Striking Necks: It Must Be the Kharijites!

hamza-yusuf.pngTo paraphrase an aphorism coined by a 20th century philosopher, those who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them until they learn them.

The earliest strain of extremism in Islamic history emerged in the late 7th century with the Kharijites, a sect that scholars have said will continue until the end of the Ummah’s time. In other words, as long as there are Muslims, the pathology of extreme sectarianism and anathematization of fellow Muslims will persist in segments of the community.

It is imperative that the Muslim community, especially the youth, be made aware of the dangers inherent in extremism. To do this, we must understand the mentality of extremist sectarianism, its etiology, and its outward signs and symptoms, which will help us to counter it when confronted by it. The most problematic aspect of the Kharijites and their ilk is that they are often cloaked in religiosity and may even exhibit intense devotional practices, especially prayer, Qur’an memorization, and its recitation. This display of puritanical piety often leads many Muslims to deem them rightly guided.

Below is a translation of a narration given by Imam al-Dhahabi, in his magisterial Biographies of Noble Notables (Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’), concerning Wahab b. Munabbih’s insights into the pathology of sectarianism and its degenerative effects if left unchecked.

Wahab b. Munabbih was a Yemeni scholar and transmitter of hadith. He is sometimes described in the biographical literature as a Jewish convert to Islam due to his vast knowledge of the Torah and Talmudic stories, but other scholars mention that he was actually of mixed descent, his father being a Persian aristocrat and his mother a Himyarite Yemeni, though not Jewish. In any case, he was born during the Caliph ‘Uthman’s reign, in year 34 after Hijrah. Wahab b. Munabbih was a student of several notable companions, including Ibn ‘Abbas and Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah, from whom he narrates one of the earliest hadith collections.

The vast majority of hadith scholars considered Wahab b. Munabbih a sound narrator: both imams al-Bukhari and Muslim narrate his transmissions. Imam al-Nasa’i, who has some of the strictest requisites for narrating hadith, considers him absolutely reliable. Ibn Hajar said that Wahab b. Munabbih was “trustworthy” (thiqah). Unfortunately of late, he has come under attack from some modern redactors of Islam because he narrated what are known as Isra’iliyat or Jewish stories, and they accuse him of introducing unsound Jewish traditions into Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir). These attacks are in spite of the Prophet’s permission to “Relate the stories of the people of the Bible, but neither assert nor negate their veracity.” (It is permitted to use our own sources to assert or negate them; scholars negate them if they clearly contradict our sources, especially those narrations that put prophets in a bad light, such as the story of Bathsheba and Uriah with David, or that of Noah and his daughters).

The following story illustrates the dangers of sectarian pathology in the social body of Islam and why it is imperative that scholars and advanced students of knowledge warn simple believers, especially those among the youth who may fall prey to such seductively simplistic yet ultimately destructive distortions of Islam.

Imam al-Dhahabi relates the following in his section on Wahab b. Munabbih in his work, Biographies of Noble Notables (Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’):

Dawud ibn Qays narrates the following story about Wahab b. Munabbih:

I had a friend who was called Abu Shamir Dhu Khawlan. I departed from Sana’a to visit him in his village. As I approached his village, I stumbled upon a letter addressed to Abu Shamir. Upon my arrival, I found him disconsolate and depressed. When I inquired as to why, he explained, “A postman from Sana’a came to deliver a letter from some friends I have there but confessed that he had lost it.”

“No worries, I found it!” I said.

He cried, “Praise be to Allah!” He then opened its seal and read it silently.

“Why don’t you read it to me?” I asked.

He replied, “I consider you a little too young.”

So I asked him, “What is in it?”

He said, “The striking of necks!”

I then said, “Maybe some people from among the Haruris [Kharijites] have written it.” 1

Nonplussed, he asked, “How did you know that?”

“Because my friends and I sit with Wahab b. Munabbih,” I replied, “and he always says to us, ‘Beware all of you young and inexperienced ones from these extremists: don’t you let them pull you into their deviant views. Indeed, they are an evil that has afflicted this Ummah.’”

At this point, Dhu Khawlan tossed the letter to me, and I read the following in it: “Peace be upon you. We praise Allah to you and counsel you to piety. Verily, the religion of Allah is discrimination and guidance. Surely this religion is obedience to Allah and disobedience to whoever disobeys the way of His Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings upon him. When our letter arrives, ponder deeply, in sha Allah, whom you fulfill your zakat obligation through. By doing so, you will earn a close place with Allah and the protection of His allies” [i.e. the Kharijites].

I then said to him, “I prohibit you from associating with them.”

To this, he replied, “Tell me why I should follow your opinion and abandon one from those older than you.”

I then suggested to him, “How about if I take you for an audience with Wahab so that you can hear his counsel?”

He agreed, so we set out for Sana’a, and I took him to Wahab b. Munabbih. At that time, Mas’ud b. ‘Auf was the governor of Yemen appointed by ‘Urwah b. Muhammad. When we arrived, we found a group of people sitting with Wahab. One of them said, “Who is this elder with you?”

I said, “He has a problem that needs addressing.”

The group stood up, and Wahab said, “What is your need, Dhu Khawlan?” 2

On hearing his name [from one he had never met], he was rendered mute from fright. Wahab turned to me and said, “Speak on his behalf.”

I said, “He is a man of Qur’an and virtue, as far as I know, but Allah knows his inner state. He told me that some Kharijites had appealed to him and said that his poor-tax paid to the rulers was invalid because they do not distribute it to its rightful recipients. They said to him it was valid only if paid to them. Given that, I thought it appropriate to bring him to you, O Abu ‘Abd Allah Wahab b. Munabbih, knowing that your words would have more of a healing effect on him than mine.”

At this, Wahab said to Dhu Khawlan,

Is it your wont to become an extremist at this late age of yours, Dhu Khawlan? Do you want to testify that those better than you are astray? Tell me, what will you say to Allah tomorrow when He has you stand on the Day of Judgment with those you have condemned as disbelievers? Allah testifies to their belief, and yet you claim they are disbelievers! Allah declares they are guided, and yet you claim they are astray! Where will you end up if your opinion contradicts Allah’s decree and your testimony belies His testimony? Tell me, Dhu Khawlan, what are these extremists saying to you?

Now able to speak, Dhu Khawlan said to Wahab, “They demand that I give charity only to those who follow their opinion and that I should ask forgiveness for them alone.”

Wahab responded:

Yes, what you say is correct: this is their calamitous, deceitful sedition. As for their claim about charity, it reached me that the Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings upon him, said that a woman from Yemen was punished for locking up a cat [and starving it to death].

Is a human being who is free of idolatry and worships Allah declaring His oneness closer to Allah or is that cat? Isn’t this person who worships Allah free of idolatry more worthy to be relieved of his hunger than that cat? Allah says, “They give food out of love of Allah to the destitute, the orphan, and the prisoner.” As for their saying that none should seek forgiveness for others except for those who are like him, are they better or the angels? About the angels, Allah says, “They ask forgiveness for whoever is in the earth.” By Allah, the angels are doing only what Allah commanded them to do, as He tells us, “They don’t do anything before they hear the word from Allah, and they do what they are told to do.” It has been made clear in the verse, “They ask forgiveness for those who believe.

Dhu Khawlan, I saw the beginning of Islam. By Allah, this group of Kharijites and all others like them did not appear except that Allah scattered them due to the evil of their states. And none of them puts forward their opinions except that eventually Allah destroys him. Had Allah allowed their views to spread and flourish, corruption would fill the earth, and you would see no security on the roads or even for those on the Hajj, and this religion of Islam would become an ignorant and zealous affair (jahiliyyah). And then every group will declare their caliphate, each one fighting the other. Every group of ten thousand will fight all the others, each group accusing the others of disbelief, until the believer is afraid for his life, his religion, his blood, and his wealth and doesn’t know who to be with. Allah says, “Had not some protected others, the whole earth would be corrupt,” and “We will give victory to Our messengers and those who believe.” If they were true believers, they would be given victory, as Allah says, “Our soldiers will have victory.

Dhu Khawlan, does not Noah’s response to the idolaters of his time suffice you in responding to these extreme Muslims today? The idolaters challenged him about the believers following him, saying, “Should we believe like these lowly outcasts believe?” [Noah merely responded, “And what knowledge have I of what they did? Their reckoning is only with Allah, and I am not going to drive away the believers. I am but a plain warner.”] 3

Dhu Khawlan then said, “What do you tell me I should do?”

Wahab replied, “Give your zakat to those who Allah has put over us. Dominion is Allah’s alone. It is in His hand, and He gives it to whomever He pleases. If you give it to whoever is in charge, you are absolved of your obligation. If anything remains, give it to your next of kin, those in your employ, your neighbors, and your guests.”

At this point, Dhu Khawlan declared, “Bear witness all of you that I no longer follow the deviant opinions of the extremists!” 4

It is worth pondering the lesson of this story from the early years of Islamic history, given that history does indeed repeat itself, and once again we are faced with a strain of extremism first embodied by the Kharijites. Wahab b. Munabbih’s remarkable concluding statement should be a reminder to many modern Muslims, especially the extremists, who have lost sight of this truth: “Dominion is Allah’s alone. It is in His Hand, and He gives it to whomever He pleases.

When Muslims prove themselves worthy of being caretakers of power through moral rectitude, Allah will restore once again our glory, but as long as we are in the inglorious condition that we find ourselves in, the destructive and corrupting danger of power is best kept from us. Many of the Prophets in the Qur’an were oppressed, but they were always exemplary in their response to oppression. Imam al-Ghazali, who witnessed the collapse of the Seljuk state and the advent of civil strife during that period after the assassination of Malikshah, knew that states collapse but that the righteous man, if purified and protected, does not collapse. Politics invariably fails us, but piety never fails us. “And whoever is pious, Allah will prepare for him a way out and provide for him from where he least expects.” Imam al-Ghazali then set out to record a roadmap for the traveller who lives in this world of instability and uncertainty. That roadmap is always available – in times of light and in times of darkness. It begins with knowledge and ends with death.

  1. The Haruris were Kharijites from Harura’ near Kufa in Iraq. They are the very first innovators in Islamic tradition, and this was their base. When they opposed Imam ‘Ali, their headquarters was in Harura’, and so they came to be known as Haruriyyah. It is essentially synonymous with Kharijite or extremist. In a sound hadith, ‘A’ishah was asked why women have to make up fasting from menstruation but not prayers. She replied, “Are you a Haruriyyah?” It is interesting to note that upon merely hearing his cryptic phrase “the striking of necks,” Dawud b. Qays suspected that it was from the Kharijites.
  2. Wahab knew the man’s name without previously knowing him or being told his name, which frightened the man leaving him unable to speak. This is known as kashf and can occur among the deeply righteous whereby they know something that is not possible for them to know by ordinary means. Usually the righteous hide this gift, but sometimes it is necessary for them to reveal it, as it can help their words to penetrate the heart of the one they are trying to guide. I have witnessed this many times with my own teachers, so it does not strike me as contrived, which is generally how orientalists, unfamiliar with this phenomenon, view such narrations. Kashf can also occur without the one at whose hands it occurs being aware of it, but the one hearing it will know clearly that Allah inspired that person. This is due to the veil that many of the righteous have concerning their own state with Allah.
  3. Wahab knew this man was a man of Qur’an, so he quoted only the first part of the story. The verses are in the chapter entitled “The Poets.” The disbelievers challenged Noah, peace be upon him, concerning those who followed him, saying they were lowly and insignificant people, so why should they, in their stature, follow along with these lowly ones? Noah’s reply is what Wahab is telling this man to follow – that it is not our business to judge people who follow or claim to follow prophets. Allah will judge them. In judging them ourselves, we will end up driving away true believers, which is exactly what the Kharijites and their ilk among fanatical and sectarian Muslims do to other Muslims: they drive them out of Islam.
  4. Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’, Volume 4, 554-557.

By Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, originally published on Sandala.


Resources for Seekers:

The Rights of Our Hearts


By Abu Aaliyah (Surkheel Sharif), originally published on The Humble “I”

Writing about the marvels of the human heart (‘aja’ib al-qalb), al-Ghazali states: ‘The honour and excellence of man, by which he outstrips all other creatures, is his ability for knowing God, transcendent is He. It is man’s beauty, perfection and glory in this world, and his provision and store in the world to come. He is prepared for [receiving] such knowledge only via his heart, and not by means of any other of his bodily organs. For it is the heart that knows God, works for God, strives towards God, draws near to God and reveals that which is in the presence of God. In contrast, all the other organs are merely followers, servants and instruments that the heart uses and employs … For it is the heart that is accepted by God when it is free from all except Him; it is veiled from God when it is totally absorbed in other than Him … The heart is that which, if a man knows it, he knows himself, and if he knows himself, he knows his Lord. But it is that which, if he knows it not, he knows not himself, and if he knows not himself, he knows not his Lord … So knowledge of the heart and of the true nature of its traits is the root of religion and the foundation of the path of the seekers.’1

Given the above, it is no wonder that the Qur’an says about man’s responsibility to his heart: The day when wealth and sons will benefit not, save he who brings to God a sound heart. [26:88-9] The status and preeminence of the heart (qalb) is also borne out by the following five considerations:

1. The heart is where intentions reside: The Prophet (pbuh) stated: ‘Indeed, actions are by intentions and each person will have that which they intended.’2 Scholars stipulate:al-niyyah mahalluha al-qalb – ‘Intentions reside in the heart.’ Thus, if the intention of the heart is sound, the act will meet with divine acceptance. If, however, it is corrupt or insincere, the act will be rejected by Allah. The eminent scholar and pietist of early Islam, ‘Abd Allah b. al-Mubarak, once remarked: ‘How many a small act is elevated by an intention, and how many a great act is diminished by an intention.’3

2. It is where the Divine Gaze is focussed: God looks at our hearts to see if they have sound intentions and sincerity to Him, and He also looks at our deeds, to see if they conform to the Sunnah of His Prophet (pbuh). A celebrated hadith declares: ‘Indeed, God doesn’t look at your forms or your appearances, but He looks at your hearts and your actions.’4

3. It is where the Qur’an, the Divine Word, is understood: One Quranic verse states:Will they not meditate on the Qur’an, or are there locks upon their hearts? [47:24] Sins and exposing the heart to trials and temptations may seriously diminish the heart’s clarity or understanding. Sufyan al-Thawri said: ‘I was granted understanding of the Qur’an. But when I accepted a gift [from the sultan], it was removed from me.’5

4. It is where piety (taqwa) is located: The Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘Piety is here, piety is here, piety is here’ – pointing to his chest three times.6 The Prophet (pbuh) was once quizzed: Who among people are the best? He replied: ‘Those with a clean heart and a truthful tongue.’ They inquired: We understand what a truthful tongue is, but what is a clean heart? To which he (pbuh) said: ‘It is one that is pious and pure, in which there is neither sin, nor rancour, nor jealousy.’7

5. It is God’s vessel on earth: In one hadith, the Prophet (pbuh) declared: ‘Indeed God has vessels from the people of the earth, and the vessels of your Lord are the hearts of His righteous servants: the most beloved of them to Him are those which are the gentlest and softest.’8 So what we fill these vessels with – faith or disbelief; piety or profanity; submission or transgression; God’s invocation or worldly distractions – is indeed our choice and we alone shall bear the consequence.

A person’s spiritual life seldom unfolds in an orderly fashion, instead it has its ups and its downs. For the spiritual life is subject to the many sensitivities of the heart which, in turn, is subjected to many diverse influences, both negative and positive. The heart, by its nature, is constantly flipped one way, then another, by these influences. In fact, Imam al-Ghazali wrote: The Prophet (pbuh) struck three smilies for the heart: ‘The heart is like a sparrow, turning about every hour.”9 He (pbuh) also said: “The heart’s example in its constant change is like a pot when it boils.”10 And he (pbuh) stated: “The heart is like a feather in an open land, which the wind keeps flipping one way then the other.”11‘12 Such is how the states, moods and sensitivities of the heart change from one moment to the next.

This is why Revelation urges that we each tend to our hearts above all else, and accord them the inalienable rights they were created to have. From the most critical of these rights are:

1. Adorning the heart with faith: A person possesses nothing of greater worth than his heart. And the heart cannot contain anything more cherished by it or more necessary to it than faith (iman); sound beliefs; and internalising the reality and requirements ofla ilaha illa’Llah. For hearts were created to worship and adore Allah, and to be filled with faith. The Prophet (pbuh) would say in one of his du‘as: ‘O Allah! Endear faith to us and beautify it in our hearts, and make unbelief, immorality and disobedience odious to us, and make us of the rightly guided (Allahumma habbib ilayna’l-iman wa zayyinhu fi qulubina wa karrih ilayna’l-kufra wa’l-fusuqa wa’l-‘isyan waj’alna min al-rashidin).’13

2. Illuminating it with the Qur’anO people! There has come to you an exhortation from your Lord, and a healing for what is in the breasts, and a guidance and a mercy for those who believe. [10:57] So the Qur’an declares itself to be a counsel to heal hearts and cure them of doubts, darknesses and anxieties. Its message consoles, reassures and revives hearts mired in desperation, desires and disbelief.

3. Bringing to it tranquility: One hadith informs: ‘Detachment from the world (zuhd) brings relief to the heart and the body, while desire for [worldly] increase brings worry and anxiety.’14 Despite scientific studies revealing, and continued human experience proving, that an increase in material things, above subsistence living, doesn’t increase our overall happiness, we moderns are obsessed with worldly acquisitions. Whether it be living way beyond our means, racking up huge personal debts, pinning our whole sense of self-esteem on wearing the right brand names, anxious about whether or n0t we’re keeping up with the latest trends – all this has pushed us moderns to the mental brink.15 Despite the tech and material comforts that now embrace us, ours is a society ridden with depression, angst and discontent; desperately seeking fulfilment in what can never truly fulfil us: materialism/consumerism. In contrast, the Qur’an offers us this simple truth: Indeed in the remembrance of God do hearts find tranquility. [13:28] In one hadith we are reminded of this timeless insight: ‘Richness lies not in possessing many things, but it lies in contentment of the soul.’16 Simple living, then, lived out in the remembrance of God, is the key to tranquility. Such is the heart’s right.

4. Nurturing in it tenderness and humility: The Prophet would exhort others to bring into their lives those deeds that would have a profound effect on softening hearts and removing hardness from them. One such example is the saying of the Prophet (pbuh): ‘I used to forbid you from visiting graves, but now visit them. For doing so softens the heart, brings tears to the eye and reminds one of the Afterlife.’17 As we saw earlier, tender hearts filled with faith are the hearts most beloved to Allah: ‘Indeed God has vessels from the people of the earth, and the vessels of your Lord are the hearts of His righteous servants: the most beloved of them to Him are those which are the gentlest and softest.’18

5. Guarding it from the poison of sins: Endeavouring to keep our hearts free from sins is the heart’s right over us. For sins stain the heart and poison it. The Qur’an says: By no means! That which they have done has veiled their hearts. [83:14] This veil (rayn) has been explained as: atharu’l-ma‘asi ‘ala’l-qulub – the traces of sins upon the hearts. The following hadith sheds further light on this matter: ‘Temptations will be presented to the heart, just as a reed mat is interwoven strip by strip. Any heart that soaks it in will have a black stain upon it. Any heart that rejects it will have a white mark on it. Thus hearts will be of two types: one white, like a smooth stone, that will not be harmed by temptations as long as heavens and earth endure. The other, black and corroded, like a jug with cracks, neither recognising good nor rejecting wrong; rather being overrun by its desires.’19

6. Keeping it free from diseases: The day when wealth and sons will benefit not, save he who brings to God a sound heart. [26:88-9] Keeping the heart sound entails guarding it against two types of sickness or diseases: the disease of doubts (amrad al-shubuhat) and that of desires (amrad al-shahawat). About the first: That He may make what Satan has caste a trial for those in whose heart is a sickness. [22:53] The second type: Be not soft of speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease aspire to you. [33:32]

7. Praying constantly for the heart’s guidance: This is another essential right (haqq) of our hearts upon us, to pray for its guidance, rectitude and wellbeing, and that it not swerve from faith. This right must never be thought little of, trivialised, or neglected. The Prophet (pbuh) would often supplicate: ‘O Turner of Hearts, turn our hearts to your obedience.’20

O Lord, cause not our hearts to swerve after You have
guided us, and bestow upon us mercy from
Your Presence. Assuredly you
are the Bestower.

1. Al-Ghazali, Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din (Jeddah: Dar al-Minhaj, 2011), 5:9-11.

2. Al-Bukhari, no.1; Muslim, no.1907.

3. Cited in Ibn Rajab, Jami‘ al-‘Ulum wa’l-Hikam (Beirut: Mu’assasah al-Risalah, 1998), 1:71.

4. Muslim, no.2564.

5. See: Ibn Jama‘ah, Tadhkirat al-Sami‘ wa’l-Mutakallim (Hyderabad: Da’irat al-Ma‘arif al-‘Uthmaniyyah, 1933), 19.

6. Muslim, no.2564.

7. Ibn Majah, no.4462. It was graded sahih by al-Albani, al-Targhib wa’l-Tarhib(Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ma‘arif, 2006), no.2889.

8. Al-Tabarani, Musnad al-Shamiyyin, no.840; it is hasan. Consult: al-Albani, Silsilat al-Ahadith al-Sahihah (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ma‘arif, 1988), no.1691.

9. Al-Bayhaqi, Shu‘ab al-Iman, no.740; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, 4:329 where he stated: ‘It is sahih according to the conditions of Muslim.’

10. Al-Tabarani, Mu‘jam al-Kabir, 20:252, but with the following wording: ‘The heart of the son of Adam stirs far more intensely than a pot that has reached boiling point.’ It is sahih, as per al-Albani, Silsilat al-Ahadith al-Sahihah, no.1772.

11. Al-Bayhaqi, Shu‘ab al-Iman, nos.736-38; al-Baghawi, Sharh al-Sunnah, no.88. One of its chains is graded hasan in al-‘Iraqi, al-Mughni ani’l-Haml al-Asfar (Riyadh: Maktabah Tabariyyah, 1995), no.2676.

12. Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din, 5:161.

13. Al-Nasa’i, Sunan al-Kubra, no.10370, and it is sahih. See: al-Albani, Sahih al-Adab al-Mufrad (Saudi Arabia: Dar al-Saiddiq, 1994), no.538. This du‘a echoes the Qur’an when it says: But Allah has endeared faith to you, beautifying it in your hearts, making unbelief, immorality and disobedience odious to you. Such are they who are rightly guided. [49:7]

14. Al-‘Uqayli, al-Du‘afa, no459; al-Tabarani, al-Awsat, no.6256. Examining its various routes of transmission and supporting chains, al-Albani declared the hadith as weak (da‘if). Instead he considered it to be the statement of one of the people of knowledge of the past. Consult: Silsilat al-Ahadith al-Da‘ifah (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ma‘arif, 1988), no.1291. The hadith does, nonetheless, state a general spiritual truth about the human situation.

15. See: Layard, Happiness: Lessons from a New Science (England: Penguin Books, 2004), p.4.

16. Al-Bukhari, no.446; Muslim, no.1051.

17. Abu Ya‘la, Musnad, no.3705. The hadith is sahih, as per al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami‘ al-Saghir (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1986), no.4584.

18. See footnote no.8 above.

19. Muslim, no.144.

20. Muslim, no.2654.


About the author: Abu Aaliyah (Surkheel Sharif) is a scholar of the Hanbali school of thought and a translator of a number of titles, including, The Exquisite Pearl (2000). He is the author of More Fish Please & the Earth’s Complaint (2011) and Fussing Over the 15th of Sha’ban & the Golden Rule of Differing (2011). Based in East London, United Kingdom, Abu Aaliyah is a regular khateeb and plays a pastoral role in his local community.

Arabic, an asset or liability in schools?

America - Speak EnglishThis week, an American school’s foreign language department arranged for the US Pledge of Allegiance to be read in a different language each day for a week. The day it was Arabic’s turn, things didn’t go down very well. The school district superintendant, Joan Carbone, told the Times Herald-Record newspaper that the Arabic pledge had “divided the school in half” and that she had received numerous complaints.

A statement from the local district apologised “to any students, staff or community members who found this activity disrespectful” and said the reading was intended to “promote the fact that those who speak a language other than English still pledge to salute this great country”.

The Council of American-Islamic Relations  (CAIR), said: “The meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance is the same regardless of the language in which it’s recited. When a simple student activity designed to promote mutual understanding receives such a negative reaction and the school in which it takes place is forced to issue a public apology, all Americans who value our nation’s history of religious and ethnic diversity should be concerned. One has to wonder if such an intolerant response would have resulted from reading the pledge in a language other than Arabic.”

Also in response, the British Council opined that Arabic should not only be celebrated in public schools, but systematically taught as part of the curriculum: “A study of Arabic opens up endless possibilities and opportunities for those who embark upon it. A rich and sophisticated language, spoken in many varieties throughout the Middle East and North Africa, it is both challenging and rewarding to learn. A knowledge of Arabic is instrumental to gaining a real understanding of the peoples, societies and politics of the Arab world, and accessing a range of employment opportunities in the region’s finance, media and commercial sectors. As its social, political and commercial importance increases, demand to learn Arabic is set to grow.

“Knowledge of Arabic among young people in the UK also brings wider benefits, including a deeper mutual understanding between our communities and the chance to restore much of the trust that has been erased over the last decades as a result of political circumstance and military interventionism. Those who learn Arabic will move beyond the shallow media stereotypes to a fuller, more authentic awareness of the Arab world.”


Resources for seekers:

Arabic is Easy for the Brain – Shaykh Riyad Nadwi
Hans Wehr and the Arabic Language
Seeking Arabic from Auckland to Amman

Relationships are Connections of the Heart Supported by Reason

faraz rabbaniAs a collaboration between the SeekersHub Toronto, the Muslim Chaplaincy at U of T and the U of T MSA, the Muslim Chaplaincy at U of T offered a course during the Fall of 2014 called Living Light with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. The sessions I attended were excellent, and left us with much to think about afterwards. Below, notes from one of the sessions.

  • Have a daily point of connection to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him
  • The sunna is not just general principles, but practical specifics
  • The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him would keep in touch with people for decades afterward
  • Part of goodness to parents is goodness to the friends of one’s parents. To be respectful to their friends.
  • Have loyalty in relationships
  • We often like to study intellectual things but most important knowledge is that that transforms how we worship and how we are with Allah’s creation. We must constantly ask: what is the right action entailed by the right intention and attitude?
  • Sometimes to determine this we need to momentarily disengage. When Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him asked the Companions to come out of ihram and they didn’t respond, there is a methodology we can learn in his response.
    • a) Disengage (went inside his tent)
    • b) Consult when unclear. Sometimes expressing your problem helps to view it correctly  (Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him consulted his wife)
    • c) Only respond when sure. Don’t say or do anything hastily. Say the good or be silent.
  • Good character is manifest when tested
  • With couples/any relationship – tell yourself, i don’t want to respond to how I feel and what he/she saying, I want to respond in way pleasing to Allah
  • Attitude and then action. Look at your spouse with mercy and love.
  • Opposite of love is not hatred, it’s indifference. If motive is to look with mercy, you are seeking the good.
  • Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, did not deal with people on the basis of what they said or did, dealt with people on the basis of heart. What is their underlying concerns.
  • Have an eye of love and mercy. Have a good opinion of your spouse.
  • Relations are a matter of the heart (emotions), they aren’t rational.
  • Relationships are connections of the heart, supported by reason.
  • Deal with people on the basis of good chraracter.
  • The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, gave us numerous examples – need to renew our connection to him, peace and blessings be upon him.

By Shagufta Pasta,
originally published on her blog, Immersing in the Sea

Mockery by Imam Zaid Shakir

A special thank you to New Islamic Directions for this insightful article.
The original article can be viewed here
[What is Mockery?]
Mockery: Behavior or speech that makes fun of someone or something in a hurtful way.
Mockery of entire groups has effectively been criminalized in Western societies.
One would think thrice before publicly mocking Jews, African Americans, homosexuals or many other groups.
Yet when it comes to Muslims, all bets, and societal protections are off. To quote Yeats, “we traffic in mockery.”
From his moving poem, “Nineteen Hundred Nineteen”:
“Come let us mock at the great
That had such burdens on the mind
And toiled so hard and late
To leave some monument behind,
Nor thought of the levelling wind.
“Come let us mock at the wise;
With all those calendars whereon
They fixed old aching eyes,
They never saw how seasons run,
And now but gape at the sun.
“Come let us mock at the good
That fancied goodness might be gay,
And sick of solitude
Might proclaim a holiday: Wind shrieked—and where are they?
“Mock mockers after that
That would not lift a hand maybe
To help good, wise or great
To bar that foul storm out, for we Traffic in mockery.”
Yes, when it comes to Islam, we traffic in mockery.
Yet, who can blame the mockers, when business is so good, and it is so easy to advertise the product.
[Who Cares?]
Who cares that Muhammad (peace upon him) was the founder of a great world religion that has fostered spiritual, intellectual and cultural beauty.
Mock the great.
Who cares to even search for the historical relevance of Al-Ghazali, Razi, Ibn Rushd or Ibn Sina.
Mock the wise.
Who cares that Islam provides millions of people the internal fortitude to bury their murdered children, rebuild their bombed neighborhoods, plow their parched fields and still smile and greet a stranger with warmth and kindness.
Mock the good.
[Mock the Muslims]
Go on and mock the Muslims, have a good go at it. Yet, you should know, the fruit of mockery is bitter and the seeds it carries only give birth to evil, an evil that oozes from the stinking corpse of dead heroism, rotten culture and brutish insensitivity to the pain and hardship one afflicts on others.
This is the message Yeats is sending to us. It is a lesson we ignore at our peril.
In the last section of the poem he reminds us:
“Violence upon the roads: violence of horses;
Some few have handsome riders, are garlanded
On delicate sensitive ear or tossing mane,
But wearied running round and round in their courses
All break and vanish, and evil gathers head: …”

Relevant Resources:

Scorning the Prophet goes beyond free speech – it’s an act of violence – Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

Letter to the West: we just have to learn to live together – Habib Ali al-Jifri


Prohibitions of the Tongue


The Hand of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) by Mostafa al Badawi

'And verily, You (O Muhammad) are on an exalted (standard of) character'. Holy Qur'an. Chapter 68, aayah No 4.Click here for the original post.
The impulse for writing this article came from a conversation with a colleague who told me that while sitting with other colleagues, he had heard one of them repeat the statement that the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, was an ordinary human being like the rest of us, except that Allah had given him the Qur’an.
My friend knew very well that this kind of statement had been deliberately circulated among Muslims to detach them from their Prophet, thus cutting them off from the mercy of Allah that descends upon them through their love for him and close adherence to his teachings.
This is part of an overall plan to destroy Islam from within, a plan that, we regret to say, is carried out by ignorant Muslims, misled by crude suggestions of the Devil that to love the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and revere him is to worship him beside Allah. My friend told me he became quite angry and challenged our colleagues to take anything of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) at random and compare it with themselves. He found himself saying, “Take his hand for instance!” Then he started discoursing about the special distinctions of the Prophet’s hand, talking for about twenty minutes, all the time aware that he had never spoken like that before. His colleagues listened silently, then when he was finished, begged him to carry on. These were educated people who already had much of this knowledge in their minds, but who had been too busy with worldly things to assemble and envisage their knowledge from that angle before, or to make the necessary effort in understanding how and why they had previously been misinformed.

It is for people like these, people whose hearts contain much love for Allah and His Prophet (Peace be upon him) and who are honest enough to recognize the truth when they see it, that this article is written. My hope is that it will encourage them to find out more about their leader, teacher, good example, and intercessor. It is certainly not written for the narrow minded followers of the believers in a limited God, a God which they situate in space, located exclusively above the Throne.
For such people, the absolute difference between Creator and created is blurred, for they mentally impose limits upon that which is beyond limits. This puts them in the false position of having to belittle the Best of Creation in order to keep Allah in His place as God.
We, the vast majority of Muslims, the Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a, know that it is impossible for a Muslim to confuse the Creator with the created, however great the latter may be. We are therefore quite comfortable in our love for the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and our extreme respect and veneration for him.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) himself has repeatedly said that those who do not love him more than their fathers, mothers, children, wealth, and their own selves, their faith is defective and their works in danger of being rejected by Allah.[1]
It is deceitful to claim to love the Prophet (Peace be upon him) but seek to deprive him of the sublime attributes that Allah bestowed upon him, prior to making him the Master of all Creation.
It is to be hoped that those who read this article will be spurred on to increase and complete their knowledge of our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) from the sources, for such knowledge is an obligation upon each Muslim capable of acquiring it.
To begin, Allah, Exalted is He, says: “Those who swear allegiance to you are but swearing allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands.” [48:10]
Were those who insist on accepting nothing but the literal meaning of the Qur’an and refuse all figurative interpretation to take this verse at face value, it would have to mean that the hand that gave allegiance to the Companions was that of Allah not that of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. Those endowed with reason, however, will readily understand that because the Prophet (Peace be upon him) is Allah’s representative on earth, swearing allegiance to him is in reality swearing allegiance to Allah, and the Prophet’s hand represents Allah’s Hand, just as the Black Stone represents it, but, in the Prophet’s case, eminently more deservedly.
The result of taking the Prophet’s hand and swearing allegiance to him­for they swore it to him­was that Allah was satisfied with them: “Allah was satisfied with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree.” [48:18]
Allah’s satisfaction is in seeing that His slaves are obeying His injunctions, avoiding what He has forbidden them, and being satisfied with His decrees. This was the state of the Companions surrounding the Prophet (Peace be upon him)under the tree in Hudaybiya. Their satisfaction with Allah’s decisions, their extinction of their individual wills in the Divine will made them as Allah says: “Allah was satisfied with them and they were satisfied with Him.” [58:22] It was to the Prophet’s everlasting honour and glory that his hand represented Allah’s on this and all other such occasions.
Another such occasion was recounted by Abdal-Rahman ibn ‘Awf, “We were at the Messenger of Allah’s; nine, eight, or seven of us. He said, ‘Will you not swear allegiance?’ We had sworn allegiance only recently, so we said, ‘We have sworn allegiance to you, O Messenger of Allah!’ He said, ‘Will you not swear allegiance to the Messenger of Allah?’ So we extended our hands saying, ‘To what shall we swear allegiance to you?’ He said, ‘To worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, perform the five prayers, obey,’ then he said something we did not hear, then continued, ‘and ask nothing of others!’ [2]
Physically, the hands of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessing and peace be upon him, were as beautiful and pleasing to gaze upon as everything else about him. They were white and fleshy, with slightly tapering fingers. His boy-servant, Anas ibn Malik, said on more than one occasion, “I have never touched any silk or brocade that is softer than the palm of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, nor have I ever smelled musk or scent more fragrant than the fragrance of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him.”[3]
Wa’il ibn Hajar said, “Whenever I shook hands with the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, or my skin touched his skin, I smelled the scent of musk on my hand for three days.” [4]
Another Companion, ‘Umayra daughter of Sahl, also a child at the time, recounted how her father once took her to the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, asking him to touch her head and pray for both of them for baraka, since she was his only child. “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, placed his hands on my head. I swear by Allah that I could feel the coolness of the hand of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, in my liver!” [5]
Jabir ibn Samura said, “I prayed with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, the first prayer, then he went out and I went out with him. He was met by some children and rubbed their cheeks one by one. As for myself, he rubbed my cheek and I found that his hand was cool and fragrant, as if he had just taken it out of a perfume vendor’s bag.”[6]
The Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, used his right hand for his ritual purification, food, and beverage, and his left hand for less clean things.[7] “He never touched the hand of a woman,” said the lady ‘A’isha, “when he accepted their allegiance, he accepted it verbally.”[8]
In these hands of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, were placed the keys of the treasuries of the earth. Abû Hurayra said that he had heard the Messenger of Allah say, “I was sent with comprehensive speech,[9] I was supported with terror,[10] and, while I was asleep, I was brought the keys to the treasuries of the earth and they were placed in my hand.”[11]
Having given him the keys, Allah left it to him to divide things among the people as he pleased. This is why he said, “Allah gives and I am the Divider!”[12]
Allah had said to Sulayman, may peace be upon him: “This is Our gift, so bestow or withhold without reckoning!” [38:39] And if Sulayman had freedom to give or withhold at will, then how much more freedom did the Master of all Prophets have?
Muhammad-Calligraphy-paper.pngThe baraka of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, radiated powerfully from his hand, so that when he placed it on the sick and the injured they were cured, when he touched food it increased manifold, when he placed it on someone’s chest he removed doubts and disbelief, when he gave his Companions dry, wooden sticks they turned into swords, when he threw gravel or dust at the face of the enemy, it separated into guided missiles striking their targets in the eyes.
When Qatada ibn al-Nu’man was wounded in the eye by an arrow on the day of Uhud, his eyeball was dislodged and hung on his cheek. His companions wanted to cut it off, but decided to consult the Prophet (Peace be upon him) first. He said, “No!” then ordered Qatada brought to him, pushed his eyeball back into place with his hand, blowing some of his spittle on it then said, “O Allah, give him beauty!” It became Qatada’s best eye and when the other eye suffered from infection, that one never did.[13]
Abayd ibn Hammal suffered from an illness that ate at his face. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) passed his hand over his face and it disappeared without leaving a trace.[14]
Shurahbil al-Ju’fi said, “I came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, with a swelling on my palm and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! This swelling has tormented me and it prevents me form holding my sword or the reins of my mount!’ He blew on my palm, then put his palm on the swelling and went on grinding it until it disappeared.”[15]
‘Abdallah ibn ‘Atik went to Khaybar to kill the infamous Jew, Abu Rafi’, in the latter’s house. As he was leaving the house he fell and broke his ankle. He bandaged it and hobbled to his companions, then they rode back together to Madina. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “Stretch your leg!” He passed his hand over the broken bones and they mended there and then. [16]
‘Ali ibn al-Hakam jumped his horse over a ditch during an expedition with the Prophet. The horse failed to cross the trench and ‘Alî’s leg was crushed between the horse and the side of the trench. He went to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) who said, “In the Name of Allah!” and passed his hand over it, curing it.[17]
‘Abdallah ibn Rawaha went to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) saying, “O Messenger of Allah, I suffer from a molar tooth that pains me greatly!” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) put his hand on his cheek saying, “O Allah, remove from him the pain he suffers and the distress, by the prayer of Your Blessed Prophet, whose rank is high with You!” He repeated this prayer seven times. Ibn Rawaha left the Prophet’s presence completely cured.[18]
Asma’, daughter of Abu Bakr, complained one day that her head and face were swollen. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) put his hand on her head then her face, above her veil, repeating three times, “In the Name of Allah! Remove from her the pain she suffers and the distress, by the prayer of Your Blessed Prophet,[19] whose rank is high with You!” The swelling subsided.[20]
‘Amr ibn Hurayth said, “My mother took me to the Messenger of Allah, he passed his hand over my head and prayed for me to remain [well] provisioned.”[21]
‘Amr ibn Tha’laba said, “I met the Messenger of Allah at Sala and became a Muslim. He passed his hand over my head.” Ibn Tha’laba lived to be a hundred years old but the place that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had touched never turned grey.[22]
Al-Sa’ib ibn Yazid was asked by his servant, ‘Ata, why his beard and part of his head were white. The latter replied, “Shall I tell you my son?” “Indeed!” he replied. “I was playing with other boys,” he said, “When the Messenger of Allah passed by. I walked up to him and greeted him, he returned my salam then said, ‘Who are you?’ I said, ‘I am al-Sa’ib ibn Yazid, son of al-Nimr ibn Qasit’s sister.’ The Messenger of Allah passed his hand over my head saying, ‘May Allah bless you!’ By Allah! It will never go white and will remain like this perpetually!” [23]
Muhammad ibn Fudala al-Zafari said, “The Messenger of Allah came when I was two weeks old. I was brought to him, he passed his hand over my head saying, ‘Call him by my name, but do not call him by my kunya!’[24] I was taken along to perform the Farewell Pilgrimage with him when I was ten years old.” Muhammad ibn Fudala’s life was long, his hair turned white, but not where the hand of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had touched it.[25]
Malik ibn ‘Umayr was present at the conquest of Macca, then at the campaigns of Hunayn and Ta’if. He was a poet. He asked the Messenger of Allah about poetry and was told, “For you to be filled with pus from your throat to your pubis is better than to be filled by poetry!” He said, “O Messenger of Allah, pass your hand over my head!” He did and Malik never said a verse after this. He lived long, his head and beard turned white, except the place touched by the Prophet. [26]
Bashir ibn ‘Aqraba al-Juhani said, “‘Aqraba went to the Messenger of Allah, may God’s blessings and peace be upon him, who said, ‘Who is this with you O ‘Aqraba?’ ‘My son Bahir,’ he replied. He said, ‘Come nearer!’ I did and sat on his right. He passed his hand over my head. ‘What is your name?’ he asked. ‘Bahir O Messenger of Allah,’ I replied. He said, ‘No, but your name is Bashir!’ My tongue was tied, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) blew into my mouth and it was undone. All my hair turned white except where he had put his hand, this part remained black.”[27]
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) also passed his hand over ‘Ubada ibn Sa’d al-Zurqi’s head and prayed for him. He lived to be eighty, but his hair remained black.[28]
Abu Zayd al-Ansarî said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, passed his hand over my head, saying, ‘O Allah, make him fair looking and preserve the fairness!’” He lived until he was well over a hundred years old without any grey hairs appearing in his beard. His face remained smooth until he died.[29]
Al-Wazi’ took a son of his who had become mad to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) who passed his hand over his face and prayed for him. Thereafter none was more rational than he.[30]
Jabir ibn ‘Abdallah said, “The Messenger of Allah, may blessings and peace be upon him, visited me in Bani Salima and found me semi conscious. He asked for water, made his wudu’ then sprinkled some of the water over me and I came to.”[31]
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to pat children on the head, pray for them, joke with them, and sometimes wind a turban round their heads.
‘Abdallah ibn Bisr said, “My mother sent me to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) with a bunch of grapes. I ate some of them before reaching him. He passed his hand over my head saying, ‘Traitor!’”[32] Later on Ibn Bisr used to show them a mark on his forelocks, saying, “This is where the Messenger of Allah put his hand when he said, ‘He will reach the century!”[33]
Hanzala ibn Juzaym al-Tamimi was brought to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) by his father. The latter said, “O Messenger of Allah, I have sons with beards, this is the youngest, pray Allah for him!” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) passed his hand over his head, then said, “May Allah bless you!” Thereafter whenever a sick man with a swollen face or an animal with a swollen udder were brought to Hanzala, he blew in his hands, saying, “In the Name of Allah!” then placed his hand on his own head where the Prophet’s palm had touched it,saying, ” Where the hand of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, was placed,” then rubbed the swelling and cured it.[34]
As for Abu Mahdhura, he had allowed his forelock to grow so long that when he sat down it reached the ground. When they asked him, “Will you not cut it?” He replied, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, passed his hand over it, I am not one to cut it till I die!”[35]
‘Abdallah ibn Hilal al-Ansari said, “My father took me to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, saying, ‘O Messenger of Allah, pray Allah for him!’ I have not forgotten, the Messenger of Allah placed his hand over my head until I felt its coolness, then he prayed for me and blessed me!” ‘Abdallah lived long, both his head and his beard turned white, he could hardly comb them because of his age, yet he still fasted by day and prayed all night. [36]
Abu Attiya al-Bakri was taken by his parents to the Prophet. He was a young man at the time. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) passed his hand over his head. When he was a hundred years old his head and beard were still black.[37]
Al-’A’idh ibn ‘Amr al-Muzni said, “An arrow struck my face as I was fighting before the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, on the day of Hunayn. Blood flowed over my face, beard, and chest. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) wiped off the blood from my face and chest down to my breast with his hand and prayed for me.” When ‘A’idh died, those who had heard this from him looked at his chest and found the trace of the Prophet’s hand on it. They likened it to the white blaze on a horse’s forehead.[38]
‘A’idh’s wife also said that he had once gone to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to ask him to pass his hand over his face and pray for him for baraka. She added that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) did and since then she saw her husband wake up from sleep [fresh] as if he had rubbed his face with oil. She also remarked that he needed no more than a few dates to sustain him.[39]
Abul ‘Ala’ ibn ‘Umayr said, “I was visiting Qatada ibn Milhan when he was ill. A man passed by the far end of the house and I saw him reflected in Qatada’s face [so shiny it was], for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, had passed his hand over his face. Whenever I saw him it was as if he had rubbed his face with oil.”[40]
574654_538393626188057_692307701_nUsayd ibn Abi Unas was one of those whose life the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had declared could be taken with impunity, after the conquest of Macca, when he had accorded immunity to all the Maccans. Usayd came to the Prophet, asking whether he would accept Usayd should he come to him as a Muslim? The Prophet (Peace be upon him) having answered affirmatively, Usayd took his hand saying, “This is my hand in yours, I testify that you are the Messenger of Allah, and I testify that there is no God other than Allah!” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) immediately ordered a crier to announce that Usayd had accepted Islam and was henceforth immune. Then he passed his hand over his face, then placed it on his chest. From then on, whenever Usayd entered a dark house the light radiating from him illuminated it.[41]
‘Utba ibn Farqad had four wives who competed with each other, each seeking to smell better than her companions. One of them said that ‘Utba always smelled better than they, even though he never used perfume. Furthermore, people always remarked on his fragrance, so much so that his wives asked him how this had come to be. He replied, “I suffered from an ailment in the days of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. I complained to him about it. He told me to remove my clothes, which I did, sitting before him with my clothes covering my private parts. He blew into his hand then placed it on my back and belly. This fragrance has been there since.”[42]
Two tribesmen brought their sons to the Prophet, asking him to bless them by passing his hand over their faces, which he did. The white mark where he had touched them remained on their faces till the end of their lives.[43]
The mosque of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in Madina had been built with palm trunks. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to stand before or lean on one particular trunk when delivering the Friday sermon. When they made the pulpit for him and he climbed on it, the palm trunk whimpered like a pregnant she-camel. All the Companions in the mosque heard it. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) came down from the pulpit and placed his hand on it, or as related in another version, put his arms around it and it calmed down and stopped crying.[44]
Many years earlier, when the elders of Quraysh realized that they were reaching the limits of what was possible to prevent the Prophet (Peace be upon him) from conveying his Lord’s message, they sat in council and Satan himself joined them in the form of an old Najdi man. Each suggestion they put forward he rejected, until Abu Jahl suggested that if they wanted to murder Muhammad, but were worried about the revenge sure to be exacted by his clan and their allies, then they should choose forty men, one from each clan, to attack him as one man, so that his clan and their allies would find it impossible to exact revenge from all of them and their allies banded together. This proposition was strongly supported by Satan and adopted unanimously by the elders.
Gabriel came to the Prophet, saying, “Sleep not tonight in the bed in which you usually sleep!”
When the night grew dark the assassins gathered before his house, waiting for the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to sleep so that they could rush him. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) saw them and said to ‘Ali, “Sleep on my bed and cover yourself with this, my green Hadrami cloak. Sleep in it, nothing unpleasant will reach you from them!” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) gave ‘Ali the cloak he usually wrapped himself in when he slept.
At the door Abu Jahl was saying, “Muhammad claims that if you follow him you will become the kings of both Arabs and non-Arabs, then you will be resurrected after you die, and gardens will be yours like the gardens of Jordan. But if you do not, he will [one day] cut your throats, then you will be resurrected after your death, then yours will be a fire in which you will burn!” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) came out, took a handful of dust in his blessed hand and said, “Yes I say this! You are one of them!” Allah took away their eyesight so they did not see him. He sprinkled dust over their heads reciting these verses from sura Ya-Sin: “Ya-Sin, and the Wise Qur’an, you are truly one of the Messengers, on a straight path, a sending down from the August, the Wise…” till “…and We have covered them so that they do not see.” [36:9] By the time the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had recited these verses, every one of them had dust upon his head, then he departed. A man arrived and seeing them standing there asked, “What are you waiting here for?” “Muhammad!” they replied. “May Allah make you fail! By Allah, Muhammad has gone out and he left no man among you but he put dust on his head, then he walked away to his purpose, can you not see what has happened to you?” Each of them put his hand on his head only to find it covered with dust.[45]
As for the effects of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) placing his noble hand on someone’s chest, many traditions describe them.
‘Ali, may Allah ennoble his countenance, said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, sent me to Yemen. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, you send me, while I am still young, to judge amongst them, and I know not how to judge!’ He struck my chest with his hand saying, ‘O Allah! Guide his heart and strengthen his tongue!’ By He Who split the grain! Thereafter I never doubted how to judge between two people!”[46]
Abu Hurayra said, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I often hear you speak but I forget!’ He said, ‘Spread out your garment!’ I spread it out, he [made as if he] scooped [something] with his hand and poured it in it, then he said, ‘fold it up!’ I did and thereafter forgot nothing he ever said.”[47]
‘Uthman ibn Abul-’As said, “I used to forget the Qur’an, so I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I forget the Qur’an!’ He struck my chest [with his hand] then said, ‘Come out O Shaytan from the chest of ‘Uthman!’ Following that I never forgot anything I wished to remember!”
‘Uthman son of Abul-’As also said, “The Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, told me to lead my people in prayer. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I find in myself something!’ [meaning there were things in his heart which prevented him from doing so] He said, ‘Come near!’ He made me sit before him, placed his hand on my chest, then said, ‘Turn around!’ then he placed it on my back between my two shoulders, then he said, ‘Lead your people in prayer! He who leads people in prayer should lighten [the prayer] for among them will be the elderly, the sick, the weak, and he who has something to attend to. But it one of you is praying alone, let him pray as he wishes.’”[48]
After the conquest of Macca, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was circumambulating the house when Fudala ibn ‘Umayr decided to kill him. He drew near to him. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “Fudala?” He replied, “Yes! Fudala, O Messenger of Allah!” He said, “What were you saying to yourself?” “Nothing!” He said, “I was invoking Allah!” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) laughed then said, “Ask Allah for forgiveness!” Then he placed his hand on his chest and there was peace in his heart. Fudala used to say later on, “By Allah! By the time he took his hand off my chest, none of Allah’s creation was dearer to me than him! As I was returning to my family I passed by a woman I used to converse[49] with, she said, “Come over!” I said, “No, Allah will not allow it, nor Islam!”[50]
During the battle of Hunayn two further incidents happened. ‘Uthman ibn Shayba, whose father, uncle, and cousin had been killed in Badr, recounted the first of these thus: “When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, was in Hunayn, I remembered my father and my uncle, and how ‘Alî and Hamza had killed them, and I thought, ‘Today I will avenge myself from Muhammad!’ I approached him from behind till all that remained for me to do was to strike him with the sword, when a flash of fire shot like lighting between me and him, I stepped back, he turned around saying, ‘O ‘Uthmân, come nearer!’ Then he placed his hand on my chest, Allah removed the devil from my heart, I looked up at him and he was dearer to me than my hearing and eyesight!”[51]
Shayba ibn ‘Uthman al-Hajbi recounted the second incident thus: “I went out with the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, on the day of Hunayn. By Allah! I had not gone out for Islam, but to prevent Hawâzin from gaining the upper hand on Quraysh! By Allah! As I was standing with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, I said, ‘O Prophet (Peace be upon him) of Allah, I see piebald horses!’ He said, ‘O Shayba, only a disbeliever can see them!’ Then he struck my chest with his hand saying, ‘O Allah, guide Shayba!’ This he repeated twice more. No sooner had he taken his hand off my chest the third time that none in Allah’s creation was dearer to me than him!”[52]
Jabir ibn ‘Abdallâh said, “As the trench was being dug I noticed that the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, suffered from severe hunger. I returned to my wife saying, ‘Do you have anything, for I have noticed that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, suffers severe hunger.’ She brought out a bag with some barley in it and we had a small sheep in the house. We slaughtered the animal and ground the barley, then I returned to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, and spoke to him secretly, ‘O Messenger of Allah, we have slaughtered an animal we had and have ground a measure of barley. Please come with a few people!’ The Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, raised his voice saying, ‘O People of the Trench! Jabir has prepared some food, you are all welcome!’ Then he said, ‘Do not take the pot off the fire and do not bake your dough until I come!’ When he arrived he proceeded to break the bread, and put the meat on it. He took some food out of the pot and served his Companions, keeping both the pot and the oven covered. He went on breaking the bread, putting the meat on top of it and serving his Companions until they were all satiated, then he said, ‘Eat and give to other people for they have suffered hunger!’”[53]
Wathila ibn al-Asqa’ said that he had been one of Ahl al-Suffa. They were hungry and delegated him to go to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and inform him about it. This he did and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) turned to ‘A’isha, “Do you have anything?” he asked. She replied, “O Messenger of Allah, I have nothing but a few crumbs of bread.” “Bring them!” he said. He emptied the crumbs into a plate and went on arranging them with his hand while they increased until the plate was full. “O Wathila!” he said, “Go and fetch ten of my Companions, you being the tenth!” Wathila called his companions. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “Sit and eat in the Name of Allah. Take from the edges and do not take from the top, for baraka descends on the top!” They ate to satiety, then rose leaving the plate as full as when they sat down. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) kept on handling the food then said, “O Wâthila, go and fetch another ten of your companions!” After these ten ate to satiety the whole sequence was repeated once more, after which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked, “Anyone left?” “Yes, ten more,” replied Wathila. “Go fetch them!” he said. When these were finished, the plate was still as full as at the beginning, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “O Wathila, take this to ‘A’isha!”[54]
Abu Talha said, “I once entered the mosque and recognized hunger in the face of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. I left and went to Umm Salim, Anas ibn Mâlik’s mother, and said, ‘O Umm Salim, I have recognized hunger in the face of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. Do you have anything?’ ‘I have something,’ she said, showing her palm [meaning that it was only a little]. ‘Prepare it and do it well!’ I said. Then I sent Anas to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, saying, ‘Speak secretly into his ear and invite him!’ As soon as Anas arrived the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, said, ‘My son, your father has sent you to invite us!’ Then he said to his Companions, ‘Come in the Name of Allah!’ Anas hastened back to Abû Talha saying, ‘Here comes the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, with the people!’ I came out and met the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, at the door, on the landing, and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what have you done to us? It is but that I recognized hunger in your face so we prepared something for you to eat!’ He said, ‘Go in and be of good cheer!’ The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, took whatever was there, he gathered it in the plate with his hand, arranged it, then asked, ‘Is there any?’ meaning fat. We brought him our container, where there may or may not have been something, [meaning that even if there had been something in it, it was insignificant] the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, squeezed it with his hand then poured fat from it saying, ‘Send in ten after ten!’ They all ate to satiety, then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, said about what remained, ‘Eat together with your children!’ So we ate and were satiated.’”[55]
Safiyya, the Prophet’s wife, said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, came one day and asked, ‘O Daughter of Huyay, do you have anything, for I am hungry.’ I said, ‘No by Allah, O Messenger of Allah, save two measures of flour.’ ‘Cook it!’ he said. I put it in the pot, cooked it, then said, ‘It is cooked O Messenger of Allah!’ He said, ‘Do you know if there is anything in the fat container of the daughter of Abû bakr?’ I said, ‘I know not O Messenger of Allah!’ He went himself to her house and said, ‘Anything in your fat container O daughter of Abu Bakr?’ ‘Nothing but a little,’ she said. He brought it back, squeezed it into the pot until I saw something coming out. He put his hand [on it] saying, ‘In the Name of Allah, invite your sisters for I know they feel as I do!’ I invited them and we ate until satiated. Then Abu Bakr came and entered, then ‘Umar came and entered, then a man came. They all ate to satiety and some still remained.”[56]
Abu Hurayra said, “One night I missed supper with the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, and also missed being invited by one of our companions. I prayed ‘Isha’ then tried to sleep but could not. Then I tried to pray, but could not. There was a man standing near the apartment of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. I walked up to him and it was the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, praying. He prayed, then, leaning against the palm trunk he had been praying toward, said, ‘Who is this? Abu Hurayra?’ I said, ‘Yes!’ He said, ‘You missed supper with us tonight?’ I said, ‘Yes!’ He said, ‘Go to the house and say: Bring the food you have!’ [I did and] they gave me a plate in which was a paste made with dates. I took it to the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, and placed it before him. He said, ‘Call those in the mosque!’ I said to myself, ‘Woe to me, for I can see the food is so little, and woe to me from disobedience!’ I came to men asleep and awakened them saying, ‘Respond!’ and I came to men praying and said, ‘Respond!’ until they all gathered near the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. He thrust his fingers into it and pressed around the edge, then said, ‘Eat in the Name of Allah!’ They ate to satiety and I ate to satiety. Then he said, ‘Take it Abu Hurayra and return it to the family of Muhammad, for there is no food with the family of Muhammad that one possessed of a liver [meaning a living being] can eat but this. It was offered to us by one of the Helpers.’ I took the plate and lifted it up, and it was as it had been when I had placed it there, except for the marks of the fingers of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him.”[57]
Ziyad ibn al-Harith recounted how, as they were travelling with the Prophet, morning found them without water. “Any water?” the Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked him. “Only a little that will not suffice you, O Messenger of Allah!” he replied. “Put it in a vessel and bring it!” he said. He put his hand in the water and they saw water gushing from between two of his fingers. He said, “Call my Companions, whoever needs water!” He called them and they came and each took what he needed. [Seeing this] they said, “O Messenger of Allah, we have a well that suffices us with water during the winter, and we gather around it. But in the summer the water becomes scarce and we have to scatter to the surroundings wells. However. Now that we are Muslims, everyone around us is an enemy. So pray Allah for our well so that its water may suffice us, so that we remain gathered around it.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked for seven pebbles, rubbed them between his fingers, prayed to Allah, then said, “Go with these pebbles, when you reach the well throw them in one by one, invoking the Name of Allah!” They did and the well remained so full of water that they never saw its bottom again.[58]
Anas ibn Malik said, “I once saw the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, when it was time for ‘Asr prayer and people looked for water for their ablutions and found none. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, was brought some water, he put his hand in the vessel and told the people to make their ablutions from it. I watched the water gushing from under his fingers while people made their ablutions, till the last one of them had done!”
And in another version of the same incident he said, “I reckoned between sixty and eighty [men], I watched water gushing from between his fingers.”[59]
Anas recounted another similar incident thus, “Once when the Prophet (Peace be upon him) of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, and his Companions were at al-Zawra’, and al-Zawra’ is in Madina near the market and the mosque, he called for a cup partly filled with water, put his hand in it and water started gushing from between his fingers so that all his Companions made their ablutions.” “How many were they, O Abu Hamza?” he was asked. “They were about three hundred,” he replied.[60]
Mu’adh ibn Jabal said, “We went out with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, the year of the Tabuk expedition. He joined his prayers so that he prayed Zuhr and ‘Asr together and Maghrib and ‘Isha’ together. One day when he had thus delayed the prayer he came out, prayed Zuhr and ‘Asr together, then went in, then came out again, prayed Maghrib and ‘Isha together, then said, ‘Tomorrow, Allah willing, you will come upon the spring of Tabuk. You will reach it only by mid-morning. He who reaches it let him not touch any of its water until I arrive.’ When we reached it two men were already there and in the spring there was little water. The Messenger of Allah asked them, ‘Have you touched any of its water?’ ‘Yes!’ they said. He rebuked them and spoke to them as Allah willed him to speak, then we scooped out little water by little in our palms until some was collected in something [a vessel or a cup] then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, washed his hands and face in it, then returned it into the spring, at which it gushed forth with profuse water, so that the people all took their fill. ‘O Mu’âdh,’ he said, ‘if your life be prolonged, you will see this place full of gardens!’[61]
Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Morning came upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, and there was no water. ‘Is there any water?’ he asked. They said, ‘No!’ ‘Is there a waterskin?’ he asked, so they brought one and placed if before the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. He placed both hands on it, then spread his fingers and water gushed, as with Moses’ staff, from the fingers of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. He said, ‘O Bilal! Call the people to their ablutions!’ They came and did their ablutions from between the fingers of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, except ibn Mas’ûd who was more intent on drinking.[62] Having made their ablutions, they prayed Subh, then he sat for the people and said, ‘O people, whose faith is the most wondrous?’ ‘The angels,’ they replied. ‘How can the angels not believe, when they can witness the matter?’ he said. ‘The Prophets, O Messenger of Allah!’ they said. ‘How can the Prophets not believe,’ he said, ‘when revelation alights upon them from heaven?’ ‘Your Companions then, O Messenger of Allah!’ ‘How can my Companions not believe,’ he said, ‘when they are witnessing what they are witnessing? But the most wondrous in faith are people who will come after me, who have faith in me even though they have not seen me, who believe me even though they have not seen me. They are my brothers!’”[63]
Al-Bara’ ibn ‘Azib said, “We were on an expedition with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. We came upon a well where the water was scarce. Six of us descended into it. A bucket was sent down to us, while the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, stood at the rim of the well. We filled half or two thirds of it, then it was pulled up to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. He put his hand into it saying whatever Allah willed him to say, then the bucket was sent back to us with the water in it. [They poured the water in the well and the water began rising.] I saw the last one of us being dragged out in a hurry for fear of him drowning. Then it flowed [over the ground like] a river.”[64]
Anas ibn Malik said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, sent a force against the pagans which included Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and many other people. He said to them, “March diligently, for between you and the pagans is water, if they outstrip you to this water people will suffer hardship, you will be severely thirsty and so will your animals.” The Messenger of Allah, together with eight men, remained behind. He said to his Companions, “Shall we sleep part of the night then rejoin the people?” “Yes, O Messenger of Allah!” they replied. They laid down and were awakened only by the heat of the Sun. He said to them, “Rise and attend to your needs!” When they returned he said, “Does any of you have water?” One of them said, “A small skin with a little water O Messenger of Allah.” “Bring it!” He said. He brought it and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) passed both his palms over it, prayed for baraka, then said to his Companions, “Come here and make your ablutions!” He poured water for them until they had done, then one of them gave the Adhan, then the Iqama, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) led them in prayer. Then he said to the owner of the skin, “Look after your skin, it will be of consequence!” He climbed on his mount then said, “How do you think they have fared?” “Allah and His Messenger know best,” they replied, “but they have Abu Bakr and ‘Umar with them and they will counsel them.” The pagans, however, reached the water before the Muslims and the latter became extremely thirsty, so did their animals. When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) arrived he said, “Where is the owner of the skin?” “Here he is O Messenger of Allah!” they replied. He took the skin in which a little water had remained and said, “Come here and drink!” He went on pouring water for them until they all drank, gave their animals, and filled every skin and cup they had.[65]
The baraka of the Prophet’s hand also showed in the animals and plants he touched.
After the Prophet (Peace be upon him) left Macca for Madina in the company of Abu Bakr, the latter’s servant, ‘Amir ibn Fuhayr, and their guide, ‘Abdallah ibn Urayqit, they passed by the two tents of Umm Ma’bad of Khuza’a. She was a tough, elderly woman who sat before her tent giving people food and drink. They asked her to sell them meat and dates but she had none. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) noticed an ewe near the corner of the tent, “What is this ewe, O Umm Ma’bad?” he asked.” An ewe that is so weak it was left behind by the sheep,” she replied. “Does she have any milk?” he asked. “She is too weak for that!” she replied. “Will you allow me to milk her?” he asked. “If you see that she can be milked then milk her!” she said. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) passed his hand over the ewe’s udder, uttered the Name of Allah, prayed for her, then asked for a large vessel. He milked her and milk came out in profusion. He gave Umm Ma’bad to drink first, until she was full, then his companions, leaving himself for last. Then he milked the ewe again until the vessel was full and left it with her.[66]
Umm Ma’bad later said that the ewe the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had touched with his hand remained with them till the “year of the famine” in the days of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab. They milked her mornings and evenings even though nothing at all grew from the earth. Meaning that she produced milk although there was nothing for her to eat.[67]
Abu Qursafa recounted that as an orphan he was raised by his mother and her sister and was more attached to his aunt. She had a few sheep which he looked after for her and she often told him about the Prophet, “My son, do not pass by this man, for he will deceive you and lead you astray!” But Abu Qursafa, leaving his sheep to graze, spent his time listening to the Prophet, then took his sheep home lean, with dry udders. “Why does your herd have dry udders?” his aunt asked. “I do not know!” he replied. He went on listening to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) until he accepted Islam, took his hand, and gave him allegiance. Then he told the Prophet (Peace be upon him) about the state of his sheep. “Bring the ewes here!” the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, then passed his hand over their backs and udders, and prayed for them to have baraka. The animals swelled with meat and milk. When Abu Qursafa took them back to his aunt she said, “My son, this is how to graze your animals!” “Aunt, I grazed them at the same place as previously,” he replied, “but I will tell you the story.” His mother and aunt listened to him then asked to be taken to the Prophet. They accepted Islam, gave him allegiance and took his hand.[68]
Salman the Persian was a slave owned by the Jews. He made an agreement with them for his freedom to plant three hundred palm trees and give them a certain amount of gold. As soon as the palms produced their first dates, he was to be free. He went to the Prophet, asking for his help. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) planted the three hundred trees with his blessed hands. All three hundred grew and produced dates by the end of the year.[69]
The baraka of the Prophet’s hand also showed its effect in many of the inanimate objects that he touched.
Suwayd ibn Zayd recounted how he once saw Abu Dharr sitting on his own in the mosque and thought it a good opportunity to ask him about ‘Uthman. Abu Dharr said, “I shall never say anything about ‘Uthman but good, because of something I saw with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. I used to watch for the time when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, was all alone so that I could learn from him. One day I went and found that he had gone out. I followed him. He sat somewhere and I sat with him. ‘What has brought you, O Abu Dharr?’ he said, ‘Allah and His Messenger!’ I replied. Then Abu Bakr came, gave salam and sat to the right of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. He said, ‘What has brought you Abu Bakr?’ ‘Allah and His Messenger!’ he replied. Then ‘Umar came and sat to Abu Bakr’s right. ‘O ‘Umar,’ he said, ‘What has brought you?’ ‘Allah and His Messenger!’ he replied. Then ‘Uthman came and sat to ‘Umar’s right. He said ‘O ‘Uthman, what has brought you?’ ‘Allah and His Messenger!’ he replied. The Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, picked up seven or nine pebbles. They glorified [Allah] in his hand, till I heard them buzz like bees buzz. He put them down and they became silent. He put them in Abu Bakr’s hand and they glorified till I heard them buzz like the bees buzz, then he put them down and they were silent. He picked them up and put them in ‘Uthman’s hand and they glorified till I heard them buzz as bees buzz. Then he put them down and they were silent.”[70]
The baraka of the hand of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was also seen clearly in many battles and during the conquest of Macca, again with inanimate objects.
During the battle of Badr three of the Companions broke their swords. ‘Ukasha ibn Mihsan was given a palm branch by the Prophet. As soon as he brandished it it turned into a fine sword which he made good use of till the end of the battle, and then carried on using, calling it “Al-Qawiy” (the Strong) until he was martyred in Najd during the wars against the apostates.[71]
Salama ibn al-Harish also broke his sword and was given a palm branch by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) who said, “Fight with it!” It turned into a sword which he used until many years later he was martyred on the bridge of Abu ‘Ubayd during the conquest of Iraq.[72]
‘Abdallah ibn Jahsh was the third to be given a palm branch to fight with. It became a sword which they named “Al-’Urjun” (the Palm Branch). He died a martyr on the day of Uhud, but the sword remained with his heirs until they sold it.[73]
During the Battle of Badr, but also before that in Macca and after that at Hunayn, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) threw gravel or pebbles at the pagans, hitting them individually in eyes. Allah addresses him thus in the Qur’an: “You threw not when you threw, but Allah threw,” [8:17] for it is humanly impossible to achieve such a feat.
On the first occasion, in Macca, the elders of Quraysh met in the Hijr and swore to each other by Lat, ‘Uzza, Manat, Na’ila, and Isaf that as soon as they saw Muhamamd they would rise to him as one man and part not from him until they had killed him. Fâtima overheard this, she hastened home weeping, and entered upon the Prophet (Peace be upon him) saying, “There were the elders of your people promising each other that as soon as they saw you they would rise as one man to your blood!” “My child,” he said, “bring me some water for my ablutions!” He performed his ablutions then headed towards the mosque. When they saw him they said, “Here he is! Here he is!” but they lowered their gazes, hung their chins on their chests, did not look at him, nor did any of them rise toward him. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, approached till he stood over them. He took a handful of dust and saying, “Befouled be the faces!” threw it at them. Not one of those who were hit by it on that day escaped being killed at Badr.[74]
On the day of Badr he took a handful of pebbles and threw it at the pagans saying, “Befouled be the faces!” Allah caused these to hit most of the pagans in the eyes, with a sound as if pebbles were falling into a pan. This is when their defeat began.[75]
As for the day of Hunayn, when the Mulims were taken by surprise by the enemy and some chaos ensued, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) found himself on his own on his mule. Salama ibn al-Akwa’ recounted how he saw the Prophet (Peace be upon him) climb down from his mule, pick up a handful of dust, then throw it in the pagan’s faces saying, “Befouled be the faces!” Their eyes were filled with dust and they retreated in disarray.[76]
Before the siege of Madina, the Battle of the Trench, as the Muslims were digging the trench, they met a rock they could not break. They tried hard but it only broke their picks. They reported this to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) who took the pick from Salman and struck the rock. A light flashed, illuminating Madina from one lava tract to the other, as if it was a lamp lit in a dark night. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “Allahu Akbar!” He struck it again, another flash shot forth, he said, “Allahu Akbar!” Then he struck it a third time. Again a flash of light shot forth, and again he said, “Allahu Akbar!” The rock was shattered by the third blow. They asked him about the three flashes of light, and he said, “The first one lit up for me the palaces of Hira and the cities of Khosroes, as if they were dogs’ teeth, and Gabriel informed me that my nation is to overcome them. The second one lit up for me the red palaces of the land of the Byzantines, as if they were dogs’ teeth, and Gabriel informed me that my nation is to overcome them. The third lit up for me the palaces of Sana’a, as if they were dogs’ teeth, and Gabriel told me that my nation is to overcome them!”[77]
When he entered the Sacred Mosque after the conquest of Macca, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) went round the Ka’ba pointing at the idols with his stick or his bow. There were three hundred and sixty idols on and around the Ka’ba, their feet fixed with lead, in addition to Isaf and Na’ila where the pagans slaughtered their offerings. As the Prophet (Peace be upon him) passed by each of the idols, he pointed at it, reciting: “Say: The truth has come and falsehood has vanished; falsehood is ever vanishing.” [17:81] When he pointed at them the idols fell on their faces one by one.[78]
The Companions knew well the baraka in the hand of the Prophet; they also knew about its being the symbol of Divine generosity and power. They loved to touch and kiss it, they competed for the water he had dipped it in, and, after his death, those who never saw him were eager to touch and kiss those hands that had touched him.
Both the Jews and the Christians who recognized the Prophet (Peace be upon him) as a Divine envoy also showed their love and respect for him by kissing both his hands and his feet.
Once, after the Prophet’s emigration to Madina, a Jew said to a friend of his, “Let us go to this Prophet!” his friend said, “Say not Prophet! Were he to hear you he would have four eyes!” They came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and asked him about nine things which he answered. They kissed his hands and feet, saying, “We testify that you are a Prophet!” “What prevents you from following me?” he asked. “David prayed that there should always be a Prophet (Peace be upon him) from his progeny. We fear, were we to follow you, that the Jews would kill us!”[79]
When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) went to Ta’if to call its people to Islam they mistreated him and wounded both his feet by throwing stones at him. He repaired to a garden belonging to two Qurayshi noblemen, ‘Utba and Shayba, sons of Rabi’a. They happened to have come down from Macca and to have seen what had happened to him. As they were related to him sufficiently closely in tribal terms to allow themselves to feel some sympathy, they called a Christian slave of theirs named ‘Addas and told him, “Take some of these grapes, put them in this plate, then take them to this man and tell him to eat!” When ‘Addas placed the plate before him and said “Eat!” the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, extending his hand, said, “In the name of Allah!” then began to eat. ‘Addas looked at his face, then said, “By Allah! These words are not what the people of this land say!” “From which land do you hail ‘Addas?” he was asked, “and what is your religion?” He replied, “I am a Christian, a man from Nineveh.” “From the town of the virtuous man Jonah the son of Matthew?” asked the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. “How do you know who Jonah the son of Matthew is?” asked ‘Addas. “He is my brother,” he was told, “he was a Prophet (Peace be upon him) and I am a Prophet!” At this ‘Addas rushed to him, kissing his head, hands and feet.
One of the sons of Rabi’a said to the other, “He has spoiled your slave for you!” Then, when ‘Addas returned to them, they said to him, “Woe to you, O ‘Addas! Why do you kiss this man’s head, hands, and feet?” He replied, “Master, there is no one on earth better than this man, he has just informed me of a thing that only a Prophet (Peace be upon him) knows!” They said, “Woe to you, O ‘Addas! Let him not divert you from your religion, for your religion is better than his!”[80]
Those upon whose heads the hands of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) wound a turban were thereby forever honoured.
Qurayt ibn Abi Ramtha al-Tamimi, who, in the Caliphate of ‘Umar, conquered Aqaba, was taken along by his father when he emigrated to the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) took him on his lap, prayed for him to have baraka, and wound a black turban around his head.[81]
The Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, decided to send an expedition of seven hundred men to Dumat al-Jandal, under the command of ‘Abdal-Rahman ibn ‘Awf. On the morning they were to set out, ‘Abdal-Rahman appeared wearing a turban dyed black. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) took it off with his hand and wound it again, leaving four fingers’ length hanging from the back.[82] When the time came for ‘Abdal-Rahman ibn ‘Awf to decide who was to become caliph, ‘Uthman or ‘Ali, he came out wearing the same turban the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had wound on his head.[83]
Anas said, “Once the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, prayed the morning prayer, the servants of the people of Madina brought him their vessels full of water, he dipped his hand in them, even on cold mornings.”[84]
Abu Juhayfa said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, came out in mid-morning. Water for ablution was brought to him and he performed his ablution, then the people took what remained and rubbed it on themselves. Those who could not reach any took the water that dripped from their companions’ hands.”[85]
Abu Juhayfa also said that when the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was in Macca and had finished his ablutions, the people crowded around him, taking his hands and rubbing them on their faces. “I took his hand,” he said, “and placed it on my face and it was cooler than snow and better smelling than musk!”[86]
Abu Ayyub said, “We used to prepare supper and send it to him, when it was brought back to us, I and Umm Ayyub used to look for the mark of his hand and eat from there, hoping for the baraka. One night we sent his supper to him, having put onions or garlic in it, but the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, returned it untouched, I saw no trace of his hand in it. I rushed to him in distress, saying, ‘O Messenger of Allah, my father and mother be the ransom! You have returned your supper and I saw no trace of your hand, whereas before, whenever you returned it, I and Umm Ayyûb sought the trace of your hand, seeking the Baraka!’ He said, ‘I found the smell of that plant in it and I am a man who converses, [with Gabriel, as another version adds] as for you, you may eat it!’ So we ate it but never used that plant again!”[87]
When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) fell ill, ‘A’isha, in the knowledge that he used to recite the Mu’awwidhat, blow in his hands, and rub his body, recited them herself, then took his hand and rubbed him with it, for no palm was as blessed as his.[88]
‘A’isha said that whenever the Prophet (Peace be upon him) entered Fatima’s house she rose to meet him and kissed his hand.[89]
Once when Ibn ‘Umar was in a raiding party they retreated before the enemy. They said to each other, “What shall we do now that we have run away from the fight and come under [Allah’s] wrath?” “Let us go to Madina and spend the night,” they said, then, “Let us show ourselves to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, it may be that our repentance will be accepted, or else we shall depart.” They came to him before the morning prayer. “Who are the people?” he asked, “We are the deserters!” they replied. “No!” he said, “But you are the fighters, and I am your host and every Muslim’s host.”[90] Then they approached him and kissed his hand. Then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, recited this verse: “or withdrawing to a host,” [8:16][91]
When the delegation of ‘Abdal Qays reached Madina, [they had such longing for the Prophet (Peace be upon him) that] they jumped off their camels and rushed to him, kissing his hands and feet.[92]
Ibn ‘Umar used to kiss the Prophet’s hand.[93]
Ka’b ibn Malik, one of the three Companions that failed to join the Tabuk expedition, kissed the Prophet’s hand when Allah relented towards the three.[94]
Once Salama ibn al-Akwa’ said to his companions, “I gave allegiance to the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, with this hand of mine!” They kissed it and he never objected to this.[95]
420184_10151534009771051_2125070716_nThe famous Follower, Thabit al-Bunani, Anas ibn Malik’s student, said, “Whenever I visited Anas, they told him I was there, he came to me, and I took both his hands and kissed them saying, “My father be the ransom of these hands that have touched the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him!” and I kissed his eyes saying, “My father be the ransom of these eyes which have seen the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him!”[96]
And whenever Thabit came to visit him, Anas called his servant saying, “Bring me some perfume that I may perfume my hands, for Thabit will not rest content until he has kissed my hand!”[97]
Burayda said, “A Bedouin came to the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, saying, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I have accepted Islam, so show me something that will increase me in certitude!’ He asked him, ‘What do you want?’ He replied, ‘Call this tree, let it come to you!’ ‘Go to her and call her!’ He told him. The Bedouin went to the tree saying, ‘Answer the Messenger of Allah!’ The tree leaned to one side, pulling her roots out, then to the other, pulling her roots out then she went to the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, saying, ‘Peace be upon you O Messenger of Allah!’ The Bedouin exclaimed, ‘This is sufficient for me! This is sufficient for me!’ The Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, said, ‘Go back!’ so it returned to its place and struck its roots again. The Bedouin said, ‘Permit me, O Messenger of Allah, to kiss your hands and feet!’ He did [kiss his hands and feet], then said, ‘Permit me to prostate myself before you!’ ‘No man should prostate himself before another man!’ he replied.”[98]
The wooden pulpit of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had a knob on which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) rested his hand as he spoke. After the Prophet’s death Abu Hurayra used to stand beside the pulpit and place his hand on the pommel, before the caliph came out to deliver the Friday sermon. Thus standing he would recite a few of the hadiths he had learnt from the Prophet.[99]
As for the other Companions, they used to wait until those in the mosque became few, then rise to the pommel, rub it, and make du’â’. So did the Followers and those who came after them.[100] Upon learning of this, ‘Abdallah, son of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, asked his father what he thought of this and of touching the Prophet’s chamber. The Imam answered that he saw nothing wrong there. And the famous compiler of hadith, Imam ibn ‘Asakir, who witnessed the fire that burned part of the Prophet’s mosque, said, “The remaining parts of the pulpit of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, were burnt. Now visitors can no longer touch the pulpit’s pommel, on which the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, placed his noble hand, nor the place where he used to sit, nor the place of his noble feet, for their great baraka.”[101]
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) informed us that Allah, Exalted and Majestic is He says, “He who shows hostility to a Wali of Mine, on him I declare war. My slave draws nearer to Me with nothing that I love more than what I have made obligatory on him. And My slave ceases not to draw nearer to Me with supererogatory devotions until I love him. When I love him I become his eye with which he sees, his ear with which he hears, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot on which he walks. When he asks of Me I give him and when he seeks My protection I protect him.”[102]
The Prophet, by virtue of being the most perfect of Allah’s slaves, is he in whom the gifts mentioned in this Hadith Qudsi manifest in the most perfect from. Thus, because he saw and heard by Allah’s power and ability, he was able to see and hear through the earth, down to the seventh nether earth, and through the heavens up to and beyond the Throne. He saw through people’s intentions and heard the whisperings in their breasts. His hand manifested the powers we have spoken about and much more that is known only to Allah. His feet walked the seven heavens and the Throne, and took him into the Divine Presence.
The same attributes, according to this Hadith Qudsi, manifest in the more spiritually gifted among the Prophet’s community, for he must have heirs amongst the Muslims, in each of their generations till the end of time. Only he who knows the saints is able to catch a glimpse of the unassailable rank of Prophethood. Only he who accepts that Allah’s treasury of gifts is infinite and that He gives according to His generosity will begin to understand. Only he who overcomes his skepticism and thinks well of the virtuous servants of Allah will be allowed to witness some of these gifts.
1. Bukhari, Kitab’ al-Iman. 70. Muslim 1:49.
2. Muslim 2/721, Abu Dawud 2/121, Nisa’i 1/142.
3. Bukhari 2:969, Muslim 4:1815.
4. Majma’ al-Zawa’id 7:33.
5. Bayhaqi and ibn ‘Asakir. Majma’al-Zawa’id 7:33.
6. Muslim 7:81.
7. Abu Dawud 1:103, Bayhaqi, Sunan, 1:113.
8. Bukhari 2:967, Muslim 3:1489.
9. Comprehensive speech is the ability to state the most profound truths very clearly in few words. Second to the Qur’an the most comprehensive expression undoubtedly belongs to the Prophet, may blessings and peace be upon him.
10. To be supported by terror is Allah’s striking terror into the hearts of his enemies so that they are at a disadvantage before the actual confrontation takes place.
11. Bukhari 3:1087.
12. Bukhari, Bab al- ‘Ilm ,13, Muslim, Zakat: 100.
13. Bayhaqi in Dala’il 3/252 , al-Hakim, Mustadrak, 3:334.
14. Abu Nu’aym, Dala’il 1:172, Bayhaqi, and ibn Sa’d.
15. Bukhari in Tarikh, Tabarani, and Bayhaqi.
16. Bukhari 4:1483
17. Ibn ‘Abdal-Barr, Majma’al-Zawa’id 3:1415.
18. Suyuti, al-Khasa’is al-Kubra, 2:291.
19. The Prophet  is here doing tawassul with his own blessed self.
20. Suyuti, al-Khasa’is al-Kubra, 2:290.
21. Majma’al-Zawa’id, 9:405.
22. Majma’al-Zawa’id 9:405. Baghawi, Bayhaqi.
23. Majma’al-Zawa’id 9:409 ibn Sa’d, Bayhaqi.
24. The kunya is the respectful Arab way of calling their elders Abu Fulan, Father of so and so, in the Prophet’s case: Abu’l-Qasim.
25. Bukhari in Tarikh, Bayhaqi, and Majma’al-Zawa’id 8:48.
26. Majma’al-Zawa’id 8:48.
27. Majma’al-Zawa’id 8:54, ibn ‘Asakir, and Abu Ya’la .
28. Al-Zubayr ibn Bakkar.
29. Ahmad 5:77, 5:340, Bayhaqi in Dala’il 6:210.
30. Abu Nu’aym, Bazzar.
31. Bukhari 1/87.
32. Majma’al-Zawa’id 9:405.
33. Majma’al-Zawa’id 9:405.
34. Ahmad 5/67, ibn Sa’d.
35. Al-Baghawi.
36. Majma’al-Zawa’id 9:402.
37. Majma’al-Zawa’id 9:401
38. Al-Hakim 3:677, Majma’al-Zawa’id 9:412.
39. Majma’al-Zawa’id 9:41.
40. Ahmad 5:28 Bayhaqi.
41. Mada’ini.
42. Tabarani, al-mu’jam al-Saghir, 1/77.
43. Ibn Sa’d, Abu Nu’aym, Bukhari in Tarikh, Baghawi.
44. Tirmidhi 3627.
45. Ibn Hisham 1:482.
46. Ibn Maja 2/774 , Ibn Abi Shayba 6/13.
47. Bukhari, manaqib, 38, 1/56.
48. Muslim 1:341.
49. This is the Companion’s polite manner of saying he used to have relations with her.
50. Ibn Hisham 2/417.
51. Bayhaqi, Suyuti, al-Khasa’is al-Kubra, 2/95.
52. Suyuti, al-Khasa’is al-Kubra 2:93, Bayhaqi and ibn ‘Asakir.
53. Bukhari 3/1117 Muslim 3/1611
54. Majma’al-Zawa’id 8:305
55. Majma’al-Zawa’id 8:306
56. Majma’al-Zawa’id 8:308-309
57. Majma’al-Zawa’id 8:307.
58. Bayhaqi, Abu Nu’aym, Suyuti 2:216.
59. Muslim 4: 1783.
60. Muslim 4: 1783.
61. Muslim 4: 1783.
62. Ibn Mas’ud, being one of the earliest Muslims and one of the most knowledgeable, realized what an opportunity it was to drink this most blessed water, to purify himself inwardly with it.
63. Majma’al-Zawa’id 8:300.
64. Majma’al-Zawa’id 8:300.
65. Majma’ al-Zawa’id 8:301.
66. Al-Hakim, Tabarani, Bayhaqi, Abu Nu’aym, Baghawi, ibn Shahin, Suyuti 1:466.
67. Ibn Sa’d , Abu Nu’aym, Suyuti 1:469
68. Tabarani in Kabir 3:1, Abu Nu’aym in Dala’il 1:152.
69. Ahmad 5:354.
70. Majma’al-Zawa’id, 8:298-299.
71. Ibn Sa’d, 1/188, Bayhaqi.
72. Bayhaqi, Dala’il, 2/370.
73. Abdal Razzaq, al-Zubayr ibn Bakkar, ibn Abdal Barr 3/879.
74. Ibn Hibban 14/430.
75. Tabarani in Kabir 3/203 Ibn Hisham .
76. Muslim 3/1402.
77. Ibn Sa’d, ibn Jarir, ibn Abi Hatim, Bayhaqi, Abu Nu’aym, ibn Ishaq. Suyuti 1:571.
78. Bayhaqi in Dala’il 4/71. Waqidi 2/832.
79. Tirmidhi 5/72, Nisa’i 7:111.
80. Ibn Hisham 1/421.
81. Al-Isaba 5/519.
82. Bayhaqi, Sunan 6/363. Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat 3:124.
83. Tabari, Tarikh.
84. Muslim 4/1812, Ahmad 3/137.
85. Bukhari 376.
86. Bukhari 3553.
87. Ibn Hisham 1:499, Ibn Hibban 5:448.
88. Ahmad 6:104.
89. Al-Hakim, 3:160.
90. The host is the main body of the army towards which one can retreat to regroup and return to the fight.
91. Abu Dawud 3:107 Tirmidhi, ibn Majah, Ahmad.
92. Majma’al-Zawa’id 9:389
93. Abu Dawud 5:393 Majma’al-Zawa’id 8:42
94. Ibn ‘Asakir , Tabarani, Majma’al-Zawa’id, 8/42.
95. Majma’al-Zawa’id 8:42
96. Majma’al-Zawa’id 9:325
97. Majma’al-Zawa’id 9:325
98. Suyuti, al-Khasa’is al-Kubra, 2:200, Bazzar, and Abu Nu’aym.
99. Al-Hakim, 1:190.
100. Ibn Abi Shayba 3:450.
101. Samhudi, Khulasat’al-Wafa 210-211.
102. Bukhari, Riqaq, 38.

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions


The Menace of So-called “Jihad” – Imam Zaid Shakir


To see the original post: Click here
[Speak out]
Those of us who have been speaking out against the menace of so-called “Jihad” must redouble our efforts.
“Jihad” is far more than a threat to the lives of unsuspecting innocent people, both here in the West and in Muslim countries. It is a threat to our religion, in terms of how Islam is being represented by the advocates of “Jihad” and how it is being perceived by others.
Muslim scholars cannot remain silent and allow this misrepresentation to go unaddressed.
As for those youth who have been alienated by the systematic “othering” of Muslims in the post-9/11 anti-Muslim climate that is deepening here in the West, they would do well to consider a different set of religious teachings when studying Islam.

[True religion]
True religion is not to be found in emotional and sensational reactions to current events and mind-numbing atrocities.
True religion is not to be found in a self-glorying end brought on by a hail of bullets or a murderous act of suicide.
Rather, true religion provides the spiritual direction needed to find one’s self-worth and human value in ones relationship with God.
True religion provides the solace and succor needed to find inner peace even when outer realities are crushing.
True religion provides nobility that empowers its possessor to fearlessly challenge oppressors while mercifully protecting innocent life, regardless of the race, religion, color or creed of the blameless.
True religion provides a path to heaven that is paved with devotion, lofty morals and patient, dignified struggle against the schemes of one’s ego, the vicissitudes of the world and the vagaries of both power and powerlessness.
As for those who are deceived into believing that wanton murder, mayhem, destruction, suicide and inviting war and hatred against one’s coreligionists represent an express road to paradise, they should think deeply before embarking on that path.
Religion teaches and history demonstrates that such a path is a sinister, nefarious route that winds steadily, oftentimes irreversibly, into a deep, dark cold abyss.
“When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you.” Friedrich Nietzsche
Relevant Resources:
A Powerful Description of True Servants of Allah – Imam al-Sulami
Mufti Taqi Usmani Clarifies His Stance on Jihad
Islam vs. ISIS: A Letter to Baghdadi from Leading Scholars
The War Within Our Hearts – Imam Zaid Shakir
Jihad, Abrogation in the Quran & the “Verse of the Sword”
Imam Nawawi On Fighting The Ego (Nafs)
Understanding the Hadith, “I Was Ordered to Fight the People Until They Testify…”
Understanding the Qur’anic Verse “Slay them wherever you find them”: Balance, Justice, and Mercy in Islamic Rules of Jihad

Fatwa Against Terrorism and the Targeting Of Civilians – By Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti

Full article can be found here.
Mudâfi’ al-Mazlum bi-Radd al-Muhâmil ‘alâ Qitâl Man Lâ Yuqâtil
With An Introduction By Shaykh Gibril F Haddad

Fatwa Against The Targeting Of Civilians

© 2005 Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti

In the Name of God, the All-Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

Gentle reader, Peace upon those who follow right guidance!
I am honored to present the following fatwa or “response by a qualified Muslim Scholar” against the killing of civilians by the Oxford-based Malaysian jurist of the Shafi`i School and my inestimable teacher, Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti, titled Defending the Transgressed by Censuring the Reckless against the Killing of Civilians.
The Shaykh authored it in a few days, after I asked him to offer some guidance on the issue of targeting civilians and civilian centers by suicide bombing in response to a pseudo-fatwa by a deviant UK-based group which advocates such crimes.Upon reading Shaykh Afifi’s fatwa do not be surprised to find that you have probably never before seen such clarity of thought and expression together with breadth of knowledge of Islamic Law applied (by a non- native speaker) to define key Islamic concepts pertaining to the conduct of war and its jurisprudence, its arena and boundaries, suicide bombing, the reckless targeting of civilians, and more.May it bode the best start to true education on the impeccable position of Islam squarely against terrorism in anticipation of the day all its culprits are brought to justice.
Dear Muslim reader, as-Salâmu `alaykum wa-rahmatuLlâh:
Read this luminous Fatwa by Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti carefully and learn it. Distribute it, publicize it, and teach it. Perhaps we will be counted among those who do something to redress wrong, not only with our hearts as we always do, but also with our tongues, in the fashion of the inspired teachers and preachers of truth.
I have tried to strike the keynote of this Fatwa in a few lines of free verse, mostly to express my thanks to our Teacher but also to seize the opportunity of such a long-expected response to remind myself of the reasons why I embraced Islam in the first place…..
Praise to God Whose Law shines brighter than the sun!
Blessings and peace on him who leads to the abode of peace!
Truth restores honor to the Religion of goodness.
Patient endurance lifts the oppressed to the heights
While gnarling mayhem separates like with like:
The innocent victims on the one hand and, on the other,
Silver-tongued devils and wolves who try to pass for just!

My God, I thank You for a Teacher You inspired
With words of light to face down Dajjal’s advocates.
Allâh bless you, Ustadh Afifi, for Defending the Transgressed
By Censuring the Reckless Against the Killing of Civilians
Let the powers that be and every actor-speaker high and low
Heed this unique Fatwa of knowledge and responsibility.Let every lover of truth proclaim, with pride once more,
What the war-mongers try to bury under lies and bombs:
Islam is peace and truth, the Rule of Law, justice and right!
Murderous suicide is never martyrdom but rather perversion,
Just as no flag on earth can ever justify oppression.
And may God save us from all criminals, East and west!
By permission of Shaykh Afifi I have done some very light editing having to do mostly with style, spelling, or punctuation such as standardizing spacing between paragraphs, providing in-text translations of a couple of Arabic supplications, adding quotation marks to mark out textual citations, and so forth.
I also provided the following alphabetical glossary of arabic terms not already glossed by the Shaykh directly in the text
May Allâh Subhânahu wa-Ta’âlâ save Shaykh Muhammad Afifi here and hereafter, may He reward him and his teachers for this blessed work and grant us its much-needed benefits, not least of which the redress of our actions and beliefs for safety here and hereafter.
Blessings and peace on the Prophet, his Family, and all his Companions,
wal-hamdu liLlâhi Rabb al-‘âlamîn.


G.F. Haddad
Day of Jumu`a after `Asr
1 Rajab al-Haram 1426
5 August 2005
Brunei Darussalam


Defending the Transgressed By Censuring The Reckless Against The Killing Of Civilians

according to
the Madhhab of Imâm Shâfi’î
Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti

Initial Question

If you have time to address this delicate issue for the benefit of this mercied Umma which is reeling in fitna day in and day out, perhaps a few blessed words might use a refutation of the following text as a springboard?

I would like you to read the following article which highlights some of the problems we are facing, and [shows] why it is quite possible that young Muslims turn to extremism. The article was issued by “Al-Muhajiroun” not long ago, headed by Omar Bakri Mohammed, and whatever our reservations about the man, it is the content I am more concerned about, and it is possibly these types of writings which need to be confronted head-on.Excerpt from an Article by a Group called ‘al-Muhajiroun’:AQD UL AMAAN: THE COVENANT OF SECURITYThe Muslims living in the west are living under a covenant of security, it is not allowed for them to fight anyone with whom they have a covenant of security, abiding by the covenant of security is an important obligation upon all Muslims. However for those Muslims living abroad, they are not under any covenant with the kuffar in the west, so it is acceptable for them to attack the non-Muslims in the west whether in retaliation for constant bombing and murder taking place all over the Muslim world at the hands of the non-Muslims, or if it an offensive attack in order to release the Muslims from the captivity of the kuffar. For them, attacks such as the September 11th Hijackings is a viable option in jihad, even though for the Muslims living in America who are under covenant, it is not allowed to do operations similar to those done by the magnificent 19 on the 9/11. This article speaks about the covenant and what the scholars have said regarding Al Aqd Al Amaan – the covenant of security. […]Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti’s Fatwa

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bismillahi r-rahman al-rahim
al-hamdulillah alladhi yahuddu l-harba wa-la yuhibbu l-mu’tadina wa s-salatu wa-s-salamu ‘ala qa’idi l-ummah alladhi huwa asbaru ‘ala adha l-a’da’i bi-futuwwatin kamilatin wa-muru’atin shamilatin wa-‘ala alihi wa-ashabihi wa-jayshihi ajma’in!

[In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate.
Praise be to God Who sets the boundaries of war and does not love transgressors! Blessings and peace on the General of the Community, the most patient of men in the face of the harm of enemies, with perfect chivalry and complete manliness, and upon all his Family, Companions, and Army!]
This is a collection of masâ’il, entitled:
Mudâfi’ al-Mazlûm bi-Radd al-Muhâmil ‘alâ Qitâl Man Lâ Yuqâtil
[Defending the Transgressed, by Censuring the Reckless against the Killing of Civilians], written in response to the fitna reeling this mercied Umma, day in and day out, which is partly caused by those who, wilfully or not, misunderstand the legal discussions of the chapter on warfare outside its proper contexts (of which the technical fiqh terminology varies with bâb: siyar, jihâd, or qitâl), which have been used by them to justify their wrong actions. May Allâh open our eyes to the true meaning [haqîqa] of sabr and to the fact that only through it can we successfully endure the struggles we face in this dunyâ, especially during our darkest hours; for indeed He is with those who patiently endure tribulations!
There is no khilâf that all the Shafi’i fuqahâ’ of today and other Sunni specialists in the Sacred Law from the Far East to the Middle East reject outright [mardûd] the above opinion and consider it not only an anomaly [shâdhdh] and very weak [wâhin] but also completely wrong [bâtil] and a misguided innovation [bid’a dalâla]: the ‘amal cannot at all be adopted by any mukallaf. It is regrettable too that the above was written in a legal style at which any doctor of the Law should be horrified and appalled (since it is an immature yet persuasive attempt to mask a misguided personal opinion with authority from fiqh, and an effort to hijack our Law by invoking one of the many qadâya of this bâb while recklessly neglecting others). It should serve to remind the students of fiqh of the importance of the forming in one’s mind and being aware throughout of the thawâbit and the dawâbit when reading a furû’ text, in order to ensure that those principal rules have not been breached in any given legal case.
The above opinion is problematic in three legal particulars [fusûl]:
(1) the target [maqtûl]: without doubt, civilians;
(2) the authority for carrying out the killing [âmir al-qitâl]: as no Muslim authority has declared war, or if there has been such a declaration there is at the time a ceasefire [hudna]; and
(3) the way in which the killing is carried out [maqtûl bih]: since it is either harâm and is also cursed as it is suicide [qâtil nafsah], or at the very least doubtful [shubuhât] in a way such that it must be avoided by those who are religiously scrupulous [wara’]. Any sane Muslim who would believe otherwise and think the above to be not a crime [jinâya] would be both reckless [muhmil] and deluded [maghrûr]. Instead, whether he realizes it or not, by doing so he would be hijacking rules from our Law which are meant for the conventional (or authorized) army of a Muslim state and addressed to those with authority over it (such as the executive leaders, the military commanders and so forth), but not to individuals who are not connected to the military or those without the political authority of the state [dawla].
The result in Islamic jurisprudence is: if a Muslim carries out such an attack voluntarily, he becomes a murderer and not a martyr or a hero, and he will be punished for that in the Next World.
Fasl I. The Target: Maqtûl
The proposition: “so it is acceptable for them to attack the non-Muslims in the west”, where “non-Muslims” can be taken to mean, and indeed does mean in the document, non-combatants, civilians, or in the terminology of fiqh: those who are not engaged in direct combat [man la yuqâtilu].
This opinion violates a well known principal rule [dâbit] from our Law:

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“la yajUzu qatlu nisA’ihim wa-la SibyAnihim idhA lam yuqAtilU”

[it is not permissible to kill their [i.e., the opponents’] women and children if they are not in direct combat.]
This is based on the Prophetic prohibition on soldiers from killing women and children, from the well known Hadith of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allâh be pleased with them both!) related by Imams Malik, al-Shafi’i, Ahmad, al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi, al-Bayhaqi and al-Baghawi (may Allâh be well pleased with them all!) and other Hadiths.
Imam al-Subki ( raDiy-Allahu-anhu.gif may Allâh be pleased with him!) made it unequivocally clear what scholars have understood from this prohibition in which the standard rule of engagement taken from it is that: “[a Muslim soldier] may not kill any women or any child-soldiers unless they are in combat directly, and they can only be killed in self-defence” [al-Nawawi, Majmû’, 21:57].
It goes without saying that men and innocent bystanders who are not direct combatants are also included in this prohibition. The nature of this prohibition is so specific and well-defined that there can be no legal justification, nor can there be a legitimate shar’î excuse, for circumventing this convention of war by targeting non-combatants or civilians whatsoever, and that the hukm shar’î of killing them is not only harâm but also a Major Sin [Kabira] and contravenes one of the principal commandments of our way of life.
II. The Authority: Âmir al-Qitâl
The proposition: “so it is acceptable for them to attack the non-Muslims in the west whether in retaliation for constant bombing and murder taking place all over the Muslim world at the hands of the non-Muslims,” where it implies that a state of war exist with this particular non-Muslim state on account of its being perceived as the aggressor.
This opinion violates the most basic rules of engagement from our Law:

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“amru l-jihAdi mawkulun ila l-imAmi wa-ijtihAdihi wa-yalzamu r-ra’iyyata TA’atuhu fImA yarAhu min dhalika”

[The question of declaring war (or not) is entrusted to the executive authority and to its decision: compliance with that decision is the subject’s duty with respect to what the authority has deemed appropriate in that matter.]

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“wa-li-imamin aw amirin khiyarun bayna l-kaffi wa l-qitAli”
[The executive or its subordinate authority has the option of whether or not
to declare war ].

Decisions of this kind for each Muslim state, such as those questions dealing with ceasefire [‘aqd al-hudna], peace settlement [‘aqd al-amân] and the judgment on prisoners of war [al-ikhtâr fi asîr] can only be dealt with by the executive or political authority [imâm] or by a subordinate authority appointed by the former authority [amîr mansûbin min jihati l-imâm]. This is something Muslims take for granted from the authority of our naql [scriptures] such that none will reject it except those who betray their ‘aql [intellect]. The most basic legal reason [‘illa aslîyya] is that this matter is one that involves the public interest, and thus consideration of it belongs solely to the authority:
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li-anna hadhA l-amra mina l-masAliHi l-‘Ammati allati yakhtassu l-imAmi bi-n-naZari fI-hA.

All of this is based on the well known legal principle [qâ’ida]:

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taSarrufu l-imAmi ‘ala r-ra’iyyati manUTun bi l-maSlaHati

[The decisions of the authority on behalf of the subjects
are dependent upon the public good].

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fa-yaf’alu l-imAmu wujUban al-aHaZZa li-l-MuslimIna li-ijtihAdihi

[So the authority must act for the greatest advantage
of (all of) the Muslims in making its judgement].
Nasiha: Uppermost in the minds of the authority during their deliberation over whether or not to wage war should be the awareness that war is only a means and not the end. Hence, if there are other ways of achieving the aim, and the highest aim is the right to practice our religion openly (as is indeed the case in modern day Spain, for example, unlike in medieval Reconquista Spain), then it is better [awlâ] not to go to war. This has been expressed in a few words by Imam al-Zarkashî ( raDiy-Allahu-anhu.gif may Allâh be pleased with him!):

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wujUbuhu wujUbu l-wasA’ili lA l-maqASidi
[Its necessity is the necessity of means, not ends.]

The upshot is, whether one likes it or not, the decision and discretion and right to declare war or jihâd for Muslims lie solely with the various authorities as represented today by the respective Muslim states – and not with any individual, even if he is a scholar or a soldier (and not just anyone is a soldier or a scholar) – in the same way that an authority (such as the qâdî in a court of law: mahkamah) is the only one with the right to excommunicate or declare someone an apostate [murtad]. Otherwise, the killing would be extra-judicial and unauthorized.
Even during the period of the Ottoman caliphate, for example, another Muslim authority elsewhere, such as in the Indian subcontinent, could have been engaged in a war when at the same time the Khalifa’s army was at peace with the same enemy. This is how it has been throughout our long history, and this is how it will always be, and this is the reality on the ground.
Fasl III. The Method: Maqtûl bih
The proposition: “attacks such as the September 11th Hijackings is a viable option in jihâd,” where such attacks employ tactics – analogous to the Japanese “kamikaze” missions during the Second World War – that have been described variously as self-sacrificing or martyrdom or suicide missions.
There is no question among scholars, and there is no khilâf on this question by any qâdî, muftî or faqîh, that this proposition and those who accept it are without doubt breaching the scholarly consensus [mukhâlifun li-l-ijmâ’] of the Muslims since it resulted in the killing of non-combatants; moreover, the proposition is an attempt to legitimize the killing of indisputable non-combatants.
As for the kamikaze method and tactic in which it was carried out, there is a difference of opinion with some jurists as to whether or not it constitutes suicide, which is not only Haram but also cursed. In this, there are further details. (Note that in all of the following cases, it is already assumed that the target is legitimate – i.e., a valid military target – and that the action is carried out during a valid war when there is no ceasefire [fi hâl al-harb wa-lâ l-hudnata fihi], just as with the actual circumstance of the Japanese kamikaze attacks.)
Tafsîl I: If the attack involves a bomb placed on the body or placed so close to the bomber that when the bomber detonates it the bomber is certain [yaqîn] to die, then the More Correct Position [Qawl Asahh] according to us is that it does constitute suicide. This is because the bomber, being also the maqtûl [the one killed], is unquestionably the same as the qâtil [the immediate and active agent that kills] = qâtil nafsah [self-killing, i.e. suicide].
Furu’: If the attack involves a bomb (such as the lobbing of a grenade and the like), but the attacker thinks that when it is detonated , it is uncertain [zann] whether he will die in the process or survive the attack, then the Correct Position [Qawl Sahîh] is that this does not constitute suicide, and were he to die in this selfless act, he becomes what we properly call a martyr or hero [shahîd]. This is because the attacker, were he to die, is not the active, willing agent of his own death, since the qâtil is probably someone else.
An example [sûra] of this is: when in its right place and circumstance, such as in the midst of an ongoing fierce battle against an opponent’s military unit, whether ordered by his commanding officer or whether owing to his own initiative, the soldier makes a lone charge and as a result of that initiative manages to turn the tide of the day’s battle but dies in the process (and not intentionally at his own hand). That soldier died as a hero (and this circumstance is precisely the context of becoming a shahîd – in Islamic terminology – as he died selflessly). If he survives, he wins a Medal of Honour or at the least becomes an honoured war hero and is remembered as a famous patriot (in our terminology, becoming a true mujâhid).
This is precisely the context of the mas’ala concerning the “lone charger” [al-hâjim al-wahîd] and the meaning of putting one’s life in danger [al-taghrîr bil-nafs] found in all of the fiqh chapters concerning warfare. The Umma’s Doctor Angelicus, Imâm al-Ghazâlî ( raDiy-Allahu-anhu.gif may Allâh be pleased with him!) provides the best impartial summation:
“If it is said: What is the meaning of the words of the Most High:

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{wa-lA tulqU bi-aydIkum ila t-tahlukati}
{and do not throw into destruction by your own hands!}
(al-Baqara, 2:195)?

“We say: There is no difference [of opinion amongst scholars] regarding the lone Muslim [soldier] who charges into the battle-lines of the [opposing] non-Muslim [army that is presently in a state of war with his army and is facing them in a battle] and fights [them] even if he knows that he will almost certainly be killed. The case might be thought to go against the requirements of the Verse, but that is not so. Indeed, Ibn ‘Abbâs (may Allâh be well pleased with both of them!) says: [the meaning of] “destruction” is not that [incident]. Instead, [its meaning] is to neglect providing [adequate] supplies [nafaqa: for the military campaign; and in the modern context, the state should provide the arms and equipment and so forth for that for which all of this is done] in obedience to God [as in the first part of the Verse which says:

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{wa-anfiqU fI sabIli LlAhi}
{And spend for the sake of God} (al-Baqara, 2:195)

That is, those who fail to do that will destroy themselves. [In another Sahâbî authority:] al-Barâ’ Ibn ‘Âzib [al-Ansâri (may Allâh be well pleased with them both!)] says: [the meaning of] “destruction” is [a Muslim] committing a sin and then saying: ‘my repentance will not be accepted’. [A Tâbi’î authority] Abû ‘Ubayda says: it [the meaning of “destruction”] is to commit a sin and then not perform a good deed after it before he perishes. [Ponder over this!]
In the same way that it is permissible [for the Muslim soldier in the incident above] to fight the non-Muslim [army] until he is killed [in the process], that [extent and consequence] is also permissible for him [i.e., the enforcer of the Law, since the `â’id (antecedent) here goes back to the original pronoun [dâmir al-asl] for this bâb: the muhtasib or enforcer, such as the police] in [matters of] law enforcement [hisba].
However, [note the following qualification (qayd):] were he to know [zanni] that his charge will not cause harm to the non-Muslim [army], such as the blind or the weak throwing himself into the [hostile] battle-lines, then it is prohibited [harâm], and [this latter incident] is included under the general meaning [‘umûm] of “destruction” from the Verse [for in this case, he will be literally throwing himself into destruction].
It is only permissible for him to advance [and suffer the consequences] if he knows that he will be able to fight [effectively] until he is killed, or knows that he will be able to demoralize the hearts and minds of the non-Muslim [army]: by their witnessing his courage and by their conviction that the rest of the Muslim [army] are [also] selfless [qilla al-mubâla] in their loyalty to sacrifice for the sake of God [the closest modern non-Muslim parallel would be ‘to die for one’s country’]. By this, their will to fight [shawka] will become demoralized [and so this may cause panic and rout them and thereby be the cause of their battle-lines to collapse].”
[al-Ghazali, Ihya’, 2:315-6]
It is clear that this selfless deed which any modern soldier, Muslim or non-Muslim, might perform in battle today is not suicide. It may hyperbolically be described as a ‘suicidal’ attack, but to endanger one’s life is one thing and to commit suicide during the attack is obviously another. And as the passage shows, it is possible to have both situations: an attack that is taghrîr bil-nafs, which is not prohibited; and an attack that is of the tahluka-type, which is prohibited.
Tafsîl II: If the attack involves ramming a vehicle into a military target and the attacker is certain to die, precisely like the historical Japanese kamikaze missions, then our jurists have disagreed over whether it does or does not constitute suicide.
Qawl A: Those who consider it a suicide argue that there is the possibility [zannî] that the maqtûl is the same as the qâtil (as in Tafsil I above) and would therefore not allow for any other qualification whatsoever, since suicide is a cursed sin.
Qawl B: Whereas those who consider otherwise, even with the possibility that the maqtûl is the same as the qâtil, will allow some other qualification such as the possibility that by carrying it out the battle of the day could be won. There are further details in this alternative position, such as that the commanding officer does not have the right to command anyone under him to perform this dangerous mission, so that were it to be sanctioned, it could only be when it is not under anyone else’s orders and is the lone initiative of the concerned soldier (such as in defiance of the standing orders of his commanding officer).
The first of the two positions is the Preferred Position [muttajih] among our jurists, as the second is the rarer because of the vagueness of a precedent, and its legal details are fraught with further difficulties and ambiguities, and its opposing position [muqâbil] carries such a weighty consequence (namely, that of suicide, for which there is Ijmâ’ that the one who commits suicide will be damned to committing it eternally forever).
In addition to this juristic preference, the first position is also preferable and better since it is the original or starting state [asl], and by invoking the well-known and accepted legal principle:

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al-khurUju mina l-khilAfi mustaHabbun
[To avoid controversy is preferable.]

Finally, the first position is religiously safer, since owing to the ambiguity itself of the legal status of the person performing the act – whether it will result in the maqtûl being also the qâtil – and since there is doubt and uncertainty over the possibility of its either being or not being the case, then this position falls under the type of doubtful matters [shubuhât] of the kind [naw’] that should be avoided by those who are religiously scrupulous [wara’]. And here, the wisdom of our wise Prophet ( MHMD may Allâh’s blessings and peace be upon him!) is illuminated from the Hadith of al-Nu’man ( raDiy-Allahu-anhu.gif may Allâh be well pleased with him!):

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“fa-mani ttaqA sh-shubuhAti istabra’a li-dInihi wa ‘irDihi”
[He who saves himself from doubtful matters will save his religion and his honour.]
(Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, al-Tabarani, and al-Bayhaqi with variants.)

Wa-Llâhu a’lam bis-sawâb! [God knows best what is right!]
Fa’ida: The original ruling [al-asl] for using a bomb (the medieval precedents: Greek fire [qitâl bil-nâr or ramy al-naft] and catapults [manjanîq]) as a weapon is that it is makrûh [offensive] because it kills indiscriminately [ya’ummu man yuqâtilû wa-man lâ yuqâtilû], as opposed to using rifles (medieval example: a single bow and arrow). If the indiscriminate weapon is used in a place where there are civilians, it becomes harâm except when used as a last resort [min darûra] (and of course, by those military personnel authorised to do so).


From the consideration of the foregoing three legal particulars, it is evident that the opinion expressed regarding the ‘amal in the above article is untenable by the standards of our Sacred Law.
As to those who may still be persuaded by it and suppose that the action is something that can be excused on the pretext that there is scholarly khilâf on the details of Tafsil II from Fasl III above (and that therefore, the ‘amal itself could at the end of the day be accommodated by invoking the guiding principle that one should be flexible with regards to legal controversies [masâ’il khilâfiyya] and agree to disagree); know then there is no khilâf among scholars that that rationale does not stand, since it is well known that:

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lA yunkaru l-mukhtalafu fIhi wa-innamA yunkaru l-mujma’u ‘alayhi
[The controversial cannot be denied; only (breach of) the unanimous can be denied.]

Since at the very least, it is agreed upon by all that killing non-combatants is prohibited, there is no question whatsoever that the ‘amal overall is outlawed.
The qâ’ida, which is expressed very tersely above, means, understood correctly, that an action about which there is khilâf may be excused, while an action that contravenes the Ijmâ’ is categorically rejected.

Masâ’il Mufassala
Question I

If it is said: “I have heard that Islam says the killing of civilians is allowed if they are non-Muslims.”
We say: On a joking note (but ponder over this so your hearts may be opened!): the authority is not with what Islam says but with what Allâh (Exalted is He!) and His Messenger ( MHMD may His blessings and peace be upon him!) have said!
But seriously: the answer is absolutely no; for even a novice student of fiqh would be able to see that the first dâbit above concerns already a non-Muslim opponent in the case of a state of war having been validly declared by a Muslim authority against a particular non-Muslim enemy, even when that civilian is a subject or in the care [dhimma] of the hostile non-Muslim state [Dâr al-Harb]. If this is the extent of the limitation to be observed with regards to non-Muslim civilians associated with a declared enemy force, what higher standard will it be in cases if it is not a valid war or when the status of war becomes ambiguous? Keep in mind that there are more than 100 Verses in the Qur’ân commanding us at all times to be patient in the face of humiliation and to turn away from violence [al-i’râd ‘ani l-mushrikîn wa l-sabr ‘alâ adhâ l-a’dâ’], while there is only one famous Verse in which war (which does not last forever) becomes an option (in our modern context: for a particular Muslim authority and not an individual), when a particular non-Muslim force has drawn first blood.

Question II

If it is said: “What about the verse of the Qur’an which says {kill the unbelievers wherever you find them} and the Sahih Hadith which says ‘I have been ordered to fight against the people until they testify’?”
We say: It is well known among scholars that the following verse,

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{fa-qtulU l-mushrikIna Haythu wajad-tumUhum}

{kill the idolaters wherever you find them}(al-Tawba, 9:5)

is in reference to a historical episode: those among the Meccan Confederates who breached the Treaty of Hudaybiyya [Sulh al-Hudaybiyya] which led to the Victory of Mecca [Fath Makka], and that therefore, no legal rulings, or in other words, no practical or particular implications, can be derived from this Verse on its own. The Divine Irony and indeed Providence from the last part of the Verse, {wherever you find them} – which many of our mufassirs understood in reference to place (i.e., attack them whether inside the Sacred Precinct or not) – is that the victory against the Meccans happened without a single battle taking place, whether inside the Sacred Precinct or otherwise, rather, there was a general amnesty [wa-mannun ‘alayhi bi-takhliyati sabîlihi or naha ‘an safki d-dima’] for the Jâhilî Arabs there. Had the Verse not been subject to a historical context, then you should know that it is of the general type [‘amm] and that it will therefore be subject to specification [takhsîs] by some other indication [dalîl]. Its effect in lay terms, were it not related to the Jahilî Arabs, is that it can only refer to a case during a valid war when there is no ceasefire.
Among the well known exegeses of “al-mushrikîn” from this Verse are: “al-nâkithîna khâssatan” [specifically, those who have breached (the Treaty)] [al-Nawawi al-Jawi, Tafsîr, 1:331]; “al-ladhîna yuharibunakum” [those who have declared war against you] [Qâdi Ibn ‘Arabi, Ahkâm al-Qur’ân, 2:889]; and “khâssan fî mushkrikî l-‘arabi dûna ghayrihim” [specifically, the Jâhilî Arabs and not anyone else] [al-Jassâs, Ahkâm al-Qur’ân, 3:81].
As for the meaning of “people” [al-nâs] in the above well-related Hadith, it is confirmed by Ijmâ’ that it refers to the same “mushrikîn” as in the Verse of Sura al-Tawba above, and therefore what is meant there is only the Jâhilî Arabs [muskhrikû l-‘arab] during the closing days of the Final Messenger and the early years of the Righteous Caliphs and not even to any other non-Muslims.
In sum, we are not in a perpetual state of war with non-Muslims. On the contrary, the original legal status [al-asl] is a state of peace, and making a decision to change this status belongs only to a Muslim authority who will in the Next World answer for their ijtihâd and decision; and this decision is not divinely charged to any individuals – not even soldiers or scholars – and to believe otherwise would go against the well-known rule in our Law that a Muslim authority could seek help from a non-Muslim with certain conditions, including, for example, that the non-Muslim allies are of goodwill towards the Muslims:

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[la-yast’Inu bi-mushkrikin illA bi-shurUTin
ka-an takUna niyyatuhu Hasanatan li-l-MuslimIna).

Question III

If it is said: “I have heard a scholar say that ‘Israeli women are not like women in our society because they are militarised’. By implication, this means that they fall into the category of women who fight and that this makes them legitimate targets but only in the case of Palestine.”
We say: No properly schooled jurists from any of the Four Schools would say this as a legal judgement if they faithfully followed the juridical processes of the orthodox Schools relating to this bâb; for if it is true that the scholar made such a statement and meant it in the way you’ve implied, then not only does this violate the well-known principal rule above (Fasl I: “It is not permissible to kill their women and children if they are not in direct combat”), but the supposed remarks also show a lack of sophistication in the legal particulars. If this is the case, then it has to be said here that this is not among the masâ’il khilâfiyya, about which one can afford to agree to disagree, since it is outright wrong by the principles and the rules from our usûl and furû’.
Let us restate the dâbit again, as our jurists have succinctly summarised its rule of engagement: a soldier can only attack a female or (if applicable) child soldier (or a male civilian) in self-defence and only when she herself (and not someone else from her army) is engaged in direct combat. (As for male soldiers, it goes without saying that they are considered combatants as soon as they arrive on the battlefield even if they are not in direct combat – provided of course that the remaining conventions of war have been observed throughout, and that all this is during a valid war when there is no ceasefire.)
Not only is this strict rule of engagement already made clear in our secondary legal texts, but this is also obvious from the linguistic analysis of the primary proof-texts used to derive this principal rule. Hence, the form of the verb used in the scriptures, yuqâtilu, is of the mushâraka-type, so that the verb denotes a direct or a personal or a reciprocal relationship between two agents: the minimum for which is one of them making an effort or attempt to act upon the other. The immediate legal implication here is that one of the two can only even be considered a legitimate target when there is a reciprocal or direct relationship.
In reality [wâqi’], this is not what happens on the ground (since the bombing missions are offensive in nature – they are not targeting, for example, a force that is attacking an immediate Muslim force; but rather the attack is directed at an overtly non-military target, so the person carrying it out can only be described as attacking it – and the target is someone unknown until only seconds before the mission reaches its termination).
In short, even if these women are soldiers, they can only be attacked when they are in direct combat and not otherwise. In any case, there are other overriding particulars to be considered and various conditions to be observed throughout, namely, that it must be during a valid state of war when there is no ceasefire.

Question IV

If it is said: “When a bomber blows himself up he is not directing the attack towards civilians. On the contrary, the attack is designed to target off-duty soldiers (which I was told did not mean reservists, since most Israelis are technically reservists). The innocent civilians are unfortunate collateral damage in the targeting of soldiers.”
We say: There are two details here.
Tafsîl A: Off-duty soldiers are treated as civilians.
Our jurists agree that during a valid war when there is no ceasefire, and when an attack is not aimed at a valid military target, a hostile soldier (whether male or female, whether conscripted or not) who is not on operational duty or not wearing a military uniform and when there is nothing in the soldier’s outward appearance to suggest that the soldier is in combat, then the soldier is considered a non-combatant [man lâ yuqâtilu] (and in this case must therefore be treated as a normal civilian).
A valid military target is limited to either a battlefield [mahall al-ma’raka or sahat al-qitâl] or a military base [mu’askar; medieval examples are citadel or forts; modern examples are barracks, military depots, etc.]; and certainly never can anything else such as a restaurant, a hotel, a public bus, the area around a traffic light, or any other public place be considered a valid military target, since firstly, these are not places and bases from which an attack would normally originate [mahall al-ra’y]; secondly, because there is certain knowledge [yaqîn] that there is intermingling [ikhtilât] with non-combatants; and thirdly, the non-combatants have not been given the option to leave the place.
As for when the soldiers are on the battlefield, the normal rules of engagement apply.
As for when the soldiers are in a barracks or the like, there is further discussion on whether the soldiers become a legitimate target, and the Qawl Asahh [the More Correct Position] according to our jurists is that they do, albeit to attack them there is makrûh.
Tafsîl B: Non-combatants cannot at all be considered collateral damage except at a valid military target, for which they may be so deemed, depending on certain extenuating circumstances.
There is no khilâf that non-combatants or civilians cannot at all be considered collateral damage at a non-military target in a war zone, and that their deaths are not excusable by our Law, and that the one who ends up killing one of them will be sinful as in the case of murder, even though the soldier who is found guilty of it would be excused from the ordinary capital punishment [hadd], unless the killing was found to be premeditated and deliberate:

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[aw ata bi-ma’siyyatin tujibu l-hadda].

If not, the murderer’s punishment in this case would instead be subject to the authority’s discretion [ta’zîr] and he would in any case be liable to pay the relevant compensation [diya].
As for a valid military target in a war zone, the Shâfi’î School have historically considered the possibility of collateral damage, unlike the position held by others that it is unqualifiedly outlawed. The following are the conditions stipulated for allowing this controversial exception (in addition to meeting the most important condition of them all: that this takes place during a valid war when there is no ceasefire:)
(1) The target is a valid military target.
(2) The attack is as a last resort [min darura] (such as when the civilians have been warned to leave the place and after a period of siege has elapsed).

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wujUb al-indhAri qabla l-bad’i bi-l-qatli
li-annahu lA yajUzu an yaqtula illA man yuqAtilu

(3) There are no Muslim civilians or prisoners.
(4) The decision to attack the target is based on a considered judgement of the executive or military leader that by doing so, there is a good chance that the battle would be won.
(Furthermore, this position is subject to khilâf among our jurists with regard to whether the military target can be a Jewish or Christian [Ahl l-Kitâb] one, since the sole primary text that is invoked to allow this exception concerns an incident restricted to the same “mushrikin” as in the Verse of Sura al-Tawba in Question II above.)
To neglect intentionally any of these strict conditions is analogous to not fulfilling the conditions [shurût] for a prayer [salât] with the outcome that it becomes invalidated [bâtil] and useless [fasâd].
This is why the means of an act [‘amal] must be correct and validated according to the rule of Law in order for its outcome to be sound and accepted, as expressed succinctly in the following wisdom of Imam Ibn ‘Ata’illah (may Allâh sanctify his soul!):

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man ashraqat bidayatuhu ashraqat nihayatuhu
[He who makes good his beginning will make good his ending.]

In our Law, the ends can never justify the means except when the means are in themselves permissible, or mubâh (and not harâm), as is made clear in the following famous legal principle:

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wasIlatu T-TA’ati TA’atun wa-wasIlatu l-ma’Siyati ma’Siyatun
[the means to a reward is itself a reward and the means to a sin is itself a sin.]

Hence, even a simple act such as opening a window, which on its own is only mubâh or halâl, religiously entailing no reward nor being a sin, when a son does it with the intention of his mother’s comfort on a hot summer’s day before she asks for it to be opened, the originally non-consequent act itself becomes mandûb [recommended] and the son is rewarded in his ‘amal-account for the Next World and acquires the pleasure of Allâh.
wAllâhu a’lam wa-ahkam bi-s-sawab!
[God knows and judges best what is right!]

Question V

If it is said: “In a classic manual of Islamic Sacred Law I read that “it is offensive to conduct a military expedition [ghazw] against hostile non-Muslims without the caliph’s permission (though if there is no caliph, no permission is required).” Doesn’t this entail that though it is makrûh for anyone else to call for or initiate such a jihâd, it is permissible?”
We say:

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lA ghazwata illA fi l-jihAdi
[there can be no battle except during a war!]

Secondary legal texts, just as with primary proof-texts (a single Verse of the Qur’an from among the relatively few Âyat al-Ahkâm or a Hadith from among the limited number of Ahâdith al-Ahkâm), must be read and understood in context. The conclusion drawn that it is offensive or permissible for anyone other than those in authority to declare or initiate a war is evidently wrong, since it violates the principal rule of engagement discussed in Fasl II above.
The context is that of endangering one’s life [taghrîr bi-nafs] when there is already a valid war with no ceasefire, as seen in the above example from the Ihyâ’ passage, but certainly not in executive matters of the kind of proclaiming a war and the like. This is also obvious from the terminology used: a ghazw [a military act, assault, foray or raid; the minimum limit in a modern example: an attack by a squad or a platoon (katîba)] can take place only when there is a state of jihâd [war], not otherwise.
Fâ’ida Imâm Ibn Hajar ( raDiy-Allahu-anhu.gif may Allâh be pleased with him!) lists the organizational structure of an army as follows: a ba’th [unit] and several such together, a katîba [platoon], which is a part of a sariyya [company; made up of 50-100 soldiers], which is in turn a part of a mansar [regiment; up to 800 soldiers], which is a part of a jaysh [division; up to 4000 soldiers], which is a part of a jahfal [army corps; exceeding 4000 soldiers], which makes up the jaysh ‘azîm [army]. [Ibn Hajar, Tuhfa, 12:4]
In our School, it is offensive but not completely prohibited for a soldier to defy, or in other words to take the initiative against the wishes of, his direct authority, whether his unit is strong or otherwise. In the modern context, this may include cases when soldier(s) disagree with a particular decision or strategy adopted by their superior officers, whether during a battle or otherwise.
The accompanying commentary to the text you quoted will help clarify this for you:
[Original Text:] It is offensive to conduct an assault [whether the unit is strong (man’a) or otherwise; and some have defined a strong force as 10 men] without the permission of the authority ([Commentary:] or his subordinate, because the assault depends on the needs [of the battle and the like] and the authority is more aware about them. It is not prohibited [to go without his permission] (if) there is no grave endangering of one’s life even when that is permissible in war.) [Ibn Barakat, Fayd, 2:309]

Question VI

If it is said: “What is the meaning of the rule in fiqh that I always hear, that jihâd is a fard kifâya [communal obligation] and when the Dâr al-Islâm is invaded or occupied it is a fard ‘ayn [personal obligation]? How do we apply this in the context of a modern Muslim state such as Egypt?”
We say: It is fard kifâya for the eligible Muslim subjects of the state in the sense that recruitment to the military is only voluntary when the state declares war with a non-Muslim state (as for non-Muslim subjects, they evidently are not religiously obligated but can still serve). It becomes a fard ‘ayn for any able-bodied Muslim when there is a conscription or a nationwide draft to the military if the state is invaded by a hostile non-Muslim force, but only until the hostile force is repelled or the Muslim authority calls for a ceasefire. As for those not in the military, they have the option to defend themselves if attacked even if they have to resort to throwing stones and using sticks [bi ayyi shay’in aTAqUhu wa-law bi-HijAratin aw ‘aSA].
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Furu’: When it is not possible to prepare for war [and rally the army for war (ijtimâ’ li-harb), and a surprise attack by a hostile force completely defeats the army of the state and the entire state becomes occupied] and someone [at home, for example] is faced with the choice of whether to surrender or to fight [such as when the hostile force comes knocking at the door], then he may fight. Or he may surrender, provided that he knows [with certainty] that if he resisted [arrest] he would be killed and that [his] wife would be safe from being raped [fâhisha] if she were taken. If not [that is to say, even if he surrenders he knows he will be killed and his wife raped when taken], then [as a last resort] fighting [jihâd] becomes personally obligatory for him. [al-Bakri, I’ânat, 4:197].
Reflect upon this legal ruling of our Religion and the emphasis placed upon preserving human life and upon the wisdom of resorting to violence only when it is absolutely necessary and in its proper place; and witness the conjunction between the maqâsid and the wasâ’il and the meaning of the conditions when fighting actually becomes a fard ‘ayn for an individual!

Question VII

If it is said today: “In the (Shafi`i) Madhhab, what are the different classifications of lands in the world? For example, Dar al-Islam, Dar al-Kufr and so forth, and what have the classical ulema said their attributes are?”
We say: As it is also from empirical fact [tajrîba], Muslim scholars have classified the territories in this world into: Dâr al-Islâm [its synonyms: Bilâd al-Islâm or Dawla al-Islâm; a Muslim state or territory or land or country, etc.] and Dâr al-Kufr [a non-Muslim state, territory etc.]
The definition of a Muslim state is: “any place at which a resident Muslim is capable of defending himself against hostile forces [harbiyyûn] for a period of time is a Muslim state, where his judgements can be applied at that time and those times following it.” [Ba’alawi, Bughya, 254]. A non-Muslim who resides in a Muslim state is, in our terminology: kâfir dhimmi or al-kâfir bi-dhimmati l-Muslim [a non-Muslim in the care of a Muslim state].
By definition, an area is a Muslim state as long as Muslims continue to live there and the political and executive authority is Muslim. (Think about this, for the Muslim lands are many, varied, wide and extensive; and how poor and of limited insight are those who have tried to limit the definition of what a Muslim state must be, and whether realizing it or not thus try to shrink the Muslim world!)
As for a non-Muslim state, it is the absence of a Muslim state.
As for the Dâr al-Harb [sometimes called, Ard al-‘Adw], it is a non-Muslim state which is in a state of war with a Muslim state. Therefore, a hostile non-Muslim soldier from there is known in our books as: kâfir harbî.
Furu’: Even if such a person enters or resides in a Muslim country that is in a state of war with his home country, provided of course he does so with the permission of the Muslim authority (such as entering with a valid visa and the like), the sanctity of a kâfir harbî’s life is protected by Law, just like the rest of the Muslim and non-Muslim subjects of the state. [al-Kurdi, Fatâwâ, 211-2]. In this case, his legal status becomes a kâfir harbî bi-dhimmati l-imâm [a hostile non-Muslim under the protection of the Muslim authority], and for all intents and purposes, he becomes exactly like the non-Muslim subjects of the state. In this way, the apparent difference between a dhimmî and a harbî non-Muslim becomes only an academic exercise and a distinction in name only.
The implications of this rule for the pious, God-fearing and Law-abiding Muslims are not only that to attack non-Muslims becomes something illegal and an act of disobedience [ma’siya], but also that the steps taken by the Muslim authority and enforcers, such as in Malaysia or Indonesia today, to protect their places, including churches or temples, from the threat of killings and bombings, are included under the bâb of amr bi-ma’ruf wa nahi ‘ani l-munkar [the duty to intervene when another is acting wrongly; in the modern context: enforcing the Law], even if the Muslim enforcers [muhtasib] die in the course of protecting non-Muslims.

Question VIII

If it is said: “What land classification are we in the European Union, and what is the hukm of those who are here? Should they theoretically leave?”
We say: It is clear that the countries in the Union are non-Muslim states, except for Turkey or Bosnia, for example, if they are a part of the Union. The status of the Muslims who reside and are born in non-Muslim states is the reverse of the above non-Muslim status in a Muslim state: al-Muslim bi-dhimmati l-kâfir [a Muslim in the care of a non-Muslim state] and from our own Muslim and religious perspective, whether we like it or not, there are similarities to the status of a guest which should not be forgotten.
There is precedent for this status in our Law. The answer to your question is that they should as a practical matter remain in these countries, and if applicable, learn to cure the schizophrenic cultural condition in which they may find themselves – whether of torn identity in their souls or of dissociation from the general society. If they cannot do so, but find instead that their surroundings are incompatible with the life they feel they must lead, then it is recommended for them to leave and reside in a Muslim state. This status is made clear in the fatwa of the Muhaqqiq, Imam al-Kurdi ( raDiy-Allahu-anhu.gif may Allâh be pleased with him!):
“He ( raDiy-Allahu-anhu.gif may the mercy of Allâh – Exalted is He! – be upon him!) was asked:
“In a territory ruled by non-Muslims, they have left the Muslims [in peace] other than that they pay tax [mâl] every year just like the jizya-tax in reverse, for when the Muslims pay them, their protection is ensured and the non-Muslims do not oppose them [i.e., do not interfere with them]. Thereupon, Islam becomes practiced openly and our Law is established [meaning that they have the freedom to practice their religious duty in the open and in effect become practicing Muslims in that non-Muslim society]. If the Muslims do not pay them, the non-Muslims could massacre them by killing or pillage. Is it permissible to pay them the tax [and thereby become residents there]? If you say it is permissible, what is the ruling about the non-Muslims mentioned above when they are at war [with a Muslim state]: would it or would it not be permissible to oppose them and if possible, take their money? Please give us your opinion!
The answer:
Insofar as it is possible for Muslims to practice their religion openly with what they can have power over, and they are not afraid of any threat [fitna] to their religion if they pay tax to the non-Muslims, it is permissible for them to reside there. It is also permissible to pay them the tax as a requirement of it [residence]; rather, it is obligatory [wâjib] to pay them the tax for fear of their causing harm to the Muslims. The ruling about the non-Muslims at war as mentioned above, because they protect the Muslims [in their territory], is that it would not be permissible for the Muslims to murder them or to steal from them.
[al-Kurdi, Fatawa, 208]
The dâbit for this mas’ala is:

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wa-in qadara ‘ala iZhAri d-dIni wa-lam yakhafi l-fitnata fi d-dIni wa-nafsihi wa-mAlihi lam tajib ‘alayhi al-hijratu
[if someone is able to practice his religion openly and is not afraid of trouble to his religion, life and property, then emigration is not obligatory for him.]

Furu’: Our Shâfi’î jurists have discussed details concerning the case of Muslims residing in a non-Muslim state, and they have divided the legal rulings about their emigration from it to a Muslim state into four sorts (assuming that an individual is capable and has the means to emigrate):
1. Harâm: It is prohibited for them to leave when they are able to defend their territory from a hostile non-Muslim force or withdraw from it (as in the case of a border state, buffer area or disputed territory) and do not need to ask for help from a Muslim state. The reason is that their place of residence is already, technically [hukman], a ‘Muslim state’ even though not in name [sûratan], since they are able to practice their religion openly even though the political or executive authority is not Muslim; and if they emigrated it would cease to be so. This falls under the fiqhî classification of Dâr Kufr Sûratan Lâ Hukman, which is equivalent to Dâr Islâm Hukman Lâ Sûratan.
2. Makrûh: it is offensive to leave their place of residence when it is possible for them to practice their religion openly, and they wish to do so openly.
3. Mandûb: leaving becomes recommended only when it is possible for them to practice their religion openly, but they do not wish to do so.
4. Wâjib: it becomes obligatory to leave when it is the only remaining option, that is, when practicing their religion openly is not possible. A legal precedent is the case after the Reconquista in Spain (which is no longer the case today) when the Five Pillars of the Faith were actively proscribed, so that, for example, the Muslim houses were required to keep their doors open after sunset during the fasting month of Ramadân in order that the authority could see that there was no breaking of the fast.

Question IX

If it is said: “Would you say that in the modern age with all the considerations surrounding sovereignty and inter-connectedness, these classical labels do not apply any longer, or do we have sufficient resources in the School to continue using these same labels?”
We say: As Imam al-Ghazâlî would say:
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idhâ `urifa l-ma`nâ falâ mushâhhata fî l-asmâmî
[Once the real meaning is understood, there is no need to quibble over names.]

Labels can never be relied upon; it is the meaning behind them that must be properly understood. Once they are unpacked, they immediately become relevant for all times; just as with the following loaded terms: jihâd, mujâhid and shahîd. The result for Muslims who fail to notice the relevance and fail to connect the dots of our own inherited medieval terms with the modern world may be that they will live in a schizophrenic cultural reality and will be unable to associate themselves with the surrounding society and will not be at peace [sukûn] with the rest of creation. Just as the sabab al-wujûd of this article is a Muslim’s misunderstanding of his own medieval terminology from a long and rich legacy, the fitna in the world today has been the result of those who misunderstand our Law.
Pay heed to the words of Mawlânâ Rûmî (may Allâh sanctify his secrets!):
Go beyond names and look at the qualities, so that they may show you the way to the essence.
The disagreement of people takes place because of names. Peace occurs when they go to the real meaning.
Every war and every conflict between human beings has happened because of some disagreement about names.
It’s such an unnecessary foolishness, because just beyond the arguing there’s a long table of companionship, set and waiting for us to sit down.
End of the masâ’il section.


It is truly sad that despite our sophisticated and elaborate set of rules of engagement and in spite of the strict codes of warfare and the chivalrous disciplines which our soldiers are expected to observe, all having been thoroughly worked out and codified by the orthodox jurists of the Umma from among the generations of the Salaf, there are today in our midst those who are not ashamed to depart from these sacred conventions in favour of opinions espoused by persons who are not even trained in the Sacred Law at all let alone enough to be a qâdî or a faqîh – the rightful heir and source from which they should receive practical guidance in the first place. Instead they rely on engineers or scientists and on those who are not among its ahl, yet speak in the name of our Law. With these “reformist” preachers and da’îs comes a departure from the traditional ideas about the rules of siyar/jihâd/qitâl, i.e., warfare. Do they not realize that by doing so and by following them they will be ignoring the limitations and restrictions cherished and protected by our pious forefathers and that they will be turning their backs on the Jamâ’a and Ijmâ’ and that they will be engaging in an act for which there is no accepted legal precedent within orthodoxy in our entire history? Have they forgotten that part of the original maqsad of warfare/jihâd was to limit warfare itself and that warfare for Muslims is not total war, so that women, children and innocent bystanders are not to be killed and property not to be needlessly destroyed?
To put it plainly, there is simply no legal precedent in the history of Sunni Islam for the tactic of attacking civilians and overtly non-military targets. Yet the awful reality today is that a minority of Sunni Muslims, whether in Iraq or Beslan or elsewhere, have perpetrated such acts in the name of jihâd and on behalf of the Umma. Perhaps the first such mission to break this long and admirable precedent was the Hamas bombing on a public bus in Jerusalem in 1994 – not that long ago. (Reflect on this!)
Immediately after the incident, the almost unanimous response of the orthodox Shâfi’î jurists from the Far East and the Hadramawt was not only to make clear that the minimum legal position from our Sacred Law is untenable for persons who carry out such acts, but also to warn the Umma that by going down that path we would be compromising the optimum way of Ihsân and that we would thereby be running a real risk of losing the moral and religious high ground. Those who still defend this tactic, invoking blindly a nebulous usûlî principle that it is justifiable out of darûra while ignoring the far’î strictures, must look long and hard at what they are doing and ask the question: was it absolutely necessary, and if so, why was this not done before 1994, and especially during the earlier wars, most of all during the disasters of 1948 and 1967?
How could such a tactic be condoned by one of our Rightly Guided Caliphs and a heroic fighter such as ‘Alî (may Allâh ennoble his face!), who when in the Battle of the Trench his notorious non-Muslim opponent, who was seconds away from being killed by him, spat on his noble face, immediately left him alone. When asked later his reasons for withdrawing when Allâh clearly gave him power over him, he answered: “I was fighting for the sake of God, and when he spat in my face I feared that if I killed him it would have been out of revenge and spite!” Far from being an act of cowardice, this characterizes Muslim chivalry: fighting, yet not out of anger.
In actual fact, the only precedent for this tactic from Muslim history is the cowardly terrorism carried out by the “Assassins” of the Nizari Isma’îlîs. Their most famous victim from a suicide mission was the wise minister and the Defender of the Faith, who could have been alive to deal with the fitna of the Crusades: Nizâm al-Mulk, the Jamâl al-Shuhadâ’ (may Allâh encompass him with His mercy!), assasinated on Thursday, the 10th of the holy month of Ramadan 485/14 October 1092.
Ironically, in the case of Palestine, the precedent was set not by Muslims but by early Zionist terrorist gangs such as the Irgun, who, for example, infamously bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on 22nd July 1946. So ask yourself as an upright and God-fearing believer, whose every organ will be interrogated: do you really want to follow the footsteps and the models of those Zionists and the heterodox Isma’îlîs, instead of the path taken by our Beloved (may Allâh’s blessings and peace be upon him!), who for almost half of the (twenty-three) years of his mission endured Meccan persecution, humiliation and insults? Is anger your only strength? If so, remember the Prophetic advice that it is from the Devil. And is darûra your only excuse for following them instead into their condemned lizard-holes? Do you think that any of our famous mujâhids from history, such as ‘Ali, Salâh al-Dîn, and Muhammad al-Fâtih (may Allâh be well pleased with them all!) will ever condone the article you quoted and these acts today in Baghdad, Jerusalem, Cairo, Bali, Casablanca, Beslan, Madrid, London and New York, some of them committed on days when it is traditionally forbidden by our Law to fight: Dhû l-Qa’da and al-Hijja, Muharram and Rajab? Every person of fitra will see that this is nothing other than a sunna of perversion.
This is what happens to the Banû Adam when the wahm is abandoned by ‘aql, when one of the maqâsid justifies any wasîla, when the realities of furû’ are indiscriminately overruled by generalities of usûl, and most tragically, as illustrated from the eternal blunder of Iblis, when Divine tawakkul is replaced by basic nafs.
Yes, we are one Umma such that when one part of the macro-body is attacked somewhere, another part inevitably feels the pain. Yet at the same time, our own history has shown that we have also been a wise and sensible, instead of a reactive and impulsive, Umma. That is the secret of our success, and that is where our strengths will always lie as has been promised by Divine Writ: in sabr and in tawakkul. It is already common knowledge that when Jerusalem fell to the Crusading forces on the 15th of July 1099 and was occupied by them, and despite its civilians having been raped, killed, tortured and plundered and the Umma at the time humiliated and insulted – acts far worse than what can be imagined in today’s occupation – that it took more than 100 years of patience and legitimate struggle under the Eye of the Almighty before He allowed Salâh al-Din to liberate Jerusalem. We should have been taught from childhood by our fathers and mothers about the need to prioritize and about how to reconcile the spheres of our global concerns with those of our local responsibilities – as we will definitely not escape the questioning in the grave about the latter – so that by this insight we may hope that our response will not be disproportionate nor inappropriate. This is the true meaning [haqîqa] of the true advice [nasîha] of our Beloved Prophet ( MHMD may Allâh’s blessings and peace be upon him!): to leave what does not concern one [tark ma lâ ya’nîh], where one’s time and energy could be better spent in improving the lot of the Muslims today or benefiting others in this world.
Yes, we will naturally feel the pain when any of our brothers and sisters die unjustly anywhere when their deaths have been caused directly by non-Muslims, but it must be the more painful for us when they die in Iraq, for example, when their deaths are caused directly by the self-destroying/martyrdom/suicide missions carried out by one of our own. On tafakkur, the second pain should make us realize that missions of this sort, when the means and the legal particulars are all wrong – by scripture and reason – are not only a scourge for our non-Muslim neighbours but a plague and great fitna for this mercied Umma, and desire insâf so that out of maslaha and the general good, it must be stopped.
To this end, we could sum up a point of law tersely in the following maxim:

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lA yaj’alu Z-ZulmAni th-thAniya Haqqan
[two wrongs do not make the second one right]

If the first pain becomes one of the mitigating factors and ends up being used as a justification by our misguided young to retaliate in a manner which our Sacred Law definitely and without doubt outlaws (which makes your original article the more appalling, as its author will have passed the special age of 40), then the latter pain should by its graver significance generate a greater and more meaningful response. With this intention, we may hope that we shall regain our former high ground and reputation and rediscover our honour and chivalrous qualities and be no less brave.
I end with the first ever Verse revealed in the Qur’an which bestowed the military option only upon those in a position of authority:
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wa-qAtilU fI sabIli LlAhi l-ladhIna yuqAtilUnakum
wa-lA ta’tadU inna LlAha lA yuHibbu l-mu’tadIna
{And fight for the sake of God those who fight you: but do not commit excesses, for God does not love those who exceed (i.e., the Law)}
(al-Baqara, 2:190).

Even then, peace is preferred over war:

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wa-in janaHU li-s-salmi fa-jnaH la-hA wa-tawakkal ‘ala LlAhi
{Now if they incline toward peace,
then incline to it, and place your trust in God}
(al-Anfal, 8:61)

Even if you think that the authority in question has decided wrongly and you disagree with their decision not to war with the non-Muslim state upon which you wish war to be declared, then take heed of the following Divine command:

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yA ayyhuhA l-ladhIna AmanU aTI’u l-LAha wa-aTI’u r-rasUla wa-uli l-amri minkum
{O believers, obey Allâh, and obey the Messenger, and those with authority among you!}
(al-Nisa’, 4:58)

If you still insist that your authority should declare war with the non-Muslim state upon which you wish war to be declared, then the most you could do in this capacity is to lobby your authority for it. However, if your anger is so unrestrained that its fire brings out the worst in you to the point that your disagreement with your Muslim authority leads you to declare war on those you want your authority to declare war on, and you end up resorting to violence, then know with certainty that you have violated our own religious Laws. For then you will have taken the Sharî’a into your own hands. If indeed you reach the point of committing a violent act, then know that by our own Law you would have been automatically classified as a rebel [ahl al-baghy] whom the authority has the right to punish: even if the authority is perceived to be or is indeed corrupt [fâsiq]. (The definition of rebels is: “Muslims who have disagreed [not by heart or by tongue but by hand] with the authority even if it is unjust [jâ’ir] and they are correct [‘adilûn]” [al-Nawawî, Majmû’, 20:337].)
That is why, my brethren, when the military option is not a legal one for the individuals concerned, you must not lose hope in Allâh; and let us be reminded of the words of our Beloved ( MHMD may Allâh’s blessings and peace be upon him!):

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afDalu l-jihAdi kalimatu Haqqin ‘inda sulTAnin jA’irin
[The best Jihad is a true (i.e., brave) word in the face of a tyrannical ruler.]

(From a Hadîth of Abû Sa’îd al-Khudrî ( raDiy-Allahu-anhu.gif may Allâh be well pleased with him!) among others, which is related by Ibn al-Ja’d, Ahmad, Ibn Humayd, Ibn Mâjâh, Abû Dawûd, al-Tirmidhî, al-Nasâ’î, Abû Ya’lâ, Abû Bakr al-Rûyânî, al-Tabarânî, al-Hâkim, and al-Bayhaqî, with variants.)
For it is possible still, and especially today, to fight injustice or zulm and taghût in this dunyâ through your tongue and your words and through the pen and the courts, which still amounts in the Prophetic idiom to jihâd, even if not through war. As in the reminder [tadhkira] of the great scholar, Imâm al-Zarkashî: war is only a means to an end and as long as some other way is open to us, that other way should be the course trod upon by Muslims.
Ma shâ-Allâh, how true indeed are the Beloved’s words, so that the latter mujâhid or activist will be no less brave or lacking in any courage with his or her campaign for a just cause in an oppressive country or one needing reforms than the former mujâhid or patriot who fought bravely for his country in a just war.
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fa-t-taqillaha wa-raji’ mufatashata nafsika wa-islaha fasadiha wa-huwa hasbuna wa-ni’ma l-wakil wa-la hawla wa-la quwwata illa billahi l-‘aliyyi l-‘azim! wa-salawatuhu ‘ala sayyidina Muhammadin wa-alihi wasallim waradiyAllâhu tabaraka wa-ta’ala ‘an sadatina ashabi rasulillahi ajma’in wa-‘anna ma’ahum wa-fihim wa-yaj’aluna min hizbihim bi-rahmatikaya arhama r-rahimin! Âmin!
[Fear God, and go back to controlling your self and to curing your wickedness! For indeed, He is enough for us: what an excellent guardian! There is no help nor power except through God, the High and Mighty! May His blessings and peace be upon our master, Muhammad, and his Family! And may He be pleased with our leaders, the Companions of the Messenger of God, one and all! And may we be together with them and in their company, and may He make us among their Troop! By Your Mercy, O Most Merciful of those who show mercy, Amen!]
May this be of benefit.
With heartfelt wishes for salâm & tayyiba
from Oxford to Brunei,
Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti
16th Jumâdâ’ II 1426
23rd July 2005
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al-Kurdi. Fatâwa al-Kurdi al-Madanî. In Qurrat al-‘Ayn bi-Fatâwâ ‘Ulamâ’ al-Haramayn. Edited by Muhammad ‘Alî b. Hussayn al-Mâlikî. Bogor: Maktaba ‘Arafât, n.d.
al-Nawawî. al-Majmu’ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab. Edited by Mahmûd Matrajî. 22 vols. Beirut: Dâr al-Fikr, 1996.
al-Nawawî al-Jâwî. Marâh Labîd Tafsîr al-Nawawî: al-Tafsîr al-Munîr li-Ma’âlim al-Tanzîl al-Mufassir ‘an Wujûh Mahâsin al-Ta’wîl al-Musammâ Marâh Labîd li-Kashf Ma’nâ Qur’an Majîd. 2 vols. Bulaq, 1305 H.

Fatwa and full article can be found here.

You can download the full PDF here.

Islam vs. ISIS: A Letter to Baghdadi from Leading Scholars

In response to the recent atrocities happening in Iraq and Syria, a large group of our esteemed scholars got together and wrote an open letter to the ‘Islamic State’ leader Dr. Ibrahim Awwad Al-Badri, alias ‘Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’, and his fighters. May Allah Most High make the efforts of our scholars successful and bring clarity in these unsettling times.
Due to the far reaching negative effects brought about by such atrocities, we feel it is important to study this letter and the points it raises to refute ISIS/IS philosophies. It is important to be armed with knowledge and the deeper understanding of balanced Islamic principles that have been with the Ummah for fourteen hundred years.
Our Beloved Prophet (may peace and blessings of God be upon him) was sent with a peaceful ideology and as a mercy to the world. We are not a people who hold enemy-centred ideologies. Below is a brief taste of what is in the letter as well as a link at the end to the whole document:
[Don’t Oversimplify Islam]
“It is not permissible to constantly speak of ‘simplifying matters’, or to cherry-pick an extract from the Qur’an without understanding it within its full context. It is also not permissible to say: ‘Islam is simple, and the Prophet (may peace be upon him) and his noble Companions were simple, why complicate Islam?’
…And the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: ‘Whoever speaks about the Qur’an without knowledge should await his seat in the Fire.’
[Respect the lives of Ambassadors and Emissaries]
“It is known that all religions forbid the killing of emissaries. What is meant by emissaries here are people who are sent from one group of people to another to perform a noble task such as reconciliation or the delivery of a message. Emissaries have a special inviolability.
Ibn Masoud said: ‘The Sunnah continues that emissaries are never killed.’ …Aid workers are also emissaries of mercy and kindness, yet you killed the aid worker David Haines. What you have done is unquestionably forbidden (haram).
[Know the Etiquettes of War]
“When Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq (may God be pleased with him) prepared an army and sent it to the Levant, he said: ‘You will find people who have devoted themselves to monasteries, leave them to their devotions… do not kill the old and decrepit, women or children; do not destroy buildings; do not cut down trees or harm livestock without good cause; do not burn or drown palms; do not be treacherous; do not mutilate; do not be cowardly; and do not loot…’
“As for killing prisoners, it is forbidden in Islamic Law. Yet you have killed many prisoners including the 1700 captives at Camp Speicher in Tikrit in June, 2014; the 200 captives at the Sha’er gas field in July, 2014; the 700 captives of the Sha’etat tribe in Deir el-Zor (600 of whom were unarmed civilians); the 250 captives at the Tabqah air base in Al-Raqqah in August, 2014; Kurdish and Lebanese soldiers, and many untold others whom God knows. These are heinous war crimes.
[Don’t Declare People Non-Muslims]
“Quintessentially in Islam, anyone who says: ‘There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God’ is a Muslim and cannot be declared a non-Muslim. God Most High says: ‘O you who believe, when you are going forth in the way of God, be discriminating and do not say to him who offers you peace: “You are not a believer”, – desiring the transient goods of the life of this world. With God are plenteous spoils. So were you formerly, but God has been gracious to you. So be discriminating. Surely God is ever Aware of what you do.’ (Al-Nisa’, 4: 94).
The meaning of ‘be discriminating’ in the above verse is to ask them: ‘Are you Muslims?’ The answer is to be taken at face-value without questioning or testing their faith.
[Respect People of Other Faiths]
“People of the Scripture: Regarding Arab Christians, you gave them three choices: jizyah (poll tax), the sword, or conversion to Islam. You painted their homes red, destroyed their churches, and in some cases, looted their homes and property. You killed some of them and caused many others to flee their homes with nothing but their lives and the clothes on their backs.
These Christians are not combatants against Islam or transgressors against it, indeed they are friends, neighbours and co-citizens. From the legal perspective of Shari’ah they all fall under ancient agreements that are around 1400 years old, and the rulings of jihad do not apply to them.
[Don’t Destroy the Resting Places of Prophets and Companions]
“Destruction of the graves and shrines of Prophets and Companions: You have blown up and destroyed the graves of Prophets and Companions. Scholars disagree on the subject of graves. Nevertheless, it is not permissible to blow up the graves of Prophets and Companions and disinter their remains, just as it is not permissible to burn grapes under the pretext that some people use them to make wine.
[The Rule Regarding Rebelling Against a Country Leader]
“Rebelling against the leader: It is impermissible to rebel against the leader who is not guilty of declared and candid disbelief (al-kufr al-bawwah); i.e. disbelief that he himself admits to openly and where all Muslims are in consensus regarding such a person being a non-Muslim—or by his prohibiting the establishment of prayers. The evidence of this is in God Most High’s words: ‘O you who believe, obey God, and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you …’ (Al-Nisa’, 4:59)
[Is Your ‘Caliphate’ Legitimate?]
“In your speech you quoted the Companion Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq (may God be pleased with him): ‘I have been given authority over you, and I am not the best of you.’ This begs the question: who gave you authority over the ummah? Was it your group? If this is the case, then a group of no more than several thousand has appointed itself the ruler of over a billion and a half Muslims.
This attitude is based upon a corrupt circular logic that says: ‘Only we are Muslims, and we decide who the caliph is, we have chosen one and so whoever does not accept our caliph is not a Muslim.’ In this case, a caliph is nothing more than the leader of a certain group that declares more than 99% of Muslims non Muslim.
On the other hand, if you recognise the billion and a half people who consider themselves Muslims, how can you not consult (shura) them regarding your so-called caliphate?
Thus, you face one of two conclusions: either you concur that they are Muslims and they did not appoint you caliph over them—in which case you are not the caliph—or, the other conclusion is that you do not accept
them as Muslims, in which case Muslims are a small group not in need of a caliph, so why use the word ‘caliph’ at all? In truth, the caliphate must emerge from a consensus of Muslim countries, organisations of Islamic scholars and Muslims across the globe.”
Click here for the Open Letter to Baghdadi
“Muslim youth are confused about how to understand a new group claiming the title of “Caliph” in Iraq. In this khutba (Friday sermon), Shaykh Hamza Yusuf provides guided insights into the reality of our tradition, the mercy of the Prophetic way, and the stark contrast to this that ISIS presents to the world.”

— Ibrahim J. Long

Resources for Seekers:

Marvelling at the Heart – Reflections by Sidi Suhayb

“Verily, in the body is a small piece of flesh that if it is healthy, the whole body is healthy and if it is sick, the whole body is sick. This small piece of flesh is the heart.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

[Marvels of the heart course]
Knowledge of the heart is considered to be fard al-ayn (an individual obligation), and after completing the Marvels of the Heart course with Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, I understand why.
This is my first time doing a course with Shaykh Yahya Rhodus. I found him to be a person who reminds you of All Mighty Allah when you look at him. He exudes gentleness and mercy and I was left wanting whatever it is that he has. His character alone would guide people to Islam.
[Transforming and life changing]
The course is nothing short of amazing and to this day remains my favourite Seekers Guidance course, and if acted upon, the most transformative and life-changing. From the beginning of the course to the very end it is full of insight and deep meaning.
I have only done this course once but intend to do it again God Willing. With this course in particular, I bought a translation of the text. I would read the relevant chapter in English before listening to the lesson and then read along again during the lesson, ultimately reading the book twice throughout the course. This really helped me to grasp the concepts.
I converted to Islam around thirteen years ago Praise be to be God, and really just thought that after taking my shahadah that somehow I would be miraculously cured of all the problems I had in life. Somehow without making any effort except saying I believe that All Mighty Allah would grant me a huge spiritual experience and all would be well. Thirteen years later I realise this is not going to be the case for me and that I am going to have to struggle against my ego and my desires, that I need to really strive to seek Allah’s pleasure, All Mighty Allah owes me nothing but I owe Him (God Almighty) everything.
The thing that really hit me throughout the course was the realisation of the state I am in. I am a person who has suffered from addictions in life to one thing and another and doing this course made me realise that even though I am in recovery alhamdulillah, I am still what you might call a suffering addict in my behaviour. I am impulsive by nature and often act on a whim to please myself. This course brought these things to my attention and made me realise that there is a better way to live my life.
[Closeness to God]sh.-yahya-and-cam.png
“The special characteristics of the heart are that by which we draw near to All Mighty Allah. These special characteristics are based on knowledge and will, ‘ilm and irada. The will follows the guidance of the intellect. If the intellect sees something as beneficial it will drive the will to do it. It is different to the animals as the will of the human being can go against your desires based on the judgement of the intellect”.
After hearing this I realised that I have an intellect and that I need to use this to keep my ego and desires in check.  Amazingly, even though the book was written so long ago, the lessons from it are so relevant today, especially in dealing with addiction. When overcoming an urge to use, the addict is encouraged to listen to the rational part of his or her brain to control that urge. Very much like the battle that takes place for the heart with the intellect acting as the advisor to the kingdom (heart) and directing the foot soldiers (our ego and desires) to stay in line. There is a battle underway for this kingdom and we must be ever vigilant.
Perhaps the scariest part is that I have now learned that the heart is ever-changing, and the science of the heart (tasawwuf) is required in every single moment because of this. There is no miraculous overnight cure heading my way, only a lifetime of struggle. But perhaps my miraculous cure is the realisation and acceptance of that.
I recommend this course to everyone and feel that it is perhaps one of the most important things we should learn. From the way it is taught to the teachings it conveys, it will change your outlook on life and how you practise your deen. If more of us are aware of the state of our hearts, its disease and how to treat them then the world will be a better place.
“If you know your heart you will know yourself, and if you know yourself you will know your Lord”
Purchase the book, Click here 

SeekersGuidance Course:
The Marvels of the Heart with Shaykh Yahya Rhodus
Relevant Resources:
Habib Umar’s Morning Lessons on Imam Ghazali’s Marvels of the Heart – Day 1 – Select Quotes
The Importance of Study in One’s Spiritual Development – Imam al-Ghazzali
On Knowing Yourself to Know God – A SeekersCircle Reflection