The Dowra 2020: A Spiritual Lighthouse

With so many plans disrupted this year and put off by Covid-19, the believer knows that nothing is ever purely evil and even the darkest of places will have at least a speck of light.  Tarim is the lighthouse. This year they’re offering their summer course online.

This summer course, or dowrah, has been held annually since 1995 in the valleys of Tarim, Hadhramaut, but due to the global circumstances, they’ve decided to offer it online.

Teachers include:

  • Habib Umar Bin Hafiz
  • Habib Kazim al-Saqqaf
  • and others

They say, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”.  Although physical interaction with these scholars isn’t possible, let us at least try to connect with them virtually.

For more information regarding this summer program:

  • Click here for the official page for the dowra
  • Or, check the Facebook page of Muwasala, see here

If you feel you need more supplementary material to go along with this summer program, then SeekersGuidance has courses based on some of Habib Umar’s works, see the following list:

  • Epitome of Love: Commentary on Habib Umar’s Diya’ al-Lami | Click here for this free course
  • Habib Umar on the Path of Spiritual Excellence: An Explanation of Ba’l Faqih’s Treatise The Spheres of Islam, Iman, Ihsan, and `Irfan | Click here for this free course

May Allah accept from us and allow us to purify ourselves.

The Trodden Path (Episode 13): Shaykh Wasfi al-Masaddi

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


In this thirteenth episode of the The Trodden Path series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed writes on the life of Shaykh Shaykh Wasfi al-Masaddi of Syria.

Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed

Shaykh Wasfi al-Masaddi (1335-1431=1917-2010)

Wasfī ibn Ahmad ibn Yusuf ibn Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Jalil was a devout scholar, a faqih and an excellent orator and a spiritual guide.

He was born in the city of Homs in Syria in 1917 (1335). His father was a scholar, while his mother was from the al-Jundi family.

His father, Shaykh Ahmad was closely connected to Shaykh Ahmad al-Tuzaqli al-Turkumani al-Naqshbandi who in turn was closely connected to Shaykh Khalid al-Naqshbandi.

He learnt the basic essentials of reading and writing and mathematics from his father. His father was an Imam and a teacher at one of the mosques in the city and he was the young Wasfi’s first Quran teacher.

After his elementary studies he enrolled at the al-Madrasa al-Waqfiyya that was under the supervision of Shaykh Muhammad Zahid al-Atasi (d.1366=1947). He studied at this institution for six years during which he studied Usul-Fiqh of the Hanafi madhhab, Nur al-Idah and the text of Mukhtasar al-Quduri and al-Kamil by al-Mubarrid all under Shaykh Zahid. Shaykh Wasfi resembled his teacher in his recitation of the Quran and in his gait.

Some of his other teachers were:

  • Shaykh Muhammad Yasin Basmar with whom he studied Imam Nawawi’s collection of forty Hadith, Arabic Grammar, Logic and other subjects.
  • His son, Shaykh Abu al-Sa’ud Basmar with whom he studied Arabic Grammar, Logic and Mukhtasar Ibn Abi Jamrah in Hadith.
  • Shaykh Anis al-Kalalib
  • Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ali ‘Uyun al-Sud
  • Shaykh Ahmad ibn ‘Umar Safi (1276-1367=1860-1948) with whom he read Tafsir alBaydawi
  • Shaykh Salim Safi
  • Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadi al-Khoja (1373=1953) who was an excellent Hanafi faqihShaykh Wasfi studied Hashiya Ibn ‘Abidin and Sharh al-Qastallani ‘ala Sahih al-Bukhari. Shaykh Wasfi and Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ‘Uyun al-Sud were fortunate to have had special lessons with the Shaykh in the laws of inheritance and they studied al-Sirajiyyah.
  • Shaykh Tawfiq al-Atasi (1283-1385=1866-1965) with whom he studied Hashiya IbnAbidin
  • Shaykh Najm al-Din al-Atasi  (1278-1352=1859-1933) with whom he studied Multaqa alAbhur
  • Shaykh Taqi al-Din al-Atasi (1285-1360=1868-1941). Shaykh Wasfi and Shaykh Muhammad Tayyib attended lessons in Hashiya Ibn ‘Abidin with him.
  • Shaykh Abu al-Saud al-Atasi (1303-1364)
  • Shaykh Ibrahim al-Atasi (1268-1359)
  • Shaykh Muhammad ibn Khalid al-Ansari al-Himsi (1287-1364=1870-1945).
  • Shaykh Abu al-Nasr Khalaf al-Himsi (1292-1368=1875-1948). He was a scholar and a spiritual guide who had benefited from many illustrious scholars including Shaykh Badr al-Din al-Hasani, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Jafar al-Kettani and his father Shaykh Salim Khalaf al-Himsi. His father, Shaykh Salim had taken the Naqshbandi Sufi way from Shaykh Ahmad al-Tuzaqli. Shaykh Wasfi also took the Naqshbandi way from him.
  • Shaykh ‘Abd al-Ghaffar ‘Uyun al-Sud who was a close friend of Shaykh Wasfi’s father.

He met some ‘ulama from Damascus but did not receive ijazah from them. They are:

  • Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id al-Burhani
  • Shaykh Muhammad al-Hashimi
  • Shaykh Abu al-Khayr al-Maydani
  • Shaykh Salih al-Tunusi

He graduated in 1936 and got married in the same year. He remained closely connected to the Mufti of Homs, Shaykh Tahir al-Atasi (1276-1359=1859-1940) under whom he studied Jamu’ alJawami, alTawdih wa alTalwih, alHikam al-‘Ata’iyya and was even given the responsibility of transcribing the Shaykh’s fatwa’s. 

