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This Rajab, Let’s Remember How Sacred Time Is – Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, had a mercifully sharp memory and a keen sense of time, as Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said reminds us.

Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem.

Allah, Most High, wanted good for His creation so He said in Surah Al-Baqarah (185):  “Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship…”  Allah, Most High, did not say He wanted to make things easy for us, but rather He wanted “ease” for us and all the good!

Allah, Most High, has given us one such good in the form of the four sacred months, as He said in Surah At-Tawbah (36):  “Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred.”

In a Hadith, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:  “Time has come back to its original state which it had when Allah created the Heavens and the Earth, the year is twelve months, of which four are sacred; three are in succession, namely, Dhul-Qa’da, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, and (the fourth one) Rajab which is between Juma and Sha’ban.” (Bukhari)

In these sacred months, Allah, Most High, mentions that no one should be oppressed, including ourselves; Syedina Qatada , May Allah be pleased with him, said that a sin committed in these sacred months is worse than those committed in the rest of year.  Although a sin should be avoided in all months, Syedina Qatada, May Allah be pleased with him, is emphasizing the importance of these sacred months.

Allah, Most High, chose from people, chose from angels, chose from places, chose from days, chose from nights and chose from months; and from those months, the sacred months.  We say this in a time when people may say why is it important to place emphasize on a given time, place or thing.

Fasting in the Sacred Months

In a hadith, a man from the tribe of Bahela met the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, along with his tribe, and returned back to the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, a year later. Upon his return, the man asked the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, if he had recognized him, to which the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, responded, “Should I recognize you?”  

The man explained that he was from the tribe of Bahela, who had visited a year ago. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, then inquired about his physical appearance, as the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, stated that the man’s appearance was much better last year; the man replied that since their last meeting he had been fasting constantly. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

Fast Ramadan and one day a month

The man: I want more!

Fast Ramadan and two days a month

The man: I want more!

Fast Ramadan and three days a month

The man: I want more!

Fast Ramadan and much from the sacred months – and take leave.

(Abu Dawud, ibn Majah, Bayhaqi, Ahmad)

In recalling this Hadith, we learn a number of things:

  1. We see the mercy of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, in how he interacted with the man and his explanation and prescription to fast, in particular highlighting fasting in the sacred months.
  2. From the man’s initial introduction, we see how great and dear the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, makes people feel about themselves, such that each person who comes upon his presence feels as if they are the most important and ought to be remembered!
  3. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, even remembered what this one man from this particular tribe looked like a year ago!
  4. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, is also teaching us that worship is a joy and good, and that there are days where it is worship to fast and there are days where it is worship to eat (i.e. Eid).

Preserving The Good Is Paramount

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, in relation to the sacred months, continually opens our eyes to all that is good, even that good that was done by previous people, and he encourages us to preserve them.

An example of this is the narration regarding the people of the virtuous alliance.  This was a group of people who met during jahiliyya (time of ignorance) in the house of Abdullahi ibn Jadaal. During this meeting, they agreed not to allow anyone to be oppressed in Makkah and to uphold the rights of those who were oppressed. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was present at this meeting as a young child.

After all the good the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, witnessed, including Isra wal Miraj, the Hijrah and the opening of Makkah, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, still remembered the day of the virtuous alliance and said that one of the greatest things that he remembered from jahaliyya was the people of the virtuous alliance.  The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, continued by saying if someone were to do something similar, he would support it.

In this, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, is telling us the preservation of all that is good is paramount.

As such, the Arabs used to stop fighting during the sacred four months, and the sanctity of these sacred months was confirmed by Allah, Most High, and the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and included as part of Shar’iah.  The observation of the Arabs during these may have been related or influenced by the people and practice related to Syedina Ibrahim peace be upon him, or, as some historians suggest, the sacredness of these months could also be partially explained by the proximity of Hajj to three of the sacred months.

In another example, the Sahaba asked the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, regarding the Arab practice of respecting the station of Ibrahim peace be upon him, which was the place Ibrahim ,peace be upon him, stood while observing the building progress of the Ka’ba. The Sahaba, who were expecting a response from the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, we responded to directly by Allah, Most High, when He said in Surah Al-Baqarah (125):  “…And take, [O believers], from the standing place of Abraham a place of prayer…”

The Sahaba also asked about the observations of the Arabs with regards to the mounts of Safa and Marwa, (in between which Syeda Hajr, May Allah be pleased with her, ran in prayer) asking if it was permissible to continue such practices, to which Allah, Most High, responded in Surah Al-Baqarah (158):

“Indeed, as-Safa and al-Marwah are among the symbols of Allah. So whoever makes Hajj to the House or performs ‘umrah – there is no blame upon him for walking between them. And whoever volunteers good – then indeed, Allah is appreciative and Knowing.”

The Sahaba, in asking about the previous practices of the Arabs, may have thought that anything observed before thedeen may need to be expunged, however, to the contrary, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, taught them that anything that has good and does not contradict our deen, can and should be preserved, supported and honored.

Preparing for Ramadan

Syedina Anas ibn Malik , May Allah be pleased with him, narrated that when Rajab came, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, would say:  “Oh Allah, put blessing for us in Rajab and Shaban, and bless for us Ramadan.”  (Shu’ab al Iman – Al Bayhaqi, Al Hilya tul Awliya – Abu Naym, Musnad – Al Bazaar)

From this we understand that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, wanted us to prepare for Ramadan from the beginning of Rajab and that is why the Saliheen used to say:

Remove all sin and transgression in Rajab, as it is the month of istighfar.  

Do much by way of worship in Shaban as it is the month of hard work (Syeda Aisha, May Allah be pleased with her, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, used to fast more in this month than any other month outside of Ramadan).

And reap the blessings in Ramadan, as it is the month of good and baraka.

If we prepare, then, inshAllah, we will be ready to receive the blessing.

Ya Allah!  Make this a month, a month of forgiveness, sabr, increase in good and bless us with the greatness of adab in the months to come.

The Love between the Prophet ﷺ and Abdullah ibn Mas’ud – Shaykh Hamdi Ben Aissa

Imagine the city of the Prophet ﷺ, illuminated by him ﷺ, by his Companions and by the love they all had for each other. Shaykh Hamdi Ben Aissa gives us a glimpse.

Every morning, the whole city would wait, impatient to hear the blessed sound of the footsteps of the Prophet ﷺ as he left his house to sit in his corner for spiritual retreat – a sound that announced to them that the prayer sanctuary was now open. And then, swiftly, the mosque would fill.
Who made the call to that night prayer (tahajjud)? It was Abdullah ibn Mas’ud. He was he who had the honor of announcing this prayer throughout his life. Abdullah ibn Mas’ud was the first to witness the spiritual Sun – our Prophet ﷺ – rise every morning before the physical sun rose.
One day, the beautiful Apostle ﷺ suddenly fell ill. He ﷺ went to visit his living Companions and the martyrs of Uhud. He ﷺ wept, saying, “I miss my brothers!” He ﷺ was referring to his buried brothers before anything. But he ﷺ was also talking about you.
A Companion who was present asked the Prophet ﷺ, “Are we not your brothers?” He ﷺ said, “Yes, you are my brothers by companionship, but I speak of those who accepted the good news, even though they never met me. It is they who I speak of now. How I miss them!”
Not long after, the Prophet ﷺ developed a fever, similar to the one he ﷺ experienced upon the first revelation of “Iqraa.” He ﷺ asked to be covered, just like the first time. This time it was Sayyida Ayesha who had the honor of covering him ﷺ. For seven days, he ﷺ couldn’t leave his house. The Companions anxiously awaited his recovery: there were those who raised tents in the streets, others in the mosque’s yard. No one thought this would be the illness that would bring the end of life as they knew it.
Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, the close Companion who welcomed the first glimpse of the Prophet ﷺ each morning would be the one to witness the very last look, before the curtain fell – never to be raised again. After many days of sickness, the Prophet ﷺ lifted the curtain between his home and the sanctuary, and addressed his Companions, ‘I give you peace.’ The Companions were in prayer at the time, and were seized by the desire to run to their Beloved ﷺ. Heﷺ told them to stay in prayer. But Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said: ‘The prayer could be repeated, but that look I couldn’t miss. I looked at his face and it was like a page of the Qur’an.’
It’s clear that Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud was not talking about the physical page upon which the Qur’an was transcribed. What physical resemblance would the Prophet’s ﷺ countenance have with the leathers or papyrus which hosted the Word of God at that time? Rather, he was talking about the light of the Qur’an, that light that emanates from the Word of God, and is visible to those who have clear vision. That light was the light he saw on the Face of his Beloved ﷺ.
The light of Qur’an is the light of eternity, not of black-inked letters. Light is light. Abdullah ibn Mas’ud was an expert of that light as well – the Qu’ranic light. It was Abdullah ibn Mas’ud who recited the Qur’an for the Prophet ﷺ: for, even though the letters of God were engraved in his ﷺ heart, the Beloved ﷺ would ask to hear the Word of God recited in the voice of someone else, in order to experience its beauty in yet another way. And that someone else was Abdullah ibn Mas’ud. The Prophet ﷺ would say: “Recite to me the last thing you learned.” Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said that one time, in response, he started reading from Surah al-Nisa (The Chapter of Women) [in another narration it was al-Nahl (The Chapter Bees)], until he reached the verse: “and when we will call from each nation their witness, and we will call you as a witness for that nation.” Hearing these words, the Messenger ﷺ wept. His tears flowed, flowed, flowed. Everytime he ﷺ recited or heard the Qur’an, he ﷺ lived a new experience of Revelation.
In this love between the Prophet ﷺ and Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, we witness the way in which the Qur’an that is recited is a rope connected to the Qur’an that is revealed.

What A Concerned Muslim Needs to Learn, and How – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

If you are serious about submitting to Allah, Most High, striving to follow the Prophet ﷺ and striving to please Allah then there is no way around a regular routine of seeking knowledge. Join Shaykh Faraz Rabbani in a clear discussion and investigation of what knowledge is necessary to be a Muslim.

What does a Muslim need to know?

We are given a summary of four particular types of knowledge one needs to know:
1) Fard al Ayn: the personally obligatory – core Islamic knowledge (aqeedah, fiqh: all financial dealings, the permissible and impermissible relationships)
2) Devotional Knowledge: knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah – cultivating the knowledge of the Quran and reading something about the Prophet ﷺ daily
3) Spiritual Knowledge: knowledge of the heart, ihsan. Ridding oneself of blameworthy traits and adorning oneself with praiseworthy characteristics.
4) Spiritual works: regular routines of acting on what one knows.
Our Ummah has been given two  gifts that no other sacred community has received in the past: the deep value and reward of intentions, and access to the remembrance of Allah.

Cover photo by Olivier Blaise. We are grateful to Madarik Centre in Amman, Jordan for the video.

Resources for the Seeker: