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Can I Call the Prophet as “The Beloved of the Universe”? (Habib Umar bin Hafiz)

Answered by  Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Question: Assalam aleykum

Some discussion has recently arisen concerning a festival slogan, “You are the Beloved of the Universe”, intending thereby the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his folk). Some object to this, and claim this is not so since the universe includes Satan among other devils, as well as sinners, etc, or that it is, in fact, Allah who is the Beloved of the universe. How would one respond to such objections?

Answer: [Assalam alaykum]

Evil Has No Significance

Indeed, the devils and some who reject faith come out openly in enmity to God (Most High) and to His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), as well as enmity toward His commands and transgression of His limits. Yet, what significance do they have in relation to the entirety of the universe? Moreover, they will eventually show reverence towards Allah and His messenger on the Day of Judgement.

The Beloved in this World and the Next

The term “beloved of universe” is thus appropriately applied to Allah and to His Chosen Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him and his folk), who will occupy the Praiseworthy Station on the Day of Judgement, where he will be praised by the first and the last. And he was loved by animals and inanimate objects as well, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him and his folk.

Translated by Mahmoud Hamed

Habib Umar bin Hafiz  is a descendant of the Prophet (upon him be Allah’s peace and blessings). Born into a family of scholars, Habib Umar, pursued the sacred sciences from a young age, including Quran, Hadith, Fiqh, ‘Aqeedah, Arabic, and Spirituality. In 1994, he established Dar al-Mustafa, an educational institute in Tarim, Yemem.

Link to the original answer

كثر لغط في الآونة الأخيرة بشأن عنوان اتخذه مهرجان بعنوان ( أنت حِبُّ الأكوان ) ويقصدون الرسول عليه الصلاة والسلام . والسؤال كيف نرد على من يقول أن الرسول ليس هو حب الأكوان بحجة أن الكون يحتوى على الشياطين وإبليس والعصاة وما إلى ذلك، وأن حِب الأكوان يكون فقط لله عز وجل لا غير؟
يتظاهر الشياطين والكفار ببغض الحق عز وجل ورسوله والمعاندة لأوامره والتعدي لحدوده، ولكن ما نسبة أولئك إلى مجموع أصناف الكائنات ؟ ثم مصيرهم إلى تعظيم الله ورسوله في المعاد والقيامة ، فيصح أن يقال في الحق تعالى ( حب الأكوان ) وفي رسوله المصطفى محمد وهو عليه الصلاة والسلام في المقام المحمود يوم القيامة يحمده الأولون والآخرون وقد أحبته الجمادات والحيوانات فصلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه ومن والاه.

You Don’t Have To Be In Madinah For The Prophet To Hear You, by Shaykh Faid Said

Whether you are in Madinah or in a far corner of China, there is no inherent barrier between you and Allah’s beloved messenger, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. As Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said explains, this is a promise from Allah Himself.

Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem

Allah, the Most High, said in Surah Al-Ahzab (56): “Indeed, Allah and His angels send their salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. Oh you who have believed, send your salawat and salam upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.”

Allahumma salli wa salim wa barik ala Syedina Mawlana Muhammadin wa alaa Ahli Syedina Muhammad!

Allah Sends His Salawat

Most of the learned ones have said, with regards to this verse, that in order to show the station (maqam) of the Messenger of Allah to all of His creation, Allah Most High said that “Indeed, Allah sends his salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him” and this salawat is a constant praise for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and Allah Most High is followed in this praise by the angels and the people of the heavens.

The angels, in following the praise of Allah Most High, and in seeing and hearing the praise of His Beloved, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, send their salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, which is, in essence, making dua for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, by means of which they are getting closer to Allah (The Most High)!  

It’s The Way The Angels Worship

This means that the angels are worshipping Allah, the Most High, by making dua for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him! And Allah, the Most High, commanded the believers to send salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

In a hadith, narrated by Abu Dawud, Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with Him, said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said that

“Whoever sends salawat upon me, Allah, The Most High, returns my soul back to me in order that I may reply to that person!”

This is a great gift and blessing from Allah, the Most High, to give us this connection with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and that too a continuous connection!

By sending your salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, he responds to your salawat directly, as he said:

“Allah returns my ruh back to me in order that I may reply to that person.”  

What a great gift to renew this relationship and continuous blessing that Allah, the Most High, has granted you by giving you the this very blessed chance!

May Allah, the Most High, make us from the people of salawat, wherever we are.

It was narrated by Sa’id ibn Mansur, may Allah be pleased with him, that Suhail ibn Abi Saleh, may Allah be pleased with him, said that:

Syedina Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, the son of Syedina Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, the son of Syedina Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, the grandson of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him once saw me while I was giving my salam [at the Hijr of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him], and He called me. He was in his grandmother’s house [house of Syeda Fatima (may Allah be pleased with her)] eating dinner, so he invited me to eat. I said, ‘no, I do not want to eat.’ Then he asked me, ‘What were you doing?’ I said, I was giving my salam to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.  He said to me, when you come into the masjid, you can send your salawat, as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him said:  “Whoever sends salawat upon me, Allah Most High returns my soul back to me in order that I may reply to that person!”  Then he said: Those that are in Madinah are not closer to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him than those who are in Andalus, [giving their salaam from there]!”

It is not about distance!

In the words of Syedina Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, the son of Syedina Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, the son of Syedina Ali, may Allah be pleased with him,

“Those who are living in Madinah and have access to give salam to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him are not closer than the ones who are in Andalus.”

There is immense hope for us: wherever you are, when you send your salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, He responds to your salawat!  

It is not about distance! It is not about where you are, it is about what you are doing, especially if what you are doing is sending your salawat upon the Beloved, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

May Allah grant us the tawfiq and strengthen our connection and relationship with the Beloved, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

Allahumma salli alaa Syedina Muhammad wa alaa Ahli Syedina Muhammad, fi kulli lamhatin wa nafasin ‘adada maa wa see-a-hu ‘il-muLLAH

[cwa id=’cta’]

Resources on sending blessings on Prophet Muhammad for seekers:

 

What Is the Significance of the Sandals of the Prophet?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Is there any special significance to the Prophet’s sandals? I’ve seen others use three fingers and kiss it, but never had the courage to ask them what they are saying when kissing. They carry it and every so often they will kiss it.

Answer: Jazakum Allah Khayr for your question. May Allah increase you in every good. Yes, like anything connected to the blessed and beloved Prophet (peace and blessing upon him), The sandals of the Prophet have significance. Many a scholar have written about the significance of the Na’alayn and seeking blessings from it.

Love of the Prophet is obligatory on the believers, and a part of the completion of faith. The Prophet said, ’None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his very self, wealth, and all people.’ [Muslim].

There is no such thing as excess love when it comes to love of our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). When someone truly loves a person (truly, madly, deeply as the saying goes), they love everything connected to that person. This is what is meant by the poetry of Majnun when he said of his yearning for Layla,

‘I was in the land of Layla and I kissed its walls. In my heart resides the inhabitant of this land but I love the other dwellers too.’ [Shifa al-Siqam]

Anything that reminds you of your love, is a part of your beloved, and cherished. This is what Imam Qadi ‘Iyad refers to when he writes, ‘The abode of the best of Messengers, the guide to the worlds and the performer of miracles, I feel aching, love and yearning for him. When I see those walls and plains, I will kiss them so much that my white beard will be filled with dust.’ [al-Shifa’ 2:46].

This is not an innovation, for the Companions themselves scrambled for the Prophets hair, saved drops of perspiration, and treasured his clothes, all out of love, and desiring the blessings from them. They gave the items belonging to the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) every veneration and attachment. The Mother of Believers, A’ishah lovingly kept the blanket in which the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) had passed away in. Abu Hurairah relates that ‘A’ishah took out a thick blanket and showed it to us. She said, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) had breathed his last in this blanket.’ [al Bukhari, Muslim]

During his lifetime (peace and blessing be upon him), Ibn Masud would hold the sandals for the Prophet when he took them off and hold them under his arms, while after his death (peace and blessing be upon him) Sayyidna Anas was the keeper of the sandals of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him).

This veneration of all things connected to the Prophet is explained by Qadi Iyad when he to says, ‘It is from the respect due to the Messenger (peace and blessing be upon him) that one gives reverence to all things connected with him, all places he stayed in Makka and Madina, the things he touched and all things that are known connected to him.’ [al-Shifa’]

The Prophet’s sandals have a special significance in many ways, not only because it was the sandals that the blessed feet were placed upon, but they were the sandals that were worn during the Heavenly Ascent, and when the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) was in the Presence of the Lord of the Worlds. Unlike where God told Sayyidna Musa to take off his sandals before intimate conversation with his Lord (Verily I am thy Lord! Therefore (in My presence) put off thy shoes: thou art in the sacred valley Tuwa.’ [20:12]), the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) was not asked to do so. This inspired poets from all over the world to write about the sandals. Sa’duna Umm Sa’d bint Isam al Himyarriya, a poetess from Andalusia writes,

I shall kiss the image if I do not find
A way to kiss the Prophet’s sandal
Perhaps the good fortune of kissing it
Will be granted to me in Paradise in the most radiant place
And I rub my heart on it so that perhaps
The burning thirst which rages in it maybe quenched

[Sa’adat Al Darayn]

There is no objection to kissing the image of the sandals, in the same way there is no objection in kissing a picture of the Ka’ba, or the Prophet’s Mosque. It is from the love of what these places and items are attached to, not the things themselves, that is intended. The muhaddith ibn ‘Asakir writes on kissing the image of the sandals, ‘Kiss the image of the blessed sandals because even if you get to kiss this, then what an honour this is.’ [Timthalu Naal al-Nabiyy]

Similarly, Taj al Din Fakihani writes in Fajr Muneer, ‘One benefit of making the image is that whoever cannot see the actual shrine can look at the image and kiss it with a yearning because this image is the same as the actual. The image of the sandals is full of benefit which makes it the same as the actual. This has been tried and tested. Hence, the scholars have ordained the same respect for the image as they do for the actual [al-Fajr al-Muneer]’

Thus kissing the image of the Prophet’s sandals is not only permissible but recommended, and when done sincerely and with the right intentions, is full of blessings. It is a kiss of respect, veneration, and love for the best of creation (peace and blessing be upon him). As for the three fingers, I am not sure what that is referring to or where it has come from.

I leave you with the beautiful and relevant words of Imam Shaykh Yusuf Al Nabahani,

Verily I serve the image of the Sandal of Mustafa
That I shall live under its shadow in both worlds
Ibn Masud was in the service of His Sandal
And I am fortunate by serving its image
I dust the Sandal image with the whiteness of my beard
Since the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) fastened the band that passed between His toes
It is not for the image that my heart is longing
Yet it yearns for the one who wore this Sandal
We are lowered by awe to honour this Sandal
And whenever we lower before it we are raised
So place it on the highest shelf!
For indeed in reality it is a crown and only outwardly a Sandal

May Allah makes us truly, madly, deeply, drunk with the pure love of the Prophet, not just in words, but in our very core states and our actions, that we may one day actually kiss the blessed feet that they bore.

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.

How Do I See Prophet Muhammad in My Dreams?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

How do I see Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in my dreams?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is a video answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

How Can I Attach to the Prophet? [Video Answer]

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

How can I attach to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is an answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

On Mosques, Companionship, & Knowledge: Zackary King in conversation

When Zackary King decided to become Muslim after three long years of contemplation, he did it alone in his room. The time that followed, he compared to being at a track meet. There was a general sense of belonging, yet a very deep, painful sense of individuality, to the point of loneliness.

However, after a longtime friend admitted to him that he had also become Muslim, Zackary decided to visit a mosque. There, during a short conversation with a fellow Muslim, he got all his questions answered…and realized the importance of companionship and community.

“It’s not just one person plus one person equals two. As you add each person, it has its own spirit. The group has a spirit all of its own. And for me, that’s one the of key aspects of Islam.”

He also learned a lot about the importance of knowledge. “If you’ve ever done any sort of procedure, knowing how to do it yourself gives you a sense of security and confidence that nothing else really can.”

Resources for Seekers

We are thankful to Safina Society for this recording.

Was Prophet Muhammad Light or Human? Is It Obligatory for Me to Know About Every Religious Matter?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Was Prophet Muhammad light or human? Can du’a change Qadar (Destiny)? People around keep debating these issues and I don’t know what to say. Is it obligatory for me to know about every religious matter?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

Most debates on these matters relate to peripheral aspects of prophetology and theology. An individual is not required to understand or know the details of these debates. Rather, in the context of the issues you raise, all that one needs to affirm is:

(a) The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was a human as affirmed in the Qur’an, “I am but man” (18:110) but unlike any other human since he was someone “who is divinely inspired” as the verse continues to affirm. As Shaykh Nuh Keller states:

The important qualificatory phrase in this verse shows us that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was a completely different sort of human being from anyone else, then or now. For none of us can say he is divinely inspired as the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was. [Keller, Haqiqat al-Muhammadiyya]

At the same time, we also affirm generally that the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was a “light from God” (5:15). However, apart from generally affirming this, it is not obligatory for an individual to know the details surrounding the matter in terms of the modality of this light, its relation to the prophetic humanness, and so forth.

(b) Qadar is affirmed due to the myriad number of texts that have come regarding it. The most famous is the hadith of Gibril where the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) defines faith as, “believing in God, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day, and that you believe in pre-destination.” [Bukhari, Sahih] As for the particular nature and details of this qadar and how it relates to questions of freewill and accountability, this is not necessary to know.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

Has the Prophet Really Been Intimate With Maryah in Hafsa’s House?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: I have been reading the tafsir of surah Tahrim by Imam Suyuti. In his tafsir he mentions the incident about the Prophet being intimate with Mariyah in Hafsa’s house when she was away. Hafsa was very upset. I find this disrespectful and unbecoming of the Prophet.

How does one reconcile the above with the blessed personality of the Holy Prophet?

Answer: In the Name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate

 

Thank you for your question. May Allah grant you the best of states and guide you to what is pleasing to Him.

 

Your question is an important one as one may come across various traditions in our books, some of which are authentic and others not, but nevertheless can startle us and question our views. The best way to tackle such texts is head on, rather than ignoring them. After all, if Muslims are really seekers of the truth, we have to face the truth and all the facts that come with it, not pick and choose what suits us. Islam has nothing to hide, neither in its beliefs, laws, or in the life of the blessed Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him).