A number of other ‘ulama granted him ijazah. They include:

  • Shaykh Muhammad al-‘Arabi al-Tubbani (1315-1386=1897-1966) whom he met during his Hajj in 1950. On this journey he also met Shaykh ‘Alawi al-Maliki, Shaykh Muhammad Nur Sayf and Shaykh Amin al-Kutbi.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Makki al-Kettani (1312-1393=1894-1973). This erudite scholar was the son of an illustrious scholar in addition to having studied under many luminaries. He was fond of Shaykh Wasfi and even suggested that the Shaykh be appointed as the guide and advisor for all Islamic activities. When Shaykh Makki passed away, Shaykh Wasfi was allowed to see the deceased before his body was taken from the home. On seeing him Shaykh Wasfi said that never in his life had he seen a deceased person like Shaykh Makki with beauty and nur clearly visible.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Yusuf al-Binnori (1326-1397=1908-1977) who studied under Shaykh Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri, Shaykh Shabbir Ahmad Uthmani and others. Many prominent scholars narrate from him. Shaykh Wasfi met him during the Hajj of 1950 and he granted ijazah to both Shaykh Wasfi and to Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ‘Uyun al-Sud.
  • Shaykh ‘Abd al-Muhsin al-Ustuwani (1275-1383=1859-1963). He studied under some illustrious scholars who included; his father, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadit al-Ustuwani, Shaykh Salim al-Attar, Shaykh Sa’id al-Ustuwani and Shaykh Mahmud Nasib al-Hamzawi.
  • Shaykh Nu’aym al-Nu’aymi al-Jaza’iri (1327-1393=1909-1973) who narrated from Shaykh Muhammad Tahir ibn ‘Ashur, Shaykh Salim Bo Hajib and Shaykh Mahmud ibn al-Khoja. This scholar came from Algeria to Homs with the intention of studying the modes of recitation under Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ‘Uyun al-Sud
  • Shaykh ‘Alawi al-Maliki (1329-1391=1910-1971) whose chains of transmission were compiled in a book by his son, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Alawi al-Maliki.

After his father’s demise in 1935 he assumed the responsibility of leading the Salat and teaching at the al-Qasimi Mosque. He had trained and acquired the skill as a public speaker during his father’s lifetime.  During his father’s last illness he fulfilled his father’s duties of leading the Salat, delivering the lectures and conducting lessons. He read Tafsir alKhazin with his father in the very mosque. He remained the public speaker (khatib) at the mosque until 1980 when he moved to Saudi Arabia.

He conducted a lesson in the Qasimi Mosque after Maghrib that was attended by students of sacred knowledge and another after ‘Asr for the public. Every Tuesday he had a lesson at his home and every Friday after ‘Asr in the main mosque. He conducted a lesson daily after Zhuhr at the Dalati Mosque.

During these lessons he taught Tafsir al-Khazin, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Maraqi al-Falah, Hashiya al-Tahtawi, Shar’at al-Islami, al-Anwar al-Muhammadiyya an abridged form of al-Mawahib al-Laduniyya by Shaykh Yusuf al-Nabhani. His practice was to complete the entire book and then continue with another. There were times when he may have repeated a book. He remained dedicated towards calling people to Allah. One of his close friends and aides in the field of Da’wa was Shaykh Mustafa al-Sibai’. 

Shaykh Wasfi’s approach was one that relied on solid proof without any bias towards any religious group or faction. He adopted the way of his Shaykh, Shaykh Abu al-Nasr Khalaf al-Himsi.

Shaykh Wasfi was appointed as a teacher at the Shari’ah Institute that was established in 1946 and a year later he assumed administrative duties at the same place. He withdrew from teaching for about five years and thereafter he resumed where he continued until 1982.

The reason for his withdrawal is that the Shari’ah Institute was known to have had very high academic standards and much of this was attributed to the fact that an excellent teacher like Shaykh Wasfi taught the students in the former years, thus providing them with a firm foundation. However when he was assigned some administrative duties he taught the senior classes and with the result the former classes were neglected. He therefore felt that his presence at the institution was of no benefit and resigned. He returned to his teaching after persistence from his friend, Shaykh Muhammad al-Tayyib. In total he served the institution for thirty-three years.

In 1952 he was appointed as the official teacher of the region of Homs. This was during the period of the Mufti, Shaykh Tawfiq al-Atasi. He held this position until 1980.

He played a very significant role in preserving and renovating the mosques of Homs especially the Mosque of Khalid ibn al-Walid and the attached institution. He also contributed to the preservation of al-Mu’addas Mosque in 1977 that the Christians had tried to convert into a church. In 1978 he worked towards renovating the al-Qasimi Mosque.

In 1980 he migrated to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia where he taught Quran at the King ‘Abd al-Aziz University for about six years during which he also conducted some lessons in Sirah. It is interesting to note that when he had arrived in Jeddah, the university required his certificates. However Shaykh Wasfi had studied under the shuyukh and thus requested that the Shari’ah Institute in Homs issue him with a letter of recommendation acknowledging that he had served the institution for many years as a teacher. This letter was issued and on this basis he was appointed as a teacher at the university in Jeddah. He delivered the Friday sermon in the Abu Dawud Mosque in Jeddah for about twenty-five years. He had a weekly lesson in Fiqh, Hadith and Tafsir for people from Homs who were residing in Jeddah and another for Damascenes and a public lesson after ‘Asr during Ramadan. Many sort to meet him and even to pose their questions to him. Shaykh Salman Abu Ghuddah and Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman Hajjar and others were among the many who frequented his lessons.

After many years he finally returned to Homs where he was warmly received by the ‘ulama and the public. He continued to move between Jeddah and Homs until he passed away in Homs on the morning of the 25th August 2010 (15th Ramadan 1431). The Janazah Salat was performed at the Khalid ibn Walid Mosque and he was buried in the Kathib Graveyard.

Shaykh Wasfi was a handsome man of fair complexion who was distinct with his clothing. He was an effective lecturer, a successful teacher and a person of captivating personality. His gatherings were filled with immense benefit. He was blessed with insight and knowledge from Allah.

His face was bright and radiant and some his students mentioned that if a person looked at him then he was reminded of Allah. In addition if a person wished to free himself from the anxieties of life, then merely sitting in the Shaykh’s company will be a source of comfort and peace. He was a person whom the young and the old, the layman and the scholar was attracted to on seeing or meeting him for the first time. He was extremely humble before the people and before his Creator. He was eager to serve people and in doing so was an example of kindness and generosity. He possessed immense love for Allah and His beloved Prophet Muhammad.

 


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

He has authored two books:

Muslim Scholars of the 20th Century.

Muslim Scholars of the 21st Century.

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

In These Last Days of Ramadan, Support the Spread of the Prophetic Legacy – Imam Yama Niazi

Imam Yama Niazi discusses the Islamic Scholars Fund and the critical importance of supporting students of knowledge and qualified teachers around the world.

“This is a fund that helps and supports our teachers, our scholars, our da’ees and those who call to Allah (subhana wa ta’aala) ).” – Imam Yama Niazi

We need your help to raise $1 million in Zakat and Charity to urgently support scholars in need around the world.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported to have said: “Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.” 

But in times of crisis, when our mosques and religious institutions are closed down, our scholars are left unsupported and struggling to survive. Taking up odd jobs to provide for their families, leaving our communities bereft of the light and guidance it’s in utter need of.  Therefore there is no better, more important initiative than the spread of knowledge. 

Don’t Let a Faith Pandemic Happen: Support Our Islamic Scholars Fund This Ramadan 

Give your zakat and charity to the Islamic Scholars Fund in these blessed last days of Ramadan to help deserving religious scholars and students. In these difficult times, knowledge has even greater impact; and your support will help it spread. 

Through your support and contributions of Zakat and Charity – to the Islamic Scholars Fund – you are directly helping deserving qualified scholars and students.  and becoming a part of the Prophetic legacy.

Purify Your Wealth

“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” [Quran 2:261]

Donate now to ensure scholars have the support required to continue their priceless service to their communities.

Support the spread of sacred Knowledge through the Islamic Scholars Fund in these last days of  Ramadan, by giving your zakat and charity to help us raise $1 million for deserving students and scholars in need around the world. 

On behalf of everyone here at SeekersGuidance, please accept our gratitude for everything you have contributed, and we pray you have a blessed end to Ramadan.

Wasalaam,

Waseem Mahmood
Business Strategy Manager

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary

 

In These Last Days of Ramadan, Help Sustain Sacred Knowledge – Dr. Hadia Mubarak

In the current global crisis, many deserving scholars and students have been left unsupported; knowledge is critical in these testing times, and you can help to sustain it’s spread.

Dr. Hadia Mubarak talks about the Islamic Scholars Fund and the importance of supporting students of knowledge and qualified teachers around the world.

“Whatever crisis we are facing never eliminates our need for accurate and reliable religious knowledge, so it is absolutely critical that we support religious scholars across the world.”  Dr. Hadia Mubarak

Don’t Let a Faith Pandemic Happen: Support Our Islamic Scholars Fund This Ramadan.

We need your help to raise $1 million in Zakat and Charity to urgently support students of knowledge and qualified scholars in need around the world.

Knowledge is critical in these testing times, and you have an opportunity by donating your Zakat and Charity to help sustain it’s spread.

This Ramadan, help people around the world find light and guidance by supporting deserving scholars. Give your zakat and charity to support scholars who need it, when their knowledge is needed most.

Hadith: The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reported to have said: “Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.”  [Related by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, Ibn Maja, Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, and others] 

Faith Pandemic

Islamic Scholars Fund

Support the Spread of Sacred Knowledge through the Islamic Scholars Fund this Ramadan, by giving your Zakat and Charity to Help Us Raise $1 Million for Deserving Students and Scholars in Need Around the World. 

On behalf of everyone here at SeekersGuidance, please accept our gratitude for everything you have contributed, and we pray you have a blessed end to Ramadan.

Wasalaam,

Waseem Mahmood
Business Strategy Manager

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary

Support Seekers Spread Clarity in Confusing Times with Shaykh Abdul Rahim Reasat

Spread clarity in confusing times

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SUPPORT OUR GLOBAL ISLAMIC SEMINARY

SPREAD CLARITY IN CONFUSING TIMES:  SUPPORT SEEKERS SPREAD THE LIGHT OF GUIDANCE 

Help us raise $1,000,000 this Ramadan to reach one million students in our online courses.

With your support, SeekersGuidance has served over 250,000 students in our online courses so far. In 2019 alone, we have served almost 4 million unique visitors to our website.

However, in these testing times, the need to spread clarity and guidance is even more critical. Your support will help us reach 1 million students and tens of millions of visitors – so they can gain clarity and certitude in these confusing times. 

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why support Seekers Guidance

Give now to our #SpreadClarityNow campaign, to spread clarity and guidance when it’s needed the most. You can support our Seekers Growth Fund in TWO ways

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No other Islamic Seminary reaches as many people, so consistently, so easily, with such clarity, so imagine how much greater that impact could be if we are able to increase this capacity.

“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain that sprouts seven ears, each bearing one hundred grains. And Allah multiplies for whomever He wills. Truly, Allah is All-Bountiful, All-Knowing.” (Qur’an, 2:261)

On behalf of everyone here at SeekersGuidance, please accept our gratitude for everything you have contributed.

Wasalaam,

The Development Team

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary

SeekersGuidance is 501(c)(3) registered Not for Profit. Donations are tax-deductible in the USA.

Ramadan Seminar Q&A Session – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

* Originally posted on May 8, 2018

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani answers questions on the fiqh of fasting, including the nullifiers of fasts, expiation for broken fasts, and the spiritual retreat.

Among the many questions and points Shakyh Faraz addresses, he mentions that if one breaks fast deliberately or by accident, the time of fasting is not over, and one is able to fast, then one refrains from everything a fasting person refrains from until fasting ends. This is a sign of contrition and remorse.

Hasten to Break Fast

The Shaykh also mentions that one should not delay breaking fast excessively out of a mistaken sense of piety or fervor. Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said:

قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ أَحَبُّ عِبَادِي إِلَيَّ أَعْجَلُهُمْ فِطْرًا

Allah Mighty and Majestic said: “The most beloved among my servants are those who hasten to break their fast.” (Tirmidhi)

Be Tactful and Considerate with Others

But one must also remember that when in a group of people who believe they are in the right to delay, one must be discreet about the matter and not make disagreement a point of contention or rancor. If you consider breaking it in such a situation do it tactfully.

These and many others points and rulings are covered in this session. And you should listen to it even if you know all the answers as there is no harm and abundant good in reviewing what one knows and strengthening one’s knowledge.

May Allah grant us eternal success in the blessed month of Ramadan and in all the months He has decreed for each and every one of us until we are brought before Him. Amin.


Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al Kallas, may Allah have mercy on him, as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersHub in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.

Support SeekersGuidance in our effort to bring the light of Prophetic Guidance to Muslims everywhere completely free of charge.


 

Getting the Most Out of Rajab – Habib Umar

There are a number of ways to get the most out of Rajab. Some of the most important are as follows:

1. Seeking forgiveness in abundance and making sincere repentance;
2. Making a sincere resolve to seek to approach Allah through performing acts of obedience and avoiding acts of disobedience;
3. Assessing your state, rectifying it and striving to follow the Prophet ﷺ in all that you do;
4. Improving your performance of the prayer by making sure that you implement the sunnahs pertaining to the prayer and pray with presence of heart. Also strive to pray in congregation in the first row without missing the opening takbir;
5. Improving your relationship with the Qur’an by increasing the amount you read and reflect upon daily and seeking to act upon it;
6. Being consistent in reading your adhkar in the morning and evening, after the prayer and in your varying states (such as eating, entering the house and preparing for sleep);
7. Improving your interaction with your family, friends, relatives, neighbors and with Allah’s slaves in general and the elect of His slaves specifically;
8. Fasting whatever days you are able to, especially Monday and Thursday and the White Days (13th, 14th and 15th days of the month);
9. Giving a portion of charity and doing what you can to help those in need and treating them kindly;
10. Worshiping Allah in these nights, especially in the last portion of the night. Improve your state at this time so as to enter into those who Allah praises in the Qur’an: Those who spend their wealth (in charity) and seek forgiveness in the last portion of the night.

The Trodden Path (Episode 10): Shaykh Esa Mannun

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


In this tenth episode of the The Trodden Path series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed writes on the life of Shaykh Esa Mannun of Palestine.

The Trodden PathShaykh Esa Mannun 1306-1376=1889-1956 (Palestine)

Esa ibn Yusuf ibn Ahmad Mannun was a great scholar of Fiqh, a specialist in the Shafi’ school and a reputable scholar of Usul-Fiqh.

He was born in 1889 (1306) in the village of Ain Kaarim on the outskirts of the city of Quds. This area was known for its beauty, fresh, unpolluted air, sweet, refreshing water and it was an area surrounded by grape and olive trees. Many would come here for their summer vacation on account of the beautiful environment and the generosity and affable nature of the local people. 

Shaykh Esa grew up in this pure environment. His parents were good practising Muslims with a noble background. His grandfather, Ahmad Mannun made sure, that his grandson while still very young, developed a thirst for knowledge and a love for reading and he encouraged him in every possible way.

His father, Yusuf, desired that his son work with him on his grape orchard, but the boy was not very keen. He would remain with his father for short periods, after which he would return to school. His grandfather helped him by speaking to his father and urged him not to let his son be distracted from schooling and acquiring knowledge. 

Thereafter, Esa dedicated even more time and studied with passion and a desperate desire in search of knowledge. It was then through the mercy of Allah that he was blessed by having had the opportunity of studying under a great teacher, Shaykh Yusuf Al-Habiyah, who devoted a lot of time and attention to the young Esa. Because of his intelligence and wit, he excelled way above his friends; as a result, Shaykh Yusuf taught him some additional lessons that were not included in the school syllabus. He taught him the Quran and helped him memorize it. Shaykh Esa also studied Arabic grammar, Lexicology, Fiqh and Tawhid after having grasped all the requirements of the school syllabus, which included subjects like mathematics, history and writing skills.

When he sat for the examination at the Darul Ma’arif in Al- Quds, he impressed the examiners to such an extent, that they were prepared to have him appointed as a teacher in one of the schools on the outskirts of the city. When he learnt about this, he pressurized his grandfather to convince a friend of his to intervene so he would not be sent to another area, as he was not prepared to leave his Shaykh, with whom he had spent so much time.

Shaykh Esa treasured the time with his Shaykh, even though it resulted in a decrease in his salary and reduced the possibility of being promoted.

He taught at the school for one year. Being fifteen years old, he was the youngest teacher at the school. He had a desire to study at the Al-Azhar University. In 1902 (1322), he intended to travel to Egypt to continue his studies. He faced some pressure from his parents, but he continued to be good and kind to them, until they finally granted him permission. During his time in Egypt, he was fortunate to have had the opportunity to have met and become acquainted with some of the senior scholars of the time.

It was his practice not to attend the lesson of any scholar until he prepared it thoroughly and understood it. When the teacher began the lesson, he listened attentively to find out if his understanding of the subject conformed to what the teacher said. In most cases this was true. The only reason why the teacher in many cases was better was because he had the chance to refer to many more and rare references that were not available to the students. Shaykh Esa however was admired both as a student and a teacher.

He had a great desire to benefit from the different scholars. He would rise before Fajr and after the Salat, he attended lessons conducted by the scholars. He sat with one Shaykh and after sunrise he would proceed to another and then another in this way until before Asr. Thereafter, he rested for a while and had his lunch. These lessons he attended were voluntary.

After Asr Salat, he returned to the Al-Azhar to revise his lessons and prepare the lessons for the next day. He continued in this way until late at night. When this was over, he would carry his books and return to his room to continue his normal routine from the morning. He was known amongst his friends for his hard-work and the effective way in which he utilized his time.

Five years after joining the Al-Azhar, the teachers at the University decided to introduce some new policies. They decided to place those students who studied privately under scholars of their choice in formal studies that would correspond with their academic level. They decided on a period of 12 years. For this they carried out examinations that were conducted by committees of Ulama. As a result of this examination Shaykh Esa was placed in the ninth year, even though he was only in Egypt for five years.

This encouraged him to sit and attempt the International Examination, which was only permitted to students after 12 years. He occupied himself during the vacation, and during his years as a student, he only went home once. He did not go home again until he was appointed as teacher at the Al-Azhar. 

Some of his most notable teachers were:

  • Shaykh Salim Al-Bishri, the Shaykh of the Al-Azhar.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Hasanain Makhluf, father of Shaykh Hasanain Makhluf who was the Mufti Egypt and a member of the Council of Ulama.
  • Shaykh Abdul Hakm Ataa, under whom Shaykh Esa studied Tafsir and Usul.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Ulayan who was known for his precise understanding and was a famous scholar of Tawhid and logic.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Bakhit Al-Mutiie, who was a renowned faqih and Usul specialist of his time. He was the Mufti of Egypt and a person with many books to his credit.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Abduh, who was also the Mufti of Egypt and a person known for his eloquence.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Al-Rifa’ie, who was a person who had dedicated most of his time and effort to the study of Hadith.
  • Shaykh Ahmad Nasr

Certificates and Acknowledgements:

The practice at the Al-Azhar was that a student studied with a Shaykh for a length of time. When he felt that he had the ability to enter the examination, he would present an application to the Committee of Scholars of the Al-Azhar. The examination was conducted orally by a panel of the senior ulama. This examination was very difficulty during which the student was tested on many subjects. 

Shaykh Esa presented his application and did not wish to waste time. When he realized that a month had passed and he still did not receive any notice of his examination, he continued with his usual practice. Many of his colleagues were eager to study with him because of his ability to clarify difficult issues. While studying and preparing for the examination he had the opportunity to go and enquire about his application. He was taken by surprise, when one of the supervisors asked him to immediately sit for the examination. He was happy and he praised Allah for this. He went forward without any fear or hesitation, even though he did not have with him any book to revise from. During the examination he answered by quoting texts from memory in a very eloquent manner. This impressed the examiners and they all agreed to award him the certificate with the highest results.

After completing the examination, he returned to his friends with whom he used to study. He informed them that he had just completed the examination that lasted six hours, and he was successful. They were thoroughly amazed. This outstanding event occurred in 1911 (1328). His success encouraged his friends to take the examination.

After having achieved this certificate, he was confident to try and obtain the highest academic certificate available at the time, at the Al-Azhar. This examination was very difficult because it included various branches of Shariah and the Arabic Language.

He began preparing for this examination. Usually there would be a time period of a few years between the two examinations. However, Shaykh Esa because of his exceptional intelligence, applied one year after he received the first certificate. He passed without any difficulty and all members of the examining committee were highly impressed including the Head of the examination, Shaykh Muhammad Shakir, the father of Shaykh Ahmad Shakir. This was in 1912 (1329).

The practice at the Al-Azhar at the time was that those who applied for this examination were given certain important sections and topics to prepare. The student would have to answer questions on these. This examination was also conducted by some of the most senior scholars of the Al-Azhar. The topics were chosen from sixteen different sciences of Shariah, namely: Fiqh, Usul-Fiqh, Tafsir, Hadith, Tawhid and subjects related to the Arabic language such as grammar, syntax, rhetoric poetry etc. Subjects like logic, research methodology and ahklaq were also included. 

Usually, a student, after he was granted the topics would choose a senior scholar who would help him prepare him for the examination. Shaykh Esa however, began studying and explaining these subjects to his friends and they were in no need to seek the assistance of another scholar.

On the day of the examination, he proceeded to the examination centre where the examination committee was present and was headed by Shaykh Abdul Hakm Ataa. Some examiners informed him not to hasten with Shaykh Esa because if they completed the examination in a short time, another student would be sent and there would not be sufficient time for that.

Shaykh Esa sat in front of the committee for about eight hours, responding confidently. They realized that he was different from the students they were accustomed to questioning. In his presence he was awarded his result, which too was an unusual practice.

Coincidentally, while he was in front of the committee, Shaykh Muhammad Shakir walked in and began questioning him on some intricate issues. The Shaykh answered eloquently and he left a lasting impression on the committee and the students and scholars at the Al-Azhar.

In 1912, there was no real need to appoint graduates as teachers, but the deputy of the Al-Azhar approached Shaykh Muhammad Shakir and asked if they were in need of teachers who could teach writing skills and calligraphy, Shaykh Esa was summoned to participate in a writing contest from which a teacher would be selected. Many prominent scholars in this field were present. However, due to Shaykh Muhammad Shakir’s acquaintance with Shaykh Esa, he was called to resume his post as a writing teacher.

When he arrived on the first day for lessons, Shaykh Muhammad Al-Dinari presented the time-table to him. He was shocked to find that he was assigned to teach all the subjects except Fiqh because the students in that class were all Hanbali while he was Shafi’. He immediately returned it, saying that it was wrongly assigned to him. Instead Shaykh Al-Dinari reassured him that there was no mistake. Shaykh Esa was very happy.

He remained a teacher in the first level for a few years, after which he was promoted to the second level, and then to the highest level in the Faculty. He was soon the most prominent teacher of Shariah. He continued teaching Usul-Fiqh to the fourth year students for a number of years. During this period, he wrote his book Nibrasul Uqul fi Tahqiqil Qiyas inda Ulamail Usul which was acclaimed by many scholars.

When the department for specialization was introduced, he was granted the task of teaching the students one of the most comprehensive books in Usul-Fiqh (Musallam Al-Thubut) and its commentary by Abdul Ali Al-Laknawi Al-Hindi.

In 1918, when only 30 years old, he was appointed to oversee the Syrian students and their dormitories. One of his accomplishments while serving in this position was when he noticed the absence of a good system to control the funds for the students. He studied the Waqf system and implemented it in such a way whereby he had excess funds at the end of every year.  He was also appointed to the section that prepared teachers for the various faculties. He was assigned the task to teach Tawhid and Usul-Din, a duty, he continued to do for a long time. He taught some of the most important and difficult works on the subject namely; Al-Mawaqif by Allamah Al-Iijee with its commentary by Allamah Jurjani and Al-Maqasid by Allamah Sa’d Al-Din Al-Taftazani.

On one occasion, there was a problem at the Syrian students’ dormitories. Shaykh Esa visited the Shaykh of the Al-Azhar, Shaykh Muhammad Mustafa Al-Maraghi with the intention of resolving the problem. Shaykh Maraghi enquired about where and what he taught: When he replied and informed him that he taught at the Faculty of Usul-Din and he taught the likes of Al-Mawaqif, Shaykh Maraghi was taken aback and he began questioning him on some complicated issues. Shaykh Esa explained to them clearly and confidently and this pleased and satisfied Shaykh Maraghi. He then enquired if he had any books to his credit. Shaykh Esa told him about his book Nibrasul Usul…. He asked for a copy then allowed him to deal, with the dormitory problems in a manner he saw suitable and further reassured him of any assistance in any matter. This incident was an acknowledgement and approval by Shaykh Maraghi for Shaykh Esa.

In 1939, Shaykh Esa presented his book to the Council of senior Ulama to achieve recognition and to be regarded as a member of the Council. He was unanimously accepted by all, despite being the youngest. The King of Egypt awarded him the gala uniform as an honour in 1941.

He worked with the endowments to improve the conditions for the students. The number of students he was responsible for would some times reach 500 and they included Palestinians, Syrians, Jordanians and Lebanese. 

He visited the students and discussed their lessons with them and motivated and encouraged them to devote more time and effort to their studies. Many prominent scholars came out from these dormitories.

His home was also a place of learning. Students would gather and benefit from him while many were preparing to sit for the examination. His gathering commenced after Asr and ended late after Esha. This used to continue for about two months before the examination. He did this voluntarily and with the intention of promoting Ilm.

When the Shariah Qada College was closed to foreigners, who did not have an Egyptian Certificate, he continued to intercede on their behalf until the students were permitted to study there.

In addition, when the various faculties were established at the Al-Azhar, one of the conditions of enrolment was that the student must have a high school certificate. This was not easy for most foreigners; as a result, they were deprived entry. Shaykh Esa again interceded on their behalf at administration level. They finally agreed, on condition that every faculty had its own entrance examination. This was another contribution to the Muslim World.

He had a lot of care and concern for the foreign students and would invite them to his home in Ramadan to break their fast. He would set aside certain times when students would visit him at his home and he entertained them on the days of Eid. He was like a father to them and would assist them financially and any other way possible.   

Many of these foreign students experienced great difficulties because of their lack of knowledge of the Arabic language, and as a result they could not further their studies. They complained and Shaykh Esa took up the matter with Shaykh Maraghi, and subsequently a committee was formed in 1941 headed by Shaykh Esa to look into students’ grievances. He presented some suggestions to the Shaykh of the Al-Azhar.

He had a special concern for the Palestinian students, especially after the disaster in 1948 when their access to food supplies was cut off. He worked with Al-Azhar Organization for the freedom of Palestine to try and provide some funds for these students. These were noble and virtuous actions that helped protect and nurture a nation.

Positions Held:

In 1944, he was appointed as Head of the Faculty of Usul-Din, because of his excellent administration and his compassion and because he was a person who was concerned about the welfare of the institute. He was able to disassociate himself from all controversies. He believed that the Al-Azhar was a trust from Allah, with which Allah had entrusted the Ulama, and because of it Cairo sparkled above the other cities. In fulfilling this trust, he visited the teachers and lecturers in their classes and listened to their lessons and he questioned the students to ascertain the level of their comprehension. Before leaving, he would advise them to listen to their teachers’ explanation and to prepare the lesson before coming to class. 

In 1946, after the excellent manner in which he administered the Faculty of Usul-Din, he was transferred to the Faculty of Shariah.

Co-incidentally Shaykh Esa was one of the ulama who questioned and examined Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah, when he was a student at the Al-Azhar and he was very pleased with Shaykh Abu Ghuddah’s answers and praised him in the presence of the examining committee.

Shaykh Esa remained in charge of the Faculty of Shariah for about ten years. Some of the reasons why he was so effective and successful are:

  • He would proceed very early to the faculty, at times before the staff.
  •  He was very precise in everything he did.
  • He was well acquainted with the students and the teachers.
  • He had a deep insight in selecting the panel of Ulama that was to examine the students.
  • He was concerned about the welfare of the institute, the teachers and the students.
  • He was not interested in amassing wealth or earning high salaries.
  • He advised the authorities to utilize the graduates in various departments of education.

He spent about 42 years of his life at the Al-Azhar, either teaching or in administration or even serving on various committees.

He was at one stage, the head of the Hadith Council and a member of the Fatwa Council and the Committee that reviewed the syllabi. He participated in many research projects in matters of waqf and personal law.

In 1954, he reached the age of retirement, so he requested from the administration to absolve him from administrative duties and to allow him to spend more time on academic research and writing. A function was held in his honour where students and scholars praised him.

After retiring, he remained at home devoted to his books. The Ulama of the Al-Azhar still did not want to leave him, so they appointed him as the Head of the Hadith Council that was set up to revise the book (Al-Jamu’ bayn Al-Sahihayn) by Hafiz Al-Humaidi. He maintained this position until he passed away.

Ever since his student days, Shaykh Esa had a love for books and he acquired many irrespective of the price. Once, he bought a manuscript, and after studying it he realized that it contained a portion from Imam Al-Nawawi’s book Al-Majmu’ in the Shafi’ madhab. He was very happy and encouraged the scholars to have it published. He was so impressed with the book that he decided to complete the book continuing from where Imam Al-Nawawi and Imam Taqi Al-Din Al-Subki stopped. He wrote about 100 notebooks of about 40 pages each after which, he passed away.

Even though Shaykh Esa was so busy, he still managed to write many books. Some of his books are:

 

  • Nibrasul Usul fi Tahqiqil Qiyas inda Ulamail Usul.
  • Completion of Al-Majmu’ by Imam Nawawi.
  • A treatise on the rules of Hajj.
  • Discourses in Tawhid and Usul – Fiqh. 
  • A Treatise, refuting the claims of those who wish to make Ijtihad in this era.
  • The law on killing an apostate.
  • Discourses on the Tafsir of some verses of the Quran that were aired over the radio in the month of Ramadan.

 

The above are his works that have been printed. Those not printed are innumerable.

His Personality and Character:

He was a person of lofty aspirations; he was honourable and trustworthy. He disliked arguments between the ulama. He opposed Taha Husain and his views regarding fasting in Ramadan questioning the one who really has the right to Ijtihad. He loved research and used his time to maximum benefit. He was very friendly in his approach and in his speech. He displayed a high degree of trust in Allah.

Death:

He passed away in 1956 (1376). Many prominent scholars attended his funeral including the Shaykh of the Al-Azhar, students, government officials and journalists. His Janazah was performed in the Al-Azhar mosque and he was buried in one of the graves near Imam Shafi’s grave.


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

He has authored two books:

  1. Muslim Scholars of the 20th Century.
  2. Muslim Scholars of the 21st Century.

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


In Defence of Prophet Ibrahim from Modern Misconceptions – Shaykh Abdurrahim Reasat

Ibrahim: The Father of Prophets

No study of the life of the Final Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, can ever be complete, nor properly understood, without a look at the influence of his greatest ancestor: Ibrahim. A man whose life and teachings have affected billions throughout history. A man who prophets look up to with pride, and gratitude for being from his progeny.

Ibrahim was always imbued with prophetic insight. Even as a child he was able to show his people the folly of worshipping statues which could not hear, speak, nor defend themselves – let alone anyone – else from harm.

He was shown signs of the perfection and power of Allah, Most High, that the majority of humanity will never be privy to; “In is such a tremendous way did We show Ibrahim the inestimable kingdom of the heavens and Earth!” (6:75). He was a man who not only had the highest degree of faith and certainty, but someone who was who received the greatest honour available to a human being: direct communication with the Creator through revelation.

Beyond Criticism

We live in times where almost everyone, to some degree, has been exposed to frameworks and paradigms that are not in line with the understanding and worldview Allah teaches us through revelation. Sometimes, due to personal trauma, or the witnessing of injustice or cultural misrepresentations of Islam, people ask questions which are entirely misplaced.

Had Islam been understood on its own merits, and from an unbiased perspective, external paradigms would not be able to influence people’s understandings of individuals and events Islam holds significant. No…not just significant – but sacred!

Ibrahim was created to be a messenger of God. This entails that all his actions which were carried out due to revealed instructions were done so based on revelation from a truly wise and omniscient being. They were far beyond the scrutiny of these aforementioned paradigms.

The Barren Valley

An example of such misplaced judgements is the criticism of Ibrahim and Sara for him taking Hajar and her infant Ismaʿil  from what is modern-day Hebron to a remote, barren valley that would come to be the location of the most frequented site of pilgrimage on the planet: present-day Mecca.  That very pilgrimage is a commemoration of this event.

We know that Sara found it difficult emotionally when Hajar gave birth. Can you blame her? Was she not human? Did she not have feelings? Did she not spend decades of her life longing for children? Is this not a basic human desire that both men and women alike have? Did she not want to give birth to an heir to her loving husband who faithfully supported her for decades?

Or is it the case that people who are looked up to due to their closeness to Allah slowly become robots devoid of emotion? Do they shed their humanity, and behave as beings unattached to themselves or the world around them? Of course not!

She had a normal emotional response, and out of love and concern for her Ibrahim was commanded to take mother and son to Mecca. It would be interesting to see how one of her critics would fare in the same situation. In the Islamic narrative there is no indication whatsoever of any sort of mistreatment of Hajar from Sara.

Fulfilment – Not Deriliction – Of Duty

When Ibrahim left Hajar in the desolate valley, she turned to him and said, “O Ibrahim, where are going after leaving us in this valley in which there is nothing – human or otherwise?” She repeated the statement and he did not look back at her. Eventually she asked, “Did Allah command you to do this?” “Yes!” he replied. “Okay; He won’t ever let us perish!”  she confidently said. (Bukhari).

Looking at this event with the proper context shows us that Ibrahim was obeying the instructions of Allah, who clearly had a wise plan for all those involved. Ibrahim’s actions were exemplary. His not turning to respond to Hajar speaks volumes about his greatness. He was conflicted between the love he felt for Allah and his duty to Him, and the love he felt for Hajar and the son he had been blessed with by Allah in his eighties.

Had he turned around and spoke to her, he might have been overwhelmed by his emotions, and struggled to fulfil the divine command. After all, the primary allegiance of believer – let alone a prophet – is to Allah. We are Allah’s and He owns us: “Indeed Allah has purchased from the believers their very lives and properties in exchange for the Garden.” (9:111).

The same struggle is apparent a decade later when he is commanded to sacrifice the same son. Ismaʿil asked his his father to lay him face down lest his emotion at the sight of Ismaʿil be a hindrance to fulfilling the divine command.

The Tests Of Ibrahim

The tests Ibrahim faced were beyond what most of humanity could bear. His devotion and duty to the Creator who made him and gave him all he had were his primary concern. All others in His life were a gift from Allah, and consequently, they were an impetus to further devotion to Allah.

His test was to leave his dependents in a place which would usually claim the lives of people – trusting their fate to the caring hand of Allah. His test was to show that he would place his loyalty to his Maker above all else – even if it meant sacrificing his dear son, at the time when he would feel his loss the most.

Hajar and Ismaʿil were never meant to perish there. The knife was never meant to cut. He, however, had to hear and obey. His test was to suffer the separation from them, and to take the means to sacrificing his child.

Yet, his success in those trials – despite the obstacles he faced –  is testament to his greatness in his service of Allah. “Indeed Ibrahim was [as good as] an entire nation, utterly devoted to Allah, inclining away [from falsehood], and he certainly was not an idolater. Grateful – even for the least of blessings! [Allah] chose him and guided him to a truly magnificent, straight way.” (16:120-121).

Projection

Wrongdoing exists. No one denies this. Islam provides all the tools to establish justice in this word, and leaves its enforcement to us. Life is a test, after all! Those with the best conduct will attain greater, everlasting rewards than those will lesser conduct.

For a man to run away from his dependants, leaving them stranded, needy, and prey to societal harms is wrong. There may be many tragic cases of this, but let’s not project the wrongdoing of this scenario onto the prophet Ibrahim.

Seeing things though the filter of ‘feminism’ and decrying the ‘patriarchal’ undertones of the narrative of Ibrahim is clearly missing the mark. We should not conflate one of the greatest manifestations of the human potential to attain greatness through selfless service to Allah with this selfish dereliction of duty present in our societies.

To see things as they are, we must distinguish the between facts, but after peeling away the alien paradigms imperceptibly imposed on us through a lifetime of exposure to irreligious frameworks. Otherwise, all that will occur is the projection of our cultural baggage onto people, laws, and a religion, which are actually an antidote for the state we are in.

Seeing the narrative of Ibrahim through the vase scope of divine revelation, its wisdom, and its great purpose and benefit for all leads to seeing the greatness within the great. Looking at it through our own myopic cultural baggage, however, only leads us to seeing wrongs which are not actually there.

The Gifts of Hajj – Habib Umar

The Meaning of Hajj

Sayyidi al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him) reminds us that the linguistic meaning of Hajj is seeking or intending. Thus the people of Allah are constantly performing Hajj because they are constantly seeking Allah. Just as their whole year is Ramadan, likewise their whole year is Hajj. Just as those performing Hajj respond to the call of Allah by saying “labbayk” they are swift to respond to the call of Allah. They take themselves to account and leave that which is disliked and dubious in all their states and actions. They reject the desires of their lower selves and they are the furthest of people from that which is prohibited. They constantly receive new blessings from their Lord so they constantly renew their ihram. Day and night they make tawaf around the House of their Lord, the One to Whom they turn themselves with absolute sincerity until nothing remains in them which is directed to other than Allah.

The bounty of Allah is available at all times of the day and night. This is why Allah swears by the morning light (duha) and by the night that He has not forsaken His Beloved (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), nor is He displeased with him.

If the Hajj has not been made possible for you, join with those making Hajj and share in their reward: by spending your wealth for the sake of Allah on your relatives, on the needy, by turning to Allah with your whole being. Make numerous your footsteps to good places, especially at the time of Fajr, and you will receive glad tidings from the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace): “Give glad tidings of complete light on the Day of Judgement to those who walk constantly to the mosque in the darkness.” Those whose light is complete will no doubt be in his company (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) on the day on which Allah does not disgrace the Prophet and those who believe along with him. Their light stretches out in front of them and upon their right sides.

Ask to be present with them, and thank Allah for allowing our spirits to be with them. So many hearts in the far East or the far West receive the gifts of `Arafat and Mina because of their truthfulness with Allah.

 

Actions That Carry the Reward of Hajj

Nothing of course can equal actually performing the Hajj and worshipping Allah in those blessed places. However, since Allah knows that many people long to make Hajj every year but are unable to do so out of His generosity He made the reward for certain actions similar to the reward of a supererogatory Hajj.

1. Remembering Allah from Fajr until Ishraq. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Whoever who prays Subh (Fajr) in congregation and then sits in the place where he prayed remembering Allah until the sun rises and then prays two rakats has the reward of a complete Hajj and `Umrah.” He repeated “complete” three times.

2. Attending a gathering of knowledge. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “The one who goes out to the mosque wanting only to learn good or teach it has the reward of a complete Hajj.”

3. Going to the mosque for the congregational prayer. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Whoever performs ablution in his house and then goes out to perform the obligatory prayer in the mosque has a reward similar to the reward of a Hajj pilgrim. Whoever goes out to perform the mid-morning prayer (Duha) has a reward similar to the reward of the one performing `Umrah.”

4. Performing the Friday Prayer. Sa`id bin al-Musayyib said performing the Friday Prayer is “more beloved to me than a supererogatory Hajj.”

5. Performing the Eid Prayer. One of the Companions said: “Going out to pray Eid al-Fitr is equal to performing `Umrah and going out to pray Eid al-Adha is equal to performing Hajj.”

6. Fulfilling the needs of your brother or sister. Hasan al-Basri said: “Going to fulfil the need of your brother is better for you than performing Hajj after Hajj.”

7. Being good to your parents. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) commanded one of the Companions to be good to his mother. If you do so, he said: “You are a Hajj pilgrim, a person performing `Umrah and someone striving for the sake of Allah (mujahid).”

8. Performing obligatory actions. The slave can only draw near to Allah by performing supererogatory actions after first having performed that which is obligatory. This includes purifying one’s heart from forbidden attributes and guarding one’s tongue and limbs from committing forbidden actions. All of this is much harder on the lower self than many supererogatory acts of worship.

Finally there is no action more beloved to Allah on the Day of Eid than making a sacrifice. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) told his beloved daughter Sayyida Fatima al-Zahra that she would be forgiven for her previous wrongdoings with the first drop of blood to be shed from the sacrificed animal. She asked if this reward was specifically for the household of the Prophet and he replied: “For us and for all the Muslims.”