing business needs to learn the rules as it relates to business. We could summarize it as follows;
(a) Learning Aqida
(b) Learning the rules [ fiqh] of worship
(c) Learning the rules of interaction [ mu’ammalat]
Comprehensive treatment of the heart
A recommended book on this subject would be ” Purification of the heart.” It has been translated into English by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. The cure to treating all the diseases of the heart are essentially in five things:
” Deny the self of its desires, enjoin hunger, keep worship vigilance in the night, silence and meditation in private; also keeping company with good people who possess sincerity, those who are emulated in their states and statements; and, finally, taking refuge in the One unto whom all affairs
return [ Allah Most High]”
Good company
Muhammad Mawlud also mentions elsewhere that the cure and diseases of the heart are in the same source-companionship. Make sure you choose good friends whom you keep company with because you are on the same level as them in the religion. The Prophet Muhammad ( peace and blessings be upon him) said, “A person is on the religion of his close friend, so let him carefully examine whom he befriends. ” [ Abu Dawud ]
It is a life-long blessed journey for us all to take on this tremendous path of acquiring a sound heart. If we are sincere and work hard, with Allah’s help, we will get there.
Allah knows best.
[Imam] Yama Niazi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How to rectify one’s intention

Question: How do I have proper intentions when seeking ‘ilm? I first started learning about Islam when I found out islamophobia was a thing as a teen, and I wanted to protect the deen, and so I spent a lot of my time in online forums doing that. Now it feels like I only learn to counter this atheist or that Christian better or be praised as knowledgeable by other Muslims. Now I almost instinctively think, “Hey, I can use that in a debate,” or the like when I learn something new. How do I fix this?

Answer:
Assalamu alaykum

Thank you for writing to us.

Intentions and sincerity

The matter you have raised regarding one’s intention when seeking knowledge is of utmost importance. It is commendable that you have come to this realization by yourself and have reached the point where you question your sincerity. This is a great station. The state of a believer is such that he constantly questions the intention behind all his actions.

As for acquiring knowledge for other than the sake of Allah, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) spoke out against this vehemently. He said, “Whoever seeks sacred knowledge to vie with scholars, argue with fools, or capture public notice, Allah will enter him into Hellfire” [Tirmidhi]

In the book Beginning of Guidance,  Imam Ghazzali said, addressing the one who is desirous of attaining sacred knowledge and who has a great thirst for it, that if he intends thereby to vie and debate, to gain pre-eminence over his contemporaries, to attract the attention of others, or to amass worldly goods, he is striving to destroy both himself and his religion and to exchange eternal life for the life of this world. [Ghazzali, Bidaya]

Thus, we can clearly see that attaining sincerity in the acquisition of knowledge is of the utmost importance. We commend you again for coming to this realization.

Advice on attaining sincerity
The answer to your question of how to attain sincerity is not an easy one. If a simple recipe existed for the attainment of sincerity, we would all be sincere. However, it is a continuous struggle.

Our teachers advise the seeker to check his intention before embarking on any action. He should ask himself why he is acting before he does it, while he is doing it, and after he has done it.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) also taught us to seek Allah’s pardon after performing a good deed, such as salah, in case insincerity has crept into the deed.

I advise you strongly to recite Imam al-Haddad’s intentions whenever you study or attend a class because they are comprehensive in meaning and filled with light. They will benefit you as Allah will cause you to be sincere in your life. You may find those intentions here: http://winterspringmawlid.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/The-Intention-for-Seeking-Knowledge-by-Imam-haddad.pdf.

Also, turn to Allah often, praying to Him, asking Him, crying to Him so that He grants you sincerity. No one can attain sincerity unless Allah grants it to him, so seek sincerity from the One in Whose hand sincerity lies.

Please see:

https://seekersguidance.org/courses/how-to-seek-islamic-knowledge-imam-ghazalis-proper-manners-of-students-explained/

May Allah grant us sincerity in all our deeds and actions, and may he protect us from showing off and doing things for the sake of others.

And Allah knows best.
Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdurragmaan 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.

How Many Mutawatir (Mass Transmitted) Ahadith Are There?

Question: Assalamu ‘alaykum.

 How many mutawatir ahadith are there?

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

The answer to this question is not straightforward due to the historical difference of scholarly opinion on the definition of a mutawatir (Mass Transmitted) hadith. There is also the issue of hadith that are mutawatir in wording and those like this but meaning.

Having said this, Imam Muhammad b. Ja’far al Kattani authored a work in which he documented 310 narrations. He said they were from both categories and that there were other narrations that scholars have differed on, which he did not include. (Kattani, Nazm al Mutanathir Min al Hadith al Muwatatir)

Allah knows best.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim

 

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 many erudite scholars. 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. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital. He was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Teaching without knowledge

Question: Is it sinful to teach what one has not specifically studied with a teacher?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

If one is teaching something very general and one is certain that what one is saying is accurate and well-known, it is okay to share hadiths and verses of the Qur’an in a way that could be labeled as teaching.

However, one should not simply read tafsirs or commentaries on hadith and then go and explain the Qur’an and Sunna to a group of people if one has not studied fiqh, aqida, Arabic grammar, morphology, and rhetoric, usul al-fiqh, and tafsir and Hadith formally. Just picking up Fath al-Bari, for example, and reading out what it says to a congregation is dangerous. One can quite easily make mistakes and misrepresent the religion.

One should learn properly before one teaches unless one is told specifically by one of one’s teachers to teach something from a specific book within a particular scope.

For an idea of how to study properly, please see:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGGKhY9OLRg

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/importance-of-intention-in-seeking-knowledge/

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/seeking-sacred-knowledge/

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

 

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.

How Can We Be Sure That the Qur’an Is From Allah?

Question:

How can we be sure the Qur’an is from God and not from other unseen creatures?

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

The Qur’an makes a claim to be from Allah, and then it proves this claim with many rational proofs and miracles. These affirm and support the fact that it is from Allah Himself.

As for being from other unseen creatures, we would have to ask who? It cannot be from men, jinn, and angels because the revelation accurately told us many future events. Men, jinn, and angels are temporal beings, so they do not know the future, nor the undocumented past.

If it is not them, who could it be? They would have to have divine qualities that we affirm for Allah in order to reveal the Qur’an with its various miracles. There cannot be more than one individual as rational proofs show this to be impossible.

That leaves one potential being. Is this someone using a pseudonym in the Qur’an? No. The truth of the Qur’an and all that is in it is also proven on many levels, so that leaves only one option: it is from Allah.

Please study a course on Belief and our ‘Ulum al Qur’an course. The arguments are more fleshed out there. I pray that helps.

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 many erudite scholars. 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. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

How Does One Go About Learning Islam?

Question:

How does one go about learning Islam?

Answer:

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

 

The Importance of Seeking Knowledge

The religion of Islam is very vast. It engages the Muslim on every level: physically, spiritually, and intellectually/rationally. For this reason, Allah Most High and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) command us to seek it.

Allah Most High says, “Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.” [Qur’an; 16:43]

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim.” [Tabarani; Bayhaqi]

From the above, we can see both the importance of knowledge as well as a command to actively seek it out.

 

Earned vs. Gifted Knowledge

The nature of seeking Islamic knowledge is that it must be acquired through diligent seeking and studying. This is called acquired knowledge (kasbi). However, as the student learns and implements their knowledge, Allah Most High opens doors of deeper knowledge for them. This knowledge is referred to as gifted knowledge (wahbi).

