Ashura 2020 Online Event


Today, August 29th, 2020, the SeekersGuidance team has organized an amazing program in honor of Ashura, which will feature scholars and speakers from around the world. With a wide array of topics discussed- from lessons on historical events to spiritual reflections, our speakers will help shed light on the significant events that took place on the 10th of Muharram.  The day of Ashura is recognized by all – celebrated by some and considered a day of mourning by others, but why the contrast? Join us today to find out.

Click here to learn more.

The Day of Ashura

The Day of Ashura, the tenth of Muharram, is an auspicious day. It has been narrated that it was the day on which Allah forgave our father Adam, the day on which the Ark of Nuh came to rest on the mountain known as al-Judi after six months at sea, and the day on which Allah forgave the people of Yunus (peace be upon him and all the Prophets).

When the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) came to Madinah, he found the Jews fasting the Day of Ashura. He asked them why they were fasting and they told him that it was the day on which Allah saved Sayyiduna Musa (peace be upon him) and his people and drowned Pharaoh and his people. Musa fasted out of gratitude to Allah and his people continued the practice after him. The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) told the Jews that his nation was closer to Musa (peace be upon him) than them. He then fasted that day and ordered his Companions to fast (Bukhari and Muslim). He taught his nation (Ummah) to commemorate this great day, to reflect upon its connection to the previous Prophets and to seek a portion of the immense outpouring of Allah’s mercy that those Prophets received on Ashura.

The most important thing he taught us to do is to fast. He informed us that if we do so, Allah wipes out the sins of the previous year (Muslim). We may ask: if we have already fasted the Day of `Arafah then Allah has already erased our sins in the previous and coming year so what more can be gained from fasting Ashura? Some scholars mention that continuously fasting both days leads to a deeper erasure of one’s wrongdoings, protection from falling into sin in the future and also has the effect of wiping out the wrongdoings of one’s family and neighbours.

Why does fasting the Day of `Arafah wipe out the sins of two years, whereas fasting the day of Ashura only wipes out the sins of one year? One reason, the scholars say, is that the Day of `Arafah is a day attributed to Sayyiduna Muhammad (blessings and peace be upon him) which is clearly superior to Ashura which is attributed to Sayyiduna Musa (peace be upon him). The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) also taught his nation (Ummah) to fast the day before or the day after so that our tradition be distinct from the tradition of the Jews.

We should renew our repentance on Ashura. The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said that it is a day on which Allah allowed a certain people to repent and He will continue to allow others to do the same (Tirmidhi).

The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) also taught us that if someone spends generously on their family on the Day of Ashura, Allah will treat them with generosity for the rest of the year (Bayhaqi).  Sufyan Ibn `Uyaynah said, “We tried this for fifty years and all that we saw was good.”

It has likewise been narrated that the one who gives charity on this day will have the reward of a whole year’s charity.

On this day we also recall the courage and sacrifice of Imam al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) and renew our attachment and love for him and for the Prophetic Household.

Abraham As The Patriarch Of Shari’a Diversity : Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

In this talk delivered by esteemed scholar, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, he discusses how the sanctuary (haram) in Mecca is full of signs; manifest signs.  The first of these signs is the standing place of Ibrahim (Maqamu Ibrahim).

The Abrahamic qualities that the haram contains are quite evident, from them:

  • The sacrifice on the Day of Adha
  • The retracing of Abrahamic moments during the Hajj
  • Sa’i as well as Safa and Marwa

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad says regarding the latter ritual:

“…And another of these great signs is …. the Sa’i, between Safwa and Marwa which are from Allah signs or tokens (min shaa’iril Allah), that this is her moment, and the moment of the female dimension of the Abrahimic possibility in religion, because Hajar is the only one really in the history of world religions to have been identified explicitly with the instituting of a religious obligation.  I’m not familiar with any other obligatory practice in any of the world’s religions that is specifically identified in it’s founding moment with a woman…”

Shaykh Abdal Hakim continues to discuss the black stone and what we can learn from it. Umar said, “I know, you are just a stone; you cannot do anyone harm nor can you do any good, but if it were not for the fact that I saw the holy Prophet kissing you, I would not kiss you.” But the story continues:

…then he cried until his sobbing was audible.

He turned and there he saw Ali – May God exalt his face – Umar says to him, “O Amir al-Mu’minin, in this place the tears fall and the prayers ascend”

Ali says to Umar, “It does harm and it does do good!”

And he said, “How?”

Ali answered, “Truly, Allah when he took the covenant from the descendants of Adam he wrote it and he, fed this writing to the stone, and it bares witness to the faithfulness of the believer and the rejection and negation of the unbeliever.”

Shaykh Abdal Hakim then explains the covenant that Ali was referring to.

Other things discussed in this wonderful talk:

  • What does it mean when we say we’re from the Abrahamic religions? What makes us different from the Christians and Jews?
  • How is Hajar an indication of Islam’s ethnic inclusiveness?
  • Ibrahim’s obedience to Allah (upon him be peace)
  • Ibrahim’s arguing and debate with Nimrod
  • and many other interesting discussions

The talk ends with some questions from the audience.

If Only Someone Else Said it | Mufti Taha Karaan of South Africa

It was the year 17 after the Hijrah.

Two years earlier Amiru al-Mu’minin Umar (Allah be pleased with him) traveled from Madinah to Jerusalem to receive its keys from its patriarch Sophronius. This time, having left Ali ibn Abi Talib (Allah be pleased with him) in charge of things at Madinah, he was once again on the road to Syria. Accompanying him on this journey were Madinah’s leading Muhajirin and Ansaar. Their purpose was to come to the aid of Abu Ubaydah (Allah be pleased with him) who was under siege by the Byzantines in Hims, to disrupt alignment of the people of Upper Mesopotamia with the Byzantines against the Muslims, and to generally raise the spirits of the troops.

A grueling desert trek of some 800km, normally covered by caravans in three weeks, brought them to a village called Sargh. Today the Jordanian village of al-Mudawwarah stands close to its location, just 15km from the Saudi-Jordanian border. It was to this spot that the generals of the armies in Syria came to meet the Commander of the Faithful.

Umar’s strategy worked. A force which he ordered to be dispatched from Kufa to Hims under command of Qa’qa ibn Amr combined with the battalion of Khalid ibn Walid that had arrived in Hims from Qinnasrin before the siege. Their combined forces, together with the news of help on the way from Hijaz under Amiru al-Mu’minin himself, broke both the Byzantine spirit and the potential alliance with Upper Mesopotamia. In buoyant spirits, Muslim troops opened the gates of Hims and rushed at the now demoralized besiegers. The Byzantines broke and fled.

Three days later Abu Ubaydah (Allah be pleased with him) and his fellow commanders presented themselves before Amiru al-Mu’minin at Sargh.

Every reason existed for this meeting to be one of joy, optimism, and the sharing of triumph. Companions who had not seen one another for months if not years were meeting again. Stories of victory and courage would be shared, and collective thanks would be given to Allah. But most importantly, Umar would be there.

Umar, the rock that personified resoluteness, whose inspired leadership diffused confidence and trust in Allah, but who, by the severe austerity of his own conduct, stood like a towering bastion against the love of this ephemeral world that constantly threatened to creep into the hearts of his conquering subjects.

Yet, despite all the reasons for happiness and joy, a sombre cloud was hanging over the gathering at Sargh. For distressing news has been received from Palestine. In the town of Amawaas the plague had broken out.

Umar (Allah be pleased with him) called the commanders of his Syrian armies into conference. Along with the senior companions (Sahabah) who had come with him from Madinah, they took their seats on the ground: Khalid, Abu Ubaydah and Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan (Allah be pleased with them).

Opinions differed. Some felt that the journey should go ahead, while others thought it undesirable that the Muslim leadership should enter a land in which plague was spreading. Umar listened attentively. When the time came to decide, all fell silent. Everyone’s eyes were fixed on Amiru al-Mu’minin.

“I and those with me will return to Madinah.”

For a moment everything went dead silent. Time appeared to hold its breath. No one spoke. Amiru al-Mu’minin had spoken. The consultation was over. Umar rose to leave.

Suddenly the silence was pierced by a voice in anguish. It was Abu Ubaydah. He had been one of those who advised that the journey should go ahead. But it was not by the dismissal of his own advice that he was aggrieved. He believed, having been taught so by Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), that all things, death included, happen by the foreordained decree of Allah. For Amiru al-Mu’minin to turn back at the news of plague appeared to go completely against the grain of this tenet of faith. Abu Ubaydah felt compelled to speak. He was after all this Ummah’s Custodian of Trust.

“Would you flee from the decree (Qadar) of Allah, Amiru al-Mu’minin? Would you flee from what Allah has preordained?”

A second silence imposed itself on the gathering, this one even more deafening than the first. Umar, having half turned away already, went stiff for a moment. Around them life went on in the usual clatter and banter of an army camp. But within that circle it grew very, very silent.

Umar slowly rotated back to face his interlocutor. A look of pain and dismay passed over his face. And then he spoke.

“If only someone else said it, Abu Ubaydah. How I wish those words came from the tongue of someone other than you!”

Umar loved Abu Ubaydah dearly and held him in the highest esteem. This was one of the ten men whom Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) promised Jannah. It was to him that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) gave the epithet, Custodian of Trust of this Ummah. It was men such as he of who Allah said, “They are indeed and in truth the real believers”, and whilst walking on the face of this earth they heard revelation descending in which Allah declared to all the world that He is pleased with them and they with Him.”

It is not befitting that two men of such high stature differ so publicly. It is even less desirable that an aspect of faith should be drawn into their difference. And then, Umar just didn’t like having to go against Abu Ubaydah. But when truth requires to be stated, all other considerations recede into secondary status.

Before speaking his mind, though, Umar needed his discomfort to be heard. “How I wish, Abu Ubaydah, that it was someone other than you who spoke those words!”

A moment’s pause. And then, in his own characteristic fashion, Umar clarified an aspect of belief in Qadar which Abu Ubaydah appears not to have grasped or to have for the moment lost sight of.

“Yes, indeed. We flee from Allah’s Qadar. Towards Allah’s Qadar. We flee from what Allah preordained to what Allah preordained.”

Consider this. You come with your flock to a valley with two sides. One side is lush and fertile, the other is dry. If you graze your flock on the fertile side, is it by anything other than what Allah preordained that you do so? And if you graze them on the dry side, is it by anything other than what Allah preordained?

The lesson was crystal clear. Nothing you do, no route you take, and no choice you make is beyond the pale of Qadar. Such is our belief in Qadar. So whatever you may want to question, do not question our belief in Qadar.

Among the men who had come with Umar from Madinah was Abdur Rahman ibn Awf (Allah be pleased with him). For some or other reason he was absent from this council. When he arrived a while later he was appraised of what had transpired between Umar and Abu Ubaydah. Unlike the others, though, he had actually heard something from Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) that had a direct bearing on the matter in question. And as was the habit of the Sahabah, he promptly transmitted what he heard.

“I heard Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) say: ‘If you hear about a plague in a land, then do not enter that land. And if a plague breaks out while you are there, then do not flee it and leave.’”

Although Umar did not know it at the time of his altercation with Abu Ubaydah, the hadith fell squarely on his side. But no surprise there. This was Umar, after all. The man whose words had so often before been confirmed by nothing less than revelation from on high. The one about who Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, if there is in this Ummah an inspired person as there were in previous nations, then it would be none other than he.

We could of course go on and on enumerating his merits and extolling his achievements. But this is where we stop.

We stop because what needed to be learnt has been understood. So often it is those we hold in the highest esteem who throw at us the accusation that our choices and actions go against belief in Qadar. The sincerity and concern for the religion with which they do so are probably no less than of Abu Ubaydah ibn Jarrah (Allah be pleased with him).

So how are we to respond?

Do we hit back in similar tone and innuendo? Do we reverse the accusations and guilt-tripping? And most importantly, do we succumb to the demands of base instinct and dispense with all reverence and respect?

Allah forbid than any of those thoughts should even come to mind. And if ever they do, then may Allah forgive us for even thinking that.

If we are to respond, we will respond in the manner taught to us by those who were taught by Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). We will respond in the words and attitude of the one man of whom Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that if there were to be a prophet after him it would be he. Ours will be the response of Amiru al-Mu’minin Sayiduna Umar ibn al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him).

“If only someone else said it, Abu Ubaydah.”

How we wish, our dearest elders, that these hurtful words were spoken by someone other than your respected selves!

And that is as much as we will ever say.


Biography of Mufti Taha Karaan:

Mufti Taha Karaan is a Shafi’i scholar born in Cape Town, South Africa, to a family renowned in both its maternal and paternal lineage for Islamic scholarship. His father, the late Mufti Yusuf Karaan (may Allah have mercy on his soul), was one of the most distinguished Islamic scholars in the Cape.

Mufti Taha completed his Qur’anic memorization in one year at the Waterfall Islamic Institute, the oldest Islamic seminary in South Africa. During his stay, he assisted in the editing of the Qur’anic prints that the Institute has become famous for the world over. After finishing four years of the ‘alim course in two years, he journeyed to the Indian sub-continent and Dar al-Uloom Deoband, graduating from there in 1991 with the highest of distinctions, as did his father, in a class of over 700 students. He then travelled to the Middle East and completed a two-year graduate diploma at the Higher Institute for Islamic Studies in Cairo, Egypt.

Mufti Taha is the recipient of numerous chains of transmission (ijazaat), from well-respected scholars in India, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, among others, in numerous fields of Islamic study.

Currently, Mufti Taha is the Mufti of the Muslim Judicial Council. He is a sought-after speaker at Islamic symposia and conferences but attends them sparingly, preferring to spend most of his time at the Islamic seminary, Dar al-Uloom al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah, that he founded in 1996. The educational thrust of the seminary reflects Mufti Taha’s own pioneering vision and commitment to squarely interface with the challenges of the modern age through the twin objectives of preservation and progress.

In his teaching, writing and legal verdicts (fatawa), Mufti Taha regularly addresses contemporary issues such as the challenges of post-modernity, feminism, Islamic economics and finance, the old and new Orientalisms, and fiqh issues affecting Diaspora Muslim communities.

His students describe him as divinely-gifted with encyclopaedic knowledge; possessed of a near photographic memory; an insatiable bibliophile within the Islamic sciences and without; a teacher that never ceases to inspire; endowed with an elegant calligraphic hand and a penchant for poetry; thoroughly unassuming, pleasant, brilliant and tender-hearted.

The Farewell Sermon: Reflections on the Prophet’s Counsel – Habib Muhammad Abdul-Rahman al-Saqqaf

On Thursday 30th July 2020, over a billion Muslims around the world prayed for Mercy and nearness to God on the holy day of Arafat.

It is our continued effort to disseminate light, clarity, and guidance to the global community. In pursuit of this endeavour, SeekersGuidance hosted a special online event in commemoration of the Day of Arafat. We were honoured to be joined by Habib Muhammad Abdul-Rahman al-Saqqaf for our Day of Arafat program.

(Read About the Program Here).

About – Habib Muhammad Abdul-Rahman al-Saqqaf

Habib Muhammad Abdul-Rahman al-Saqqaf is a direct descendant of our Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). He studied with some of the greatest scholars of Hijaz of our time including Sayyid Mohammad Bin Alawi al-Maliki, Shaykh Ahmad Mashur Bin Taha al-Haddad and many others. He participated in the establishment of the teaching curriculum at Dar al-Mustafa (Tarim, Hadramawt) for Islamic Studies, and has trained, coached, and founded numerous circles of teaching and calling to God. He has also printed many beneficial publications.

In the video above, Habib Muhammad discussed the Prophet’s mission of spreading wisdom through profound lessons (blessings and peace be upon him). Habib Muhammad draws light upon one such lesson that The Prophet taught during his largest gathering ever on the Day of Arafat, only a few short months before he passed away.

“In the Farewell Hajj are so many lessons and wisdoms which demand great research and much study; the seeker of knowledge would need a full and detailed intensive study of it.”

In his historic sermon, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) laid down fundamental principles for correcting our lives.

Amongst the things he addressed in his speech were:

  • Rights of Islam
  • Rights of People
  • Economical Issues
  • Women’s Rights
  • and many other important topics

Through these lessons as discussed in the video, it is evident that The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was sent to us as a guiding light. It is through understanding his words and the importance behind them that we can begin to benefit from this beautiful religion. 

Abu Bakrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“Delivering the sermon during the Farewell Pilgrimage on the day of Sacrifice at Mina, the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said, ‘Verily your blood, your property and your honour are as sacred and inviolable as the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours and in this town of yours. Verily! I have conveyed this message to you.’” – Bukhari and Muslim

The Islamic Scholars Fund

Our Day of Arafat program was organized in an effort to raise awareness of the SeekersGuidance Islamic Scholars Fund (ISF) which was established to help deserving scholars and students in need around the world.

We ask you to donate your Zakat and Charity to the Islamic Scholars Fund – so that scholars around the world can continue to spread clarity and light during these turbulent times.

 

Spiritual Activism and the Tradition of Salawat in West Africa – Imam Dawud Walid

In this reminder, Imam Dawud Walid discusses the benefits of sending benediction and praise on the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), relating it to Sacred Activism and Centering Black Narrative.

Imam Dawud tells the story a great 19th-century West African scholar, saint, and activist, Sidi Touba, Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba, whose mother, a scholar herself, was descended from the Prophet.

Shaykh Bamba wrote a great number of works in many Islamic sciences, but when exiled by the French, he devoted all of his time to writing poetry and praise on the Prophet as a means for his liberation and that of his people. Shaykh Bamba was a believer in “virtue ethics”—that the way you take means is more important is the end. Imam Dawud highlights a commonly recurring benediction in these poems, called the salat al-fatih.

Imam Dawud concludes that while at looking the issues is important, so, too, is the means we take. In addition, to keep ourselves centred and spiritually grounded, sending benedictions on the Prophet is extremely important, whether through traditional formulas, the salat al-fatih, or reading a chapter of Jazauli’s Dala’il al-Khayrat.

 

Ramadan 2020 Reminders | Episode 10: God Doesn’t Forsake Us: The Story of Hagar | Dr. Hadia Mubarak

The Islamic and Biblical traditions both tell the story of Hagar, stranded in the deserts of Mecca with her baby—but in a very different way. Dr. Hadia Mubarak shows how the Islamic narrative shows Hagar empowered in the face of difficulty, showing us how to relinquish our anxieties and fears and completely trust in God.

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary offers structured learning and inspiring religious guidance, completely free. We also offer over a dozen classes with scholars from around the world streamed live this Ramadan. View the full schedule and tune in daily at https://www.seekersguidance.org/live.

We offer FREE courses, with clear learning streams for Islamic studies, Youth Islamic Studies, and Learning Arabic as well as a range of topics. To Register Visit https://www.seekersguidance.org/courses.

During this current crisis, we need your help in spreading clarity in these confusing times. We are in a time when scholars and students are left without support due to the closing of religious institutions and we can’t afford to let this hurt people’s faith. Help us to raise $1 million with your zakat and charity and support the Islamic Scholars Fund.

You can also assist SeekersGuidance in spreading the light of guidance through our at https://www.seekersguidance.org/donate

The Trodden Path (Episode 12): Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi

In this series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed of South Africa will take us on a journey through the lives and biographies of some of the most celebrated and well known scholars of the twentieth and twenty – first century. These historical accounts will provide us with refreshing insights and lessons, and motivate us to follow in the footsteps of our pious predecessors.


In this twelfth episode of the The Trodden Path series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed writes on the life of Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi of India.

Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi  Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (1333-1420=1915-1999)

Shaykh Abul Hasan, the great scholar, thinker and author of many books was born on the 5th December 1913 (1333) in a family of scholars and people who had a long history of serving Islam. The family lineage may be traced to the Sahabi Ali ibn Abi Talib. Also, one of the ancestors of this family was the nephew of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al-Jaylani who lived in Delhi, India. The family moved from Madinah via Baghdad to India.

His father, Shaykh Abdul Hakim Hay (d. 1923) was a scholar, who wrote an eight volume biographical work of about 500 scholars of India. When Abul Hasan was ten, his father passed away and his brother took care of him. His mother was a righteous woman who had memorized the Quran and supplicated to Allah for her son. Once his brother, Abdul Ali (who combined knowledge of Islam with his knowledge of medicine) had completed his medical studies, he took personal care of Shaykh Abul Hasan’s education. 

He received his early education at home. In 1924, his brother entrusted him to Shaykh Khalil ibn Muhammad Al-Yamani, who taught him Arabic. At the age of thirteen, he could speak Arabic fluently. This was achieved under his brother’s supervision. He then joined the Nadawatul Ulama and completed the course in 1927. From 1927-1930 he studied the Urdu Language and its literature after which he began studying English His mother sent him a letter wherein she convinced him and impressed upon him about the importance of Arabic over and above English. 

He began his Arabic studies under the guidance and supervision of Shaykh Khalil ibn Muhammad Al-Ansari Al-Bahufali and his uncle, Shaykh Talha ibn Muhammad Al-Toki. He entered a literature program and after successfully completing the examination in 1929, he entered the Hadith program for a year. 

His paternal aunt invited him to Lahore, where her husband was an Arabic teacher. During this period, he met many scholars and poets. He attended lessons in Hadith conducted by Shaykh Haidar Hasan Al-Yaghistani Al-Afghani (a student of Shaykh Husain ibn Hasan Al-Ansaari) and Shaykh Nazhir Husain Al-Bihari. He stayed with him for about two years during which he read Sahih AlBukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abi Dawud and Sunan AlTirmidhi as well as a portion of Tafseer AlBaydawi and some lessons in logic.  

Then he accompanied Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Al-Din Al-Hilali. He travelled to Lahore in 1930, to benefit from his teacher, Shaykh Ahmad Ali Al-Lahori. He read Surah Al-Baqarah to him. He was very impressed with his Shaykh’s lessons, so he returned in 1931. During this trip, he attended lessons in Hujatullahi AlBaaligha by Shah Wali Allah Al-Dehlawi. He visited Lahore again in 1932, after which he was a registered student at Madrasah Qasim Al-Uloom where he passed and received a certificate at the hands of Shaykh Husain Ahmad Madani. In the same year, he went to Deoband and attended lessons in Sahih AlBukhari and Sunan AlTirmidhi by his teacher, Shaykh Husain Ahmad Madani. He received Ijazah from Shaykh Abdur Rahim Al-Mubarakfuri. Shaykh Abdul Qadir Raipur honoured him with successorship. He studied some Fiqh with Shaykh I’zaz Ali. He also benefited greatly from his paternal aunts husband, Shaykh Muhammad Talhat Al-Hasani, in Lahore who took him to accompany prominent personalities. He also met the famous poet and writer, Muhammad Iqbal.

In 1934, Shaykh Abul Hasan began his academic career as a teacher of Arabic and Tafsir, but later expanded to included history, Hadith and other subjects.  Initially, the advice he received from his friend, Shaykh Masud Al-Nadwi helped him in becoming a better teacher. He began teaching in the Dar Al-Uloom affiliated to Nadwatul Ulama in Lucknow. He formulated syllabi for teaching Arabic and he wrote Qasas AlNabiyeen, AlQiraat AlRaashidah and Mukhtaaraat min Adab AlArabi. In many ways he revolutionized the way Arabic was taught. He compiled a book of Arabic prose Mukhtaraat min Adab Al-Arab which was commended by Shaykh Ali Al-Tantawi and Shaykh Muhammad Bahjat Al-Baytar. Under his supervision, Shaykh Muhammad Al-Rabi’ Al-Hasani Al-Nadwi authored a book in Arabic Literature that was taught at the Dar Al-Uloom. He continued writing and he wrote his amazing book, Mazha Khasira AlAalam bi Inhitaat AlMuslimin between the years 1943-1974. He left teaching in 1944 but remained connected to the institute until he was appointed as the dean of educational affairs in 1953 and then the Head of Nadwatul Ulama in 1961. 

His desire to spread Islam brought him into contact with the Jamat Islami. He was in contact with Abul Ala Al-Maududi and some of his books, although he did not approve of some of his views. He was disappointed so he disassociated himself from it. 

In 1940, he went to Nizamudeen where he spent time with Mawlana Ilyas. During his stay there he met Shaykh Muhammad Zakariya. In 1947, he performed Haj and stayed in the Hijaz for six months, where he was involved in various Islamic activities and he met the ulama. He performed Haj again in 1950. He travelled to Egypt and other countries in the East in 1952, during which he met many prominent Muslim personalities and he delivered some talks. In Egypt, he was accompanied by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ghazali and was even invited by Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (a student at the Al-Azhar at the time) to deliver talks in his village. 

He was hoping to meet Imam Hasan Al-Banna, but he had already been assassinated. Instead, he met his father, Shaykh Ahmad Abdur Rahman Al-Banna. In 1956, he travelled to Damascus, Syria in response to an invitation from Shaykh Mustafa Sibaaie and the Faculty of Shariah. He was received with a warm welcome from many including Shaykh Mustafa Zarqa. He remained in Damascus for about three months and delivered a few lectures that were later published in a book entitled Rijaal AlFikr wa AlDawah fi AlIslam

He traveled to Turkey via Aleppo. Dr. Saeed Ramadaan (Hasan Al-Banna’s son-in- law) organized a conference on Palestine in Damascus. Shaykh Abul Hasan returned from Turkey to Damascus to participate along with many prominent scholars that included Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ of Pakistan. He loved Syria and visited it again in 1964 and 1973.

In 1960, he went to Burma where he stayed for a month delivering lectures. In 1962, he travelled to some countries in Europe including Spain. There he met some of the orientalists. This followed with other travels to America, Morocco and the Gulf.  His visit to Europe was in 1963 as per invitation from the Islamic Centre in Geneva. During subsequent visits to Britain, the Oxford Islamic Centre was established in 1983 and he was appointed as its head. He visited America and Canada in 1977 and followed it with other visits, the last was in 1993.

He presented his message in an excellent manner that was relevant to people of all walks of life. He was well aware of the different challenges and ideas within Muslim communities all over the world. 

His writing gained tremendous popularity amongst the scholars, not only in India, but also amongst the Arabs who took a special interest in his writings as well. This was mainly because he selected Arabic more than Urdu.

He was invited to deliver lectures on various topics in Makkah and Madinah.

He proved through his writing, that the material and spiritual prosperity of any system hinged on its concept of following divine guidance and amongst other issues through text and rational evidence as well as the finality of Prophethood. Sayid Qutb praised his book ‘Islam and the World’.

He was well versed in many fields of Islam. One of his greatest contributions was in the field of history and cultural studies in Islam. His book, ‘Saviours of the Islamic Spirit’ in four volumes deals with separate individuals who were portrayed as revivers and restorers of Islam. He wrote a number of other books totaling to about thirty-one in number. Many have been translated into many different languages. Some are:

  • Al-Sira’ bayn Al-Fikrat Al-Islamiyah wa Al-Fikrat Al-Gharbiyah fi Al-Aqtar Al-Islamiyah. He studied and analyzed western thought and the dangers it posed for the Muslim community.
  • Al-Arkan Al-Arba’ fi Daw Al-Kitab wa Al-Sunnah, Al-Salaat, Al-Zakat, Al-Sowm wa Al-Haj – one of his best books in which he explains the objectives of the four pillars of Islam in a very appealing and encouraging way. He also compares the acts of worship practised by the Jews, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.
  • Al-Sirah Al-Nabawiyah. This was one of his most loved books.
  • Al-Nubuwat wa Al-Anbiya fi Daw Al-Quran. A series of lectures that he delivered in 1963 at the Islamic University in Madinah where he highlighted the role of Prophets and prophet-hood in guiding humanity.
  • Al-Tariq ila Al-Madinah.
  • Al-Aqidah wa Al-Ibadah wa Al-Suluk.
  • Nahwa Al-Tarbiyah Al-Islamiyah Al-Hurrah fi Al-Hukumat wa Al-Bilad Al-Islamiyah. He spoke about the need to educate and properly train and nurture the youth.
  • Rabaniyah Laa Rahbaniyah –Here he emphasizes on the need for genuine spirituality in all spheres of life.
  • Al-Arab wa Al-Islam
  • He has other books wherein he described his travels to various countries and cities and his message to the people there. These include books like; Ismaie Ya Misr, Ismaie Ya Suriyah, Usbuaan fi Al-Maghrib Al-Aqsa, Min Nahr Kabul ila Nahr Yarmuk etc.
  • Ila Al-Islam min Jadid. The book discusses the need to return to the pristine teaching of Islam and the need for people to carry out this great responsibility. 
  • Al-Madkhal ila Al-Dirasat Al-Quraniyah.
  •  Al-Sira’ bayn Al-Iman wa Al-Madiyah. He discusses the four stories in Surah Al-Kahf in relation to the struggle between Imaan and materialism.
  • Sirah Amir Al-Muminin Ali ibn Abi Talib.
  • Al-Islam Atharuhu fi Al-Hadarah wa Fadluhu ala Al-Insaniyah.
  • Al-Muslimun wa Qadiyat Falastin. He was concerned about Palestinian problem from as early as the thirties. Here he discusses various issues related to Palestine.
  • Al-Muslimun fi Al-Hind. 
  • Izha Habat Rih Al-Iman.
  • In addition, he wrote hundreds of articles that were published in magazines and newspapers, as well as talks that he delivered at conferences and other occasions.

He was always at the forefront in combating all kinds of trials and tribulations (Fitnah). Many times this resulted in confrontation between him and the government. He strongly opposed the move to make the national anthem compulsory in UP schools. The anthem contains lines that are clear examples of Shirk. He also opposed the government’s attempt to include Hindu Mythology in the school syllabus.

He participated in many organizations internationally and many recognized and acknowledged his excellence as a scholar. Some of his activities and affiliations were:

  • In India, he was the founder member and the first rector of Nadwatul Ulama and the Head of the affiliated Dar Al-Uloom.
  • He was also the President of the Academy for Islamic Research.
  • He was the Head of the Council of Religious Education for the Northern Province of India and Head of the Muslim Personal Law Board in India. 
  • Shaykh Abul Hasan was also a member of the Administrative Council of Dar Al-Uloom Deoband.
  • Shaykh Abul Hasan was one of the founder members of the Muslim World League (Rabita). 
  • He was a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
  • He was a member of the World Supreme Council of Mosques.
  • He was even a member of the International Fiqh Academy. 
  • He was a member of the Advisory Council of the Islamic University in Madinah in 1962.
  • He was a member of the Arabic Academy in Damascus (Syria), Cairo (Egypt) and Jordan and a member of the International Higher Assembly for Islamic Propagation in Cairo.
  • He was a member of the Administrative Council of the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan. 
  • He was a member of the league of Islamic Universities in Rabat, Morocco.
  • He also served as a member of the Royal Academy for Research of Islamic Civilization in Jordan.  
  • He was appointed as the head of the International Arabic Literature Council in 1981.
  • In 1980, he was awarded the King Faisal Award for serving Islam and the Sultan Hasan Bolkhaih International Prize. 
  • He received an Islamic Scholarship plaque from the Oxford University in 1999.

Among the great honours granted to him by Allah in this world, was the occasion when the door-keeper of the Ka’ba placed the keys of the Ka’ba in his hand. Then, in the presence of many scholars Shaykh Abul Hasan opened the door and on the request of the prince made Dua inside.  

Around about March 1999 he was afflicted with semi-paralysis and he was treated in a small hospital and he sensed that his death was near. Shaykh Muhammad Ijtiba Al-Nadwi visited him before Ramadan and asked him about the contemporary personalities that impressed him. He replied and said that he was impressed with Hasan Al-Banna, Shaykh Mustafa Sibaaie, Muhammad Al-Mubarak, Dr. Saeed Ramadan, Shaykh Ali Al-Tantawi, Shaykh Abdul Aziz ibn Baz, Shaykh Ahmad Ali Lahori, Shaykh Husain Ahmad Madani, Shaykh Abdul Qadir Raipuri and Shaykh Muhammad Zakariya Khandelwi. 

On the 20th Ramadan, he went to the village (Takih Kalan).  

He passed away on the 31st December 1999 (23 Ramadan 1420) after preparing for the Jumuah Salat and after he sat down ready to recite Surah Kahf. But he began with Surah Yasin instead and after reading a few verses, he passed away.


Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed is a well respected South African Islamic scholar who lives in Pretoria, South Africa. He studied at the King Saud University in Riyadh and the faculty of Shariah at the Islamic University of Madina. He has attained a M.A. in Islamic Studies from the University of South Africa. Through his extensive travels he has met and benefited from many senior scholars from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, India, Turkey etc. He has received numerous Ijazahs from the various scholars that he has met, studied with and served. He is currently a senior educator at the al – Ghazzali College in Pretoria.

He has authored two books:

Muslim Scholars of the 20th Century.

Muslim Scholars of the 21st Century.

He was one of the translators of Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al – Maliki’s work: The Way of the True Salaf.


 

The Intimate Prayers of Ibrahim b. Adham – By Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

I’ve left all people, entirely, for your love.

I’ve orphaned my dependants so I can see you.

 

If, for love, You diced me up into many pieces,

My deep-feeling heart would yearn for none besides You.

 

Pardon (this) weak (slave) who has hastened to You.

He has come full of hope in Your generosity.

 

If, O Overseer, he has disobeyed You,

At least he has not prostrated to anyone worshipped besides You.

 

My Dear God, your sinful slave has rushed to You,

Admitting his sins, and has called on You;

 

So, If You forgive, that is becoming of You,

And if You cast (him) away, who will show mercy besides You?

 

The Intimate Prayers of Ibrahim b. Adham

 

Ibrahim b. Adham, the great early ascetic, has been greatly respected throughout Islamic history for his righteousness and devotion. He was a prince, enjoying the lavish lifestyle his social position afforded him, when, one day, the call to God changed the course of his life.

He was out hunting when he heard a voice speak from his saddle. It said, “O Ibrahim, you were not created for this, nor were you commanded to do so.” This had such a deep effect on him that he left his life of luxury and set off to find the pleasure of Allah.

These lines are an expression of the state of slavehood he had before Allah. They express his desire to please Allah through the many sacrifices he gave hoping attain closeness with the divine. The emit the fragrance of his love for Allah which nothing could change. They cry out for the forgiveness and acceptance a needy slave years for from his perfect, generous Lord.

He died in the year 162 AH defending the Muslim lands at Jablah, on the Syrian coast. May Allah be well-pleased with him, and us because of His love for this great saint.

Scholars of the Subcontinent – Shaykh Hamzah Maqbul

In this inspiring and informative lecture, Shaykh Hamzah Maqbul discusses how knowledge and scholarship flourished in the Indian subcontinent. The subcontinent became a vibrant and illuminating center of Islamic scholarship which produced many erudite scholars. From Shah Waliuallah to the founding scholars of the world renowned Deoband seminary, Shaykh Hamzah elaborates on the immense sacrifices the scholars of the Indian subcontinent made for the preservation and dissemination of Islam.