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Don’t Take the Devil’s Side Against Your Brother – Shaykh Abdurrahim Reasat

What Got Him To This Stage?

I was driving down White Abbey Road in Bradford in the direction of a famous old restaurant, probably with samosas – it’s speciality – on my mind. The car in front of me slowed down and eventually stopped to allow some pedestrians – no doubt on their way to invade the local clothes shops – to cross the road. I too stopped.

 

When the traffic started moving, I noticed that there was a crowd gathered on the left. It was some young men who had been playing football in an all-weather pitch by the side of the road. They were loosely following an older man, probably in his fifties. Clean shaven, and raggedly dressed in western clothing, he walked clumsily away from them. He was clearly drunk, and probably holding a bottle of alcohol in his hand at that moment too.

 

The youths were jeering and hurling abusive comments at him. He simply walked away and left them. Perhaps he had said something foolish, or inflammatory to them. Maybe he was a someone who was always treated that way by local miscreants because of his ‘sinful’ lifestyle. I don’t know. What I do know is that there was a look on his face which betrayed feelings of extreme anguish, pain, turmoil, sadness, and rejection.

 

As I started to move along with the rest of the traffic I felt a deep sadness for the plight of this man. Was he committing a haram act by drinking? Undoubtedly! That is something we wish that he didn’t do – as it is harmful for him on many levels.

 

Why the sadness, then? Well, I began to wonder ‘What got him to this stage?’ Nothing happens in a vacuum. Allah told us, ‘God brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers not knowing anything…’ (16:78). Sins, addictions, destructive habits and actions are not pre-programmed into us. What led him to this lifestyle, then? It’s not something most Pakistani men of a comparable age would do.

 

So I prayed for him. Perhaps he’s lived through circumstances which have pushed him into this corner. Allah will judge him and the rest of us; and that judgement will be based on Allah’s knowledge of this man’s collective life experiences – not just a solitary incident. Our role is to advise according to the standards of the Shariʿa: to enjoin the good and forbid the evil – but with wisdom.

 

Wisdom – The Best Course of Action

Wisdom entails doing this properly, appropriately, and with the appropriate level of firmness or gentleness. Look at the Qurʾanic Firʿawn, who was most likely the historical figure Ramses II. A tyrant; a slave-monger; a child-killer; a genocidal maniac who convinced himself and the Egyptian populace that He was their god most high. When Allah sent Musa and Harun to him, what instructions did they recieve? ‘Go and beat him over the head with your admonishment!’? No.

 

Allah said, ‘Go [you two] to Pharaoh for indeed he has crossed all limits, and speak to him ever so gently!’ (20:44). Gently? To him? Yes. Going in guns blazing would have been contrary to wisdom.

 

Only after his repeated, stubborn refusals was he addressed with sternness in the hope that he would be shaken into realising his mistakes. All the prophets do this. In many places in the Qurʾan they are described as givers of good news (mubash-shirun) first and then as warners (mundhirun).

 

Sometimes, when seeing someone openly committing sins, or is in a destructive cycle, or in a drug or alcohol addiction, many people forget the above. Yes, hating the sin is part of faith – but not hating the sinner. How many of the companions went from being idolaters to the elite of the saints of Islam? What happened? They left the disbelief and the sins – but they remained the same individuals.

 

Seeing a sinner – someone who is wronging himself – should bring out the gentle, merciful nature in a believer. Did Allah not say to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘Is it the case that you will kill yourself over them out of pure sadness if they don’t believe in this great discourse?’ (18:7).

 

Many people are broken internally and this may not show outwardly. Perhaps the guilt they feel for their sin is pain enough to expiate that sin. Maybe they are in a situation beyond their control, which they cannot escape try as they might.

 

Was Adam not forbidden to eat from the tree? Of course he was – but he ended up doing it because he was meant to leave Paradise and come to Earth for the real test. In the afterlife, Musa had some firm words to say to him about that, to which Adam responded with a justification based on what had been decreed for him. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said Adam won that argument (Bukhari).

 

Does this mean that people can commit any sin and say ‘I can’t help it. It’s decreed for me’? No, and that’s not the point of the hadith.

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Gentleness – The Door to All Good

When someone in this unfortunate situation approaches a religious person, be he a scholar or a layman, he usually does so with a degree of reverence for this individual. A cruel or harsh approach to this person can have disastrous consequences. You could chase him away from the din, or worse – out of it!

 

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, has many beautiful and important saying on this matter: ‘Truly, whenever gentleness is in a matter it beautifies it; and whenever it is purged from something that thing becomes flawed.’ (Muslim). ‘O Allah, whoever governs any affair of the believers and then makes things hard for them, make things hard for him; and whoever is gentle to them, be gentle to him.’ (Muslim).

 

He also said, ‘Whoever is made bereft of gentleness he is made bereft of good itself.’ (Muslim) and ‘O ʿAʾisha, be gentle; because, when Allah wants great good for a family, He points them to the door of gentleness.’ (Muslim).

 

This is the approach which needs to be taken.

 

Saints and Sinners

Abu al ʿAbbas al Mursi, the famous Egyptian saint, was said to be kinder and gentler to the morally corrupt than he was to his righteous students – not to mean that he wasn’t kind to them. He saw who was more in need of the kind treatment. We see that this has its roots in the sunna of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace.

 

ʿAmr b. al ʿAs – after fighting the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, for years –  accepted Islam just before the conquest of Mecca. He later noted that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, would give special attention to the ‘worst’ of the people with him, and go out of his way to make conversation with them. Why? To aid them in their development in Islam. So much so, that ʿAmr ended up convincing himself that he was better than Abu Bakr and ʿUmar, until he realised what was going on.

 

But wasn’t the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, firm with people at times? Didn’t he get angry at times? Yes, but this was always a drop in the oceans of his loving and kind dealings with people. Never did he repeatedly, and persistently, be harsh to anyone. How could he, when he prayed for those who had tried to assassinate him at the battle of Uhud? This does not mean that he was meek, or that he could not stand up for himself. On the contrary – he was the bravest of men!

 

What it means is that the gentle side greatly outweighed the occasions where he had to be firm. Even with Kaʿb b. Malik, who, along with two other companions, didn’t take part in the military campaign against the Romans to Tubuk – despite the great need for every available man to go. Out of laziness they didn’t end up going, so, the sin was expiated by a period of them not being actively included in the community. The companions were told not to communicate with them for what eventually ended up as fifty days.

 

Even during this intense period Kaʿb would notice that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, kindly look at him whist Kaʿb was praying, but then avert his gaze when he finished his prayer. This brought solace to Kaʿb, and counterbalanced the difficulty he was experiencing.

 

He even received a letter from one of the enemies of Islam inviting him to leave Madina to go to him with the promise of looking after him generously. What role did those glances from the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, play in him resisting that temptation?

 

People are not always as them seem. Someone could come across as confident, smiling, and joking, but internally they could be carrying many wounds accumulated over the years. If this person then receives repeated harsh treatment from those he looks up to as being righteous, or from teachers, elders, respected community members, then the door to righteousness becomes less and less appealing. Which other door remains for him, then?

 

Inspire People With Hope

Turning away from bad actions – if possible – becomes less appealing, as they become a sure barrier to keep away those who treated him harshly despite him wanting and needing their help, support, and approval.

 

Such people should be directed to what’s best for them with kindness, and never should they be made to feel like there is no hope for them. A perfect example of this is the hadith in Sahih al Bukhari which mentions the mass murdered who killed ninety-nine people. He went to a worshipper wanting to know if he could repent somehow. When he was told ‘no’ he killed him and made the tally one hundred.

 

He then went to a scholar with the same question. The scholar filled him with hope, and showed him the way to repent and attain forgiveness with kindness, mercy, and wisdom. He was advised to get out of the places which he kept committing those sins in and to go to another city where there were righteous people living. He died on the way, closer to his hometown.

 

When the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment disputed over him, Allah told them to measure the spot where he died in relation to his hometown and his destination. If he was closer to the former he would be punished, otherwise, he would be shown mercy. He was in fact closer to home, but Allah caused the ground to expand and contract such that he ended up closer to his destination! Compare how Allah treated him to what the first man told him!

 

What Is Not Visible On The Surface

I once attended a Wing Chun class with a friend. There was a Muslim man there with his young sons; he had been learning for a few years, and was quite skilled.

 

During the practice element of the lesson, he raised his shorts quite high, exposing most of his thigh to everyone whilst making some point. One of those present said something like, ‘Bro, I don’t think you should be showing that.’ The comment wasn’t harsh, but it might have been better said in private afterwards. The lesson was held in the basement of a masjid, so perhaps this person assumed everyone there was religious.

 

The man who lifted the shorts got incredibly upset. To me it seemed like he was overreacting. He was quite emotional, and wanting to leave.

 

It later transpired that he was abused as a child by the teacher who he memorised the Qurʾan with. When he told his father he was told to be quiet, and when he told his mother she had the issue brushed under the carpet. This hafiz then ended up leaving Islam. He eventually returned thanks to the efforts of the martial arts instructor, but was left very scarred and sensitive to religious criticism.

 

How many people are pushed away from religion – partially or fully – due to harshness from those who they admire and expect leniency from?

 

One of the Companions who would regularly make the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, laugh had a drinking problem. Yes, a drinking problem! And, yes; he was a Companion. His name was ʿAbdullah, but was usually loving referred as ‘the Donkey’ – probably due to him humorous antics.

 

After wine had been prohibited, and the punishment for being caught drunk was in place, he ended getting punished for this on a number of occasions. This was his particular test that Allah had chosen for him. Allah had also chosen him for the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace.

 

Being someone with a drinking problem did not mean that he had no virtue or standing before Allah. The drinking was a problem, but it didn’t mean that all the good he had ever done was worthless – that he was worthless.

 

After one public punishment, one of the Companions said, ‘May Allah completely humiliate you!’ In another narration he said, ‘O Allah curse him! How many a time is he brought [for punishment for this crime]!’ This was probably as a result of the disgust he felt for the sin – after all hating sins is a part of faith.

 

Yet, the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, did not allow this sort of statement. He said to him, ‘Do not take the Devil’s side against your brother!’. What? Taking the Devil’s side? Helping him? Yes! The Devil wants all the descendants of Adam in Hell. Closing the door of warm, affectionate support for this person, such that it would prevent him from wanting to associate with the Muslims, is akin to helping the Devil lead him to Hell.

 

Not only that, the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, ‘Do not curse him! [I swear] By Allah, all I know of him is that he loves Allah and His Messenger!’ (Bukhari).

 

What was that again? He loves Allah and His Messenger? That’s no small feat! And this statement came from the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, himself too! This internal act made him deserving of kindness and compassion, just like he got the flogging for publicly drinking.

 

Perhaps there are some similarities between him and the man swaying and staggering up White Abbey Road…

 

Something merely broken can usually be fixed without much difficulty; but something severely shattered is not at all easily fixed…

10 Ways of Benefit for Menstruating Women in Ramadan

Dread your period during the blessed month of Ramadan? Feel like you’re missing out on all the worship you could otherwise do? As Nour Merza writes, there is much to look forward to.

Every Ramadan, most women will have about a week in which they are unable to join in the major religious practices of the holy month: fasting and praying. Many women, when their menstrual period begins, find that their level of engagement with the high spiritual atmosphere of the month drops. The same goes for those whose postnatal bleeding coincides with Ramadan. For many of these women, frustration and a sense of lacking spirituality sets in.

This, however, shouldn’t be the case.

Menstruation, postnatal bleeding, and other uniquely feminine concerns are all part of Allah’s creation, which He created in perfect wisdom. They are not a punishment for women wanting to draw near their Lord. They are just part of the special package of blessings, opportunities and challenges that God has given uniquely to women. To refrain from ritual prayer (the salaat) and ritual fasting (the sawm) during this time is actually considered a form of worship, and, if done with the intention of obeying God, it earns women good deeds.

In order to take full advantage of the blessed month of Ramadan, however, menstruating women and those with postnatal bleeding can do more than refraining from ritual prayer and ritual fasting to draw near God. Below are ten ways that women unable to fast can boost their spirituality during this special month.

menstruating women in Ramadan

1. Increase dhikr

In the Hanafi school, it is recommended for menstruating women to make wudu, wear their prayer clothes, and sit on their prayer mat while doing dhikr during the time they would normally be praying. This would be especially good to do in Ramadan, a time of special focus on worship. In addition to the adhkar that are well-known sunnas – such subhanAllah, alhamdullillah and Allahu akbar – if you have a litany from a shaykh and are allowed to repeat it more than once a day, try to do it twice or three times for increased blessings. Dhikr has a special way of touching the heart, and by invoking God’s names whenever you can during this unique month you create the space, inshaAllah, for beautiful spiritual openings. See: The Effects of Various Dhikr – Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad

2. Increase du’aa

Du’aa is something we do very little of these days, but speaking directly to your Lord is one of the most intimate ways to connect with Him. The beauty of du’aa is that you can make it in any place or time. Take this opportunity to ask your Lord for all that you need in your life, and to draw near Him through either repeating the beautiful du’aas of the Prophet or reaching out to God with your own unique words. See: Ten Powerful Du’as That Will Change Your Life

3. Feed others

Whether it be your family, neighbors, community members or the poor, use the time you are not fasting to make meals that fill the stomachs and souls of those around you. Recite the salawat on the Prophet (pbuh) while making the food, as this imbues the food with spiritual benefit as well. Consider sponsoring iftar at your local mosque one evening with some other women who are in your situation, or volunteering at a local soup kitchen.  See also: “Manifesting Mercy: Feeding Your Way to God” – Nader Khan at Brampton Islamic Centre.

4. Gain Islamic knowledge

Use the extra time and energy you have from not fasting and praying to increase your knowledge of the faith. Listen to scholars discussing timely issues on our SeekersHub podcasts, form a small circle of non-fasting women who can commit to reading a book on Islam and discuss it together, or take some time to read articles on the religion from trusted online sources, such as Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s blog or Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad’s article collection at masud.co.uk. See also: Importance of Intention in Seeking Knowledge.

5. Increase your charity

We are surrounded by countless blessings, so make sure to spread those blessings in the month of Ramadan. Give money to a good cause, such as supporting Syrian refugees, helping a local poor family with school fees, or supporting students of Islamic knowledge through programs like SeekersHub’s #SpreadLight campaign. In a very busy world, we may have little opportunity to give our time to help others in charity – giving money takes minimal time, but brings great benefit. See: Eligible Zakat Recipients, Giving Locally vs. Abroad, Charity to a Mosque, and Proper Handling of Donations.

6. Make your responsibilities a form of worship

Sometimes, women are overwhelmed by the responsibilities of the home and young children, and cannot make time to do things like study or sponsor an iftar. In these circumstances, renew your intention regarding your role as a mother and a wife. See these demanding and time-consuming roles for what they are: responsibilities that you are fulfilling to please God, which makes them a type of worship. Ask God to accept all your work as worship, and approach all that you do in this way. This will make even the most mundane of tasks, such as changing another diaper, cleaning up  another spilled cup of apple juice, or making yet another dinner a way for you to gain the pleasure of your Lord. See: Balancing Worship and Caring for a New Child.

7. Listen to the Quran

menstruating women in Ramadan

Although the Hanafi schools holds that women cannot cannot touch the mushaf or recite Quran while experiencing menses or postpartum bleeding, they are able to listen to the recitation of the Quran. Doing so offers much benefit in a month that has such heavy emphasis on reciting the book. You can take special time out of your day to listen to it, such as while children are napping, or you can listen to it while in the midst of cooking or cleaning the house. See also: Listening to Qur’an While Occupied With Other Tasks

8. Increase Repentance

Ramadan is an excellent time to increase repentance to God. Use moments when others are praying or breaking their fast to ask God to forgive you and your loved ones and to keep you from returning to sin. All we have is a gift from Allah, so even forgetting that for a moment is a deed worth asking forgiveness from. Know that God is the Forgiving, and trust that, as our scholars have said, the moment you ask for forgiveness you are truly forgiven. See also: Damaged Inner State? Imam Ghazali on Repentance

9. Babysit to help mothers worship

Mothers with young children often find it difficult to go to the mosque because they worry that their kids will disturb others who are praying. Since you don’t need to be at the mosque, volunteer a night or two (or more!) to babysit the children of a young mother who would love to go pray taraweeh. If you have young children of your own, you can tell the mother to bring her kids to your house before the prayer. By helping this woman worship, you will gain the same good deeds she gets from going to that prayer. See: I Love Being A Woman!

10. Spread love and light

Use the extra time and energy you have to share the joys of Ramadan and Eid with your non-Muslim friends, peers and neighbors. Invite a work colleague for an iftar, make a special Ramadan dish and give it to a neighbor, or take time to make special cookies or gift bags for peers at the office or in school to hand out during Eid. By sharing these happy moments with friends and colleagues in the non-Muslim community, you counter the negative narratives about Islam in the media. More than that, however, you become someone who creates bonds in an increasingly isolated world, reflecting the beauty of the Prophetic light to all those around you. See: How Can Muslims Become More Effective Community Members?

Cover photo by Edward Musiak. Tasbih photo by Brian Jeffery Beggerly. Quran photo by Mohmed Althani.

Resources for Seekers

Am I Responsible for Childhood and Adolescent Errors?

Shaykh Abdurrahim Reasat provides advice on how to rectify errors and mistakes in childhood when the property and rights of others have been infringed upon.

 

Question:

As-Salaamu A’laykum,

1. As a child, I remember that when I was in primary school, I would play with the glue sticks and I would remove some of the glue with it to mold it etc, this would be removing the glue from the actual glue stick and in a way damaging the glue stick, how would i go about to fulfill any rights I have gone against, I believe Asia is the brand
of glue stick  yet they can only be ordered in bulk and I am 19, and will have to spend a lot of money just for one glue stick as you cannot buy a single one of the brand, however there are other brands whereby you can buy single sticks which is manageable yet are not the same brand, would it be allowed for me to buy these?

2. Also for some reason, I fear that I may stole or likely to have stolen a pencil from the school, I then bought similar pencils of the same brand yet they have rubbers on them and I have some fear that it is not exactly similar, should I buy some more pencils to return them without rubbers or is this sufficient to give,

3. Another incident that occurred when younger was that being immature I wrecked and destroyed plants of a neighbor, however this neighbor knew it was me and subsequently came to my grandma’s house to inform
them of what happened, am I required to pay back anything or does the fact that she came to my house indicate that the matter has been dealt with. And further on from this I used to climb into gardens when I was young and fear that by this I could have caused damage to neighbor’s plants- do I need to approach them for forgiveness and to fulfill any
debts?

4. And if I may ask, once my uncle uploaded some pictures onto my laptop to which he indicated that the folder was not not be opened, unfortunately, I acted immaturely and opened them, but there is nothing that may indicate that I did open them, I did not confess anything about this, am I supposed to or can I simply repent to Allah without mentioning what I have done?

5. Another point is, that about 2 years ago, I was in a youth area of part of a local institute whereby I unfortunate got slightly hyper and ended up jumping on top of a table tennis table when only 2 of my friends were there, now I don’t know the effect of this, but the institute did not use that table and now currently have a different one – I don’t know 100% know what happened top that old table and whether I caused any damage to it but I feel that just by jumping on it would not break it yet they don’t use it anymore- what should I do now, is there something for me to fulfill a right here?

6. Just to end with this, I was given a task, about 2018 to give out some leaflets that was promoting an Islamic studies program, I myself am actually part of that institute and so it was voluntarily for me to
hand them out which I did, now my area is quite big and I am sure that there are places that I went to and posted the leaflets to houses that were non muslim, now I didn’t have a direct instruction to post them in muslim houses yet I feel that indirectly this was the aim as the organizer said post them in such and such area as they are mostly
muslim, now I had a feeling that I didn’t want to be someone to judge people and to not give them a leaflet despite whether they were or were not muslim, did I do wrong by this act, am I in need to fulfill any wrongs or debts here, or pay back the value of certain letters?

Jazak’Allahu Khairan for your time and I ask for your duas that I can fulfill all what I am in need to.

 

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

Returning Financial Rights

In general, if a child damages the property of another he is not sinful for that act, but the owner must be compensated for the damage, loss, theft, or whatever it may be from the wealth of the child – if he has any. This is only for things known to have happened for certain. (Maydani, al Lubab)

Usually, people are not too bothered by some minor loss they incurred years ago, but it is best to contact them, mention the scenario, and ask if they would like to be reimbursed for their loss. Most of the time people, past employers, friends, etc will overlook the matter. However, should someone demand payment it should be made.

One may contact them directly, or anonymously through an intermediary. If the person is a non-Muslim you can intend to invite them to Islam at the same time. Many people are touched by such actions and my be drawn closer to Islam by them.

You can do this for all the scenarios in your question. I don’t think giving the leaflets to non-Muslims is something you should worry about.

A Back-Up Plan For Unrestored Rights

The great saint and scholar, Shaykh Abd al Wahhab al Sha’rani, recommend that we should regularly perform and act of worship and donate its reward to all of the people we have wronged in some way. This will be a countermeasure for the harm we do to ourselves by wronging them, and a means of appeasing them on the Day of Judgement. (Sha’rani, al Kawkab al Shahiq).

I hope that helps.

Abdul-Rahim

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

 

Stealing from a Friend and Making Amends

Ustadh Farid Dingle gives advice on how to make amends for having stolen from a friend one no longer is in contact with.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

When I was in school my friend went to the bathroom and gave her lunchbox to me. I took one of the chicken she had bought and I ate It Will Allah forgive me I have left the school and I don’t have any contact with the girl.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Assalamu alaykum,

Dear questioner, if you genuinely cannot find her, just give some charity with the intention of an expiation and that she will get the reward.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


https://seekersguidance.org/answers/hanafi-fiqh/13116/

 

Forgiveness in Light of Being With The People, by Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

Forgiveness in Light of Being With The People, by Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

Capturing the Spirit of Ramadan
Mercy, Forgiveness and Salvation

Every night our Ramadan scholars will explore one of the three key spiritual goals of Ramadan. Each talk will conclude with a dynamic conversation as we explore mercy, forgiveness and salvation deeply and see how we can attain these divine gifts practically. These talks will enliven and inspire us as we begin our nightly ‘isha and tarawih prayers.

Let’s #GiveLight to Millions More

We envision a world in which no one is cut off from the beauty, mercy and light of the Prophetic ﷺ example. A world where the dark ideology of a few is dwarfed by radiant example of the many who follow the way of the Prophet ﷺ. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support. This Ramadan, we need you to help us #GiveLight to millions more. Here’s how.

Art by Tom Gowanlock

Apostasy and Good Deeds

Ustadh Salman Younas unpacks the question of the deeds of an apostate who returns to Islam.

My question is on the deeds of the apostate. I know that apostasy invalidates good deeds but I want to know the opinion of the majority of scholars and maddhabs; whether they are returned to him when he repents and reverts back to Islam?

Also, when he or she does return back, is it necessary to repeat Hajj because I find it against the mercy of Allah Most High to wipe out all good deeds and keep his sins even if the apostate repents because apostasy is very easy to fall into so how can one word of kufr destroy all hard work even if one repents?

The first thing to point out is that apostasy is absolutely not a very easy state to enter into. While some people and texts may give such an erroneous and dangerous impression, scholars are quite clear that the conditions for deeming a person out of the fold are extremely stringent. When it comes to supposed acts or statements of kufr by a person, any excuse or interpretation that keeps him or her inside the fold of Islam is favored over those that do not.

As for the deeds of the apostate – someone who is shown to have decisively left the faith – there are two main positions on the issue:

  1. The deeds of the apostate who returns to Islam are not invalidated. Thus, he or she would not be required to repeat Hajj if they had already performed it before their apostasy and while Muslim.
  2. The deeds of the apostate who returns to Islam are invalidated. Thus, he or she would be required to repeat the Hajj even if they had already performed it before their apostasy while Muslim.

There is also a difference on the reward for previous acts. Some scholars stated that the rewards for the actions an apostate performed while Muslim are also nullified (and this was stated even by those who opined that such a person does not have to repeat acts the apostate did while Muslim, such as Hajj), while others stated that if he returns to Islam, he or she may continue to possess these rewards in some form. (al-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim; Ibn al-Arabi, Ahkam al-Qur’an; Ibn Abidin, Hashiya; al-Shafi‘i, Kitab al-Umm)

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Losing Hope and Struggling with the Din

Shaykh Farid Dingle answers a question about struggling with one’s din, not feeling worthy of Islam, and losing hope and trust in Allah.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I’ve been struggling with the din since Allah drew me back into the religion when a calamity had befallen me because there was no other way out. Since then I’ve been practicing. I think to myself, “Why me?” because I disobey Allah a lot and then I repent and then intentionally go back to it. This same cycle repeats over and over again. Eventually I give up. I start to pray less and fall into despair.

There are times where I also disobey my parents. I try my best to obey as much as I can but when it comes to matters which are prohibited in Islam I don’t listen. There’s a hadith that says, whoever is disobedient to their parents will never enter paradise. When I read this, I just start to give up and think to myself, “What’s the point? Might as well just go all out.”

This was one of the reasons why I nearly left Islam. I really don’t know what to do anymore.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Dear questioner,

Allah Most High says in the Qur’an,

“Say, ‘O My servants who have transgressed against themselves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.’”

“And return utterly in repentance to your Lord and submit to Him before the punishment comes upon you; then you will not be helped.” (Sura al-Zumar 39:53-54)

And the Holy Prophet has said, Allah bless him and grant him peace, “By Him in whose hand is my soul, if you did not sin, Allah would do away with you, and bring a people who would sin and then they seek forgiveness from Allah, and He would forgive them.” (Muslim)

And he also said, “Verily, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a person who has his camel in a waterless desert on whose back is his provision of food and drink which is then lost. He, having lost all hope (to get that back), lies down in shade despaired of ever finding his camel; when all of a sudden he finds the camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then, out of boundless joy, blurts out, ‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Lord!’ making a mistake out of extreme joy.’” (Muslim)

So we can learn from these divine teachings that we should not despair of Allah’s forgiveness, and that the cycle of sinning and then repenting, that sinning and then repenting again is part and parcel of our relationship with Allah, and that He loves us to repent to Him. All we have to do is keep striving.

Hope and Fear

In the verses above, Allah first reminds us of His mercy and then reminds of His punishment. This is a repeated theme in the Quran: always having hope, but not forgetting to fear Allah.

The Devil likes to trick us by making us give up hope, or by making us too hopeful. The way of safety is in between, with fear and hope always vying to control our hearts and always encouraging us to keep going.

Company

Allah Most High has told us, “O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with those who are true.” (Sura al-Tawba 9:119) And the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look well to whom he befriends.” (Abu Dawud)

This verse and hadith tell us that we have to be very careful about those with whom we associate, be it in friendships or in the virtual world. Often we get held back by the bad company we keep.

It is not a lack of loyalty to politely avoid your friends of the past who keep dragging one into sin. In fact it is from loyalty to Allah that one do that.

If you don’t change your environment to the extent you can, it is very, very hard to change your life and progress.

Persistence

You are not alone in your struggle. This is what all of us face in life on various different levels. We just have to keep working on ourselves bit by bit, trying our best, relying upon Allah, and seeking His forgiveness when we fall on our nose.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Asking Forgiveness for Childhood Wrongs

Ustadh Tabraze Azam advice on how to redress and seek forgiveness past wrongs committed against others and whether repentance alone suffices.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

When I was a child and perhaps also after maturity, I would climb into gardens of others such as my neighbors when, let’s say, a football fell into their garden. Should I know seek their forgiveness? Did I go against a right of a creation?

There is also one thing that I did when I was a child. This was very immature of me. I threw eggs sometimes at a persons house. I am not sure if they live in the same house. I also know where the house is.

In regards to this what should I do? Is there a way for me to approach them without making myself known to them?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

It would be a good idea to make a general repentance from all sin and transgressions in life. Allah Most High says:

Say, O Prophet, that Allah says, ‘O My servants who have exceeded the limits against their souls! Do not lose hope in Allah’s mercy, for Allah certainly forgives all sins. He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’ (Sura al Zamr 39:53)

Thereafter, some righteous scholars have suggested giving something in charity or the like with the intention of making things up to people you may have wronged unknowingly.

Muslim recorded a lengthy tradition (hadith) in which the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: The bankrupt [person] from my Community is the one who comes on the Last Day with his prayer, fasting and zakat, yet he swore at so and so, accused so and so of fornication, wrongfully consumed the wealth of so and so,” and other wrongs which lead to his good deeds being taken away from him, thus amounting to nothing.

In this case, specifically, you can consider leaving an anonymous note at the home in question, explaining your regret at being involved in such behavior, perhaps even with a gift. As for merely taking your ball from a garden, this was not the ideal thing to do as it entails entry without permission, but as long as you didn’t damage any property, repenting alone would suffice.

Please also see A Reader on Tawba (Repentance) and How Can I Redress a Wrong I Committed Against Someone? (Video).

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Wiping over Socks – 24 Hour Clock

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about wiping over socks, how and when the validity timeframe resets, and what states affect this.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

If after doing wudu, you intend to wipe over your socks (masah) later that day, but miss a salah, does your 24 hour masah clock begin from the start of the missed prayer (say isha if you fell asleep without praying), or does it still begin from the first time you wipe your socks (after waking up, assuming socks were kept on after the original wudu at the start of the day)?

Jazak Allah khayr.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

The time limit for wiping over your footgear (khuffs) begins when you nullify your ritual ablution (wudu) for the first time. With respect to sleep, this would be the time you fell asleep and not the time you woke up.

For example, if you performed wudu at 3pm, and then nullified it at 5pm, you would have until 5pm the following day to wipe over your footgear. In the same example, if you fell asleep at 4pm and awoke at 6pm, you’d have until 4pm the following day.

Your footgear forms something of a metaphysical barrier around your feet preventing any ritual impurity from affecting them. As such, this barrier only begins to work when you nullify your wudu for the first time because ritual impurity would have now affected your limbs.

Missing a prayer, though clearly wrong, doesn’t change this ruling, but it does necessitate repentance.

(Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar)

Please also see: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance) and The Ruling of Wiping over Footgear (Khuffs)

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Can I Swear on the Qur’an to Cover a Past Sin?

Ustadh Salman Younas is asked whether it is permissible to swear on the Qur’an in order to conceal a past sin one has repented.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

It is not permissible to publicize one’s sins. I have committed a sin in that past from which I have repented. What should I do if I were confronted about this sin and made to swear an oath on the Qur’an?

Is it permissible to take this oath in order to protect myself and my future?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

The general rule is that it is necessary to conceal one’s sins and repent. In a report related by Abu Hurayra, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, stated that all members of his community would be forgiven save those who publicize their sins. (Bukhari, Muslim)

Based on this, scholars have stated that it would be permitted to lie when a person is confronted about their sins, though it is superior to utilize misleading words rather than engage in an actual lie. (Al-Saffarini, Sharh al-Manzuma; Al-Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha)

If one is forced to take an oath in regard to one’s sins, it would follow the same ruling mentioned above. Thus, one would be allowed to express the oath in a way that conceals one’s sin, such as by intending something other than the apparent and literal meaning of the words of one’s oath. For example, stating “I swear I did not lie” but intending by it not lying to a specific person.

For more see: Can We Deny Having Committed Sins After We Have Repented from Them?

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.