 

Surat al Tahrim

 

As you correctly state, there is a difference of opinion as to the reason why the verses you mention in al Tahrim were revealed. Imams al Bukhari and Muslim and others relate, on account of Aisha, the narration regarding the Prophet staying longer at Zaynab’s quarters due to eating honey with her. Al Qurtubi, al Tabari, Ibn Arabi, Imam al Nawawi, and a great many scholars, all state that this incident is the reliable opinion for the opening verse of al Tahrim being revealed. [Tafsir al Wasit]

 

Ibn Jarir narrates on account of Zaid bin Aslam, and al Daraqutni relates on account of Ibn Abbas, the incident you mention regarding Hafsa and Mariyah. Some scholars hold this to be the reason for al Tahrim to have been revealed. [Safwat al Tafaasir].

 

There is also another narration in Al Nisaa’i and al Hakim on account of Anas, that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) had a slave girl [unnamed] that he had relations with, and that Aisha and Hafsa refused to be with the Prophet until he swore to make the slave girl prohibited to himself. [Tafsir al Wasit]

 

The incident concerning Mariyah is not rigorously authenticated, whereas the narration in regards the honey incident is rigorously authenticated. Imam al Nawawi mentions in his commentary of Sahih Muslim that, ‘The incident involving Mariyah has not been passed down with any sound transmission.’

 

However, because the incident of Hafsa and Mariyah, as you say, has some weight to it, and some scholars do regard it as the reason for al Tahrim being revealed, it behoves us to discuss this incident and clarify any misgivings, while at the same time, bearing in mind that the explanations given below are presented as if the incident was a fact, and in the knowledge that it is not a totally authenticated narration of events.

 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him)

 

For many of us, when it comes to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him), we all share a collective as well as individual idea of his character. This is instilled in us throughout or lives or from the books and stories we read. Rarely however, is this gained through reading the fundamental books of Seerah (prophetic biography), which really are the key to understanding the nature of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), or having learned scholars to navigate us through such books, so that our image of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) is sound and complete.

The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) is the perfected being, the most wondrous being ever created. He was the best of human kind in every possible aspect. Allah tells us in the Quran, in Al Qalam,

 

And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character’ [68:4, Yusuf Ali]

 

And in al Ahzab,

 

Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of (conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day’ [33:21, Yusuf Ali]

 

These verses of the Quran are clear verifications of the sublime character of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), and of the unquestionable standard of moral excellence that he possessed (peace and blessing be upon him). He was set as the ultimate example for man. Furthermore, this glowing character reference is offered by none other than Allah, the Creator of every atom in the universe!

 

At the same time, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), like all other prophets, being human beings, shared human characteristics and emotions like all other humans, such as the need to eat and drink, to sleep, and the desire for procreation. Even with these human needs, he (peace and blessing be upon him) was the most perfected in them.

 

The problem when what we read or learn differs from our image of a person

Have you ever read a book then watched a live adaption of the same book? Or perhaps you heard of a person and formed a picture in your mind of them, and then later met them in person? Many who have will tell you that what they had in their mind and what they saw were two very different things.  However, we cannot blame the casting crew of a play, or the real person for not living up to our own expectations! The only person who is entitled to a final definitive understanding and image of the character/person is the originator, the author.

 

In the case of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), as well as the rest of creation, the ‘author’ is God, and He will choose what His slave will do and say, and set the standard for ‘perfection’ and ‘exalted character.’ While we are entitled and encouraged to question and ask, it is not for us to judge the Prophet by our own standards of what moral excellence is and what perfection consists of.

 

When we don’t do the above, our image of a person is liable to crumble. Not because the person is in any way less in status or honour, but rather the fault lies in the incorrect image or standard that we hold to be correct.

 

Therefore, despite our struggles to understand certain events that pertain to more of the human aspects of the Prophet’s life, and the various questions and doubts that arise to one’s mind in such situations, it is imperative to remind ourselves of the reality of who the Prophet truly is, and what his station with God is.

 

Examples where the more ‘human aspects’ of the Prophet were shown to us

We all know that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) was under Divine Protection even during childhood and his youth, rendering him as the perfect child and young man. Despite this, there are occasions when we see glimpses of the natural human instinct of his being. Ibn al Athir narrates a tradition that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said, ‘I have never tried to do what my people do except for two times. Every time Allah intervened and checked me from doing so and I never did that again. Once I told my fellow-shepherd to take care of my sheep when we were in the upper part of Makkah. I wanted to go down to Makkah and entertain myself as the young men did. I went down to the first house of Makkah where I heard music. I entered and asked: ‘What is this?’ Someone answered: ‘It is a wedding party.’ I sat down and listened but soon went into deep sleep. I was awakened by the heat of the sun. I went back to my fellow-shepherd and told him of what had happened to me. I have never tried it again.

 

Comment: This narration of the young Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) gives us insight into the natural human nature that the Prophet had, and who despite his wish to enjoy the typical things young men of his age would be enticed by, shows that God’s Providence intervened and averted him from anything unbecoming of a future Prophet, thereby preserving his perfection and preparing him for prophethood (peace and blessing be upon him).

 

In surat Abasa, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) was engaged in conversation with one of the chiefs of Quraish. At that point, a blind man, Ibn Umm Maktum, approached him to seek explanation of some point concerning Islam. The Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) disliked his interruption and ignored him. Thereupon Allah sent down this Surah

 

‘The (Prophet) frowned and turned away.’ [80:1, Yusuf Ali]

 

Despite the seemingly reproachful tone of the opening verse, the Prophet actually had not done anything wrong. His ignoring the blind man and devoting all his attention to the Qurayshi leader was out of earnestly trying to persuade him to accept Islam, because as a caller to God, he felt it was important to gain the support of influential figures so as to make the spread of the religion more effective. This verse was God actually adjusting the Prophet’s method of preaching, and a reminder that every individual seeker of the truth was important, while every heedless and stubborn man was unimportant, even if he occupied a high position in society. In it is a lesson for us all.

 

Comment: What we can see from this verse is that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), perfected and infallible as he is, as a human being he made a choice according to his best judgement, and God, in his limitless Knowledge and Wisdom, then re-directed and showed the Prophet a better way.

After the battle of Badr, a decision had to me made in regards the prisoners of war. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) consulted Abu Bakr and Umar (May Allah be pleased with them both). Abu Bakr suggested that they should be ransomed while Umar felt it was more appropriate to put them to death. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) preferred Abu Bakr’s suggestion. The next day, Umar went to see the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), and found him and Abu Bakr weeping. When he asked them about the reason for their weeping, he was told that the following verse was revealed in regards to the decision taken by the Prophet,
It is not fitting for an apostle that he should have prisoners of war until he hath thoroughly subdued the land. Ye look for the temporal goods of this world; but Allah looketh to the hereafter; and Allah is Exalted in might, Wise. Had it not been for a previous ordainment from Allah, a severe penalty would have reached you for the (ransom) that ye took.’ [8:67-68, Yusuf Ali]

 

Comment: Again we see that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), after having consulted his advisors, made a decision that he felt was in the best interest of the Muslims. Despite this noble endeavour, God sent revelation that corrected the Prophet’s (peace and blessing be upon him) decision.

 

In all these incidents, we get a glimpse of the Prophet’s human side, the side that we can all understand and appreciate, and thereby rendering the Prophet that much more accessible. But this does not detract from the Prophet’s complete and unadulterated perfection in any way (peace and blessing be upon him).

 

The incident with Mariyah al Qubtiyah

 

According to the narration of Zaid bin Aslam and Ibn Abbas, during Hafsa’s turn, and while she was out visiting her family, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) called Mariyah to Hafsa’s house. Hafsa returned early and found Mariyah in her quarters. This made Hafsa understandably very upset and very jealous. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) tried to calm her down and console her.

 

Hafsa, after having being consoled, took the situation a step further, and demanded that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) promise to never see Mariyah again, to which the Prophet finally agreed just so as to please her. He (peace and blessing be upon him) did not have to do this. After all, he could have just promised her that he wouldn’t bring Mariyah to Hafsa’s house again. However, Hafsa (May Allah be pleased with her) pushed the situation beyond what was justified. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) then asked her to promise not to tell Aisha (or the other wives in one narration), and Hafsa agreed. The reason why the Prophet made this request is because the wives of the Prophet were extremely jealous over the Prophet and he did not want there to be more problems and clamour surrounding the incident. He (peace and blessing be upon him) was not hiding anything, but rather the situation had been resolved with Hafsa and there was no point in getting more people involved, especially when those people are other wives and some issues of jealous rivalry had already occurred previously.

 

Moreover, it is well documented that the wives, including Aisha, we’re particularly jealous of Mariyah, who is said to have been exceptionally beautiful. Despite her promise to not tell Aisha, Hafsa did, and it is said Hafsa did this in order to boast to the other wives that she was the one that caused the Prophet to abandon seeing Mariyah, which would have been no doubt pleasing to the wives (May Allah be pleased with all the Mothers of the believers).

 

Commentary: While no one would blame Hafsa for being upset and hurt by this incident, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) had not done anything wrong. There is nothing haram in what he did. While one may feel when reading about such incidents that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) should have done it this way or that, or question why he met Mariyah in Hafsa’s quarters, we should remember that he did not do anything wrong, especially since his ‘home’ was in the house of whichever wife’s turn it was on that day.

 

The Prophet’s wish to see his slave girl at that time is not particularly odd. On that day, Hafsa’s house was his ‘home.’ His decision to be with his slave girl was simply part of the human side of the Prophet and it happening at Hafsa’s house was a decision he made at the time.  Had God not wanted it to happen in this way and protect His Prophet from people questioning such incidents, He would have done so. We mentioned above other incidents when God corrected the choices the Prophet made. In this incident God did not reveal anything, but rather the revealed verse was,

 

O Prophet! why holdest thou to be forbidden that which Allah has made lawful to thee? Thou seekest to please thy consorts. But Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.’ [66:1, Yusuf Ali]

 

And later,

 

‘When the Prophet disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his consorts and she then divulged it (to another) and Allah made it known to him he confirmed part thereof and repudiated a part. Then when he told her thereof she said “Who told thee this?” He said “He told me who knows and is well-acquainted (with all things).” If ye two turn in repentance to Him your hearts are indeed so inclined; but if ye back up each other against him truly Allah is his Protector and Gabriel and (every) righteous one among those who believe and furthermore the angels will back (him) up.’ [66:3-4, Yusuf Ali]

 

If God protected and supported his Prophet in this incident, and revealed and took to task the machinations of the wives of the Prophet during it (wives who loved, honoured and had absolute veneration and full belief in the Prophet, regardless of such incidents and moments of rivalling jealousy), we do not have the right to feel upset or question the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him). It is not for us to question or to undermine the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) for this incident, or to say it was a mistake, oversight or an act of disrespect on behalf of the Prophet, or a blemish on his perfect character (peace and blessing be upon him).

 

Lessons to be learnt

 

We may well ask ourselves why did God choose this to happen? After all, He is the Doer of all things and the Creator of everything we do and say. God could have concealed this, but instead He chose to reveal it. The reason is simple. There is nothing to conceal or hide in any aspect of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him).

 

Likewise, it is a testification to the truthfulness, veracity, and faith of the Companions, Followers and the Islamic scholars that they recorded and preserved all these traditions as they were, without attempting to conceal or remove anything that may be perceived as damaging to the religion or the person of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him).

 

While we may feel upset for Hafsa when reading about this event, we should remember that Allah is the All Knowing and All Wise, and He alone knows the reality of every situation and the wisdom for its occurrence. Perhaps God, by making these incidents occur and revealing them to us, intended by it a test for us; a test of faith and a test of our love for the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him). There may have been a test for the wives and the early Muslims in this. God knows best.

 

Such incidences are also an opportunity for us to draw nearer to the Prophet and increase our love for him (peace and blessing be upon him). When someone or something seems to possess perfection, we struggle to identify and approach it. God revealing to us these insights into the life of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), despite his infallibility and perfection, is an opportunity for us to access the Prophet more readily and relate to his personal life and relationships.

 

Lastly, when we speak of the ‘human aspect’ of the Prophet, we should not forget that everything that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) did was for the sake of Allah, and for the sake of our guidance, and that everything that occurred in his blessed life (peace and blessing be upon him) was for a reason, with wisdom, and for our benefit, whether we perceive it or not. Our love for God and his Messenger should be unconditional, despite what our lower selves may whisper or incline to believe, and this is the reality of his saying (peace and blessing be upon him),

 

None of you will have faith until he loves me more than his father, his children and all mankind.’ [al Bukhari]

 

We ask Allah to make us of those who truly love the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) unconditionally, and more than anything in this world.

 

And Allah knows best.

 

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir

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. Away from the Islamic sciences, Jamir is a qualified homeopath and runs a private clinic in Amman.

Could You Share Narrations Where the Prophet Likened Companions to Earlier Prophets?

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalam alaykum,

1) Is the following narration found in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad?

Turning to Abu Bakr who had counselled a lenient view, the Holy Prophet said: “Abu Bakr you are like Abraham who said, ‘He who follows me is one of us, and he who disobeys me, then O God, You are gracious enough to forgive’. And Abu Bakr you are also like Jesus who said, ‘If you punish them they are Your servants, and if You forgive them, You are All Powerful, Mighty and Wise.” Turning to Umar, the Holy Prophet said: Umar, you are like Noah who said, ‘O God, do not leave on the earth a single unbeliever.’ And Umar you are also like Moses who said, ‘O God destroy their properties and harden their hearts so that they are not converted till they have suffered punishment.”

2) Could you also share some other narrations where the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) likened other Sahaba to earlier Prophets?

Answer: Assalamu ‘alaykum,

I hope you are well.

Comparing Abu Bakr and ‘Umar to Prophets

The narration you mention is narrated in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, ascribed to ‘Abd Allah b. Mas’ud:

The Prophet – peace and blessings of God be upon him – sought the counsel of some of his companions on what to do with the prisoners of war. Abu Bakr – God be pleased with him – counseled that not be executed, in the hopes that God forgives them, and because they are the Prophet’s family and people. ‘Umar – God be pleased with him – counseled that they be put to the sword, because they had exiled the Prophet and disbelieved in him – peace and blessings of God be upon him. Ibn Rawaha suggested they be burned to death, to which al-‘Abbas lent his approval. The Prophet – peace and blessings of God be upon him – left them without indicating his choice.

Upon his return, he said, “God has rendered the hearts of some men soft for him, until they are softer than milk. He has made the hearts of others hard, until they become harder than stone. Your likeness, Abu Bakr, is to Ibrahim – peace be upon him – who said, Whoever follows me is of me; as for whoever disobeys, you are most forgiving, merciful. Your likeness, Abu Bakr, is to ‘Isa, who said, If you punish them, they are your servants; if you forgive them, you are most powerful, wise. Your likeness, ‘Umar, is to Nuh, who said, Lord, do not leave on the earth an abode of the disbelievers. Your likeness, ‘Umar, is to Musa, who said, Harden their hearts, such that they do not believe until they see a painful punishment…”

I am not aware of many other narrations in which companions are compared to Prophets.

Comparing ‘Ali – God be please with him – to Prophets

There are narrations similar to: Whoever wishes to see the patience of Ibrahim, the wisdom of Nuh, and the beauty of Yusuf, should look at ‘Ali b. Abi Talib.

Ibn al-Jawzi includes this and similar narrations in his collection of fabricated narrations.

Comparisons based on Physical Resemblance

There are narrations in Muslim and Tirmidhi in which the Prophet – peace and blessings of God be upon him – attempts to describe the Prophets he encountered, in the Ascension, to his companions, and in so doing, compares them to people they know. He says, The Prophets were shown to me; Musa was almost like someone from Shanu’ah; I saw ‘Isa the son of Mary – peace be upon him – the closest resemblance to him I’ve seen is ‘Urwa b. Mas’ud. I saw Ibrahim – blessings of God be upon him – the closest resemblance to him I’ve seen is your companion – meaning himself. I saw Gabriel – peace be upon him – the closest resemblance I’ve seen to him is Dahya [b. Khalifa].

There may yet be narrations drawing other comparisons I am yet unaware of.

God knows best.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Shuaib Ally

Shaykh Shuaib Ally is a scholar who has recently returned to Toronto after completing his studies overseas. He started his studies by completing his MA in Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto in 2008. He went on to study in a number of Islamic disciplines privately with scholars in Saudi Arabia, including Tafsir, Qur’anic Sciences, Shafi’i law, Usul, Hadith, Hadith Methodology, Grammar and Balagha. Shaykh Shuaib currently resides in Toronto.

What is Spirituality, and Who Are Sufis? by Yusuf Latif

The concept of spirituality is rather vague and is used to describe any number of views and practices among peoples. Whether it has always been this way is a question that is difficult to answer, especially as it is posed, argues Yusuf Lateef Zanella.

When the question is general in nature, as if spirituality were one concrete thing among other things, like chairs, dresses, automobiles, and so on. It is not at easy to answer as, say, a question like: Has the use of ankle-length skirts among women of a certain background become more or less widespread?

When we talk of spirituality in relation to Islam, in order to make sense of it, we need to be more specific as to what we mean by the word. Here the word is meant to cover what is traditionally known as Tassawwuf. Now many will not find that distinction to be very helpful, for what is Tassawwuf? The answer that Tassawwuf is merely Islamic spirituality, more commonly known as Sufism, leaves us treading the same water while trying to get a grip on the rope of understanding. It does not answer the question. Because, as we said, there are many views and opinions on what Tassawwuf is. Its use, though not as common, is almost as diverse and wide-ranging as that of the word spirituality. So, whose view should be taken into serious consideration when seeking an answer to that question?

In his concise yet profound article “The Place of Tasswwuf among the Islamic Sciences” (1995) Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller makes it clear that, in order to answer the question: What is Tassawwuf? one must ask those who know, namely, traditional Muslim scholars who are knowledgeable in the science itself and practice it. Justification for this is found in the Qur’anic verse: “Ask those who know if you know not” (16:43). But is this also not, as Shaykh Nuh himself alludes to in recounting his own search for knowledge, what one would do in any matter of great importance?

One Who Knows the Object and the Science

To draw a material analogy, one could say that if one wanted to know what a combustion engine is one would ask a person who not only knows how to repair certain builds or types of engine, but also the principles of combustion and the science behind engine construction. Not only that, the person must have an understanding of the point of combustions engines, their purpose, and the roles these play in human life. For no one (for the sake of argument) wants a combustion engine in and of itself, rather it is a means toward some goal, toward something one wants to attain.

The Heart’s Desire

Anyone who professes Islam will, upon reflection, know that the ultimate goal in the life of a Muslim is Allah Most High. He, alone, is the true heart’s desire. For what, really, could be more rewarding, more awesome in the truest sense of the word, than to stand in His presence. Can one truly imagine being more alert, more awake, more present and aware other than in the presence of one’s Lord and Maker? Common synonyms of the word awesome as can be found in any reputable dictionary are words such as wonder, reverence, and dread. It is for the purpose of awakening this sense of awe that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in the Hadith of Muslim stated that “the perfection of faith” (ihsan) is “to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you see Him not, He nevertheless sees you.” The presence of mind in worship entailed here lies in realising that one is always in the Presence of one’s Lord. For instance, when one stands in prayer, but not only then, for worship is not limited to prayer.

In a related Hadith of Muslim, which precedes the one mentioned above in Imam Nawawi’s Arba‘in, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) says that “Actions are according to intention. And every man shall have what he intended. So whoever’s emigration (hijra) is for the sake of Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), his emigration is for the sake of Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). And whoever’s emigration is for worldly gains or for a woman to marry, his emigration is for the sake of that for which he emigrated.” It is clear that the question of intentions and acts spoken of here can be generalised to include all acts and states in the life of any one Muslim—that any one of our acts with the proper intention is an act of worship.

This state of presence in all acts is also alluded to in the Qur’an, where Allah Most High says: “Truly, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the variation of night and day there are signs for the people of understanding” (3:190). The people of understanding Allah Most High goes on to define as “Those who mind Allah while standing, sitting and lying down” (3:191). The word “mind” here is a translation of yadhkurun, from the verb dhakara (to remember) in the sense of keeping something or someone in mind. They strive to be or are constantly in and aware of His presence. For they know that although they do not see Him, He nevertheless sees them.

To Strive Is No Easy Thing…

This state of presence before Allah Most High is something one can experience or come to an awareness of at any moment. From my own experience I can definitely say that there is a difference, in taste almost, between a prayer prayed alone or behind someone when  in Allah’s presence, that is when mindful of Him, and a prayer in which this is not the case. This is not meant as a slight to anyone or to myself, but rather to say that to strive towards this state is no easy thing. That, however, does not mean it is something one should not strive towards. A sure way of attaining this state, as Shaykh Nuh emphasises, is by keeping the company of the people of understanding mentioned by Allah. That is, the people of the spiritual path.

This Desert Life: Not Even Shoes

In Islam (in Arabic) the word for the Sacred Law is al-Shari‘a and is related to the noun shari‘a (without the definite article) which commonly means water hole or drinking place or the approach to it. Like many things in Islam it is derived from the context of life in the desert. This image of life in a desert, dependence upon water, and the trope of nomadic existence in this world permeates our religion through and through. The first line of the Hadith of Bukhari that rounds off Imam Nawawi’s Arba‘in reads: “Be in this world as if you were a stranger [foreigner] or a traveller on the way.”

In many cultures and languages the words “way” and “law” are often used interchangeably, in the sense of how one properly goes about things, or right conduct. What is sometimes lost sight of in our mode of life is the peril of not acting according to the law. In the context of life in a desert this becomes more apparent, for e.g. the way to water or sustenance is of vital importance for survival, and not acting in accordance with it can have grave consequences. Every word, indeed every action, is a matter of life and death. When viewed from this perspective what one says and does, the meanings of one’s words and actions, are not mere abstractions. The attention and care accorded to them must be commensurate with the situation at hand. To fall short here is not only to risk one’s own life but more importantly the lives of those is one’s care and protection. A true child of the desert will learn how to survive and thrive, where to find sustenance and safety, where to go and when, and to stay put and when, from those who know, through instruction and through imitation. Knowledge in this context is not book learning, but knowing what to day at any time of the day, in any place or situation. Books and diplomas and other things are useful, but as Imam Ghazali said: That which is of greatest value is what you will not lose in a shipwreck.

The point is that, being a traveller in this desert life is so much more that buying a train, boat, or plane ticket and having oneself transported from one point to another. It often means not even having the shoes on which to get through the day, much less the comfort of hot tea on the back of a camel. It also means that one’s goal is ever present to one’s mind, and that is Allah, Most High and Transcendent. We are only passing through this world that is not our “country of origin”. Finally it means that in order to get through this world safely, to make the best of this desert life, it is incumbent upon us to ask those who came before us and who have spent countless hours of their lives learning at the feet of those who came before them the best ways and means of crossing this empty quarter of creation and to make it back home to Allah Most High. To ask those who live this desert life.

They are the people of understanding. The Masters of the Way. The one’s who know the Shari‘a like they know their own hearts. They are those about whom one can say: They have already departed. Their exemplar is of course none other than he “whose character was the Qur’an” (Muslim), who said of himself “I have been sent to perfect righteous character” (Musnad Ahmad), the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). They are the heirs not only of his knowledge (Allah bless him and give him peace) but also of his states. They are the Sufis.

About the Author

Yusuf Latif became Muslim in 1998 at the hands of Shaykh Abd al-Baqi al-Husayni al-Naqshband. The Shaykh sent him to Jordan to learn from Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller in 2001, from whom he took the Shadhili tariqa in 2003. He spent four years in Amman where he studied tasawwuf, fiqh and aqida, and worked for Islamica Magazine. Now, besides working for Seekers Hub, he writes childrens’ books that he one day hopes to see published. 

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