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.

The Masters and the Millennials | Part 8: Challenges in Living the Way of the Prophet – Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

This is the eighth part of a series, click here for the previous article.

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

We continue our discussion of the book al-Fawa‘id al-Mukhtarah – selected beneficial anecdotes for the wayfarer – by Habib Zayn bin Sumayt. Our focus in this podcast is on the importance of books and reading in the life of students of knowledge.

The text provides insight into the lives of the scholars of Hadramaut and their attachment to books and reading. The west has lost its love of reading, and our youth almost completely neglect it. Let us take guidance from these great people and start reading.

Important books and their sequence of study

Imam al-‘Aydarus bin ‘Umar al-Habshi said that the six primary works of tasawwuf that should be studied are the following:

  1. Ihya′ ‘Ulum al-Din by Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali
  2. Minhaj al-‘Abidin by Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali
  3. Arba‘in fi Usul al-Din by Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali
  4. Al-Risalah al-Qushayriyyah fi ‘Ilm Al-Tasawwuf by Imam al-Qushayri
  5. ‘Awarif al-Ma‘arif by Imam al-Suhrawardi
  6. Qut al-Qulub fi Mu’amalat al-Mahbub by Abu Talib al-Makki

These six works are foundational. Students of knowledge in western academic circles often believe they are able to study any text. This belief is mistaken and students who try to study any text often misunderstand the scholars. It is vital that they follow a specific sequence. For instance, the Hadrami scholars of fiqh follow this sequence:

  1. Al-Risalah al-Jami‘ah wa al-Tadhkirah al-Nafi‘ah by Imam Ahmed bin Zayn al-Habashi
  2. Safinah al-Najah fi Fiqh al-Shafi’i by Salim ibn ʿAbdullah ibn Saʿd ibn Samir al-Hadrami al-Shafiʿi
  3. Mukhtasar al-Latif fi Fiqh al-Shafi’i by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abd al-Rahman Balhaj BaFadl al-Hadrami
  4. Al-Muqaddimah al-Hadramiyyah by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abd al-Rahman Ba-Fadl al-Hadrami
  5. Al-Ghayah wa al-Taqrib fi al-Fiqh al-Shafi’i by Abu Shuja’ Hussayn bin Ahmad al-Asfahani
  6. Safwah al-Zubad by Ahmad bin Husayn bin Hasan bin ‘Ali ibn Arslan al-Ramli
  7. ‘Umdah al-Salik wa ‘Uddah al-Nasik by Shihab al-Din Abu al-‘Abas Ahmad bin al-Naqib
  8. Minhaj al Talibin by Abu Zakariyya Yahya Ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi

This order of study involves moving from a smaller to a larger text, each discussing the fiqh in greater detail. Students must not try to jump the queue. Those who do so have become raisins before being grapes! They remain unenlightened, devoid of understanding.

Sayyidi Habib ‘Umar wrote a book, Maqasid Halaqat al-Ta‘lim, on the importance of understanding the sequence of the books in the various disciplines. It has been translated by Shaykh Amjad Tarsin and published by Dar al-Turath al-Islami.

The Ihya of Ghazali
Imam al-Haddad said it is important to read books such as the Minhaj in fiqh and the Ihya in tasawwuf because, through them, one receives great openings, as well as elevation of the soul.

Habib ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Saqqaf was the qutb of his time. A qutb is a pole or axis around which everything revolves. It is one of the highest stations of sainthood. However, even if one reaches this station, he is not necessarily the qutb of his time because there can only be one quṭb at a time. Habib ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Saqqaf read the Qur’an eight times every 24 hours. He said: “Whoever does not study the Ihya does not truly have modesty”.

Imam Haddad loved the Ihya and collated whatever was mentioned in it in one of his books, Al-Nasa’ih al-Diniyyah, which has been translated into English under the title of Counsels of Religion. Some of the pious say that the one who reads and acts on the Ihya will be of the people of Paradise.

Our pious predecessors emphasised the reading of the following four introductions:

The books of Imam Nawawi
Imam Haddad had three books that would constantly be recited to him, one reading after the other. One of these books was Riyad al-Salihin by Imam Nawawi which has been translated into English. It has many benefits and Allah grants many openings to the one who reads it.

An enlightened person once visited a scholar. He saw the scholar’s library and asked why some of the books emit light while others do not. The scholar asked him to remove the books which were emitting light and he did so. They were all Imam Nawawi’s books.

Imam Nawawi was regarded as the qutb of his time. Habib Ahmad bin Hasan al-‘Attas said that Ibn Hajar al-Haytami memorised the Minhaj of Imam Nawawi, and through that, Allah blessed his writings so that their benefits spread throughout the world.

Other books of great benefit

  • Muqqadimah of al-Tafsir al-Kabir of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi up to Surah Baqarah
  • Muqqadimah Sharh Sahih Muslim by Imam Nawawi
  • Muqqadimah al-Majmu’ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab by Imam Nawawi
  • Muqqadimah of Ibn Khaldun

Al-Shifa by Qadi Iyad, which has been translated into English by Aisha Bewley, under the title, “Muhammad: Messenger of Allah”, is said to have been tried and tested for the removal of difficulties.

Let us attach ourselves to the books of the predecessors (salaf) for they contain blessings, knowledge and openings. Reading their books is like sitting at their feet, taking from them, connecting to them and receiving their secrets. It is an invaluable opportunity to insulate ourselves from the trials and tribulations of western society by seeking their light and guidance.

Saving Our Souls Series | Part 6: 12 Sins of the Eyes – Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


Our eyes and our ability to see are from Allah’s greatest blessings upon us. With them, we’re able to see His marvelous creation and reflect over his might, but all blessings need to be used correctly. If Allah blesses you with wealth it is from gratitude that you use that wealth in permissible ways. Likewise, the great blessing of sight must be used in halal ways and the sins of the eyes must be avoided.

The following are the sins the eyes commit:

  1. The looking of a man at marriageable women
    • Looking at a marriageable woman is of two types:
      • With desire – this is impermissible in every case unless for necessity.
      • Without desire – this is impermissible if one looks at a part of her body which is not permissible to see (i.e. everything except her face and hands).
        • Note: that in the Hanafi school the feet are also included in the above exceptions.
  2. It is also impermissible for women to look at marriageable men
    • Looking at a marriageable man is of two types:
      • With desire – this is impermissible in all cases unless for necessity.
      • Without desire – it is impermissible to look at that which is between his navel and knees.
  3. It is impermissible to look at the nakedness of anyone without a religiously sanctioned excuse.
  4. It is impermissible for the woman to expose any part of her body, besides the face and hands, in the presence of those who are not permitted to see
  5. It is impermissible for both a man and woman to expose that which is between their navel and knees in the presence of anyone who can see and understand what they are seeing, even if the onlooker is of the same gender or unmarriageable kinship. The exclusion to this is the spouse.
    • This also applies if the onlooker is a small child if they can discern what they have seen and could possibly describe what they have seen to others. Thus this doesn’t apply to the very small child who is too young to understand what they have seen.
  6. It is impermissible for the man to expose his genitalia and for the woman to expose that which is between her navel and knees, even if done in private without necessity.
    • The exception is in the presence of their spouse.
  7. It is permissible – in the case of unmarriageable kinship, between those of the same gender, or in the case of an undesired small child (even if the child is not from one’s unmarriageable kinship or of the same gender) – to look at the entire body besides that which is between the navel and knees on condition that no desire is present.
  8. The exception to this is the infant, whether boy or girl, who is not at the age of discernment, as it is permissible to look at them to every part except for the private part of a girl unless the onlooker is the mother.
    • All of the above is also permissible between spouses,
  9. It is impermissible to look at any Muslim with the eye of belittlement
  10. It is impermissible to look into the home of another without their permission.
  11. It is impermissible to look at anything which one has hidden (i.e without permission).
  12. It is impermissible to be witness to an evil done in one’s presence without trying to redress it with one’s hand or tongue.
    • That is unless one has a religiously sanctioned excuse or leaves the gathering.

May Allah forgive us for all that which we’ve looked at intentionally.

Muharram: The Islamic Calendar’s January | A Reader

The new Islamic year is almost upon us and although setting New Year’s Resolutions based on the Islamic calendar isn’t a common practice, there are a few things we should do; reflect over the previous year and take a moment to assess our accomplishments, and think about how we can make the next Islamic year better.

The first month of the Islamic calendar is Muharram; a very special month in Islam. Not only does it mark the start of a new year but it is from what Allah deems “the sacred months”.

Allah says:

God decrees that there are twelve months- ordained in God’s Book on the Day when He created the heavens and earth- four months of which are sacred: this is the correct calculation. Do not wrong your souls in these months- though you may fight the idolaters at any time, if they first fight you- remember that God is with those who are mindful of Him. (9:36)

In this reader, we have compiled for our valued readers most of our articles, questions, videos, and audio segments related to this blessed month.

Articles

Bidding Farewell to this Year and Welcoming a New Year – Muwasala

  • How should we end the year and how should we start the upcoming one?
    • “At the end of the financial year businessmen analyse their year’s trading, but our trade is with Allah and is more worthy of being evaluated. “

Muharram: Mankind’s Memorial – Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

  • Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said explains why Muharram, the first in the Islamic calendar, is an especially auspicious month on many levels.

Sacred Months by Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

  • An article highlighting the virtue of fasting in these sacred months amongst other things.

Answers

Can I Purchase Household Accessories in Muharram?

  • Clearing up some misconceptions

Is it Forbidden to Buy New Clothes During Muharram?

  • Clearing up some more misconceptions

Fiqh of The Islamic Month of Muharram

  • A detailed reply to a question posed to Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, “What is the fiqh of the Islamic month of Muharram?”

Can I Combine My Intentions for a Missed Ramadan Fast and An Optional Sunnah Fast?

  • If you’ve decided to fast some days this month but have fasts you still have to make up from Ramadan, can you combine them?

Videos

Muharram: An Opportunity to Transcend Hypocrisy

  • Dr Yusuf Patel discusses the importance of transcending the recurrent partisan and divisive issues of Muharram, and rather focus on following the universal values that Prophet Musa (peace be upon him), Imam Hussain (Allah be pleased with him) and other great personalities stood for.

Audios

Muharram & New Beginnings, by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

  • A Friday sermon delivered by the Shaykh regarding the concept of shahada, commonly translated as “martyrdom.” The term in reality, goes much deeper than its’ simple translation.

The Masters and the Millennials | Part 7: Importance of Etiquette – Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

This is the seventh part of a series, click here for the previous article.

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

We will be focusing here on good etiquette (adab). We are in need of good manners because we live in a society where the youth do not respect the elderly, and the elderly do not display much care for the youth.

Virtues of good etiquette (adab)
It is narrated that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The one who does not show etiquette to the elderly is not of us.” In addition, many narrations discuss etiquette. Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Mubarak said, “We are more in need of a little adab than we are in need of much knowledge.” Imam Shafi’i said, “My teacher Imam Malik advised me to let my knowledge be the salt and my adab be the dough.” The vast majority of Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal’s students attended his classes to learn adab.

The work Ta’lim al-Muta‘allim tells the story of two men who left home seeking knowledge. They studied together for the same number of years. When they returned home, one had gained deep knowledge of fiqh but the other had not gained that much. When the people asked why this had happened, they were told that the scholar who had gained a deep understanding of the religion had faced the qiblah whenever he studied. Allah granted him an opening because of his adab. The other one had sat with his back to the qiblah and therefore had gained little knowledge.

You will receive knowledge in proportion to the amount of adab you show to your teachers. Abdurrahman ibn Qasim said, “I served Imam Malik for twenty years. I received knowledge from him for two years, and received adab for the other eighteen years. How I wish I had dedicated all twenty years to adab”.

Our level of adab is often connected to our opinion of ourselves. The more a person considers himself a great man of knowledge and demands respect from others, the more the illness of pride enters his heart, and the more difficult it is for him to display adab. On the other hand, the more a person considers himself the least of people, the more he is able to display beautiful adab.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “I was only sent to you to perfect your character.” He also said, “The best of you are those who are best in character.” Our scholars, especially the Ba’Alawi sayyids, take the view that tasawwuf is entirely about having good character.

Examples of Adab
For example, the seating arrangements for major events at Dar al-Mustafa, the institute of Sayyidi Habib Umar, reflect the utmost adab. Senior scholars sit in front of the gathering, facing the rest of the participants. The first few front rows are reserved for senior men, who are seated according to seniority. Younger students of knowledge are seated behind them. Many times when Habib Ali Mashhur (Allah have mercy on him) attended the gathering, he would be seated in the front, facing the gathering, and Habib Umar (his younger brother) would sit in the first row out of adab to his brother.

There are many examples from among the Prophet’s companions illustrating their adab to him. For instance, Thabit sat crying in the road after Allah Most High revealed the Quranic verse: “O you who have believed, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet or be loud to him in speech like the loudness of some of you to others, lest your deeds become worthless while you perceive not” (Sura al-Hujurat, 49:2). A passing companion asked him why he was crying, so he said, “I fear this verse of the Qur’an was revealed regarding me, because I have a loud voice, and when I speak my voice is naturally louder than that of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). I fear that my deeds have been blotted out and I am going to be from among the people of the fire.” The companion, whose name was Asim, told the story to the Prophet, who asked him to call Thabit. When Thabit came to the Prophet, he said, “O Thabit, why are you crying?” Thabit said, “My voice is too loud and I fear that this verse of the Qur’an refers to me.” The Prophet cheered him up, saying, “Are you not pleased that you will live in this world praised and that you will be killed as a martyr and enter Paradise?”

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was displaying excellent adab by saying this, because it is good etiquette to cheer someone up by saying something that makes them feel good about themselves. His statement was very good news for Thabit, who also undertook never to raise his voice above the voice of the Messenger.

Self-sacrifice: a Form of Adab
The following narration is important within the current context of coronavirus: The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said it is haram for Muslims living in a city afflicted by plague to leave that city. They must remain in the city. No one must travel to or from the city. The Prophet is telling us not to run away to save our lives. We should stay in the city, fearing that we may already be carrying the disease, and prefer to be afflicted and die because Islam is about self-sacrifice. We must be prepared to sacrifice ourselves so that others can be safe.

If we develop the quality of self-sacrifice, it will become much easier to serve others, to give them preference, to honour and respect them, to display etiquette towards them, and to have a good opinion of them.

Etiquette with Our Teachers
Shaykh Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani once saw the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) before Zuhr. The Prophet told him to deliver discourses and teach and call people to Allah. He said, “I do not have a pure Arab tongue so how can I speak among the eloquent people of Baghdad?” The Prophet said, “Open your mouth.” So he opened his mouth and the Prophet spat into it seven times. He told him to speak in front of people and call them to the way of Allah Most High with wisdom and good admonition. Shaykh Abd al-Qadir prayed Zuhr and thereafter a large number of people gathered around him to learn from him. However, he was struck with fear and unable to speak. Then he saw Sayyidina Ali (Allah be pleased with him) standing at his side. Sayyidina Ali said, “O my son, call people to Allah.” He said, “O my father, the crowd has instilled within me a sense of fear that is causing me to become tongue-tied and I cannot speak.” So Sayyidina Ali told him to open his mouth and, when he had done so, Sayyidina Ali spat into it six times. Shaykh Abd al-Qadir asked why he had not done so seven times, so he said, “I stopped at six so I may have adab with the Messenger of Allah.” Thereafter Sayyidina Ali left and Shaykh Abd al-Qadir was able to speak to the people.

Habib Muhammad al-Saqqaf once remarked on the importance of adab. He said their nurturing had been such that they would always make sure that they dressed less well than their teachers.

Our community has a very insightful saying: you may achieve whatever you like in life, in the form of degrees, academic knowledge and wealth, but if you do not have etiquette and good character, you have nothing.

May Allah make us people possessing good etiquette.

We’re Hiring

By the Grace of Allah Almighty, SeekersGuidance Islamic Seminary is looking to add a few new hires to our dynamic team to help take our work to the next level

Positions we’re seeking to employ:

 

Outreach Marketing Officer
Full Time | 40 Hours Per week

SeekersGuidance Global Islamic Seminary is hiring a qualified Outreach Engagement Officer with strong project management, copywriting, online marketing, and community engagement skills, with a strong grasp of the Arabic & English language.

 

Social Media & Email Marketing Officer
Part-Time | 20 Hours Per week

SeekersGuidance Global Islamic Seminary is hiring a qualified Social Media Officer with strong online marketing, and community engagement skills, with a strong grasp of the Arabic & English language.

 

Graphic Designer 
Part-Time | 20 Hours Per week

SeekersGuidance requires a Graphics Designer specializing in web-design to join its dedicated team of professionals working on a growing platform of online Islamic services. The role is best suited to someone with knowledge of disciplines within web-designing for a WordPress website with a strong grasp of the Arabic & English language.

 

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Part-Time | 20 Hours Per week

SeekersGuidance requires a copy-editor to work with our team and create quality content in English & Arabic that educates, informs, and inspires, to join its dedicated team of professionals working on a growing platform of online Islamic services. The role is best suited to someone with knowledge of disciplines within web-designing for a WordPress website with a strong grasp of the Arabic & English language.

 

For further information contact [email protected]

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.

Saving Our Souls Series | Part 5: 12 Sins of the Stomach – Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

When they said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, they couldn’t have been more correct. Islam teaches us that the way to a sound heart is through a good stomach. On the contrary, if you consume haram it will hurt your soul. Quite literally, you are (spiritually) what you eat.

From the sins of the stomach are the following:

  1. Consuming money from usury:
    • This applies to direct consumption of it, spending from usurious money, and benefitting from it in any manner, even if not used for food.
  2. Consuming money from unjust taxation
    • This refers to all wealth that is misappropriated, whether unjustly taken by rulers or the imposition of unjust taxes.
  3. Consuming wealth which was misappropriated
    • Misappropriation is the open unlawful seizure of people’s wealth, forcefully, with no right to do so.
  4. Consuming wealth from theft
    • This not only applies to the thief, rather includes any benefitting from stolen property by anyone.
  5. Consuming wealth which was earned in a manner impermissible in the Sacred law
    • Such as corrupt business transactions
  6. Consuming alcohol. The Islamically sanctioned penalty for the drinker of alcohol is forty lashes for the free person, and twenty for the slave.
    • This applies to even a drop of alcohol or any intoxicating agent. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whatever intoxicates in abundance than even a little of it is prohibited (haram).” [Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasaa’i, and others]
  7. Consuming or drinking an intoxicating agent
    • This applies to marijuana and other drugs.
  8. Consuming any impurity whether by eating or drinking
  9. Eating or drinking anything considered filthy
  10. Consuming the wealth of the orphan
  11. Consuming endowments contrary to the conditions of the endower
    • An endowment is that which one relinquishes ownership of something permanent, stipulating benefit from it to remain for the poor, scholars, those striving in the path of Allah, the Muslims, or others. It has many religious injunctions related to it, thus any usage of it contrary to the conditions of the endower is impermissible
  12. Consuming anything which was taken under duress.
    • Anything which is taken without the full willful consent of the owner. So anything that was taken due to own’s shyness or shame for not giving it that had it not been for that they would not have given it – it is not permissible to take nor benefit from.

May Allah allow us to consume only that which is halal and forgive us our sins.

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.