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The Farewell Sermon: Reflections on the Prophet’s Counsel – Habib Muhammad Abdul-Rahman al-Saqqaf

On Thursday 30th July 2020, over a billion Muslims around the world prayed for Mercy and nearness to God on the holy day of Arafat.

It is our continued effort to disseminate light, clarity, and guidance to the global community. In pursuit of this endeavour, SeekersGuidance hosted a special online event in commemoration of the Day of Arafat. We were honoured to be joined by Habib Muhammad Abdul-Rahman al-Saqqaf for our Day of Arafat program.

(Read About the Program Here).

About – Habib Muhammad Abdul-Rahman al-Saqqaf

Habib Muhammad Abdul-Rahman al-Saqqaf is a direct descendant of our Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). He studied with some of the greatest scholars of Hijaz of our time including Sayyid Mohammad Bin Alawi al-Maliki, Shaykh Ahmad Mashur Bin Taha al-Haddad and many others. He participated in the establishment of the teaching curriculum at Dar al-Mustafa (Tarim, Hadramawt) for Islamic Studies, and has trained, coached, and founded numerous circles of teaching and calling to God. He has also printed many beneficial publications.

In the video above, Habib Muhammad discussed the Prophet’s mission of spreading wisdom through profound lessons (blessings and peace be upon him). Habib Muhammad draws light upon one such lesson that The Prophet taught during his largest gathering ever on the Day of Arafat, only a few short months before he passed away.

“In the Farewell Hajj are so many lessons and wisdoms which demand great research and much study; the seeker of knowledge would need a full and detailed intensive study of it.”

In his historic sermon, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) laid down fundamental principles for correcting our lives.

Amongst the things he addressed in his speech were:

  • Rights of Islam
  • Rights of People
  • Economical Issues
  • Women’s Rights
  • and many other important topics

Through these lessons as discussed in the video, it is evident that The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was sent to us as a guiding light. It is through understanding his words and the importance behind them that we can begin to benefit from this beautiful religion. 

Abu Bakrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“Delivering the sermon during the Farewell Pilgrimage on the day of Sacrifice at Mina, the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said, ‘Verily your blood, your property and your honour are as sacred and inviolable as the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours and in this town of yours. Verily! I have conveyed this message to you.’” – Bukhari and Muslim

The Islamic Scholars Fund

Our Day of Arafat program was organized in an effort to raise awareness of the SeekersGuidance Islamic Scholars Fund (ISF) which was established to help deserving scholars and students in need around the world.

We ask you to donate your Zakat and Charity to the Islamic Scholars Fund – so that scholars around the world can continue to spread clarity and light during these turbulent times.

 

How Can I Attach to the Prophet? [Video Answer]

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

How can I attach to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is an answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

Is the Sealed Nectar a Recommended Book?

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: My question is regarding the book written by Safi ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Al-Rahiq al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar). It is a biography of our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). I think this writer is not from Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah. Can you give me your opinion on this book?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

The Sealed Nectar, or al-Rahiq al-Makhtum, is an excellent book on the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him), based on authentic sources. It covers the period before the Prophet’s life (peace be upon him) to set the stage for his blessed life, and then considers the stages of his life in Makkah and Madinah.

It has been translated from Arabic into many languages, and remains one of the more widely read biographies available in English. You should read and benefit from it.

The author is most certainly a Muslim.

Shuaib Ally

A Clarification on Two Incidents from the Prophetic Biography and the Importance of Accurate Translations

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: Assalamu 3alaikum

In the English translation of Jurisprudence of the Prophetic Biography by Sheik al Buti it is written the the prophet asked Jabir wouldn’t you like to have a slave girl to amuse yourself with? When asking him about his wife. Is this an incorrect translation? If so what is the correct translation?  I have read a different translation which makes more sense considering the context of their conversation.

Also the book narrates an earlier incident where a woman was injured by the Muslim army so her husband went out for revenge and in another place i read the his wife was taken captive by the Muslim army and then he went out for revenge.

If you have the time I would appreciate if you can clarify these 2 incidents for me.

Salama 3alaikum

Answer: Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Thank you for your question.

The Incident of Jabir’s Marriage

As for the first incident where the Prophet (sal Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) about whether he married a matron or a virgin, the word used in one version is “bikr” and in other,“jaariyah”.  [al-Bukhari]

“Bikr” means virgin, and “jaariyah” literally means, “adolescent girl”.  The word “jaariyah” is also used metaphorically for “slave-girl”, probably since most maidservants running errands might have been young women, so it became a metaphor, or perhaps because people didn’t want to use “slave-girl”.   This is similar to a waiter in some cultures being called a “garcon”, or a slave is called a “ghulaam”, both which literally mean “boy”, because they were most often young men.

Corroborating versions of the hadith and its commentaries show that what is meant is “a young girl” who would most likely never have been married before (hence, a virgin), and not a slave-girl.  The mistake in the translation seems to have taken its metaphoric meaning over its literal meaning, and Allah knows best. [al-Munawi, al-Taysir]

The Incident in the “Battle of the Rags”

In the second part of the question, you asked about whether the pagan woman was injured, or captured, in the Battle of the Rags.  The word used in the collection of Ahmad, al-Darqutni, and many others is “uSeebat”, which can mean “she was injured”.  This is where the first translation you read came from.

However, it can also be used for when something falls into someone’s possession, in this case, through being a captive of war.  This is where the second translation is from.  Most early recorders of the prophetic biography (Ibn Ishaq, al-Tabari, Ibn Hisham] leave the wording general and do not clarify which meaning is meant.

However, the second meaning (“captured”) seems to be more likely, because al-Waqidi, who was considered an authority on the military campaigns of that period, narrated this incident with the preface that during the battles of this period, some female prisoners were taken, and specifically that the woman in this incident happened to be a prisoner of war.  [al-Waqidi, al-Maghazi]

Ibn al-Qayyim is the only one [in my readings] who clearly used the word “captured”, and his student Ibn Kathir supported this by quoting al-Waqidi’s statement after mentioning more generally worded version of the hadith which describes the incident.  [Ibn al-Qayyim, Zaad ul Ma’ad; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah]

Some narrations also mention that her being captured was the action of a single man amongst the Muslims during the time of war and not an act of the entire army, for which the pagan woman’s husband sought revenge.

Thus, the woman was not injured or harmed.  This would also go against the ethics of war in Islam, which declares it impermissible to harm non-combatants and civilians, especially women and children.

It occurs to me also, that it should also not be assumed that she remained in custody after the skirmish, since her husband, who attacked the Muslims in revenge for her capture, is not mentioned to have tried to pay a ransom for his wife or free her, rather that he was only intent on gaining revenge, but when he was discovered, fled the scene.  And Allah knows best.

On Being Cautious When Translating and When Reading Translations

The two questions above show why it is so important to translate correctly, as it can change the entire meaning and implication of the narration.  This cannot be done simply by someone who knows the language well, but by someone who is able to access and thoroughly research the earlier works of the tradition to understand exactly which meaning was intended.

This is because it is easy for someone to be misled by translations when there is lack of understanding of the historical contexts and background, as well as a lack of wider knowledge of the Islamic teaching and how they are applied in different times and places.

Finally, it should be noted that this is a purely historical and linguistic analysis in which the aim is to understand the description of a past event.  One should not attempt to extract a legal ruling, a modern implication or even a moral value by one’s own reading of a translation of an event, without consulting mainstream scholars first.

This stands for both those outside the faith looking to critique the tradition, and especially for those who are sincere but perhaps very zealous, hasty and are in the beginning stages of trying to learn about their religion.  And we ask Allah Ta’ala to give us correct understanding and guidance, at the hands of the inheritors of prophetic knowledge, the scholars of mainstream traditional Islam.

Wasalam,
Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Zubair ibn `Abdul Muttalib, the Uncle of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace)

Answered by Sidi Wasim Shiliwala

Question: Zubair ibn Abdul Mutalib, the uncle of the Prophet (saw), was known as a monotheist in pre-Islamic times. I just wanted to know whether he passed away before Islam or if he was alive and did he accept Islam?

Answer: As-salamu Alaikum, and Jazakum Allahu Khairan for your question!

You raise an intriguing topic, since not much is known about the Prophet (pbuh)’s uncle, Zubair ibn Abd al-Muttalib.  In fact, many of the sources of the tradition (seerah, hadith, and biographical literature) have very little to say about this important figure of the Pre-Islamic jahiliyya period.  This is because he was one of many uncles of the Prophet (pbuh), and because he didn’t seem to play as major a role in the Prophet’s life as some of his brothers, such as Abu Talib, Abu Lahab, Abbas, and Hamza.  However, what the scholars did mention is enough to give us a brief understanding of who he was and what he did.

Zubair ibn Abd al-Muttalib: A Brief Sketch

One of the elder sons of Abd al-Muttalib (the Prophet’s grandfather), Zubair served as one of the leaders of Bani Hashim.  He led his clan in the Fijar (Sacrilege) War, so named because fighting during the war continued during the sacred months.  He also participated in the Hilf al-Fudul (Alliance of Virtue), wherein the leaders of Mecca agreed to establish in their territory principles of justice that transcended tribal allegiances.  Of this pact, the Prophet (pbuh) would later say that if he could, he would have joined it as well, indicating that it was consistent with the principles of Islam.  In addition to his noble character, Zubair was known for his poetry, and several of his poems have been preserved to this day.

Zubair’s Relationship with the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace)

As for Zubair’s association with the Prophet (pbuh), very few incidences of interaction are explicitly mentioned, aside from a trip they took to Yemen together.  We do know, however, that the Prophet (pbuh) was alive for much of Zubair’s life, so the two probably knew each other very well.  This raises an important question: if Zubair was older than Abu Talib and was alive throughout the Prophet’s youth, why did Abu Talib, and not him, take custody of the Prophet (pbuh)?

In his work on the companions of the Prophet, ‘Izz al-Din ibn al-Athir discusses this question in detail.  He mentions that after the death of Abd al-Muttalib, who had taken custody of the Prophet (pbuh) after the death of his parents, the custody either had to go to Zubair or Abu Talib.  Ibn al-Athir then mentions several narrations concerning how the matter was settled:

1. that Zubair and Abu Talib drew lots to see who would take custody,

2. that the Prophet (pbuh) chose to stay with Abu Talib, who was gentler than Zubair, and

3. that Abd al-Muttalib, before his death, specifically chose Abu Talib for the task [Usd al-Ghaba fi Ma’rifat al-Sahaba].

However, a fourth narration, mentioned by Muhammad al-Zarqani, mentions that custody was shared between the two, but that Abu Talib is mentioned more often than Zubair as the Prophet’s guardian because he outlived Zubair, who “did not live to see the age of Islam” [Sharh al-Mawahib al-Ladunniyah].

Did Zubair Live to See the Prophecy?

Based on al-Zarqani’s quote above, it is therefore the case that Zubair passed away before Muhammad (pbuh) received revelation.  This is supported by other sources, which state that only four of the Prophet’s uncles lived to see the Prophecy: Abu Talib, Abu Lahab, Abbas, and Hamza [Ibn al-Qayyim, Zad al-Ma’ad; al-Salihi, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad; al-Tabari, Dhakair al-Uqba].

A second opinion, mentioned by historians al-Baladhuri and al-Wazir al-Maghribi, is that Zubair died during the period of revelation.  However, they deemed this opinion to be weaker; after all, if such an important figure in Meccan tribal politics had witnessed the Prophet (pbuh)’s first calls to Islam, his reactions and positions would have been recorded in the seerah literature.  Rather, we find that narrations describing this time period focus on the Prophet (pbuh)’s other uncles.  This indicates that by the time of the revelation of the Qur’an, Zubair ibn Abd al-Muttalib had already passed away.

In terms of when he specifically died, no exact dates are given.  Muslim historian al-Baladhuri mentions that Zubair died while the Prophet (pbuh) was in his thirties.  We know at the very least that the Prophet was in his twenties during the Hilf al-Fudul, so it is not possible for Zubair to have died before then.  This means he must have passed away sometime between the years 590-610 CE.  And Allah knows best.

Jazakum Allah Khairan,

Wasim

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Recommended Works on the Life of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace)

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: What are some recommended works on the life of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace)
?

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

There are many excellent works on the life and person of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in English.

I would recommend the following:

1. Martin Lings’ Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources (link)

2. Dr. Bouti’s Fiqh al-Sira (Lessons from the Life of the Prophet) – published as Jurisprudence of the Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (link)

3. Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin’s Our Master Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) – two volumes. (link)
4. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s CD set The Life of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani