Reciting the Most Beautiful Names of Allah

Shaykh Jamir Meah is asked the proper way to make remembrance or dhikr of the Name of Allah, Al Latif, and the benefits thereof.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I was wondering about the difference in reciting the names of Allah Most High using the different forms. For example is there a difference if I recite “Al Wadood” or “Ya Wadood.”

The reason I ask this is that I have read that reciting the Name “Al Latif” wards off bad things, but reciting “Ya Latif” brings good things. I wondered whether this is specially for the name of Allah, Al Latif, or if something like this is applicable for other names too.

Jazakum Allah khayran.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I could not find any reference to the difference between calling upon Allah Most High through any of the Divine Names, with the preceding “Ya” or “Al” such as in your examples “Ya Wudud” and “Al Wudud.”

Nor could I find any specific reference to the different outcomes mentioned between the specific formulas of “Al Latif” and “Ya Latif,” though spiritual masters have stated that the recitation of “Ya Latif” protects the people and the place that this Divine Name is recited in from hardships and afflictions. (The Shadhili Tariqa)

Al Latif

The Divine Name ‘Al Latif’ carries the meaning of the ‘One who is most subtle, gracious, kind and gentle’. It also denotes a Being that is so sublime that He is beyond human comprehension. Because He is the Sublime, the Most Subtle, He (alone) encompasses and reveals the subtleties of all things.

Al Latif is the Divine Name. When one calls out Ya Latif, O Subtle, Gentle Gracious One, in accordance to rules of Arabic grammar, the definite article “al” (meaning “The”) drops from the noun when the “calling” prefix (al munada) “Ya” is employed. Thus, essentially one is still saying “Ya al Latif,” but to say it as such is grammatically incorrect.

This applies to all the Divine Names.

You may also find the following answer helpful:

Is it Possible to Do a Wird Without Having Access to a Shaykh?

And Allah knows best.

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


 

Strengthening One’s Aspiration

Ustadh Tabraze Azam answers a question about a constant feeling of discouragement in studies and how to strengthen one’s aspiration.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Sometimes I get discouraged because I feel like when I move one step forward in my studies, I feel like I also jump ten steps back. In other words, I’ll learn something new and it will stick with me like glue, but my memory is so weak that the old material loses its strength.

This is very discouraging for me. Even one of my teachers noticed it today. I feel like I am wasting their time. Alongside consistently reviewing, are there other steps that I can take to help my memory? And general advice to help maintain my himma (aspiration) even when things get rough?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I hope you are in the best of health and spirits, insha Allah.

Sidi Ibn Ata’illah al Iskandari said, “No matter is difficult if you seek it through your Lord, and nothing is easy if you seek it through yourself.”

Difficult times are to be expected. This is the dunya. However, with patience, perseverance, and a little realization, there is always a way out.

Allah Most High says:

And whoever is mindful of Allah, He will grant them a way out, and will provide for them in ways unimagined. And whoever places their trust in Allah, then Allah is their sufficiency. Allah’s affair will surely come to pass, and Allah has made a clear decree for everything. (Sura al Talaq 65:2-3)

Realize this and take the best possible means of attaining unto the goal. Consult more often regarding how and what you should review. What steps should you be taking to really benefit from the knowledge? How does it relate to other topics/subjects? Try to study/review with other students. And do everything you can to cement the material down.

Make a point to renew your intentions, seek forgiveness for yourself, parents, family, fellow students, teachers, and the entire umma, give a little in charity, strive to consistently fulfill all of your obligations, pray out of neediness, ask in blessed times and places with focus, sincerity, and conviction that you will be answered, and finally be grateful for what you already have. Allah Most High says:

If you are thankful, I will surely increase you. (Sura Ibrahim 14:7)

With time and sincerity, it will come, insha Allah. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, reminded us to seek the assistance of Allah and not to deem ourselves incapable.

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Can I Hide My Interest in Sufism from My Husband?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

I have been reading and studying about Sufism, and I really want to start my path to Ihsan, to Allah Ta’ala.

My husband is totally against that. For him, the Sufis make innovations, their practices are out of Qur’an and the sunna of our Beloved Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) and is not necessary at all to follow a Shaykh and join a tariqa.

Every time I try to talk about that with him, I give up because he does not understand and he tries to convince me that it is wrong path. I would like to know what should I do? Should I hide from him that I am really interested and I want to follow this path?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for the delay.

Sufism

Dear sister, your spiritual path is between you and Allah. Your relationship with Allah is the most important relationship you will ever have in your life. Please remember this, as you navigate the waters of your life.

It is not necessary for you to disclose everything about your life, including your spiritual practice, to your husband. Marriage does not mean dissolving all boundaries between you and your husband. Doing so can be unhealthy. At the same time, the more secrets you keep from your husband, the more distant you are likely to feel.

Prayer of Guidance

I suggest that you perform the Prayer of Guidance about how to proceed. If Allah places tranquility in your heart about your decision to join a tariqa, then that is your answer. If Allah places unease in your heart about doing so without your husband’s blessings, then that is your answer. You can perform this prayer as many times as you need to until you are certain.

Husband

I doubt that your husband will change his views on Sufism through direct confrontation. I suggest that for the time being, please leave the topic of Sufism alone. It sounds like when you bring up this topic, your husband immediately goes on the defensive. Instead of riling him up through these heated discussions, focus on nurturing the parts of your marriage that you do have in common. Make happy memories together. Grow a sense of ‘we’ instead of ‘me’.

When registration opens, please enrol in the SeekersHub course Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages. In the meantime, please listen to the lesson set Getting Married with Ustadha Shireen Ahmed and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Lead your husband by example. If your marriage is healthy and strong, then your husband will be far more open to accepting your influence. It is not uncommon for initially rigid husbands to eventually relax and change their beliefs once they feel secure, loved and respected by their wives. However, this change may take many years, and I suggest that you work on accepting your husband’s good qualities.

Emotionally Intelligent Husbands Are Key to a Lasting Marriage
Husbands Can Only Be Influential if They Accept Influence
7 Research-Based Principles for Making Marriage Work

I pray that Allah blesses you with nearness to Him, and the gift of a loving marriage.

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

How Do I Calm My Worries?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Are there any specific duas or Surahs I can recite to help me with my constant state of anxiousness, depression and paranoia that I have been feeling due to a multitude of heavy things and it’s been weighing me down.I just need a way of easing my difficulties.

Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum. Jazakum Allah khayr for writing into us.

If life gets overwhelming and we find ourselves always worried, then it’s a good time to take stock of what is happening in our lives, looking to see whether things could be done better, and most importantly, assessing where our relationship with Allah is.

Reading the Signs

Everything in life has a language and it takes patient observation and reflection to understand the language of each thing or event. When the physical body starts to become run down and needs a break, it shows signs of fatigue in order that the person may stop and take a break so the body can recover. If it is ignored, the body keeps throwing up other signs, such as ailments, in order to be heard.

Similarly, the mind and the soul throw up symptoms of distress when something is amiss and needs fulfilling. When one has constant stress, anxiety, anguish, or a feeling of emptiness, it is because the mind/soul is yearning for something that it needs. Sometimes the need is to simplify or prioritise one’s lifestyle choices, or one needs fulfilling intellectually, or one needs to connect spiritually, or perhaps all of these. It is because of these feelings that we so often turn to temporary ‘worldly’ solutions, such as food, wealth, entertainment etc. to fill the void.

Relationship with Allah

Of course, there is nothing more important than assessing one’s relationship with Allah Most High, as He is the One who has control of our affairs and the only One to change them.

Ensure the following:

1. That you are fulfilling your duties to Allah, particularly your daily prayers.

2. That you are avoiding sins in private and in public.

3. You have a daily reading of Quran each day, ideally with a translation if it is needed.

If possible, try to:

1. Wake up for Tahajjud, even for 10 minutes, pray two cycles of prayer and supplicate to Allah to lighten your burdens and ease your heart.

2. Depending on the causes of your conditions, seek out beginner courses on Islamic studies such as ‘aqidah, fiqh, seerah, and tafsir. It important to learn the religion properly, as knowledge shapes one thoughts and make one’s heart firm in one’s belief in Allah and the knowledge that he is the sole Doer of everything that happens to us.

Supplications

Recite the following supplications after each prayer and at Tahajjud time:


اللّهُـمَّ رَحْمَتَـكَ أَرْجـوفَلا تَكِلـني إِلى نَفْـسي طَـرْفَةَ عَـيْن، وَأَصْلِـحْ لي شَأْنـي كُلَّـه لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أنْـت
O Allah, I hope for Your mercy. Do not leave me to myself even for the blink of an eye. Correct all of my affairs for me. There is none worthy of worship but You.
[Abu Dawud]

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ الْهَمِّ وَالْحُزْنِ وَالْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ وَالْبُخْلِ وَالْجُبْنِ وَضَلَعِ الدَّيْنِ وَغَلَبَةِ الرِّجَالِ

O Allah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being overpowered by men. [al Bukhari]

اللَّهُمَّ لَا سَهْلَ إِلَّا مَا جَعَلْتَهُ سَهْلًا ، وَأَنْتَ تَجْعَلُ الْحَزْنَ إِذَا شِئْتَ سَهْلًا
O Allah, there is no ease except in that which You have made easy, and You make the difficulty, if You wish, easy
[Ibn Hibban]

It is reported that Asma’ bint ‘Umays (may Allah be pleased with her) said, ‘The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said to me, “Shall I not teach you some words to say when you feel distressed?
اللهُ اللهُ رَبِّ لا أُشْـرِكُ بِهِ شَيْـئاً
Allah, Allah, my Lord, I do not associate anything with Him
[Abu Dawud]

Action

There are many ways to go about relieving anxiety and stress. I will try to mention the most useful:

Expressing your thoughts:
First, it would be helpful to sit down and get all the thoughts and anxieties expressed outwardly. This is the first step in clarifying what is wrong. Expressing the concerns outwardly distances one from their own thoughts so it is possible to get some perspective on the issues. It also allows one to trace more clearly what is going wrong and what can be done, and to make positive and constructive changes.

One can do this by first writing down all the things that is on one’s mind, in no particular order. Then categorise them into groups e.g. family, work, relationships, personal etc. Then go through each one and try to identify what it is that causes the worry about that particular thing.

Next to it, write down all the possible solutions within your control, including what could be done to simplify the issue. For things out of your control make a separate list and next to these, write down any ideas of people who you can consult regarding the issue for advice, such as parents, close friend, local scholar, or even a therapist.

Once you have done this with all the issues, try to put each in action one by one. Of course it may not be possible to resolve all issues so simply, and the anxieties and paranoia won’t disappear just like that. but it’s a good start and having it all written out means you can refer to it when you feel overwhelmed and remind yourself of the solutions.

Therapies: If the above does not work, it may be useful to seek treatment for a while, as this will again be way to express your thoughts outwardly, and perhaps gain some perspective. Constitutional homeopathy or other holistic therapies should also be very useful, particularly if you suffer from depression and paranoia and natural, valium medication is needed.

Included in therapy is ensuring you are getting adequate exercise and nutrition. You may want to try simple meditation or relaxation techniques (see below for book reference).

Please also seek out the company of good friends, and not spend too much time alone. Joining hobby clubs and other team activity groups may be a good idea, if possible.

Book References

I highly recommend the following books which should help with both understanding anxiety and depression as well as give many practical advice:

1. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, by Dale Carnegie
2. The Complete System of Self-Healing – Internal Exercises, by Dr. Stephen T, Chang

Insha’Allah these two resources will provide ample use to you. May Allah grant you the very best of states and tranquillity of mind and heart.

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Checked & 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.

When Does the Intention to Sin Become Sinful?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I read that a sin is not recorded unless it has been committed but I can’t seem to reconcile it with a hadith I read about two men fighting and both the killed and the killer would go to hell. Does that mean that if one intends to commit a sin and is deterred by circumstance, it is the same as having committed the sin?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

The scholars differentiated between various types of intent.

Accordingly, the mere presence of an inclination is not the same as resolve (‘azm) or being on the verge of doing something (hamm). These latter categories are something a person is taken to task for, contrary to merely passing thoughts (khatir) or self-talk (hadith al-nafs).

The tradition (hadith) in question, “When two Muslims fight each other with their swords, then both the killer and killed are in the Fire” [Bukhari], is understood to be in the context of the aforementioned resolve. Thus, the one killed, too, is liable for his action.

This interpretation complements what we already know about human responsibility with respect to the actions of the heart. For instance, envy, slander and other internal vices are held against us if we don’t repent from them. Similarly, coveting the unlawful is also that which falls under the category of actions we are duty-bound to abstain from.

What this should remind us, then, is of the imperative to purify the heart. Otherwise, believers may leave this world committing major sins (kaba’ir) without even knowing it, as one of the spiritual masters informed us. We ask Allah Most High to forgive us, and purify our inward and outward.

[Qari, al-Mubin al-Mu‘in li Fahm al-Arba‘in (2.263)/Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh al-Mishkat al-Masabih, quoting Ibn Malak; Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir]

Please also see: Do the Angels Wait Before Writing down a Bad Deed? and: A Reader on Sincerity, Intention, and the Purpose of Spiritual Routines and: How Can I Purify My Heart? A Reader

And Allah Most High alone 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 memorised 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 with his family.

What Is the Best Way to Put the Ego in Check? (Habib Umar bin Hafiz)

Answered by  Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Question: Assalam aleykum

What is the best way to attain beneficial knowledge in such a way that puts the ego in check?

Answer: [Assalam alaykum]

Seeking Knowledge With Excellence

The best way to attain beneficial knowledge that puts the ego in check is: sincere focus, with humility, attentive listening, and concentration upon what is imparted to one, of the words of Allah or the words of the Chosen One (may Allah peace and blessings be upon him and his folk), assuming you find a teacher who is a “possessor of heart,” i.e. one who imparts this knowledge from his heart and soul.

Connecting to the Inheritors of Prophetic Guidance

This, along with connecting oneself to a chain of transmission that goes back to the Prophet and observing good manners, is the way we are familiar with from the Successors of the Companions (tabi’in), those who followed them, and those who followed them, until this day and age.

Knowledge is the Prayer of the Soul

For knowledge is not perfected with caprice or pride. Nor is the reality of knowledge acquired by studying, “so and so said”, or mastering legal scenarios. It is rather acquired through sincerity to the Most Great and Most High, and through approaching this endeavor with veneration, love, and longing to draw close to Allah (Mighty and Majestic) thereby, while also connecting one’s self to a chain of transmission to the Chosen One, Muhammad (may Allah peace and blessings be upon him and his folk). This is indeed the way to acquire beneficial knowledge that puts the ego in check and elevates it to high stations.

Translated by: Abdullah Alrajhy.

Habib Umar bin Hafiz  is a descendant of the Prophet (upon him be Allah’s peace and blessings). Born into a family of scholars, Habib Umar, pursued the sacred sciences from a young age, including Quran, Hadith, Fiqh, ‘Aqeedah, Arabic, and Spirituality. In 1994, he established Dar al-Mustafa, an educational institute in Tarim, Yemem.

Link to the original answer

ما هو الطريق الأمثل للوصول إلى العلم النافع الرادع للنفس ؟

الطريق الأمثل للوصول إلى العلم النافع الرادع للنفس هو: إقبال صادق، بتذلل، وحسن إصغاء، واجتماع قلبٍ على ما يُلقى من كلام الله وكلام رسوله المصطفى محمد صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله؛ إذا وجدت من يلقيه. وهو صاحب قلب يلقي ذلك العلم من قلبه، ويلقي ذلك العلم من فؤاده. والاتصال بسند العلم إلى النبي محمد مع حسن الأدب هو الطريق التي عرفناها في التابعين وتابعي التابعين وتابعي تابعي التابعين من خيار الأمة إلى عصرنا هذا، وإلى وقتنا هذا. فإن العلم لا يتفق مع هوى ولا مع تكبر، ولا تتحصل حقيقة العلم بالقيل والقال ولا بتصوُّر المسائل، ولكن بالإخلاص للكبير المتعال، وأخذِ الأمر بالتعظيم وبالمحبة وبالشوق إلى القرب من الله تعالى، مع الاتصال بهذا السند إلى المصطفى محمد؛ هو الطريق التي يحصل بها العلم النافع الذي يردع النفس ويأخذ بها إلى العلو

Is It Wrong to Perform a Daily Amount of Dhikr With a Specific Number?

Answered by Ustadh Sharif Rosen

Question: Assalam alaykum

I have recently become the student of a Scholar, and as students we were assigned to a series of daily Dhikr, that we are to do a certain number of times. Some individuals have mentioned that this is something wrong. As a result I am very conflicted now. What should I do?

Answer: as-Salamu ‘alaykum.

Jazakum Allah khayran for your question.

Without doubt, following the Quran and sunna provide the definitive basis for the validity of one’s Islamic practice. Yet, understanding how one follows the Quran and the way of the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, has never returned to the mere opinions of the untrained. Such explanations are the domain of specialists, namely the Islamic jurists, as established by the verse, “Ask those of who recall if you know not” (Quran 16:43).

In practical terms, we are commanded to take our operative understandings from the elite jurists, also known as the mujtahid Imams whose mastery of the Islamic sacred texts comes by way of, (1) their command of all the primary and ancillary fields required to comprehend and practice upon the Quran and prophetic sunna, and (2) their being connected in learning a given religious discipline through unbroken chains of transmission to the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings. It cannot be understated that great care should be taken to assure that one’s own Islamic learning comes by way of scholars who fulfill both conditions, or at minimum, the second criteria of scholar and teachers, who by obligation, transmit their knowledge from scholars and Imams of the first category.

Individuals who criticize or condemn the inauguration of practices not explicitly taught by the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, often cite the hadith related by Sayyida ‘Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, who said, “Whoever initiates in this matter of ours what is not from it, will have it rejected” (Bukhari, Muslim).

What critics may fail to realize is that the words crucial to understanding this authenticated hadith turn on the phrase “what is not from it” [ma laysa minhu] as it qualifies the types of initiated or “innovated” actions intended here, namely those without any basis in the foundational precepts and objectives of the Quran and sunna (Al-‘Arfaj, Mafhum al-Bid’a, 89). Moreover, the inauguration of a new practice [bid’a] in Islam cannot be categorically condemned since a bid’a will fall into one of the five classifications of Islamic legal rulings; those that are impermissible [haram] and thus misguidance and punishable “refer to matters that are not good innovations with a basis in Sacred Law” (Al-Jurdani, al-Jawahir al-lu’lu’iyya fi shahr al-Arba’in al-Nawawiyya).

We know there are both praiseworthy and blameworthy inaugurated practices based on the hadith related on the authority of Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, who said, “Whoever initiates in Islam a commendable innovation has its reward and the reward of those who act on it after one without any diminishing of one’s reward. And whoever initiates in Islam a reprehensible innovation has upon them its [awful] burden and the burden of those who act on it without any diminishing of one’s burden” (Muslim).

From this starting point, the following passage enhances further our knowledge of what following the sunna actually means, with attention to the evidentiary basis for practicing adhkar apart from those related in the Quran or hadith.

The Prophet himself (Allah bless him and give him peace) taught us that the sunna does not discourage other prayers and supplications, but rather they are part of the sunna, as is attested to by the rigorously authenticated hadith that Burayda (Allah be well pleased with him) said, ‘I entered the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) where a man was at prayer supplicating: “O Allah, I ask You by the fact that I testify You are Allah, there is no god but You, the One, the Ultimate, who did not beget and was not begotten, and to whom none is equal,” and the Prophet said (Allah bless him and give him peace), “By Him in whose hand is my soul, he has asked Allah by His greatest name, which if He is asked by it He gives, and if supplicated He answers” (Ibn Hibban [53], 3.174:892. S).

This hadith shows that when the prophetic Companions made up their own supplications without previous instruction from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), he did not merely tolerate it, but rather encouraged it with the highest degree of approbation and acceptance — thereby legislating in our shari’a until the end of time that supplications other than those explicitly taught are recommended in a general sense as part of the sunna. Secondly, he intended (Allah bless him and give him peace) that they should be remembered and transmitted to others, as his emphatically praising the Companion’s supplication above ensured that this supplication would be.

This is why the Companions, their students (tabi’in) and the Imams of both the outward (such as Shafi’i, Tabarani and Sakhawi) and the inward (such as ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, Abu Hasan al-Shadhili, and Ahmad al-Rifa’i) composed their own supplications and litanies of dhikr and passed them on to Muslims after them, who have recited them from that day to this.

Imam Nawawi, who compiled his much-beloved collection of 1,212 Prophetic hadiths of prayer and dhikr in Kitab al-Adhkar, also composed and recited his own daily litany known today as Hizb al-Imam al-Nawawi. As a scholar and a Muslim, he found it superior to do both…

Ulema such as ‘Abdullah Mahfudh al-Haddad tell us that making a supplication or dhikr at a certain time at one’s own initiative does not become a bid’a or reprehensible innovation unless it competes against a specific sunna legislated for that time and place (al-Sunna wa al-bid’a [9], 197). For example, saying Subhana Llah forty times immediately after the last word of every call to prayer (adhan) would be a blameworthy bid’a because the Sacred Law calls for the Blessings on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) at that time instead, after which one may say what one wishes.” [Keller, Sea Without Shore, 174-175]

Finally, these links should provide added depth into the subject of innovation as the ‘ulema have understood and expressed its reality. And through them alone are we obliged to take our knowledge of the Quran and sunna, and thereby our religion entirely — from its law and theology to its spirituality.

Defining the Concept of Bid’a in the Islamic Shari’a

Are Weekly Group Dhikr Gatherings a Reprehensible Innovation (Bid’a Sayyia)?

And Allah knows best.

wa-Salam,
[Ustadh] Sharif Rosen

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Sharif Rosen is the Muslim Chaplain at Williams College (in the Northeastern United States).  His formative Islamic studies in Amman, Jordan for five years, and ongoing, have been at the hands of scholars connected through unbroken transmission to the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings.

Is Repentance Accepted If You Sin Again? (Video)

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Is repentance accepted if you sin again?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is a video answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

Why Do So Many Muslims Struggle With Stopping Sexual Sins?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Myself included, it looks so many people who practice Islam are not capable of breaking the sinful desires of the body. What could be the reason for this? How can we overcome it?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Sin

Allah Most High says: “Say: My servants who have wronged yourselves, never despair of God’s mercy. God forgives all sins: He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” [Qur’an, 39.53]

Only the Prophets (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon them) are Divinely protected from sin. Everyone else struggles with the journey of sinning, and repenting from them.

Support

Dear questioner, it sounds like you need better support in overcoming your trials. I strongly encourage that you sign up to Purify Your Gaze. This is a safe space for Muslims who are struggling with various forms of sex addiction.

We live in a hypersexualised world. In addition to that, many families have accumulated generations of unresolved psychological issues. This combination can make many people susceptible to sins of the body.

Overcoming sexual sins takes commitment, patience, support, and a lot of sincere dua. Please remember that anything is possible through the help of Allah Most High.

Repentance

The conditions of a valid repentance are as follows:

a. One leaves the sin,
b. One feels remorse for the action committed,
c. One resolves to not return to it, and
d. One pays back or returns what one owes if the sin involves the rights of others.

[Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin]

Plan

I strongly recommend that you come up with and commit to a plan of action to help you overcome your sexual addiction. Here are some suggestions:

-Pray Salatul Hajat and ask Allah for the strength to give up your addiction, for the ability to marry, for ease in your finances and education, and whatever else troubles you.
-Find a new circle of God-fearing friends whom you can spend time with when you get lonely.
-Find a psychologist who specialises in sexual addiction, who respects your faith.
-Read Surah Al-Waqiah to increase your rizq, and encourage your parents to do the same.
-Give a small amount of sadaqah and ask Allah for whatever you wish (forgiveness, the ability to get married, etc)
-Incorporate more sunnah fasts into your life to help you manage your libido, starting with Monday and Thursday fasts.
-Cut down on and eventually eliminate all sources of vice that increase your desire (e.g. unlawful magazines, internet pornography etc)
-Look into the lawfulness of your food and your income. It is easier to leave sin and do good when one’s livelihood and food are halal.
-Reduce your meat consumption and eat more cooling foods.
-Expend your energy through regular exercise and volunteer activities (e.g. soup kitchen etc)

Please see:

Is There Any Hope for Me to Be Forgiven?
Chapter on Repentance Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.