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Satan And Mary

Answer by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu Alaikum, I read this hadith: “Satan touched every son of Adam the day his mother beareth him, save only Mary and her son.” What is its proper meaning in relation to the life of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) and his Exalted Spiritual Station?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. I pray you’re well insha’Allah.

The hadith, ‘When any human being is born. Satan touches him at both sides of the body with his two fingers, except Jesus, the son of Mary, whom Satan tried to touch but failed, for he touched the placenta-cover instead’ is a sound hadith found in al Bukhari.

However, to conclude from this hadith that one prophet is better than the other, namely Sayyidina Isa (peace be upon him) is superior to Sayiddina Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) because of this, is incorrect thinking.

Incorrect conclusions

To understand why the above assumption is incorrect, please consider the following:

1. We affirm that Allah Most High gives to whom He pleases whatever He pleases.

2. Allah Most High tells us in the Qur’an, ‘The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” [2.285].

3. Using the logic that if God gives x something and he doesn’t give the same thing to y, x must be better than y, or to put it in another way, if God singles out x for special treatment in a matter, x must be superior to y because y does not receive the same special treatment in the same situation, is incorrect. This would mean the following:

a) That any prophet given something unique is better than others, such as Sayyidna Sulaiman (peace be upon him) is better than all other prophets because God granted him a kingdom and power over creation not given to anyone after him, Sayyidna Yusuf because of his manifest beauty, Sayyidna Adam (peace be upon him) is better than Sayyidna Isa (and all other prophets) because not only did Satan not touch him, but he was created directly by Allah, and even the four that spoke in the cradle, including Jesus because they spoke as babies, etc.

b) That Sayyidina Musa (peace and blessings be upon him) is better than all prophets because of the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), ‘Do not say I am better than Moses for mankind will faint on the Day of Judgment and I will be the first to recover, and Moses at that time will be holding the side of the Throne. I do not know if he would faint and recover before me, or if Allah will make an exception for him.’ [Muslim]

4. It is an integral part of our faith that we believe that all the Prophets were infallible and divinely protected (ma’sum). If a person is infallible and it is impossible that they sin, then this means that satan has no power of them. As such, it makes no difference whether satan touches them at birth or not! There must then be another reason for Sayyidna Isa being excluded from the norm.

5. It is documented in various instances that each person has an accompanying devil, and that the devil accompanying the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) not only had no control over him, but became Muslim!

Why Satan was unable to touch Maryam and her son

Imam al Qurtabi tells us that the touch of satan at birth is the beginning of his trying to control the person, but Allah protected Sidtina Maryam and her son through the blessings of Maryam’s mother’s du’a, ‘Verily, I seek refuge for her and her offspring from the cursed Satan’ [3:36], and Maryam had no progeny other than Isa (so the result of her supplication could only descend upon him). [Fathul Bari]

From the few simple examples above, it is clear that it is erroneous to conclude that because of an event, namely, Sayyidina ‘Isa not being touched by satan at birth, then it must mean that he is more exalted than the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him). Rather, Sayyidna ‘Isa was given a special exception in this situation through a) the Wisdom and Will of Allah who gives to whomever He pleases, and b) as an acceptance of his pure mother’s du’a for her offspring which God chose to answer in this way. Thus it was an honour for mother and son, not a sign of their superiority over others.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is the leader of all the Prophets and the leader of all mankind. ‘I will be the leader of the sons of Adam on the Day of Resurrection and the first for whom the grave will be opened and the first to intercede and the first whose intercession will be accepted.’ [Muslim]

His chest was open, his black spot (found in all hearts) was removed, and his heart was cleansed with Zamzam water on numerous times, not because he was blotted somehow by the devil. The removal of the spot was the removal of a matter found in everyone, as well as a means to make us know what is what is inside our hearts so we may be aware of the danger of letting it grow and spread.

As for the purifying of his blessed heart, this was never because of its need to be purified, but rather, it was in preparation for the tremendous gifts, bestowals, favours, strength, knowledge, wisdom, love and compassion that Allah Most High wished to pour into him, and to prepare him for the greatest experience ever bestowed upon anyone, the ascent to the heavens and the beatific vision of his Lord, an experience not given to any prophet before.

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. He travelled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years privately studying a range of Islamic sciences under the foremost scholars and muftis from the Ribat Tarim, specializating in Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies under many of Amman’s most prominent scholars, in a range of Islamic sciences, including Islamic theology, logic, legal principles and precepts, hadith studies, grammar and rhetoric, seerah, Quranic studies and tafsir. He is also an experienced homeopath

Hadiths on Drinking Alcohol

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Please explain the following hadiths on drinking alcohol:

1. Abu’l-Darda’ narrated that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “No one who is addicted to alcohol will enter Paradise.” Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 3376.

2. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allah has cursed alcohol, the one who drinks it, the one who pours it, the one who sells it, the one who buys it, the one squeezes (the grapes, etc), the one for whom it is squeezed, the one who carries it and the one to whom it is carried.”

3. ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr narrated a hadith about someoneIf who drinks repeatedly and repents repeatedly. The end of it is, ‘if he does that again, Allah will give him to drink of the mud of khabaal on the Day of Resurrection.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is the mud of khabaal?” He said, “The juice of the people of Hell.” Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 3377

4. Allah’s Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “When an adulterer commits illegal sexual intercourse, then he is not a believer at the time he is doing it; and when somebody drinks an alcoholic drink, then he is not believer at the time of drinking, and when a thief steals, he is not a believer at the time when he is stealing; and when a robber robs and the people look at him, then he is not a believer at the time of doing it.”

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well. Thank you for your question.

Will Every Threat of a Punishment be Carried Out?

The first hadith refers to someone who keeps drinking wine unrepentant. Such a person is threatened with Hell – even if he is a believer. Having said this, there are other similar hadiths about other sins too, and what we understand from the Qur’an and the Sunna of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, is that Allah can forgive anything. Some may be sent to Hell for purification.

With the exception of all forms of disbelief, Allah can forgive any sin, and even someone who commits such sins could be forgiven. However, the purpose of the hadith is to dissuade people from such heinous acts, because they are very likely to lead a person to a punishment in the Afterlife. Therefore, a firmer wording was chosen to get this point across.

What is a Curse?

The second hadith refers to people who do this act actively and unrepentantly. It shows a lack of concern for the severity of the sin, so they are threatened with a curse. A curse is a very serious thing because it entails being distanced from the mercy of Allah Almighty; the one thing we are all desperately in need of at all times.

The doors of repentance are always open. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “He who repents from a sin is like someone who has no sin.” (Ibn Majah)

Does Hajj Expiate all Sins?

With regards to your question on the third hadith, the above answer applies here too. The chances are that such a person will be made to drink the pus of the people of Hell, but ultimately the matter does return to Allah. It’s a serious affair, otherwise the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, would not have told us of this. However, Allah is the ultimate judge; He knows everything, and His mercy is tremendous.

As for the Hajj, many scholars have noted that an accepted Hajj does indeed wipe away of one’s past sins – minor or major. There is a difference regarding financial rights owed to others, and it seems that they will have to be compensated for somehow in this life or the next.

The final hadith means that the person who commits them has severely deficient iman at the time of doing them. We know this because faith does not leave a person because of sins like zina and drinking wine. Rather, it’s state of great deficiency.

(Bajuri, Sharh Jawhara al Tawhid; Usmani, Bath al Mulhim, Mustfa Muhammad ‘Ammara, ed. al Targhib wa al Tarhib)

I pray that helps. May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

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 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

Is the Hadith ‘I Am the City of Knowledge and ‘Ali Is Its Door’ Authentic?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Is the hadith ‘I am the city of knowledge and ‘Ali is its door’ authentic?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam, thank you for your question.

The hadith, ‘I am the city of knowledge and ‘Ali is its door’ is reported in Al Hakim’s Mustadrak and other works. Scholars differed in its grading, some regarding it as authentic (al Hakim), some rejected it and considered it baseless (Ibn Jawzi) and others classed it fair (al Suyuti, al Hafiz ibn Hajr).

Regardless of the grading of the hadith, what is established beyond doubt is that Sayyidna ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was one of the greatest and most knowledgeable among the Companions. However, this hadith, if taken as acceptable, should be understood as verification of one of many tremendous virtues of the Sayyidna ‘Ali, not a proof for political or sectarian dogma.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath. 

The Arba‘iniyyat Genre between Past and Present

The Arba‘iniyyat Genre between Past and Present: Basis, Origin, and a Contemporary Example

By Massoud Vahedi

 

This overview aims to analyze a number of topics pertaining to the arba’iniyyat genre, which refers to the centuries-old practices of compiling forty-hadith pamphlets. This will be achieved by briefly looking at a contemporary forty-hadith series on Prophetic Parenting by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. To properly elucidate the style and content of this series, beforehand there will be some discussion on the arba‘iniyyat genre, its legal authorization, and its most famous example, namely that of Imam al-Nawawi. All of these issues contain rich debates and discussions which remain unexplored in the English language. Thereafter, a discussion on a specific subset of Shaykh Rabbani’s commentary on his own collection will follow.

Until the present age, arba‘iniyyat continue to emerge and be written, dealing with a wide array of topics, such as marriage, morals, character, and more. The basis behind the origins of the arba‘iniyyat composition rests on a significant hadith from the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace from Anas, Allah be pleased with him: “Whoever preserves for my nation forty ahadith from the Sunna, I will be an intercessor for him on the Day of Resurrection.” (Ibn Ady; al-Kamil) This hadith has been narrated through more than a dozen transmitters with various wordings, all of which suggest the immense virtue for collecting and writing forty narrations so that they are learnt and benefited from. Despite the grand majority of scholars declaring these reports to be weak, the consistent practice of scholars throughout multiple generations has been gathering forty-hadith collections. This practice began early on with the inception of the eminent hadith scholar Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak, then Muhammad ibn Aslam al-Tusi, who was followed by al-Nasawi, thereafter by Abu Bakr al-Ajuri, and so on.

Despite us observing countless scholars collect their forty-hadith pamphlets, the content and theme behind the collections vastly differ. Al-Nawawi notes that collections before him exclusively focused on one of the following topics: fundamentals of creed and theology (usul), subsidiary matters (furu‘) pertaining to religious ordinances and acts of worship, asceticism (al-zuhd), religious piety and manners, religious exhortations, and so on. However, al-Nawawi did something revolutionary in his own collection that would grant his forty-hadith collection an eminent status until the end of time.

Instead of collecting forty hadiths dealing exclusively on one question or topic, he collected hadiths whose content encompasses all of these topics and combined them in a unique way in his compilation. Secondly, he picked narrations which have been declared by past hadith masters and jurists as embodying the main teachings of the religion or being from its foundational principles. Thirdly, he only picked narrations which he deemed to be authentic, with most of them being collected by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Fourthly, he removed the long chains for the hadiths of his collection so the narrations could be easily read and memorized by laymen. Lastly, Ibn Rajab also mentioned on this topic that Imam al-Nawawi’s noble and pure intention behind the compilation of his arba’in also paved the way for its positive reception among the Umma.

One excellent example of a contemporary forty-hadith collection comes from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. His collection is entitled: Prophetic Parenting: 40 Hadiths on Raising Righteous Muslim Children. This collection contains hadiths pertaining to Prophetic Parenting, and has a comprehensive listing of hadiths which discuss how Muslims can be successful parents in the contemporary context we live in. The Shaykh extracts subtle gems from hadiths which the average reader may be completely unaware of. Owing to space constraints, regrettably only a few hadiths can be discussed here. The hadith that orders us to “marry the one of religion, so that you may be successful” (al-Bukhari and Muslim) has a number of hidden benefits that Shaykh Faraz skillfully extracts for his audience. Being a good parent is not something which starts after marriage, but actually well before the child is born. In fact, it starts even before one marries. In order to be a good parent, one needs to choose a righteous spouse that is actively concerned about the religious upbringing of their future children.

Secondly, a person might superficially read this hadith and think that the importance of being “one of religion” only applies while picking a spouse. But actually, upholding and sustaining religiosity also applies within the marriage, because otherwise the religious meaning and sanctity of the matrimonial bond will be lost in the middle of the journey. To only think that this applies while searching for a prospective spouse defeats the intended meaning. The key point here is that we can in religious terms actually become better spouses during the marriage. This is something that we can all improve on with ourselves and our partners. Another hadith in the Shaykh’s collection is: “If there comes to you someone whose religion and character is pleasing to you, then marry them. If you do not, there will be much tribulation and corruption on earth.” (Jami’ al-Tirmidhi) Shaykh Faraz derives two crucial benefits from this hadith. Firstly, we are reminded through this report that marriage is not an individual decision or matter. It actually has a strong social dimension as well. We can readily notice the social repercussions involved when marriages do not occur at a desired pace. To achieve this adequate rate of marriage both parties should be easy-going in decision-making.

Another hadith is reported from the authority of ibn Umar, that the Prophet Allah bless him and give him peace said regarding al-Hasan and al-Husain: “They are my two joys in this life” (Muslim). On this hadith the Shaykh beautifully explains how as Muslims we should not look at children as being burdens to be overcome, but as gifts that should be appreciated. Secondly, we should view them (and by extension our parenting) as being a means and vehicle to reaching salvation in the hereafter. We must be cognizant of the religious aspects as being a parent, because by doing so, we are rewarded for all the small and mundane things we for our children. By having the right intention, we will no longer see childrearing as being a collection of repetitive and mechanical tasks, but a duty and responsibility before our Creator which if done right means many good deeds.

Another hadith mentions on the authority of Abu Bakra how al-Hasan Allah be pleased with them would as a child would frequently would rise up on the back of the Prophet Allah bless him and give him peace when he prostrated during his prayer. The Prophet would rise up very slowly and put Hasan down gently. (Ibn Hibban and al-Tabarani) Here, Shaykh Faraz notes how in the Prophet’s actions there is a “sense of balance” between maintaining the serenity of the prayer and being flexible with a child’s playfulness. The key here is realizing this delicate balance and applying it today in our prayer places as much as possible.

We note that the Prophet Allah bless him and give him peace did not rebuke al-Hasan for his actions; in other words, he did not actively stop him from getting on his back. From this we can derive that natural childlike actions in the mosques are to be tolerated by parents. But when there are severe and excessive disturbances then deterrence is needed, lest the sanctity of the mosque or the quality of prayer of the congregants be violated. Regrettably, on the issue of children going to the mosques, many of us are often caught on one extreme and have lost the Prophetic model of balance and flexibility.

 


Massoud Vahedi is a Canadian doctoral student in political science. In terms of Islamic sciences, he has concentrated his studies in Mustalah al-Hadith (Hadith nomenclature) and Hanbali Fiqh.


 

Shaykh Jamir Meah on Science and the Qur’an

Shaykh Jamir Meah recently answered a host of questions on seeming contradictions between science and the Qur’an. It is so good it needed to be featured here.

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

I have had a lot of questions about some claimed scientific mistakes in the Qur’an that I haven’t had any answers too (or any good answers to). I would like for you to have patience with me, since I have a lot of questions that have been bothering me.

    1. 1. In the verse, يخرج من بين الصلب والترائب (

Sura al-Tariq 86:7

    1. ) I haven’t seen a good explanation that doesn’t feel forced or تكلف that explains the verse, which is against what is seen.
    1. 2. The hadith of the “tail bone” (عجب الذنب), I want references from credible scientific sources that this bone doesn’t go away and it is where the human is created or any explanation as to how is this hadith can be interpreted.
    1. 3. The verse of وحلائل ابنائكم الذين من اصلابكم (

Sura al-Nisa 4:23

    1. ) and واذ اخذ ربك من بني آدم من ظهورهم ذريتهم. (

Sura al-A‘raf 7:172

    1. ) I want an explanation for how can this reconcile with what is known. How is it that children are from the back?
    1. 4. It is known (and correct me if I am wrong) that circumcision for young ladies is permissible and some say it is good. This leads to a weird contradiction, since the Qur’an and Sunna never asks us to do anything that harms us, but there is a whole movement trying to stop it for young ladies, since it harmful.
    1. 5. I also wanted to ask about cousin marriages, and how is it permissible as scientifically it is may be more harmful?
    1. 6. There is a sahih hadith that says a woman has a role in the gender of the child, which is مَاءُ الرَّجُلِ أَبْيَضُ، وَمَاءُ الْمَرْأَةِ أَصْفَرُ ، فَإِذَا اجْتَمَعَا ، فَعَلَا مَنِيُّ الرَّجُلِ مَنِيَّ الْمَرْأَةِ ، أَذْكَرَا بِإِذْنِ اللهِ ، وَإِذَا عَلَا مَنِيُّ الْمَرْأَةِ مَنِيَّ الرَّجُلِ ، آنَثَا بِإِذْنِ اللهِ . ً(Muslim) What is the correct interpretation for this hadith?
    1. 7. Last thing is the verse, ومن كل شيء خلقنا زوجين. (

Sura al-Dhariya 51:49

    ) What is the correct interpretation for this ayat?

May Allah help you and help me, and may you help me to reach clarity and strong faith.

Thank you.

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Thank you for your questions. I have answered them in order below.

Questions 1-3: Qur’an and Science

I am unable to provide scientific proofs to your questions as I am not a scientist. However, please note the following points in regards this set of questions:

A. There is a lot of literature out there which discuss scientific facts found in the Quran. While it is true that the Quran does indeed contain scientific miracles and will I’m sure continue to shed light on numerous facts about our universe, much of the information written on this subject is unfortunately often poorly researched.

Therefore, Muslims who do not have both a solid understanding of the Qur’an; it’s language and exegesis, alongside a firm understanding of the relevant branches of modern sciences, should avoid too much discussion on these aspects of the Qur’an. The most important matters in the Qur’an that man needs to know and hold onto have been made clear, while other verses are not so clear to the laymen, and should not be delved into by the unqualified, for Allah Most High tells us in regards some verses, “What does Allah mean by such a parable? Through this He leaves many to stray, and guides many.” (Sura al-Baqara 2:26)

B. The Qur’an is not a scientific book, it is the Divine Speech of God, which contains guidance for man to fulfill his earthly needs and attain to eternal salvation, and a warning of what awaits those who transgress. Unless for general interest or scholarly specialization, one should focus on these aspects of the Qur’an and attaching ones’ heart to Allah and his Messenger, as ultimately, this is what matters and the point of the guidance.

C. The Qur’an has an endless depth of meaning. This is one of the Miracles of the Qur’an. Because it is the eternal Speech of God, it indicates to some of the eternal knowledge of God, which is limitless. No one will ever fully encompass its full meanings, but new meanings become apparent over time, and occur to people of varying abilities and insight. However, it’s meanings never change, and its inward meanings do not contradict its outward implications.

D. When the Qur’an mentions facts about the created universe, it is often implicit and indicative to these facts, and not usually explicit or apparent immediately.

E. The universe is still mainly undiscovered territory. What science knows now maybe different tomorrow. It is a tool for discovering facts, not the fact itself, therefore it is subject to change as new facts become undisclosed. It cannot be relied upon as the standard to measure the absolute truth. The first thing we learnt from even our basic science texts at school is that in science, “no theory is accepted as absolute truth.”

F. Despite science and modern medicine making immense advancements in the understanding of human anatomy and physiology, it is by no means complete knowledge. Moreover, in regards the human being as a whole, such as psychologically and spiritually, and how this connects to the physical, modern science’s understanding of these are deeply inadequate and relies on various assumptions and theories. The interconnection between the somatic and non-somatic levels of the human being are only now being explored and new ways in how we view and study the human body are being discovered.

G. In regards the hadith, “There is nothing of the human body that does not decay except one bone; the little bone at the end of the coccyx of which the human body will be recreated on the Day of Resurrection.” (Bukhari) It actually doesn’t matter whether this bone decomposes or not, as the hadith does not explicitly state that the whole bone does not decompose, nor delineate what is meant by “tail bone.”

Therefore, it is valid to state that what the hadith could be referring to is that even the tiniest part of the tail bone does not decompose, as a part is necessarily a part of the whole, so one may use the whole to describe the part. Thus, even if the smallest part of the tail bone is left intact, perhaps even extending to the molecular or atomic level, then this suffices to make the statement true, as is supported by the hadith, when asked about the tailbone, he, peace and blessings be upon him, replied, “[It is] like a grain of mustard.’ (Ahmad)

Furthermore, there is a difference of opinion on how humans will be resurrected on the Day of Judgement. One opinion is that we will be assembled and resurrected from all our scattered remains. Another opinion holds that when the trumpet blows all our parts and remnants will be utterly annihilated and taken out of existence, except whatever remains of the “tail bone” (even if nanoscopic), and then we will be created again, almost ex-nihilo, similar to how we were created the first time. (Sharh al-Kharida al-Bahiyya)

H. Know that Allah Most High is the Creator of all things, and this includes natural laws and normative relationships of cause and effect. If He so willed, He could turn these laws and relations on their heads or create entirely different laws. Therefore, when Allah Most High informs us that He bought forth the children of Adam from their “backs” it is irrelevant whether this coincides with the ordinary manner that we observe the reproduction system to work or different to it, as Allah Most High has power over all things and may do as He pleases. Secondly, most reliable translators translate the words “min dhuhurim” “from their backs” as “from their loins,” in which case, there is no contradiction between these words and what is normally observed in this life.

Question 4: Female Circumcision

Female circumcision is mentioned in various narrations, such as when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to a woman who circumcised females, “Do not go to the extreme in cutting; that is better for the woman.” (Abu Dawud) The Mujtahid Imams differed on its rulings; some holding it obligatory, others recommended, and others still, considered it good etiquette.

I specifically quoted the hadith above, because it contains a warning; “Do not go to extremes” and this is the important point. Proper female circumcision consists of removing a tiny flake or shaving of skin from the hood of the clitoris, nothing more. This is what is described in our fiqh books. Advanced hospitals in the UAE perform this very well.

It does not in any way consist of excess skin or flesh being removed, harm to the woman, mutilation of any kind, or anything else that interferes with or diminishes the functioning of the genital area.

The whole point of correct female circumcision is increased hygiene and sexual pleasure for the woman. This is obviously not achieved by the malpractice we have just mentioned, but rather the opposite occurs.

Unfortunately, in many cultural practices of female circumcision this is what happens, and in this we wholeheartedly agree with those who speak out about such practices, while at the same time, we uphold the correct and Shari‘a-defined female circumcision we have outlined above. This is certainly an area which needs serious addressing and educating.

Question 5: Cousin Marriages

There is nothing wrong with cousins marrying one another, and the possibilities of any defect occurring is not significant unless the cousins in question are from generations of cousin marriages or they have genetic defects themselves. Cousin-marriage is permitted in Islam, Judaism, and has been within Christianity at various periods of time, or still is depending on the Christian denomination.

What has been observed by medical scientists as a significant concern is the repeated marrying of first cousins, generation after generation, due to the increased chances of sharing recessive traits. In these cases, the Shari‘a ruling would also be that it is not recommended to do so.

Question 6: Gender

The gender of the child can depend on many factors, among them the manner of fluid exchange during intercourse, which is what is mentioned in the hadith, “Man’s discharge is thick and white and the discharge of woman is thin and yellow, so the resemblance comes from the one whose water prevails or dominate.” (Muslim)

Imam al-Nawawi mentions that the scholars have explained prevailing or dominant to mean here either the one who emits first, or the one whose discharge is more plentiful and stronger in relation to whose desire was stronger. (Sharh Muslim)

Question 7: Duality in Creation

The verse, “And all things We have created by pairs, that haply ye may reflect,” (Sura al-Dhariya 51:49) means that creation has been created in two types or two kinds, such as the land and sea, night and day, the sun and moon, sweetness and bitterness, earth and sky, light and dark, male and female. Pairs are either opposites or similar.

These pairings point to one Creator, to His Power and Ability and that the one who is able to create them is able to recreate them at will and bring them together again, and that one may reflect that pairs and plurality belong to all things possible (mumkinat) while a necessary being (al-wajib bi dhat), namely God, does not accept plurality or division (Most of these arguments require further logical explanation). (al-Baydawi, al-Qurtubi, al-Wahidi, al-Tafsir al-Kabir)

A Word of Advice

Lastly, I would suggest you focus more on studying the broader aspects of religion, particularly aqida and tafsir. This will help you in your understanding. Unless one is firmly grounded in both their religious knowledge and the secular sciences, entering into discussions or answering other people’s questions on such topics such as science and religion (and many more subjects) can often do harm and turn people away, even if one’s intentions are good.

I pray the above provides sufficient guidance and clarification.

Warmest salams,

Jamir


 

Fatima bint Saad al Khayr –15 Centuries of Female Scholarship

In this series, Shaykha Tamara Gray narrates the stories of great Muslim women through the centuries, who excelled in fields of Islamic knowledge, science, and philanthropy. This segment features Fatima bint Saad al Khayr from the 6th century.

 

Fatima bint Saad al Khayr was born in China to a family originally from Valencia in Islamic Spain. She grew in a home of great scholarship, and at age seven she was sitting in hadith circles as a serious student of knowledge. At age 19, she was an accomplished scholar, which indicates that perhaps she was a child prodigy.

After she got married, she moved to Damascus with her husband. He was a secretary to Nur al-Din Zenghi, the teacher and mentor of Salahuddin. She became a sought-after teacher in Damascus. and later moved to Cairo where students would travel  to learn from her.

Fatima bint Saad al Khayr is an immense example of dedicating one’s life to the study of Sacred Knowledge.

 


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Karima bint Ahmad –15 Centuries of Female Scholarship

In this series, Shaykha Tamara Gray narrates the stories of great Muslim women through the centuries, who excelled in fields of Islamic knowledge, science, and philanthropy. This segment features Karima bint Ahmad from the 5th century.

Karima bint Ahmad

Karima, originally of Turkmenistani origin, travelled far and wide with her father. After going to Jerusalem, and as far as Iran, they settled in Mecca. She studied with many great Meccan scholars until she herself became a scholar, specialising in hadith, particularly in the collection of Sahih Bukhari. She became known as “The Shaykha of Mecca,” and was extremely sought after by students of her era.

The scholar Ad-Dhahabi spoke highly of her, saying that she was a woman of knowledge, piety and goodness. She was extremely careful in her assessment of who to grant her ijazah, or authorisation. She lived to the age of 100, and made a huge impact on the community around her.


With gratitude to Shaykha Tamara Gray and Rabata.


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Amra bint Abdurrahman–15 Centuries of Female Scholarship

In this series, Shaykha Tamara Gray narrates the stories of great Muslim women through the centuries, who excelled in fields of Islamic knowledge, science, and philanthropy. This segment features Amra bint Abdurrahman, from the first century of Islam.

Amra bint Abdurrahman was one of the closest students of our mother Aisha, wife of the Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace. This made her from among the Tabi’in, or the righteous predecessors. She was known to be an ocean of knowledge, and it was said that no one knew more Hadith than her.

She was also a defender of social justice. One day, she heard an unjust decision that had been passed in a court case. She wasted no time, and immediately protested against it. She sent a messenger declaring that, in her opinion, the ruling was not only unjust but illegal. Such was her high rank and prestige, that the ruling was immediately corrected.

Amra was the one of the first in the tradition of female scholarship. May Allah be pleased with her.


With gratitude to Shaykha Tamara Gray and Rabata.


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Ustadha Zaynab Ansari on Women of the Qur’an: The One Who Complained

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, in partnership with Muslimah Media, speaks in a 6-part series about women who are documented in the Quran.

Khowla, the Woman who Complained

One of the interesting stories that come to us in the Qur’an, is of the Woman Who Complained. It is the name of the 58th chapter of the Qur’an. It refers to the story of Khowla bint Tha’labah, a strong and brave woman who was a Companion of the Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace.
Khowla was married to a man with a hot temper. One day, her husband came home and they got into an argument. Her husband lapsed into a pre-Islamic practice, and said a particularly insulting phrase, referred to as Dhihar. Dhihar was done when a man told his wife that his relationship with her was the same as his relationship with his mother. Although this practice may seem strange in today’s world, it was a very extreme thing to say during that time. Moreover, it was not a phrase that could be forgotten. In that society, it was actually a type of divorce.

Her Dialogue

Khowla resented her husband’s action, as she did not want to be stuck in a bad situation because of his behaviour. After he had calmed down, he returned and wanted to be intimate with her. Khowla told him, “You won’t touch me until Allah and His Messenger decide the matter for us.” She left her house and went to the Prophet, explaining her situation and asking that something be done. However, nothing had been revealed pertaining to the pronouncement of Dhihar, so initially there was nothing that could be done. However, Khowla was determined to find a solution.

Before long, the Prophet received the following revelation.

“Allah has certainly heard the speech of the one who argues with you, [O Muhammad], concerning her husband and directs her complaint to Allah. And Allah hears your dialogue; indeed, Allah is Hearing and Seeing. Those who pronounce Dhihar among you [to separate] from their wives – they are not their mothers. Their mothers are none but those who gave birth to them. And indeed, they are saying an objectionable statement and a falsehood.” Al-Mujadilah

Setting a Precedent

The verses condemned the practice of Dhihar as an odious practice. Allah also set a heavy penalty on the men who pronounced Dhihar on their wives.

Because of Khowla’s persistence and initiative, she not only fixed her own situation, but also helped the other women who had been affected by the practice of Dhihar. She was so respected that other male companions spoke very highly of her. However, what makes her so amazing, is the fact that her struggle was documented in the Qur’an.


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Content of Character #55: Setting Aside What Causes You Doubt

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Mercy-Giving; and peaceful prayers and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his Folk, his Companions and all who are faithful.

doubt

Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

Set Aside What Causes You Doubt

Welcome to episode 55 of “The Content of Character” podcast. Today, we will be discussing the idea of setting aside what causes you doubt. The Messenger of Allah (peaceful prayers and blessings be upon him) said, “Set aside what causes you doubt for what does not.” This is related in the collections of Imams Ahmad, al-Nasa’i, and al-Tirmidhi, and [Shaykh al-Amin ibn Ali Mazru’i] includes additional aspects to this hadith. There are different narrations, of course, as we oftentimes find in the blessed ahadith of our Prophet of Allah (peaceful prayers and blessings be upon him).

In one of them, someone asked our master Hasan ibn Ali (may Allah be pleased with them both), “What have you memorized from the Messenger of Allah (peaceful prayers and blessings be upon him)?” And then he said, “I memorize from him,” and he quoted the aforementioned hadith, “Set aside what causes you doubt for what does not.”

In another hadith of the Prophet of Allah (peaceful prayers and blessings be upon him), he said, “Leave that which causes you doubt for that which does not cause you doubt, because indeed truthfulness is tranquility, and lying is disturbance.” In yet another narration, the Prophet advises to once again to set aside what causes you doubt for what does not, “…because indeed truthfulness will save you.” These are very profound meanings.

And finally, in another narration, which the scholars considered to be from the signs of prophecy (dala’il al-nubuwwa) and from the miracles of our Prophet of Allah (peaceful prayers and blessings be upon him):

A man came to the Prophet (peaceful prayers and blessings be upon him), who knew what was already in [the man’s] heart. And so he comes to the Prophet (peaceful prayers and blessings be upon him), [the man said] “O Prophet of God, inform me.” And the Prophet responded by saying, “If you want, I will tell you that which you came to ask about. Otherwise, you can just ask.” And he said, “Rather inform me, O Messenger of Allah, because it is more delightful to me.” And then the Prophet said, “You have come to ask about certainty and doubt.” And then the man said, “That’s right, O Messenger of Allah.” And then the Prophet described him, “Certainty is that which resides in the heart and the heart finds tranquility therein, even if the legist give you their fatwa.” And then the Prophet said, (peaceful prayers and blessings be upon him), “Set aside what causes you doubt for what does not…”

Undoubtedly Certain

All of these different narrations are pointing to a very fundamental meaning of the religion (din), because this hadith is teaching us about scrupulousness. It is teaching us how to be religiously cautious, which is of the utmost importance especially for people that are taking the Afterlife seriously.

So let’s analyze this hadith a little bit closer. When the Prophet says da’wi, translate that here as ‘set aside’, or ‘to leave’. Da’ma yuribuk… it is perfectly fine to say yaribuk or yuribuk; both of them are valid in the Arabic language, but the first one (yaribuk) is more commonly used verb, derived from the noun rayb, which is the same as shakk, which both mean ‘doubt’.

Our Prophet (peaceful prayers and blessings be upon him) is teaching us that anything that we doubt, whether it is good to do or not, be it legal or illegal, whether it relates to things that we say or things that we do, we have enough from what we know is clearly permissible for us to focus on such that we don’t even need to. [We can] direct our hearts and our minds towards things that we know there is no question about. And so what our Prophet (peaceful prayers and blessings be upon him) is teaching us is to build our religion upon certainty.

From the dominant [Islamic] legal perspective among scholars, it’s not an obligation (wajib) to leave doubtful matters (shubuhat), although some among a minority say that it is. But what our Prophet is teaching us, is that we need to build our din upon certainty.

Seeing With Certain Eyes

As we live our lives, there will be a number of things that will come our way. It could be because of a lack of learning that we don’t know what the right thing to do is at any given moment, and we thus need to constantly increase in learning. Should we or should we not say that? Should we or should we not do that? We need to implement this in a balanced way. But the more certainty that we can build our religion upon, the better that it will be for us in this world and in the next, because we know that the end result ultimately is for the pious (muttaqin). It’s for the people of God-consciousness (taqwa). And in this regard, you will be tested.

It might be that you have a job opportunity and there is a very nice salary in that, but it’s doubtful. Is this what you should be doing, or should you not be doing? Is it really permissible, or is it not? And even if someone gives you fatwa that says it is permissible; if it doesn’t sit well in your heart, then it’s probably best for you to not do that thing.

Peace of Heart, Peace of Mind

But again, scrupulousness is a balance between neglect and between falling to the insinuations (waswasa) of Shaytan. Our Prophet (peaceful prayers and blessings be upon him) is teaching us in one of those narrations is that that tranquility in our heart is a sign that that thing is true. And disturbance in the heart is a sign that the thing we are thinking about doing should not be done. Of course, that is a very difficult standard to apply because it’s something internal and intangible. The more pure the heart becomes, the more clarity we’ll have in relation to the tranquility of the heart.

If you find your heart disturbed about something, even if people are telling you it’s permissible, it’s probably better not to do or say that thing. And know that if you fear some type of loss by not taking that job or not doing that particular thing, if you leave something for the sake of Allah, you have to have absolute certainty that Allah will provide you with something that is better… even if it takes a little bit of time. It might require you to be a little bit detached and be patient in the process. But know for certain that Allah the Exalted will replace that which you thought was good for you was something that definitely is better for you.

Go With What You Know

And so, the meaning of this hadith is very, very important. It’s foundational to the din, and that we hope we want to build our din upon certainty, so that when we meet our Lord the Exalted, we meet Him with acts that we know will be pleasing to Him (Glory be to Him), and [knowing] that we worked hard. This, of course, requires that we learn to detach from this world and to be truthful people… not only in terms of what we say, but also the things that we do, and ultimately truthful in all of our different states.

May Allah the Exalted bless us to implement this blessed hadith of our Prophet (peaceful prayers and blessings be upon him), and may we leave everything that we think is not good for that which is that clearly good, and may we leave all of the doubt from others for that which we know is that unquestionably permissible. May Allah the Exalted give us resolve in all of our different affairs.

Peaceful prayers and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his Folk, his Companions; and all praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.


The “Content of Character” podcast is brought to you by Shaykh Yahya Rhodus of al-Maqasid Institute, and powered by SeekersHub Global Islamic Seminary. Listen to this episode in full on the SeekersHub website, or subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, Android, or RSS.