To this effect, the following verse alludes:

Allah Most High says, “Be mindful of Allah, for Allah will teach you. And Allah has ˹perfect˺ knowledge of all things.” [Qur’an; 2:282]

 

The Beginning of the Path to Knowledge

– Qualified Sources of Knowledge

The most essential factor in one’s seeking knowledge is connecting oneself to an authentic chain of transmission going back to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “…Indeed the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets. The Prophets did not leave us inheritance gold nor silver. They only left behind knowledge, so whoever takes of it, has taken a plentiful share.” [Tirmidhi]

The statement inheriting from the Prophets alludes to the passing down of knowledge from person to person, generation after generation. This passing down of knowledge is referred to by the scholars as to the Isnad or chain of transmission.

Imam Muslim narrates that ‘Abdullah bin Mubarak (Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Isnad is from the religion. If it was not for the isnad, whoever wished could say want they want (about the religion).” [Muslim]

You should strive to seek out a qualified scholar who learned at the feet of qualified scholars and them from qualified scholars back to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

In the past, this proved difficult, and many famous scholars of the religion traveled far and wide seeking out such people. It is a blessing of Allah Most High that we have access to SeekersGuidance, as it is its central aim to provide authentic knowledge to everyone who seeks it, for free.

– Strategy

As you alluded to in your question, there are many areas in which one can study. For this reason, it is important to go into it with a plan.

Generally, Islamic studies are attained in layers increasing in complexity as one progresses. Thus you should start with the foundational basic studies of the following three subjects:

1. Islamic Beliefs: what is obligatory for the Muslim to know with regards to Allah, His Messengers, and the transmitted beliefs of the Qur’an and Prophetic teachings.

2. Islamic Jurisprudence: what is obligatory for the Muslim to know with regards to purification, prayer, fasting, Zakat, and Hajj; as well as what is permissible or impermissible in other aspects of life.

3. Islamic Spirituality: what is obligatory for the Muslim to know with regards to acquiring the praiseworthy character traits and removing the blameworthy character traits.

Thereafter, you will move on to a more detailed study of the above sciences and others.

– Supplication (du’a) and Time

There is only one thing that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was commanded to ask for an increase in in the Qur’an. That thing is knowledge.

Allah Most High says, “Say, (O Prophet)! My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” [Qur’an; 20:114]

The seeking of knowledge is a lifetime goal. As you increase in knowledge of the religion, you will find that the Qur’an and the Prophetic legacy are inexhaustible of knowledge and that there is always more to understand.

 

The Virtues of Seeking Knowledge

Due to the immense importance of knowledge and the effort that is needed in its acquisition – its virtues are likewise immense.

Allah Most High declares the uniqueness of the rank of the people of knowledge over others throughout the Qur’an. He says, “Say, O Prophet, “Are those who know equal to those who do not know?” None will be mindful ˹of this˺ except people of reason…” [Qur’an; 39:9]

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever travels a path, seeking therein knowledge, Allah facilitates for them a path to Paradise. Indeed the Angels lay down their wings out of contentment for the seeker of knowledge. Indeed all the inhabitants of the Heavens and the Earth seek forgiveness for the scholar, even the fish in the sea. The merit of the scholar over the mere worshipper it that of the moon over the rest of the stars. Indeed the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets. The Prophets did not leave us inheritance gold nor silver. They only left behind knowledge, so whoever takes of it, has taken a plentiful share.” [Tirmidhi]

 

Advice

Please consider the Islamic Studies Curriculum offered here at www.seekersguidance.org. Classes are free and cover a range of important subjects with gradually increasing complexity from authentic teachers.

Please see: The Straight Path Online: A Roadmap for Beneficial Islamic Learning

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3XM0vg2fR0

I hope this helps,
Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

 

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.

How Do I Wash My Thin Beard During Ablution?

Question:
How do I wash my thin beard during ablution?
Answer:
Dear questioner,
Thank you for your important question.
May Allah, Most High reward you for your desire to increase in knowledge.
If the skin is visible under the hair, then it is necessary to wash the beard as you would wash the face.
Your method is valid and correct.
The area under the chin is not considered part of the face.
[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]
For more details, please see: Washing The Beard in Wudu
And Allah alone knows best,
[Ustadh] Omar Popal
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani