Prayer and Presence 

On this journey of Hope and Closeness, Shaykh Faraz throws light on diverse ways a believer can strengthen the connection with the all-sustaining and ever-living God, the ultimate purpose of life and religion, and the means to draw closer to Him.

Islam is a straight path with an aim of the closeness of Allah and guidance as a means to achieve that goal. How this journey is to be undertaken by engaging one’s heart with gratitude, steadfastness, and patience on the way to Allah? Ibn Ata’illah states, “prayer is a purification for hearts from the vileness of sins, and a seeking of the opening of the doors of the unseen.” So, understand its potential to open the gates to presence with Allah.

Our Sense of Presence

How does prayer cultivate our sense of presence with Allah Most High? Allah says in the Qur’an:

Truly, prayers prevent shamelessness and wrongdoing. And the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows, and you do not” [29:45]

The first part of the aya touches on the expiatory component of prayer. The second part on the role of prayer as a means of closeness to Allah Most High. Prayer is a material medium to connect to the transcendental realm and a mode of communication between creation and the Creator. It has purificatory potential and acts as a reminder to turn to Allah. It acts as a means of remembrance of Allah and it opens the doors of closeness to Allah Most High. Reminding ourselves of Allah’s remembrance of the servant through prayers is greater than the remembrance of the servant of his Lord.

Shaykh Siraj tells us: “Several aspects of prayer give us this elevation and presence before Allah Most High.” In the Qur’an Allah says:

Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me. [2:152]

Allah Most High mentions His reciprocation of our actions in the first part: when we remember Him (in praising and supplicating), He will remember us (in bestowing upon us His blessings and mercy). Thus, it is our right to reciprocate His blessings and favors with thankfulness and appreciation, just as He remembers us when we call on Him. We must thank Him for His favors without disacknowledging their significance, and we must do so on a regular basis.

He, Allah Most High, the Lord (Rabb) of the worlds, comes to us when we seek Him. He does not ignore or overlook us calling upon Him, despite His greatness and supremacy. So we too, as mere humans, cannot ignore or overlook His favors to us, and we cannot deem ourselves above acknowledging and appreciating them. Realize then that by every act of remembering we are drawn closer to Allah Most High.

Remembrance and Closeness

Let us look at the role of the establishment of prayer as a means of remembrance and closeness to Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“Prostrate and draw near.” [96:19]

Here Allah Most High gives us very clear guidance on how to get near to Him. Through prostration. In prayer, we move our bodies, we move our lips. But do we move our hearts in prayer? Are our hearts in the state of utter humility before Allah? We need to feel the pull of our hearts in prostration and humble ourselves completely before our Lord as we place the most dignified part of our body onto the ground in submission to Allah Most High.

In this light, our beloved Messenger, blessings and peace upon him, said: “The closest the servant is to their Lord is when they are in prostration.” Another aspect is to rise in ranks by praying until one ‘reaches’ Allah (wusul). Allah’s Messenger in one of the hadith mentioned, “hold fast to much prostration because with every prostration Allah Most high raises you a degree, and lifts from you an error.” [Muslim]

Intimate Address and Engagement

Prayer is also intimate address and engagement with Allah Most High. There are many beautiful hadith discussing this phenomenon. In a hadith from Tabarani, Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace upon him, said: “Don’t be distracted, for you are in intimate address of Allah as long as you are in prayer.” It is to remind ourselves of prayer as a moment of truth and engagement with the one true Lord of this world.

Abu Dharr may Allah be pleased with him relates that Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace upon him, said: “Allah continues to turn towards His servants in their prayer as long as the servant doesn’t turn away.” [Nisai] It is a way of lifting the veil of distance from Allah Most High. All we have to do is to drop the veil of distraction. That is, shift your focus from a quantitative, ritualistic understanding of prayer to a qualitative sacred interaction with the transcendental.

The important question at the end is to identify ways to achieve this closeness to Allah Most High. You need to put things in that order and start it from your heart and put it in practice through your prayer to achieve the goal of closeness to Allah Most High.

Prayer, then, is time spent with the One you love and seek closeness to – raising you in rank, remembrance, and intimate address.

 

“As It Was Prescribed for Those Before You”

During Ramadan of 2021, the scholars of SeekersGuidance Arabiyya held daily lessons on various topics throughout the month. The lessons have been translated for the benefit of our English-speaking audience. Shaykh Faiz Iyad gave the fourth lesson.

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation. May the best blessings and most perfect peace be upon our master, prophet, and intercessor Muhammad and all of his family and companions. Allah, You are perfect. We have no knowledge except for what You teach us. You are All-knowing and Wise. 

Dear respected brothers and sisters, I would like to congratulate you on the arrival of the blessed month of Ramadan. I ask Allah to allow us to make the most of it and benefit from it as it deserves to be benefited from. 

Dear brothers and sisters, the ayah in which Allah obligated us to fast is the ayah wherein He says, “O You who have believed, fasting was prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you may attain Taqwa,” [2:183] as well as the ayah, “Whoever among you witnesses the month must then fast it.” [2:185]

The study of this ayah from an angle of fiqh is clear, and so other scholars may speak about it in that regard. But I have some notes on the particular part of the ayah in which Allah says, “fasting was prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you.” Allah obligates fasting for us just as he obligated it for those before us. But our fasting is not like theirs and not exactly equal to theirs. What is similar here is the very fact that it is mandatory, not in how or when the fasting is done. 

Fasting Is an Ancient Obligation

Of these notes that I wish to share first is the singularity of Allah’s religion in its roots, foundations, and objectives. Since fasting is an action that is beneficial to all humans at all times, Allah informs us that fasting is an ancient obligation. He mandated us to do it just as He mandated those before us. This is an indication of the singularity of Allah’s religion in its foundations and objectives, and there are many clear pieces of evidence of this very fact.

For example, when Allah says, “He has ordained for you the Way which He decreed for Noah, and what We have revealed to you and what We decreed for Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, to ‘Uphold the faith, and make no divisions in it.’” Imam al-Qurtubi, Allah have mercy on him, says in his tafsir on this ayah, “The meaning is that Allah ordained for the Prophet, blessings and peace upon him, what He had ordained for the prophets before him. That is because the religions of all the prophets were one in their foundations that were never different in their principles such as monotheism, prayer, zakah, fasting, and Hajj, as well as coming closer to Allah through good deeds, returning the heart and limbs to Him, as well as honesty and commitment to our covenant, and upholding trusts and ties of kinship. As well as the prohibition of unbelief, murder, adultery, and harming others in any way, and even transgressing against animals. As well as ridding us of anything unbefitting and improper.

This is all a part of Allah’s single religion, the unified way. It was never taught any differently by any prophet, even if the numbers varied. This is why Allah says, “Uphold the religion and do not disperse therein.” [42:13] Meaning to keep it standing firm at all times and continuously protected, firmly established without any disagreement or confusion therein. Some people fulfilled that command, while others broke it. Anything beyond that amy have differed in the religions according to what Allah decided was most beneficial and wise for each period of time.” 

Imam al-Bukhari named a chapter in his Sahih book, “The Chapter on All of the Prophets’ religions being One.” In it, he mentioned the statement of the Prophet, blessings and peace upon him, “The prophets are brothers, sons of different mothers. Their mothers are different, but their religion is the same.” The hadith means that the core of their religion was one, even though their laws and conducts differed. Just as Allah says, “For each we have made a law, and a way of life.” the Prophets all agreed on the religion that contained all of the basic principles of theology and action.

The Purification of Souls

The second note is that the purification of the souls can only be taken from the correct sources. Allah sent the messengers and revealed the scriptures, and ordained the divine laws to purify and refine the souls and rectify them. Fasting is one of the most important means of doing so. This is why Allah mandated it for us and the previous nations. And if we wish for the correct method of purifying our souls, we will find that it is a methodology that coincides with the fitra without any excessive strain or burden and no detachment from reality. Someone who follows it does not need to burden himself or find difficulty training and refining the soul, such as taking vows of silence or sitting in the sun, abandoning hygiene, going into seclusion away from people, or eating only one type of food, etc.

One this point, Bukhari and Muslim report from Anas bin Malik, Allah be pleased with him, who said, “Three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet, blessings and peace upon him, asking about the Prophet’s worship, blessings and peace upon him. And when they were told about it, it was as if they saw it to be little. They said, ‘Where are we compared to the Prophet, blessings and peace upon him? He has been forgiven for all of his past and future sins!’ One of them said, ‘As for me, I will pray all night.’ Another said, ‘I will fast every day without exception.’ The other said, “I will abstain from women and never marry.’ When the Prophet, blessings and peace upon him, came, he said, ‘Are you the ones who said this and that? By Allah, I am the most fearful from Allah of you all and the most cognizant of Him. Yet I fast some days and eat others, and I pray, and I sleep, and I marry women. Whoever is averse to my way has nothing to do with me.’ 

Ibn al-Qayyim says, ‘So whoever attempts to purify his soul with a practice that the Messengers did not bring forth is like an ill person who treats himself according to his own assessment. How does his knowledge compare to that of a doctor? The Messengers are the doctors of the hearts, and so there is no way to purify them or repair them except through them and at their hands and a complete surrender to them.”

The Lord of Mercy and Forgiveness

The third point: It is from Allah’s kindness and generosity that He mandated this obligation upon His servants. Why? Because this great act of worship that Allah made a mainstay of this natural religion and without which the structure of Islam does not stand contains immense rewards and benefits on the societal and individual levels. There may be some difficulty to this task, but these difficulties compared to the gifts and fruits that it leads to are not bad, but are actually pure goodness. They are a form of pure generosity from Allah to His servants. As He ordained this act of worship for them through which they attain levels they could never have otherwise reached. 

There is an important question: why was the verb “prescribed” used in the passive voice? Of course, in Allah’s book we know who the actor of the verb was, as it is Allah, and so we use a special term for the passive verbs out of etiquette with Allah. The answer is that there is a subtle and important meaning here: Those ayahs contain a form of hardship with which the believers are tasked, as they are prohibited from intercourse with their wives and the delights of food and drink throughout the day. And so a subtle rhetorical tool here is used to avoid attributing that hardship to Allah. He is the Lord of mercy and forgiveness.

Perhaps this is the secret behind the word “prescribed” being used in the passive voice in many of the religious laws that contain a level of difficulty, hardship, and commitment. One example is the verses of legal retribution for crimes, as Allah says, “retribution for those killed has been prescribed upon you.” [2:178] Similarly, in the ayah of writing wills, Allah says, “Writing a will is prescribed for you that when death comes to one of you if he leaves behind wealth for the parents and relatives.” [2:180]

As for the active voice of the verb “prescribe,” it comes in the context of mercy and reminds believers of their blessings. Allah says, for example, in the ayahs of fasting, “… then you may be intimate with [your wives], and seek out what Allah has prescribed for you.” [2:187[ As well as in the ayah, “Your Lord has prescribed for himself mercy.” [6:54] As well as the ayah, “Allah has prescribed: ‘My messengers and I shall prevail.” He also says, “Those are the ones in whose hearts He prescribed faith.” [58:22]

Guarding That Which Is Firm

The fourth point: Guarding that which is firm. In this time of ours, things that used to be agreed upon as true and known by everyone as part of the religion are now being revisited and refuted after those who deny and hate the religion worked to destroy both the meaning and practice fasting. You can see them calling on people to break their fasts by claiming that fasting hinders production and keeps the ummah in a worthless state. They only wish by this to destroy the religion and its sanctity. And so this portion of the ayah came to emphasize the fact that the realities of the religion and its firm points, including fasting, are invincible to doubts and skepticism and too firm to be affected by the accusations of the liars in every age. By the simply saying “prescribed,” there is an indication to the consistency of its obligation, and further so with the preposition “upon,” indicating a command from a superior to an inferior. This all means that fasting is a firm pillar in every faith. 

The fifth point: when all share a difficulty, its burden is lightened. There is consolation in knowing that we are following those before us. Allah charged us with a certain level of difficulty in fasting, especially in the summer when the heat is intense and the days are long. This is a way of saying, “rejoice, for fasting didn’t start with you, as it is an ancient act of worship.” There is no doubt that when a person is told that others share a certain difficulty with him, it will become easier. This is why the poet al-Khansa’ said in her eulogy for her brother Sakhr, “The rising of the sun reminds me of Sakhr, and I remember him at every sunset. Were it not for the crowds around me crying for their lost brothers, I would have killed myself.”

Let the Competitors Compete

The sixth point: Motivation to compete in good deeds. This reminder is an encouragement for this ummah and a means of sparking their motivations to complete this act of worship and clarifying that fasting is not a difficult task that only they were tasked with. They are not distinct from those before them. Islam raises its children for each one of them to have high aspirations, never settling for less. We are meant to always strive for the perfect outcomes, feeling as though we are in the heat of competition, preparing well, and striving for success. Allah, for example, says, “then, for that, let the competitors compete.” [83:26] Allah also said about His righteous servants that they pray: “make us leaders for the pious!” [25:74] asking to be leaders whose good example is followed.

That is the end of my reflections, from the beautiful meaning of this ayah, especially that portion of it: “As it was prescribed for those before you.” 

I ask Allah to accept from you and from us and to grant us benefit from our fasting and this blessed month. He is All-Hearing, Near, and Ever-responding. All praise is for Allah, Lord of all creation.

Is it permissible to recite sura al fatiha in just one rakat in salah?

Question Summary

Is it permissible to recite Sura al-Fatiha in only one rak’a of prayer?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

It is necessary to recite Sura al-Fatiha in the following prayers:

(1) Both units of Fajr prayer
(2) The first two units of Dhuhr prayer
(3) The first two units of Asr prayer
(4) The first two units of Maghrib prayer
(5) The first two units of ‘Isha prayer
(6) All of the units of the Witr prayer
(7) All of the units of a voluntary prayer

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

If one accidentally omitted the recitation of Sura al-Fatiha in any one of the units, they must perform the prostrations of forgetfulness. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

If this omission occurs in a 4 unit prayer, the recitation should be made up in the final two units. One would still perform the prostrations of forgetfulness. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

However, if Sura al-Fatiha was omitted intentionally, one is sinful, and it is necessary to repeat such prayer if the prayer time remains. If the time has gone out, it is recommended to repeat that prayer. [Tahtawi,Shurunbulali; Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah]

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.

“As It Was Prescribed for Those Before You”

During Ramadan of 2021, the scholars of SeekersGuidance Arabiyya held daily lessons on various topics throughout the month. The lessons have been translated for the benefit of our English-speaking audience. Shaykh Faiz Iyad gave the fourth lesson. You can view the video here.

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation. May the best blessings and most perfect peace be upon our master, prophet, and intercessor Muhammad, and upon all of his family and companions. Allah, You are perfect. We have no knowledge except for what You teach us. You are All-knowing and Wise. 

Dear respected brothers and sisters, I would like to congratulate you on the arrival of the blessed month of Ramadan. I ask Allah to allow us to make the most of it and benefit from it as it deserves to be benefited from. 

Dear brothers and sisters, the ayah in which Allah obligated us to fast is the ayah wherein He says, “O You who have believed, fasting was prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you may attain Taqwa,” as well as the ayah, “Whoever among you witnesses the month must then fast it.” 

The study of this ayah from an angle of fiqh is clear, and so other scholars may speak about it in that regard. But I have some notes on the particular part of the ayah in which Allah says, “fasting was prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you.” Allah obligates fasting for us just as he obligated it for those before us. But our fasting is not like theirs, and not exactly equal to theirs. What is similar here is the very fact that it is mandatory, not in how or when the fasting is done. 

Of these notes that I wish to share first is the singularity of Allah’s religion in its roots, foundations, and objectives. Since fasting is an action that is beneficial to all humans at all times, Allah informs us that fasting is an ancient obligation. He mandated us to do it just as He mandated those before us. This is an indication to the singularity of Allah’s religion in its foundations and objectives, and there are many clear evidences to this very fact. Like, for example, when Allah says, “He has ordained for you the Way which He decreed for Noah, and what We have revealed to you and what We decreed for Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, to ‘Uphold the faith, and make no divisions in it.’” Imam al-Qurtubi (Allah have mercy on him) says in his tafsir on this ayah, “The meaning is that Allah ordained for the Prophet ﷺ what He had ordained for the prophets before him. That is because the religions of all the prophets were one in their foundations that were never different in their principles such as monotheism, prayer, zakah, fasting, and Hajj, as well as coming closer to Allah through good deeds, returning the heart and limbs to Him, as well as honesty and commitment to our covenant, and upholding trusts and ties of kinship. As well as the prohibition of unbelief, murder, adultery, and harming others in any way, and even transgressing against animals. As well as ridding us of anything unbefitting and improper. This is all a part of Allah’s single religion, the unified way. It was never taught any differently by any prophet, even if the numbers varied. This is why Allah says, “Uphold the religion and do not disperse therein.” Meaning to keep it standing firm at all times and continuously protected, firmly established without any disagreement or confusion therein. Some people fulfilled that command, while others broke it. Anything beyond that amy have differed in the religions according to what Allah decided was most beneficial and wise for each period of time.” 

Imam al-Bukhari named a chapter in his Sahih book, “The Chapter on All of the Prophets’ religions being One.” In it he mentioned the statement of the Prophet ﷺ, “The prophets are brothers, sons of different mothers. Their mothers are different, but their religion is the same.” The hadith means that the core of their religion was one, even though their laws and conducts differed. Just as Allah says, “For each we have made a law and a way of life.” the Prophets all agreed on the religion that contained all of the basic principles of theology and action. 

The second note is that the purification of the souls can only be taken from the correct sources. Allah sent the messengers and revealed the scriptures and ordained the divine laws in order to purify and refine the souls, and to rectify them. Fasting is of the most important means of doing so. This is why Allah mandated it for us and the previous nations. And if we wish for the correct method of purifying oru souls, we will find that it is a methodology that coincides with the fitra without any excessive strain or burden, and no detachment from reality. Someone who follows it does not need to burden himself or find difficulty in training and refining the soul such as taking vows of silence or sitting in the sun, or abandoning hygiene, or going into seclusion away from people, or eating only one type of food, etc. relating to this, Bukhari and Muslim report from Anas bin Malik (Allah be pleased with him), who said, “Three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet ﷺ asking about the Prophet’s worship ﷺ. And when they were told about it, it was as if they saw it to be little. They said, ‘Where are we compared to the Prophet ﷺ? He has been forgiven for all of his past and future sins!’ One of them said, ‘As for me, I will pray all night.’ Another said, ‘I will fast every day without exception.’ The other said, “I will abstain from women and never marry.’ When the Prophet ﷺ came, he said, ‘Are you the ones who said this and that? By Allah, I am the most fearful from Allah of you all and the most cognizant of Him. Yet I fast some days and eat others, and I pray and I sleep, and I marry women. Whoever is averse to my way has nothing to do with me.’ 

Ibn al-Qayyim says, ‘So whoever attempts to purify his soul with a practice that the Messengers did not bring forth is like an ill person who treats himself according to his own assessment. How does his knowledge compare to that of a doctor? The Messengers are the doctors of the hearts, and so there is no way to purify them or repair them except through them and at their hands and a complete surrender to them.” 

The third point: It is from Allah’s kindness and generosity that He mandated this obligation upon His servants. Why? Because this great act of worship that Allah made a mainstay of this natural religion and without which the structure of Islam does not stand contains immense reward and benefits on the societal and individual levels. There may be some level of difficulty to this task, but these difficulties compared to the gifts and fruits that it leads to are not bad, but are actually pure goodness. They are a form of pure generosity from Allah to His servants. As He ordained this act of worship for them through which they attain levels they could never have otherwise reached. 

There is an important question here: why was the verb “prescribed” used in the passive voice? Of course, in Allah’s book we know who the actor of the verb was, as it is Allah, and so we use a special term for the passive verbs out of etiquette with Allah. The answer is that there is a subtle and important meaning here: Those ayahs contain a form of hardship with which the believers are tasked, as they are prohibited from intercourse with their wives and the delights of food and drink all throughout the day. And so a subtle rhetorical tool here is used to avoid attributing that hardship to Allah. He is the Lord of mercy and forgiveness. Perhaps this is the secret behind the word “prescribed” being used in the passive voice in many of the religious laws that contain a level of difficulty, hardship, and commitment. One example is the verses of legal retribution for crimes, as Allah says, “retribution for those killed has been prescribed upon you.” Similarly in the ayah of writing wills, Allah says, “Writing a will is prescribed for you that when death comes to one of you if he leaves behind wealth for the parents and relatives.” As for the active voice of the verb “prescribe,” it comes in the context of mercy and reminding the believers of their blessings. Allah says, for example in the ayahs of fasting, “… then you may be intimate with [your wives], and seek out what Allah has prescribed for you.” As well as in the ayah, “Your Lord has prescribed for himself mercy.” As well as the ayah, “Allah has prescribed: ‘I and my messengers shall prevail.” He also says, “Those are the ones in whose hearts He prescribed faith.” 

The fourth point: Guarding that which is firm. In this time of ours, things that used to be agreed upon as true and known by everyone as part of the religion are now being revisited and refuted after those who deny and hate the religion worked to destroy both the meaning and the practice of fasting. You can see them calling on people to break their fasts by claiming that fasting hinders production and keeps the ummah in a worthless state. They only wish by this to destroy the religion and its sanctity. And so this portion of the ayah came to emphasize the fact that the realities of the religion and its firm points, including fasting, are invincible to doubts and skepticism, and too firm to be affected by the accusations of the liars in every age. By the simply saying “prescribed,” there is an indication to the consistency of its obligation, and further so with the preposition “upon,” indicating a command from a superior to an inferior. This all means that fasting is a firm pillar in every faith. 

The fifth point: when a difficulty is shared by all, its burden is lightened. There is consolation in knowing that we are following those before us. Allah charged us with a certain level of difficulty in fasting, especially in the summer when the heat is intense and the days are long. This is a way of saying, “rejoice, for fasting didn’t start with you, as it is an ancient act of worship.” There is no doubt then when a person is told that there are others who share a certain difficulty with him, it will become easier for him. This is why the poet al-Khansa’ said in her eulogy for her brother Sakhr, “The rising of the sun reminds me of Sakhr, and I remember him at every sunset. Were it not for the crowds around me crying for their lost brothers, I would have killed myself.” 

The sixth point: Motivation to compete in good deeds. This reminder is an encouragement for this ummah and a means of sparking their motivations to complete this act of worship, and a clarification that fasting is not a difficult task that only they were tasked with. They are not distinct from those before them. Islam raises its children for each one of them to have high aspirations, never settling for less. We are to always be striving for the most perfect and best outcomes, feeling as though we are in the heat of a competition, preparing well and striving for success. Allah, for example, says, “then for that let those who will compete compete.” Allah also said about His righteous servants that they pray: “make us leaders for the pious!” asking to be leaders whose good example is followed.

That is the end of my reflections, from the beautiful meaning of this ayah, especially that portion of it: “As it was prescribed for those before you.” 

I ask Allah to accept from us and from you, and to grant us benefit from our fasting and from this blessed month. He is All-Hearing, Near, and Ever-responding. All praise is for Allah, Lord of all creation.

Am I Sinful for Not Contacting My Relatives As I Am Introverted and Socializing Gives Me Anxiety?

Question: I am somewhat of an introvert; being an only child I was very much accustomed to solitude and in recent years I have come to realize I also suffer from social anxiety. The thought of picking up the phone to speak to a relative is unpleasant and causes anxiety but my parents sometimes expect me to call family members. It’s not something I neglect on purpose. With my immediate family, I keep in contact. Am I sinning or do I need change?

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. It is refreshing to see that you care about this issue and sincerely want to do the right thing to make your parents happy.

Speaking to relatives

When you are on good terms with someone, there is no maximum or minimum limit to the interaction between the two parties. If you are on bad terms with someone, it is forbidden to cut them off for more than three days. There is no sin on you in the situation that you describe.

Increase your interaction

I encourage you to train yourself to call them a few times a year, or send them messages online, to rid yourself of this anxiety and to do the sunnah of upholding good relationships with them for the sake of Allah. I recommend joining a messaging group with your relatives to interact with them in a healthy amount but not waste time. You may also consider calling them on Islamic holidays, such as the two `Eids and the Prophet’s birthday, or the beginning of Ramadan. Phone calls need not be more than a few minutes. Make notes to look at so that you can converse on a few points.

Socialize

Socializing is very important because our religion is a social one. People need each other, they support and encourage each other, and even their worship and good deeds have more value when done together. Keep in touch, not just with relatives but also with positive, religious people maintaining friendships with good Islamic etiquette. You will need these skills after you are married, too.

Du’as

You will find that the du’as of the elders are very special and that you are very fortunate indeed if they remember you and include you in their supplication. If they can benefit you and you benefit them, you will be fulfilling the Prophet saying, “The best of people are those that bring the most benefit to the rest of humanity.“ [Daraqutni]

May Allah gives you the best of this world and the next and raise you in the company of the most beloved of all.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

How Should I Deal With a Wife Who Claimed She Was a Single Mother and Applied for a Bursary for My Child’s Education Without Telling Me?

Question: My wife was applying for a bursary for our child without informing me. After a time, she informed but without much details. One day I visited the school on a form, and I was surprised to note that on the form, she indicated that she’s a single mother and even trained the child to claim this during the assessment. What should I do because? When I asked her, she accepted, but she’s cut communication with me in the house. I feel betrayed and feel unworthy in the marriage. I can pay my child’s fee.

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,
Thank you for your question. I am sorry that you are dealing with this dishonesty and betrayal, and I pray that you can come out of this stronger.

You are not at fault.

I don’t know why your wife would lie and teach your child to lie to get this bursary. This is dishonest, criminal, and illogical. You have no reason to feel unworthy as you have done nothing wrong. It would be best if you also did not accept the silent treatment. Tell her that you want to sit down and discuss the issue calmly. She is at fault, and you should tell her that such deceiving behavior will not be tolerated in the future. You should also go to school with your wife and child and tell the truth.

Your wife

You will have to tread carefully with your wife. Instead of getting angry, you should try to get to know her, understand where she is coming from, and watch her dealings with money. Did she make an honest mistake, or is she try to embezzle money? It may be that she is insecure or greedy, and if so, you will have to deal with her knowing that. Be patient with her, and Allah will reward you for it, by His grace.

Make generosity your motto.

You can teach her gradually that generosity is the sunnah of our Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and that one does not lose money by spending in the way of Allah. Rather Allah increases one’s wealth when one gives charity, even when spending on the family. Be a role model of kindness, giving, generosity, and don’t succumb to greediness and stinginess. Teach your child this, also.

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “O son of Adam! If you give your surplus, it is better for you, and if you keep it, it is worse for you, but there is no harm with what is sufficient. And begin (the giving) with your dependents, and the upper hand (giving) is better than the lower hand (receiving).“ [Tirmidhi]

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Did I Speak Without Knowledge?

Question:

As Salaamu Alaykum, I was asked about Tawaf done by polytheists and I had in my head a vague idea of a class I followed that if so, it doesn’t mean Tawaf is a polytheistic practice the mentioning about Prophet Ibrahim preceding. Then I got this thing that I needed to check up if Tawaf was commanded by Prophet Ibrahim and I found the Ayah. Was my first statement speaking without knowing when I had a vague idea but mentioned what I remembered?

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

It seems like you had an idea of what you were talking about. It’s best not to engage in rebuttals or discussions with non-Muslims on these topics until you’ve well-grounded in the knowledge of the din yourself.

Many a time, such discussions can lead one to become full of doubts. This is due to the way in which matters are distorted or discussed without proper context. It’s better to keep learning about the Qur’an, Prophetic Hadith, and other religious topics that will benefit one on this life and the next.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

SeekersGuidance Istanbul Campus Enters Second Year at Historic Location

SeekersGuidance’s Dar al-Fuqaha program and our Global Manuscript Institute are now both hosted at the historic Sultan Ahmet Madrasa, between the Blue Mosque and Aya Sophia

Earlier this month SeekersGuidance penned a monumental agreement with the Sultanahmet Vakf to continue the Dar al Fuqaha Seminary program from  the historical Sultan Ahmet Madrasa. Located between two of Istanbul’s crown jewels, the madrasa was originally built and commissioned to be the Dar al Hadith, and will now serve as the home of SeekersGuidance’s Dar al Fuqha Seminary and Dar al Makhtutat Program. The Signing ceremony was attended by scholars and teachers from Turkey, Canada and the United States.

The entire singing ceremony is now available for you to watch, including an exclusive tour of the Sultanahmet Madrasa.

 

 

SeekersGuidance is committed to reviving, preserving and spreading the Islamic tradition around the world. Along with securing a new home for the Dar al Fuqaha Seminary, we also launched the Dar al Makhtutat: Global Manuscripts Institute, and Dar al Muwashat: The House of Sacred Arts.

SeekersGuidance is not only committed to spreading reliable Islamic Guidance, but also preserving and reviving Islamic scholarship.

With your generous support, we have been able to launch the groundbreaking Dar al-Fuqaha Seminary in Istanbul.

This Seminary offers classes in the Islamic sciences with leading scholars–including some of the most senior Syrian scholars. Its key offering is a specialization in Islamic Law and Legal Method.

The SeekersGuidance Dar al-Fuqaha Seminary renewed for its second year at the historic Sultan Ahmed Madrasa, between Aya Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

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Do I Have To Maintain Ties With My Brother Who Married Without Parental Consent?

Question:

My brother got married without my parent’s consent last year. My parent’s main objection to his marriage was the limited amount of time he had known the girl (under 1 month) and the fact that neither were financially stable to take on their own responsibilities. My father and our sisters have not spoken to my brother in about a year. Do I have to reach out to my brother to maintain ties of kinship with him and his wife?

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Yes, you need to maintain family ties with your brother. This is something highly emphasized in Islam. You should also slowly convince your family to do the same.

It is understandable that your parents may have wanted a more active role in his marriage, and his hasty approach may have upset them. However, ultimately, the Shari’a gave him the choice, and he made it. Is the matter so serious that it warrants not speaking to him again? What about his future children? What wrong did they do?

You should speak to your brother. Allah dislikes it when people sever family ties. Do it for Allah, and you will see a lot of good from it.

It is also worth getting your brother to apologize to your parents. Yes, he was within his right to choose who to marry, but the process ended up hurting your parents. For that, he should apologize. Perhaps that will be the road to resolution.

Given the considerations in such cases, we urge you to please consult reliable local scholars or counselors about the specifics of the situation. Jazakum Allah khayr. May Allah facilitate all ease and good for you. 

 

May Allah facilitate the matter for you all.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

 

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

The Path of Muhammad: Birgivi’s Manual of Taqwa – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Part One: The Definition of Taqwa

Introduction

Taqwa is the concern within one to refrain from what is displeasing to Allah and preserve what is pleasing to Him. It manifests itself upon our limbs, but it begins from the heart.

This article series—based upon Shaykh Faraz Rabbani’s course The Path of Muhammad: Birgivi’s Manual of Taqwa Explained—provides an overview of what Muslims must concern themselves when seeking the attainment of taqwa.

It will focus on the third section of Imam Birgivi’s book The Path of Muhammad, where he focuses on attaining piety and mindfulness of Allah Most High.

Taqwa and Our Purpose

We live in a time where people claim to be religious but are unconcerned about the sunna of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and about cultivating taqwa.

Religion has been stripped down to a set of ritual actions, empty in form, and devoid of life. Almost as if our devotional acts are just a chore that we have to check off in order for us to claim to be “religious”. 

As Muslims, we have all heard about the term “taqwa” and how we must be mindful, aware, and conscious of Allah at all times. Yet what is taqwa precisely? And when you know what it is, how can you go about cultivating it?

Religion has two distinguishing fruits:

  • The realization of faith (having iman)
  • The active actualization of taqwa (mindfulness of Allah)

It is the second that will be focused on in this article series. Taqwa is the foundational theme of the Qur’an and is the key to unlocking its highest aim: realizing and attaining closeness to Allah Most High. The actualization of taqwa will fill our otherwise meaningless ritual acts with life and essence. 

Definition of Taqwa

Taqwa linguistically means to shield or carefully guard something. But it is not a passive sort of watchfulness, but rather a full, complete, careful, and comprehensive guarding of a thing.

Attaining taqwa requires onself to carefully guard themselves —in action and speech— and to avoid everything that harms one in the hereafter.

The bare minimum of which is to avoid committing major sins, while the maximum is to avoid coming even remotely close to the “grey area” in matters of religion.

Devotion to Allah Most High

The highest level of taqwa is when one guards their innermost against being distracted by other than Allah.

It is to be devoted to Allah with your absolute entirety. It is to be utterly in love with Allah Most High, for love is to give your entirety to something such that nothing of it remains for you.

It is a love that renders the lover thoroughly heedless of the world around them, focused wholly upon their Lord, Creator, and Sustainer. This is the type of mindfulness that Allah means when He commands us to have mindfulness of Him as He deserves. 

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The halal is clear and the haram is clear. And between them are unclear matters that most people are unaware of. Whoever is wary of these unclear matters has safeguarded their religion and honor. And whoever indulges in them has indulged in haram.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

Ideal taqwa is to heed these words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Being wary and avoiding acts that may not necessarily be haram, yet can potentially lead you to haram.

A person of taqwa will seek clarity when facing these unclear matters. And only the light of knowledge can overcome the darkness of ignorance—so continue seeking knowledge and expanding your insight. 

 

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