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Four Valuable Practices of the Prophet ﷺ to Implement Today, by Shaan Mukhtar

Shaan Mukhtar delivers a youth sermon about implementing four valuable practices of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, in our hearts and in our lives.

Our thanks for the MCC East Bay in Pleasanton, California, for this recording.
Four Valuable Practices of the Prophet Muhammad to Implement Today, by Shaan Mukhtar

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

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

Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem.

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

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

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

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

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

Fasting in the Sacred Months

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

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

Fast Ramadan and one day a month

The man: I want more!

Fast Ramadan and two days a month

The man: I want more!

Fast Ramadan and three days a month

The man: I want more!

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

(Abu Dawud, ibn Majah, Bayhaqi, Ahmad)

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

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

Preserving The Good Is Paramount

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preparing for Ramadan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Resources on sending blessings on Prophet Muhammad for seekers:

 

Reviving the Sunnah of Being Optimistic, by Shaykh Ahmed Abdo

How did the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, remain optimistic throughout the years of trial and tribulation, which he, his family and companions endured?

Shaykh Ahmed Abdo presents an uplifting insight at this lecture held at Lakemba Mosque in Sydney, Australia.

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Why the Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him, Condemned Poetry, by Yusuf Latif

The Prophet’s condemnation of poetry, blessings and peace be upon him, is often misunderstood. Yusuf Latif sheds some light on why.

The Mu‘allaqa (hanging poem) of the most famous pre-Islamic Arab Poet, Imru al-Qays, begins with the couplet:

Stop, let us weep, in remembrance of a beloved and her campsite
Here in the desert between al-Dukhul and Hawmal.

While it is praised for its beauty and eloquence it is also cited by Islamic scholars as an example of the errant nonsense that is rife in even the greatest poetry written by the pre-Islamic Arabs. One thing they make a point of is the fact that it would make no sense for two or more people, especially when those people are the pre-Islamic Arabs of the desert, to actually gather together to weep over one and the same woman whom they all love equally. It is more likely that blood would have been spilt.

This view takes into account not only human nature (the nature of jealousy) but also the virtues extolled by the tribal societies of the Arabian Peninsula. Of course, one way of engaging in battle over one and the same woman could take the form of poetic competition between rivals. And if that did not settle the matter, the spilling of blood would be the final recourse.

The Sense in Nonsense

With that in mind there is still actually a way in which to make some sense of these lines—namely as an image that plays precisely on the incongruity of rivals actually joining forces in order to extol the virtues of their object of desire together. That is to say, that the grounds of criticism cited above, as a weakness worthy of criticism, provide the impetus for and the strength of these very lines. The poem follows and extends a pattern of praise and glorification that was native to the Arabic poetry that reached its peak just prior to the coming of Islam.

For the poems written in pre-Islamic time were, after all, poems of praise. Their point is the glorification of someone or something, in this case, a woman. What greater glorification and praise can there be, than that rivals to the death would find common ground in weeping over the absence of the one whom they (both or all) find themselves besotted by? It is here at this precise point that pre-Islamic poetry reached the highest peak from which it toppled after the Revelation of the Qur’an.

From Nonsense to Sense

In the wake of the Revelation of the Qur’an, this height of poetic eloquence was shown up for what it is: empty. It became abundantly clear that the praise accorded to this actual or imaginary beloved of Imru al-Qays, and like tropes of Arabic poetry, overshot the mark by immense distances. Eloquence came to be seen as gross exaggeration. Not only that it also became clear that there is a Beloved to whom such praise is rightly addressed.

Not only that, this form of praise of the True Beloved still missed the mark, but not by being a gross exaggeration. Rather, it will always fall far short of the mark because the True Beloved, namely, Allah, is exalted beyond all human comprehension and hence exalted beyond any words a human being might fashion in order to express the Immense Majesty and Beauty of Allah Most High.

Here lies the wisdom of poetry that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made a note of. It is recorded in Imam Tirmidhi’s Jami‘ and the Sunan of Ibn Majah that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

“There is wisdom in (some) poetry” (Tirmidhi’s wording).

Just as there is wisdom in some speech, for he also said (Allah bless him and give him peace):

“Poetry is in the same position as speech. The good in it is as the good in speech. The bad in it is as the bad in speech” (Al-Adab al-Mufrad).

What matters is not only how something is said but the content (and context). For it is known that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) condemned poetry, not for its form, but for its exaggerated content. He said:

“It is better that a man fill his belly with pus that ruins it than to fill (his mind) with poetry” (Sahih Muslim).

This shows that such praise as accorded by Imru al-Qays to a girl is falsehood, but when it or the like thereof is accorded to Allah Most High by a Muslim poet, even though it falls short of the object, cannot but be good.

Weeping Together Over One Beloved

It is ironic then to say that poetry in praise of Allah Most High after the advent of Islam never reached the heights reached by pre-Islamic poets. For what that really means is that it never reached the level of nonsense reached by the earlier poets (and hence the level of “greatness” accorded to them).

It means that Islamic poetry in sincere praise of Allah Most High can reach to the greatest of heights in art and eloquence and yet still fall short of doing justice to the object of praise, Allah, Exalted and Transcendent. And this is exactly as it should be.

And finally it means that the falsehood in the lines of Imru al-Qays noted by early scholars, i.e. that of two or more people gathering to glorify the Beloved has been made true for the Umma of His Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

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POEM: How Can You Love Muhammad So Much? by Novid Shaid

How can you love Muhammad so much?
How can you show such devotion?
What do you see in this Arabian?
Why does he stir your emotions?
All we have heard is his harem of wives
Included the little girl Aisha
We hear of his call for Islamic jihad
And his Quran so hard to decipher.
How can we not love Muhammad so much?
How can we not just adore him?
How can we not share his wonderful stories?
How can our yearning ignore him?
All we have heard from our mothers and fathers
Our grand parents and also our scholars
Is how the light shone when he smiled and he wept
And how he showed poor people honour.
All we have read in our vast holy books
And the publications in our studies
Is how he would wake in the dead of the night
And pray with all his heart and his body.
All that we know is his soul is a light
The secret of heavenly mercy
He met with a smile and despite all his trials
He even showed animals such courtesy
How can we not love his reality?
When he manisfests in our true dreams
We see his broad face and the mystical grace
We awaken with tears so serene.
How can you see what we ourselves see?
When all that you see is your perception
You see a phantom of your imaginations
But we see a man of sincere intentions
We see a man who inspires us
Who makes us strive for perfection
We see a man who fascinates us
Who makes us apply self-correction
We see a man who fills us with love
For mankind and for all of nature
So how can we not love Muhammad so much?
When we have been smitten by his stature.
You can remain in your ivory towers
Of civilisational hubris
Sinking in pits of cynical bliss
Embracing your mind’s incubus
We will persist in the sheer bliss
Of loving our Prophet Muhammad
Let haters hate and consume folly’s bait
Let lovers live with their beloved.
By Novid Shaid
Rabi Al Awwal Mubarak!

Resources for seekers:

The Emotional Brilliance of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, by Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

e·mo·tion·al in·tel·li·gence. noun. skill in perceiving, understanding, and managing emotions and feelings.

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had a profound way of dealing with people with extremely varying personalities and emotional states, explains Ustadh Amjad Tarsin. His da’wah (way of inviting people to God) needs to be revived in a way that speaks to the realities faced by young people today. This khutba focuses on the importance of pondering his example ﷺ in the way we support and communicate with people spiritually and emotionally.

Support the programs and services of the Muslim Chaplaincy of Toronto by becoming a donor today.

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Resources for seekers

Where To Even Begin Describing Muhammad? by Shaykh Ahmed Abdo

Muhammad ﷺ. Where shall we commence? If you want to describe the most beautiful of creatures that God, Sublime and Majestic, has commissioned and issued to the Universe…from where are you going to begin, asks Shaykh Ahmed Abdo.

The Messenger of God ﷺ is the most beautiful in his physical appearance and absolute excellence in his inner character. What words can do justice to him? His honour and nobility with God speaks for itself.

In Whose hands will the keys of the Garden reside?
The doors of the Garden shall open up for no one other than this man Muhammad ﷺ
The Garden shall open for the entirety of his Ummah, his nation, prior to anyone else.
His nation shall  encompass the horizons and cover the North, South, the East and the West when other prophets will come with large  numbers, some with few, and others with no followers at all.
His Heart is such that whatever came across it would find itself transformed…

We have heard of men and women falling in love, but who has heard of a love between a man and a mountain? The followers of Muhammad ﷺ know this tale, for the Messenger of God ﷺ was such that everything thing fell in love with him; he ﷺ was loved by the Mountain Uhud and his ﷺ Noble heart reciprocated.

The Noble Prophet ﷺ personifies Islam; and Islam rectifies and transforms where it truly enters. This is primarily reflected in the change and transformation that took place in the 6th century Meccan society rectified by advent of Islam. Muhammad ﷺ transforms;  it is because of Muhammad ﷺ and his Noble Heart that Islam transforms.

Where are the followers of Muhammad?

It is easy to say that we follow him; but the challenging and most earnest question is what is our proof? Not for others to know, but for your own selves. Do you love him? Do you know him? The first thing is to try and strengthen our connection and love for the Messenger of God by getting to know him and becoming mesmerised by his Noble character and Beauty ﷺ.
Come and fall in love, for the path is love, the destination is love and one shall be with whom one loves.

Resources for the Seekers:

 

We are grateful to Daar Ibn Abbas for the video. Cover photo by Islamicdesktop.

The Unconditional Rejoicing of the Believer, by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

One of the most important Prophetic traditions of our religion is to always rejoice. A believer isn’t happy because nice things happen, because this life and all that happens in it, is fleeting. We rejoice because of our connection to Allah, the Everlasting. Listen on in this brief reminder from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Why Married Couples Struggle and How to Respond Successfully

Why Married Couples Struggle and How to Respond Successfully. A Muslim Perspective from Ustadha Shireen Ahmed & Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

The closest relationship a person will ever experience in their lifetime is with their spouse. In this SeekersHub seminar, we learn how to cultivate this union to the fullest, how to overcome common hurdles, and how to maintain a high degree of moral conduct and excellent character.

For more info and FREE registration for our upcoming seminars – wherever you are in the world, visit SeekersHub Toronto.

Cover photo by Azlan DuPree.