Students of Knowledge Stepping Into The Spotlight Before Their Time

One of the biggest mistakes students of knowledge make – including myself – when embarking on the path of traditional study is to remain plugged into the internet and social media, writes Ustadh Salman Younas.

Whether it is having debates on forums, writing lengthy Facebook posts, coming up with catchy tweets, or posting pictures of your student adventures on Instagram, the base assumption that every student (actually, every person) should have is that these are largely ways to aggrandize the self (nafs) whether one realizes this or not.

A Destructive Distraction

Spiritually, it is destructive for a student. From the perspective of ilm-seeking, it corrupts intentions and distracts a student from the higher aims of seeking knowledge: God. There is an element of putting oneself out there and assuming a role before one is actually ready to step into the spotlight. There are indications that one feels his opinion counts and needs to be spread (if you pass a glance at how many shares your post got, you know you’re probably doing it for the wrong reasons).

There is a hidden desire that perhaps people should follow me – the layman taking the hand of the learned. Often times, there is argumentation, sometimes ill-will developed towards others, and the construction of a false image for the public. The consequence of this is summed up in a famous legal maxim:

“Whoever rushes something before its time is punished by being prevented from attaining it.”

If you are a beginner student, stick to studying and worship. Don’t waste the opportunity God gave you by occupying a station that He did not place you in.

This is a problem of my generation. Go look at our elders, such as Shaykh Nuh Keller, Shaykh Hamza, Imam Zaid, Habib Umar, Mufti Taqi, and others. How many of them were putting themselves out while still students? None of them. They waited. They focused their attention on what they needed to do – on seeking knowledge for the sake of God. They understood the statement of Ibn Ata’illah:

“Bury your existence in the earth of obscurity. If something sprouts before it is buried, its fruits will never ripen.”

They took counsel from their teachers. They rectified themselves spiritually in addition to gaining knowledge of the outward. And God eventually opened the door of scholarship and spreading knowledge for them… and how beneficial was it when it was opened at the time He desired and not when they desired it.

Resources for seekers

Can Women Pray Standing in Public?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I was recently traveling with a friend. At the airport she said that women are not supposed to pray standing so she sat on the chair and prayed. I wasn’t sure if that was true. Also it was an empty part of the airpot and we were sitting with our backs to the wall. I got doubts so decided to sit. Was I right to pray like this?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

Thank you for your question.

Standing in the prayer.

The default ruling of the prayer is that one performs the prayer standing. Sitting is only allowed if one is ill, or if standing will worsen an illness, or delay the recovery from it. So in this situation I’m afraid your prayer was not valid. You will have repeat the prayer.

Obedience and Modesty combined

The mechanics of the prayer of ladies is such that the movements do not exaggerate the display of any part of their bodies as they bow and prostrate before the perfection and majesty of Allah Most High. This is why they do not need to bow as low as men, for example. This is a huge blessing from Allah as it saves them from the embarrassment they could experience if they had to pray as men do in a public setting. It is the perfect balance between worshipping Allah out of obedience no matter where one is, and maintaining one’s modesty, which is part of faith and one’s nature.

Always learning.

I recommend that you and your friend study the fiqh of the prayer, and repeat it if you have done so. Many a time details learned in the past, if not reviewed, end up being altered in our minds, which can lead to the above scenario. One’s relationship to Sacred Knowledge should be constant in some form or another, and having a teacher means one can ask about one is confused or curious about.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

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

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

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

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

The Importance of Being a Very Public Muslim – Imam Zaid Shakir

The Importance of Being a Very Public Muslim

This post first appeared on Imam Zaid Shakir’s facebook page.

In the climate of fear and mistrust of Muslims being carefully cultivated by some elements in this country it is extremely important to be a very public, very visible, very talkative Muslim. Some Muslims would tend to shun this advice thinking that by “laying low” and being almost invisible they can get by or pass unnoticed.

This is exactly what the anti-Muslim forces want. They want Muslims to disappear from our society and when sisters take off hijabs, brothers take off their kufis or shave their beards and everyone silences themselves they are actually advancing the program of the racists by helping to create a society “without” Muslims.
As people become accustomed to not seeing Muslims, not hearing from Muslims not sensing a Muslim presence in their lives or communities, it becomes easier for the racists to enact policies that lead to the actual eradication of Muslims. This is a lesson history has taught us concerning the ways tyrannical regimes are consolidated. Hence, be very visibly Muslim!
Some will argue that it is very dangerous to be very assertively Muslim right now and will point to the recent attack on the Muslim girl and her friend on the Portland MAX. That incident supports rather than argues against the point I am making. To clarify, because one of the girls was identifiably Muslim, there was a massive public rallying to defend her right to be herself, a valued member of her community. If Muslims “disappear” what is the basis for anyone rallying on our behalf?
Challenging times are always fraught with danger, however, heroes are those who face the danger of their time and by so doing represent a challenge in their own right which others must respond to. Now is the time for heroes not cowards. Tyranny draws its life from a society of cowards and is eradicated by the courageous.
As the warning signs of tyranny begin to rear their despicable heads in our society let us starve them of air, cut off their roots. For insight into the nature of tyranny, I encourage everyone to read Timothy Snyder’s brief but very insightful book, “On Tyranny.” May these middle days of Ramadan be blessed.
Imam Zaid Shakir

Can a Woman Pray in a Sitting Position When in Public?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam ‘aleykum.

Sometimes me and my wife have to pray in a public place. Can she sit and pray to avoid to bend over in front of people?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

No, being shy or embarrassed is not a sufficient excuse to miss an obligatory action of the prayer. In general, we strive to take the means to be able to fulfil our duties soundly, and in a way which indicates our religious concern.

As such, suggest that she keeps a longer item of clothing with her when out and about such that her body is more concealed during the prayer. To facilitate this further, you could stand behind her so that others cannot see her movements from behind.

With that, try to plan your day so that you can pray somewhere without such concerns, and ask Allah Most High for facilitation. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Watch out for Allah, and He will watch out for you.” [Tirmidhi]

And Allah alone knows best.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Can a Woman Pray in Public?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam ‘aleykum

May women pray in a public space (such as an airport or mall) if she doesn’t have access to a secluded area for prayer, and assuming it
would be possible for others, including non-mahrams, to see her?

If she is traveling and does not have access to a secluded area to pray, is it permissible for her to combine rather than pray in an area where non-mahrams may see her?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

Yes, you must pray even if you cannot find a private space to pray in. However, you should take the means and plan beforehand so that you can fulfil your obligations without falling into difficulty or hardship.

As for taking dispensations, this is permitted in cases of need or benefit. Please see: The Path of Taqwa: Avoiding Differences of Opinion and: Can a Hanafi Follow the Shafi’i Opinion on Joining Prayers When Traveling?

And Allah alone knows best.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani