“But my lineage is better than his” said Zainab bint Jahsh radiallahu anha, Rasulullah’s sallallahu alaihi wasallam cousin, when he proposed to her on behalf of his freed slave, Zaid bin Haaritha radiallahu anhu. However, her argument carried no weight in the court of Allah and His Rasul sallallahu alaihi wasallam whose aim was to eradicate all such social prejudices. Continue reading “MOTHER OF THE DESTITUTE”
Do you know what thareed was? It was a favourite dish of the Arabs, which they gave preferred over all other dishes. (Being the month of Ramadaan, you are probably wondering why I am speaking of food. Well it is definitely not because I want to make you feel hungry or count how many hours are left until iftaar.) The reason for discussing thareed is that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said regarding the mother of piety who we are discussing today that her excellence over all women is like the excellence of thareed over all foods. Do you know she is? Continue reading “THE MOST LEARNED LADY IN HISTORY”
You Look Like the Nabi
Born in the month of Sha’baan or Ramadaan of the third year after the hijrah, his father, Ali (radiallahu anhu), intended to call him Harb (war). However, his maternal grandfather, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) named him Hasan. His physical features, particularly the upper half of his body, had a very strong semblance with Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). Continue reading “THE LEADER OF THE YOUTH IN JANNAH”
Are you stressing? Is somebody troubling you? A nasty neighbour, a jealous sibling, a rebellious son, a spiteful daughter-in-law . . .? The list is lengthy. However, the question is: why stress? Ponder over the following pointers and, Insha Allah, you will experience some relief. Continue reading “WHY STRESS?”
Before explaining why we make udhiyah, we first have to understand why we make hajj. Although there are a number of activities in hajj (tawaaf, sa’ee, the stay in ‘Arafah, the stay in Muzdalifah, pelting of the jamaraat, offering of a sacrificial animal, shaving or trimming of the hair etc.), Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said that, “Hajj is ‘Arafah” – as if hajj is only about ‘Arafah. That, however, is not what he meant. Continue reading “WHY UDHIYAH?”
Free. Are we really free? Consider the hadith of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam:
تعس عبد الدينار وعبد الدرهم وعبد الخميصة إن أعطي رضي وإن لم يعط سخط
May the slave of the gold coin, silver coin and the shawl perish! He is happy if he receives but unhappy if he does not.
Slaves of gold, silver and stylish clothes . . . Is this not a true description of most people in the world today? Slaves of rands, dollars and pounds, slaves of our businesses and jobs, slaves of our appearances . . . slaves of the material world! So, are we really free? Should I say, ‘Free, but not’?
Consider another hadith of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam:
الدُّنْيَا سِجْنُ الْمُؤْمِنِ ، وَجَنَّةُ الكَافِرِ
The dunya is the prison of the Believer and the paradise of the unbeliever.
We implore Allah for protection from rejection of any hadith because it defies logic. People sometimes question the veracity of this hadith. ‘Look around you’ they exclaim, ‘so many affluent Muslims and thousands of non-Muslims living in abject poverty. Are affluent Muslims not enjoying a type of worldly paradise? On the other hand, is suffering and misery heavenly?’ This question was posed to one of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s grandsons. ‘You have not understood the meaning of the hadith’ he replied, ‘It’s meaning is that in comparison to the luxuries of Jannah, the life of a Believer – no matter how wealthy he may be – is comparable to a prison. Worldly luxury and comfort are incomparable to the bounties that await the Believer in Jannah. On the other hand, the worldly suffering and misery of unbeliever are incomparable to the suffering and misery of the inhabitants of Jahannam. Thus, the worldly difficulty of the unbeliever is always a paradise in comparison to what awaits him in Jahannam.’
Besides, comparison of one thing to another does not demand equality between the two in every aspect. For example, a brave man is often called a lion. This does not mean that he walks on fours, has a tail, smelly mouth and a thunderous roar like a lion. The comparison is only in bravery. Likewise, comparison of the Believer’s life in the dunya to a prison is only with regards to restrictions that he has to observe. He is not permitted to do whatever he desires. He may only do what Allah permits him to do. Similarly, comparison of the unbeliever’s life in the dunya to a paradise is only with regards to the absence of restriction. He does whatever he desires.
Returning to where we started, are we really free? Politically, we are free. We are not slaves of other people. Yet, we are the slaves of Allah! Thus, Allah repeatedly calls us His slaves. Therefore, we are free, yet we are not!
Our Purpose, Our Obligation
With regards the purpose of man’s creation, Allah Ta’aala says:
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
I only created jinn and man so that they would worship me.
The Arabic word for worship, ‘ibaadah, is derived from the same root as the Arabic word for slave, ‘abd. Thus, the meaning of this aayah is ‘I only created jinn and man so that they behave like my slaves’. Furthermore, the Arabs say:
الإنسانُ عبدُ الإحسانِ
Man is the slave of benevolence.
Do a man a favour and he becomes obliged to you. Allah is man’s greatest benefactor. In fact, He is man’s only benefactor. Therefore, should man not behave like His slaves? Is it not our purpose and obligation, even if we are free?
A Question of Perception
You must have heard the adage ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. The same is true with regards to pleasure etc. It is a question of perception. One man’s satisfaction may not be the same for another. The Indian eats his spicy hot food with relish, even if it causes excessive perspiration. The European thinks he is punishing himself. ‘Crazy Indian’ he thinks. Obedience to Allah’s command is similar. In the eyes of the onlooker, it is restrictive, strenuous and demanding. For the worshipper, however, it is Jannah. His solace is in worshipping Allah. The following quotations depict this phenomenon:
“If this is the condition of the dwellers of Jannah, they certainly have a pleasant life.”
“Poor worldly people! They leave the world without tasting the most pleasurable and delightful aspect in the world.”
“If the kings and their children know the pleasure we enjoy, they would draw their swords to snatch it from us.”
“There is a Jannah in the dunya and the one who does not enter it will not enter the Jannah of the Hereafter.”
Accordingly, such people are in a prison, yet they are in a Jannah.
Alive but Dead . . . Dead but Alive
Describing the virtue of dhikr (remembering Allah), Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said:
مثل الذي يذكر ربه والذي لا يذكر ربه مثل الحي والميت
The example of the one who remembers his Rabb and the one who does not is like that of the living and the dead.
The one who remembers Allah is physically and spiritually alive. However, the one who does not remember Allah is spiritually dead. Even if he is alive, walking, talking and doing everything living people do, he is dead! He is alive, but dead!
On the other hand, Allah Ta’aala tells us with regards the martyrs:
وَلا تَقُولُوا لِمَنْ يُقْتَلُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَاتٌ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ وَلَكِنْ لَا تَشْعُرُونَ
Do not say with regards those who are slain in the path of Allah, ‘They are dead’. No, they are alive but you do not realise.
Thus, the martyr is dead, yet alive.
Wealthy but Poor . . . Poor but Wealthy
Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said:
ليس الغني عن كثرة العرض ولكن الغني غني النفس
Wealth is not abundance of material possession. Wealth is contentment.
On one occasion, he sallallahu alaihi wasallam said to Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (ra):
وَارْضَ بِمَا قَسَمَ اللَّهُ لَكَ تَكُنْ أَغْنَى النَّاسِ
Be content with what Allah has destined for you and you will be the wealthiest of people.
In the light of these narrations, a wealthy man who is not content with what he has is actually poor. Can he truly enjoy his wealth? Conversely, a poor man who is content is actually wealthy. Despite the absence of wealth, he enjoys his life. Thus, the former is wealthy yet poor and the latter is poor yet wealthy.
Knowledgeable Yet Ignorant
إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِنْ قَرِيبٍ فَأُولَئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ
وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا
Allah only accepts tawbah from those who do wrong ignorantly and make tawbah soon thereafter, those are the ones whose tawbah Allah accepts – and Allah is All Knowing, All-Wise.
The word بِجَهَالَةٍ could be interpreted to mean that tawbah is only accepted from one who sins due to ignorance of the sharee’ah. Hence, Allah does not accept the tawbah of a person who sinned knowing that his action is sinful. Your tawbah will only be accepted if you did not know. This interpretation, however, is erroneous. The commentators of the Qur’aan unanimously maintain that this is not the intent of the word بِجَهَالَةٍ On the contrary; it means that sin is ignorance. Thus, every sinner is ignorant, whether he knows that his action is sinful or not. Therefore, a man who sins knowing that his action is sinful is knowledgeable yet ignorant.
Married Yet Single
A man takes a second wife because it is a sunnah but then disregards the shar’i injunction of treating both wives equally. Thus, he now neglects the first wife as if she does not even exist. Would you not say that he is following the sunnah yet he is not and that his first wife is married yet single?
Salaah and Saum
How many of us perform salaah yet we do not? Our bodies are in salaah but our thoughts are everywhere else but salaah. Likewise, we so often fast yet we do not. Our stomachs fast but not our ears, eyes and tongues. We abstain from the things which nullify our saum, but we see, hear and speak what we are not supposed to.
Are We Muslim Yet . . .?
Following the above, could we add that we are Muslim yet we are not? We say that we are Muslim but we do not behave like Muslims. In view of the consensus of the Ahlus-Sunnah that no sin besides disbelief renders a person out of the pale of Islam, we would not go that far, we would not say that we are Muslim yet we are not. After all, imaan is the key to Jannah. Thus, even sinful Believers will eventually enter Jannah. Nevertheless, the importance of adhering to Allah’s commands and abstaining from His prohibitions must not be trivialised because just as every key has teeth, good actions are the teeth of the key to Jannah.
Abu Hudhaifa Muhammad Karolia
1 Shawwaal 1435 / 28 July 2014
Before I tell you who Ibn Abi Kabshah was, whether he was a sahaabi, a taabi’ie or an outstanding wali, let me take you to Abu Sufyaan (ra)’s encounter with the Roman emperor, Heraclius.
Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam had sent a letter to Heraclius inviting him to Islam. This letter was delivered to him in Baytul-Maqdis. Having read its contents, he enquired if there were any Arab visitors visiting Syria that time. Thus, Abu Sufyaan (who was not yet a Muslim) and a group of other Arab traders were summoned to Heraclius’ court. In the court, the rest of the group was instructed to stand behind Abu Sufyaan. They were then informed that Heraclius was going to ask Abu Sufyaan a few questions and if he lied, they should contradict him (by shaking their heads). Thus, Abu Sufyaan was forced to speak the truth. Employing an interpreter, Heraclius thereafter questioned Abu Sufyaan about Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. What is his family status among you? Before him, did anybody else among you claim to be a Nabi? Were any of his ancestors a king? Do the wealthy or the poor follow him? Are his followers increasing or decreasing? Do any of them renege from his religion . . . After Abu Sufyaan answered the tenth question, Heraclius explained that all Abu Sufyaan’s answers proved that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam was definitely talking the truth. “If you are talking the truth, he will soon rule the ground under my feet, I knew that he was going to appear, but I did not know that he would be among you. If I knew that I could reach him, I would go and meet him; and if I was with him, I would wash his feet.” He thereafter read aloud the letter of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. Abu Sufyaan narrates that by the time Heraclius finished reading the letter, there was a commotion in the court. The audience was shouting (in disapproval) and the Arabs were removed. “When we were removed, I said to my companions: The case of Ibn Abi Kabshah has gained so much of prominence that even the king of the Romans is afraid of him.”
Now you know who Ibn Abi Kabshah was. He was Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. At least, that is what Abu Sufyaan called him. But Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s father’s name was Abdullah, not Abu Kabshah! In fact, there was no Abu Kabshah in his ancestry. So why did Abu Sufyaan call him Ibn Abi Kabshah (the son of Abu Kabshah)?
The answer is mockery; he was ridiculing Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. One theory is that while the Arabs of that time were idolaters, Abu Kabshah was a star worshipper. He worshipped Sirius, the Dog Star. By referring to Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam as Abu Kabshah’s son, Abu Sufyaan meant that with regards shunning idol worship, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam is just like Abu Kabshah; kind-of his son. A second explanation is that Abu Kabshah was one of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s maternal ancestors. One of the things that Arabs of those days would do to insult a person is that they would attribute him to one of his maternal ancestors. Another explanation is that there was more than one Abu Kabshah among Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s paternal and maternal ancestors. However, none of them was commonly known by this name. The reason why Abu Sufyaan called Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam Abu Kabshah’s son is that when pagan Arabs intended defaming someone, they would attribute him to one of his relatively unknown ancestors (or an uncommon name of one of them).
Whatever the case may be, the point that we wish to drive home is that the term Ibn Abi Kabshah was derogatory and slanderous. This also shows us that mockery of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam is nothing new. It started a long time ago, in Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s own lifetime.
The Quraysh would call Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam مُذَمَّم (disgraceful). In this regard, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “Are you not amazed how Allah deflects from me the slander and curse of the Quraysh? They slander and curse a مُذَمَّم (disgraceful) whereas I am مُحَمّد (praiseworthy).”
The Miraculous Name
This takes us to the topic of this article, The Miraculous Name. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s name is a miracle. By merely calling him Muhammad, you are praising him. Hence, even those who criticize him inadvertently praise him. This is probably why the Jews of Madinah never called him by his name. They always referred to him as Abul-Qaasim. Besides, the extent to which Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam is praised in the world and the extent to which he will be praised in the Hereafter leaves no doubt that his name is most befitting. Thus, As-Suhayli describes it as:
عَلَمٌ مِنْ أعْلامِ نُبُوّتِه
“A sign from among the (many) signs of his nubuwwah.”
The Name Ahmad
One of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s other names is Ahmad. This is his name in the previous scriptures and this is what Sayyiduna Moosa and Sayyiduna ‘Eesa (alaihimas-salaam) called him.
Considering the laws of Arabic morphology, Ahmad could either mean:
1. The one who praises Allah more than anybody else or
2. The one who is praised more than anybody else.
One of the reasons behind the first meaning is that on the day of Qiyaamah, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam will be the first person to intercede to Allah. Thinking that commencement of the reckoning may ease their anxiety, the people will eventually request Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam to intercede to Allah to commence the reckoning. Before doing so, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam will make sajdah to Allah. In this sajdah, he will praise Allah in such a manner regarding which he said, “Allah will inspire me to utter such praises of Himself which presently I also do not know”. The reason behind the second meaning is obvious. How many thousands of people praised and continue to praise Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam! He was praised during his lifetime and thereafter. In his lifetime too, he was praised before nubuwwah and thereafter. After the intercession in the Hereafter, he will again be praised by countless people.
An Interesting Observation
Taking the first meaning of Ahmad into consideration, some ‘ulamaa have noted that the reason why Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam is called Ahmad in the previous scriptures and Muhammad in the Qur’aan, is that he was first Ahmad and then Muhammad. First he praised Allah and thereafter the people praised him. Similarly, in the Hereafter too, he will first praise Allah, and then when his intercession is accepted, he will again be praised.
The Qur’aan and sunnah encourage us to praise Allah upon termination of all activities. Thus, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam would praise Allah after eating and drinking. Upon returning from a journey, he would say:
آيبون تائبون عابدون لربنا حامدون
We have returned making tawbah,
worshipping our Rabb and praising Him.
After judgment will be passed among the creation on the Day of Qiyaamah, it will be said الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (All praise is to Allah, Sustainer of all the worlds). This will also be the last call of the dwellers of jannah after their entry therein. Now, did nubuwwah not terminate with Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam? Is he not the last Nabi and Rasool? Furthermore, his appearance is a sign of Qiyaamah and an indication that the end of the world is close. Does this not explain why his name is Ahmad and Muhammad?
Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam was named Muhammad by his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib. Certainly, Abdul Muttalib never knew any of the above. He never knew that his grandson was going to be a Nabi, let alone being the greatest Nabi ever.
The name Muhammad was divinely inspired. Abdul-Muttalib dreamt that a silver chain emerged from his back. It had four ends. One in the sky, another on the earth and the third and fourth were in the east and the west. The chain then became a tree with noor (celestial light) emanating from all its leaves. It seemed as if the inhabitants of the east and the west were clinging to it. Upon enquiring about the interpretation of this dream, he was told that it signified the birth of a child in his progeny who would be followed by the inhabitants of the east and west and who would be praised by the dwellers of the sky and earth. In addition to this, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s mother also informed Abdul-Muttalib that she had heard a voice telling her, “You have conceived the leader of this ummah. When you give birth to him, name him Muhammad”. Thus, when Abdul-Muttalib was asked why he named his grandson Muhammad, he replied, “I hope that that all the people of the earth will praise him”.
A Unique Name
The reason for enquiring from Abdul-Muttalib why he kept the name Muhammad is that none of his ancestors had this name. In fact, it was almost non-existent among the Arabs in general. The reason for saying almost non-existent is that there were a few people before Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam by the name Muhammad. However, they were not just few. They were extremely few! According to As-Suhaily, they were only three. Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalaani is of the opinion that there were fifteen of them. Are fifteen among an entire nation not negligible?
Nevertheless, the reason why they were named Muhammad was that their parents were informed of a Nabi who would soon appear in the Hijaaz and whose name would be Muhammad. Thus, each of their parents named him Muhammad with the hope that he would be this Nabi.
The ‘ulamaa explain that the rationale behind this unique name was avoidance of confusion with regards Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s identity. Hence, just as so few people before Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam enjoyed the name Muhammad, history is testimony that none of them claimed to be a Nabi. Consequently, when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam announced his nubuwwah, there was little doubt among the scholars of the previous scriptures that he was talking the truth.
How Many Names
Some ‘ulamaa claim that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam had ninety-nine names. Ibn-ul-‘Arabi has quoted from one of the soofis that Allah and his Rasool sallallahu alaihi wasallam have one thousand names each. The truth, however, is that most of these names are actually attributes of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam instead of names. For example, the word labinah (which means brick).
Explaining that he is the last Nabi, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said that a man constructed a beautiful palace. When the building was completed, people visited it and marveled at its beauty. However, they all noticed that one brick was missing. Comparing nubuwwah to this palace, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “I am that brick”. The word that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam used for brick is labinah. Thus, Ibn Dihya regards labinah as one of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s names. Nonetheless, nobody can deny that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam had many names.
What about the hadith:
لي خمسة أسماء أنا محمد وأحمد وأنا الماحي الذي يمحو الله بي الكفر وأنا الحاشر الذي يحشر الناس على قدمي وأنا العاقب
“I have five names. I am Ahmad and I am Muhammad. I am Maahi by means of whom Allah eradicates disbelief. I am Haashir at whose feet the people will be gathered (on the Day of Qiyaamah) and I am ‘Aaqib (The Last Nabi).”
Does this hadith not indicate that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam had only five names?
“I have five names” does not mean, “I have only five names”. When Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “I have five names”, he did not mean that he does not have any other names. Instead, he meant that although he has many names, he has five very special names that stand out from the rest of his names. The specialities of these names are:
They are more famous than the others
They are mentioned in the previous scriptures
They were known to the previous nations.
Some Names of Allah
No, we are not discussing any names of Allah in this paragraph. The, point, however, is that Allah Ta’aala honoured many Ambiyaa by conferring on them one or more of His names. For example, he called Ishaaq ‘aleem, Isma’il and Ibrahim haleem, Nooh shakoor, Moosa kareem and qawi, Yoosuf hafeedh and ‘aleem, Ayoob saabir and ‘Eesa and Yahya birr. (May peace and salutation be on all the Ambiyaa.) Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s speciality in this regard is that Allah blessed him with much more of His names than any other Nabi. Qadi ‘Iyaad (ra) identified thirty such names. Ra-oof (compassionate) and Raheem (merciful) are two examples.
لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ
“Such a Rasool has come to you from among yourselves that your adversity distresses him, he is desirous of your welfare and he is compassionate and merciful unto the Believers.”
Two Types of Names
Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s names are of two types:
1. Those that were specifically his – Their meanings were not found in any other Nabi. For example: Muhammad, Ahmad, ‘Aaqib, Haashir, Muqaffaa (The one who was sent after everybody else) and Nabi-ul-Malhamah (Nabi of the Battlefield)
2. Those that were not specifically his – Their meanings were found in other Ambiyaa. For example: Rasulullah, Nabiyullah, Abdullah, Shaahid (witness), Mubash-shir (Giver of Glad-Tidings), Nadheer (Warner), Nabi-ur-Rahmah (Nabi of Mercy) and Nabi-ut-Tawbah (Nabi of Repentence)
The names of the first type are obviously specialities of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam.
Although the names of the second type apply to other Ambiyaa, they do not apply to them as much as they apply to Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. In fact, their presence in Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam is perfect. Ibn-ul-Qayyim (ra) says in this regard:
فهو مختص بكماله دون أصله
“The name itself is not Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s speciality. His speciality is its perfect suitability (it befits him most perfectly).”
In simple words, every Nabi is Basheer, Nadheer and Shaahid, but the greatest Basheer, Nadheer and Shaahid is Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. Similarly, every Nabi is a Nabi of Mercy and Repentence, but the greatest Nabi of Mercy and Repentence is Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam.
We commenced this article with reference to Ibn Abi Kabshah and the idolaters’ mockery of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. This discourse on his blessed names proves that such mockery never reduced and will never reduce the lofty status of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. Add this discussion to all of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s other specialities and his achievements and you will conclude that his critics are merely shining a torch at the sun.
The important issue is our imaan. Such mockery and criticism will never harm Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. The question is, ‘Will such critics succeed and harm our imaan?’
اللهم إنا نسألك حُبك و حبّ مَنْ يُيحبّك و العمل الذى يُبلغنا حبك
و آخر دعوانا أنْ الحمد لله ربّ العالَمين
Abu Hudhaifa Muhammad Karolia
30 Rabi’-ul-Awwal 1435
01 February 2014
We have been commanded in more than one aayah of the Qur’aan to perform salaah and give zakaah. We have also been commanded to fast and perform hajj. There are a number of other obligatory or voluntary injunctions in the sharee’ah. Is there, however, any injunction which we were commanded to fulfill abundantly? On numerous occasions Allah Ta’aala said, ‘Establish salaah’, but never did he say, ‘Establish salaah abundantly. Similarly, He commanded us to pay zakaah, but He never said, ‘Pay zakaah in abundance’. The same is said about almost every other injunction of the sharee’ah. I say ‘almost’ because there is one injunction – only one – that we have been commanded to fulfill abundantly.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيرًا
“O People of Imaan, make dhikr of Allah in abundance.”
Every act of ‘ibaadah has certain limits. Salaah may not be performed during sunrise, zawaal and sunset. Saum is not permissible during the days of ‘eid and the three days of tashreeq. Hajj may only be performed from the eighth to the twelfth of Dhil-Hijjah and that too, in Makkah only. Tilaawah of the Qur’aan is impermissible in the state of janaabah and there are only three days in the year for offering udhiyah. The only act of ‘ibaadah that has no limits is dhikr. Permissible throughout the year, at any hour of the day and night, it does not even require tahaarah. Let alone not having wudoo, it is permissible in janaabah also. Hence, the reason why we have been commanded to make abundant dhikr is its ease. Given the above explanation, is there any excuse for not making dhikr? Thus, we have also been commanded:
اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَى جُنُوبِكُمْ
“Make dhikr of Allah while standing, sitting and on your sides (lying down).”
The question is, ‘what is dhikr?’ Most people tend to confine dhikr to the utterance of certain formulae by means of which we glorify Allah. The truth, however, is that dhikr has a much broader meaning than generally understood. Let us look at a few examples to demonstrate what we are saying.
Encountering an atheist, you endeavour to prove to him the existence of Allah. Whatever you tell him in this regard is dhikr.
Speaking to a mushrik (idolater), you attempt explaining to him tahweed (the Oneness of Allah). Doing so, you may quote the aayah:
لَوْ كَانَ فِيهِمَا آلِهَةٌ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ لَفَسَدَتَا
“If there were in the sky and earth deities other than Allah, both of them would be in chaos.”
Irrespective of what you say in this regard – even if it is not an aayah from the Qur’aan – your discussion is dhikr.
You sometimes feel anxious of the future. Due to financial or other crises, you feel helpless. However, you suddenly remind yourself that ‘Allah has power over everything’, ‘everything happens according to the will of Allah’ and ‘Allah knows best’. Doing so remedies your anxiety and enables you to ‘pull through’.
ألا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
“Behold, in the dhikr of Allah do hearts gain contentment.”
Thinking of Allah in such situations is also dhikr.
Engrossed in your worldly activities – business or leisure – when the time of salaah enters, you take wudoo and perform salaah. Similarly, you shudder at the thought of missing a single Ramadaan fast, even if the days may be very long and the temperature may be blistering. Why do you do all this? Is it not because you fear accountability to Allah on the Day of Qiyaamah?
رِجَالٌ لاَّ تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلا بَيْعٌ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلاةِ وَإِيتَاء الزَّكَاةِ
يَخَافُونَ يَوْمًا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِيهِ الْقُلُوبُ وَالأَبْصَارُ
“Men whom mercahandise and sale do not distract from the dhikr of Allah, establishment of salaah and payment of zakaah. They fear a day in which hearts and eyes will be overturned.”
Such fear of answerability to Allah and the resultant fulfillment of His commands also fall under dhikr.
Tempted to violate the command of Allah, you think of the severity of His punishment and constrain yourself. You contemplate Allah’s bounties and ask yourself, ‘Should I not feel shy to disobey Him?’
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا إِذَا مَسَّهُمْ طَائِفٌ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ تَذَكَّرُوا فَإِذَا هُمْ مُبْصِرُونَ
“When an evil idea from Shaytaan occurs to those who have taqwa, they remember Allah and see (their error).”
You sometimes get ‘carried away’ and sin. However, you very soon realize your error and turn to Allah in tawbah.
وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً أَوْ ظَلَمُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُوا اللَّهَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا لِذُنُوبِهِمْ
“When they engage in indecency or wrong themselves, they remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins.”
In the battlefield, you see the enemy and, overtaken by fear, you feel like fleeing. However, you then remember the rewards promised to the martyr and you think of the punishment for fleeing from the battlefield. Thus, you persevere. Is this not dhikr?
Afflicted with some misfortune, you remind yourself not to fret and thereby show ingratitude for the innumerable favour’s of Allah that you have enjoyed and continue to enjoy. Thinking of Allah’s favours is also a form of dhikr.
In your childhood, you may have learnt a number of du’aas which are to be read on various occasions in your daily life; the du’aa when waking up, the du’aas before entering and upon leaving the toilet, the du’aas before and after eating etc. Reading these du’aas also constitutes dhikr.
You hear an appeal for funds. Contemplating whether you should make a donation or not, or maybe how much should you donate, the thought crosses your mind, ‘what about my family, do I have enough for them’ etc. At that moment, you recall the aayaat:
الشَّيْطَانُ يَعِدُكُمُ الْفَقْرَ وَيَأْمُرُكُمْ بِالْفَحْشَاءِ وَاللَّهُ يَعِدُكُمْ مَغْفِرَةً مِنْهُ وَفَضْلًا وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
“Shaytaan promises you poverty and commands you to be indecent. Allah promises you His forgiveness and grace. Allah’s bounties are vast and He is All Knowing.”
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا لَا تُلْهِكُمْ أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُكُمْ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ
وَمَنْ يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ
“O People of imaan, your wealth and your children should not hinder you from the dhikr of Allah. Whoever does so, they are the losers.”
Thinking in this manner is yet one more form of dhikr.
In the mornings, you recite Surah Yaseen. In the evenings, you recite Surah Sajdah and Surah Mulk. Daily, you recite a certain portion of the Qur’aan. Recitation is a form of dhikr. After all, one of the names of the Qur’aan is The Dhikr.
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
“Certainly we revealed the Dhikr and we will preserve it.”
In the light of the Qur’aan, performance of salaah is also a form of dhikr.
أقِمْ الصَّلاةَ لِذِكْرِي
“Establish salaah for my remembrance.”
In fact, implementation of any injunction of the sharee’ah is an aspect of dhikr.
Ibn-ul-Qayyim (ra) divided dhikr into five categories in his book Al-Waabil As-Sayyib.
1. Remembering Allah Ta’aala by (repeated) utterance of His names and attributes – For example:
سبحان الله و الحمد لله و لا إله الا الله و الله أكبر
سبحان الله و بِحمده
لا إله الا الله وحدَه لا شريكه له الْملك و له الْحمد وهو على كلّ شيء قدير
All the ahaadith that extol the virtue of dhikr refer to this type.
2. Remembering Allah Ta’aala by discussing His names and attributes – For example:
Allah is All Hearing and All Knowing.
No action of man is hidden from Allah.
Allah has more mercy for man than his parents.
Allah’s treasures are limitless.
3. Remembering Allah Ta’aala by discussing His commands and prohibitions – For example:
Allah commanded us to perform salaah five times daily.
He commanded us to fast in the month of Ramadaan.
He commanded us to follow the example of His Rasool sallallahu alaihi wasallam.
Allah prohibited us from theft and adultery.
He prohibited us from pride and jealousy.
4. Remembering Allah Ta’aala while fulfilling His commands and abstaining from the things that He prohibited – Remember that there is a difference between remembering Allah Ta’aala’s command and remembering Him while fulfilling His command.)
5. Remembering Allah Ta’aala by recalling His favours – This is among the greatest forms of dhikr.
Although we mentioned in the beginning that the meaning of dhikr is not confined to the utterance of certain formulae, it is clear from the above that doing so is undeniably an integral part of dhikr and extremely meritorious.
From a Different Angle
Looking at dhikr from a different perspective, we could say that it comprises of three types:
1. Dhikr of the tongue only – This is the weakest form of dhikr. Its benefits are few.
2. Dhikr of the heart only – This is greater of dhikr than the previous one. It benefits are recognition and love of Allah, shyness to disobey Him, fear of His punishment and an overall All-consciousness. Thus, the dhaakir (one who makes dhikr) is deterred from negligence in His duties to Allah and indifference towards sin. None of these benefits is found when dhikr is made with the tongue only. Hence, it is a superior form of dhikr.
3. Dhikr of the tongue and the heart simultaneously – This is obviously the most superior form of dhikr. Regarding this form dhikr, Ibn Rajab (ra) writes that in the lover’s heart, the beloved’s name is never absent. Hence, if he is compelled to remove all thoughts of the beloved from his heart, he will be unable to do so. Similarly, if he is compelled to stop remembering him with his tongue, he will not be able to do so.
كيفَ ينسَى الْمُحِبّ ذِكرَ حَبِيب ، اسْمُه فِى فُؤادِه مَكتوبُ
How can the lover forget a beloved whose name is written in his heart?
Due to persistent remembrance of Allah in the heart, a time comes when dhikr involuntarily flows from the dhaakir’s tongue. Thus, a certain pious person would be heard saying ‘Allah, Allah’ in his sleep. This explains why the dwellers of Jannah will make tasbeeh in the same manner that people breathe. There will be so much of divine recognition in their hearts that they would not have to be told to do so. It will be a natural process like breathing.
• When the heart of the dhaakir is saturated with divine love and recognition, he never stops making dhikr. Even when his tongue is not engaged in dhikr, his heart never stops thinking of Allah. Furthermore, when he hears somebody else taking Allah’s name, he gets restless and starts doing the same.
• Nothing distracts such people from remembering Allah. Even when they are in the company of others, their hearts are ‘with’ Allah. ‘Physically with people, spiritually with Allah.’ Sayyiduna ‘Ali (ra) described them saying, “They live in the dunya with their bodies, but their hearts are attached to the highest station.” A poet said:
جسمى معى غير أن الوح عندكم ، فالجسم فِى غربة و الروح فِى وطن
My body is with me but my soul is with you
My body is not at home but my soul is
• However, the Allah consciousness of some dhaakireen is so great that whenever they attempt taking the name of Allah, fear or awe prevents them from doing so. A pious man known as Abu Yazeed spent the whole night attempting to say لا إله الا الله but as much as he tried, fear and awe prevented him from doing so. When he relieved himself in the morning, he urinated urine. On another occasion, he tried to say الله أكبر but struggled to do so and began trembling with fear.
و ما ذكرتكم إلا نسيتكم ، نسيان إجلال لا نسيان إهمال
Whenever I remember you, I forget you
Forgetfulness due to awe not indifference
In conclusion, we beseech Allah to include us among those who remember Him in abundance, with our tongues, bodies and hearts, aameen.
و آخر دعوانا أن الحمد لله رب العالمين
Abu Hudhaifah Muhammed Karolia
28 September 2013 / 22 Dhil-Qa’dah 1434
‘The Believer’s weapon’ is how Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam described du’aa. ‘A slack bow’ is how Ibn-ul-Qayyim (ra) described the du’aa that . . .
People often wonder why their du’aas are not accepted, especially when they hear or read the aayah:
وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ
“And your Rabb said: Call me, I will accept your call.”
In fact, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam is reported to have said, “Whoever is given du’aa is (also) given acceptance because Allah Ta’aala says: Call me, I will accept your call.” It is also narrated from Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam that, “Allah does not open the door of du’aa for a servant yet close on him the door of acceptance.” Thus, Ibn ‘Umar (ra)’s freed slave, Naafi’ (ra), narrates that he heard his former master say on the top of Mount Safa, “O Allah! You said: Call me, I will accept your call and You do not break your promises. I therefore implore You that, having guided me to Islam, (please) do not snatch it away from me until You grant me death while I am a Muslim.”
One reason (although not too common) for the non-acceptance of du’aa is the du’aa itself. This is when the du’aa entails something disliked by Allah Ta’aala. For example, a man makes du’aa to win the lottery or he makes du’aa for barakah in his liquor business. A du’aa of this sort could be compared to incorrect medication. For example, a diabetic taking hypertension medication to reduce his blood sugar levels. Du’aas entailing things that disliked by Allah are fruitless just as incorrect medication yields no results.
A Second Reason
A second reason is inattention of the person making du’aa. In the worldly life, inattention when speaking to people is regarded as rude. Inattention when seeking somebody’s assistance is not only rude; it indicates a lack of urgency and therefore unconvincing. In du’aa, we speak to Allah and seek His assistance. Hence, paying attention and focusing on Allah is of paramount importance. Inattention in du’aa is rudeness to Allah. Can we be rude to Allah and expect Him to still accept our du’aas? Inattention in du’aa also implies that, Allah forbid, we are not really in need of Allah’s help. Can anybody claim independence from Allah? It is for this reason that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said that, “. . . Allah does not accept du’aa from a negligent, thoughtless heart.” ‘Like a slack bow’ is how Ibn-ul-Qayyim (ra) described such a du’aa. How far will the arrow travel if the bow is slack? If I say, ‘not too far’, you’ll probably say, ‘it will hardly leave the bow’. Just as you cannot hunt with a slack bow, you cannot seek Allah’s assistance with a ‘slack’ du’aa – a du’aa without concentration. I would compare a person who makes du’aa in this manner to a hunter who has the best firearm but does not aim correctly. Alternatively, such a du’aa could be compared to incorrectly administered medication. Do you blame your GP, the antibiotic he prescribed or yourself if you do not complete the course?
The Third Reason
The reason for the non-acceptance of du’aa comprises of three aspects:
a. Consumption of haraam food and drink – On one occasion, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam quoted the aayaat “O Messengers! Eat from the pure (halaal) things and do good actions, I am fully aware of whatever you do” and “O those who brought Imaan! Eat from the pure (halaal) sustenance that we give you.” He thereafter spoke of a traveler on a long journey – his hair is disheveled and his clothes are covered in dust. “Stretching his hands to the sky, he cries ‘O my Rabb! O my Rabb!’ but his food is haraam, his clothes are haraam and he has been nourished with haraam substances. How can his du’aa be accepted?”
b. Excessive sin – A narration in Imaam Ahmad (ra)’s Kitaab-uz-Zuhd tells us that at the time of a particular period of difficulty experienced by the Bani Isra’eel, they all went out of their town in order to beg Allah for His assistance. Allah, however, commanded their Nabi to inform them that, “You are going out to the fields with impure clothes. You raise to me hands by means of which you have shed blood and filled your houses with haraam. Now, when I am severely angry with you? (If this is your attitude) you will only get further from me!” In this regard, Sayyiduna Abu Dharr (ra) said that, “a small amount of du’aa similar to the amount of salt required when cooking is sufficient if you are righteous.”
c. Haste – Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “The du’aa of one of you will be accepted so long as he is not hasty, saying ‘I made du’aa but it was not accepted.”
d. Doubt in the acceptance of one’s du’aa – Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “Make du’aa with conviction that your du’aa will be accepted.” It is for this reason that we have been prohibited from saying, ‘O Allah, forgive me if you desire’.
Du’aa accompanied with any of the above could be likened to a diabetic who takes his medication religiously but does not reduce his sugar intake.
Similar to Salaah
Explaining the above in a different manner, many scholars mention that acceptance of du’aa is similar to the validity of salaah. Just as the validity of salaah depends on certain shuroot (conditions), the acceptance of du’aa is also dependent on certain shuroot.
Is salaah valid without wudoo? Is salaah valid if the awrah (private area) is exposed? Is salaah valid if the musallee’s clothes are najas (impure)? Is salaah valid if the musallee (person performing salaah) does not face the qiblah? The answer to all these questions is ‘No!’ Why not? Because wudoo, concealment of the awrah (private area), tahaarah (purity) of clothes and facing the qiblah are all shuroot for the validity of salaah. The acceptance of du’aa is similar; it depends on certain shuroot.
There are two types of shuroot for the acceptance of du’aa:
1. The shuroot of the person making du’aa – They are:
a. Conviction that nobody but Allah is able to fulfill his need
b. Conviction that all apparent means for fulfillment of his need are controlled entirely by Allah
c. Conviction that one’s du’aa will be accepted
f. Abstention from haraam food, drink etc.
g. Perseverance – He must not get tired of making du’aa.
2. The shuroot of the du’aa – There is only one shart (condition) in this regard viz. permissibility, whatever you are making du’aa for must be permissible.
Three Levels of Du’aa
The strength of the du’aa also plays a role in its acceptance. In this regard, there are three levels of du’aa viz.
1. The du’aa is stronger than the difficulty and therefore deflects it.
2. The du’aa is weaker than the difficulty and therefore unable to deflect it.
3. The du’aa is neither stronger nor weaker than the difficulty. In this instance too, the du’aa is unable to deflect the difficulty. In the words of a hadith attributed to Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, the du’aa and difficulty “wrestle with each other”.
In short, one reason for the non-acceptance of du’aa is insufficiency – you are not making enough du’aa. A learner failed the physics examination. “Why did you not study?” his father scolded. “But I did study” he pleaded. That was the truth. He did study, except that he only did so on the night preceding the examination. How much could he cram in one night? So yes, he did study, but it was not enough. The same applies to du’aa. We often make du’aa, but not enough.
I Love Hearing His Voice
Conversely, what is sometimes construed as rejection of du’aa is actually a delay – it will be accepted, but not yet. Put differently, the du’aa is accepted but the need is not yet fulfilled. The reason for this is the sincerity, dedication and humility of the person making the du’aa. It is mentioned in some narrations that when a person who is loved by Allah makes du’aa, Allah tells Jibreel (as), “Do not be hasty in fulfilling my servant’s need because I love hearing his voice.”
One of Three Things
In fact, Sayyiduna Abu Sa’eed (ra) narrated that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said that whenever a Muslim makes du’aa in which there is neither sin nor severance of family ties, Allah gives him one of three things:
1. Allah fulfills his request
2. He stores the reward of his du’aa for the Hereafter
3. He averts an equal amount of hardship from his path.
“Then we will make a lot of du’aa” said the Sahaabah (ra) when they heard this. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam replied that no matter how much du’aa they make, Allah’s treasures are always more!
Considering the divine promise in ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ (Call me, I will accept your call) and the above narration, many scholars have concluded that Allah accepts all du’aas. Nevertheless, rejection of du’aa due to reasons explained thus far is also a reality. Observation of the shuroot (conditions) of du’aa is therefore essential.
With Fear and Desire
وَادْعُوهُ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا إِنَّ رَحْمَةَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ مِنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
Call Him with fear and desire.
Certainly, Allah’s mercy is close to the good-doers.
According to one interpretation, خَوْفًا indicates fear that one’s du’aa may be rejected and طَمَعًا refers to desire for one’s du’aa to be accepted. Furthermore, acceptance of du’aa is only due to Allah’s mercy. Hence, we conclude that du’aa accompanied with fear and hope is close to acceptance (sure to be accepted). ‘Like the two wings of a bird’ is how Shaikh Ahmad As-Saawi described such fear and hope, no bird can fly with only one wing. Similarly, our du’aas do not ‘fly’ to Allah without the wings of fear and hope.
In conclusion, observe all the shuroot (conditions) and aadaab (etiquette) of du’aa and do not ever give up because ‘the door is eventually opened for the one who does not stop knocking’.
Abu Hudhaifa Muhammed Karolia
5th Ramadaan 1434 / 13th August 2013
Fitnah . . . now that’s a word you must have heard on many occasions in the past. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam predicted the appearance of many fitan (plural of fitnah) before the Day of Qiyaamah. He also predicted that with the passing of time they would appear more and more frequently and that every fitnah will be worse than the previous fitan.
بَادِرُوا بِالأَعْمَالِ فِتَنًا كَقِطَعِ اللَّيْلِ الْمُظْلِمِ
يُصْبِحُ الرَّجُلُ مُؤْمِنًا وَيُمْسِى كَافِرًا أَوْ يُمْسِى مُؤْمِنًا وَيُصْبِحُ كَافِرًا يَبِيعُ دِينَهُ بِعَرَضٍ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا
Hasten towards good actions before the appearance of fitan like the parts of a dark night. A man will be a believer in the morning and an unbeliever by the evening. Alternately, he will be a believer in the evening and an unbeliever in the morning. He will sell his deen for worldly commodities.
By comparing these fitan to the parts of a dark night, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam meant that just as the night gets darker as it progresses – 10pm is darker than 9pm and 11pm is darker than 10pm – these fitan will only get worse with the passing of time. Describing the quick succession with which they will appear, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam also compared them to the beads of a broken necklace. When the necklace is broken, the beads fall one after the other, with immediate succession. That is exactly how these fitan would appear, one after the other. People will hardly get over one fitnah and they will have to face another.
What is Fitnah?
أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لا يُفْتَنُونَ
Do the people think that they would be left alone for saying we believe and that they would not be tested?
Fitnah is translated as a test and a trial. (In the above aayah, the word yuftanoon is derived from the word fitnah.) It is a test of one’s imaan, sincerity and steadfastness. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam spoke of many of the fitan that will appear in the course of time. Hudhaifa radiallahu anhu narrated that one day, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam told them of every fitnah that will appear until the Day of Qiyaamah. “By Allah, I do not know whether my friends have forgotten or they pretend to have forgotten. By Allah, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam did not omit the name of the leader of a single fitnah until the end of the world whose followers will equal three hundred or more except that he told us his name, his father’s name and the name of his tribe.”
Shah Waliullah rahimahullah was the first person to introduce the six canonical hadith works into the curriculum in the Indian subcontinent. A revolutionary thinker and prolific writer, he analysed the various ahaadith concerning the topic and concluded that there are a number of different types of fitan.
The first type of fitnah affects the individual. Its consequences are laziness in fulfilling the commands of Allah and deprivation of enjoyment in ‘ibaadah (worship). All Muslims acknowledge the compulsion of the five daily salawaat, yet so few of them actually fulfill this most important injunction of Islam. Why, what holds them back? Some perform the five salawaat, but haphazardly, void of feeling and spirituality. The same applies to all other ‘ibaadaat (acts of worship), saum and hajj included. Once again, we ask ‘why?’ Yes, you are correct. The answer is fitnah.
The Family Unit
Going beyond the individual, the second type of fitnah affects the family unit. The spiraling rate of talaaq, the never-ending mother-in-law daughter-in-law squabbles, ill-treatment of parents and the growing number of elderly people who spend their last days in old-age homes are all symptoms of this type of fitnah.
Put a number of families together and you have a community, town or city. That is the target of the third type of fitnah. Put differently, the cause of discord in the community is fitnah. Vociferous campaigning for leadership and the appointment of undeserving people to such posts and civil strife, like what is happening in Syria and Iraq, are aspects of this type of fitnah. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “When leadership is entrusted to undeserving people, await the Final Hour.”
A Few Other Fitan
Other types of fitan include:
1. Rising insecurity – Crime, murder and rape seem to be a way of life for many. Add to this the drone attacks in Pakistan and certain parts of Africa. What about the growing insecurity of Muslims living in Western countries like the US and the UK? All of these are among the fitan forewarned by Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. He said, “Time will become short (as we say, there will be no barakah in time), knowledge will be taken away, fitan will appear, there will be greed and excessive haraj.” The Sahaabah radiallahu anhum enquired the meaning of haraj and he sallallahu alaihi wasallam said that it is murder.
2. Rising immorality – Same-sex marriages, prostitution, abortion and even incest . . . Do we need to expound?
3. Natural calamities – Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, cyclones, fire . . . Again, there is no need for elucidation.
4. Prevalence of music – Under the pretext of education, entertainment or simply unwinding, music has permeated every sphere of modern life. In our homes, cars, classrooms, offices, departmental stores, supermarkets . . . and some anaasheed, music is everywhere. So many people these days do not believe that music is impermissible. Is this not a fitnah?
5. Widespread alcoholism – The huge number of Muslims addicted to narcotics demonstrate the extent this fitnah is ravaging the ummah.
6. Widespread dishonesty and misuse of trust – Explaining the extent trust will be exploited, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “. . . Hardly anybody will discharge his trusts. It will be said there is a trustworthy man in such-and-such tribe.”
7. The appearance of deviant sects – In this regard the hadith of seventy-three sects is all too famous.
8. Criticism of the Salaf – The Salaf are the earliest Muslim generations, especially the Sahaabah radiallahu anhum.
We have been commanded in the Qur’aan to make du’aa for the Sahaabah radiallahu anhum.
وَالَّذِينَ جَاءُوا مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلا لِلَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ
Those who come after them say O Rabb, forgive us and our brethren who brought imaan before us and do not place in our hearts ill feeling for those who have imaan. Certainly, you are most compassionate and merciful.
Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam forbade us from criticizing his Sahaabah radiallahu anhum. “Do not speak badly of my Sahaabah because if one of you has to spend gold equivalent to Mount Uhud, he will not reach the mudd of one of them. In fact, he won’t even reach half of that.” Many other ahaadith extol the merits of the Sahaabah radiallahu anhum.
The Sahaabah radiallahu anhum are the bridge between Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam and the rest of the ummah. Who else but the Sahaabah radiallahu anhum conveyed the Qur’aan to the rest of the ummah? Hence, by casting aspersions on their integrity, the Qur’aan becomes extremely doubtful. How reliable is the Qur’aan if its transmitters are unreliable?
Criticising the Sahaabah radiallahu anhum is therefore a serious fitnah.
9. Rejection of hadith – Interpretation of the Qur’aan was one of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s primary functions.
وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ
We revealed The Reminder to you so that you may expound for the people what was revealed to them.
Thus, the Qur’aan mentions broad principles but the finer details are clarified by Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam.
The Qur’aan commands us to perform salaah but it does not explain the method of salaah and how many rak’aat should be performed in each salaah. It instructs us to perform salaah but it does not inform us that there are two rak’aat in fajr, four in dhuhr and three in maghrib. All these details are explained in the hadith.
The Qur’aan instructs us to discharge zakaat but it does not tell us how much zakaat we have to pay, two and half percent, five percent or . . . Similarly, it does not inform us whether zakaat is payable on all our possessions including household items or whether it is only compulsory on certain categories of wealth. Once again, these details were explained by Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam.
Likewise, we are commanded in the Qur’aan to make tawaaf of the ka’bah, but nowhere in the Qur’aan are we told that one tawaaf comprises of seven rounds. This too came to us from Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam.
These are just a few examples. Nevertheless, they are sufficient to prove that the role of hadith in understanding the Qur’aan and implementing its laws in indispensable. Rejection of hadith is therefore another evil fitnah. Based on what we have explained, it attacks the core and essence of Islam. Can you imagine someone saying ‘Qur’aan does not specify the number of rak’aat for salaah. Hence, I will perform how many rak’aat I wish’? Thus, he performs three rak’aat in fajr, six in dhuhr and seven and maghrib. To many people, this may sound laughable. However, it is a reality. Misguided by Shaytaan and his friends, there are people who argue in this manner. Imagine! If they continue arguing like this, what will be left of Islam?
May Allah Ta’aala safeguard our imaan and protect us from all forms of fitan, aameen.
Abu Hudhaifa Muhammed Karolia
23 Rajab 1434 / 3 June 2013