Posts

Being with Allah and His Messenger ﷺ – Habib Umar

* Courtesy of Muwasala

Sayyidi al-Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) reflects upon the meaning of being with Allah and His Messenger ﷺ.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “A person is with the one they love.” Thus you can gauge your love for Allah and His Messenger by gauging how much you are with them.

The Prophet was in the highest state of being with his Lord. For that reason he said: “I am nothing but a slave. I eat as a slave eats and I sit as a slave sits.” Sayyiduna Ibrahim says in the Qur’an that it is his Lord: “Who created me and it is He who guides me; Who gives me food and drink.” He was constantly with Allah, even when he ate and drank. One of the knowers of Allah said: “For twenty years people think I have been speaking to them, when in reality I have been speaking to Allah.” If you speak for His sake, in accordance with His Sacred Law and your heart is present with Him, then in reality you are speaking to Him.

The Companions and the pious people of this Ummah were constantly with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ in all their states. One of the Companions repeated three times, addressing the Prophet  ﷺ: “I love Allah and His Messenger!” He replied ﷺ on each occasion: “You are with the one you love.”

Sayyiduna Abu’l-`Abbas al-Mursi said: “If the Prophet ﷺ was absent from me for an instant I would not consider myself a Muslim.”

Habib `Umar bin `Abd al-Rahman al-`Attas asked: “How can he be absent from us when he is the source of our existence?”

In other words, without him, we do not exist.

Imam al-Haddad said:

و لي من رسولِ اللهِ جَدِّي عِنَايَةٌ    و وَجْهٌ و إِمْدَادٌ و إِرْثٌ و إِيثَارُ

 

‘I receive from my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah, care, status, assistance, inheritance and preferential treatment.’

These people reached the highest stations of being with the Beloved ﷺ .

So do not claim to love him and then depart from him. Are you with him in emulating his character? If you truly loved him you would be with him. Do you think being with him is only in the next life? That which will be manifest in the next life is only that which is stored up in this life. If you want to be with him there, be certain that you have to be with him here.

How long have you been with your lower self (nafs)? It calls you to base things while Allah and His Messenger call you to lofty things. Your lower self calls you to the Fire, while they call you to Paradise. Being with Allah and His Messenger is better than being with your lower self. Your lower self is the thing which cuts you off most from being with Allah and His Messenger and it is the biggest veil between you and your Lord.

Some people reach high stations in closeness to the Beloved ﷺ before the month of Rabi al Awwal is over. If you are not going to attain it in this month, then when?

Allow Your Emotions to Be Elevated – Habib Umar

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) calls us to allow our emotions to be elevated in order for us to taste the sweetness of faith and to be with Allah’s Beloved ﷺ

The Prophets, their Families and Companions and the angels are all party to intense feelings and emotions – emotions which are extremely lofty, noble, pure, divine, majestic and precious. These emotions constitute their connection to the Knower of all that is concealed, their love for Him and their seeking and receiving love from Him. They include complete submission to Him and love for His sake in order to receive His love. All the angels experience these emotions from the greatest of them down to the least of them, as do the Prophets and Messengers and their Families and Companions and followers and their leader and imam, Muhammad ﷺ.

But whatever love they have for each other for Allah’s sake cannot be compared to the love contained in the heart of the Beloved, the Chosen One. There is only one reason for this: that he is the one who knows Allah better than all of them. Since he knows Allah best, his love for Allah is more intense than all those who love for Allah’s sake. This is why Allah says: the Prophet is more caring towards the believers than they are to their own selves (al-Ahzab, 33:6).

Allah describes him as being extremely perturbed by the hardships you suffer, as being absolutely concerned for your welfare: a Messenger has come to you; grievous to him is your suffering; immensely concerned is he for you.. (al-Tawbah, 9:128) What is this verse telling us? It is saying look at your feelings towards My Beloved. Do you love anyone more than him? No one can be compared to him regarding the care and concern he has for this Ummah in this life and even after he passed from this life: “My life is best for you and my death is best for you.” How? In his life he showed people the path when things happened to them. After his death he said: “Your actions are displayed to me. I praise Allah for any good I find, and if I find other than that, I seek Allah’s forgiveness for you.” He did not say “if I find evil”. Out of his compassion he chose not to attribute evil to us. Instead he said: “If I find other than that..

You are being invited to allow your feelings and emotions to be elevated. Iblis and his forces are competing in this. They want to control our emotions so that we venerate things and people who should not be venerated; so that we love people who are not beloved to Allah and so that we commemorate things which have no value in the sight of Allah and His Messenger.

The Prophet told us that with our emotions we will taste the sweetness of faith. We will taste that sweetness when Allah and His Messenger are more beloved to us than everything else.. Everything else, including Paradise. Had Paradise been more beloved to them, then Thawban would not have cried and neither would some of the other Companions. Paradise with its everlasting bliss was not more beloved to them than seeing the Prophet! They were unable to bear the thought of not seeing him!

Allah knew their sincerity and gave them the good tidings of being with the one they loved: Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger will be with those who Allah has blessed: the Prophets, the Siddiqun, martyrs and the pious – and what blessed company that is! This is purely from the bounty of Allah (al-Nisa, 4:69).

If you read this verse, you notice He did not mention Paradise or any of its pleasures. All He mentions is being with.. This is the highest pleasure of Paradise. These are the loftiest emotions that can be experienced.

The Best of Creation clarified things when he said: “None of you believe until I am more beloved to that person than his children, his parents and all people.” We ask Allah to bear witness to our joy at your Prophet and all that he taught. Allow us to live our lives with these noble feelings and emotions so that we meet You in the best of states.

* Courtesy of Muwasala

Welcome to Rabiʿ al-Awwal & the Virtues of Praising the Prophet ﷺ – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

* Originally published on the 11th of November 2018

Shaykh Faraz provides a welcome and introduction to Rabiʿ al-Awwal, the month of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), who is the means to our having every good. To introduce the series on the Great Praises of the Prophet from around the world, Shaykh Faraz explains why we praise the Prophet. He highlights praise of the Prophet and sending blessings on him as an expression of gratitude for the Prophet’s struggles on our behalf and his concern for us. Shaykh Faraz gives advice on how to renew one’s relationship with Allah’s Messenger in the month he was brought into this world. He closes by shedding light on some of the history behind praise of the Prophet, starting with the poetry composed by his own companions and family—while acknowledging that no poetry can fully capture the amazing reality of the Prophet.

When Rabi al-Awwal Comes – Habib Umar

* Courtesy of Muwasala

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) tells us how to receive the month of Rabi al-Awwal.

When Rabi al-Awwal comes open your heart to receive the divine outpouring and to attain closeness to Allah and His Beloved. Do not place anything above him. We have not been permitted to love anyone or anything, however great, as much as him. May Allah not deprive any of us of the goodness that You have because of the evil which we have.

This is the month of ennoblement – the month in which the Beloved ﷺ emerged into the world – the blessing was completed, the earth was illuminated. Make us amongst those who receive this month in the best way.

Seek spiritual gifts through purifying your heart. Establish gatherings in every room in your house in which Allah is remembered, in which the Mawlid and Sirah are read. Do you not long for this light, for this purity, for this beauty? Are you content to turn away from it? Why exchange jewels for filth? Who tricked us into removing the speech of Allah and the Messenger and the righteous and remembrance of Allah from our houses? He informed us that the house in which the Qur’an is recited appears to those in the heavens just as the stars appear to those on the earth. This is the speech of a tongue to whose truthfulness Allah Himself testified: He does not speak from caprice; it is no less than revelation sent down to him. Allah said of him: If you obey him you will find guidance. If you want guidance in all its meanings in this life and the next then follow My Beloved, My Chosen One.

The greatest fear is being turned away to a different direction on the day when his followers will be under his banner. On that day it will be clear to all that the Sovereign is One, the judge is One. Those who had been deluded in this life will be asked: “To whom belongs the Dominion today?” If you do not know Muhammad now, on that day everyone will know him. Everyone will lower their heads to him because he is the one that Allah has chosen.

Give us sincere intentions, purify our hearts and increase our certainty. Save the people of la ilaha illallah.

Turn to Him – present your state to Him:

 

No created thing has any portion of this affair neither here,

Nor there, so rely on the statement of the Truthful

He is the Lord, none other, and all

Are slaves under His governance without exception.

 So ask your Lord for enabling grace, forgiveness and His pleasure

And to be with the people of guidance, on the path

People that travelled to the All-Compassionate with high ambition

With truthfulness, sincerity, unobstructed

They obtained that which is beyond all other requests

By Allah what a noble and perfect life! 

– Imam al-Haddad

Welcoming the Month of the Greatest Beloved (Peace Be Upon Him) – Habib Umar

* Courtesy of Muwasala

In the above video, Sayyidi al-Habib `Umar (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) talks about the state we should be in and the ways to prepare ourselves and our loved ones in welcoming the month of the Noble Birth of the Beloved ﷺ.

Welcoming Rabi al-Awwal by Seeking the Pleasure of Allah and His Messenger – Habib Umar

* Courtesy of Muwasala

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafīz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) teaches us how to welcome the month Rabi al-Awwal by. The following is an extracts from a talk in the mawlid in Dar al-Mustafa, 3rd Rabi` al-Awwal 1433 (26th January 2012)

The new moon of Rabi al-Awwal has appeared, the month in which Allah brought forth His best and most perfect slave, His Chosen One, His Beloved, the Most Noble of the First and the Last in the sight of the Lord of the Worlds. His uncle al-`Abbas addressed him at the end of his life, on their return from Tabuk, his last expedition, with the following verse:

وأَنْتَ لَمَّا وُلِدْتَ أشْرَقَتْ الأَرْضُ وضَاءَتْ بِنُورِكَ الأُفُق

ُفَنَحْنُ في ذلك الضِّياءِ وفي النُّورِ وسُبْلِ الرَّشَادِ نَخْتَرِق

When you were born the earth and the horizons were illuminated by your light

We remain bathed in that glow and it continues to light the path as we travel it

Every mawlid composed later is merely echoing what the Companions said to the Chosen One. They were the first people to celebrate the mawlid.

Our Master `Isa will descend to the earth and you will see how he will be ennobled by following Muhammad. Any of you that are with him at that time will see how he mentions the Master of Creation. His heart and the hearts of those present will be filled with veneration when they mention his name. He knows our Master Muhammad better than us, for a Prophet knows a Prophet. No member of this nation knows him in the way that the Spirit of Allah knows him.

The Master of the Followers, Uways al-Qarani, said to the greatest of the Companions, our Masters `Umar and `Ali, who knew the Beloved better than anyone: “All that you knew of the Messenger of Allah was his shadow.”

They said: “True, all that we knew of the Messenger of Allah was his shadow.”

Direct your hearts to attain His pleasure and a portion of His gifts. In every day and night there are gifts, and in every month, and in this month in particular. You attain these gifts according to your connection to the one who taught us, the unique one. Take a portion of his vast, noble, priceless teachings, with sincere desire, to attain the reality of:

It is more fitting that they please Allah and His Messenger if they are truly believers.

Strive in this noble month to please the Chosen One, seeking to please Allah. Please him with your intentions, your ambitions, your words and deeds. Allah is pleased with those that praise his Prophet, those that venerate His Prophet, those that support His Prophet. He is pleased with that which pleases the Prophet.

You have spent so much of your time and thoughts seeking to please yourself, your family, your relatives and your friends. This may have caused you to travel from one country to another. Have you sought the pleasure of the Beloved? How much do you think about this? How much do you worry about this? How far have you travelled seeking his pleasure? How much hardship have you borne? How much have you sacrificed? There is nothing on the earth or in this life whose pleasure is more worthy of seeking than Muhammad.

According to your faith you strive to please Allah’s Beloved. Seek his pleasure! When the Companions saw that he was pleased, when his face shone with happiness, they said: “It was more beloved to us than red camels.” Nothing was harder for them to bear than seeing him angry, seeing the vein between his blessed eyes swell up.

Look for the true meaning of seeking his pleasure in this month. You will not find it on the satellite channels. Seek it from its source, connect to the light of his message. This will show you how to seek his pleasure, in which is the pleasure of the Most High. If you have in your heart an attribute which does not please him, then strive to rid your heart of it. He is not pleased with arrogance, so do not be content to show arrogance, even to inanimate objects, let alone animals or humans, for the Lord of all things dislikes you doing this.

Seek it by giving life to the sunnah in your house in Rabi al-Awwal! If your family are heedless of Allah between Maghrib and `Isha, joking or watching TV then bring to life the sunnah of venerating this time. Teach them at home at this time. If they are young, teach them the Arabic letters so that they are connected to the Qur’an. If they are older, go over with them the parts of the Qur’an that they have memorised.

If the sunnah of seeking forgiveness before Fajr is absent, bring it to life in Rabi al-Awwal. Let there be at least one person seeking forgiveness before Fajr in the house, one person saying to the Oft-Forgiving “forgive me!” at the time which Allah loves for people to seek His forgiveness, at the time when delegations came to the door of the Bestower.

If no-one in the house prays in congregation then teach your wife, your sister, your daughter to only pray in congregation. Bring life to these sunnahs. Remove anything that displeases your Lord from your house, anything that displeases your Prophet, audio or visual. Let the house be filled in Rabi with the remembrance of the Beloved, with the mention of his attributes, his life, his birth. You will be enlightened and so will your family.

Allah bless the people of good who are striving in the East and West, the people who are remembering and reciting the mawlid, for they are the keys to removing tribulation. People raising their voices with the remembrance of Allah and His Messenger in their houses, in the mosques and in the streets are a cause for hardships to be relieved. So many Muslim groups have lost the way. They do not know how to rectify themselves or those around them. They do not seek it from the door that Allah has opened:

Allah will not change what is in a people until they change what is in themselves.

Let us change what is in ourselves. Let us make our children feel that Rabi al-Awwal has entered, and that it is connected to the Beloved. Make them feel that their lives are founded upon loving him, venerating him and following him. This is the foundation of the whole religion. May Allah grant you strong ambition and high intentions! May the end of the month not come before some of the rays of the Beloved’s light bring some relief to the suffering of the Muslims.

O Lord, bless us in this month. Bless us in our remembrance of You and Your Messenger. Make us among those who are mentioned in Your presence, and among those who are mentioned in his presence. Bless our hearts with noble intentions that raise us to the ranks of those beloved to You, so that on the Day of Judgement we are with those that you mentioned:

The Day on which Allah will not humiliate the Prophet and those who believe with him.

Make us with him, and our families, our children, our friends, our neighbors, our students.

Their light will run before them and by their right hands, while they say: “O Lord, perfect our light for us, and forgive us, for You have power over all things.”

If anyone has anything in their heart that prevents them from seeking Your pleasure and Your Messenger’s pleasure then remove it so that they prefer You and Your Messenger over everyone else.  So that when we sleep tonight nothing is more beloved to us than You and Your Messenger. Increase us in love tomorrow and in the coming days until we meet You, O Most Generous.


 

Introduction to the Mawlid al-Barzanji – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this video, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani gives a background of the Mawlid al-Barzanji. He speaks about the life of the author, Imam Ja’far al-Barzanji, and his life and works.

Everyone thinks about whom or what they love. For the believers, however, our rejoicing is in Allah and His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace. This imperative to rejoice is a means to sustaining life of faith. One of the best things we can possibly find joy in, is the gift of the Prophet.

When we recite mawlids, or poetry in praise of the Prophet, it rejuvenates our faith and gives us joy. This is why scholars have written poetry throughout the ages, teaching the readers about the life of the Prophet. One of the best-known such poems, is the Mawlid al-Barzanji.

About Imam al-Barzanji

Imam al-Barzinji was an Imam originating from a town called Shazur in Kurdistan. He was born on Friday, the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal in the year 1040 after hijra. He was raised in Shazur, where he studied the Islamic sciences. Islamic knowledge in his hometown.

At the age of 63 he moved to Medina. This was the habit of many scholars, who would spend their lives teaching and calling to Allah. Then, in the later part of their lives, they would devote their lives to devotion and writing.

Imam al-Barzanji, however, was a Shaf’i mufti. Although he came to Medina as a foreigner, he was made the Chief Justice in Medina because of his knowledge, piety, and virtue. He died in Medina and is buried in Jannat al-Baqi’.

His Mawlid

His mawlid is very unique,  mainly focused on the birth of the Prophet and its coming. Some parts of the mawlid are composed in poetry, while other parts of it are written in prose form.

Much could be said about it, but one of its characteristics is that it speaks about the Prophet in language that is eloquence, yet is clear and easily accessible to the common person. It has been translated in many languages, including Java, Urdu and Swahili, and is widely read across the Muslim world.


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:

 

On The Permissibility of Mawlid, With Conditions, by Shaykh Salek Bin Siddina

Shaykh Salek Bin Siddina recites a poem of Muhammad bin Hasan al Khadim on why celebrating the birth of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is permissible but with conditions.

The video is in two parts, with live English translation. Our thanks to the Blessed Tree for these recordings.

[cwa id=’cta’]

Resources for seekers:

‘Tis The Season…For Mawlid Wars? – Ustadh Salman Younas

The month of Rabi` al-Awwal is here, which can only mean that some of us will witness renewed debates on the practice of celebrating the birth of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), writes Ustadh Salman Younas.

[cwa id=’cta’]
To make things easier for everyone, I’ve mentioned a handful of leading classical scholars who permitted the mawlid in its institutionalized form and those who deemed it impermissible. What is this meant to teach us? That this is a *valid* difference of opinion. While we can cordially discuss the merits of each view, no one should be condemned, mocked, or looked down upon for engaging or not engaging in such a practice, since leading scholars throughout the past few centuries have differed on this issue.

Don’t Let Your Nafs Distract You

Instead of using this time to debate and argue, let’s use it to draw closer to the greatest of creation in a manner that we individually deem sound and acceptable. If that means gathering to sing poems in his praise and celebrating his birth, then wonderful. If it means you sit alone in your house to send some salawat upon him, then wonderful. The point is not to let your nafs and the devil distract us from doing good and puff us up with arrogance/anger by occupying us with argumentation on an issue scholars have differed upon for centuries.

Some of Those who Permitted the Mawlid

  • Imam Abu’l Khattab ibn Dahiya [al-Hawi li’l fatawa (ed. Ilmiyya, pp. 189)]
  • Ibn al-Jazari [al-Arf al-ta`rif [ed. al-Kattaniya, pp. 13-43)]
  • Imam Abu Shama [al-Ba’ith fi inkar al-bid`a wa’l hawadith (ed. Dar al-Raya, pp. 95-96)]
  • Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani [al-Ajwiba al-murdiya (ed. Dar al-Raya, pp. 1117-1118)]
  • Imam al-Sakhawi [Ibid., pp. 1116-1120)]
  • Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti [al-Hawi, (pp. 189-193)]

Some of Those Who Did Not Permit the Mawlid

  • Imam Taj al-Din al-Fakihani [al-Mawrid fi amal al-mawlid (ed. Maktaba al-Ma`arif, pp, 19-27)]
  • Shaykh Ibn Taymiyya [Majmu` al-Fatawa (ed. al-Najdi, 25:298)]
  • Imam al-Haffar [al-Mi`yar (ed. al-Awqaf, 7:99-100)]
  • Imam Abu Amr ibn al-Ala’ [al-Hawi, (pp. 192)]
  • Imam Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi [al-I`tisam (ed. Maktaba al-Tawhid, 1:46)]

Methodological Differences Underlying These Positions

When it comes to the issue of innovation, we can identify two broad approaches:
(a) The dominant approach adopted by many jurists of the Shafi`i school that allowed for a general principle or text to be applied in practice in a particularized manner despite there being no specific precedent for said practice. An early example of this is the position of Imam al-Shafi`i that it is recommended to recite blessings upon the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) after uttering the tasmiya while slaughtering an animal. This is deduced from the general command in Surat al-Ahzab (33:43) of sending blessings on the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). In other words, Imam al-Shafi`i used a general command to legislate a particular practice despite there being no explicit precedent for this practice. Since such a practice could be validly subsumed under a general principle, it would not be an innovation to put into practice in an unprecedented form.
(b) Another view, which was held by a number of Maliki scholars, argued that there must be specific evidence in order to permit persistence (iltizam) on a particularized form of a general command. This is termed by al-Shatibi as takhsis al-umum bi-la dalil (specifying a general text without evidence). Those scholars agreeing with al-Shatibi would not allow reciting blessings on the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) after saying the tasmiya while slaughtering because no specific evidence exists to establish such a practice. As for the general command to send such blessings, it is alone insufficient to evidence permissibility in this case.
Therefore, the first view lends itself to being utilized to institutionalize or invent specific forms of devotional practice so long as they do not oppose the broad principles of the law.
The second view is not “open-looking” in this manner as it restricts itself to the existence of past precedent without which a devotional act cannot be invented or institutionalized. The only exception is when a devotional act is is done spontaneously or due to free-time without it being institutionalized.

Both views have support in the actions of the early Muslims:

(i) The first view is supported by the narration of Abu Hurarya who stated that Khubayb ibn Adi initiated the practice of performing two cycles of prayer before being executed. Here, Khubayb had no specific precedent but took a general recommendation of performing prayer and applied it in a particular manner to a specific time and situation. [Sahih al-Bukhari]
(ii) The second view is supported by the actions of some Companions who opposed practices that could reasonably be subsumed under general principles/text. One example is Ibn Mas’ud’s opposition to those who were engaging in group dhikr in the mosque despite the general command in the Qur’an to, “remember God.” (3:191)
Both these approaches return to ijtihadi differences and preferences. Consequently, the choice scholars make to argue for or against certain practices should be respected as an exercise of valid ijtihad based on sound methodological divergences.
And God knows best.

Resources on sending blessings on Prophet Muhammad for seekers: