On Death and Dying, by Ustadh Salman Younas

With the current year drawing to a close, social media has come alight repeatedly with news of the passing of yet another celebrity. Ustadh Salman Younas shares some personal thoughts on an inevitable journey all of us will embark upon: death.

I have seen many people in my wider circle of friends/acquaintances express how death has seemed so much closer to us this year than previous ones. We have witnessed the passing of many a parent, teacher, sibling, friend, and child. Some of us directly suffered these losses; others suffered through seeing these losses endured by people they knew, such as friends; yet, other losses were so global and impactful that all of us were effected by them.
I was never particularly fearful of death until my daughter was born. After her birth, the fear kicked in. It was in most ways a worldly fear. I wanted to see my little one take her first steps, speak her first words, start school, become a rebellious teenager, go to college, and have a family. I wanted to live to see my child grow.
This all changed after my father passed away. I remember standing with some of my close friends after a Quran recital telling them about how the birth of my daughter led to an increased fear of death on my part. But my attitude had changed now. I knew my father had moved into another room that was out of my sight. But I was no longer afraid to have the door to that room opened for me because I knew that he would be there. It was the first time in a long time that I was not afraid to leave the room my daughter was in for the room my father had gone too.
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The Fear Factor

This taught me an important lesson. We often understand death in negative terms: we will be questioned, there is a thing called Hell, God will take us to account for everything, and so forth. The motivating factor in death for many is the fear factor. This is important, of course. Yet, the passing of my father taught me that it is also a motivator because of a love factor, a love and desire for reunion.
This was the perspective of Fatima (God be well-pleased with her). When the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was in his final illness “he said something secretly to Fatima and she wept. Then he said something secretly to her and she laughed.” [Bukhari] When asked later why she wept, she said it was because the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was moving to the next life. But when asked what made her smile, it was because she was told that she would join him in Paradise.
This was the perspective of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). In one of his final sermons, he mentioned how “God had given a slave the choice between immortality in this world or meeting his Lord, and he had chosen to meet his Lord.” He was speaking about himself. His last words according to A’isha were, “to the highest Companion!” He had chosen to move on and unite with God. [Bukhari]

A Beautiful Union

To all of my brothers and sisters who have lost someone, to those saddened by separation, and to those still grieving, do not forget the union that death brings. A union with a merciful and compassionate Lord. A union with a most beautiful and perfect Prophet who will not cease pleading to God until each and every one of his followers is in Paradise with him.
Remember that your loved ones from this community wait for you, and that you have the opportunity to be with them in a place where time has ceased, where there will be no separation, nor grief, nor sadness, nor pain. It is a place where all of you can be together in utter bliss, love, and happiness.
This is the hope and trust we place in our Lord. This is why we worship and engage in righteousness: so we can reunite with those whom we love – God, His Prophet, our parents, children, siblings, friends, and others. So, do not despair, do not lose sight of the bigger picture, and make your life a road to reunion.
We ask God to renuite us in the eternal garden with those we love in the company of our Prophet (blessings upon him) and all the righteous.

Signs of the Hour: The Fiqh of the End of Times, by Shaykh Ahmed Saad al-Azhari

There are a lot of people these days speaking about the End of Times, but what do we actually know about these coming days? Shaykh Ahmed Saad al-Azhari offers a special intensive seminar on this.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) spoke about signs that would indicate the coming of the Day of Judgement, but how important is this knowledge to way we live our lives? Should we be fearful of what is to come, or should our study lead us to be hopeful.
In this special one-day intensive program, Shaykh Ahmed Saad al-Azhari guides us through this often difficult and misunderstood subject using Habib Abu Bakr Al-Mashhur’s pioneering work, An-Nubdhah As-Sughrah, newly translated into English by Shaykh Ahmed himself.

What Happened When My Son Disturbed Junaid Jamshed in His Prayer

The recent death of Junaid Jamshed has shocked and saddened to many inside and outside Pakistan. SeekersHub volunteer, Hammad Din recalls a chance meeting with Jamshed, and how it touched him in a very deep way.

Last year my son, then 2 years old, joined me for a congregational prayer at our local mosque in Markham, Canada. We arrived a little late and I noticed the back of a very familiar head in one the rows ahead of us. Not thinking much of it, we joined the prayer right away.

I was that parent

From the second cycle onward something very unusual happened. My normally quiet son started crying loudly and continued to do so for the remainder of the prayer. He was so loud that I was sure he had disturbed everyone around us. The prayer finished and the familiar head of the person ahead turned out to be the famous nasheed artist and preacher from Pakistan, Junaid Jamshed.

Embarrassed

I was a really embarrassed that I was the father of the child who created such a disturbance, particularly when a global personality like Jamshed was in attendance. To my surprise, Jamshed came to us a few moments after we finished and said something to the effect of ‘Alhamdulillah…inshah’Allah the crying of this child has facilitated the acceptance of everyone’s prayer in this congregation’, patting my son on his head.
I was taken aback. Many people I know, including myself, would potentially be annoyed at a child disturbing everyone’s prayer like that, or at the very least be annoyed with the parents who allowed it. Instead Jamshed totally put me at ease. It was beautiful to see someone dealing with a child with such love and prophetic mercy.

A Man Who Changed

Jamshed’s life journey makes me reflect on how someone can turn his life around and how we musn’t ever assume that people cannot change for the better. Jamshed left his pop singing career at its peak and turned towards Islam in the last 15 years. He inspired millions in Pakistan, and beyond, as he was not only singing devotional songs but was also regularly preached on television, while running a successful modest clothing brand.
Hear him speak about about his change here (in English). His good character and concern for the global Muslim community was witnessed by many and it’s no wonder that since his sudden death, tributes have poured in from leading religious figures in Pakistan, including Mawlana Tariq Jameel and Mufti Taqi Usmani.
In the last Friday Prayer he led on December 2, 2016, the verses he recited in both cycles of the prayer were related to death and included the following verse from Surah Baqarah:

Who say, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return” (2: 156)

As random as it may have been, Allah blessed me to see his character first hand and I will carry this small incident in my heart for the rest of my life. May Allah grant him the highest of stations in Paradise. Ameen.
In closing, his death has made me reflect and ponder on the following line which he sings in a naat:

Duniya ke aay musafir manzil teri qabar hai, Tai kar raha hai jo tu do din ka yeh safar hai

Oh Traveller of this world, (know that) your grave is your final destination, This journey of yours (of this life) lasts a mere two days.

Uniting the Ummah in Love – Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

Allah has told us in the Holy Qur’an that love is a condition of faith, so why, asks Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said, do human beings find it so difficult to agree on what Allah and His Messenger love and why do we struggle so much to love one another?

“Allah Guides to His Light Whom He Wills.”  (Surah An-Nur)
Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem
Allah Most High is not worshipped more than by loving Him. Allah Most High warned us in the Qur’an in Sura al-Tawba (24):

If your parents, your children, your brothers or sisters, your wives or husbands, your tribe, the money that you have earned, the business that you are worried that you might lose, and the most beautiful home you are comfortably living in are dearer or more beloved to you than Allah Most High, His Messenger and in striving in His path, then wait until Allah’s command comes. Allah does not guide the corrupt and misguided ones.

In this verse, Allah Most High is speaking about the love for Him and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) to be the loftiest and greatest of things that we can achieve.  Not only this, but the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said in a Hadith:  “You will never enter the Garden until you believe, and you will never believe until you love each other.  Shall I tell you something that if you were to do it it would make you love each other?  Spread peace (greet one another)”
So if loving each other is a condition of faith, so what about loving Allah Most High and the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace)!  And loving Allah Most High and the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) is loving what they love!
In a Hadith narrated by our master Abdullah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him), the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:  “Love Allah Most High for all the blessings that He has bestowed upon you. Love me out of love of Allah Most High, and love my family out of love of me”  (Tirmidhi 3789, Bukhari  “Tarikh al-Kabir”, Hakim).

Don’t be Divided in Your Love

It is very unfortunate that we as Muslims are divided in our love of what Allah Most High and the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) love.  In saying this we mean we are divided upon our love of the family of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the Companions (Allah be well pleased with them). We love the family of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) because Allah Most High wanted us to love them, as Allah Most High said in Sura al-Shura‘a (23):  “Say [Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)], I wanted nothing from you in return for me guiding and teaching you other than for you to love my family.”
The Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not say to obey his family, look after his family or respect his family, but he said to love his family!  This is a sign of faith.
Allah Most High said in Sura al-Tawba (100), speaking about the companions of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace):  “And the first forerunners [in the faith] are the Emigrants (al-Muhajirin) and the Helpers (al-Ansar) and those who followed them in good conduct – Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.”

Love of the Companions

We love our master Abu Bakr (Allah be please with him), our master Omar (Allah be pleased with him), our master Aisha (Allah be please with her) and all the Companions because our master Ali (peace be upon him) loved them, our master Husayn ibn Ali (peace be upon him) loved them, our master Hasan ibn Ali (peace be upon him) loved them, our master Mohammed al Baqir (peace be upon him) loved them, and our master Jafar al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) loved them; but most of all, Allah Most High and the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) loved them!
So the love of Ahl al-Bayt and the Companions should unite the Ummah, and we know that this issue is not new as even Imam Shafi‘i (Allah have mercy upon him) struggled with it in his time; when he expressed his love for Ahl al-Bayt or the Companions, people would accuse and associate him with the one group or the other:
If we were to speak about Ali (peace be upon him) and his virtues and our preference, people would accuse us of being the enemy of the Companions of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), and they would be wrong in accusing us of such; and if we were to speak about Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) and his virtues, people would accuse us of being the enemy of Ahl al-Bayt.  I live between these two accusations, and even so, I will love them both until I am buried in this world!

The Balance

The balance we need to establish is based in our trust in the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), as Allah Most High said in Sura al-Najm:  He does not speak out of his own desire..”, as the words of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) are wahy and the actions of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) are wahy.
We love whom Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) has loved, and we beg Allah Most High to unite the Ummah of Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), to forgive our sins, to guide us and to fill our hearts with His love, the love of Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), love for the Qur’an, love of the Ahl al-Bayt, love of the Emigrants, love of the Helpers, love of the people of Bayt al-Ridwan, and the love of the Righteous.
Allahumma salli alaa Sayyidina Muhammad wa alaa Ahli Sayyidina Muhammad, fi kulli lamhatin wa nafasin ‘adada maa wa see-a-hu ‘il-muLlah.
O Allah send blessings, equal to the extent of Your Knowledge, upon our master Muhammad and upon the family of our master Muhammad, in their every moment and every breath.

 

Shaykh Faid SaidShaykh Faid Mohammed Said is a jewel in the crown of traditional Islamic scholarship in the United Kingdom and we at SeekersHub are ever grateful for his friendship, guidance and support. He was born in Asmara, Eritrea, where he studied the holy Qur’an and its sciences, Arabic grammar and fiqh under the guidance of the Grand Judge of the Islamic Court in Asmara, Shaykh Abdul Kader Hamid and also under the Grand Mufti of Eritrea. He later went to study at Madinah University, from which he graduated with a first class honours degree. In Madinah, his teachers included Shaykh Atia Salem, Shaykh Mohamed Ayub (ex-imam of the Prophet’s Mosque, peace be upon him), Professor AbdulRaheem, Professor Yaqub Turkestani, Shaykh Dr Awad Sahli, Dr Aa’edh Al Harthy and many other great scholars. Shaykh Faid has ijaza in a number of disciplines including hadith, and a British higher education teaching qualification. He is currently the scholar in residence and head of education at Harrow Central Mosque, United Kingdom.
Read his articles on the SeekersHub blog.

Resources for Seekers

Cover Photo by Motoshi Ohmori

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"You Don’t Have To Be In A Mosque To Receive Guidance" – Shaykh Faid

Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said explains that a simple test for what your station is with Allah, pause and consider what he has kept you busy with. A uplifting and beautiful reminder that is a must watch.

Resources for seekers

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Jinn, Black Magic and How to Protect Yourself, by Shaykh Amer Jamil

In just under an hour, Shaykh Amer Jamil explains the essential what-you-need-to-know about sihr (black magic). It’s a reality – do you know how to recognise the signs and how to protect against it?

What is Black Magic and How Do We Recognise The Signs?

How Do We Protect Against Black Magic?

Resources on sihr (black magic) and related matters for seekers

Please subscribe to Shaykh Amer Jamil’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.
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"He Came With a Blanket that Smelt Like Baby Urine"

Why did Habib Umar bin Hafiz give his students a blanket that smelt like baby urine? Habib Mundhir al-Musawa gives the answer and talks about his relationship with Habib Umar in an interview given shortly before his death. With genuine humility, he describes his early days seeking knowledge and then his first steps in calling to Allah.

He talks about the key to his success, his immense attachment to his Shaykh, Habib Umar bin Hafiz. The film is interspersed with footage of Majelis Rasulullah, the intense gathering which he established in Jakarta, Indonesia.
This short film titled ‘The Shaykh and the Murid’ gives a unique insight into the life of one of the heroes of our times, Habib Mundhir al-Musawa, may Allah have mercy upon him. In his short life, Habib Mundhir had a huge impact on thousands, if not millions of people and was a cause of many people returning to Allah.  Our thanks to Muwasala for this video.

Resources for Seekers

blanketsCover Photo by Daniel Orth

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Caribbean Calling: Nourishing Communities of Faith, by Nazim Baksh

sh_saadAt the beginning of the blessed month of Rabi’al Awwal 1438, Shaykh Ahmad Saad Al-Azhari will visit the twin-island Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. He will give a series of talks on the Sira of Allah’s Messenger , peace and blessings be upon him, at local mosques and will teach from Al-Nubdhah Al-Sughra at the prestigious San Fernando Jama Masjid.


Shaykh Ahmad’s host is Maulana Siddiq Nasir and his Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah Institute (ASWJI), the same organization that recently hosted Shaykh Faid Muhammad Said and Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ninowy. Maulana Siddiq is one of the early graduates of the Aleemiyah Institute in Pakistan. Seeker’s Hub has endorsed this initiative. Sidi Nazim Baksh will be accompanying Shaykh Ahmad on this tour and in this article he explains why it is important for Muslim scholars to continue visiting Muslims in the Caribbean.
 

Shaykh Ninowy in Guyana, March 2016

Shaykh Ninowy in Guyana, March 2016

What Exactly Constitutes an Authentic Expression of Islam?

For the last three decades Muslims who live in Guyana, Trinidad, Barbados, Jamaica and other Caribbean islands, have been grappling with the thorny issue of what exactly constitutes an authentic expression of Islam. It wasn’t always like this, but it has made the Caribbean a highly desired destination for a variety of foreign scholars and organizations looking to make their mark.  
In Guyana and Trinidad, countries with the largest communities, the majority of Muslims are direct descendants of indentured labourers who were brought from India to cultivate rice and sugar plantations during the British colonial period. There is also now a growing number of converts to Islam mostly from the African West-Indian communities across the English-speaking Caribbean.   
While indentureship ended in the early 20th century, the East-Indian Muslims stayed on, raising families, establishing businesses, forging communities and building mosques – 140 alone in Guyana.
Although religious texts were imported and disseminated locally, it played only a limited role in keeping people connected to the religion. The rhythm of Islamic spirituality for the mostly agrarian communities were the intermittent visits of a number of respected scholars who were grounded in tassawuf.  

Mawlana Siddiq
Nazim Baksh with Maulana Siddiq Ahmed Nasir

Historical Scholarly Visits to the Caribbean

In the 1930’s Maulana Sayed Shams-ud-Din visited Guyana traveling by boat from Trinidad where he was a scholar in residence for two years. Maulana Abdul Aleem Siddique’s visit to the region in 1950 makes him the most prominent scholar in this period to have visited and spend time in both Trinidad and Guyana before he died in 1954 in Al-Madinah and was buried in Al-Baqi.
Maulana Fazlur Rahman Ansari was a young man when he accompanied Maulana Siddique and he returned to the Caribbean in the 1960’s to conduct seminars and encourage local Muslims to establish educational institutions. He would later create the Aleemiyah Institute in Pakistan where three young Guyanese and one Trinidadian were offered scholarships to study sacred knowledge. Maulana Siddiq, our host, was one of the them.

Maulana Noorani
Maulana Noorani in Guyana in the 1960s

Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani also visited the Caribbean in the late 60’s and early 70’s and he single-handedly revived a love and devotion to Allah’s Beloved Messenger with his inimitable style of reciting Qasidas and making the standing during the salutation on the Prophet known locally as ta’zim, a standard feature at all types of major religious gatherings.
He was so well-liked that the Muslim leaders of Trinidad made an LP of his recitation of the Quran along with his renditions of a few qasidas. Today, there are still men among the older generation of Muslims who imitate his style of reciting the Quran.

The Infusion of Alien Religious Ideas

As the 14th hijri century came to an end the Islamic waters of the Caribbean got murky with the infusion of alien religious ideas. Not surprisingly, the first practice that would be attacked was the central role of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in Muslim religious life. Opposition to the Mawlid was fierce and the singing of qasidas in praise of the Prophet was seen as a throwback to bygone days and an imitation of Hinduism. Some even labeled it as shirk.     
Political organizations based in the United States began to focus their gaze on the communities in the Caribbean. The Nation of Islam was one of the first, but soon Dar al-Islam and The Islamic Party of North America led by Yusuf Muzaffaruddin Hamid, began setting up branches in the Caribbean. Both organizations were militant but also heavily influenced by the ideology of Hasan Al-Banna’s Muslim Brotherhood and Syed Abul Ala Al-Mawdudi’s Jamaat-i-Islami.  
The first murder to take place in the name of Islam in the Caribbean happened in 1985 in Trinidad when a group of men gunned down an Ahmadiyya Missionary in front of his teenaged son. The men were followers of Jamaat Al-Fuqra, a U.S. based organization headed by a Pakistani mystic that was an offshoot of Dar al-Islam.
Long before Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi dreamed of establishing a Caliphate, Imam Yasin Abu Bakr staged a failed coup in Trinidad in 1990. His goal was to establish a Caliphate according to an important report on the failed coup. Six people were killed and Abu Bakr’s Jamaat Al-Muslimoon caused millions of dollars in damage.  

Largest Number of Da’esh Recruits Per Capita in the World

Today the government of Trinidad estimates that 130 adult men along with their wives and children – some 400 in all – have left the country in the last three years to join Da’esh in Iraq and Syria. This makes Trinidad the country with the largest number of Da’esh recruits per capita in the world. Some of them have taken to social media to declare Yasin Abu Bakr an apostate of Islam because he no longer pursues the path of Jihad and Hijra.
The convenient course of action is to ignore the Caribbean because afterall it is on the extreme periphery of Muslim majority countries. To do so is to ignore the vast majority of Muslims who desire to live respectfully and peacefully in a faith-diverse community as their ancestors have for well over a century with their Christians and Hindu neighbours. We have a moral obligation to assist the silent majority by opening for them the doors of sound Islamic knowledge lest some of them fall prey to a vigorous campaign by violent extremists.  

Resources for Seekers

caribbean islamCover Photo by Samuel David

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On the Journey through the Grave, by Shaykh Samir al-Nass

Death and the afterlife is something extremely difficult to think about, not because it’s a fearful subject but because it’s so hard to imagine the journey through the afterlife. In this world, we are connected to the people around us. However, after death, we will be cut off from everyone around us. Listen to Shaykh Samir al-Nass talk about the soul’s journey through the grave and afterlife.

We are grateful to the Ha Meem Foundation for this recording.

Resources for Seekers

When Confronted With Brutal Injustice, by Shaykh Salim Mauladdawila

Remaining faithful and strategic when confronted with brutal injustice is perhaps one of the most challenging tests of this life. However, it is the right thing to do and it pays off, explains Shaykh Salim Mauladdawila.

The tale of the first murder committed in human history and the ripples of sin that would emanate therefrom is one from which many lessons are drawn. The pride of Qabil, the elder brother, his disobedience of his father Prophet Adam, and his inability to accept God’s divine decree all came together to culminate in him committing the vile act of murdering his own brother in cold blood. Of his sin God says in the Quran,

“We decreed for the children of Israel that whosoever kills a human being, except [as punishment] for murder or for spreading corruption in the land, it shall be as if he killed all humanity” [5:32].

The Prophet Muhammad further explained in a hadith narrated by Imam Muslim,

“No person is killed unjustly except that the first share of sin falls upon the son of Adam, for he was the first to introduce killing.”

Greater than that perhaps, as some scholars have pointed out, Qabil’s transgression marks mankind’s first open defiance of his Lord, and it would serve as a divide for all the descendants of Adam to come. From that day there would now be two groups in human civilisation: those who follow prophetic guidance, and those who turn away.
But just before that fateful moment when Qabil struck down Habil, the younger of the two, Habil spoke inspired words. Threatened by his brother, he is quoted by God as saying to him,

“If you raise your hand to kill me, I will raise not mine to kill you, for verily I fear God, the Lord of all the worlds” [5:28].

Referencing this thousands of years later, the Prophet Muhammad would say in narrations collected by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Imam Ahmad, and others that when in times of incredible tribulation, it is upon us to “be like the better of Adam’s two sons”.

When Muslim Commit Wrong

Anger and outrage are natural reactions to encountering injustice. When the injustice is towards our fellow Muslims, we are understandably angered further. But sometimes we find Muslims themselves committing wrong. Be it in the sphere of our immediate family, local community, or on a global level, when injustice and oppression occur so close to home we typically feel shaken and betrayed. We cry out for justice and wish that the perpetrators get their comeuppance. Sometimes the powers that be handle the situation correctly and we are blessed with closure, but other times justice escapes us, be it through systemic failure of a trusted establishment or another reason. At times the guilty party is so close to us and so respected by us that we feel that no matter the outcome, true forgiveness can never take place.

Being Entitled to Justice

We are all entitled to justice, however in its pursuit it is pertinent we keep two things in mind: we cannot let our pursuit of justice be an excuse for transgressing the sacred law, and true justice in God’s sight extends to beyond this world and is ultimately carried out on the Day of Judgement.
The vast majority of us can be thankful that no one is immediately threatening their life, but when we are wronged, the Prophet’s advice to “be like the better of Adam’s two sons” remains golden. For us, his words mean that we should maintain high standards in all our interactions, and that whatever situation we find ourselves in, it is upon us to remain bound by the rulings of the sacred law.
In the Quran, God advises us as to what we should do when facing injustice. He says,

“And surely we will try you with something of fear, hunger, and loss of wealth, life, and the fruits [of your labour]; but give glad tidings to those who have patience, who, when assailed by adversity, say, ‘Surely we belong to God, and to Him we shall return.’” [2:155-156].

More than simply being words to utter in times of tribulation, what God is outlining for us here is an understanding that Muslims should have in all their interactions. A way of thought that guides us in our daily dealings. Scholars who have commented on this verse have noted that there are two kinds of adversities which can befall us, and this verse is teaching us how to behave with both:

  1. adversity directly from God, like illness or death, and
  2. adversity which comes in the form of animosity and injustice from other human beings.

“Surely we belong to God” means that when God tests us with some affliction, we reaffirm our status as His slaves, surrender to Him all our affairs, and are ultimately pleased with His decree. As for when another person wrongs us, “surely we belong to God” means we turn to Him for retreat and do not seek appeasement for our anger thorough unlegislated means, for He who we belong to has ordered us so.

Two Wrongs Do Not Make A Right

Indeed God specifically mentions three traits of the pious as those “who expend both in joy and tribulation, who suppress their anger, and pardon the people” [3:134]. God also gives us further direction in how to respond saying, “Good and evil are not alike: respond [to evil] with the better deed” [41:34]. We aught to be mindful of this verse and not stoop to the lows of our oppressors. We do not subscribe to the notion that two wrongs make a right and we always strive to seek the pleasure of our Lord through the means he has permitted.

The Hadith of the Lie

A look at the examples of our Prophet, his Companions, and the pious people in Muslim history gives us further guidance in these matters. One of the greatest examples we have is in the well-known Ifk Hadith, or the hadith of the lie.
A lengthy hadith narrated by Imam al-Bukhari, the Ifk Hadith deals with an incident where the Prophet’s wife Sayyida Aisha was falsely accused of promiscuity outside of her marriage. Over a period longer than a month, false accusations were spread in Medina causing much distress to the Prophetic household and the household of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq. Aisha’s innocence was eventually proclaimed by God in a revealed verse and the propagators of the lie were duly punished. What remains for us are several lessons in correctly dealing with communal problems.
Firstly, throughout the narration Aisha does not slander any of the individuals who blackened her name. She was proven innocent and justice was served, and she did not seek more than that. Indeed during the ordeal, her only words to the Prophet were, quoting the prophet Yaqub, “patience is best. I seek the aid of God alone for what you impute” [12:18]. Out of the several individuals involved, only two are mentioned by name; one who is somewhat essential to the story and the other, the main source of the lies, is only named in passing. We also find that when the Prophet stood on the pulpit in his mosque and addressed his Companions regarding the allegations, he refers to the source of the lies simply as “a man”. The anonymity of those who spread the lie was maintained to the point that even modern hadith scholars disagree as to who exactly was punished.
Furthermore, probably the most astounding thing we see is the behaviour of Abu Bakr, the father of Aisha, during the turmoil. One of the accusers was Abu Bakr’s first cousin once removed. He was a poor man, and Abu Bakr provided him with aid. While his daughter was actively being slandered, Abu Bakr continued providing for his relative fully aware of his role in the matter. Even when the accuser’s own mother cursed her son, Abu Bakr continued to financially support him. It was only when Aisha’s innocence was revealed by God that Abu Bakr swore to end his charity. However even then, upon revelation of the verse, “Let not those of means amongst you swear that they will not give to their relatives, the poor, and those who leave their homes in the service of God. They should forgive and overlook [their failings]. Would you not like God to forgive you?” [24:22], Abu Bakr resumed his aid, saying, “Yes, by God, I wish that God should forgive me”, and, “By God, I will never withhold it from him ever”.

The Case of Yemen

Even in modern times, we find amazing examples of “responding with the better deed”. In parts of Yemen once under communist control, Islamic scholars were silenced with threats, abducted, and even killed, sometimes publicly. The collapse of the USSR brought with it the fall of communism in the region, and religious scholars returned to the vanguard of traditional society. Their return, however, did not usher in of a wave of bitter reprisals for abducted fathers and murdered uncles. Not one scholar used their position of influence to seek revenge on those who had ransacked their homes and evicted their families. Those previously aligned with the oppressive party found that the scholars did not expose them as wrongdoers, and instead encouraged their repentance and return to sound behaviour and faith. The pious scholars, like the pious of the Muslims before them, busied themselves with God’s words, “Indeed, God orders justice, good conduct, and giving to relatives, and forbids immorality, bad conduct, and oppression” [16:90], and their trust was with his verses, “Whosoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, and whosoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it” [99:7-8].

Allah Takes Care of It All

We have been blessed with a religion so complete that we can always find guidance, and a God so merciful that we are never left forsaken. Many scholars state that one of the reasons our Prophet Muhammad endured so many hardships in life was to provide us with a sound example to guide us in our own tribulations. As followers of the Prophet, we cannot let scandals and acts of oppression cause us to forget the moral standards we strive to live by. We are to remember that our God is merciful, and no injustice goes unpunished, be it in this world or in the next.
When we seek justice, we do so for all creation, but without crossing the lines defined by the religious law. We cannot take matters into our own hands in acts of anarchism. We have no rights over any other person’s property. Slander, back-biting, and vilification are all strictly prohibited by our Lord. If justice escapes us, we should remind ourselves that true justice takes place in the hereafter.
As Muslims, we are ordered to do good, but God continuously encourages and calls us to excellence. In acts of obedience and in acts of wrongdoing, we are reminded by the words of our Prophet, “God the almighty is good and accepts only that which is good”.

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