Understanding The Spiritual Realities of Fiqh and Aqidah

Question: How does one understand the spiritual realities of Fiqh and Aqidah when studying traditional books on these topics?

Answer: 

Dear questioner,

JazakumAllahu khayran for your question.

Spirituality is about grasping the fuller picture of everything around and within us. This deeper understanding only comes from Allah, and He only gives it to those who accept His message and sincerely apply it. It is not a matter of reading books or discussing spiritual concepts.

Learn, Apply and Change

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

“The similitude of the guidance and knowledge with which Allah has sent me is like abundant rain which fell on a land. A fertile part of it absorbed the water and brought forth profuse herbage and pasture.

Other solid ground patches [did not absorb the water] but rather retained the water and thereby Allah benefited people, who drank from it, irrigated their crops and sowed their seeds. Another sandy plane neither retained the water nor produce herbage.

Such is the similitude of the person who becomes well-versed in the religion of Allah and receives benefit from the Message entrusted to me by Allah, so he himself has learned and taught it to others; such is also the similitude of the person who has stubbornly and ignorantly rejected Allah’s Guidance with which I have been sent” (Bukhari and Muslim).

This is how Sacred Knowledge works: some learn it, apply it to the best of their ability for themselves, change, and change others. Others learn, don’t really apply it on themselves, but do manage to benefit some others to some extent. Others don’t care, and neither learn, teach, nor benefit.

Imam al Shafi’i once complained to one of his teachers that he no longer felt the “light”. His teacher told him that he had to repent from his sins because Allah does not give his light to sinful people. The Imam put the lesson into verse:

I complained to Waki of my bad memory
And he told me to leave off sin.
He told me that knowledge is light,
And the light of Allah is not given to sinners.

(You can listen to it sung here: Talib al Habib · Knowledge is Light

So learning and application are the key means to get the deeper meanings. No matter what one reads or how much one memorizes, if one does not actually use the knowledge, then it will have very little effect.

The Right Teacher

The ulema have a saying that you take the way you are from your seniors. That is to say that if they see Sacred Knowledge as merely a novel and exciting exercise in the academic endeavor, then so shall you; if they see it as means to change and draw nearer to Allah, then so shall you. This means that choosing the right teachers is really important.

When Imam Malik’s mother used to send him to his teacher, she would tell him, ‘Go to Rabia, and take on his attitude before you take on his knowledge’ (al Dibaj al Mudhahhab fi Marifat Ayan Ulema al Madhhab, Ibn Farhun). This tells us that learning the bigger picture, or, we could say, spirituality is a priority, and is taken from teachers who have that right mindset.

It is no wonder that Imam Malik’s own student, Ibn Wahb, said the same thing about his teacher. He said, ‘What we have taken from Malik’s attitude [adab] is more than what we have taken of his knowledge’ (Siyar Alam al Nubala, Dhahabi).

This is exactly how it is supposed to be: a student taking objective outward knowledge conjoined with the proper light and attitude from a teacher who in turn received them from his teachers with an unbroken chain back to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Whenever a problem occurs in even a small aspect (the soundness of the knowledge, or the proper attitude), the chain is cut and the knowledge is lost.

Knowledge should bequeath the student with humility, and dread and awe of Allah. Masruq said, ‘A person is sufficiently knowledgeable when he has fear and awe of Allah, and the person is sufficiently ignorant when he is proud of how knowledgeable he is’ (Kitab al Ilm, Abu Khaythama).

Sledge Hammer

Being in the company of someone with the true knowledge of the Sacred Law, and the proper attitude towards is not enough: it takes serious effort to take on their religious heritage.

Imam al Shafi’i said:

My brother, you won’t ever attain knowledge except by six things
I’ll tell us how all their details in very clear terms:
Intelligence, keenness, striving and an empty pocket
The company of a master and a long time.

And just as studying and memorizing takes effort and time, so does deep personal change.

Please see:

How Spiritual Transformation Is Achieved, by Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said
How Can I Purify My Heart? A Reader

Conclusion

In order to learn the spiritual side of the religion, we must learn from scholars who have sound traditional knowledge and the right attitude, and we must strive to apply what they teach us. This application is what gives one a spiritual understanding. As one modern teacher says, ‘This is the textbook, and you are its commentary.’

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 craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

Emotions That Constitute Disbelief

Question: If one loves someone more than Allah, fears someone more than Allah, or hopes in someone more than Allah, is one still a believer?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Love of Allah, fear of Him, hope in Him are all personal obligatory states of the heart that one must strive to achieve as a Muslim.

That said, belief in Allah means that one acknowledges that Allah deserves to be loved, feared, and relied upon more than everyone and everything else.

As long as one acknowledges this, one is a believer. Becoming realized in the love of Allah and fear of Him are levels of Ihsan (spiritual excellence) and not issues of creed.

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

 

OCD About Impure Water

Question: My question is that I know that water becomes impure if it gets mixed with impurity but what if it is so small that it did not change its properties. I know I can’t use that water for purification, but what if it falls on my clothes? Do I have to wash it even if no trace of impurity appeared? I mean even if it did not change these three properties of my clothes, but only the wetness of the water can be felt. This affects my OCD and mental health.

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Which Types of Water Are Impure?

In the Hanafi school, two types of water are impure: a small body of water (which is around 5 square meters) in which some impurity – such as blood or urine – has fallen; and flowing water or a larger body of water in which the smell, taste, or colour of impurity is present (Shurunbulali, Maraqi al Falah).

Alongside this, it is important to know that flowing and moving water is pure – as long as one or more of the above mentioned three traces of the impurity is not present.

Assume Purity Unless There is Certainty

Most of the water you will come into contact with will likely be pure. If you have not seen any impurity come into contact with the water,  assume it is pure and carry on. If you see that some water has come into contact with impurity, if it is a small amount, simply wash it by running it under a tap. The flowing water will wash away the impure water.

If it is a large body of water or it has flowed or moved, then assume it is pure unless the change in smell, colour, or taste is apparent to you.

It’s that simple. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Indeed, the [practice of the] religion is ease itself” (Bukhari).  Remember this.  If you’re having issues then amend your practice. Learn how to do it in a way that is easy itself.

Learn the Rulings With a Teacher

The solution to your issue is twofold: learn the rulings of purity with a teacher, and take the steps to heal your OCD. Studying with a teacher is helpful because a teacher can provide a clear and simple understanding of the rulings of purity and how to apply them.

To heal, please refer to this seminar. It will explain matters and show the way of getting the help you need. May Allah facilitate matters for you.

[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 and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Guidelines and Restrictions in the Qur’an and Sunna About Making Dhikr

Question: Assalamu Alaikum, I have a question about performing zikr. Are there any guidelines or restrictions that are taught in the Quran or Sunnah?

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

Dhikr or Remembering Allah in reality is an action of the heart. It can be done in many ways.

Reflection, recitation of the Qur’an, prayer, teaching/learning sacred knowledge, making supplications (du’a), repeating statements of glorification (such as Subhan Allah, Alhamdulillah, Allahu Akbar, etc…), etc… are all aspects of Dhikr.

The method that you described is indeed permissible and if you feel a connection with Allah Most High through it, then you should continue.

Allah Most High says, “Those who remember Allah while standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and ponder over the creation of the heavens and the earth, saying ‘Our Lord! You have not created (all) this in vain! Glory be to you! Save us then from the torment of the Fire’ [Qur’an; 03:191].

Hope this helps
Allahu A’alam

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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

Can You Recommend Books in English for a Non-Scholar in the Following Subjects?

Question: Can you recommend books in English for a non-scholar in the following subjects?

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

Regarding the following subject these are my recommendations:

Aqida (Islamic Beliefs)

The Creed of Imam al-Tahawi by Imam al-Tahawi – translated by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Hadith and Sunna

The Gardens of the Righteous by Imam al-Nawawi

Tafsir

Tafsir al-Jalalayn: Great Commentaries of the Holy Qur’an

Sira (Prophetic Biography) and History of the Companions

Muhammad: The Messenger of Allah by Martin Lings
Hayatus Sahabah (The Lives of the Sahabah) by Shaykh Muhammad Kandhlawi

Fiqh

Ascent to Felicity by Imam al-Shurunbulali – translated by Sh. Faraz Khan

Tasawwuf

Beginning of Guidance by Imam al-Ghazali
The Etiquettes of the Seeker by Imam al-Haddad
The Book of Assistance by Imam al-Haddad

Personal Advice

These books are great works of Islamic knowledge and contain great benefits for anyone who reads them with sincerity and an intention to practice. With that being said one should not suffice with mere self-study. Our tradition has been preserved by sincere students sitting at the feet of righteous scholars.

Please consider coupling your reading of the above books with classes. Many of the above books have been taught or are currently being offered at seekersguidance.org

May Allah bless your journey in seeking sacred knowledge

Hope this helps
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.

Do Sexual Fantasies Constitute as Masturbation?

Question: Do sexual fantasies constitute as masturbation if there is no physical stimulation?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Sexual fantasies are not considered masturbation. However, to entertain thoughts of impermissible things such as sexual fantasies (unless the fantasy is regarding one’s spouse) is prohibited as well [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar].

If a sexual thought comes to one’s mind, one is not accountable unless they voluntarily entertain the thought.

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Verily Allah overlooks for my nation that which their selves express, as long as they do not speak of or act on it” [Muslim].

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

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

What Obligations Does a Person Have Towards His Illegitimate Child?

Question: An individual I know has asked for advice regarding the following situation he is in and has accepted gaining advice from the knowledgable scholars at SeekersGuidance.

Two years ago he made the mistake of having a child outside of wedlock. Please could you outline, if any, obligations that he has to the child outside of wedlock?

Answer:

Assalamu Alaykum

If he had this child with a woman who was not married, he may assert his paternity according to the view of some scholars. The child would then be seen as legitimately the child of the individual in question and would be entitled to all the rights a child is due by his father.

Even if the child is not considered legitimate and has no established lineage to the man in question because he/she was born out of wedlock, if the man knows that this child came into this world as a result of his actions, he should take responsibility for the well-being and proper care of the child as he would a child born in wedlock. This is the moral imperative. The sin of the man does not absolve him of this, and the child in question deserves to have the support of this individual.

[Ustadh] Salman

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.

Permissibility of Selling Clothing

Question:

Assalamu ‘alaykum

I am looking to start a clothing business that will sell Unisex lounge-wear to customers and I need several questions answered before I proceed. Firstly, is it permissible to sell Unisex clothing to people as most people are not Muslim and may not wear them properly? The items will be track-pants, t-shirts, and other apparel made from 100% cotton. 

Secondly, is it permissible to source merchandise for sale from countries that oppress Muslims? Despite looking for reliable alternative suppliers, I have only found companies in China willing to work with us and I am wondering what the ruling would be on this topic since the Muslims in China are oppressed. 

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Permissibility of Selling Clothing

Yes, it is permissible to sell the clothing you described. The way it is worn by the people who purchase it is not in your hands, and you are not accountable for it. The clothing is normal, and it is assumed it will be worn in a normal way.

Ethical Trading

It is superior to trade ethically, where one’s trade does not fund and support unethical practices. This practice would be considered ihsan, excellence in conduct, and “indeed, Allah loves those who are excellent [in conduct]” (Qur’an, 2:195) This, however, is not an obligation, as the trade on its own is permissible.

One should, however, actively try to avoid dealing with companies known to exploit the poor and vulnerable where possible.

The company in China may not have anything to do with the mistreatment of the Muslims there. It would be permissible to trade with them.

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 and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

 

Remembering Allah before sinning?

Asssalamu alaikum
I would like to know whether if one person is being tempted to do sin and before he is going to do a sin he remembers Allah even if he isn’t punctual in Salah, what does this mean? Please tell me.

Question Summary

What does it mean for someone to remember Allah Most High before doing a sin?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

It is very possible that a thought or a remembrance of Allah Most High comes upon one who is about to do a sin. This type of thought is a blessing from Allah Most High.

If the thought is strong, compelling, and continuous it is a sign that this is directly given by Allah Most High to avert one from the sin.

If the thought is not continuous, rather comes and goes, it may be from the Angels. These thoughts are similar to what happens when Shaytan or one’s own lower self calls one toward a sin. However, these thoughts are calling one toward good, thus one should respond to them.

[Ghazali, Minhaj al-‘Abidin]

A Good Sign

Such thoughts are a sign of a wakeful heart and one is rewarded for obeying such good thoughts. One should strive to draw even closer to Allah Most High by obeying His commandments and fulfilling the obligatory acts.

Allah Most High says, “…My slave does not draw nearer to Me with anything more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory upon him. My slave then continues to draw nearer to Me with voluntary acts until I love them…” [Bukhari]

Answer the call of Allah Most High by establishing your prayers at their appropriate times and you will witness the effects of such nearness

I hope this helps.
Allah knows best

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.

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.