Crucifixion of Christ – Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah


By Sidi Aashif Sacha
Click here for original link
This khutba was given by Dr Umar in Georgetown, Guyana.
Given that it was ‘Good Friday’ he delivered a powerful sermon detailing the Islamic perspective on the Crucifixion of Christ.
[Islamic Perspective on the Crucifixion of Christ]

The Muslim belief about Jesus (may peace be upon him) is the authentic belief of the earliest Christians. It is a teaching that was first there and was displaced, then replaced, then was largely forgotten.
The Quranic revelation corrected the beliefs of people who came before, and clarified what they were disagreeing about. This is the case regarding the apparent crucifixion of the Messiah Jesus (may peace be upon him). Part of a sermon given by Dr Umar Abd-Allah in Georgetown, Guyana.
[Early Opinions on the Crucifixion]
God, Exalted is He, tells us in the Quran: “That they said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of God.’ – but they killed him not, nor crucified him. Only a likeness of that was shown to them. And those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not.” (Quran, 4:157)
Historically, the very first item of faith that Christians disagreed about was this issue. Was the man who was crucified, Jesus, or was it not Jesus?
St Jerome, a Church father who believed in the Crucifixion, wrote over 1700 years ago: “The blood of Christ had not dried on the earth of Judaea.” (ie. the earth of Jerusalem) The man who was crucified was still bleeding, and his blood was falling on the soil while he was on the cross. People said “It’s not him, but its one who looks like him”.
In earliest Christianity many Christians were docetic. The word is taken from the Greek word Docaeen, meaning Shubbiha (in Arabic): to appear. Docetics were those early Christians who believed that the man crucified was not Jesus but it was one who looked like him, who was made to appear like him.
In the Quranic Tafsir we have a number of accounts. One of them is that when the Jews condemned Jesus to be crucified and sent the Romans to get Jesus, when they came to him when he was with his disciples, God as a miracle put the face and the upper body of Jesus upon all of his disciples so that every one of them looked like him.
Then when the Romans came they didn’t know which one was Jesus, although they had all seen Jesus, but everyone looked like Jesus!
So they said, “Either Jesus turns himself over to us, or we will crucify you all.” According to this account, one of the disciples decided to be a shaheed, a martyr. He said “I am Jesus” and he had permission to say that.
Why?
Because in the belief of the People of the Book, the Messiah must be delivered; the Messiah cannot be crucified. They believed that if he is crucified he is not the Messiah.
That’s why in the Quran Allah, the Exalted, tells us of the Jews who would mock Jesus and say “We crucified the Messiah the son of Mary”
Because the Messiah cannot be crucified, the Messiah cannot be harmed. The Messiah must be delivered, the Messiah is a conqueror, the Messiah is a king, the Messiah is a ruler, the Messiah is a deliverer.
This is the belief of the People of the Book.
If you look in the Gospels, Satan comes to Jesus to tempt him, saying “Go up on the temple and throw yourself down.”
Why?
Because (the Satan effectively said, if you really are the Messiah then) no harm will come to you, because the angels will pick you up. Because it is written, the Messiah will not even stumble on a stone but the angels will take him.
[What the Apocrypha Books of the New Testament Say]
The Bible that we have today is made up of the Canonical Books.
The Canonical Books are the books that the Church accepted. It was a Church that was already Trinitarian and already believed in the Crucifixion. That church says ‘these’ books are acceptable and others are not.
The books that are not acceptable are known as Apocrypha – hidden books. In the apocrypha we have acts of the apostles that are not in the Bible. They are called “the Apocryphal Acts.” Among them was the docetic teaching – that the crucifixion of Christ was only that of appearance.
Jesus had around him disciples, and some were very close to him – Peter, James, John and Andrew. They were like the four great Sahabah who were around the Beloved Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him); Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali (may God be pleased with them).
In the Apocryphal Acts of John it says “John was on the Mt of Olives, and he was crying because there was the crucifixion. Jesus came to him on the Mt of Olives and he comforted him and said to him “Don’t worry, I am Jesus, I am the Messiah, and the one crucified is another one.”
Our Islamic teaching matches this. It is the original teaching.
[The Islamic Rationale]
In Islam we have Usool ul Fiqh which is the basic principles of jurisprudence; how we understand Quran, how we understand Hadith and how we interpret them. One of the matters in Usool ul Fiqh that is absolutely essential is the distinction between proofs of the Quran and the Hadiths that are definitive (qat’i) – with just one opinion about the matter.
They are Usool ul Deen. They are the foundations of religion. – and (on the other hand) other proofs in the Quran and the Hadith that are open to interpretation (than’ni).
In these, for example, Imam Abu Hanifa has an opinion and Imam Malik has an opinion and they’re both correct. Imam Shafi’i has a third opinion which is also correct and Ahmad ibn Hanbal has a forth opinion which is also correct.
The latter is part of our religion because of the fact that we have to think. We have to exercise legal judgement. Not everything is black and white. There are many things in the law that are open to interpretation. Thus in Islam we always identify what is based on conjectural evidence (than’ni) and we accept differences of opinion. If we don’t, what kind of Muslims are we? We will become ignorant Muslims, rigid and fanatic.
When it comes to Belief (Aqeedah) – what I must believe and you must believe – then that has to be certain. That must be based on definitive evidence (qat’i). For example, the belief that God is one, Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) is the last prophet, you must pray 5 times a day, you must fast Ramadan, and so on.
On the other hand, looking at a question like: When is the time of Asr? Is it when the shadow is at one length or two lengths? There are different ahadith on that, so we have different opinions, and that’s okay. Muslims have lived like that for the last 1400 years and we will continue to live like that.
This is the Mercy from Allah, Exalted is He.
[What the Quran Says]
When Allah, Glorified is He, talks about the Christians and the crucifixion He says ‘they don’t have knowledge’. What that means is the evidence they have of the crucifixion is not adequate.
Why?
Because no one saw the crucifixion, none of the disciples saw it. They could not be there, because if they were there they would be apprehended by the romans and either killed or crucified themselves. That’s why John was sitting up on the Mt of Olives.
The gospel story tells us that the one carrying the cross fell. Jesus (may peace be upon him) would never fall or stumble because the prophets and messengers were perfect human beings.
Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) is the best of creation. Who dares differ on that? Who comes after that? Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Noah and the Prophets and Messengers. Great people, beautiful people, handsome people.
Prophet Muhammad, if you looked at him you would be astonished. He was so beautiful, he was so powerful, his enemies were in awe of him. Those who loved him, melted in the love of him. Jesus was like this too. He was a perfect human being, a created human being, a prophet, a messenger, a messiah. Jesus would not have fallen under a cross.
Imam Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), took the gates of Khaybar and he carried them on his back. He was not a prophet but he was a blessed Sahabi and one of the best of all human beings who ever lived. So do you think Jesus would stumble under a cross? Jesus could carry the gates of Khaybar. Jesus is strong, intelligent and beautiful.
That’s why the people said it was not Jesus. It looks like him on the upper body, but the lower body doesn’t look like him.
[What a Muslim Concludes]
Whenever there is doubt there is no Aqeedah. The belief you must believe in can never be based on doubtful issues. Our Deen must be based on definitive evidence.
Allah, the Exalted, says “He is God, the One who sent down the Book. Of it there are verses of unequivocal meaning (definitive)… and there are other verses that are open to interpretation…” (Quran 3:7)
The above verse was revealed about the Christians of the Nejran (Southern Arabia) who came to the Prophet and tried to use the Quran by saying the Quran believed in the Trinity because God says “We”. So Allah corrected this.
There are verses that are clear and are not open to interpretation. That’s what you follow if you want the truth. And there are other ones that are non definitive. Those verses you leave to God or people who are steeped in knowledge. This is a basic fundamental of Islam that is extremely important. Having a good opinion of your brothers and your sisters is an act of worship. We have to watch our hearts and be with each other, love each other and work with each other.
Our teaching is a teaching that is very ancient. It is the original teaching – it is the true teaching. We are the followers of Christ as the Messiah.
We believe that the Messiah Jesus was not crucified, but that it was only made to appear so. This is definitive in the Quran (4:157). How that appearance was carried out is a matter that was non definitive and we respect the varying opinions.
—-
SeekersGuidance related course:
The Bible Through a Muslim Lens with Ustadh Ali Ataie
The Interfaith Master – Ustadh Ali Ataie – Seekers Highlight
Relevant resources:
Walk on Water: The Wisdom of Jesus from Traditional Islamic Sources – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
Habib Ali al-Jifri – Jesus Christ the Son of Mary and His Most Blessed Mother – Book in PDF
Reflections of MicroMolvi: My First Interfaith Dialogue
Answers:
Jesus’s Role as Messiah and Savior According to Islam, Christianity, and Judaism
Allah Breathing His Spirit Into Jesus? The Possible Meanings of this Verse & The Approach of Sunni Islam Towards Ambiguous Texts
Did Jesus Claim to Be God?
The Purpose of Our Lives and the Prophet Jesus
What Is the Islamic Understanding of Maryam, the Mother of Prophet ‘Isa, Being Married?
Are `Isa And Yahya (Allah be well please with them) Considered Cousins In Islam?
What is the Islamic View on the Gospel of Barnabas?

Muadh ibn Jabal and the Night of Mid-Sha’ban by Sidi Samer Dajani

“As for the Night of Mid-Sha’ban, the Tabi’een in Shām, like Khalid ibn Ma’dan, Makhul, Luqman ibn ‘Amir, and others, used to honor this night and strive hard in their worship in it. It is from them that the people learned the virtue of this night and learned to honor it.”
– Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Lata’if al-Ma’arif (1)

“As for the Night of Mid-Sha’ban, hadiths and early reports have been transmitted about its virtue, and it has been transmitted that a group of the salaf (righteous predecessors) used to do extra prayers in it.”
– Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu’ al-Fatawa (2)

The passages above show us that in the first century of Islam, it was the people of Shām who were known to celebrate the the Night of Mid-Sha’ban. Those who taught them that the Night of Mid-Sha’ban was a special night, and taught them to do extra prayers in this night, were scholars from the generation of the Tabi’een, those who studied under the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).
Now the question is, why was it in particular the Tabi’een of Shām that taught this?
Because they took it from the great Companion Muadh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) who used to teach in Damascus. The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) spread to different parts of the world, and took with them the teachings that they heard from the Messenger of Allah. Because of this, in the first century of Islam, different regions within the Muslim world had different practices and fiqh, based on the different Companions that they learned from.
When the caliph Harun al-Rashid asked Imam Malik if he may force all the people of Islam to follow Malik’s book the Muwatta, Imam Malik refused this strongly, telling him that the different Companions of the Messenger of Allah had dispersed to different lands, each carrying different hadiths and different teachings; the people of each region followed the way of the Companions who went to them, and they were all correct. After some while, the hadiths of all the different regions would be brought together and shared with the entire Muslim community.
Muadh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him)
The most prominent Companion to teach in Damascus was Mu’adh ibn Jabal. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “The most knowledgeable person in my Ummah of what is Halal and what is Haram is Mu’adh ibn Jabal.” He (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) also said, “Muadh will be at the forefront of all the scholars on the Day of Judgment.” Many hadiths describe Muadh as the leader of the scholars of Islam on the Day of Judgement.
When he came to Shām, the other Companions there used to have such respect for him that they would always turn to him to solve any problem. Even though he was the youngest of the Companions there, they would all look at him with awe. He always sat quietly and silently, but stood out with his radiant face. When a disagreement arose they would go ask him, and hover around him. People said that a love for him would fall on their hearts upon seeing him and they said that when he spoke it was as if light and pearls were coming out of his mouth. The other Companions likened him to the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him).
It was Muadh, this most outstanding of scholars from among the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), who taught to the people of Shām the sayings of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) about the virtues of the Night of Mid-Sha’ban.
There, in Shām, Mu’adh ibn Jabal narrated that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

‘God looks at His creation during the Night of Mid-Sha‘ban and forgives all of them, except an idolator and one who harbours rancour.’

This above hadith was narrated on the authority of Mu’adh by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih. It was also narrated by Ibn Abi Asim in al-Sunna and al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and al-Awsat. (3)
If we look at the chain of this hadith, we see that the Syrian Malik b. Yukhamir (from the city of Homs) took this hadith from Mu’adh ibn Jabal, and through him it reached Makhul. As we saw above, Ibn Rajab stated that Makhul was one of those who taught people the virtue of this blessed night and used to strive to do extra worship on this night.
According to Imam Zuhri and other great scholars of that age, Makhul was the greatest scholar of Shām in his age, and one of the four greatest scholars amongst that entire blessed generation of young Tabi’een. Makhul taught this hadith to the Damascene Thawban, who taught it to two people mentioned in this chain: his son Ibn Thawban, and the Imam of Shām, al-Awza’i. Al-Awza’i was the imam of Shām of his time in terms of Jurisprudence, like Malik in Medina, Abu Hanifa in Kufa, or Ibn Hanbal in Baghdad. The Awza’i school of jurisprudence became the main school of jurisprudence in Shām and spread from there to the Andalus, where it was the most widespread school of jurisprudence there for a time.
As you can see, the people in this chain are all from Shām. That is why the hadith master al-Tabarani, himself from Palestine in Shām, narrated this hadith in his book Musnad al-Shāmiyyeen, a collection of hadiths narrated by Tabi’een who lived in Shām and their students. Al-Tabarani took the hadith from Muhammad ibn Abi Zur’a of Damascus, with his chain back to Imam Awza’i and Ibn Thawban. (4)
Makhul also received this same hadith from Kathir ibn Murra al-Hadrami, a Tabi’i who lived in Homs. Kathir reported the hadith as a mursal report directly from the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), meaning that he did not specify which Companion he took it from. Al-Bayhaqi narrated the hadith through this chain in Shu’ab al-Iman and stated that it was a mursal jayyid (strong hadith, despite being mursal). (5) Kathir was known for often leaving out the name of the Companion from whom he took prophetic traditions, but we do know that one of his main teachers was Muadh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him).
Others Who Brought Hadiths About this Night to Shām

The people of Shām did not only learn this hadith from Muadh ibn Jabal, but from another Companion: Abu Musa al-Ash’ari. Who narrated this hadith from him? Al-Dahhak ibn Abd al-Rahman, from Shām. This chain continues being narrated by scholars from Shām until Rashid b. Sa’id al-Ramli of Palestine, Shām, who taught this hadith to Ibn Majah, who narrated it in his Sunan. (6)
Ibn Majah also narrated the following hadith on the authority of Ali ibn Abu Talib:

“If it is the Night of Mid-Shaʿbān then stand in prayer during its night and fast its day. For God descends to the heavens of the earth when the sun sets and says, ‘Is there anyone who seeks forgiveness so that I may forgive him? Is there anyone who seeks provision so that I may grant him provision? Is there anyone afflicted so that I may remove his affliction? Is there not such and such,’ until the dawn breaks.”

Who narrated this hadith from Ali? His nephew Abdullah ibn Ja’far, who used to travel every year to Damascus. He passed on the hadith to his son Mu’awiya, who was born in Damascus. (7)

As you can see, the people of Shām gave great importance to this night and paid special attention to narrating the hadiths about it, and it all would have started with the Prophet’s great Companion Muadh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him). There were other hadiths of course about this night that were spread by people of different lands. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, for example, narrated a hadith similar to that of Mu’adh ibn Jabal about the virtue of that night (with some difference in wording) through a chain made up of Egyptians, on the authority of Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-As (may Allah be pleased with him), the Companion whose father opened Egypt to Islam. (8)

The Early Scholars of Shām

Now if we return to the hadith of Muadh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) and the scholars of Shām who narrated it, we see those very same narrators are the ones from whom we have received explanations of this hadith. Thus these scholars used to not only narrate this hadith but comment upon it and explain it.

Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak said:
I heard al-Awza’i explain the mushāhin (one who harbours rancour) as: every person of innovation, who has left the jamā’a (majority) and the Ummah. (9)
Umar ibn Hani’ said: I asked Ibn Thawban about the meaning of mushāhin (one who harbours rancour).  He said,

“He is the one who has left the Sunna of his Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), who speaks ill of his Ummah, and spills their blood.” (10)

As we have seen above, those two figures, Imam Awza’i and Ibn Thawban, are the ones who narrated the hadith of Muadh from Thawban, and passed it on to other scholars of Shām.
Conclusion

We learn from the above the importance that the people of the blessed land of Shām gave to the Night of Mid-Sha’ban and its day, and we learn that its origin is with the great Companion, the leader of all the scholars of Islam, Muadh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him). The people of Shām took this hadith from him and taught it to others and explained it. We also know that they learned from this hadith (and others) that one should strive to do extra worship on this night. This was the guidance of the Tabi’een which they took from the Companions who came to Shām and instilled in them the love and veneration of this blessed night.
To repeat the words of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali:

“The Tabi’een in Shām, like Khalid ibn Ma’dan, Makhul, Luqman ibn ‘Amir, and others, used to honor this night and strive hard in their worship in it. It is from them that the people learned the virtue of this night and learned to honor it.”

According to Ibn Rajab, Khalid ibn Ma’dan, Luqman ibn ‘Amir and other notable Tabi’een from Shām recommended for people to congregate in the mosques in this night to perform extra worship together. They would wear their best clothes, put kohl on their eyes, perfume themselves using incense and then spend that night in the mosque. He further stated that the great Imam in Khorasan, Ishaq ibn Rahwayh was asked about this practice of the people of Shām. Ibn Rahwayh was known as the “Imam of the East” and the “Master of Hadith Memorizers.” He was a colleague of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal who called Ibn Rahwayh one of the imams of the Muslims. He was a teacher of Imam Bukhari and was one of the leading figures of the Ahl al-Hadith movement. Imam Ibn Rahwayh supported the practice and responded that praying extra prayers in the mosque in congregation on that night is not an innovation. Imam al-Awza’i on the other hand, while also advocating spending that night in extra worship, was of the opinion that it was preferable not to do it in the mosque. (11)
May Allah bless and reward all the Companions and their Followers, and all those hadith narrators and scholars who have preserved for us the Sunna of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), so that it could reach us centuries later, in all corners of the world, in order for us to be able to implement it and act upon it.
1) Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Lata’if al-Ma’arif, Beirut: Dar Ibn Hazm, 2004, p. 137.
2) He continues to say: “If a person performs extra prayers on the night of the middle of Sha’ban on his own or in a private congregation, as groups of the salaf used to do, that is best.” However, he disapproved of a congregation of an entire town in the main mosque praying an innovated prayer with a set number, for example, one hundred cycles with one thousand Sura Ikhlas, calling that an innovation. (See Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu’ al-Fatawa, vol. 23, p. 132). An almost identical statement is repeated in his workIqtida’ al-sirat al-mustaqim where he added that despite the fact that some scholars from Hijaz denied the virtue of this night, the majority of the people of knowledge from among the Hanbali scholars and others believe in its special virtues, and the texts of Ahmad ibn Hanbal are evidence for that, as well as the many prophetic traditions and practices of the salaf (See Ibn Taymiyya, Iqtida’ al-sirat al-mustaqim, Beirut: Dar ‘Alam al-Kitab, 1999, vol. 2, pp. 136-7). It should be noted in this regard that Shām was always one of the main centers of the Hanbali school.
(3) Sahih Ibn Hibban, vol. 12, p. 481. Its men are all trustworthy.
After evaluating eight different chains for this hadith, al-Albani concludes: ‘The hadith, with its collective chains of transmission, is authentic (sahih) without doubt.’ Al-Albani, Silsilat al-Ahadith al-Sahihah,Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ma‘arif, 1979, vol. 3, p. 138.
(4) Al-Tabarani, Musnad al-Shāmiyyeen, Beirut: Mu’assassat al-Risala, 1984, vol. 1, p. 128.
(5) Al-Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman, Riyadh: Maktabat al-Rushd, 2003, vol. 5, p. 349.
(6) Sunan Ibn Majah, Cairo: Dar Ihya’ al-Kutub al-Arabiyya, Vol. 1, p. 445.
(7) Sunan Ibn Majah, Cairo: Dar Ihya’ al-Kutub al-Arabiyya, Vol. 1, p. 444. However it should be noted that the chain of this particular narration contains one person who is considered weak. Though Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali considered this tradition to be weak, he narrated it in Lata’if al-Ma’arif in support of fasting the day of the 15th of Sha’ban. He further stated that in either case, it is one of the three middle days of every month known as the ‘Days of the White Nights’ in which fasting is recommended. These are the 13th, 14th, and 15th of every lunar month (see Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Lata’if al-Ma’arif, Beirut: Dar Ibn Hazm, 2004, p. 136).
(8) Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Beirut: Mu’assassat al-Risala, 2001, vol. 11, pp. 216-7.
(9), (10) Shaykh Salih al-Ja’fari (ed.), Risalat al-Kashf wal Bayaan ‘an Fadaail Laylat an-Nisf min Sha’banby al-hafiz Shaykh Salim al-Sanhouri, who was summarizing the teachings of his teacher, the Seal of the Hadith Masters of his age, Shaykh Najm al-Din al-Ghayti. Cairo: Dar Jawami’ al-Kalim, pp. 14-5.
Ishaq ibn Rahwayh likewise said in his Musnad: Al-Awza’i explained the word mushāhin (in this hadith) as the innovator who parts ways with the rest of the ummah.
(11) Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Lata’if al-Ma’arif, Beirut: Dar Ibn Hazm, 2004, p. 137.
———
Sidi Samer Dajani is the author of Reassurance for the Seeker: A Biography and Translation of Salih al-Ja’fari’s al-Fawa’id al-Ja’fariyya, A Commentary on Forty Prophetic Traditions. See the original link and buy the book.

Resources for Seekers:
Merits of Sha’ban – Muwasala

Welcoming the Month of Sha’ban – Interpreter’s Path Blog

The Blessings of the Night of Mid-Sha’ban | Nur Sacred Sciences
It is Recommended to Perform Extra Worship on the Night of the 15th of Sha’ban?
Dhikr for the Month of Sha’ban – Habib Umar bin Hafiz
Preparing For Ramadan Advice from Habib Umar bin Hafiz

True Life, A lesson on Hamza (May God be pleased with him) – Habib Umar bin Hafiz


Habib Umar talks about the meaning of true life. He reflects on the story of Sayyiduna Hamza and how he attained true life through love of the Prophet (Peace be upon him)

Allah says:

He was dead and then We gave him life, and a light whereby he can walk amongst men.

This is the sign of the people of truth, those whom we have guided, signs appear on them.
Life and death in this context are spiritual.
They have nothing to do with physical life and death.

“He was dead”

He was a disbeliever and We gave him life through Islam,
He was an innovator and We gave him life through the Sunnah
He was in disobedience and We gave him life through repentance and obedience.
He was heedless and We gave him life through remembrance.

There are different degrees, the soul has the capacity to attain knowledge of Allah. But before it gains knowledge it is in a state similar to death.
Then it gains essential knowledge and ascends, then it increases in knowledge until it possesses great light and becomes firm.

As Allah says:

We gave him life – he attained knowledge, We gave him life – he increased in knowledge,
whereby he can walk amongst men ­– he became firm.

Then he influences, benefits, and teaches others and shows them the way.

The Companions (May God be pleased with them) narrate different reasons for the revelation of this verse, although the meaning is general and applies to anyone.

One narration is that once Abu Jahl severely insulted the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his whole clan, Banu Hashim, while he was sitting with the nobles of Quraysh.
Then Sayyiduna Hamza, who was not Muslim at that point, came into Makkah.
The daughters of ‘Abd Manaf came to him and said to him:

“Will you allow this fool to insult your nephew?
Will you allow him to insult your clan and your womenfolk while you are present?
Do you not have any sense of honor?”

They stirred up his anger until he approached Abu Jahl while he was sitting with his companions.

“O Abu al-Hakam, what did you say about Muhammad?
Muhammad is more noble and greater than you!
You are a fool who worships something that cannot hear or see!
I follow his religion!
Take this!”

He struck him in the face in front of everyone.

“Return this blow if you are able!”

Abu Jahl said to his companions

“Leave him, for I have greatly insulted his nephew”

The Hamza went to the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) and entered Allah’s religion.

He was dead and then We gave him life

People like Hamza.
The beginning of life is defending Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
Love for him is true life.
The Companions and those that came after them only attained life through love of the Prophet (Peace be upon him).

He was dead and then We gave him life, and a light whereby he can walk amongst men.

After announcing his Islam he spent the night wondering what he had done.
So he went to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) put his hand on his chest and read over him and his doubts were removed.
He then began calling people to Islam.

Once Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattab accepted Islam,  the Muslims began praying openly in the Masjid al-Haram.
At one end of the row was Sayyiduna Umar and at the other end was Sayyiduna Hamza (May God be pleased with them).
So if one of the idol worshippers came and saw Umar at one end and Hamza at the other end he would be quiet and leave.

Allah brought them to life and through them He brought Islam to life.

Hamza then made hijrah and met the Prophet (Peace be upon him) when he arrived in al-Madinah. He continued to keep his company, he was with him at Badr and then Uhud where he was martyred (May God be pleased with him) and he attained everlasting life in the proximity of the Living, the Eternal and attained His pleasure.

For Allah’s sake his stomach was cut open, his liver was extracted and his body was mutilated.
When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) saw him he wept

Another narration states that the verse was revealed concerning Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattab and Abu Jahl. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“O Allah, strengthen Islam with one of the two Umars: Umar ibn al-Khattab or Amr ibn Hisham (Abu Jahl).”

The prayer was answered concerning Sayyiduna Umar, so by him Allah strengthened Islam.

He was dead and then We gave him life, and a light whereby he can walk amongst men.

 The like of Sayyiduna Hamza and Sayyiduna Umar are torches that guide people to the truth, as the hadith states:

“Allah placed the truth on Umar’s tongue and in his heart.”

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, as narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari:

“O son of al-Khattab, I swear by the One in Whose hand is my soul, whenever the devil sees you coming, he takes a different path.”

 Can he whom We gave life and a light whereby he can walk amongst men be like him who is in the depth of darkness?

Can he be like Abu Jahl, who arrogantly denied the truth, even though he knew Muhammad was a Messenger sent by Allah?
His ignorance and arrogance caused him to reject the truth until the day he was killed in Badr.
He flexed his muscles and claimed that they would drink wine and gain eternal status among the Arabs and he was merely sealing his own destruction.

 He is in the depth of darkness, from which he can never come out.

Allah! He will never come out!
From the darkness to the blackness of the Fire!
We seek refuge in Allah!

Can he whom We gave life and a light whereby he can walk amongst men be like him who is in the depth of darkness?

No. The two things, the two groups, the two individuals are not equal.

May Allah bring us to life with the light of Iman and the light of Islam, the light of certainty, the light of knowledge of Him, the light of truthfulness, repentance, fear of Him.
Illuminate out hearts with the light of Quran, Illuminate our graves and give us light on the Day of Resurrection.

On the Day on which Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believe with him. Their light will run before them and by their right hands.

O Allah, place light in our hearts, place light in our graves, place light on our flesh, place light in our blood, place light in our bones, place light in our veins, place light in our nerves, place light in front of us, place light behind us, place light on our right, place light on our left, place light above us, place light beneath us.

Increase our light, give us light, make us light through Your mercy, O Most Merciful.

Give us everlasting life. Make us among the elite whom You have made felicitous. Give us a connection to your Prophet Muhammad which cannot be severed,
O Most Generous, O Most Merciful.

Mandela: A Lesson in Patience – Imam Zaid Shakir

Original video link here.

In this Friday sermon delivered at the Muslim Community Center of East Bay (MCC), Imam Zaid Shakir talks about Nelson Mandela a day after he passed away and how he patiently persevered through the many trials and tribulations he faced in his life.
“Life presents us many challenges and unexpected surprises. One of the greatest resources we have for successfully surmounting those challenges and surprises is patience. What is patience? It is restraining oneself, in light of sound intellect and the divine law, from responding in a way that might ordinarily seem justified in a particular situation.” Imam Zaid Shakir
A short video on Supporting Knowledge:

Regarding Knowledge without Barriers:

www.facebook.com/imamzaidshakir
www.twitter.com/ImamZaidShakir
www.newislamicdirections.com

Habib Ali Al-Jifri on Madiba Nelson Mandela’s Passing

Habib Ali al-Jifri, founder of Tabah Foundation is a scholar and spiritual educator from Hadramawt, Yemen. He recently responded to the death of South African former President, Madiba Nelson Mandela.
He wrote his response in Arabic:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Ba1hmFCCcAAEDdx.jpg:large  (Image) from his twitter account.
Reaction to Mandela’s death
Mandela has returned to his Lord and He knows best his final state.
The world has become concerned about practically benefiting from the values he embraced and successfully propagated. And some have become preoccupied with the question: “Is it permissible to say ‘God have mercy upon him’ after mentioning his name?”!
As the Arabs say, “This is not how you train and discipline the camel” (i.e. this is not how things ought to be.)
Recognising Mandela’s Efforts
The values that Nelson Mandela upheld should not be restricted to his struggle against apartheid in South Africa because he was preceded in this by the struggles of Abdullah Harun, an imam who died after being tortured in prison by the regime. Rather, the greatest value that Mandela brought to life was that he taught his people, in fact, taught the entire modern world, how a victorious leader should show amnesty and overlook those who aggress and inflict pain upon them. He showed how a leader can help his people surpass the difficulty of the past to build for a common future in a time in which we’ve forgotten the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) to the non-believers of Quraysh, those who inflicted torment and harm upon him (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his companions, “Go, for you are free.”
Responding to his death, as Muslims
Mandela also lived the idea of a global humanitarianism. He was not confined to the affairs of his own people but sympathized with the pain of the oppressed wherever they may be, and without discriminating against them on the basis of colour, ethnicity, country, or religion. He supported the Palestinian cause, worked to resolve the conflict in Burundi, and stood against American occupation of Iraq in a time in which we’ve forgotten that our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) stood for a Jewish funeral procession. When someone said, “He was a Jew,” the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied, “Was he not a person?”
Following the Prophetic response
And we’ve forgotten that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) commended the hilf al-fudul, a pre-Islamic treaty ratified to help the oppressed and promote justice. He (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “I was a witness to the ratification of an alliance in the house of Abdullah son of Jad`an that was more precious to me than a herd of red camels. If I was called to it in Islam, I would have responded.”

The Rights of the Companions and the Family of The Prophet – Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah

Link to Video here: The Rights of the Sahaba and Ahlul Bayt – Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah
Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah outlines for us the importance of loving the Sahabah and the family of the Prophet ﷺ‎
The Prophet ﷺ‎ loved all of his companions and taught all of his companions, he developed them to perfection, and told us many things about them “They are like the stars, which ever one you follow, you will be guided.”
The position of the scholars is to hold the sanctity of the companions before your eyes at all times, either say nothing about the fitna that happened or present it in a way that is acceptable (in relation to what happened with Ali and Uthman رضي الله عنه)

The tests they went through are extremely important and they were the greatest tests of all. 
The companions were amazing people and it is important to love all the companions and have good opinions of them. In reality everything that happened in the days of the companions and the successors of the companions there is infinite wisdom in it.
The political divisions that takes place, justified their position on the basis of sound evidence. The division that took place inoculated theUmmah so that our divisions would never lead to theological and legal positions.Be with incredible Shaykh’s, one of the things a Shaykh can do is bring people together – even without a Shaykh we would still like each other and we wouldn’t fight, but a Shaykh will make you love each other.

This is what the Prophet ﷺ‎ did, brought everyone together – Arabs were tribal and in clans. When your grandfather dies, families start to fall apart – when a big person in the family passes, ever things changes
You find Sahabahs that have been wielded together in a way that is miraculous, and then the Prophet ﷺ‎ passes and they are on their own, but they have been given everything they need to swim, and they do it.
Imam Zaid briefly speaks about our state and refers the verse in the Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 134:

Allah repeats the verse twice in the Quran “This is the community that passed away, they will have what they earned and you will have what you earned and you will not be asked concerning what they were doing”
Take care of your own business, the Sahabahs took care of their  business and thats why we have islam and you won’t be asked on the on Yawn’al Qiyamah about what they were doing, so don’t waste your time speculating on the basis of fantasy and whim with no firm knowledge.
May Allah give us Respect, may Allah make us lovers and not haters, fill your heart with the love of the Sahabah.

Relevant Resources:

Courses also available in the upcoming term:
Following the Footsteps of the Noble Companions

Challenges and Choices: Lessons from the Great Day of Ashura (10th of Muharram) – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Listen to this lecture on the SeekersHub Podcast.
faraz rabbani
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani discusses the lessons of the great day of Ashura – the 10th of Muharram. This is one of the greatest days of the year – a day the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) highly encouraged us to fast.
This is the day in which

  • Prophet Adam was absolved of his error;
  • the day in which Prophet Nuh was saved from the flood;
  • the day in which the people of Prophet Yunus were forgiven;
  • the day in which Prophet Musa and Bani Israel were saved from the Pharaoh

It is from the days in which Allah has favoured and honoured those whom He has tested with trials and challenges – and who responded right through the right choices.
Shaykh Faraz explains the sunnahs related to fasting and devotion on the 10th of Muharram, as well as how the great historical events that happened on this day can help us respond right to the challenges in our life.
The importance of knowing the history of faith – the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself, the past Prophets, the righteous, scholars, saints, and virtuous – is that it gives us embodied examples of turning to Allah through the tests of life, towards becoming of His honoured and beloved servants.
Listen to this lecture on the SeekersHub Podcast.

Further resources for seekers:

Muharram & New Beginnings, a sermon by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

‘Think not of those who are slain in the way of Allah as dead. Nay they are living! With their Lord they have provision. Jubilant are they because of that which Allah hath bestowed upon them of His bounty, rejoicing for the sake of those who have not joined them but are left behind: that there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. They rejoice because of favour from Allah and kindness, and that Allah wasteth not the wage of the believers’. Surah Al-Imran Verses 169-171

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad began his khutba by noting that shahada is not to be simply translated as martyrdom, but rather an act of ultimate sincerity and testimony. In the pre-Islamic period a death was a cataclysmic event, but tawhid brought with it the knowledge that as you die, you pass through the veil towards God Himself. This is why the martyr is shaheed, witnesser, as he lays down his life knowing where his destiny lies.

Shaykh Abdal Hakim then went on to explore the themes of the Holy Month of Muharram, a month where acts are subjected further to the Divine Scrutiny, especially in the first 10 days and none more so than on the 10th: Ashura. The history books – sometimes verifiably, sometimes less so – tell of an Ancient day resonating through the ages with tremendous affairs: the day of the Exodus of Musa, the day Allah relented toward Adam, the end of the Flood of Nuh, the day Sulayman was crowned, the day Allah relented toward Dawud, the day Isa was born, may Allah’s peace be on them all. The thread that runs through all these events is one of spiritual renewal, a movement from sin toward obedience, shadows to light.

The day was also of course the day upon which the most tragic event in the history of Islam after the death of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, occurred. The events of the dread day of Karbala are well known and the shaykh recounted them, but he moves on to ask ‘what should be the monotheistic response to this apparently terminal and unimaginable disaster?’ Of course grief and sorrow spring forth. But hanging onto the thread of spiritual renewal we note that the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Erdogan gave an Ashura speech last year when he noted that “Karbala is a sign of Unity, everybody agrees on the principle of it, nobody supports the killing, nobody takes the side of the killers”.

The shaykh went onto note how Karbala – not just Ashura – is commemorated by the Sunni population in Istanbul, for example at the Sunbil Sinan Pasha Camii in Koca Mustafa Pasha district, where thousands take part in mersiye (lament) poems and read a khatm of the Qur’an for the shuhada of that day. What emerges from these gatherings is a feeling of optimism and joy, spurred on by the words of Allah “they are alive in the presence of their Lord, receiving sustenance”. To the extent of what we believe about shahada, something in us is glad. We grieve because those we love are no longer here and their relatives suffer, but in our heart of hearts we rejoice for they have moved through this Vale of Tears and are in the presence of their Lord, in the highest of gatherings.

Listen to this sermon on the SeekersHub podcast. Re-published with sincere gratitude to the excellent cambridge khutbas etc. site. Support the New Cambridge Mosque Appeal.

 

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Resources for seekers

Loving The Prophet – Shaykh Salek bin Siddina – Part 1 of 2

“Say to them: If you love God, follow (and love and honor) me, and God will love you” Surah Al Imran; ayah 31

“None of you believes until he loves me more than he loves his children, his parents, and all people.” Hadith (Bukhari and Muslim)

“None of you believes until he loves me more than he loves himself.” Hadith (Bukhari)

The above-mentioned ayah from the Quran tells us if we, as believers truly love Allah, then we also need to love His last and final messenger, Sayyidna Muhammad (peace and prayers be upon him). As we can see, loving the Prophet, peace be upon him, opens the door for love to the Divine. Yet, is easy for us to claim love for Allah’s Beloved but putting it into practice is an entirely different affair.

Also, in order to complete our faith, we must love the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, to the extent that he is dearer to us than those around us as well as our own selves, as mentioned in the above hadiths. Having said this, how do we, as believers extend our faith from more than a verbal declaration to actual existence in our hearts such that he is the most beloved creation of Allah to us?

The aim of the class is to provide guidelines for what it truly means to love Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and how to attain this love, a love that will, God willingly, complete our faith and serve as a door to the Almighty.

This class was recorded on October 8, 2011 in Hayward, California.