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The Significance of Eid – Faraz Rabbani

 

 

 

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Islam has two major holidays, Eid al-Fitr (Post-Fasting Festival) and Eid al-Adha. The word Eid itself is an Arabic word, whose root connotation is “that which comes back, time after time, and rejoicing.” Its particular usage in Islam, for the two major holidays, is because these two days are meant to be days of rejoicing. [1]

 

The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “These are days of eating, drinking, and remembrance of God.” [Reported by Bukhari in his Sahih, an authoritative collection of the sayings of the Prophet.]

 

In this same spirit, the Qur’an mentions that, “Jesus, son of Mary, said: ‘O Allah, Lord of us! Send down for us a table spread with food from heaven, that it may be a feast (eid) for us, for the first of us and for the last of us and a sign from You. Give us sustenance, for You are the Best of Sustainers.'” (Qur’an, 5: 114)

 

Eid al-Fitr celebrates the completion of the month of Ramadan, in which Muslims fast and increase their spiritual devotions, and is meant to be a recognition the material and spiritual favors of God to His creation.

 

On this day, Muslims all over the world thank God for the gift of fasting, in which they avoided food, drink and intercourse from dawn to dusk, out of obedience and servitude. The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan out of faith, seeking its reward, shall have all their past sins forgiven.” [Also reported by Bukhari in his Sahih, and others]

 

The many lessons in Ramadan are acted upon on this day of festivity, in order that they not be forgotten:

 

1. Devoting oneself to God: Muslims start the day by showering after dawn on Eid day, then go to the short Eid prayer and sermon that takes place early in the morning.

 

2. Recognizing one”s blessings and thanking God for them: Muslims are encouraged to wear their best clothes, give gifts (especially to children) and celebrate with family, friends, and neighbors.

 

3. Remembering the plight of the poor and giving in charity: On Eid day, it is especially recommended to give in charity, the best time of which is before going to the mosque or prayer hall in the morning.

 

It is a day in which Muslims seek to join between worldly and spiritual celebration, for it is said, “True rejoicing is not (merely) in wearing new clothes, but in becoming true in one”s devotion to God.”

 

As a result, it is encouraged for Muslims to fast another six days after Eid during the month of Shawwal, in order to keep alive the lessons learned during the month of Ramadan, and to become of those devoted to God. It is because of this that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Whoever fasts of Ramadan then fasts six days in the month of Shawwal shall have the reward of having fasted the whole year.” (Sahih Muslim)

 

The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “For every people there is a feast and this is our feast.” [Reported by Bukhari in his Sahih]

 

See:

The Fiqh of Eid – Ustadha Naielah Ackbarali (SeekersGuidance Blog)

Sincerely,

 

Faraz Rabbani,

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[1] Raghib al-Isfahani, Mufradat Alfaz al-Qur”an, 594 (Damascus: Dar al-Qalam, 1997). This is a classic work on the vocabulary of the Qur”an.



MMVIII © Faraz Rabbani and SunniPath.

Why Is the Prophet’s Character Described as Being Tremendous? – Faraz Rabbani

by Faraz Rabbani (originally published in Islamica Magazine)

In the Qur’an, the Prophet is addressed directly, “Truly, you are of tremendous character.” [Qur’an, 68.4] This Qur’anic verse intrigued Muslim scholars, early and late, especially the Qur’anic exegetes and the masters of the spiritual path, especially as the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself emphasized that, “I was only sent to perfect noble character,” [Ahmad] and said, “The believers most perfect in faith are those best in character.” [Tirmidhi]

What is good character?

Good character, Ghazali explains in his Ihya’, is an inward disposition that causes one to incline towards praiseworthy inward traits and praiseworthy outward actions.

How is good character manifest?

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali and others relate that the sum of Prophetic teachings is that good character is manifest in five matters:

(1) Fulfilling the rights of others

(2) Avoiding hurting or harming others

(3) Being cheerful and positive in one’s dealing with others

(4) Recognizing the good of others and reciprocating

(5) Responding to the wrong of others with nothing but the good.

These five manifestations of good character don’t only summarize the Prophetic teachings on good character, but they also summarize the Prophet Muhammad’s own character and conduct.

First. As for fulfilling the rights of others, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) emphasized that, “Give everyone who has a right their due right,” [Bukhari] and he warned against non-fulfillment of others’ rights, “Injustice shall become manifold darkness on the Day of Judgment.” [Bukhari]

Second. Avoiding hurting or harming others is a corollary of fulfilling the rights of others. However, sometimes one can fulfill others’ rights in ways that hurt them; or we follow the follow the fulfillment of rights with hurtful reminders; or strive to fulfill rights, without considering how others feel or may consider our efforts.

Third. Being cheerful and positive in one’s dealings with others. The Prophet is described as always having been full of concern, yet he was always cheerful.

Fourth. Recognizing the good of others entails not only thanking and reciprocating those who do obvious acts of good to one, but to reflect, consider, and appreciate the less-obvious (but significant) good that countless people to for one–both directly and indirectly. We owe our very lives to our parents. When did we last thank them? Our teachers, whether at school or university, have taught us so much. When did we last thank them? The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) cautioned that, “Whoever is not thankful to people is not thankful to God.” [Ahmad, Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawud]

Fifth. The greatest test of character is responding to the wrong of others with nothing but the good. This tests one’s character because one’s personal urge would customarily be to reciprocate; and one’s negative urge would be to affirm oneself. However, the way of Prophets is to respond with nothing but the good.

Upon Entering Mecca, Victorious

When the Prophet Muhamamad (peace and blessings be upon him) entered Mecca as a victor, people expected that he would seek revenge two decades of opposition, wrong, and injustice from his people. The Meccans were fearful, and some hastened to declare that, “Today is a day of slaughter.” The Prophet responded that, instead, “Today is a day of righteousness and loyalty,” and he forgave them in public address, saying, “I say to you today as Joseph said to his brothers,’There is no blame on you today. May God forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of the merciful.’ [Qur’an, 12.92] Go! For you are free.” [Salihi, Subul al-Huda wa’l Rashad]

A bedouin once came to the Prophet, seeking some money. Without introduction or greetings, he said, “Muhammad! Give me, for you’re not giving me from your money or your father’s money.”

Despite the man’s rudeness, the Prophet gave him, and asked, “Have I pleased you?” The bedouin replied, “No, and you haven’t done me good.”

The Muslims who were standing around them were angered and surrounded the bedouin. The Prophet signaled for them to restrain, and he entered his house.

He asked for the bedouin to be invited in. When he entered, the Prophet gave him some money, and asked, “Are you pleased?” He replied, “No.” The Prophet gave him more, and asked, “Are you pleased?” The bedouin responded, “Yes, we are pleased.”

The Prophet told him, “You came to us and asked us. We gave you, and then you said what you said. As a result, there is something in the hearts of the Muslims regarding that. If you were to say in front of them what you said to me, that might remove those feelings from their hearts.” The man agreed, and mentioned the Prophet with praise and thanked him in front of the Prophet’s Companions. [Salihi, Subul al-Huda wa’l Rashad]

The Prophet was unaffected by the man’s words. His concern was for the good of the man himself and the feelings of his Companions. Why? This returns to the understanding why the Prophet character was described as being “tremendous” in the Qur’an.

Imam Junayd al-Baghdadi, one of the foremost authorities of Islamic spirituality (tasawwuf) and others have explained that, “The Prophet’s character was termed tremendous because his concern was for God alone.” [Qurtubi, Jami Ahkam al-Qur’an] What moved the Prophet was the pursuit of His Lord’s pleasure, both in acting and in responding.

This was manifest in small matters, too. Once a woman brought a baby for the Prophet to bless him. The Prophet placed him on his chest, and the child urinated. The mother reached out for the child, anxious. The Prophet signalled to let the child finish first. After that, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) calmly rinsed the area lightly. He didn’t want to alarm the child, nor make the mother feel bad.

It is also related that though he was the busiest of people, young girls in Medina would take the Prophet’s hand and would take him wherever they went–and he wouldn’t let go of their hand until they let go of his. [Bukhari, Sahih]

Lessons in Mercy

We see from this that the Prophetic example is nothing but a manifestation of mercy. And any understanding of religion lacking in mercy is lacking in true understanding. After all, the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) having been, “sent only as a mercy to all creation.” [Qur’an, 21.107] The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself emphasized that, “I was only sent as a gift of Mercy.” [Bazzar and Tabarani]

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) explained, too, that, “The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful. Be merciful to those on earth and the Lord of the Heavens will be merciful to you.” [Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud, from Abd Allah ibn Amr; rigorously authentic] It is a sign of the way of traditional Islamic scholarship that this is the first Hadith (Prophetic teaching) traditionally conveyed by a scholar to their students.

This mercy, manifest in good character in one’s dealings with people, is the test and barometer of faith. After all, “The believers most perfect in faith are those best in character,” as the Prophet affirmed. [Tirmidhi]

It once happened that some non-Muslims greeted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) with an insult. His wife, A’isha, insulted them back. But the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did not. Rather, he simply replied, “And upon you,” which is the standard reply to the greeting of, “Peace be upon you.” Then, he said to his dear wife, “A’isha! Allah is gentle and loves gentleness in all matters.” [Bukhari, from Ai’sha] And he also taught that, “Gentleness is not found in anything except that it makes it beautiful; and gentleness is not taken out of anything except that is makes it ugly.” [Muslim and others, also from A’isha]

The Key to All Relations

The Prophet made clear that the key to all relationships is upholding good character and maintaining it, even when tested. He said, “Deal with people on the basis of good character,” [Tirmidhi] and affirmed that, “Forbearance is the very best of character.”

Forbearance is for one not to be moved by anger or negative emotion–but to make one’s response based on reason and (for a believer) Revelation. Forbearance is, ultimately, intelligence, as it is the capacity to respond in the best of ways to each situation.

This restraint and concern for excellence and the greater good that underly excellence of character–and that made the Prophet Muhammad’s character “tremendous”–are virtues each of us would do well to strive for in our own lives and relationships, both as individuals and communities.

Shaykh Idris Watts “Praise Him!” // June 2010 // Radical Middle Way

Hamd – praise – is the cornerstone of our faith. We praise God for the gift of life, for guidance and for the opportunity to do good and spread mercy. Every breath we take and every step we make should be an occasion for joy and praise. Nobody praised God better than the most praiseworthy of human beings – the Prophet Muhammad. His life was all about praise – praise expressed through the best of character, the most generous of hearts, the way of service. In him we have a model of praise that we can follow. Our demonstrations must not only call attention to injustice and inequity, but we must at the same time demonstrate the example through which injustice can be remedied, inequity can be vanquished and mercy can be brought into the lives of the many. Shaykh Idris Watts’s has a simple message for us all: Praise Him by following the one who praised Him best!

The Difference Between a Messenger & Prophet

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: What is the difference between a Nabi and a Rasul?

Answer: Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Thank you for your question.

A Prophet (nabi) is someone who received revelation from Allah Most High in the form of Divine instructions; if he is commanded specifically to convey and propagate these Divine instructions to specific people, then he is also called a Messenger (rasul), and if he is not commanded to convey any specific message, then he remains a prophet (nabi) only. Thus, according to the strongest view, every Messenger is a Prophet, but not every Prophet is a Messenger. [Sharh Jawhara al-Tawhid, al-Sawi]

The differing meanings for Prophet and Messenger stem from the difference in connotation of the two words in Arabic, and how they are used in the Qur’an. There are also opinions that both words have the same meaning, or that a Messenger is more general than a Prophet because angels have also been called messengers, however, these are not the strongest views.  [Sharh `ala al-Jawhara, al-Bayjuri]

May Allah Ta’ala send peace and blessings on the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, and upon all His Prophets and Messengers.

Wasalam,
Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Mawlid by Moonlight – Hina Khan-Mukhtar

The flickering flame of a candle casts a light on a child’s face, causing it to glow…and something magical happens.  The six-year-old opens his mouth to sing salawaat on the Prophet…and hearts soften.

b738eb4e4298c4921An older sister takes her brother by the hand as they march off to the beat of a daff, singing nasheeds under a full moon, falling in line behind fifty other young ones…and tears spring to my eyes.

It is known as Mawlid by Moonlight and it took place this month of Rabi ul Awwal in celebration of the birth of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alaihi wasallam).  A dream of my friend’s for the past ten years — with the permission of Allah, it has finally become the reality she had envisioned almost a decade earlier.

Back when our children were pre-schoolers, we gathered with them every 12th of Rabi ul Awwal to decorate candles, singing Ta’ala al-Badru ‘Alayna while we worked with our glitter and colored wax and beads.  We taught them songs and explained the significance of the noor of the Prophet, comparing him to a candle who leads people out of the darkness and into the light of knowledge of Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala.  We read stories from the Seerah, highlighting our Messenger’s special relationship with children and animals and his divinely inspired message of mercy to the worlds. My friend’s wish that the children participate in a candlelight parade, marching in the darkness while holding their candles and singing, couldn’t come to fruition due to the fact that the month of Rabi ul Awwal arrived during the summer months in those days.  Most of the children would be asleep long before the sun had set…even longer before the white moon had risen.

Our older children are in middle school now while younger siblings have joined the growing families, masha’Allah, and the tide turned a few years ago when Rabi ul Awwal finally arrived in the spring months.  As we have done for the past few years, we gather on a friend’s ranch where our homeschooling co-operative meets during the week, hiking up and down green hills with the neighing of horses and the calling of a peacock accompanying our children as they sing, “Salallaahu ala MuhammadSalallaahu alaihi wasallam”.  The flames dance in our boys’ and girls’ excited eyes, a father beats the daff, a mother calls out, “Look at the moon, children!  The skies have cleared!  SubhanAllah!”

Earlier in the week, I had shown a poem to our children’s Islamic Studies teacher who is also the father of one of my fifth grade students.  “Do you want to hear what your daughter wrote in class?” I asked him.

“I would like that,” he responded, turning from his computer work in the teachers’ lounge.

I read from the paper I held in my hands…

If the Prophet spent a day with me,

I’d give him my finest chair,

And give him my finest tea.

If the Prophet spent a day with me,

I’d bake the bestest cupcakes,

And serve him with lots of glee.

If the Prophet spent a day with me,

I would be so delighted,

If the Prophet spent a day with me,

I would be so excited.

If the Prophet spent a day with me,

I’d be sure to make it last,

If the Prophet spent a day with me,

It’d be an awesome class.

I looked up, pleased and smiling, to find that he had removed his spectacles and was wiping his eyes with his thumb.  No one said anything for a few moments before he cleared his throat and quietly addressed the parents in the room.

“You know, we worry about our children being too slow in this or not good enough at that, but, at the end of the day…if they love Allah and His Prophet, what else really matters?  What else really matters?”

moon As I watch the children cluster around the tables laden with sweets and treats and scintillating candles, excitedly showing each other their glow-in-the-dark bracelets before heading off to join the congregation which will pray Isha under the inky black sky, I realize that love really does conquer all.  Glancing up to catch the moon emerging from behind the clouds, I imagine the Prophet Muhammad (salallaahu alaihi wasallam) gazing upon that same moon all those years ago.  I hear the children singing the lyrics “O the white moon rose over us from the Valley of (al)Wada, and we owe it to show gratefulness where the Call is to Allah”, and I think I can hear the Ansar of Medina-al-Munawwara singing the same song in joyous welcome to the Prophet’s long-awaited entrance into the blessed city.  I want to reach out and hug the blue-eyed, golden-haired children with kohl in their eyes and kufis on their heads, the cheerful African-American boys in their thawbs, the little girls in sparkling shalwar-kameezes.  Finding myself surrounded by kids of all colors and races who believe “La ilaaha illAllah” in twenty-first century America, I marvel at the success of the Prophet’s mission.  “Truly, you have delivered the message,” I silently tell him.

“You are so fortunate!”  A father turns, letting the night carry his voice out to the children as they gather together at the end of the parade, carefully clutching their votives and plastic cups with candle pillars alight.  “The Prophet Muhammad (salallaahu alaihi wasallam) is your Prophet!  Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala sent him as a mercy to us all!  Who is going to make him proud?  Who is going to follow what he taught?”

“We are!  We are!” the children respond.  “Salallaahu alaihi wasallam!”

I look down at my kindergartener when I feel him tugging on my hand.  “He’s my Prophet too!  Right, Mama?”

The comforting scent of the crackling bonfire soothes me and I inhale deeply.  The stars continue to twinkle in the velvety night sky as I nod my head and squeeze his hand in affirmation.  I can’t seem to find my voice, so I simply smile and try to blink away the wetness on my lashes.

COPYRIGHT HINA KHAN-MUKHTAR 2010.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Excessive Praise of the Prophet? Understanding the Meaning of Praise

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: My question is in regards to the difference between praise and worship. I understand that there is nothing wrong with praising the Beloved of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) since this praise does not imply worship. My question then is how is this reconciled with “Alhamdulillah”? Is there an implicit assumption that when we say “All praise is for Allah” we mean praise that is commensurate with our worship of Him? These are only my own thoughts, and I worry about holding any opinion on issues like these that diverge from that of Ahl al-Sunna. Any clarification on this would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa baraktuh,

Alhamdulillah, thank you for your question. Many people today confuse what is meant by praising Allah Most High, and praising his Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), and the meaning of worship.

The upshot is that there is no contradiction between those two types of praises as long as what is said and believed of each is respectively true and accurate, just as the two parts of the Testimony of Faith do not need “reconciling”; it is clearly divided between the Creator first, and then His Best Creation (peace be upon him).

Praise is a general category, and consists of praises from Allah to Himself, or upon His prophets or the righteous – that is eternal speech -, and praises from the creation to Allah Most High in worship, and praises between people, or for some other created object. Though we are not concerned with this here, created praises also encompass false or wrong praises, such as lies or praises for an idol.

It is obvious how Allah deserves all of the good praises directed to Him as the Lord. But for everything in creation that is truly praiseworthy that we praise, the praise still returns to Allah Most High, who created those things with those praiseworthy qualities in the first place. That is why He, and no one else, is rightfully deserving of all true praises, whether they were intended directly to Him or not.

A Deeper Look at the Meanings of “Praise”

It’s always best to define terms and to look at them in their original language before getting further into a discussion. The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary tells us that “praise” in English can mean either to express favorable judgment of something (synonymous with commending or complimenting), or when more specifically used for God or righteous persons, to glorify, especially with the attributes of perfection (synonymous with extolling or magnifying). Thus, not all praise means worship.

Praise can be a vague term in translation, usually chosen to denote three Arabic words, namely: al-hamd, al-madh, and al-thanaa’.  Of these, al-thanaa’ is the most general and applicable, meaning “an act which gives a sense of praising or recalling the good points of the object of praise.”  [al-Jurjani, al-Ta`rifat]

Al-Hamd, purely linguistically, means “the verbal praising of someone for beautiful traits/acts that they choose to exercise, as a way of lauding them, whether or not they did some favor upon the one praising them.” Al-Hamd can be from Allah Most High upon Himself or His prophets for example, in which case it is eternal speech, or it can be created speech, such as our praise for Allah, or for our fellow human beings.

Al-Hamd, however, does take on a unique meaning and usage when done to Allah, in that it is “any act grounded in magnifying the Giver of Bounties for the fact that He is the Giver of Bounties, whether for His having blessed the one who is praising Him, or on other than the one doing the praising, whether this act is a verbal expression, a believing thought in one’s heart, or an action of one’s limbs.” In this specific usage, it matches the definition of giving thanks and gratitude to Allah (al-shukr). [al-Bayjuri, Sharh Jawhara al-Tawhid]

Al-Madh is also a word for praise, sometimes used interchangeably with al-hamd or more general than it. However, it can be differentiated in that al-madh is used for praising endowed qualities that a person cannot choose to take on through their own choice (such as having beautiful physical features), while al-hamd is for intended praiseworthy actions or then the praiseworthy quality traits from those acts spring from (such as the act of giving charity, and further than that, having a generous heart).

Al-Razi in his Tafsir al-Kabir mentions other differences, namely that al-hamd is more specific than al-madh, and used specifically for living beings that do some act of excellence by deliberate choice, while al-madh also encompasses those not alive, as well as inanimate things, or when praising a person outside of the time frame of their doing an act of excellence.

Praising Allah Most High and His Prophet (peace be upon him)

The way and meaning of our praise for Allah Most High is distinct from our praise of the Prophet (peace be upon him), when we praise each with praises befitting and appropriate to their respective categories and stations. Even saying “Allah is generous” has a totally different reality and meaning than when we say “the Prophet (peace be upon him) is generous”.

Based on the above definitions, for Allah Most High, we use al-hamd, because Allah Ta’ala is present and alive and always completing His favor upon us, and acting by choice, and thus it is more suitable than using al-madh, because no one endowed Allah Ta’ala with any qualities. [al-Razi, Tafsir al-Kabir]

When we say “Al-Hamdu li-Llah”, what do we mean?  It is Allah who opened His Qur’an with this pre-eternal phrase of praise for Himself.  Usually, it is translated as “all praises are for Allah”, but there’s more to it than that.

The “al-” prefix makes the word “hamd” definite and not general (i.e. not “a praise” but “the praise”), and can either indicate: (a) the essence of the broader category of all praises that exist (al-jinsiyya), or (b) that every single true and deserving praise that any being has and will ever be given is actually to the credit and praise of the One is responsible for creating or holding those praiseworthy acts or qualities Himself (al-istighraqiyya), or (c) that the definitive particle is used to summarily recall “those praises” which Allah Most High praised Himself with in pre-eternity, as a mercy to mankind, because mankind is incapable of encompassing and mentioning Allah’s true praises due to our finite and imperfect natures, so Allah taught us a term that would suffice us.

The “li-” possessive prefix before Allah’s name can indicate either: (a) sole deservingness of those praises (al-istihqaq), or (b) to clarify who is being intended apart from any other being (al-ikhtisas), or (c) to indicate total ownership of the praises (al-milk). Thus, technical exceptions aside, “Alhumdulillah” can mean all of: “The/ All/ Pre-eternally-mentioned praises are directed to, suitably meant for and ultimately belonging solely to Allah.” [al-Bayjuri, Jawhara al-Tawhid]

Perhaps “al-madh” is used primarily to praise the Prophet (peace be upon him) rather than “al-hamd” since he is not with us and acting in the temporal world in the normative sense now, and perhaps because we are looking back after his lifetime has occurred (peace and blessings be upon him), and every good quality and act in his human perfection was divinely bestowed and an endowed part of his blessed nature.

Praise and Its Relationship to Worship

Worship (al-ibadah) is defined by Sayyid al-Jurjani as “the actions of a morally responsible person, going against their lower whims and caprice, out of glorification for their Lord.” Praising the blessings of Allah is also a way of glorifying Him.

Praise only becomes a commendable act of worship, or on the other hand something condemned, when its integrals contain something to indicate that. So to judge any praise, one must look at the status and veracity of five things: (a) who is doing the praising (al-hamid), and (b) who is the one being praised (al-mahmud), (c) upon what quality (al-mahmud bihi), (d) for what reason or favor or motivating factor is this praise being given (al-mahmud `alayhi) , and (e) what is its form and wording (Seeghah al-Hamd)? Intention is of course a paramount determinant in this, as in all acts.

Thus, praising the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) with praises he deserves, no matter how often, is not worship to him at all, rather it is recommended.

What the Muslims have always done is “madh” of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) for his divinely endowed qualities, out of love for him and obedience to the Creator. Doing so is a form of worship to the One who chose to create and send him to us, and so, by praising the Prophet (peace be upon him) through “madh”, we are really praising Allah through “hamd” and more specifically, we are being thankful (shukr).

Is There Excessive Praise?

As for those who claim that the Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade excessively praising him, they cite the narration in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Do not exaggerate in magnifying me like the Christians exaggerated in magnifying the son of Maryam [`Isa, or Jesus, peace be upon him], for I am only His slave, so say: ‘the slave of Allah and His messenger’.” [al-Bukhari, Sahih]

The word used for the type of bad praise here is not any of the three previous terms, rather specified as “al-itraa”, which Ibn Hajar, in his commentary of this narration, defines as “praise using falsehoods and untruths” and “exaggeration” in extolling. This was because the people who claimed to follow `Isa (peace be upon him) exalted him to the level of divinity (either as “the son” or as God himself), which the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not want any of his community to fall into.

This is what the prohibition was restricted to (and by corollary, all false and polytheistic claims). Yet, for what is true and wholesome, since there was no mention of it or limit set as to the quantity or quality of praise for the Prophet (peace be upon him), it is an implicit permission to praise without restriction.

Some still seem to have a problem with this however, as if to insinuate that repeatedly praising the Prophet (peace be upon him) would somehow slowly lead to polytheism (shirk), diverting attention from the worship of Allah Most High. This is faulty reasoning, to say the least.

How can there be such a thing as praising “too much” or “too often”, when the Lord of the Worlds decided pre-eternally, out of all the names in His infinite knowledge, to name His beloved “Muhammad” (from Ha-m-d), which is not just “the one praised” (mahmud), but intensified as “the one who is praised over and over again without cease”? [al-Zurqani, Sharh al-Muwatta]

We ask Allah Ta’ala to shower His peace and blessings on His Beloved Messenger, his family and Companions, wa al-HamduliLlahi Rabbi l-‘alameen.

Wasallam,
Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

‘Should Muslims Be Concerned About Haiti?’ by Shaykh Jihad Brown – The National (Abu Dhabi)

Should Muslims be concerned about Haiti?

by Shaykh Jihad Hashim Brown

(The National, Abu Dhabi)

Shaykh Jihad Hashim Brown is director of research at the Tabah Foundation. He delivers the Friday sermon at the Maryam bint Sultan Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Eleven-year-old Anna St Louis was going to be a lawyer. For three days she lay trapped beneath the rubble of a building in Haiti, her right leg crushed by a steel beam. “Lord God save me. I don’t want to die,” she cried out. Far from the capital Port-au-Prince, far from assistance, neighbours tried desperately to cut the beam with a hacksaw, while others gave her water. Her final rescue was covered by international news agencies, the town celebrated, Anna was grateful. With nothing more than painkillers to give her, the Cuban doctor volunteering in that area advised that she must be taken three hours away where more sufficient medical care could be given. Anna was brave enough to suggest her readiness to have her leg amputated. “I may lose my feet, but I will always have my life,” she has seen saying. But within 24 hours of being rescued, Anna had expired due to severe internal bleeding.

The first statement of the Prophet Mohammed to be taught to every student of Sacred Knowledge is: “Those who show compassion to others, compassion will be shown to them by the All Compassionate; show compassion to those in the Earth and those in the heavens will show compassion to you.”

Some will inevitably say that this does not apply to the non-Muslim. “We should only give our assistance to Muslims,” they will say. But an analysis of the above mentioned narration does not bear this out.

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Is it Appropriate to Use Abbreviations Like “SAW” & “SWT” ?

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question : Is it suitable to use abbreviations like “SAW” and “SWT”? Also, is the sunna to write out these laudatory expressions in written form, or does the sunna refer to using them when speaking about the prophets, scholars, etc.?

Answer : Imam al-Nawawi, the great muhaddith and Shafi’i faqih (Allah have mercy on him) states in his introduction to the commentary of Sahih Muslim:

“It is praiseworthy (mustahab) for a person writing Hadith that…..at the mentioning of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), he writes “Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam” in full and not merely using abbreviations, and neither sufficing on one of the two, i.e. Salat & Salam.” (Sharh Sahih Muslim, 1/39)

Thus, when one writes the name of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), one should avoid using abbreviations such as SAW or something similar. It is inappropriate and disrespectful to do so. The love for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) requires that one never tires, both verbally or in writing, from sending blessings and salutations upon him (Allah bless & and grant him eternal peace).

Qadhi Iyadh al-Maliki (Allah have mercy on him) mentions a Hadith wherein the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Whosoever sends blessings upon me in a book, the angels seek forgiveness for him until my name remains in that book.” (Narrated by al-Tabrani in his al-Awsat, with a weak chain of transmission. See: al-Shifa’ by Qadhi Iyadh, P: 557)

Hence, although the requirement would be fulfilled if one verbally sent blessings and salutations upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & grant him peace), but when one writes the name of the beloved of Allah, one should also send blessings upon him in writing.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

How Much Should the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) Be Loved and How

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question : How Much Should the Prophet be Loved and How.

Answer : This is a very short question, the answer of which requires a long treatise, coupled with a high level of piety and spirituality of which I am certainly void, thus not in a position to really answer it. It would be best answered by those who have reached the higher level of spirituality and possess the true love for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him give him peace). In any case, I will attempt to mention here briefly what I have heard from some of my teachers on this issue.

Loving the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) is an obligation upon every Muslim male and female. Allah Most High says to the Messenger of Allah:

“Say: If you do love Allah, follow (and love) me, Allah will love you.” (3:31)

Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “None amongst you is a (perfect) believer until I do not become more beloved to him than his father, his children and all the people.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Iman, No. 15)

As for the question How much should the Prophet (Allah bless him give him peace) be loved?’ is concerned, this is answered in the following verse of the Qur’an:

“Say (O Messenger of Allah): If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your spouses, or your relatives, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline or the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah, His Messenger or the striving in His cause, then wait until Allah brings about His decision, and Allah guides not the rebellions.” (Surah al-Tawba, 24)

Abdullah ibn Hisham (Allah be pleased with him) narrates: “We were with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and he was holding the hand of Umar ibn al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him). Sayyiduna Umar said to Him: “O Messenger of Allah! You are dearer to me than everything except my own self.” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “No, by Him in Whose Hand is my soul, (you will not have complete faith) till I am dearer to you than your own self.” Then Umar (Allah be pleased with him) said to him: “However, now, by Allah, you are dearer to me than my own self.” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Now, O Umar (you are a complete believer).” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

The above verse of the Qur’an and the Hadith clearly illustrate the fact that, the love of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) which is obligatory is that you love him more than anything and everything besides Allah Almighty Himself. His love must be more than your own parents, children and all the beloved things.

This is something that is easy to claim, but the time of judging this would be when one is confronted with choosing between a command of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and other worldly benefits. When one is faced with choosing between the command and desire of a beloved, such as one’s parents, children or spouse and the guidance of the blessed Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), or when one has to choose between temporary worldly monetary gains and the order of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) to abstain from it. In such cases, if one gave the Messenger of Allah’s command preference over other things, then that would be a sign of true love. However, if preference is given to wealth or the desires and wishes of a beloved over the command of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), then unfortunately, the person’s claim of having complete love for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) will be incorrect.

Therefore, the love for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) which is obligatory is that one adheres to all of his commands, implements his ways (sunnah) in one’s life and gives preference to him and his ways over everything and anything in this world.

As far as the second question ‘How should he be loved?’ is concerned, there are many ways of loving him.

My respected teacher and spiritual guide, Shaykh Mawlana Muhammad Yusuf Mutala (the patron of many Islamic institutes in the west including the famous Dar al-Uloom, Bury, UK, a great scholar of Hadith & Tasawwuf and the disciple of the famous Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya al-Kandahlawi (Allah have mercy on him) is renowned for his extreme love for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). In his discourses, he relentlessly encourages the importance of loving the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him give him peace) and encourages people to acquire this love. He normally gives the following advice:

“Love of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) is an obligation (fardh) similar to other obligations, such as performing Salat, giving Zakat, performing Hajj, etc. Every Muslim male and female must have this love for him unless the warning in the Qur’an is quite severe.

Many of us claim to have love for him but our actions imply the opposite. The way to love him is that every moment of our life, our hearts and minds must be kept focussed on him. Whatever we may be doing, our minds should be with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him give him peace). Each and every action we do, we should ask ourselves “Is the Messenger of Allah happy and pleased with this action of mine?” Don’t let your hearts and minds turn away from the mercy of both worlds for even one moment.” (End of Shaykh Yusuf’s advice)

The above shows the importance of keeping that special connection and bond with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) at all times. We must abstain from any action that may displease him and consequently displease Allah Almighty. We must strive to the best of our ability in following his Sunnah and guidance.

Secondly, we should learn and study about his personality and life in general (sirah). We should study his life in depth and then endeavour to follow in his footsteps.

Thirdly, we should send blessings (salat & salam) on him, as Allah Almighty Himself has ordered us in the Qur’an.

May Allah Almighty grant us all the true love of our beloved Messenger (Allah bless him give him peace) and that we follow his ways (sunnah), thus attain his pleasure in this world and intercession in the hereafter.

And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

Exaggerated Praise of the Prophet of Allah (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question : Exaggerated Praise of the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him)

Answer : The Hadith towards which you have referred is recorded by Imam al-Bukhari in his Sahih, on the authority of Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) that he heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) say: “Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Mary, for I am only a Slave. So, call me the Slave of Allah and His Messenger.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 3261)

The meaning of this Hadith is quite clear and simple, in that one must avoid exaggeration in praising the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & grant him eternal peace) in a manner the Christians praised Sayyiduna Esa (peace be upon him). Anything besides this has been implicitly permitted in this Hadith.

Now, we need to see how the Christians exaggerated in their reverence for Sayyiduna Esa (peace be upon him). The Christians exaggerated in praising Sayyiduna Esa (peace be upon him) to the level that they considered him to be either a God, son of God or a partner of God. Hence, it will be completely unlawful and disbelief to elevate the status of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) in a manner that one considers him to be a God, son of God or a partner of Allah.

Allah Most High is one and unique in his essence and attributes, as Imam al-Tahawi (Allah have mercy on him) states: “We say about Allah’s unity (tawhid) – with Allah’s help- that Allah is One, without any partners.” (al-Aqidah al-Tahawiyya, p: 5)

The renowned commentator of Sahih al-Bukhari, Imam Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (Allah have mercy on him) states in the explanation of this Hadith, quoting from Ibn al-Jawzi:

“The reason behind this prohibition (m: of exaggerating in the praise of the Prophet) was due to what was mentioned in the Hadith of Mu’adh, where he (Sayyiduna Mu’adh, Allah be pleased with him) sought the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him & give him peace) permission in order to prostrate before him. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade him from doing so. Hence, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) feared that someone else may exaggerate even more, thus he was quick to prohibit such exaggeration with great emphasis. Ibn al-Tin said: The meaning of “Do not exaggerate in praising me” is that do not praise me as the praise of Christians. So much so that some exaggerated and regarded him (Sayyiduna Esa) to be a partner of God. Some claimed that he was God himself, whilst others said that he was the son of God.” (Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, 12/183-184)

The above passage from one of the greatest commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari quite clearly indicates that the prohibition is of giving the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) the rank and status of Allah in any way or form. He is not God, neither a partner of God, nor His son. He is the Servant of Allah and his beloved Messenger (eternal peace and blessings be on him).

This Hadith does not in any way forbid one from praising the beloved of Allah greatly and excessively. Our presence is because of the Messenger of Allah. He is our master, beloved, intercessor and leader. We love him greatly, more than anything and everything in this world. Hence, we should send blessings on him and praise him as much as we can. If we don’t praise the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and show reverence to him, then who will we praise.

As long as one avoids considering the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) being equal to Allah Most High and avoids attributing divinity to him, there is absolutely nothing wrong in exaggerating in his love and praise, as the author of Qasida al-Burda, Imam al-Busayri (Allah have mercy on him) so beautifully said:

“Leave what the Christians claim about their Prophet. Then decide and say what you wish in praise of him (Allah bless him & give him eternal peace).”

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK