Posts

Love & Connection to the Messenger ﷺ Entails Expressed Concern – Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

In this powerful talk, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin highlights some examples of loving the Messenger ﷺ from the companions and early predecessor of Islam (the salaf).

He explains that this love should translate into giving victory to the way (sunna) of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) by being concerned for the guidance of humanity and expressing that concern. Ustadh Amjad calls on all Muslims to take an active part in calling people to Allah (da’wa), as this is one of the greatest ways to give victory to the the way (sunna) of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). He also highlights that being truly connected to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is through unbroken chains of transmission (sanad).


Register for classes, seminars and events at SeekersHub Toronto – all programs are FREE. #GiveLight: Help SeekersHub spread the light of Prophetic guidance to millions worldwide.
[cwa id=’cta’]

Scholars, Students of Knowledge, and Poverty – Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari – IlmGate

Muhammad ibn Adam

Scholars, Students of Knowledge, and Poverty | IlmGate

By Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari

Question:

How does a Muslim scholar, serious student, and others who have devoted their lives to the service of Islam and the Muslims support himself/herself? I ask because this is perhaps one of the main reasons why parents don’t wish for their children to become scholars of Islam — they are usually poor, they don’t get paid much at all (if at all), and they attract trouble from different extremist groups.

I come from an upper middle-class family. How can I convince my parents that I can become a Muslim scholar and have sufficient finances to support myself and my family?

Answer:

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

This is indeed a very important issue that affects no doubt many students of Islamic knowledge and those wishing to devote their lives to studying and teaching Islamic sciences and dedicating themselves to the service of Islam. I would like to shed some light on the issue from two perspectives. The first part of the answer will look at the virtues of poverty and its strong attachment with acquiring sacred knowledge, and how poverty was the hallmark of our pious predecessors. The second part will look at the importance of scholars and those devoting their lives to the service of Deen having a sufficient income and the responsibility of the community in terms of taking care of their scholars. With this twofold approach, there will be a balance in what I intend to say, Insha Allah.

Poverty, hunger and scarcity of wealth, the hallmark of our predecessors

The great late scholar of Hadith and other Islamic sciences, Shaykh Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda (may Allah have mercy on him) compiled an excellent work on the trials, tribulations and hardships that faced many of this Umma’s scholars titled “Safahat min Sabr al-Ulama ala Shada’id al-Ilm wa al-Tahsil” (Pages on the fortitude of scholars upon the trials of studying and collecting knowledge), wherein he recorded some incredible incidents concerning our scholars and showed how much hardship they had to endure whilst studying and acquiring sacred knowledge. Some remained hungry for days, others were not able to provide for their families and some did not even marry. Some scholars went to the extent of selling their personal belongings, cloths and furniture to fund their studies and to buy books. I would really encourage students of sacred knowledge, who understand Arabic, to read this book over and over again, so that it gives us strength and makes us realize that the lack of wealth we have today is nothing in comparison to the hardships the great luminaries of Islam had to face and endure.

NewImage

The fact is that the Sunna of Allah Most High has always been (for a wisdom that He knows best) to keep those close to Him and those who dedicate their lives for the service of His Deen far away from the wealth and riches of this temporary world. The word “Dunya” is from the Arabic root word “Dunuw” which means degraded and humiliated. Thus, men of Allah have always been far and distant from gathering the riches of this mortal world. Indeed, there are exceptions to this general ruling, hence we do see some great personalities of Islam having wealth in their possession, but that remains an exception and was something intended for them by Allah Most High, as it suited them, and they too utilized this wealth for Islamic causes and charities.

We see the many Prophets of Allah (peace be upon them all) that they barely made ends meet. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) is a classic example for us, in that he preferred poverty over sumptuousness. His poverty was a poverty of choice and not something that was enforced upon him.

Let us look at some of the Hadiths in this regard, taken from Imam Nawawi’s Riyadh al-Salihin:

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “If I had the whole of Uhud in gold, it would not make me happy for three days to pass while I have any of it except something I have kept for a debt.” [Agreed upon]

An-Nu’man ibn Bashir said: “Umar ibn al-Khattab mentioned the things of this world that the people had acquired and he said, “One day I saw the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) sifting through some bad dates he had found in order to fill his belly.” [Muslim]

Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) said: “When the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) died, there was nothing in my house that could be eaten by a living creature except for half a barley loaf on a shelf. I ate from it until I seemed to have had it for a long time. Then I measured it and it finished.” [Agreed upon]

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “The poor will enter the Paradise five hundred years before the rich.” [At-Tirmidhi]

Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) said: “The family of Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) never had their fill of barley bread for two consecutive days until he died.” [Agreed upon] In one variant, “From the time he came to Madina, the family of Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) never had their fill of wheat bread for three consecutive nights until he died.”

Urwa reported that A’isha used to say: “By Allah, nephew, we used to see three crescent moons in two months without a fire being lit in the houses of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace). I said. “Aunt, what did you live off?” She said, “The two black ones: dates and water. However, the Messenger of Allah had some neighbours among the Ansar, and they have milk camels, and they would send us some of their milk and we would drink it.” [Agreed upon]

Hence, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and his noble family lived a life that was far from the riches and wealth we find ourselves in today. He remained hungry for days and tied stones on his belly out of hunger. His dress was very humble, so too was his house. There are many Hadiths covered in Riyadh al-Salihin in this regard, but the abovementioned few narrations should be sufficient for the people of reflection.

The blessed companions of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) also lived a similar lifestyle. The Companion who narrated the most Hadiths from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), and who devoted and dedicated all his life to seeking the light of knowledge was Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him). He himself says: “There is none among the companions of the Prophet who has narrated more Hadiths than I except Abd Allah ibn Amr (ibn al-’As) who used to write them and I never did the same.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

When we search for the reason behind Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra learning sacred knowledge in abundance and narrating a lot of Hadiths, it becomes clear that the main cause was that he chose to live a life of poverty and not utilize his time in gathering wealth.

Imam Bukhari relates in his Sahih that Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) said: “People say that I have narrated many Hadiths. Had it not been for two verses in the Qur’an, I would not have narrated a single Hadith, and the verses are: “Verily those who conceal the clear sign and the guidance which We have sent down . . . (up to) Most Merciful.” (2:159-160). And no doubt our Muhajir (emigrant) brothers used to be busy in the market with their business transactions and our Ansari brothers used to be busy with their property (agriculture). But I (Abu Hurayra) used to remain with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) contented with what will fill my stomach and I used to attend that which they used not to attend and I used to memorize that which they used not to memorize.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 1/190)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) also said: “I saw seventy of the people of Suffa and not a man among them had a cloak. They either had a waist wrapper or a sheet (kisa’) which they tied round their necks, some reaching to the middle of their legs and some reaching to the ankles. They would gather them in their hands, not wanting their private parts to be seen.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

In accordance with the Sunna of the Prophets and the Companions, the great Imams and scholars of this Umma also led a life of poverty and self-restraint. They chose a life of hardships and trials over a life of luxury and comfort.

Sayyiduna Imam Shafi’i (Allah have mercy on him) said: “No one seeks this knowledge with pride and self-importance and then succeeds; rather, the one who seeks knowledge by putting himself down, enduring economic difficulties and serving the Ulama is successful.”

Imam Shafi’i also said: “Seeking sacred knowledge is inappropriate except for a destitute person.”

Sayyiduna Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him) said: “No one reaches the level of learning that he desires until he endures the hardships of poverty, and he prefers poverty above everything.”

Dawud ibn Mikhraq said: I heard Nadhr ibn Shumayl say: “No individual will taste the pleasure of sacred knowledge until he becomes hungry and forgets his hunger.”

Sayyiduna Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Allah have mercy on him) used to give poverty preference over everything else and he would say: “Patience (sabr) on poverty is a station (maqam) that only great people achieve, and poverty is more virtuous than prosperity.”

One of the Imams talked about his patience and tolerance (sabr) with poverty and that it reached such a level that even the “Sabr” pleaded to him for help and said enough. He replied: “O Sabr! Have patience”!

Imam al-Zabidi (Allah have mercy on him) said a few lines of poetry in which he said: “I said to poverty (faqr) where do you reside? “Poverty” replied: “In the turbans of the Fuqaha (scholars). I have a special bond and tie with them; hence it is difficult for me to break this tie”! (All quotes taken from Shaykh Abdal Fattah Abu Ghudda’s work, Safahat min Sabril Ulama)

Moreover, these great luminaries of Islam suffered a great deal of hardship in acquiring sacred knowledge. The incidents that took place in their lives of hardships, poverty, trials and tribulations are too many to be mentioned here. If one wishes to study them, one may refer to the above-mentioned book of Shaykh Abd al-Fattah (Allah have mercy on him).

Importance of scholars having a sufficient income

Having said all of the above, it is also important to remember that Ulama and Shuyukh cannot survive without any income. They also have bills, rent to pay and families to provide for. Thus, classical Ulama also acknowledged the fact that extreme poverty can hinder one’s service to the Deen.

Sayyiduna Imam Shafi’i (Allah have mercy on him) said: “Do not take advice from one who has no flour in his house, because he will be overcome by distress.” (Manaqib Imam Shafi’i by al-Bayhaqi)

The reason behind this, as the Ulama explain, is that if a scholar is overwhelmed by extreme poverty and destituteness, he will not be able to devote his full attention towards teaching and serving the Deen of Allah. He will always be concerned with providing for his family and earning that which will help him get through life.

Thus, Ulama explain that there are two types of poverty:

1) Dark poverty (al-faqr al-aswad)

This is when poverty completely overwhelms a person to the extent that his mind is always occupied in trying to earn a living. This kills one’s intellectual potential and capacity, and the one involved in it disintegrates as a green plant would fade away when it is starved of water. This is the poverty regarding which the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Poverty may sometimes lead to disbelief”. This is the type of poverty from which the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) sought the refuge and protection of Allah Most High.

2) White poverty (al-faqr al-abyadh)

This is a situation where an individual is no doubt poor, but it is not to an extreme level. He is able to get through the daily economic responsibilities on a limited scale. One is content with what Allah has allocated for one; hence this poverty does not affect one’s intellectual potential, although others are generally far better well-off than one. This type of poverty is actually a blessing for a student of sacred knowledge, especially in the early days of learning, for one is saved from the worldly temptations that wealth can bring about.

Therefore, in conclusion, students of Islamic knowledge must understand that the path they have taken is a path of self-restraint, poverty and humility. One will no doubt have to sacrifice the luxuries of this world in order to truly reach a high level of knowledge and piety. Knowledge requires sacrifice. Historically, this sacrifice meant walking thousands of miles, hunger and in some cases even loss of limb. It is said that Imam Zamakhshari had a leg amputated because of frostbite he got when journeying in pursuit of knowledge.

If one is prepared to sacrifice the luxuries of this world during the early days of learning, Allah Most High then normally showers this person with bounties later on in life. The great master of inward sciences, Ibn Ata’illah as-Sikandari (Allah have mercy on him) said: “Whosoever does not endure a difficult beginning, does not have a bright ending” (man lam takun lahu bidayat muhriqa, lam takun lahu nihaya mushriqa).

At the same time, Muslim communities need to realize that scholars also have to survive and earn a living. Unfortunately, Muslim communities generally don’t appreciate and value Islamic knowledge in a manner they value other things. Scholars who dedicate their day and night in studying, teaching, researching and imparting knowledge are considered to be such that “they have nothing better to do”. Believe me, they can also go out and earn a luxurious lifestyle. They can also open their own businesses and gather wealth, but they choose not to engage themselves in earning wealth, rather they prefer to devote their lives for the service of Islam. The least we can do is to cater for their daily needs.

Imam Ibn Khallidun states in his renowned al-Muqaddima that the main reason behind Ulama being generally poor is that the masses don’t value what they have to offer. Only a handful of people truly appreciate their worth, hence they are not paid adequately. They themselves don’t like to degrade themselves by asking others to cater for their needs, hence they remain in poverty.

The value of Islamic scholars is much more than academic experts in other fields, for these experts cater for us in this life, whilst the Ulama give us advice and guide us in this life as well as the next. Hence, they should be looked after in the same manner as the experts in the other fields are looked after. Thus, we should ensure that our scholars are financially comfortable in a manner befitting their rank and honour, and that we support them in a thankful and dignified manner, not as if they are needy.

Today we see that Ulama are forced to work and run a business, for they are unable to support themselves and their families with the meagre income they acquire through teaching. As a result, their intellectual potential isn’t fully deployed for the service of the deen. This is the reason we find very few Ulama who are fully committed to the cause of teaching and research, especially in the West.

Thus, Muslim communities really need to wake up and truly appreciate the work of the Ulama. They should move away from paying the “minimum wage” to these great Shuyukh and cater for their needs in a more appropriate and respectful manner. At the same time, students of Islamic knowledge should realize that the path they have taken is not a path of gathering wealth; rather it is a path of sacrifices and hardships. With this balance, we will, Insha Allah, produce Ulama who resemble our pious predecessors in their inward and outward qualities.

And Allah knows best.

Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa (www.daruliftaa.com)
Leicester , UK

AND MUHAMMAD IS HIS MESSENGER: The Obligation to Love the Prophet (PBUH) and the Significance of Sending Prayers Upon Him | Nur Sacred Sciences

AND MUHAMMAD IS HIS MESSENGER: The Obligation to Love the Prophet (PBUH) and the Signifance of Sending Prayers Upon Him | Nur Sacred Sciences

It is reported that the Messenger of God (PBUH) said, “None of you truly believe until I have become more beloved to him than his father, his children and all of humankind.”  The Messenger of God (PBUH) also said, “Whoever possesses the following three qualities has tasted the sweetness of faith: the one for whom God and His Messenger are dearer than anything else,  [one] who loves a person and he loves him solely for God’s sake, and [one] who hates to revert to a state of disbelief as he hates to be thrown into the fire.”

In another hadith it is narrated, “We were with the Prophet and he took the hand of ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab. ‘Umar said to Him, “O Messenger of God, you are dearer to me than everything except my own self.” The Prophet said, “No, by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, (you will not have complete faith) until I am dearer to you than your own self.” Then ‘Umar said to him, “By God, it is now that you are dearer to me than my own self.” The Prophet said, “Now, O ‘Umar.”

As demonstrated in these hadiths and many others similar to it, loving the Messenger of God (PBUH) is a condition of faith (imān) and an indication of its genuineness.  This love engenders sincerity in our efforts to follow his (PBUH) example, facilitates the application of his (PBUH) teachings in our daily lives, and enables us to remain steadfast in walking on his (PBUH) straight path (al-ṣirāṭ al-mustaqīm), under the Prophetic banner.

Ḥasan al-Baṣrī relates that a group of individuals claimed to love God and so God tested their love by revealing the verses: “Say if you love God, then follow me and God will love you and forgive your sins [al-ʿImrān: 31].”  Al-Junayd said, “No one has reached God except through God.  And the path to reaching God is following the Chosen One (PBUH) (al-Muṣtafa).”  “Reaching God” (al-wuṣūl ilā Allāh) means, attaining a state in which God is pleased (marḍātillāh) with one.  It is based on this perspective that the Messenger of God (PBUH) said, “All of my community will enter Paradise except those who refuse.”  It was asked, “O Messenger of God, who refuses?”  He said, “Whoever obeys me will enter Heaven.  Whoever disobeys me has refused.”[1]

It is not possible for an individual to bring about a profound transformation of on an entire community as long as the members of that community do not feel a sense of love and respect for the one leading this change, as well as a willingness to accept his instructions and carry out his orders.  No amount of wealth or power can persuade a community to posses this sort of love, respect, and loyalty.  It is only a superior level of good character and refinement of the soul, as that possessed by our Prophet (PBUH), which can engender these emotions.

Indeed, the Prophet (PBUH) was not a wealthy or powerful figure who exercised his authority through force.  In fact, he lacked the material means that would have enabled him to have such power over men.  He used to tell his people in the words of the Qur’an, “Say, ‘I do not tell you I have the treasures of God, and I do not know the unseen.  And I do not tell you that I am an angel.  I only follow what has been revealed to me [al-Anʿām: 50].’”  Despite this fact, his Companions followed his commands and emulated his model to an extent that was unprecedented in the history of humanity.  The reason for this is clear and simple.  It is that the Messenger of God g was the object of their intense love for the sake of God.  History has not known a man who has overwhelmed hearts through his majesty and the nobility of his spirit as did the Messenger of God (PBUH).  His Companions used to say to him, “We do not say to you what the people of Mūsā said to Mūsā: ‘Go, you and your Lord and fight.  We are here leading [the way].  We fight on your right, on your left, in front of you, and behind you.”  As later proven by events, these were not mere empty words.  The Companions of the Prophet (PBUH) underwent the most excruciating difficulties and tests in which they demonstrated the sincerity of their commitment.  They sacrificed their lives, wealth, and family bonds for the sake of their faith to an extent that was never seen again after their era.

Examples of the Love of the Companions for Messenger of God (PBUH) in the Sīra

It is reported that in the battle of Uḥud, when attacking the Prophet (PBUH) the enemy forced him to fall into a ditch and his life was then endangered.  There was no way to save him from this situation except that a wall of human bodies was formed around the ditch.  The Companions competed with each other to do this.  They stood around the ditch and exposed themselves to the arrows of the enemy who sought to destroy this human fortress while another group extracted the Prophet (PBUH).  As a result, they were unable to cause any further harm to the Prophet (PBUH).  As the bodies of this human fortress would fall one after another, new men would rush to replace them.  May God’s mercy be upon all of them who taught us the true essence of loyalty and love for the Messenger (PBUH) through their actions.

Similarly, it is reported that a woman from the Anṣār came out after hearing that her father, brother, and husband had been slain on the Day of Uḥud.  She said, “What has happened to the Messenger of God?”  They said, “[He is] well.  Thanks be to God, he is as you would like him [to be].”  She said, “Show him to me so that I may look at him.”  After seeing him she said, “Every calamity after your [safety] is insignificant.”

When the pagans took Zayd b. Dathna (RA) out to execute him after he had been one of their prisoners, Abū Sufyān b. Ḥarb (he was still a pagan at this time) said, “I summon you by God O Zayd.  Would you prefer that Muḥammad was in your place today so that we execute him [instead] while you are with your family, safe from getting killed?”  Zayd h said to him, “By God, I would not wish for the Prophet to get pricked with a thorn in the place that he currently is [in exchange] for me to be sitting with my family.”  Abū Sufyān said, “By God, I did not see anybody who loves another person the way the Companions of Muḥammad love Muḥammad.”  Some reports state that this question was posed to Khubayb b. ʿAdī who replied, “I would not wish that a thorn prick his foot so that I may be saved.”[2]

The intense devotion of the Companions to the commands of the Messenger of God (PBUH) is also depicted in the incident of the “three who remained behind” from the battle of Tabūk.  When the Muslims were ordered not to speak to these three individuals, there was not a single person in the community who disobeyed, neither openly nor discretely.  As they would later recollect in their own words, the city became a ghost town for them in which there was not a single soul who would acknowledge their presence or return their greetings.

The Companions for the Prophet (PBUH) represented a model example of individuals for whom the God and His Messenger had become dearer to them than anything in their world and they became the ultimate manifestation of the reality of this love.  When ʿAlī (RA) was asked what their love for the Messenger (PBUH) was like he answered, “The Messenger of God (PBUH) was more beloved to us than our wealth, our children, our fathers and our mothers.  He was more beloved to us than cold water during intense thirst.”

ʿUrwa b. Masʿūd al-Thaqafī said to the pagans after negotiating with Prophet (PBUH) during Ḥudaybiya, “O people, by God I have served as a representative to kings.  I have been a representative to the Caesar, Kisra, and Najāshī.  By God, I have absolutely never seen a king whose people venerate him the way the Companions of Muḥammad venerate Muḥammad.  He does not spit except that it lands in the hand of one of them who rubs it on his face and his skin.  If he commands them, they race to fulfill his command.  If he makes ablutions, they fight with each other for the remains of its water.  If they speak, they lower their voices in his presence.  And they do not gaze at him intently out of reverence for him.”[3]

The Companions also realized that the objective in loving the Messenger of God (PBUH) was not simply to experience delight in his presence or to possess an emotional bond with him, but rather this love had to be manifested in their actions through the practice of self-discipline, submission, and following his teachings.  This is best illustrated in the words of Saʿd b. Muʿādh h in which he spoke on behalf of himself and the Anṣār to the Prophet (PBUH) before the Battle of Badr saying, “I speak on behalf of the Anṣār and answer on their behalf.  Traverse wherever you please. Attach the ropes of whom you please and break the ropes of whom you please.  Take from our properties whatever you please and give us whatever you please.  It is dearer to us that you take from us than you give to us.  You will not command us except that we will fulfill your command.  By God, even if you set forth until you reached the far off corners of Yemen ( al-bark min al-ghimd) we will go with you.  Even if you set off to the ocean to cross it, we will cross it with you.[4] On the Day of Khandaq they were working while chanting:

نَحنُ الذِينَ بَايَعُوا مُحَمَّداً         على الإسلاَمِ َمابقِينَا أَبَداً

We are those who pledged allegiance to the Muḥammad

We will forever remain on [the path of] Islam

Indeed, the Companions’ love for the Messenger of God (PBUH) expanded their horizons, enlivened their hearts, and enriched their souls.  They were utterly transformed from mediocrity into men and women of distinction and nobility, the likes of which history had never witnessed before.  They would be remembered as “lions in the daytime and monks at night,” in allusion to the firmness of their commitment to carrying the Prophetic message during their days coupled with their intense worship in the late hours of the night.  They preferred God over themselves and were prepared to give up all of the delights of the world for His sake.  One of them would leave the side of his bride to meet his death while fighting injustice for the sake of God, and do so without any discontent.  Another would break ties with his family and tribe in a society deeply rooted in familial and tribal affiliations, for the sake upholding his religious beliefs.  The transformation of heart these men and women underwent would empower them to exchange physical blood ties for the spiritual ties of faith.

The reality of the love of the Messenger of God (PBUH) is that it mobilizes its possessor to do what is pleasing to God.  The greater the intensity of this love in its possessor’s heart, the greater is his ability to do good works and become close to God.  This is why Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq (RA) as a result of the intensity of his love for the Prophet (PBUH) and his rigor in fulfilling his commands, became the most distinguished and highest ranking Companion of the Prophet (PBUH).  The Messenger of God (PBUH) once said about him, “The most distinguished person in his companionship to me and his material [assistance] is Abū Bakr.  If I were to take an intimate friend [khalīl] from my community it would be Abū Bakr.”[5] Even ʿUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb (RA) could not attain his rank.  He used to strive in competing with him until he said one day, “By God, I cannot ever surpass him in anything.”

The Significance of Prayers Upon the Messenger [Peace and Blessings be Upon Him]

One of the indications of love for the Prophet (PBUH) is being abundant in sending prayers and blessings upon him, since this is a form of remembrance and the one who loves a person will remember him frequently.  In fact, the Prophet (PBUH) reminded us of this and encouraged us to send prayers upon him (PBUH).  Anas b. Mālik (RA) reports that the Messenger of God (PBUH) said, “Who sends prayers upon me once, God sends ten prayers upon him, erases from him ten sins, and increases him by ten degrees.”[6] It has also been reported on the authority of Abū Ṭalḥā al-Anṣārī (RA) that “The Messenger of God (PBUH) came one day with a smile on his noble face.  So we said, ‘O Messenger of God we see a smile on your face!’  He (PBUH) said, ‘An Angel approached me and told me, ‘O Muḥammad, will it please you [to know] that God says that nobody sends prayers upon you from your community except that I send ten prayers upon him?  Neither does anybody from your community send blessings upon you except that I send ten blessing upon him.’”[7] It is reported on the authority of Aws b. Aws (RA) saying that the Messenger of God (PBUH) said, “The most superior of your days are Fridays…so be abundant in sending prayers upon me for your prayers are presented to me.”[8] It is also reported on the authority of Ibn ʿAbbās (RA), “Who forgets to send prayers upon me, will err in his path to Heaven.”[9]

But what is the true meaning of prayers upon the Messenger (PBUH)?  It is a renewal of our connection to him combined with praise and gratitude.  In other words, through sending prayers upon him, the believers supplicate to God that He grant their Prophet the best state of affairs and the utmost of goodness, in return for all that he has made possible for us from the fruits of faith and has struggled for our well being.

God has commanded us in the Qur’an to send prayers upon the Prophet (PBUH) and has informed us that God the most Exalted, Himself and His angels send prayers upon the Prophet (PBUH).  He has similarly informed us that He and His angels also send prayers upon the believers.  So, what is meant by all of this?

Among the results of God sending prayers on the believers is that they receive divinely granted success (tawfīq) and blessings in their endeavors.  It is also a source of support from God and removes one out of states of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety into a state of steadfastness, serenity, and light, all stemming from God’s mercy and his bounty.  This is indicated in the elements of the following verses:

33:43

33:44

“God is the One who sends prayers upon you, as do the angels, to bring you out of darkness into the light for God is merciful to the believers.  Their greeting on the day they meet God will be peace and God has arranged a generous reward for them, [al-Aḥzāb: 43-4].”

These bounties are multiplied for the people of steadfast belief (ahl al-īmān) when they are confronted with hardships and tests related to themselves and their wealth.  Their certainty (yaqīn) is not shaken nor is their spiritual bond with God weakened.  They turn in submission to God as mentioned in the verse:

2:157

“They are the ones upon whom are prayers from their Lord and mercy and they are the ones who are guided, [al-Baqara: 157].”

If the patient believer is granted all of this provision from God in times of difficulty, then how much more would a believer who is striving to instill the Prophetic teachings and has dedicated his life to this aspiration receive?  How much greater would the divine support and protection be for the one whose greatest concern is to guide himself and others to the service of God and his greatest pleasure is derived through worshipping Him?  This is the true meaning of the verse:

33:56

“God and His Angels send prayers upon the Prophet.  O you who believe, invoke prayers upon him and greet him with a salutation of peace (al-Aḥzāb: 56).”

Thus prayers upon him are an affirmation of his message and the struggle to pass it on.  In addition, these greetings of love and reverence both strengthen and reinforce our loyalty to the Prophet who brought this important message.  One’s prayers upon the Messenger are in essence, the adhesive that bonds the shepherd to his flock thus guiding men and women to follow the path of God through the model of His Prophet (PBUH) and to remain steadfast on this road until one’s last days.

Finally, the repetition of ornate phrases or eloquent wording is not conditional for sending prayers upon the Prophet (PBUH).  What has been transmitted to us from the clear and easy wordings of prayers upon the Prophet (PBUH) will suffice.  What is important is the internal realization of the perfection of the Prophet (PBUH) and the recognition of the immensity of his struggle through which he obliterated the darkness of disbelief and established the belief in the One God on the earth.

Hence, this is the true meaning of sending prayers upon the Prophet and the wisdom behind the many Qur’anic injunctions and Prophetic traditions that urge us to do so; of which we have only mentioned a few.

Let us finish by recalling the following hadith on the authority of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Samura (RA) saying that the Messenger of God (PBUH) came out one day and said, “Yesterday I saw [something] astonishing …I saw a man from my community who was dragging himself on the ṣirāṭ [bridge over hellfire in the hereafter] one time and crawling another time, then the prayers he sent upon me took him by the hand and made him firm on the ṣirāṭ until he crossed it.”  Also, Abū Hurayra (RA) reported saying, “The Messenge of God (PBUH) said: ‘Do not make your houses like graves and do not make my grave a place of celebration.  And send prayers upon me for your prayers reach me wherever you are.”[10]

Finally, it is reported that Abū Sulaymān al-Darānī said: “Whoever wishes to ask God for a need should be abundant in sending prayers upon the Prophet (PBUH).  Then he should ask for his need and close with sending prayers upon the Prophet (PBUH).  This is because God accepts the two prayers [upon the Prophet] and He is far too generous to ignore what is between them.”

For more excellent articles, see: Nur Foundation for Sacred Sciences (http://www.nursacredsciences.com)


[1] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī : vol. vi/Kitāb Iʿtiṣām bi al-kitābi wa al-sunna 99, Bāb 2/h.6851

[2] Majmaʿ al-zawāʾid: vol. vi, p. 200.

[3] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī: vol. ii, Kitāb al-shurūṭ 58-Bāb 15/h.2581.

[4] Sīrat Ibn Hishām: vol. ii/253, Dalāʾil al-nubuwwa li al-Bayhaqī: vol. iii/106.

[5] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī: vol.i, Abwāb al-masājid 11-Bāb 46/h.454.

[6] Sunan al-Nasāʾī: vol. ii, p. 50—Kitāb al-sahū-bāb al-faḍl fī al-ṣalāti ʿalā al-nabī.

[7] Sunan al-Nasāʾī: vol.iii, p. 44-Kitāb al-sahū faḍl al-taslīm ʿalā al-nabī

[8][8] Sunan al-Nasāʾi: vol.iii, p. 91—Kitāb al-sahū-ikthār al-ṣalātī ʿala al-nabī yawm al-jumuʿa.

[9] Sunan Ibn Māja: vol.i/Kitāb iqāmat al-ṣalāh 5—bāb 25/h. 908.

[10] Sunan Abū Dāwūd: vol.ii/Kitāb al-manāsik 5, bāb 100/h.2042.

Video: Aqeedah of the Salaf – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Video: Aqeedah of the Salaf – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani discusses Aqeedah (Islamic beliefs) based on the Creed of Imam at-Tahawi. To learn more visit SeekersGuidanace courses in Islamic belief.

Characteristics of a Successful Muslim – Yahya ibn Mu`adh al-Razi

In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful

 

Yahya ibn Mu`adh al-Razi (Allah have mercy upon him), one of the great imams of the spiritual path from the early Muslims (salaf), said:

 

“Glad tidings be to a servant who has:

Blue wall with window.jpg

1. Made their occupation worship (`ibada);

2. Neediness (faqr) their longing;

3. Spiritual seclusion (`uzla) their desire;

4. The Hereafter their concern;

5. Seeking a living their means [f: rather than an end in itself];

6. Death their reflection (fikr);

7. Their intention busy with renunciation (zuhd);

8. Killed through abasement (dhull) their self-consequence (`izz);

9. Making their Lord their sole need;

10. Remembering their errors in their solitude (khalwa);

11. Sending forth in ecstasy their contemplation;

12. Complaining only to Allah regarding their strangeness (ghurba);

13. And asking through repentance for Allah’s Mercy.

 

Glad tidings be to one for whom these are their traits; whose regret is over their sins; ever-yearning in need by night and day; weeping before Allah in the depths of the night; calling upon the All-Merciful; seeking the Gardens of Paradise; and fearing the Fires of Hell.” [Related by Abu Nu`aym, Hilyat al-Awliya, 10.58]

 

NewImage.jpg

Allah Breathing His Spirit Into Jesus? The Possible Meanings of this Verse & The Approach of Sunni Islam Towards Ambiguous Texts

Answered by Ustadh Faraz Khan

Question: What is the meaning of the verse that states Allah blowing His spirit into Jesus?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

InshaAllah you are well.

The verse in question is, “So We breathed into him of Our spirit” (66:12)

What the Scholars of Exegesis Have Mentioned

According to works of Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir), the expression “Our spirit” means “a spirit created by Us.” Of course, every human’s spirit is created by Allah Most High. The spirit of our Master `Isa (peace be upon him), however, is singled out with this expression as a way of honoring him. This ascription of honor (idafat al-tashrif) is quite common in the language of the Qur’an, such as “the house of Allah,” “the she-camel of Allah,” etc. That is, a house or she-camel so incredibly honored and so very special, that it is ascribed to Allah, who is of course utterly transcendent above using a house or she-camel, may He be glorified and exalted. Similarly, the spirit that Allah created for our master `Isa (peace be upon him) is so honored and special, it is ascribed to Allah directly, who is utterly transcendent above having His own spirit.

Another explanation given is that such an ascription is used to indicate that Allah created that thing without any intermediary or “means.” So the she-camel of Allah was created directly by Him without a womb, and the spirit of ‘`sa (peace be upon him) was created directly by Him without any means that Allah normally uses in the act of creation.

With respect to the expression “We breathed,” most exegetes mention that it was actually the Archangel Jibril (peace be upon him) who breathed the spirit into `Isa (peace be upon him). The act is ascribed to Allah in the verse, however, since He Most High is the One who commanded Jibril to do so. Therefore, “We breathed” actually means “We sent Jibril, who breathed.” [Qurtubi, Nasafi, Biqa’i, Abu Suud]

Imam Razi, however, interprets it as metaphorical, stating that the nature of the spirit is such that, once it is created in the body, it spreads to every part of the body, just as air that is breathed into a vessel. Hence according to him, there was no literal “breathing” that took place. And Allah knows best.

Dealing with Ambiguous Verses

The verse in question is considered one of the ambiguous verses (mutashabihat). With such verses, the outward apparent meaning of it cannot be taken literally with respect to Allah Most High, who is well-exalted and transcendent above all things temporal. This is established in clear, unequivocal verses such as “There is nothing like unto Him” (42:11) and “And He has no equivalent” (112:4).

Classically, there were two historical approaches among Muslim scholars in dealing with such verses. The first was, after negating the outward literal meaning, to consign the matter completely to Allah Most High without any attempt to interpret the verse (tafwid); this was the approach of the first few generations (salaf).

The second approach was to attempt to interpret the verse in a matter befitting His majesty (ta’wil), yet without affirming it with certainty since other meanings could also be correct; this was the approach of scholars of later generations (khalaf), who were forced to do so in order to safeguard the understanding of Allah’s transcendence from the incorrect beliefs of various sects that arose in their time. [Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid]

And Allah knows best.

wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani