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The Three Degrees of Fasting – Imam al Ghazali

This is a translation of the passage on the three degrees of fasting from the Ihya of Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad al Ghazali. Translation by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

It should be known that there are three degrees of fasting: ordinary, extraordinary, and perfect.

Ordinary fasting means abstaining from food, drink, and sexual satisfaction.

Extraordinary Fasting means keeping one’s ears, eyes, tongue, hands and feet – and all other organs – free from sin.

Perfect Fasting means fasting of the heart from unworthy concerns and worldly thoughts, in total disregard of everything but Allah, Great and Glorious is He. This kind of Fast is broken by thinking of worldly matters, except for those conducive to religious ends, since these constitute provision for the Hereafter and are not of this lower world.

Those versed in the spiritual life of the heart have even said that a sin is recorded against one who concerns himself all day with arrangements for breaking his Fast. Such anxiety stems from lack of trust in the bounty of Allah, Great and Glorious is He, and from lack of certain faith in His promised sustenance.

To this third degree belong the Prophets, the true saints, and the intimates of Allah. It does not lend itself to detailed examination in words, as its true nature is better revealed in action. It consists of utmost dedication to Allah, Great and Glorious is He, to the neglect of everything other than Allah, Exalted is He.

It is bound up with the significance of His words:

قُلِ اللَّـهُ ۖ ثُمَّ ذَرْهُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ

Say: “Allah,” then leave them to their vain play. (Qur’an 6:91)

Inward Requirements

As for Special Fasting, this is the kind practiced by the righteous. It means keeping all one’s organs free from sin and six things are required for its accomplishment.

See Not What Displeases Allah

A chaste regard, restrained from viewing anything that is blameworthy or reprehensible, or that distracts the heart and diverts it from the remembrance of Allah, Great and Glorious is He. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “The furtive glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Satan, on him be Allah’s curse. Whoever forsakes it for fear of Allah will receive from Him, Great and Glorious is He, a faith the sweetness of which he will find within his heart.”

Jabir relates from Anas that Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “Five things break a man’s Fast: lying, backbiting, gossiping, perjury and a lustful gaze.”

Speak Not What Displeases Allah

Guarding one’s tongue against idle chatter, lying, gossiping, obscenity, rudeness, arguing, and controversy; making it observe silence and occupying it with the remembrance of Allah, Great and Glorious is He, and with the recitation of Qur’an. This is the fasting of the tongue.

Said Sufyan: “Backbiting annuls the Fast.” Layth quotes Mujahid as saying: “Two habits annul Fasting: backbiting and telling lies.”

The Prophet, on him be peace, said: “Fasting is a shield; so when one of you is Fasting he should not use foul or foolish talk. If someone attacks him or insults him, let him say: ‘I am Fasting, I am Fasting!’”

According to Tradition: “Two women were Fasting during the time of Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him. They were so fatigued towards the end of the day, from hunger and thirst, that they were on the verge of collapsing.

They, therefore, sent a message to Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, requesting permission to break their Fast. In response, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, sent them a bowl and said: “Tell them to vomit into it what they have eaten.”

One of them vomited and half filled the bowl with fresh blood and tender meat, while the other brought up the same so that they filled it between them. The onlookers were astonished. Then the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “These two women have been Fasting from what God made lawful to them, and have broken their Fast on what God, Exalted is He, made unlawful to them. They sat together and indulged in backbiting, and here is the flesh of the people they maligned!”

Hear Not What Displeases Allah

Closing one’s ears to everything reprehensible, for everything unlawful to utter is likewise unlawful to listen to. That is why Allah, Great and Glorious is He, equated the eavesdropper with the profiteer. In His words, Exalted is He:

سَمَّاعُونَ لِلْكَذِبِ أَكَّالُونَ لِلسُّحْتِ

Listeners to falsehood, consumers of illicit gain. (Qur’an 5:42)

Allah, Great and Glorious is He, also said:

لَوْلَا يَنْهَاهُمُ الرَّبَّانِيُّونَ وَالْأَحْبَارُ عَن قَوْلِهِمُ الْإِثْمَ وَأَكْلِهِمُ السُّحْتَ ۚ لَبِئْسَ مَا كَانُوا يَصْنَعُونَ

Why do their rabbis and priests not forbid them to utter sin and consume unlawful profit? (Qur’an 5:63)

Silence in the face of backbiting is therefore unlawful. God, Exalted is He, said:

إِنَّكُمْ إِذًا مِّثْلُهُمْ

You are then just like them. (Qur’an 4:140)

That is why the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “The backbiter and his listener are partners in sin.”

Guarding the Limbs

Keeping all other limbs and organs away from sin: the hands and feet from reprehensible deeds, and the stomach from questionable food at the time for breaking Fast. It is meaningless to Fast – to abstain from lawful food – only to break one’s Fast on what is unlawful.

A man who fasts like this may be compared to one who builds a castle but demolishes a city. Lawful food is injurious in quantity not in quality. Fasting is to reduce the former. A person might well give up excessive use of medicine, from fear of ill effects, but he would be a fool to switch to taking poison.

The unlawful is a poison deadly to religion, while the lawful is a medicine, beneficial in small doses but harmful in excess. The object of Fasting is to induce moderation.

Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “How many of those who Fast get nothing from it but hunger and thirst!” This has been taken to mean those who break their Fast on unlawful food. Some say it refers to those who abstain from lawful food, but break their Fast on human flesh through backbiting, which is unlawful. Others consider it an allusion to those who do not guard their organs from sin.

Avoid Overeating

Not to over-indulge in lawful food at the time of breaking Fast, to the point of stuffing one’s belly. There is no receptacle more odious to Allah, Great and Glorious is He, than a belly stuffed full with lawful food.

Of what use is the Fast as a means of conquering Allah’s enemy and abating appetite, if at the time of breaking it one not only makes up for all one has missed during the daytime, but perhaps also indulges in a variety of extra foods?

It has even become the custom to stock up for Ramadan with all kinds of foodstuffs so that more is consumed during that time than in the course of several other months put together. It is well known that the object of Fasting is to experience hunger and to check desire, in order to reinforce the soul in piety.

If the stomach is starved from early morning till evening so that its appetite is aroused and its craving intensified, and it is then offered delicacies and allowed to eat its fill, its taste for pleasure is increased and its force exaggerated; passions are activated which would have lain dormant under normal conditions.

The Secret Nature of Fasting

The spirit and secret nature of Fasting is to weaken the forces which are Satan’s means of leading us back to evil. It is therefore essential to cut down one’s intake to what one would consume on a normal night, when not Fasting.

No benefit is derived from the Fast if one consumes as much as one would usually take during the day and night combined. Moreover, one of the properties consists in taking little sleep during the daytime, so that one feels the hunger and thirst and becomes conscious of the weakening of one’s powers, with the consequent purification of the heart.

One should let a certain degree of weakness carry over into the night, making it easier to perform the (tahajjud) and to recite the praises (awrad). It may then be that Satan will not hover around one’s heart, and that one will behold the Kingdom of Heaven.

Layla al-Qadr

The Night of Destiny represents the night on which something of this Kingdom is revealed. This is what is meant by the words of God, Exalted is He:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

We surely revealed it on the Night of Power. (Qur’an 97:1)

Anyone who puts a bag of food between his heart and his breast becomes blind to this revelation. Nor is keeping the stomach empty sufficient to remove the veil, unless one also empties the mind of everything but Allah, Great and Glorious is He.

That is the entire matter, and the starting point of it all is cutting down on food.

Look To God With Fear And Hope

After the Fast has been broken, the heart should swing like a pendulum between fear and hope. For one does not know if one’s Fast will be accepted so that one will find favor with God, or whether it will be rejected, leaving one among those He abhors. This is how one should be at the end of any act of worship one performs.

It is related of Al-Hasan ibn Abi al-Hasan al-Basri, that he once passed by a group of people who were laughing merrily. He said: “Allah, Great and Glorious is He, has made the month of Ramadan a racecourse, on which His creatures compete in His worship. Some have come in first and won, while others have lagged behind and lost. It is absolutely amazing to find anybody laughing and playing about on the day when success attends the victors, and failure the wasters. By Allah, if the veil were lifted off, the doer of good would surely be preoccupied with his good works and the evildoer with his evil deeds.”

Rather it is the one whose fast is accepted who should be too full of joy to indulge in idle sport, while one who has suffered rejection laughter should be precluded by remorse.

Of Al-Ahnaf ibn Qays it is reported that he was once told: “You are an aged elder. Fasting would enfeeble you.” But he replied: “By this I am making ready for a long journey. Obedience to Allah, Glorified is He, is easier to endure than His punishment.”


Image of Islam in Media

Question: I am a practising Muslim, but for the last ten years I was deluded about the image of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), I was watching how the media portrays him. And I started believing that and developed a hatred towards our Prophet. Now, I have read about him and all I can do is love him more than anything. But my past haunts me, I feel like I wasn’t a Muslim for all these years and now even if I have repented, still Allah won’t accept me. How can I seek repentance for forgiveness for my past feelings?

Answer:

It is great news that you have realized how western media could portray a false image of a person. Sadly, regarding the image of Islam and its Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), it is not only media that spoils that image, but sadly, many extremist Muslims.

That being said, blaming the media does not free one from guilt. The Quranic injunction requires one to investigate. Allah says, “O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful” (Qur’an 49:6).

Accordingly, your repentance is important. Your ill-thought of Allah’s Messenger should bring you to tears.

Repentance, hope, and forgiveness

However, know that Allah is All-Forgiving, and His Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is kind and merciful. Many people ill-treated Allah’s Messenger. He, however, always forgave and showed mercy. Fudalah bin Umayr (Allah be pleased with him) was filled with hatred for the Messenger (Allah bless him and give peace) so much so that he once set out to kill the Prophet by concealing a dagger beneath his cloak. He followed the Prophet while he was circumambulating the Ka’bah intending to take his life. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) read his mind, smiled at him, placed his hand on his chest, and prayed for him. Fudalah thereafter transmitted that when the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) placed his hand on his chest, no person under the sun was more hatred to me than him. By Allah, he did not raise his hand from my chest save that he became the most beloved of all people to me.

Loving the Prophet

Loving the Messenger (Allah bless him and give peace) is part of faith. Rather, the perfection of our faith depends on loving him. Our teacher, Habib Muhammad bin Abd al-Rahman al-Saqqaf, once said that if we were to have one atom of the love sayyiduna Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) had for the Messenger, we would be flying out of love.

What I’m trying to convey, is that whatever amount of love we may currently have for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), we are very much in need of increasing in that love.

The most effective way of increasing in love for him is to read books on his Seerah and characteristics. Of the most beneficial works in this regard is “Our Master Muhammad” by Shaykh Abdullah Siraj al-Din.  Also, equally important is to attend gatherings of salawat, such as the weekly gatherings of the mawlid.

And Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

 

Shaykh Abdurragmaan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

 

When Did The Prophethood of Allah’s Messenger Commence?

Question: Do we believe that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a Prophet before receiving a revelation around the age of 40? What types of knowledge did Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)? Did he have access to all knowledge including that of future events?

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum
Thank you for your question.

When did the Prophethood of Allah’s Messenger commence

Imams Ahmad and Hakim narrated from the companion, Irbad ibn Sariya, that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “I was by Allah in the umm al-kitab the seal of Prophets while (Prophet) Adam was still laying on soil (meaning his body was not yet formed).”

In other narrations, he (Allah bless him and give him peace) was asked, when was your Prophethood confirmed? And he (Allah bless him and give him peace) responded, “When (Prophet) Adam was between his body and soul”, meaning that his soul was not yet placed in his body.

In another narration, he (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “I was the first Prophet created, and the last to be sent.”

Imam Subki when commenting on these narrations confirmed that his Prophethood (Allah bless him and give him peace) was confirmed and established at that time, while he (Allah bless him and give him peace) only existed in the form of his soul [Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad].

The knowledge of Allah’s Messenger

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) spoke of the knowledge that Allah favoured him with, in many narrations. Consider the following:

Muadh ibn Jabal (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that once, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was late for the Fajr prayer. He then arrived and after leading the prayer, he said, “Indeed, I shall inform you what caused my delay today. I stood in prayer at night and did so for as long as Allah wished. During prayer, I felt tired and when I awoke, I was present before my Lord in the best manner. Allah said, “O Muhammad, do you know what the closest angels are arguing about? I said, O my Lord, I do not know. I then saw that Allah placed His hand (of mercy) between my shoulders until I felt its coolness in my chest. Then, everything became clear for me and I knew it” [Musnad Ahmad]. In another narration, he said (Allah bless him and give him peace), “I then knew everything in the heavens and earth.”

Hudhayfa (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah be please with him) stood amongst us. He spoke and he did not leave out any occurrence till the day of judgment. Whoever remembered it, remembered it and whoever forgot it, forgot it. Whenever I would see something about which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) had mentioned that I may have forgotten, I would recall what he said upon seeing it happen [Bukhari].

Based on these narrations, our teacher, Sayyidi al-Habib Umar would often say that only Allah knows the true extent of the knowledge of His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace).

And Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

 

Shaykh Abdurragmaan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

How Do I See Prophet Muhammad in My Dreams? by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Four Keys to Invite Our Beloved Messenger into Our Dreams

By Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In the Name of Allah, the Encompassingly Merciful, the Particularly Merciful. All praise belongs to Allah. May the best of blessings and most perfect of peace be upon our master Muhammad ibn Abdullah, and upon his followers, his companions, and all those who are guided by his teachings.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told us about the possibility and reality of seeing him in our dreams. This article is based on a video by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani on seeing our Beloved Prophet Muhammad in our dreams. 


Whoever has seen me in a dream has seen me, for Shaytaan does not appear in my image. -Prophet Muhammad 

(Bukhari)

We can find a number of these hadith in the closing chapter of Imam Tirmidhi’s wonderful work on the description of the Prophetic character called al-Shama‘il al-Muhammadiyya.

 

How to See the Prophet in Your Dreams

The scholars gave the beautiful example of a cup, that if one wants to fill the cup with something one desires, the first thing that one needs to do is empty their cup because a full cup cannot be filled. Here are some of the habits one can adopt in order to be fortunate enough to see the Prophet in their dreams if Allah wills.

 

One. Read about the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)

How can one empty one’s heart from other things? By having intense yearning and longing for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). How does one have intense yearning? By making a regular habit to read about him – his conduct, his character, and his life.

Our teachers particularly recommend the book “Our Master Muhammad” by Imam Abdallah Sirajuddin al-Husayni, one of the greatest scholars of hadith and a true lover of the Prophet.

 

Two. Strive to Follow the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)

Make a firm life commitment to strive to follow the Prophet in every aspect of your life gradually and consistently. How? By committing to learning as a lover; learn about faith because you want to mirror some of the faith of the Prophet, learn about prayer so that you can strive to pray like the Prophet prayed, learn about halal and haram so that you can strive to conduct yourself in life with dignity, principle, justice, and with the excellence exhibited & exemplified by our beloved Prophet. Learn as a lover. Be a lover. 

 

Three. Send Abundant Prayers and Blessings Upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The closest of you to me in the Hereafter shall be those who send most blessings upon me.” Scholars say that there is no specific number mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah with respect to how many blessings we should send on the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him).

However, some scholars suggest that the least that would be considered sufficient would be three hundred per day. Begin with one hundred. One of the beautiful works on blessings and prayers (salwaat) that has been highly recommended is the “Dalail al-Khayrat” – the pathway to all good by Imam Suleiman Al-Jazuli. You can read one chapter per day. This is an expression of sending prayers and blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad. 

 

Four. Strive to be in the Company of the Lovers of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him)

Be in the company of the people who tremble with the love of the Prophet. If there are gatherings of remembrance and learning in your city, by the people who exhibit Prophetic character and love, connect with those gatherings and keep connecting with them. 

Connect with scholars in your community who exhibit that Prophetic character and if you don’t have people of learning in your city then go to the programs of people who have that Prophetic mercy because when you see them, you’re reminded of the beautiful way of our beloved Prophet.

Invite such scholars to your communities, because it is by the love of the Messenger and the spreading of that love, that the hearts, communities and families are brought to life.

About the Author

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age.

He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.

 

 

SeekersGuidance Courses on Seerah and Shama’il:

Meccan Dawn: The Life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad in Mecca

Medinan Lights: The Life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad in Medina

The Beautiful Character of the Beloved of Allah: Tirmidhi’s Shama’il Explained – On the Prophet’s Description, Character, and Conduct

Always free.

Is It True That the Black Stone Was Originally an Angel?

Question: Is it true that the black stone was originally an angel?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

No, it doesn’t seem to be the case that the black stone was originally an angel since nothing sound has reached us stating that.

Even if it was originally an angel, or is still an angel for that matter, kissing or touching it would not constitute worshipping gods besides Allah.

The source of the hadith

As far as this imperfect researcher can tell, the only source stating that the black stone was originally an angel is the Shiite hadith collection of hadith, al Kafi by Kulini (d. 329 AH). Now that by no means makes it automatically weak, but at the end of the day, the hadith does not cite the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) or any of the Prophetic Companions as a source (Bihar al Anwar, Majlisi).

Had there been anything even passably authentic, Ibn Hajar would have mentioned it in his commentary on Bukhari on the discussion of why Sayyidna Umar did not want to kiss the black stone (Fath al Bari, Ibn Hajar al Asqalani).

As for whether or not the black stone has or will have a tongue, this is established in Sahih Ibn Khuzayma and other reliable works.

Shiite hadith sources

One of the beautiful things about the Islamic tradition in general, and the Sunni tradition in specific, is that it is very objective and non-partisan.

A hadith is narrated and its narrators are judged based on the likelihood of them lying, and the likelihood of there being errors in their reports. Lying about the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is quite a big thing in any Muslim’s eyes, for which reason only the worst of certain extreme sects of Islam deemed it permissible to intentionally fabricate hadiths.

Consequently, we frequently find hadiths in reliable Sunni books in whose chains Shiite and Kharijite hadith narrators are found. In contradiction to Shiites, for Sunnis, you don’t have to be in our camp, or of our persuasion, for your hadith to be sound. You just have to be a solid and accurate preserver and narrator of hadiths.

Even when it comes to critiquing hadith, we rely on Shiite scholars like Ibn Khirash (d. 283 AH).

Gray areas of shirk

Shirk is a very clear cut thing: you either worship a god besides Allah, or you don’t. Showing veneration to a created thing, such as a parent, scholar, angel, book (e.g. mushaf), or a building (e.g. Kaaba or a grave) is not shirk in and of itself. Rather, when one believes that such a thing has the power to benefit or harm independent of Allah, this is when it becomes shirk. (Imdad e Fatawa, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi)

Thus, if it turned out that the black stone was actually a living being, it would not constitute worshipping a god besides Allah.

Conclusion

In all likelihood, the black stone was not originally an angel, and even if we were to say that is was kissing or touching it would not constitute worshipping gods besides Allah.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

 

Perfect Mercy – The Prophet as a Friend

Perfect Mercy Program by SeekersGuidance

The Prophet as a Friend

During the first twelve days of Rabi Al Awwal, SeekersGuidance put together a 12-day live program beaming with scholars and artists from around the world. They united to celebrate and commemorate our beloved Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Each day was dedicated to exploring the legacy the Prophet left during his lifetime in the many roles he embodied. 

On day two, we explored the Prophet as a friend. Speakers included Imam Dawud Wahlid and Shaykh Muhammad Carr.

We were reminded by Shaykh Muhammad Carr from South Africa that we should choose our friends wisely, as they leave an imprint on our hearts. At the same time, we should strive to be interdependent, meaning to lean on each other, as Allah has created us to be dependent on one another. How can we have friends that will benefit in this world and the Hereafter? Did the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) have a khalil? Watch the video to learn more: 

 

Watch the full program from day 2 – The Prophet as a Friend: 

Begin Your Search for Knowledge with a Free Course: The Islamic Studies Curriculum 

 

The Prophet’s Smile – Giving Charity

Giving Charity to Please our Beloved Prophet Muhammad

By Shaykh Amin Buxton

 

In this series, the Prophet’s Smile, we visit the moments where the Prophet smiled and laughed. We also discuss how he was described when smiling and laughing.

By studying his characteristics, we gain insight into what he talked and thought about, and ultimately, the undeniable beauty of his character.

By knowing more about him, we hope to increase our love and longing for him. We also hope to gain his love and pleasure, which cannot be separated from the love and pleasure of Allah Most High.

 

Giving Charity to Please the Beloved

Jarir bin Abdullah narrates that he was sitting in the middle of the day with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) along with some of the Companions when a group of people appeared. They were barefoot and hardly had any clothing. Jarir recognized them to be from the tribe of Mudar. The Prophet’s face went pale when he saw the state they were in. After everyone had assembled and prayed the congregational prayer, the Prophet stood up and addressed the people. He reminded them to have taqwa and to prepare for their meeting with Allah. Then he exhorted them to give whatever they could in charity: gold, silver, clothing or food, even if it was only half a date.

A man from the Ansar then came with a bag of coins so large that he could hardly carry it. From then on, people came one after the other bringing donations. Soon there were two piles, one of food and one of clothing.

When the Prophet saw this, his face shone with joy. He then said: “When someone establishes a good practice in Islam, they will have the reward for it and the reward of those who later act upon it without this detracting in the least from their reward.  When someone establishes a bad practice in Islam, they will bear the responsibility for it and for those who later act upon it without it detracting in the least from their responsibility.”  (Narrated by Muslim)

 

Take Action to Help Your Community

 It pains the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to see members of his nation in a state of destitution and hardship and nothing pleases him more than to see people making sacrifices to help those in need.

When he saw these people in a state of hardship – he was greatly moved. The fact that he shared a common ancestor with them – since he himself was a descendant of Mudar – made him treat them with extra compassion. By helping them the Prophet was also honoring the ties of kinship which was something at the heart of his message.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) could have asked Allah to feed and clothe these people in whatever way He wished, but he wanted his Companions to take action. Once the community had come together for prayer, he called upon them to give whatever they could to help these unfortunate people. But he only did this after reminding them of their relationship with Allah – to show them that their belief in Him and awareness of Him dictated that they act in situations such as this. He wanted each person to give according to their means and their intention. So half a date from one man may have been more significant than another man’s gold or silver.

What made his face shine with joy was to see a man from the Ansar coming forward with a generous donation. He loved the Ansar dearly and Allah Himself testifies to their readiness to sacrifice out of love for Him: “they give others preference over themselves, even if they too are poor” (Quran, 59:9). He was happy that this man had taken the initiative and that others would follow his example. He then clarified an Islamic principle: that when someone establishes a good practice, they will be rewarded for doing so and they will be rewarded for the actions of those that follow that practice. The opposite is also true, as the Prophet stated.

We ask Allah to grant us the ability to do things that please Him and His Beloved (peace and blessings be upon him) and that in doing so we set an example for others to follow.

 


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 Triumphant in Times of Tribulations by Following the Prophet

Triumphant in the times of Tribulations by Following the Prophet

By Shaykh Faraz Khan

 

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

In today’s age and time, we see many trials and tribulations all around the world. Perhaps, we feel that the most affected people from all these tribulations are from the Muslim community. Shaykh Faraz talks about how we can see the light in the midst of the darkness by following our beloved Prophet and his illuminated path (peace and blessings be upon him).


Tribulations in the Prophetic Life

Tribulation is what defines the context of Seerah. Our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) underwent the most difficult of trials. He was orphaned at birth, losing his father Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him). He lost his mother Aminah (may Allah be pleased with her) at the age of 6. Then, he lived under the care of his grandfather Abdul Mutalib whom he lost at the age of 8. Following this, he was brought under the care of Abu Talib and was brought up in his house.

He had seven children: Qasim, Zainab, Ruqaiya, Umm Kulthum, Fatima, Abdullah, Ibrahim (may Allah be pleased with them all). Of the seven children, he lost six of them in his life except for Fatima.

He was persecuted by his people, his own kinsmen, his own family. He was ridiculed and fought against, hostility was shown to him. All throughout the blessed Prophetic life, we find tribulation after tribulation. And when he was asked, what his most difficult time was? He referred to the year of sadness (Am al-Ḥuzn).

 

The Year of Sadness

The year in which our beloved Muhammad lost two of his loved ones: Abu Talib and Lady Khadija.

Abu Talib

A father figure to the Prophet but was also his means for the political protection in Mecca. Despite the hostility and ridicule directed against the Prophet, the Quraysh could not wage the war. They could not attack or threaten his blessed life while Abu Talib was alive. Because of the tribal system of the Quraysh and Abu Talib being the head of his clan, maintained that protection of him.

Lady Khadija

Lady Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) is the beloved blessed wife, companion, best friend of the Prophet. She is the minister of truth, the genuine support for the Prophet. She is the one whom Allah Most High decreed that the Messenger of Allah would have most of his children. 

During their marriage, the revelation began and in the famous Hadith of the beginning of revelation, our mother Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) describes that when the Prophet came back from Hira after the first revelation and the encounter with Jibreel – Lady Khadija comforted him.

 

A Great Loss

After losing Abu Talib and Lady Khadija, the Prophet decided to make dawah to Tai’f, a place near Mecca. He preached and invited them to Islam. He was seeking support so that he can continue his preaching in Mecca. Perhaps they might afford him the political support now that Abu Talib passed.

But the leader of Tai’f mocked him, they were rude to him. Later, when the Prophet made dawah to the public of Tai’f, their leaders riled up the people to be hostile towards him and they got slaves and children to throw stones at him. This is the most intense tribulation for our Beloved Prophet.

 

Prophetic Light Tribulations

Supplication the of Prophet in Tai’f:

“O Allah! I complain to You of my weakness, my scarcity of resources, and the humiliation I have been subjected to by the people. O Most Merciful of those who are merciful. O Lord of the weak and my Lord too. To whom have you entrusted me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom you have granted authority over my affair? So long as You are not angry with me, I do not care. Your Afiya is of more expansive relief to me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Face by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger or Your displeasure descends upon me. I desire Your pleasure and satisfaction until You are pleased. There is no power and no might except by You.”

This supplication teaches us his manifesting his servanthood to Allah, the Exalted. This was his concern: is this a manifestation that Allah is upset with me? Or is this simply a test? A test which is an expression of Allah’s love. Of course for the Prophet, everything was an expression of the intimate love of Allah for him.

 

Is Allah Upset With Me?

In facing hardship – we turn to Allah Most High in servitude and we ask Allah and ourselves: Is this a sign that Allah is upset with me? Or is this a raising of my ranks?

How do we answer these questions? By seeking forgiveness and asking ourselves: am I involved in something displeasing to Allah? Also, a way for us to have an indication of whether a test is an expression of Allah’s pleasure and love or His displeasure is how we respond during it? Do we have the patience, fortitude, and contentment with Allah Most High, and what He has decreed for us?

“Whoever relies on the beautiful choice of Allah for him, he will not desire anything other than what Allah chose for him” –Hussain ibn Ali

It is beautifully indicated by Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al-Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him) when he said: if a person has patience and is content with Allah’s decree then it’s a sign that the test is coming from Allah’s pleasure and love. But if a person is lacking patience and falling apart then it is a sign that the test is from the displeasure of Allah.

“Your afiya is of a more expansive relief to me”

In the above dua when the Prophet said: “Your afiya is of a more expansive relief to me”. It can be understood from another Hadith, where the Prophet said that the best thing to ask Allah for, after certitude is afiya; afiya encompasses all good in terms of one’s life and livelihood.

The Prophet’s light triumphs during tribulation because his light is a mirror and expression of the light of Allah Most High. Allah is the light and the source of all light in the heavens and the earth (Quran 24:35).

 

The Answer is Allah

The answer to the philosophical problem of evil and suffering is explicitly given in this dua because it is the light of Allah that removes all darknesses. In other words, if we recognize Allah is governing all of our tribulations and He is the owner and master of every moment of existence and Allah is the one who has decreed everything eternally, then the darknesses of our tribulations, trials, anxiety, depression and trauma are illuminated by Allah Himself.

 

Reliance on Allah

  “Your need for Allah is intrinsic to what you are, who you are? It never leaves us, and when tribulations occur they are but reminders of what we forget, that we need Allah in every moment” – Ibn Ata-Allah

Relying on Allah, the illuminator and the light of the heavens and earth lights up the darknesses. The darkness of our circumstance is illuminated when we express our absolute intrinsic need for Allah.

The light of the Prophet is at heart the most salient virtue of his life is his perfection of slavehood to Allah, the Exalted, and expressing his need to Allah.

“If one’s need for Allah is authentic and real then one’s enrichment through Allah will be authentic and real.” – Abu Bakr Al-Kittani 

 

Means for increasing contentment with Allah Most High

The beauty of the Prophet, his blessed light is a perfect reflection of Al-Fatiha itself which begins after the Basmala, all praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds. Whatever our circumstances are, whether we are having the good times or the bad times, what should be reverberating and echoing in our hearts and on our tongues is all praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.


 

About Shaykh Faraz Khan

Shaykh Faraz A. Khan has spent the last several years studying and teaching traditional Islamic sciences, with a focus on Hanafi jurisprudence, Hadith studies and methodology, theology, logic, and Arabic grammar.

In 2004 Shaykh Faraz moved to Amman, Jordan. Since then, he has been honored to sit at the feet of many eminent scholars. His teachers include Shaykh Ahmad al-Jammal, Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Ani (Allah have mercy on him), Shaykh Akram Abdul Wahhab, Dr. Ashraf Muneeb, Dr. Salah Abu ’l-Hajj, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Bilal Najjar, Shaykh Hamza al-Bakri, and Shaykh Naeem Abdul Wali.

Shaykh Faraz also translated and annotated the classical Hanafi primer Ascent to Felicity (Maraqi ‘l-Sa`adat) by Imam Shurunbulali [published by White Thread Press, 2010], which Shaykh Faraz Rabbani has described as “the best mid-sized manual of Hanafi fiqh available in English. Highly recommended.”

 

 

 

Highest Station – A Poem by Baraka Blue

Highest Station

by Baraka Blue

The greatest of all creation
attaining the highest station
the personification of the final revelation
the weight he shouldered
the mountains would have crumbled
to boulders
the mountains would have
crumbled to…

The most humble
al-Ameen [the truthful]
I wish I could hold your hand
kiss it like the black
stone at the Ka’ba
you rode into Mecca with your head bowed
the rahma [mercy]
those who persecuted you and all of your sahaba [companions]
you forgave, so they could be saved
never in anyone who walked this earth
has their been a heart softer
yet so brave
whether marching in the battlefield,
feeding the poor, or meditating in the cave

I wish I could be the dirt
beneath your sandal
you’re a candle in the darkness
a spark that’s never extinguished
never relinquished
they never could sink this ark
the purest heart
the purest heart.

I wish I could catch the water
that dripped from you
wish I could have been at Uhud
and take that hit for you
How blessed are the companions
that sit with you
I close my eyes
my body trembles as I picture you
my throat swells
my eyes are wells
not being with you in the afterlife
thats hell

We are your umma [community]
we are here in this dunya [lower realm]
Ya RasulAllah [Messenger of God] we try our best
to follow your sunna [way]
I’ll never let you from my heart
on the Isra and Mi’raj [Night Journey and Ascension]
as you traveled
through the stars
Gibreel [Angel Gabriel] left your side
he couldn’t travel that far
I would have grabbed your cloak until
I burned and dissolved.

I bear witness
you have delivered
the Message
peace and blessings
upon your essence
I bear witness
you have delivered
the Message
peace and blessings
upon your essence
and we bear witness
you have delivered
the Message
peace and blessings upon your essence.

Source: https://barakablue.tumblr.com/ – a collection of poems by Baraka Blue.

Baraka Blue recited this poem for the SeekersGuidance Perfect Mercy Program which aired on 23th October. See full program here.  

If God Is Beyond Direction, How Do We Understand the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) Ascent to Him?

Question: If Allah is beyond and direction, how do we understand the Prophet’s ascent to Him on the Night of Miraj (Allah bless him and grant him peace)?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your question.

On the Night of Miraj, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) went to a place where he saw Allah the Most High. This was a place where the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) saw Him, not a place where He was. Allah is far greater than being contained by any place.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) once said in a prayer to Allah, ‘O Allah, You are The First so there is nothing before You, and You are The Last, so there is nothing after You; You are the Outward, so there is nothing above You; You are the Inward so there is nothing beneath You’ (Muslim).

This hadith is very clear in stating that Allah is far beyond time and space. There is nothing above, below, to the right, or to the left of Allah. All space and time are in His grasp, and He is not in the grasp of anyone or anything.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language