The Duties of Brotherhood: A Comprehensive SeekersHub Reader

The duties of brotherhood form the 15th chapter of Imam Al-Ghazali’s seminal work, the Ihya, which is widely regarded as the greatest work on Islamic spirituality in the world.

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You Don’t Have To Be In Madinah For The Prophet To Hear You, by Shaykh Faid Said

Whether you are in Madinah or in a far corner of China, there is no inherent barrier between you and Allah’s beloved messenger, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. As Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said explains, this is a promise from Allah Himself.

Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem

Allah, the Most High, said in Surah Al-Ahzab (56): “Indeed, Allah and His angels send their salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. Oh you who have believed, send your salawat and salam upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.”

Allahumma salli wa salim wa barik ala Syedina Mawlana Muhammadin wa alaa Ahli Syedina Muhammad!

Allah Sends His Salawat

Most of the learned ones have said, with regards to this verse, that in order to show the station (maqam) of the Messenger of Allah to all of His creation, Allah Most High said that “Indeed, Allah sends his salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him” and this salawat is a constant praise for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and Allah Most High is followed in this praise by the angels and the people of the heavens.

The angels, in following the praise of Allah Most High, and in seeing and hearing the praise of His Beloved, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, send their salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, which is, in essence, making dua for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, by means of which they are getting closer to Allah (The Most High)!  

It’s The Way The Angels Worship

This means that the angels are worshipping Allah, the Most High, by making dua for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him! And Allah, the Most High, commanded the believers to send salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

In a hadith, narrated by Abu Dawud, Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with Him, said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said that

“Whoever sends salawat upon me, Allah, The Most High, returns my soul back to me in order that I may reply to that person!”

This is a great gift and blessing from Allah, the Most High, to give us this connection with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and that too a continuous connection!

By sending your salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, he responds to your salawat directly, as he said:

“Allah returns my ruh back to me in order that I may reply to that person.”  

What a great gift to renew this relationship and continuous blessing that Allah, the Most High, has granted you by giving you the this very blessed chance!

May Allah, the Most High, make us from the people of salawat, wherever we are.

It was narrated by Sa’id ibn Mansur, may Allah be pleased with him, that Suhail ibn Abi Saleh, may Allah be pleased with him, said that:

Syedina Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, the son of Syedina Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, the son of Syedina Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, the grandson of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him once saw me while I was giving my salam [at the Hijr of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him], and He called me. He was in his grandmother’s house [house of Syeda Fatima (may Allah be pleased with her)] eating dinner, so he invited me to eat. I said, ‘no, I do not want to eat.’ Then he asked me, ‘What were you doing?’ I said, I was giving my salam to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.  He said to me, when you come into the masjid, you can send your salawat, as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him said:  “Whoever sends salawat upon me, Allah Most High returns my soul back to me in order that I may reply to that person!”  Then he said: Those that are in Madinah are not closer to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him than those who are in Andalus, [giving their salaam from there]!”

It is not about distance!

In the words of Syedina Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, the son of Syedina Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, the son of Syedina Ali, may Allah be pleased with him,

“Those who are living in Madinah and have access to give salam to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him are not closer than the ones who are in Andalus.”

There is immense hope for us: wherever you are, when you send your salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, He responds to your salawat!  

It is not about distance! It is not about where you are, it is about what you are doing, especially if what you are doing is sending your salawat upon the Beloved, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

May Allah grant us the tawfiq and strengthen our connection and relationship with the Beloved, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

Allahumma salli alaa Syedina Muhammad wa alaa Ahli Syedina Muhammad, fi kulli lamhatin wa nafasin ‘adada maa wa see-a-hu ‘il-muLLAH

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Resources on sending blessings on Prophet Muhammad for seekers:

How Two Of The Salaf Proved the Existence of God, by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Sometimes we imagine that the problems of our age are unique, but this is not the case. Atheism is not new. At the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and even before that, at the time of previous prophets (peace be upon them all), there were people who denied the existence of God. Rebecca Slenes tells us more, based on Shaykh Faraz Rabbani’s teaching of Ghazali’s Foundations of Islamic Belief.

In one of the commentaries of the Creed of Imam al-Tahawi (Aqida Tahawiya), Siraj al-Din al-Ghaznawi, an eminent Indian scholar who migrated to Egypt, gives some examples of how the early Muslims (salaf) discussed with atheists about the existence of the Creator. Through these examples, we see the importance of translating knowledge into wisdom and insight that speaks directly to people’s realities and to their hearts.

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani reminds us that a good argument is not just sound and coherent, but it is also compelling and convincing. To be effective, one needs to have a deep understanding of the context and where people are at, coupled with a deep concern for their eternal well-being. This is the concern of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. It is the concern shown by the the salaf in these stories. We have translated two of them here.

Story of Jafar al-Sadiq

One of the great imams of Islam, Jafar al-Sadiq (may Allah be pleased with him) was the 5th descendant of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and died in the year 148.

It is related that some the atheists denied the existence of the Creator in the presence of Jafar al-Sadiq. Jafar said to him, “Have you ever seen the sea and its awesomeness?”

Here, Jafar used an example that the man would relate to. This man probably lived far away and had travelled by sea. There may have been signs of this on him. It shows us the need to be attentive to people and their backgrounds.

The man said, “Yes, I have travelled by sea and there was a storm and the ship sank and the sailors drowned. I clung onto some planks of wood, then even the planks went away from me. I was pushed away by the clashing of the waves until I reached the shore.”

Imam Jafar said: “You were initially relying on the ship, the planks, and the sailors, but when these things left you did you still hope for safety?”

The man said “Yes”.

Imam Jafar said: “From whom did you hope for safety?”

The man was silent.

Imam Jafar said: “Verily in the Creator, He is the one in which you had hope in at that moment and He is the one who saved you from drowning.” And the man accepted Islam at his hand.

There are many lessons in this story, particularly related to the sunna of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) of knowing the background of the person one is dealing with. Saidina Ali ibn Talib, inspired by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), reminds us: “address people according to their understanding.” The story is also a marvelous depiction of our fundamental belief in God that cannot be denied. In moments of great danger all people, whether they affirm belief or not, tend to cling to hope of survival. The place of this hope is none other than God. Allah often tests us by taking things away from us so that we learn to place our hope in Him alone, showing us that “all things perish, except His face” (Quran 28:88).

Story of Abu Hanifa

The founder of the Hanfi school of jurisprudence, Abu Hanifa (may Allah be pleased with him) was one of the major jurists and scholars of Islamic civilization and passed away on the year 772.

It is related that Imam Abu Hanifa was a decisive debater against atheists. They used to be on the look out for any opportunity to kill him. One day they attacked him with their swords brandished as he was sitting in the mosque. They were about to kill him.

He said to them: “Answer me on one question and then you may do as you wish”.

They said: “go ahead!”

He said: “What would you say of a man who says: ‘verily I saw a ship full of cargo in stormy sea surrounded by surging waves and turbulent winds, yet the ship is sailing straight without a sailor directing her.’ Would you say that this is possible?”

They said: “No, that is not rationally possible.”

Abu Hanifa said: “Oh, Glory be to God, if the mind cannot accept that a ship sails straight without a sailor, how can it be possible for this world with its higher and lower details and all its changing states to exist with order without a Creator?”

They all cried and repented and entered Islam.

Here Abu Hanifa spoke directly to people’s intellect, calling them to believe through reason, which is a gift from God. They had come to kill Abu Hanifa and they all became Muslim at his hands. Subhanallah! He gave them life – the life of faith – after they had tried to kill him.

The importance of wisdom and mercy in addressing people

These are just a few examples of the ways of disputation of the early Muslims. We see how Imam Jafar and Imam Abu Hanifa used simple and relevant examples that spoke to people’s minds and hearts. We should reflect on the importance of wisdom and mercy in addressing people, speaking to them in accordance to their understanding, with patience and gentleness, using logical arguments and examples that they can relate to. These stories are timeless because they speak to all those of intellect. They are beautiful in that they show us the mercy of these early Muslims; even when faced with great hostility (when their lives were in danger), they used patience and wisdom and had a deep concern for those who were rejecting God. They were not debating with the intention to prove they were right or to demonstrate their knowledge; they were doing so out of sincere concern for people and for God. This is the concern and love of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that embraces all humanity and all living creatures.

We must learn and nurture this certitude and this love in ourselves and then learn to convey it with clarity in a compelling and beautiful manner because, as our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us, “None of you believes until you wish for others of the good that which you wish for yourselves!”

This reflection is based on a SeekersHub live class by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani on Ghazali’s Foundations of Islamic Belief Explained. Translation of stories from al-Ghaznawi’s Sharh Aqida Imam al-Tahawi, p. 40-42. Listen to the recording of a clip on the SeekersHub podcast: Stormy Seas: Two Stories on Proving the Existence of God.

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Resources for seekers

Why The Sahaba Said All Division Is Evil, by Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

When faced with disagreements amongst Muslims, Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said argues that we should take the example of Abdullah bin Masud (may Allah be pleased with him) who said, “All division is evil and no good will come from it”.

Allah Subhanu wa Tala has blessed us with His Nur and guided us to His nur through His Nur. Allah Subhanu wa Talasaid is Surah Al Maidah “Indeed a Nur from Allah has come to you”.

One of the main principles of this religion is focusing on human honour and human dignity. In Surah Al Baqara, Allah speaks about how He made Adam (peace be upon him) and ordered the Angels to prostrate to him. In this we can see how Allah has honoured humans by ordering His creation that does not commit any sin, that worships Him constantly, that He made from Nur (light) to make prostration for our father Adam. And Allah said in Surah Al Isra “Indeed, We have honoured mankind”.

All humans are honoured because Allah has honoured them. Amongst humans, the most honoured are the pious ones. Every mu’min’s (believer’s) aim is to achieve piety as the purpose of all forms of worship is to achieve piety. In Surah Al Baqara Allah Most High said, “O people, worship your Lord who has created you and those before you so you may achieve piety”.
That is why the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, said in his prayers of travelling “We beg you, O Allah, to achieve piety and righteousness”. And our beloved Lord, Most High, said in the Quran that He only accepts the prayers and actions of the pious ones, may Allah make us from them.

The Danger of Pessimism

In Hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, said:

“If a man said people have gone astray, people are being misguided and destroyed, that person is the most misguided and destroyed”, and in another narration, “he is the one who misguided and destroyed them”.

If piety is our aim then we have to think good of all muslims. In Surah Hujurat (10), Allah (Subhanu wa Tala) said:
“Indeed all muslims are brothers”.

So brothers should have good thoughts of one another. Brothers should help one another. Brothers should make excuses for one another. Brothers should love one another. Our beloved Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, said: “You can not believe until you love each other “.

We shouldn’t see the ummah through the eyes of misguidance and doom, rather we should see the abundant good in the ummah. In a hadith reported by Imam At Tabarani, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, said

“My ummah is like the rain” because you don’t know whether the beginning or the end of the rain was the reason of all the fruits and vegetables that we have.

The ummah is going through difficult times and dividing into groups and adding fuel to the fire is one of the greatest dangers. Every Muslim has to put their effort in doing their part in uniting people. We cannot divide the divided. The state of the ummah requires a great sense of vigilance. And we have to be very careful with every word we say and every action we take that may cause fitna, chaos and division.

Allah, Most High, said in Surah Al Anam (159),”Indeed those who divided their deen (religion) and they became groups, you [O Messenger] are not related to them”.

This is the greatest warning ever when Allah disconnected those who divide and become groups from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him.

Common Good, Not Personal Whims

We shouldn’t say there are already groups and division, each person is responsible for their own actions. And every action and word should be for the common good, and to cooperate and work together in anything that promotes togetherness and piety as Allah said in the second ayah of Surah Al Maidah.

We urge everyone to give up their rights for the common good and not to insist on their opinion. We see when Sayyiduna Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) completed salah in Mina when travelling, many companions approached him to say “The sunnah is to shorten the salah, we prayed behind the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, and he shortened his salah, and Abu Bakr and Umar followed that sunnah”.

Uthman gave many reasons for not shortening the salah but they were not convinced. Abdur Rahman bin Awf (may Allah be pleased with him) came to Abdullah bin Masud (may Allah be pleased with him) and said “Don’t you see Uthman is not shortening the salah even though he knew to” to which Abdullah bin Masud (may Allah be pleased with him) replied, “All division is evil and no khayr will come from it”.

We should apply this great understanding of Abdullah bin Masud (may Allah be pleased with him) in all our issues, and we should rise above the situation and circumstance and aim for the highest form of worship and piety (taqwa). Taqwa is to please Allah and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, to concentrate on oneself and to be a source of good for everyone. Taqwa also is to not look down on anyone no matter how bad or evil you think they are because Allah might forgive them.

In hadith qudsi, reported in the Sahih of Imam Muslim (no. 2621), Allah Most High said:

“Who is the one that says Allah will never grant forgiveness to such & such?” Allah says to this person “I have forgiven such & such and I have erased all of your deeds”.

Allah will not ask us about others and there is much in us individually that we need to change that should keep us busy from thinking about the collective divisions.

May Allah forgive us, purify us and guide us and allow us to be worthy of following the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him. May Allah allow us to be a source of khayr for the ummahand those around us and allow us to embody the true meaning of piety. May Allah bless you and bless your jummah with every khayr.

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

Read his articles on the SeekersHub blog.

On The Permissibility of Mawlid, With Conditions, by Shaykh Salek Bin Siddina

Shaykh Salek Bin Siddina recites a poem of Muhammad bin Hasan al Khadim on why celebrating the birth of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is permissible but with conditions.

The video is in two parts, with live English translation. Our thanks to the Blessed Tree for these recordings.

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Resources for seekers:

POEM: How Can You Love Muhammad So Much? by Novid Shaid

How can you love Muhammad so much?
How can you show such devotion?
What do you see in this Arabian?
Why does he stir your emotions?
All we have heard is his harem of wives
Included the little girl Aisha
We hear of his call for Islamic jihad
And his Quran so hard to decipher.
How can we not love Muhammad so much?
How can we not just adore him?
How can we not share his wonderful stories?
How can our yearning ignore him?
All we have heard from our mothers and fathers
Our grand parents and also our scholars
Is how the light shone when he smiled and he wept
And how he showed poor people honour.
All we have read in our vast holy books
And the publications in our studies
Is how he would wake in the dead of the night
And pray with all his heart and his body.
All that we know is his soul is a light
The secret of heavenly mercy
He met with a smile and despite all his trials
He even showed animals such courtesy
How can we not love his reality?
When he manisfests in our true dreams
We see his broad face and the mystical grace
We awaken with tears so serene.
How can you see what we ourselves see?
When all that you see is your perception
You see a phantom of your imaginations
But we see a man of sincere intentions
We see a man who inspires us
Who makes us strive for perfection
We see a man who fascinates us
Who makes us apply self-correction
We see a man who fills us with love
For mankind and for all of nature
So how can we not love Muhammad so much?
When we have been smitten by his stature.
You can remain in your ivory towers
Of civilisational hubris
Sinking in pits of cynical bliss
Embracing your mind’s incubus
We will persist in the sheer bliss
Of loving our Prophet Muhammad
Let haters hate and consume folly’s bait
Let lovers live with their beloved.
By Novid Shaid
Rabi Al Awwal Mubarak!

Resources for seekers:

Uniting the Ummah in Love – Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

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

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

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

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

Don’t be Divided in Your Love

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

Love of the Companions

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

The Balance

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

 

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

Resources for Seekers

Cover Photo by Motoshi Ohmori

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‘Tis The Season…For Mawlid Wars? – Ustadh Salman Younas

The month of Rabi` al-Awwal is here, which can only mean that some of us will witness renewed debates on the practice of celebrating the birth of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), writes Ustadh Salman Younas.

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To make things easier for everyone, I’ve mentioned a handful of leading classical scholars who permitted the mawlid in its institutionalized form and those who deemed it impermissible. What is this meant to teach us? That this is a *valid* difference of opinion. While we can cordially discuss the merits of each view, no one should be condemned, mocked, or looked down upon for engaging or not engaging in such a practice, since leading scholars throughout the past few centuries have differed on this issue.

Don’t Let Your Nafs Distract You

Instead of using this time to debate and argue, let’s use it to draw closer to the greatest of creation in a manner that we individually deem sound and acceptable. If that means gathering to sing poems in his praise and celebrating his birth, then wonderful. If it means you sit alone in your house to send some salawat upon him, then wonderful. The point is not to let your nafs and the devil distract us from doing good and puff us up with arrogance/anger by occupying us with argumentation on an issue scholars have differed upon for centuries.

Some of Those who Permitted the Mawlid

  • Imam Abu’l Khattab ibn Dahiya [al-Hawi li’l fatawa (ed. Ilmiyya, pp. 189)]
  • Ibn al-Jazari [al-Arf al-ta`rif [ed. al-Kattaniya, pp. 13-43)]
  • Imam Abu Shama [al-Ba’ith fi inkar al-bid`a wa’l hawadith (ed. Dar al-Raya, pp. 95-96)]
  • Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani [al-Ajwiba al-murdiya (ed. Dar al-Raya, pp. 1117-1118)]
  • Imam al-Sakhawi [Ibid., pp. 1116-1120)]
  • Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti [al-Hawi, (pp. 189-193)]

Some of Those Who Did Not Permit the Mawlid

  • Imam Taj al-Din al-Fakihani [al-Mawrid fi amal al-mawlid (ed. Maktaba al-Ma`arif, pp, 19-27)]
  • Shaykh Ibn Taymiyya [Majmu` al-Fatawa (ed. al-Najdi, 25:298)]
  • Imam al-Haffar [al-Mi`yar (ed. al-Awqaf, 7:99-100)]
  • Imam Abu Amr ibn al-Ala’ [al-Hawi, (pp. 192)]
  • Imam Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi [al-I`tisam (ed. Maktaba al-Tawhid, 1:46)]

Methodological Differences Underlying These Positions

When it comes to the issue of innovation, we can identify two broad approaches:
(a) The dominant approach adopted by many jurists of the Shafi`i school that allowed for a general principle or text to be applied in practice in a particularized manner despite there being no specific precedent for said practice. An early example of this is the position of Imam al-Shafi`i that it is recommended to recite blessings upon the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) after uttering the tasmiya while slaughtering an animal. This is deduced from the general command in Surat al-Ahzab (33:43) of sending blessings on the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). In other words, Imam al-Shafi`i used a general command to legislate a particular practice despite there being no explicit precedent for this practice. Since such a practice could be validly subsumed under a general principle, it would not be an innovation to put into practice in an unprecedented form.
(b) Another view, which was held by a number of Maliki scholars, argued that there must be specific evidence in order to permit persistence (iltizam) on a particularized form of a general command. This is termed by al-Shatibi as takhsis al-umum bi-la dalil (specifying a general text without evidence). Those scholars agreeing with al-Shatibi would not allow reciting blessings on the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) after saying the tasmiya while slaughtering because no specific evidence exists to establish such a practice. As for the general command to send such blessings, it is alone insufficient to evidence permissibility in this case.
Therefore, the first view lends itself to being utilized to institutionalize or invent specific forms of devotional practice so long as they do not oppose the broad principles of the law.
The second view is not “open-looking” in this manner as it restricts itself to the existence of past precedent without which a devotional act cannot be invented or institutionalized. The only exception is when a devotional act is is done spontaneously or due to free-time without it being institutionalized.

Both views have support in the actions of the early Muslims:

(i) The first view is supported by the narration of Abu Hurarya who stated that Khubayb ibn Adi initiated the practice of performing two cycles of prayer before being executed. Here, Khubayb had no specific precedent but took a general recommendation of performing prayer and applied it in a particular manner to a specific time and situation. [Sahih al-Bukhari]
(ii) The second view is supported by the actions of some Companions who opposed practices that could reasonably be subsumed under general principles/text. One example is Ibn Mas’ud’s opposition to those who were engaging in group dhikr in the mosque despite the general command in the Qur’an to, “remember God.” (3:191)
Both these approaches return to ijtihadi differences and preferences. Consequently, the choice scholars make to argue for or against certain practices should be respected as an exercise of valid ijtihad based on sound methodological divergences.
And God knows best.

Resources on sending blessings on Prophet Muhammad for seekers:

To Those Who Say Loving The Prophet Too Much Leads To Shirk, by Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

“Allah Guides to His Light Whom He Wills.” (Surah An-Nur)
Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem

Loving Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is the religion; and knowing his station (peace be upon him) is the religion! Loving him (peace be upon him) is a PART of the religion, and if you do not have this part you do not have the religion! Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said tells us why.

[cwa id=’cta’]
Whilst in Makkah, during my recent trip, I had the opportunity to converse with some of the scholars of Makkah; may Allah Most High bless the scholars, one of whom said: “I think people are exaggerating when they speak about the love of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), and I fear their exaggeration will lead them to shirk (polytheism).”
I said: may Allah bless you and open the doors of goodness for you, I understand your concern is about tawhid (the oneness of God), but we should see what the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
In a Hadith, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said if a person possesses three things he will taste the sweetness of faith:

  1. the first is to love Allah Most High and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) more than anyone or thing,
  2. second, to love whom you love for the sake of Allah Most High, and
  3. third, to dislike returning to deviance after having been saved and guided from it by Allah Most High as much as he would hate being thrown into the fire. (Imam Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said in this hadith that the first of the three is to love Allah Most High and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him); he did not say love Allah Most High and then love the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him)! The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used the word and because loving the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is loving Allah Most High!
In another hadith, narrated in Muslim and Bukhari, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: None of you believe until he loves me more than himself, his children and his parents.
And as narrated in Bukhari (6257), Syedina Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “O Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), I love you more than anything but myself.”
To which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) replied: “No! I swear by the One in whose Hand is my soul, you cannot claim iman until I am more beloved to you than yourself!”
Then Syedina Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Now, by Allah Most High, you are more beloved to me than myself!”
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him): “Now, Ya Omar, you can claim iman!”
Recalling this hadith, I said to our brother that the companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) were not even worried about loving him (peace be upon him) more than themselves!

If you think you are trying to compare between Allah Most High and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), and in doing so you say to yourself that you do not want to make them on the same level (to avoid shirk), and hence you think to lower the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) slightly to insure the safety of your imanthat is the danger that should cause us to worry!

Our love for the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is love for Allah Most High!
This is confuses some as they are unable to understand Allah Most High, and so they are fearful of relating or mixing – this fear in itself is shirk!
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said in a hadith that we should love Allah Most High for all the blessings He bestows upon us, love the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) because Allah Most High loves him, and to love the family of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) because of our love for him!
So our love for Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is love for Allah Most High!
The Qur’an describes aspects of the station of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and Allah Most High love for him. Allah Most High teaches us in the Qur’an in Surah Ash-Shu’ara (82), that Ibrahim (peace be upon him) begged Allah Most High for forgiveness: “And I hope that He will forgive my sins on the Day of Judgment.”
And what did Allah Most High say to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) in Surah Al-Fath: “That Allah has forgiven you for what preceded of your sin and what will follow and complete His favor upon you and guide you to a straight path.”
Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) is begging Allah Most High and Allah Most High is giving the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) without him even asking!
Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) said in Surah Ibrahim (35): “…protect my children and I from worshipping idols”
And Allah Most High said to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) in Surah Al Ahzab (33): “…Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity, O people of the household, and to purify you completely.”
Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) is begging for purification, and Allah Most High is granting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his family full purification!
In Surah As-Saffat (99), Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) states that: “Indeed, I will go to my Lord.”
And in Surah Al-Isra (1), Allah Most High says: “Glory to the One who took His slave at night…”
Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) is going and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is being taken!
In Surah Ahli-Imran (173), Allah Most High relates to us the words of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him): “Allah Most High is my Sponsor and He is the best of Sponsors.”
And in Surah Al-Anfal (64), Allah Most High says to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “Oh Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), Allah Most High is your Sponsor…!”
Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) is stating the Allah Most High is his Sponsor, whilst Allah Most High is telling us that He is the Sponsor of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)!
In Surah Ash-Shua’ra (87), Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) asks Allah Most High: “And do not disgrace me on the Day they are [all] resurrected.”
And in Surah At-Tahrim (8), Allah Most High says: “…the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him.” (peace be upon him)
Not only did Allah Most High tell us that there will be no disgrace upon the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), but that Allah Most High will also not disgrace the believers because of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)!
Within all these ayat we see the greatness of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him), Khalilullah, the one that Allah Most High chose as a friend, the one described as an entire ummah, the one in whose lineage all the subsequent Prophets reside, but yet we see the greatest station in the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)!

Loving the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is faith. If the ummah were to have this love, we would not be where we are now. Do not fear shirk for the one who loves; we should fear for the one who does not love. LOVE IS NOT THE CAUSE OF OUR ISSUES; IT IS THE LACK OF SUCH LOVE!

May Allah Most High guide us to iman, and make us worthy of following the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).
May Allah Most High reward our friend with the best, as he made us cry in the House of Allah Most High!
Our encounter reminded us of the great ulema of the past, in that once they had a discussion and they felt the outcome of the discussion in their heart, they would leave whatever stance they were upon. As such, we were humbled to meet this alim, as it reminded us of the great ulema: Imam Shafi (may Allah be pleased with him) held the opinion that you cannot benefit from the skin of a dead animal or the child of a dead animal because Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said to not benefit or use anything from a dead animal (narrated by Imam Ahmad). In a discussion that took place between the great scholar Ishaq ibn Rahaway (may Allah be pleased with him) and Imam Shafi (may Allah be pleased with him), the later stated that he believed that one could not benefit from the skin of a dead animal, to which Imam Ishaq (may Allah be pleased with him) said that one can benefit from the skin of a dead animal if it is cleaned properly, as that was mentioned by Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). Upon hearing this, Imam Shafi (may Allah be pleased with him) left his opinion because of the hadith that was narrated, and coincidentally, Imam Ishaq (may Allah be pleased with him) left his opinion upon hearing the hadith narrated by Imam Shafi (may Allah be pleased with him)!
Our brother reminded us of them.
May Allah Most High bless us and open our hearts to the love of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). Allahumma salli alaa Syedina Muhammad wa alaa Ahli Syedina Muhammad, fi kulli lamhatin wa nafasin ‘adada maa wa see-a-hu ‘il-muLLAH

How Spiritual Transformation Is Achieved, by Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

The Companions were humans like us…but their ranks were raised by virtue of their spiritual transformation. Some of them used to commit terrible crimes, but they were forgiven. Hearts hard as rocks became soft and full of mercy. What was the cause of this amazing transformation? Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said sheds some light.

The presence of the Prophet ﷺ and his teachings changed them from the inside out.

One of these blessed companions was in the market when he realized that he had been robbed. Upon that discovery, he raised his hands in prayer. The people around him decided that the thief was finished, as no one could come to any good if this companion, who was so close to the Prophet, prayed against him.

But he didn’t. Shaykh Faid Muhammad Said tells us what he did pray for…and why.

Inspired by this story? Try one of SeekersHub’s FREE online courses, such as The Sunna of Speech: Prohibitions of the Tongue, taught by Shaykh Rami Nsour.

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