LIGHTS OR NOOR?

Let me tell you what happens when you procrastinate. You see, I have this habit of delaying the preparation of the Friday talk until Thursday night. Come Thursday night and I often delay it further, until Friday morning. I then prepare the talk after the fajr salaah. That is exactly what I did last night. However, when I awoke this morning, lo and behold, there were no lights! “What am I going to do?” I thought aloud, “I have a bayaan to prepare.” Suddenly a thought crossed my mind. ‘If there are no lights, why not speak about light?’ Certainly, I was not thinking of the lights that hang from our ceilings, the lights that we switch on after nightfall. I was thinking of:
اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ
“Allah is the creator of the noor of the skies and the earth.” 

Yes, I was thinking of the noor of Allah, the creator of all noor in the skies, the earth and in-between. Do you want to see a glimpse of Allah’s noor? Well, you cannot do so in the worldly life, but you can listen to the story of Nabi Moosa (as). He had an intense desire to see Allah. Thus, he prayed to Allah:
رَبِّ أَرِنِي أَنظُرْ إِلَيْكَ
“O Rabb, Show me yourself so that I may see you.”
“You will not be able to see me (in the worldly life),” said Allah, “but look at the mountain”. Allah then told him that he would expose a little of His noor to the mountain.
فَإِنِ اسْتَقَرَّ مَكَانَهُ فَسَوْفَ تَرَانِي
“If it remains in place, you will see me.”
Allah then exposed a little of His noor, equivalent to a fingertip, to the mountain. The intensity of His noor caused the mountain to crush to pieces and Nabi Moosa (as) fainted.

وَأَشْرَقَتِ الْأَرْضُ بِنُورِ رَبِّهَا
At the time of the resurrection, when mankind will emerge from their graves, “the earth will be lit with the noor of its Rabb”. 
The Noor of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam
Having touched on the noor of Allah, let us now touch on the noor of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam.
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى اللَّهِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَسِرَاجًا مُنِيرًا
“O Nabi, we sent you as a witness, a giver of glad-tidings and warning, a caller to Allah and a radiant siraaj.” 
The reason why I did not translate the word siraaj is that it could be translated as sun or lamp. Choosing to translate it as sun, Suyooti explains that Allah Ta’aala is comparing Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam to the sun because both are used to find the way.  While the sun guides us to a worldly path, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam guides us to the path of Allah. In his footnotes on the above, Saawi (ra) refers to the fact that physical and spiritual light is gained from Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam.  (Should I have said light and noor?) Now can you imagine the strength of his noor if others gain noor from him?    

Somebody asked Baraa bin ‘Aazib (ra) if Rasulullah’s sallallahu alaihi wasallam blessed face used to shine like a sword. “No,” he replied, “His face used to shine like the moon.” 

Jaabir bin Samurah (ra) narrated, “I saw Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam on a moonlit night. He was wearing red clothes. I continued shifting my gaze between him and the moon until I concluded that, in my opinion, he was more handsome than the moon.” 

Abu Hurayrah narrated, “I never saw anything more handsome than Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. It seemed like the sun was in his face.” 

Commenting on the hadith of Baraa bin ‘Aazib (ra), Abdur Ra’oof Munaawi (ra) says that just as the face of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam has more noor than the sun, the noor of his heart supersedes the sun and the moon. “If Allah has to expose the noor of his heart, the light of the sun and the moon will fade. There is no comparison between their light and the light of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s heart. Both of them are overshadowed due to eclipses and both set on a regular basis. On the contrary, the noor of the hearts of the Ambiyaa are neither overshadowed due to eclipse nor do they ever set.”       
The Noor of the Mu’min
اللَّهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا يُخْرِجُهُمْ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ
“Allah is the friend of those who believe. He removes them from darkness to noor.”
When we speak of the awliyaa (friends of Allah), our thoughts immediately dart to certain august personalities in our history; Sayyiduna Abdul Qadir Jilaani, Khwaajah Mu’eenud-Deen Chisti and Khwaajah Nizaamud-Deen (ra). Indeed, they were friends of Allah. However, there are variant levels of friendship with Allah. The Ambiyaa, the Sahaabah, the above personalities and thousands of others were all Allah’s friends. Nevertheless, no matter how pious a non-Sahaabi may be, he can never reach the level of a single Sahaabi. Likewise, no Sahaabi can ever equal a single Nabi. Yet all of them are Allah’s friends. Accordingly, this aayah informs us that every Mu’min (Believer) is Allah’s friend. Hence, we should avoid trampling the rights of fellow Muslims, irrespective of the circumstances. Remember the hadith in which Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said that Allah says, “I announce war on the person who harbours enmity for a friend of mine”. Who has the strength to ‘fight’ Allah? The other thing we learn from this aayah is that every Mu’min has noor, the noor of imaan. Should we not be grateful and do everything within our means to preserve and enhance this noor?    

Those who live with this noor and leave the world with it will be resurrected with it. Thus, Allah describes the Day of Qiyaamah as:
يَوْمَ تَرَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَسْعَى نُورُهُمْ بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَانِهِمْ بُشْرَاكُمُ الْيَوْمَ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
“The day when you will see male and female believers in such a condition that their noor will be in front of them and on their sides and it will be proclaimed to them: Your glad-tidings today are that of gardens beneath which rivers flow and in which they will abide forever. That is magnificent success.”  
يَوْمَ لا يُخْزِي اللَّهُ النَّبِيَّ وَالَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا مَعَهُ نُورُهُمْ يَسْعَى بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَانِهِمْ
يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا
“The day when Allah will not disgrace the Nabi and those who brought imaan with him, their imaan will be in front of them and on their sides and they will say: O our Rabb, complete our noor for us.”

Why will they say, “O our Rabb, complete our noor for us”? In order to answer this question, we have to see what Allah says about the noor of the munaafiq (hypocrite).
The Noor of the Munaafiq
You are probably thinking, ‘Can the munaafiq even have any noor?’ The answer is that in essence he is a non-believer and therefore does not deserve any noor. In fact, he has absolutely no noor in the worldly life. The noor we are referring to will be in the Hereafter.
يَوْمَ يَقُولُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتُ لِلَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا انْظُرُونَا نَقْتَبِسْ مِنْ نُورِكُمْ قِيلَ ارْجِعُوا وَرَاءَكُمْ فَالْتَمِسُوا نُورًا فَضُرِبَ بَيْنَهُمْ بِسُورٍ لَهُ بَابٌ بَاطِنُهُ فِيهِ الرَّحْمَةُ وَظَاهِرُهُ مِنْ قِبَلِهِ الْعَذَابُ
This aayah is also a description of the Day of Qiyaamah. It means that on that day the male and female hypocrites will tell the Believers, “Look at us so that we may take some of your noor”. “Go back,” they will be told, “and look for noor behind you”. They will turn backwards only to be blocked by the sudden appearance of a wall. Beyond the wall will be mercy but on their side of the wall will be punishment. 

Explaining this aayah, Ibn ‘Abbaas (ra) said, “Initially (when the people will leave their graves), they will be in darkness. Allah will then give them noor.  The Mu’min will see it and walk in its direction. Thus, it would be his ‘guide’ to Jannah. When the hypocrites will see that the Believers are going forward, they will follow them. However, Allah will then blow out the noor of the hypocrites. This is when the hypocrites will beseech the Believers saying: Look at us so that we may take some of your noor . . .”  The darkness of the hypocrite at that moment is alluded to in the aayah:
أَوْ كَظُلُمَاتٍ فِي بَحْرٍ لُّجِّيٍّ يَغْشَاهُ مَوْجٌ مِّن فَوْقِهِ مَوْجٌ مِّن فَوْقِهِ سَحَابٌ ظُلُمَاتٌ بَعْضُهَا فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ إِذَا أَخْرَجَ يَدَهُ لَمْ يَكَدْ يَرَاهَا وَمَن لَّمْ يَجْعَلِ اللَّهُ لَهُ نُورًا فَمَا لَهُ مِن نُّورٍ

“Shades of darkness of the deep sea that is covered by a wave over which there is another wave above that there are clouds. Shades of darkness, some of which are denser than the others. If he (the person in such darkness removes his hand), he will hardly see it. There is no noor for the person whom Allah does not give any noor.”

Skeptics may object that this is deception. No, it is not deception – it is the punishment for deception.
إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ يُخَادِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ
“The hypocrites deceive Allah and He will deceive them.”
Nobody can deceive Allah. Furthermore, Allah never deceives anybody; it is beyond His status and purity. Thus, the meaning of the aayah is that the hypocrites behave as if they can deceive Allah. However, He will punish them for their evil behaviour.  

Anyway, seeing the hypocrites lose their noor, the Mu’mineen will fear suffering the same fate as them. Thus, they will implore Allah:
أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا
“Complete our noor for us.”
Conclusion
Allah has blessed us with the noor of imaan. It is imperative that we show our gratitude to Him by treasuring, preserving and enhancing it. This could be achieved by:
o    Conformity to Allah Ta’aala’s commands
o    Adherence to the sunnah
o    Abstention from sin
o    Abundance of dhikr and du’aa
o    Engagement in tableegh and da’wah
o    Sitting in the company of the pious

We terminate with two ahaadith of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam.
1.    “Give glad tidings of complete noor on the Day of Qiyaamah to those who walk in darkness to the masaajid.”
2.    “No servant says لا إله إلا الله one hundred times (daily) except that Allah will resurrect him on the Day of Qiyaamah in such a condition that his face will shine like the full moon.”
3.    “The one who sends a hundred salawaat to me on Fridays will come on the Day of Qiyaamah with so much noor that it will suffice for the entire creation if divided among them.” 

O Allah, bless us with complete noor on the Day of Qiyaamah, aameen.

و آخر دعوانا أن الحمد لله رب العالمين

Abu Hudhaifa Muhammed Karolia
6 Dhil Hajj 1434 / 12 October 2013
Al-Jaami’ah Al-Mahmoodiah
Persida, Springs

Don’t Despair!

“Where’s my heart? Who’s found my heart?” cried the disciple of the Egyptian saint, Dhun-Noon (ra), as he walked through the streets of the town. Suddenly, he caught attention of a lady scolding and hitting her son in the doorway of her house. She then shoved the lad onto the street and locked the door from inside. The lad walked to his right and thereafter to his left, not knowing where to go. Eventually, he returned to his mother’s house. With tears rolling down his cheeks, he cried, “Mother, mother! Who’ll open the door for me if you have locked it? Who’ll shelter me if you have chased me out?” His mother peeped at him through an opening in the door. Seeing the tears and sand on his cheeks, she was unable to control her emotions. She opened the door, took him in her lap and said, “O the coolness of my eyes, O my beloved! You made me do this to you. You caused what has happened to you. Had you obeyed me, you would have never experienced any harshness from me.” Dhun-Noon (ra)’s disciple was sitting on the side of the street observing the entire episode (especially, the mother’s change in attitude). He suddenly jumped up exclaiming, “I’ve found my heart! I’ve found my heart!” 
What Did He Mean?
Muslims have been taught in the Qur’aan and the ahaadith of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam to maintain a balance between their hope in Allah’s forgiveness and their fear of His punishment. Hence, the ‘ulamaa commonly say,
الإيمان بَيْن الخوف و الرجاء
“Imaan is in-between fear and hope.”
The reason being that fear is a deterrent from sin. If he has no or very little fear, he will sin and then say, “It’s no big deal. Allah will forgive me. Isn’t He Ghafoor (All Forgiving)?” Sure, He is Ghafoor (All Forgiving), but isn’t He also Shadeed-ul-‘Iqaab (The Inflictor of Severe Punishment)? Does it befit a person who believes in Allah and all His attributes to remember one attribute and forget the other? However, fear uncoupled with hope in Allah’s forgiveness may result in despondency and a slackening of desire to worship Allah. This is also unbefitting of a Muslim. He should forget neither Allah’s punishment nor His forgiveness.

Anyway, going back to Dhun-Noon (ra)’s disciple, it seems he was overwhelmed with fear. His heart and mind must have been preoccupied with thoughts like ‘I am such a sinner; will Allah even forgive me? What is going to happen to me in the Hereafter?’ This fear dampened his spirit to make ‘ibaadah. Thus, he cried, “Where’s my heart? Who’s found my heart?”  However, when he saw the lad’s mother forgive him and take back indoors, he realised that if the lad’s mother forgave him, ‘why would Allah not forgive me?’ Hence, he exclaimed, “I’ve found my heart! I’ve found my heart!” 
More Merciful than a Mother
Observing the anxiety of a female prisoner who was separated from her suckling child, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam asked his Sahaabah (ra), “Do you think this woman will ever throw her child in the fire?” They replied in the negative. Thus, he sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “Certainly, Allah has more mercy for His bondsmen than this woman has for her child.”   The incident of Dhun-Noon (ra)’s disciple reiterates the same message. Allah has more mercy for us than our own mothers. Allah is more forgiving than our mothers. If our mothers forgive us, why would Allah not forgive us?
Another Reminder
When the lad returned to his mother and she opened the door for him, the disciple realised another important lesson. ‘If the lad could return to his mother, why can I not return to Allah? If the lad cannot turn to anybody but his mother, I cannot turn to anybody but Allah.’ After all, nobody but Allah forgives sins.  
وَمَنْ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ
“And who can forgive sins but Allah?”
The same sentiment is portrayed in the du’aa of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam in which he would say:
لا ملجأ ولا منجا منك إلا إليك
“O Allah! There is no refuge and shelter from you except in you.”
The Extent of Allah’s Forgiveness
A man came to Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam lamenting his sins. “O my sins, O my sins!” he cried. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam dissuaded him from lamenting in this manner and advised him to read the following du’aa instead:
اللهم مغفرتك أوسع من ذنوبي ورحمتك أرجي عندي من عملي
“O Allah! Your forgiveness exceeds my sins and I have more hope in your mercy than my actions.”

In another hadith, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said that Allah says, “O son of Aadam, so long as you call me and hope in me, I will forgive you for whatever you have done and I will not bother. O son of Aadam, if your sins reach the clouds of the sky and then you seek my forgiveness, I will forgive you. O son of Aadam, if you come to me with sins that fill the earth, but you come to me without ascribing anything as a partner to me, I will come to you with forgiveness that fills the earth.”
A Du’aa
When you say ‘O Allah, forgive me’, you are making a du’aa and Allah had promised to accept our du’aas.
وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ
“And your Rabb said: Call me; I will accept your call.”
Similarly, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said that when we make du’aa, Allah feels shy not accept. He said, “Your Rabb is modest and noble. When His servant raises his hands to Him (in du’aa), He feels shy to return them empty.”  

Considering our discussion thus far, there is no scope for a Muslim to despair in Allah’s forgiveness. Remember that the ‘door of tawbah’ will only close when the sun will rise from the west. 
Besides Istighfaar
Nevertheless, tawbah is more than a verbal exercise. Besides istighfaar (pleading for forgiveness), it also entails remorse, desistance from sin and resolve to never sin again.

Remorse is so crucial that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “Remorse is tawbah”.  Based on this hadith, some scholars maintained that a person who regrets his sins has actually made tawbah. Hence, there will be no harm if he does not say ‘O Allah, forgive me’ thereafter. The majority opinion, however, is that this hadith is comparable to “hajj is ‘Arafah”.   The latter merely means that ‘Arafah is the most important aspect of hajj. It does not mean that there are no other activities in hajj besides ‘Arafah. Similarly, the meaning of the former is merely that remorse is the most important component of tawbah. It does not mean that tawbah is nothing but remorse. In short, the role of remorse in tawbah is so important; it is as if tawbah is nothing but remorse. 

The reason for emphasizing remorse is that its absence implies pleasure, which will lead to repetition. He does not regret his sin because he is pleased with it. So long as he is pleased with his sin, he will repeat it.  On the contrary, remorse will result in resolve to never sin again. Hence, the extent of remorse determines the chances of forgiveness.  

Can you imagine the remorse of a person who is informed by an experienced physician that his child’s illness is incurable and that he could die within a very short time? Now consider:
    The parent does not love his child more than himself.
    Allah is more knowledgeable than the doctor.
    Allah’s punishment is worse than death.
    Sin is a greater cause of punishment than illness is of death.
If the parent grieves due to his child’s fatal illness, should the sinner not grieve due to his sins?  

As mentioned, tawbah also entails desistance from sin and resolve to never sin again. The reason is obvious. A person who says ‘O Allah, forgive me’ but continues sinning is kind of mocking at Allah. The same is true about a person who is intent on repeating his sin. In this regard, Raabi’ah Basriyyah (ra) used to say:

استغفارنا هذا يحتاج إلى استغفار كثير
Our istighfaar requires much istighfaar.

Actually, we have to differentiate between those who make istighfaar with the intention of sinning again and those who do so with neither an intention of repetition nor an intention of abstention. The istighfaar of the former is surely a mockery. With regards to the latter, Imaam Ghazzaali (ra) explains that using one’s tongue in thoughtless istighfaar (the istighfaar of the latter) is better than using it for gheebah (backbiting) and vain talk.  Hence, such istighfaar is also a good deed which does not go unrewarded. Remember no good deed is void of benefit. Accordingly, the above statement of Raabi’ah (ra) is only regarding the thoughtlessness in such istighfaar. It does not mean that utterance of such istighfaar is bereft of any benefit.  

On a similar note, Ibn Rajab (ra) observed the following:
1.    If a person says أستغفر الله (I seek Allah’s forgiveness), but in his heart, he has not intended to never repeat his sin again, his أستغفر الله is merely a du’aa which Allah may accept or reject.
2.    However, if he says أستغفر الله و أتوب إليه (I seek Allah’s forgiveness and I repent to Him), he is a liar.  The lack of resolve to avoid his sin belies his claim that he is repenting to Allah. (The linguistic meaning of tawbah is to return. Thus, the meaning of أتوب إلى الله is ‘I return to Allah’. How can he say that he is returning to Allah whereas he has not yet intended to abandon his sin?) 
Question
What about the hadith, “A person who makes istighfaar is not guilty of persistence even if he repeats his sin seventy times  daily”? Does this hadith not imply that repetition of sin is not an issue?
Answer
This hadith is not regarding a person who makes istighfaar with an intention to repeat his sin. Instead, it is regarding a person who makes sincere tawbah (his istighfaar is accompanied with remorse, desistance and resolve to never sin again), but due to human weakness, he ‘gets carried away’ and repeats his sin.
The Rights of Others
In addition to the above, if one’s sin pertains to the rights of others, his tawbah will necessarily entail restoration of their rights.  This necessitates:
1.    Returning misappropriated wealth to its rightful owners or their heirs if they are no longer alive. If he (i.e. the sinner) does not know who the rightful owners are, he should give the misappropriated amount in charity. If his financial situation does not allow him to do the above, he should engage in abundant good deeds; proportionate to the misappropriated amount because on the Day of Qiyaamah, the oppressor will compensate the oppressed with his good deeds. 
2.    Seeking the pardon of those whom he had backbitten or offended in some other manner. If any of them have passed away or he does not know their whereabouts, he should do abundant good deeds.

Note: Seeking the forgiveness of those whom he had backbitten is on condition that they are aware that he had backbitten them. If they are unaware that he had backbitten them, he will not have to inform them and seek their forgiveness. Istighfaar (asking Allah for forgiveness) will be sufficient. 
All the Time
The question is, ‘When should I make tawbah?’ Our answer is, immediately, all the time and before death, at least. In view of the fact that nobody knows when he is going to die, tawbah should be made immediately after sinning. Obviously, this does not mean that we may sin with the intention of making tawbah thereafter. Doing so is nothing but a mockery of Allah and the concept of tawbah and may harm one’s imaan.

On the other hand, if we consider the example of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, we could say that tawbah has to be made all the time. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam had said, “By Allah, I seek His forgiveness and repent to Him more than seventy times daily.”  One of the possible reasons why Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam made so much of tawbah and istighfaar even though he was ma’soom (sinless) is to teach us, so that we sinful creatures would follow his example. If a sinless Nabi made so much of tawbah and istighfaar, imagine how much more we should do.

Nevertheless, Allah also said:
وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ حَتَّى إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبْتُ الآنَ . . .
“Tawbah is not accepted from those who continue doing wrong until such time that when death comes to one of them, he says: now I repent.”
Similarly, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “Certainly, Allah accepts the tawbah of a slave so long as he does not enter the death rattle.”  It is mentioned in one narration that four companions of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam were sitting together. One of them said, “I heard Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam say: Allah accepts the tawbah of a slave (even) one day before he dies.” A second one responded that he heard Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam say, “Allah accepts the tawbah of a slave (even) half-a-day before he dies.” “I heard him say”, added the third person, “Allah accepts the tawbah of a slave (even) one morning before he dies.” Finally, the fourth person said that he heard Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam say, “Certainly, Allah accepts the tawbah of a slave so long as he does not enter the death rattle.” 

Based on the above, the word ‘soon’ in the following aayah is interpreted as before death.
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 out of ignorance but soon make tawbah. Those are the ones whose tawbah Allah accepts. Allah is All Knowing and All Wise.”

Anyway, nobody knows the time of death but Allah. It is therefore imperative that we do not delay in making tawbah.
A Comparison
Bishr Al-Haafi (ra) fell ill. A group of visitors asked him what he intended doing. He replied, “I intend making tawbah when I recover.” “Why do you not make tawbah now?” one of them asked. “Do you not know,” he responded, “that kings do not accept protection from a person whose feet are chained and whose neck is fettered?” Protection is only accepted from a horseman holding his sword in his hand.” This moved all the visitors to tears. 

Bishr Al-Haafi (ra) meant that tawbah at the time of death is comparable to the protection that a prisoner in chains gives to his captors. The assurance he gives his captors is laughable. In chains and fetters, what harm can he cause them? Likewise, a man staring at death cannot sin anymore. Hence, his tawbah – a promise to never sin again – is too late. In different words, Bishr Al-Haafi (ra) meant we have to make tawbah before death and not delay it until death.
Four Types
People who make tawbah are of four types.
The First Type
A sinner who remains steadfast on his tawbah until death – Having made tawbah, he compensates for all his previous sins and never contemplates repeating them. If due to human weakness he occasionally slips, it is unplanned. Such a person’s tawbah is نصوح (sincere) and his nafs (soul) is مطمئنة (content).
The Second Type
Having made tawbah, this person remains steadfast on the fundamental acts of worship and abstains from the major sins. However, he still sins from time to time, albeit without planning to do so. Nonetheless, whenever this happens, he regrets, feels extremely guilty and reaffirms his resolve to avoid anything that may lead to repetition of the sin. Such a person’s nafs is called لوّامة (the rebuking soul) because it ‘rebukes’ him every time he sins. Although his status is lower than that of the first person, his status is yet quite high.
The Third Type
This person remains steadfast on his tawbah for some time but is eventually defeated by his desires. Unlike the previous person, his sins are calculated. However, he remains steadfast on the fundamental acts of worship and does not immerse himself in sin. Furthermore, he regrets when he sins and contemplates making tawbah. Another difference between him and the previous person is that the previous person makes tawbah after sinning whereas this person procrastinates in doing so. Thus, his nafs is called مسوّلة (the procrastinating soul). Considering his consistent worship of Allah and his displeasure with his sins, there is hope that Allah may forgive him. In view of his procrastination of tawbah, however, there is fear that he may die before making tawbah in which case he may or may not be forgiven by Allah.
وَآَخَرُونَ اعْتَرَفُوا بِذُنُوبِهِمْ خَلَطُوا عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَآَخَرَ سَيِّئًا عَسَى اللَّهُ أَنْ يَتُوبَ عَلَيْهِمْ
إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
“And others who acknowledge their sins – they mix good deeds with bad ones – Allah may accept their tawbah. Certainly, Allah is All Forgiving and Most Merciful.”
The Fourth Type
After adhering to his tawbah for a while, this person sooner or later reverts to his old ways. Stooped in sin, he expresses neither remorse nor intention to make tawbah. Such a person’s nafs is called الأمارة باسوء (the soul that calls to evil). In this condition, his hope in Allah’s forgiveness is deception. 

To which type do you belong or are you one of those who have not yet turned to Allah in tawbah?
Conclusion
In conclusion, we remind the readers that tawbah – sincere tawbah – is vital for success in the Hereafter.
تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
“O believers, repent to Allah, all of you, so that you may be successful.”
This aayah was revealed a considerable while after the hijrah. Its initial addressees were the Sahaabah (ra), men and women who had already brought imaan, exercised sabr for the sake of Allah, migrated for his pleasure and fought in His path. Despite all these achievements, Allah Ta’aala commands them to make tawbah, adding that if they make tawbah, they will be successful. The word لَعَلّ indicates that only those who make tawbah can hope in success in the Hereafter.  On the contrary, Allah Ta’aala also said:
وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ
“And those who do not make tawbah, they are the oppressors.”

اللهم ارزقنا توبة قبل الموت و راحة عند الموت و عافية بعد الموت
O Allah, bless us with tawbah before death, comfort at the time of death and safety after death – aameen.

و آخر دعوانا أن الحمد لله رب العالمين

Abu Hudhaifah Muhammed Karolia
3 Muharram 1435 / 6 November 2013
Al-Jaami’ah Al-Mahmoodiah
Persida, Springs

A BALANCED APPROACH

People love talks on Jannah. Let the imaam deliver a twenty minute pre-khutbah talk on Jahannam and there will be objections. ‘Scare tactics’ they comment, ‘why frighten our youngsters?’ The same applies to talks on the horrific conditions of the Day of Qiyaamah. Are such objections justifiable? Does Allah not discuss these topics in the Qur’aan? Of course he does; He discusses them frequently. In fact, the names He uses for the Day of Qiyaamah and their meanings (why is the Day of Qiyaamah called such names) is a discussion of its own. As-Saa’ah (The Hour), Al-Aazifah (The Close One), Al-Waaqi’ah (The Ocassion), Al-Haaqqah (The Definite One), Al-Qaari’ah (The Clatterer) to quote a few. There are also vivid descriptions of the situation on that day. Let us look at one particular aayah in this regard.
يَوْمَ تَجِدُ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَّا عَمِلَتْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ مُّحْضَرًا وَمَا عَمِلَتْ مِن سُوَءٍ تَوَدُّ لَوْ أَنَّ بَيْنَهَا وَبَيْنَهُ أَمَدًا بَعِيدًا وَيُحَذِّرُكُمُ اللَّهُ نَفْسَهُ وَاللَّهُ رَؤُوفُ بِالْعِبَادِ
The day when every soul will find the good and bad it had done presented (in front of him) and he will wish that between him and his actions is a vast distance. Allah warns you of Himself. Allah is compassionate to His servants.
Alternatively, this aayah could be translated as:

The day when every soul will find the good it had done presented (in front of him) and as for the bad he had done, he will wish that between him and his actions is a vast distance. Allah warns you of Himself. Allah is compassionate to His servants.
•    Scholars of Arabic would appreciate the usage of the word بَعِيدًا – the madd (prolonging of the voice) suits the meaning of a vast distance.
•    Warning our subordinates (children, students and others), we say, ‘Do not make me angry, I am warning you!’ The words “Allah warns you of himself” are similar in nature.
•    Observe how Allah Ta’aala reminds us of His compassion immediately after warning us of His punishment. After saying وَيُحَذِّرُكُمُ اللَّهُ نَفْسَهُ “Allah warns you of himself”, He says وَاللَّهُ رَؤُوفُ بِالْعِبَادِ “Allah is compassionate to His servants”. Is there any contradiction in mentioning His compassion so soon after such a stern warning? . . . No, there is no contradiction. Moreover, there are two reasons for mentioning the two alongside each other:
1.    It is an indication that Allah Ta’aala warns us because He pities us. If He had no pity for us, He would not have warned us. 
Lesson: This is a lesson to all parents and teachers. When reprimanding our children and students, our actions must be motivated by compassion instead of anger. Unfortunately, most of us act out of anger when reprimanding our children and students (if we are teachers). We do not have their interests at heart. The result is therefore ineffective. There is a famous adage:
تَخَلّقُوْا بِأخلاقِ الله
Adopt the ways of Allah.
Thus, students of pious ‘ulamaa fondly recall the reprimands (possibly beatings too) of their teachers.
2.    The second reason for Allah’s reminding us of His compassion immediately after warning us of Himself (i.e. His punishment) is to avoid despondency. If Allah only speaks of His punishment, man will become despondent and ‘throw in the towel’. Nevertheless, only speaking of His mercy and never referring to His punishment would also be inappropriate. It would result in complacency. Thus, Allah Ta’aala neither speaks only of His punishment nor does He speak only of His mercy. He speaks of both. Neither does He describe Jannah only nor does He describe Jahannam only. He describes both. This phenomenon is consistent throughout the Qur’aan and this is ‘The Balanced Approach’ referred to in the title of this article.
Lesson: Once again we cite the adage ‘Adopt the ways of Allah’. Da’wah workers should refrain from speaking only of Jahannam thereby causing people to object. Furthermore, when discussing aayaat and ahaadith regarding Jahannam, they should discuss Jannah as well.  Nonetheless, objectors to occasional descriptions of Jahannam are also in error.
More Examples
حم تَنْزِيلُ الْكِتَابِ مِنَ اللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ غَافِرِ الذَّنْبِ وَقَابِلِ التَّوْبِ شَدِيدِ الْعِقَابِ ذِي الطَّوْلِ
لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ إِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ
Ha Meem (Nobody but Allah knows the meaning of these letters. The revelation of the Qur’aan is from Allah, The All-Mighty, All-Knowing, The Forgiver of Sin and the Accepter of Repentance, The Possessor of Severe Punishment, The Possessor of Bounty); there is no deity but He, unto Him is the return. 
نَبِّىءْ عِبَادِي أَنِّي أَنَا الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ وَ أَنَّ عَذَابِي هُوَ الْعَذَابُ الأَلِيمَ
Inform my servants that I am The All-Forgiving, Most Merciful and that my punishment is the painful punishment.
إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَسَرِيعُ الْعِقَابِ وَإِنَّهُ لَغَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
Certainly your Rabb is swift in punishing and certainly He is most forgiving and merciful.
يَوْمَ تَبْيَضُّ وُجُوهٌ وَتَسْوَدُّ وُجُوهٌ
The day when some faces will be white (shining)
and others will be black (dull).
إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ لَفِي نَعِيمٍ وَإِنَّ الْفُجَّارَ لَفِي جَحِيمٍ
The pious will undoubtedly be in bounty and the sinners will undoubtedly be in the fire.
Based on the attributes of Allah, certain aayaat of the Qur’aan and ahaadith of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, scholars commonly say:
الإيمانُ بينَ الخوفِ و الرجاء
Imaan is between fear and hope.
The purpose of mentioning the above attributes alongside each other is to maintain this balance between hope and fear. Thus, the famous commentator of the Qur’aan, Ibn Katheer (ra), writes in his commentary of the first aayah:
يقرن هذين الوصفين كثيرًا في مواضع متعددة من القرآن؛ ليبقى العبد بين الرجاء والخوف
In many instances Allah mentions these two attributes alongside each other so that man will remain between hope and fear.
Why the Balance?
Explaining the reason why the Believer must have fear and hope, Ibn ‘Alaan (ra) comments, “so that fear will deter him from contravention and hope will motivate him to do good deeds”. He says further that the reason why such fear and hope must be equal is that:
الغالب في القرآن ذكر الترغيب والترهيب مقترنين
“The general practice in the Qur’aan is to mention targheeb and tarheeb alongside each other.”
Targheeb is encouragement to do good deeds and is achieved by reference to Allah’s mercy and the reward for such deeds. Tarheeb is discouragement of sin and is achieved by reference to Allah’s anger and the punishment for sin. Thus, the balance between the two is in essence the balance between fear and hope.
Lesson: As already mentioned, imams, da’wah workers etc. must always observe this balance. Focusing only on Jahannam and punishment may drive the audience or some of them to despondency. Hence, their talks result in more harm than benefit. (Although, it must be acknowledged that such people are few.)
Umar (ra) and the Alcoholic
Sayyiduna ‘Umar (ra) was informed of a person who would previously visit him regularly but had since become an alcoholic. Sayyiduna ‘Umar (ra) immediately sent him a letter in which he merely stated:
From ‘Umar bin Khattaab to So-and-so
I remind you of the praises of Allah, The All-Mighty, All-Knowing, The Forgiver of Sin and the Accepter of Repentance, The Possessor of Severe Punishment, The Possessor of Bounty); there is no deity but He, unto Him is the return.
When dispatching the letter, Sayyiduna ‘Umar (ra) instructed the messenger to ensure that the person concerned is sober when he passes the letter to him.  Sayyiduna ‘Umar (ra) then requested the people sitting with him to make du’aa for this person’s guidance.

Upon receiving the letter, the man read its contents a few times and said, “The Forgiver of Sin and the Accepter of Repentance, the Possessor of Severe Punishment. He warned me of His punishment and He promised to forgive me.” He then cried bitterly, repented to Allah and gave up his evil habit. When news of his transformation reached Sayyiduna ‘Umar (ra), he remarked, “That is what you should do. When you see that your brother has slipped, guide him and make du’aa that Allah guide him to repent but do not help Shaytaan over him.”
The Ambiyaa
All the Ambiyaa including Nabi Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wasallam have been described in the Qur’aan as bearers of glad-tidings and warners.
رُّسُلاً مُّبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ لِئَلاَّ يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَى اللَّهِ حُجَّةٌ
“Messengers who were bearers of glad-tidings and warners so that the people would have no argument against Allah . . .” 
إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ بِالْحَقِّ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَلاَ تُسْأَلُ عَنْ أَصْحَابِ الْجَحِيمِ
“Surely we sent you with the truth, as a bearer of glad-tidings and a warner.”
Since we have been commanded to emulate the Ambiyaa, especially Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, we too have to be bearers of glad-tidings and warners. This is yet another reason why we have to adopt a ‘balanced approach’.
Interesting Observation
•    Amr bil-Ma’roof (encouraging good) and Nahy-‘anil-Munkar (prohibiting evil) play an important role in the sharee’ah and have been mentioned several times in the Qur’aan. Their nature is similar to targheeb and tarheeb. The noteworthy point is that whenever they are mentioned in the Qur’aan, Amr bil-Ma’roof is always mentioned before Nahy-‘anil-Munkar.
•    Similarly, whenever Allah Ta’aala describes the Ambiyaa and Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam as bearers of glad-tidings and warners, He always mentions glad-tidings before the warning.
•    Likewise, in Surahs Ghaafir and Al-Hijr, Allah Ta’aala mentioned غَافِرِ الذَّنْبِ وَقَابِلِ التَّوْبِ (The Forgiver of Sin and the Accepter of Repentance) and أَنَا الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ (I am The All-Forgiving, Most Merciful) before شَدِيدِ الْعِقَابِ (The Possessor of Severe Punishment) and عَذَابِي هُوَ الْعَذَابُ الأَلِيمَ (my punishment is the painful punishment).
•    This is an indication that although we require a ‘balanced approach’, we should speak more of Jannah, Allah’s forgiveness and His mercy. It also indicates that Allah’s mercy surpasses His anger. In this regard, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said that when Allah created the creation, He ordained that His mercy surpasses His anger. Thus, the words إن رحمتي غلبت غضبي (My mercy surpasses my anger) are inscribed above His ‘arsh (throne).
Another Observation
•    Another noteworthy observation is that while Allah describes Himself as The Forgiving, The Merciful and The Compassionate, He never describes Himself as الْمُعَذّب (The Punisher). He merely states that His punishment is severe.
•    Furthermore, the word forms utilised to describe Allah as forgiving and merciful (i.e. الْغَفُورُ and الرَّحِيمُ) constitute a form of hyperbole; they show excessiveness in meaning. (Such word formation is called مبالغة) However, the words utilised for describing Allah’s punishment as painful and severe are straightforward. 
•    This is an indication that Allah’s promise is weightier than His warning.  On the one hand, this is meant to increase our hope in Allah’s mercy, on the other hand it is another lesson with regards our approach to da’wah.

In conclusion, we beseech Allah Ta’aala for His forgiveness and mercy آمين

و صلى الله على نبينا محمد و على آله و أصحابه أجمعين
و الحمد لله رب العلمين

Abu Hudhaifa Muhammad Karolia
07 Shawwaal 1435 / 03 August 2014
Al-Jaami’ah Al-Mahmoodiah
Persida, Springs

LIKE THE DWELLERS OF JANNAH

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

LIKE THE DWELLERS OF JANNAH

 

Two one-year old infants were walking with their mothers in a garden. One of them held her mother’s hand while the other did not. Which of them stumbled more?  . . . Off course, the child that did not hold her mother’s hand stumbled more. In fact, the other child probably did not trip at all. Very similar, though not identical, is the difference between the Nabi and the non-Nabi as they walk through life.

 

Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said in a Hadith Qudsi that Allah says, “By means of the nawaafil, my servant continues drawing closer to me until I love him. When I love him, I become his ear with which he hears, his eye with which he sees, his hand with which he catches and his foot with which he walks.”  Obviously, this does not mean that Allah becomes His servant’s ear, eye or limb. Allah is the creator. How can He become part of His creation? Hence, the meaning of the Hadith is that when Allah loves a person, He guides that person to correct utilisation of every part of his body. Now, if this is how Allah treats a pious non-Nabi, imagine how He treats the Nabi! After all, every Nabi is chosen by Allah.

اللَّهُ يَصْطَفِي مِنَ الْمَلائِكَةِ رُسُلاً وَمِنَ النَّاسِ

Allah chooses messengers from the angels and men.

 

Nubuwwah is a gift from Allah which He bestows to whosoever He desires. It is not attainable through study and hard work. Therefore, there are no possibilities of trial and error, practise makes perfect and maturing with age.

 

Besides, the purpose of the Nabi is to demonstrate how the laws of Allah are to be implemented. He is the uswah hasanah (excellent example) for his followers. Now, do you think that Allah would present us with a faulty example? If the Nabi sins, what type of example would he be for his followers? It is for this reason that we believe that every Nabi was ma’soom (sinless).

 

Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam exhorted us to worship Allah as if we see Him.  Do you think Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam never practised what he preached?

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لا تَفْعَلُونَ

O you who believe! Why do you say what you do not do?

Moreover, it is impossible that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam lacked conviction in the all-encompassing nature of Allah’s knowledge. He believed more than anybody else that Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing and All-Knowing. On the Night of Mi’raaj he saw Jannah and Jahannam. This means he had total conviction in the reward for obedience and the punishment for sin. Thus, he was always conscious of Allah’s presence and never ever committed a single sin.

 

Coming to the title of this article, it should be noted that apart from the ambiyaa, the only other ma’soom human beings are the dwellers of Jannah.

لا يَسْمَعُونَ فِيهَا لَغْوًا وَلا تَأْثِيمًا

In it (Jannah) they will hear neither vain talk nor sin.

Hence, the conclusion that even in their worldly lives, the ambiyaa resembled the dwellers of Jannah.

Another Semblance

“Send me abundant salawaat (salutations)” advised Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, “Because your salawaat will be presented to me.” “O Rasul of Allah!” enquired somebody from the audience, “How will our salawaat be presented to you whereas your body will be decomposed by then?” Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam replied, “Allah ‘azza wa jalla has prohibited the earth from consuming the bodies of the ambiyaa.”

 

In view of this Hadith and other dalaa-il (proofs) from the Qur’aan and Sunnah, the Ahlus-Sunnah believe that the ambiyaa are alive in their graves.  Jalaal-ud-Deen Suyooti writes in this regard: The fact that the Nabi sallallahu alaihi wasallam and the rest of the ambiyaa are alive in their graves is known to us in a manner that is beyond doubt due to the proofs and the tawaatur (continuity) of the narrations in this regard. Baihaqi had compiled a separate book on this topic. Among the narrations that prove this is . . .”

 

We are not going to delve into any of the (other) proofs cited by Suyooti. However, the point we wish to highlight is that this is another semblance between the ambiyaa and the dwellers of Jannah. Remember that there is no death in Jannah. The dwellers of Jannah will never die. To paraphrase, just as the dwellers of Jannah will always be alive, the ambiyaa are also always alive, even in their graves.

Musk-smelling Perspiration

Anas radiallahu anhu said that he never smelled ambar or musk better than the (natural) fragrance of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam.  Jaabir radiallahu anhu said that due to Rasulullah’s sallallahu alaihi wasallam fragrance, it was always possible to detect when he had walked through an alley.  According to another narration, this was due to the fragrance of Rasulullah’s sallallahu alaihi wasallam perspiration. Once, Ummu-Sulaim radiallahu anha collected some of Rasulullah’s sallallahu alaihi wasallam perspiration while he was asleep. Suddenly Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam woke up and asked her what she was doing. “This is your perspiration” she replied, “We dilute it with our perfume. It is the best perfume!”

This sweet-smelling perspiration of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam is yet another aspect in which he resembled the dwellers of Jannah in his worldly life. “They (the dwellers of Jannah) will not pass urine and stool. They will neither spit nor have any phlegm. Their combs will be made from gold and their perspiration will smell like musk . . .”

Urine and Stool

Just as the bodies and perspiration of the ambiyaa do not smell like the bodies and perspiration of non-ambiyaa, it is not far-fetched that their urine and stool would be also be different from the urine and stool of non-ambiyaa. Hence, ‘Aa-isha radiallahu anha said to Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, “I notice that when you go to the toilet, the person who utilises the toilet after you never sees anything that left your body.”  “O ‘Aa-isha!” responded Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, “Do you not know that Allah commanded the earth to swallow anything (urine and stool) which comes out of the bodies of the ambiyaa?”

 

Furthermore, Umaymah radiallahu anha narrated that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam needed to pass urine at night, he would do so in a wooden bowl which he would thereafter leave beneath his bed. He would wash out the urine the next day. One morning, when he removed the bowl from beneath his bed, he found that it was empty. Upon enquiring, Barakah, an Abyssinian slave-girl of Umm Habeebah radiallahu anha, informed him that she drank it. Amazingly Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam did not reprimand her. Instead, he told her that by drinking his urine, she would be protected from the fire.  Based on this Hadith, some ‘ulamaa are of the opinion that the urine and stool of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam were taahir (pure).

Many Wives

Just as the ambiyaa possess greater spiritual strength than the non-ambiyaa, their physical strengths also surpass that of the non-ambiyaa. Thus, while digging the trench around Madinah, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam single-handedly crushed a boulder which none of the Sahaabah was able to crush.  Similarly, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam effortlessly defeated Rukaanah, the famous and unrivalled wrestler.  In fact, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam toppled him three times consecutively.

 

Considering this extraordinary strength of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, Allah permitted him to marry more women than the ordinary Muslim. Thus, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam had nine wives at the time of his demise. In total, he had eleven wives. This (having many wives) is one more commonality between certain ambiyaa, especially Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, and the dwellers of Jannah. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “The Believer will have seventy three wives in Jannah.” “Will he have strength for that?” asked the Sahaabah. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam replied, “He will have the strength of one hundred men (of the Dunya)”.

 

Abu Hudhaifa Muhammed Karolia

23 Safar 1434 / 06 January 2013

Al-Jaami’ah Al-Mahmoodiah

Persida, Springs

 

 

LIKE THE BIRDS

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


LIKE THE BIRDS

 

 

Chances are that you have not heard of people whose hearts are like that of the birds. Whatever the case may be, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam spoke of them. He said, “Some people will enter Jannah (because) their hearts resemble the hearts of the birds”.

Who are These People?

‘Exceedingly softhearted people’ is the opinion of some commentators. Others aver that they are people who are extremely fearful of Allah. However, in another hadith Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “If you rely in Allah in the manner you ought to do so, He will sustain you just as He sustains the birds. They leave in the mornings with empty stomachs, yet they return in the evenings with full stomachs.”  In the light of this hadith, we could conclude that the people who will enter Jannah (because) their hearts resemble the hearts of the birds are people who have absolute tawakkul (total reliance) in Allah.

Why Tawakkul?

وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

In Allah (alone) must the Believers have tawakkul.

وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ

Whoever has tawakkul in Allah, He will be sufficient for him.

 

Why are Muslims required to have tawakkul in Allah? Why is so much of importance and reward attached to tawakkul? The answer to these questions is in the word tawakkul itself.  You do not have to be professor of the Arabic language to realise the relationship between the words tawakkul and wakeel. The former is derived from the latter. Put differently, a person who has tawakkul in Allah is making Allah his wakeel.

 

The word wakeel rings wedding bells in many minds. Its meaning, however, is much broader than the bride’s representative. When a person appoints another to do something on his behalf, the latter is his wakeel. For example, if you appoint him to sell your house, he is your wakeel.

 

When appointing a wakeel, three qualities are considered:

1. Is the wakeel knowledgeable regarding the issue at hand? You would not appoint him to sell your house if he has no knowledge regarding the real estate market. He may sell your house for an unreasonably low price.

2. Does he have the ability to discharge the task entrusted to him? You would not make him your wakeel to sell your car if he were bedridden. Confined to his bed, he does not have the ability to fulfill the task entrusted to him.

3. Does he have any concern for your welfare? Would you entrust a person who is not be bothered if you suffer a loss? Would you entrust a person who may very well deceive you?

 

Now, the reason for commanding the Muslims to have total tawakkul in Allah is that:

1. Nobody is more knowledgeable than Allah. In fact, Allah is All Knowing.

أَلا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ خَلَقَ

Would the one who created (everything) not know?

2. Nothing is beyond the qudrat (ability) of Allah.

إِنَّ اللَّه عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

Certainly Allah has ability over everything.

3. Allah is Ar-Rahmaan (The Most Merciful), Ar-Ra’oof (The Most Compassionate) and Al- Barr (The Most Kind). Nobody can be more sympathetic towards man than Allah.

Another Reason

Qadr (belief that everything is preordained by Allah)  is another reason why tawakkul in Allah alone is imperative for Muslims. Put differently, Muslims are required to have tawakkul in Allah alone because nothing happens contrary to the desire of Allah.

Tawakkul and Worldly Means

Any discussion on tawakkul inevitably leads to the question of worldly means. Does tawakkul demand renunciation of worldly means?

 

The answer to this question lies in the definition of tawakkul. Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal described it as ‘amal-al-qalb (an action of the heart). What he meant is that it is neither verbal nor physical; it cannot be achieved by using ones tongue and limbs. On the contrary, renunciation of worldly means is physical.

 

Furthermore,

Adoption of worldly means has been alluded to in the Qur’aan.

It was the sunnah of the previous ambiyaa alaihim-us-salaam.

It was the sunnah of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam.

The People of Yemen

Claiming that they exercised tawakkul, the people of Yemen would not take with them any provisions when they travelled to Makkah for hajj. Upon reaching Makkah, however, they would resort to begging. Thus, Allah revealed:

وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى

Take your provisions although the best provision is taqwa . . .

Commanding the Yemeni hujjaaj to take their provisions even though they claimed to exercise tawakkul is testimony that tawakkul does not require abandonment of worldly means.

Travel throughout its Length and Breadth

Reminding man that the Earth and all its contents were created to fulfill his needs, Allah then tells him to travel in pursuit of livelihood.

هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ ذَلُولًا فَامْشُوا فِي مَنَاكِبِهَا وَكُلُوا مِنْ رِزْقِهِ . . .

He is the one who made the earth subservient to you, therefore travel throughout its length and breadth and eat from His sustenance . . .

Allah did not tell man to wait for his sustenance. Instead, he told him to seek it. This is another proof from the Qur’aan that tawakkul does not require abandonment of worldly means.

After Salaat-ul-Jumu’ah

The following aayah is yet one more proof in this regard.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَاةِ مِنْ يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ . . .

فَإِذَا قُضِيَتِ الصَّلَاةُ فَانْتَشِرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَابْتَغُوا مِنْ فَضْلِ اللَّهِ . . .

O those who have Imaan, when the call is made to salaah on the day of Jumu’ah, hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave all trade . . . Then, when the salaah is completed,

disperse in the land and seek the bounty of Allah . . .

Salaat-ul-Khawf

This refers to a special method of performing salaah that is only observed on the battlefield when the Muslims fear being attacked by the enemy while they are in salaah. Discussed in Surah-an-Nisaa as well as a number of ahaadith, the fuqahaa (Muslim jurists) differ regarding its procedure. Nevertheless, its ordainment also shows the status of adopting worldly means.

Back to the Birds

Let us go back to the hadith of the birds: “If you rely in Allah in the manner you ought to do so, He will sustain you just as He sustains the birds. They leave in the mornings with empty stomachs, yet they return in the evenings with full stomachs.”  The last sentence (“They leave in the mornings . . .”) indicates that although the birds rely in Allah for their sustenance, they make an effort to earn it. The same applies to man. Allah will sustain him just as He sustains the birds, but man has to make some effort. Hence, the meaning of the hadith is that if man has true tawakkul, Allah will sustain him with minimum effort on his behalf.

A Moderate Search

Man’s lifespan and his sustenance are preordained by Allah. He will definitely complete the lifespan that Allah had ordained for him. Nobody can live longer or shorter than that. Similarly, man will definitely receive all the sustenance that Allah had ordained for him. It is impossible for him to earn more or less than that. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “No soul dies until it gains its full sustenance and completes its entire lifespan. Therefore, fear Allah and be moderate in your search (for sustenance). Take what is permissible and leave what is prohibited.” The important point in the context of our discussion is that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam did not say that since our sustenance is preordained, we must not seek it at all. Instead, he said, “Be moderate in your search”.

Fasten Your Camel . . .

“Fasten your camel and have tawakkul” is a commonly cited hadith.

 

Be Intelligent

Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam passed judgement between two people. As the person against whom judgement was passed walked away, he said حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ (“Allah is sufficient for us and He is the best helper”). Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam responded, “Allah blames people who do not help themselves. You must be intelligent. Then if you are defeated, you should say حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ

Two Steel Armours

In the battle of Uhud, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam wore two steel armours. The reason for doing so was to demonstrate that tawakkul does not require Muslims to discard all worldly means. Instead, they are required to utilise the same but trust in Allah.

The Explanation of Sahl At-Tastari (ra)

Explaining the above, Sahl At-Tastari (ra) said, “Whoever criticizes activity (for the sake of earning a livelihood etc.) is criticizing the sunnah and whoever criticizes tawakkul is criticizing imaan. Tawakkul is the haal (spiritual condition) of the Nabi sallallahu alaihi wasallam and activity is his sunnah. A person who emulates the haal of Nabi sallallahu alaihi wasallam must definitely not discard his sunnah!”

Three Levels of Tawakkul

At this juncture, you could question me about Ibrahim alaihi-salaam’s response to Jibreel alaihi-salaam when, just before he was flung into the fire, the latter asked him: “Do you need anything?” Ibrahim alaihi-salaam replied, “Not from you!” (‘I do not need your help, but I do need the help of Allah.’)  Was this not a rejection of worldly means and, according to the preceding discussion, inconsistent with tawakkul? The answer to this question is that there are three levels of tawakkul viz.

1. Exercising tawakkul in Allah, man adopts a worldly means that he constantly focuses on. This could be likened to the appointment of a lawyer. Although the client has confidence in his lawyer, he maintains continuous contact with him, enquiring about developments regarding the case.

2. Exercising tawakkul in Allah, man adopts a worldly means but, due to his tawakkul, he only focuses on Allah (and not the means that he adopted).

3. Exercising tawakkul in Allah, man does not even adopt a worldly means.

 

Considering the essence of tawakkul, the first level is the lowest and the third level is the highest. However, the third level is that of the ambiyaa and a selected few among the pious. It is not demanded from the average Muslim. The tawakkul demanded from them is of the second level.

Two Types of Asbaab

Moreover, asbaab (worldly means) are of two types:

1. يقينية – Means that definitely result in the desired effect. For example, drinking cold water definitely quenches a man’s thirst and eating food fills a hungry man’s stomach. Omission of such means is foolish and impermissible in the sharee’ah.

2. ظنية – Means that do not necessarily result in the desired effect, although they generally do. For example, commerce and agriculture are means of livelihood. Although they generally do result in livelihood, there is no certainty that always do so. Omission of such means are of two types:

a. When a person intentionally chooses to live in the absence of worldly means – in a desert, for example.  This type is also impermissible in the sharee’ah.

b. When a person discards the worldly means despite its availability. For example, he refuses to make an effort to earn a livelihood although he lives in a city wherein there are ample job opportunities. Under normal circumstances, this type of omission is impermissible. However, it is permissible in the presence of the following conditions:

The person concerned should not have any dependents. He must not be responsible for the needs of anybody else.

He must have firm resolution.

He must always be content with whatever Allah ordains for him.

He must never beg from anybody, neither directly nor indirectly.

In the absence of any one or more of these conditions, omission of the worldly means is impermissible. In addition, it must be done with the intention of ilaaj-un-nafs (treatment of the spiritual self) or fulfillment of some other need. Narrations of certain Sahaabah (ra) and other pious people who discarded the worldly means should be interpreted in this manner. Nevertheless, adoption of the worldly means is best for the average Muslim.

Note:

Whatever has been mentioned above is regarding apparent asbaab (worldly means that have an apparent relation with the desired result). It does not apply to obscure, far-fetched asbaab (means that do not have any apparent relation with the desired result). Adoption of such means contradicts the hadith “. . . be moderate in your search (for sustenance)”. Hence, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam would utilise the apparent means and thereafter say:

اللهم هذا الجُهدُ ، وعَلَيكَ التُّكلانُ

O Allah, this is our effort, now we rely in you.

Another Type of Tawakkul

This is the tawakkul that is observed when fulfilling the commands of Allah, which are the means of safety from Jahannam and entry into Jannah. While implementing such actions he must have tawakkul in Allah regarding his safety in the Hereafter. Yusuf bin Asbaat (ra) said in this regard, “Do the actions of a man who can only be saved by his actions but exercise the tawakkul of a man who can only be afflicted by what has been ordained for him.”

The Important Question

‘How do we inculcate tawakkul?’ is the important question. In the light of the reasons for the importance and virtue of tawakkul in the sharee’ah, we could conclude that tawakkul is inculcated by recognising the attributes of Allah in contrast with human weakness. Added to this, contemplation of the virtues of tawakkul and anecdotes of those who adopted it will prove extremely beneficial.

 

و آخر دعوانا أن الحمد لله رب العلمين

و صلى الله على النبى محمد و على آله و أصحابه أجمعين

 

Abu Hudhaifa Muhammed Karolia

14 Sha’baan 1433 / 04 July 2012

Al-Jaami’ah Al-Mahmoodiah

Persida, Springs

 

 

 

Does He Think . . .

 

 

Does He Think . . .


You would agree that if I stand on a piece of carpet and ten men pull it from one side, I would fall down. However, if a cow or any other similarly big animal sits on a carpet and ten men pull it from one side, the carpet may tear but the animal will not move. In the time of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam there was an extremely strong man who would stand on a sheepskin and challenge any ten men to pull it in order to make him fall. He would even offer a reward for those who succeeded in toppling him. Many attempted. However, they always failed. The sheepskin would tear but, due to his strength, he would never fall.


Deceived by his physical strength, this man scoffed at the concept of resurrection. ‘If ten men cannot topple me,’ he wondered, ‘who will ever take me to task?’ In response, Allah Ta’aala revealed the following aayaat:

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الإِنْسَانَ فِي كَبَدٍ

أَيَحْسَبُ أَنْ لَنْ يَقْدِرَ عَلَيْهِ أَحَدٌ

يَقُولُ أَهْلَكْتُ مَالًا لُبَدًا –  أَيَحْسَبُ أَنْ لَمْ يَرَهُ أَحَدٌ

أَلَمْ نَجْعَلْ لَهُ عَيْنَيْنِ –  وَلِسَانًا وَشَفَتَيْنِ

Certainly, We created man such that he is always in difficulty. Does he think that nobody has ability over him? He says, ‘I have spent abundant wealth’. Does he think nobody sees him? Did we not give him two eyes, a tongue and two lips?

Man’s Weakness

Is there anybody who had no difficulty whatsoever throughout his entire life?  From man’s infancy till his eventual death, he suffers innumerable difficulties. In his infancy, there is hunger, colic, fever, a cough, teething or simply diaper that has to be changed but he is unable to speak and his mother does not immediately realize the problem. As he continues his journey in life, his problems continue; a variety of accidents, ailments, aches and pains. Maybe it’s just a common cold, a nagging cough or a splitting headache. As an adult, he faces a range of other problems. Problematic neighbours, quarrelsome siblings, rebellious children, an unsympathetic husband, a nagging wife, unrealistic in-laws, a difficult boss or, maybe he is the boss, but his employees are dishonest or plain lazy. Sometimes it is not the people whom he deals with but a financial crisis. His accounts are in arrears and he doesn’t have money to pay. Worse, he does not have money to put food on the table! Then there are medical woes: cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes . . . the list never ends.

The Message

The bottom line, however, is that the cause of all man’s difficulties is Allah. Surely, nothing happens in the universe without the will of Allah. Everything, good and bad, can only happen if he so desires. Thus, Allah Ta’aala says:

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الإِنْسَانَ فِي كَبَدٍ

Certainly, We created man such that he is always in difficulty.

By reminding man of his frequent struggles and the fact that they are caused by Allah Ta’aala, man’s attention is drawn to his weakness in contrast to the greatness of Allah. The message is more than clear: If you doubt who can take you to task in the Hereafter, remember that no matter how strong you may be, you are a weakling in front of Allah. Despite your strength, you suffered the consequences of the difficulties that Allah had placed in your way. Hence, nothing can stop Him from taking you to task!


In his arrogance, man thinks that Allah cannot see him. Thus, Allah Ta’aala says:

أَيَحْسَبُ أَنْ لَمْ يَرَهُ أَحَدٌ

Does he think nobody sees him?

Allah Ta’aala thereafter reminds man that: Let alone seeing you, We (and nobody else) created the eyes with which you see. In fact, We did not only create your eyes. Instead, We also gave you your tongue and lips.

أَلَمْ نَجْعَلْ لَهُ عَيْنَيْنِ –  وَلِسَانًا وَشَفَتَيْنِ

Did we not give him two eyes, a tongue and two lips?

The Reasons for Difficulty

While assuring the disbeliever that he will never evade Allah Ta’aala on the Day of Qiyaamah, these aayaat also highlight the reason for the difficulties we experience in our lives. Put simply, these difficulties are a reminder of our weakness against the greatness of Allah Ta’aala. Continuous reflection over these two aspects may make us more fearful of His punishment and hence, more conscious of our duties to Him. In different words, every difficulty is a wake-up call, a reminder that we start mending our ways before it’s too late. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said that for the Believer, illness is kaffaarah (expiation) for past sins and admonition for the future. However, when the Hypocrite falls ill for a brief period and then recuperates, he is like a donkey whose owners fastened him and later unfastened him; he does not understand why! When Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said this, a man in the gathering said, “What is illness? By Allah, I have never been ill!” “Go away,” responded Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, “(If you never fall ill) you are not one of us!”   According to some versions, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam then said that if anybody desired to see a man from the dwellers of the fire, he should look at this man. “If Allah desired any good for him, He would have cleansed him (of his sins).”

Adversity and Expiation of Sin

Concerning the relation between adversity and expiation of sins, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam also said that:

Every adversity suffered by a Muslim, even if it is a mere thorn-prick, results in expiation of his sins.

Adversity expiates a Muslim’s sins just a tree sheds it’s leaves.

On the Day of Qiyaamah, when people will see the reward of those who suffered difficulty in the worldly life, they will desire that their skins were cut with scissors . . .


Considering the above, the pious servants of Allah actually welcome adversity. Thus, some of our salaf (predecessors) used to say, “Were it not for worldly adversities, we would all be bankrupt on the Day of Qiyaamah.”  Similarly, Ibn ‘Aqeel and Ibn-ul-Qayyim described worldly adversities as guests and the gifts of Jannah.

The former wrote in his Al-Funoon that, “Bounties are guests who should be entertained with shukr (gratitude) and adversities are guests who should be entertained with sabr (patience).”

The latter wrote in his Al-Fawaa’id that when Allah creates somebody for Jannah, the gifts of Jannah continuously reach him in the form of adversities.”

Question

If the purpose of adversity is expiation of past sins and admonition for the future, how do we explain the sufferings of the Ambiyaa alaihim-us-salaam? Do we not believe that the Ambiyaa alaihim-us-salaam were ma’soom (sinless)? If they were ma’soom (sinless), why did they experience so many adversities in their lives? Furthermore, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam also said the people who suffer the most hardship are the Ambiyaa and then those who follow them the most.

Answer

Often, the purpose of adversity is elevation of one’s status in the Hereafter instead of expiation and admonition. This is the rationale for the adversities suffered by the Ambiyaa alaihim-us-salaam, Sahaabah radiallahu anhum and so many other pious servants of Allah.


Besides, Allah Ta’aala often tests the imaan (faith) and sabr (patience) of His chosen servants.

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنْفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ

We will certainly test you with a little fear, hunger, and shortage of wealth and decrease of lives. So give glad tidings to those who are patient.


In this regard, Shaikh Abdul Qaadir Al-Jilaani advised his son that, “Adversities are not meant to destroy you. Instead, they merely test you sabr (patience) and imaan (faith). Hence, adversities are man’s furnace.”  (Gold cannot be burnt. Thus, it is placed in a blazing furnace in order to confirm whether it is definitely gold. If it does not burn, it is gold. If it burns, it is not. Similarly, adversities test man’s imaan and sabr.)

A Ni’mah from Allah

وَإِذَا مَسَّ الْإِنْسَانَ ضُرٌّ دَعَا رَبَّهُ مُنِيبًا إِلَيْهِ

When hardship afflicts man, he calls his Rabb turning to Him (in repentance).

Yes, this is another reason for adversity. It causes (maybe, forces?) one to turn to Allah . . . Ibn Taymiyyah described this as a ni’mah (favour) from Allah. In extreme difficulty, man turns to Allah alone. Crying in repentance, he places his faith in Him and begs him for assistance. Depended on the extent of his imaan he enjoys a sweetness that exceeds the joy experienced when his suffering is eventually dispelled.

An Antidote for Pride

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِي حَاجَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ فِي رَبِّهِ أَنْ آَتَاهُ اللَّهُ الْمُلْكَ

Have you not seen the one who disputed with Ibrahim concerning his Rabb because He granted him kingdom?

وَلَوْ بَسَطَ اللَّهُ الرِّزْقَ لِعِبَادِهِ لَبَغَوْا فِي الْأَرْضِ

If Allah expands (Increases) sustenance for His servants, they will transgress in the land . . .

إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَيَطْغَى أَنْ رَآَهُ اسْتَغْنَى

Man transgresses because he thinks that he is wealthy.


Based on these and other aayaat of the Qur’aan, many ‘Ulamaa opine that another reason why Allah puts some people to tribulation in the worldly life is to protect or cleanse them from pride and subsequent rebellion against His commands.  Ibn-ul-Qayyim writes, “If Allah does not treat His servants with the medicines of test and tribulation, they become haughty and rebel. On the contrary, when Allah desires good for a servant, he makes him drink the medicines of adversity . . . and thereby rids him of detrimental (spiritual) ailments.”

Another Reason

Often, favours are only appreciated after they cease. Thus, Allah Ta’aala places difficulties in man’s life so that he will appreciate Allah’s favours and be grateful to Him.

The Most Important Reason

In the beginning of this article, we quoted the aayah “Certainly, We created man such that he is always in difficulty” and explained that this is a reminder to man of his weakness in contrast to the greatness of Allah. Bearing this in mind, we could understand why the great scholar, ‘Izzud-ud-Deen bin Abdis-Salaam, mentioned recognition of Allah’s rububiyyah (divinity) and one’s own ‘ubudiyyah (servitude to Allah) among the reasons for tribulation in our lives.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we quote the blessed words of Allah:

عَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَى أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

It is possible that you dislike something yet it is good for you.

(Similarly) It is possible that you love something yet it is bad for you. (Remember that) Allah knows and you do not!


Abu Hudhaifa Muhammed Karolia

5th Dhil Haj 1433

21st October 2012

Al-Jaami’ah Al-Mahmoodiah

Persida, Springs

 

 

ONE OF TWO PEOPLE

 

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

 

ثانى اثنين

ONE OF TWO PEOPLE

 

Merciful unto each other is how Allah Ta’aala described the Believers.  The most merciful individual in my ummah towards my ummah is how Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam described his closest companion, Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu.  Do these quotations not tell you something very significant about Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu? Certainly, they tell me that he was a Believer and a true member of the ummah of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. Moreover, the hadith also shows me the extent of his relationship with Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam.

 

Did Allah Ta’aala not describe Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam as a mercy unto the worlds?  Of course, I should not have asked. You heard and read it innumerable times before. Okay, let us now consider the hadith man follows the ways of his friend.   Does this not indicate that the cause of Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu’s mercy was his relationship with Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam? He was so close to Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam that he inculcated Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s merciful disposition more than anybody else in the ummah.

 

An Interesting Observation

Allah Ta’aala is The Most Merciful, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam is a mercy unto the worlds and Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu is the most merciful person in the ummah. Is that not interesting?

 

Suggestions and Judgments

The merciful temperament of Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu surfaced in his suggestions and judgments too. For example, when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam consulted the Sahaabah radiallahu anhum regarding the prisoners of Badr, Umar radiallahu anhu suggested that they be executed by their muhaajir relatives. On the contrary, Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu said, “O Nabi of Allah! These people are (our) cousins, family members and brothers. Hence, I suggest that we take a ransom from them. This ransom would strengthen us and perhaps, Allah will guide them and thus, they will be a support for us.”

 

Another Observation

The stance adopted by Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu on this occasion resembles the stance of Ibrahim alaihi salaam when the angels informed him that they were en route to destroy the people of Sodom. “They said: We are going to destroy the inhabitants of this city; surely its inhabitants are wrongdoers. He said: (But) Loot is there. They said: We are fully aware of who is there . . .”  We therefore observe a relationship between Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu and Ibrahim alaihi salaam. While Ibrahim alaihi salaam is the khaleel (friend) of Allah, Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu is the khaleel of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. “If I were to take a friend, I would have taken Abu Bakr as my friend.”  Alternatively, if we consider that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam was also the khaleel of Allah, Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu is the khaleel of the khaleel of Allah.

 

In the Cave

One of Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu’s merits is that he was chosen by Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam to accompany him in his migration to Madinah. During this journey, they hid for three days in the cave of Thaur. There was a crevice in the roof of the cave due to which, if somebody outside looked down, he would see the inside of the cave. Thus, when a search party from Makkah reached the top of the cave, Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu said to Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, “If any of them looks under his feet, he will see us!” Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam replied, “What do you think about two people, the third of whom is Allah?”

 

إِذْ أَخْرَجَهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِي الْغَارِ

إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لاَ تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا

“. . . When those who disbelieved expelled him – while he was one of (only) two people – when they were in the cave, when he said to his companion: Do not fear! Allah is with us.”

 

Years later, ‘Umar radiallahu anhu would swear in the name of Allah that Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu’s actions on that night excel all the actions of ‘Umar and his entire family.  In fact, ‘Umar radiallahu anhu would wish that all his actions were similar to Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu’s actions on that night.  He would also say that: “Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu’s imaan is weightier than the imaan of all the inhabitants of the earth put together.”  He once said, “I wish I were a strand of hair on Abu Bakr’s chest.”

 

Between Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu and the Bani Isra-eel

As the Bani Isra-eel followed Moosa alaihi salaam out of Egypt and they saw the Red Sea in front of them and Fir’aun’s army behind them, they exclaimed, “We are caught!” Moosa alaihi salaam replied, “Never! My Rabb is with me.” Compare this to “Do not fear! Allah is with us.” The vast difference between the two speaks volumes of the lofty status of Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu.

 

Some ‘ulamaa have noted that due to this difference, the Bani Isra-eel reneged when Moosa alaihi salaam went to Mount Toor for forty days. On the contrary, Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu remained steadfast even after the demise of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. (‘My Rabb is with me’ meant that Allah’s help was only with Moosa alaihi salaam and not with the rest of the Bani Isra-eel. Thus, they went astray when Moosa alaihi salaam left them. However, ‘Allah is with us’ meant that Allah’s assistance was with Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu also.  Hence, he remained steadfast after the Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam left the world.)

 

Verbal Togetherness

As-Suhaili writes that ‘Allah is with us’ does not only refer to a figurative togetherness (assistance). It also refers to a verbal togetherness. What this means is that:

Allah’s name is mentioned whenever we mention the Rasul sallallahu alaihi wasallam. Thus, we say ‘Rasulullah’ sallallahu alaihi wasallam.

Similarly, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s name is mentioned whenever we mention his khaleefah, Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu. Hence, we say ‘khaleefatu-Rasulillah’ sallallahu alaihi wasallam.

This privilege was enjoyed by nobody else besides Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu. None of the other khulafaa enjoyed the title khaleefatu-Rasulillah. They were called Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen.

 

One of (Only) Two People

There were only people in the cave of Thaur, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam and Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu. Amazingly, there are a few other occasions wherein ‘one of (only) two people’ aptly describes their unique relationship.

1. Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu was the first baaligh male to accept Islam. Thus, there were only two baaligh male Muslims at that time, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam and Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu. Put differently, Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu was once again the second of only two people.

2. Immediately upon accepting Islam, Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu went to invite others to Islam. Hence, ‘Uthman bin ‘Affaan, Talha bin ‘Ubaidullah, Zubair bin ‘Awwaam and other prominent Sahaabah radiallahu anhum brought Islam at his hands. Thus, Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu was the second of only two people to invite people to Islam.

3. In Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam’s final illness, he commanded Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu to lead the ummah in salaah. Once again, he was the second of only two people to lead the salaah.

4. After Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu’s demise, he was buried alongside Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. Now he became the second of only two people to be buried in the room of ‘Aa-isha radiallahu anha.

 

The Rightful Khaleefah

When Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu was unanimously elected by the Sahaabah as the khaleefah, he once more deserved the title one of only two people. This time he became the second of only two people to lead the entire ummah. Hence, the phrase one of only two people is viewed as an indication that Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu was the rightful khaleefah after Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. In comparison to Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu was second and ‘the khaleefah is always second’.

 

A Man of Excellence

In the sixth year after the hijrah, the hypocrites spread a rumour that ‘Aa-isha radiallahu anha had committed adultery with a Sahaabi named Safwaan bin Mu’attal radiallahu anhu. Eventually Allah defended her innocence in Surah an-Noor, the twenty-forth chapter in the Qur’aan. Unfortunately, a small group of sincere Muslims also fell into this snare of the hypocrites and aided the spread of this horrible rumour. One of them was Mistah, a poor cousin of Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu who ‘possessed nothing but the charity that Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu would give him’.

 

When Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu learnt of Mistah radiallahu anhu’s role in this whole episode, he swore in the name of Allah that he would never aid him again. This led to the revelation of the aayah:

وَلا يَأْتَلِ أُولُو الْفَضْلِ مِنْكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَنْ يُؤْتُوا أُولِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

Men of excellence and financial means should not swear that they would not give to their relatives, the destitute and those who migrated in the path of Allah. They should forgive and overlook. Do they not desire that Allah forgive them? Certainly, Allah is All-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.

When Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu heard this aayah for the first time, he said, “Definitely! By Allah, we love that our sins would be forgiven”. He thereafter resumed his assistance to Mistah and vowed that he never put an end to it. In the context of our present discussion, the point that we wish to emphasis is that in this aayah, Allah described Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu as a Man of Excellence.

 

The Most Pious, the Noblest

When Bilaal radiallahu anhu accepted Islam, he was mercilessly persecuted by Umayyah bin Khalaf and other members of the Quraysh. After a few days, Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu decided to put an end to Bilaal radiallahu anhu’s suffering. Thus, he purchased and then set him free. Abu Bakr is just repaying an old favour taunted the idolaters when they learnt of this. In response, Allah Ta’aala revealed the following aayaat:

وَسَيُجَنَّبُهَا الأَتْقَى الَّذِي يُؤْتِي مَالَهُ يَتَزَكَّى

وَمَا لأَحَدٍ عِندَهُ مِن نِّعْمَةٍ تُجْزَى إِلاَّ ابْتِغَاء وَجْهِ رَبِّهِ الأَعْلَى

The most Allah-fearing person who gives his wealth seeking purity

will be protected from it (the fire of Jahannam).

Nobody had shown him a favour that is being repaid.

However, (he emancipates the slaves) seeking the pleasure of his Rabb, the Most High.

Considering the reason for the revelation of this aayah, ‘the most Allah-fearing person’ is a clear reference to Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu. This alone is a great merit. However, if we consider the aayah “the noblest among you is the one who fears Allah the most” , this is an even greater merit of Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu. It means that he is the noblest and hence, the best person in the ummah.

 

Who Can Count His Merits  . . .

Apart from what we have discussed thus far, there is a huge amount of ahaadith that extol the merits and lofty status of Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu. The truth, as noted by Imam Nawawi rahimahullah is that nobody but Allah can count all his merits. Imam Nawawi rahimahullah writes:

كم للصديق من مواقف و أثر

As-Siddeeq’s role and contribution is tremendous.

 

و من يحصى مناقبه و يحيط بفضائله الا الله

Who can encompass his merits and count his virtues

other than Allah?

 

Nevertheless, we terminate this article with the hadith:

ما لأحد عندنا يد إلا وقد كافيناه ما خلا أبا بكر فإن له عندنا يدا يكافئه الله به يوم القيامة

وما نفعني مال أحد قط ما نفعني مال أبي بكر

“Besides Abu Bakr, I have repaid everybody else who did me a favour. Abu Bakr did me such a favour for which Allah will repay him on the Day of Qiyaamah. Nobody’s wealth benefitted me as much as the wealth of Abu Bakr.”

 

May Allah Ta’aala fill our hearts with love for Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam and his noble Sahaabah radiallahu anhum. May He resurrect us in their noble companionship on the Day of Qiyaamah.

Aameen

 

Abu Hudhaifa Muhammed Karolia

5th Rabee’-ul-Awwal 1433 / 29 January 2012

Al-Jaami’ah Al-Mahmoodiah

Persida, Springs

 

 

FROM KARBALA

 

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

FROM KARBALA

 

The most painful event in Islamic history is undeniably the demise of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. There were many other very painful incidents thereafter: the martyrdom of ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and ‘Ali radiallahu anhum etc. The incident of Karbala; the brutal murder of the grandson of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, Husain bin Ali radiallahu anhuma, is among the saddest and most painful. This article focuses on a few important lessons from this episode.

 

“. . . I declare war on him!”

After the martyrdom of Husain radiallahu anhu his head and the heads of all those who were martyred with him were severed and thereafter sent to ‘Ubaidullah bin Ziyaad, the governor of Kufah. When the head of Husain radiallahu anhu was placed in front of ‘Ubaidullah, he used a stick to scratch the front teeth of Husain radiallahu anhu. Zaid bin Arqam radiallahu anhu was in the gathering. Witnessing this insolent behavior, he angrily reprimanded ‘Ubaidullah. “Lift the stick from these teeth” he said, I swear by the being besides whom nobody else is worthy of worship, I saw the lips of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam touching and kissing these lips.”  According to another narration Anas bin Maalik radiallahu anhu was also in the gathering. Observing ‘Ubaidullah’s audacity, he remarked, “By Allah, I will displease you! I saw Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam kissing the spot that your stick is touching.”

 

Some time later ‘Ubaidullah was killed by Mukhtaar bin Abi ‘Ubaid Ath-Thaqafi. ‘Umaarah bin ‘Umair narrates that: “When the heads of ‘Ubaidullah and his men were brought, they were put on display in the masjid in Ar-Rahbah.  So I went to them and they were saying ‘It came! It came!’ They were referring to a snake that was creeping between the heads until it entered the ‘Ubaidullah’s nostrils. It paused for a little while, then came out and went away. A few moments later I heard the people shouting, ‘It came! It came!” This happened twice or thrice.

 

Regarding the assassins of Husain radiallahu anhu, the famous historian and scholar of tafseer and hadeeth, Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer, said:

و أما ما روى من الأمور و الفتن التى أصابت من قتله فأكثرها ًصحيح – فانه قل من نجا منهم فى الدنيا الا أصيب بمرض –  و أكثرهم أصابه الجنون

“With regards to the narrations concerning the afflictions that befell his assassins, most of it is authentic. There were few among them who escaped and were not afflicted with illness. Most of them went insane.”

 

The lesson learned from the above is conveyed in the Hadith

من عادى لى وليا فقد آذنته بالحرب

“Whoever shows enmity to any friend of mine,

I declare war on him.”

 

In This Palace

Abdul Malik bin ‘Umair Al-Laythi said with reference to the palace of the Ameer (governor) in Kufah: “I saw in this palace the head of Husain in front of ‘Ubaidullah bin Ziyaad. I thereafter saw the head of ‘Ubaidullah bin Ziyaad in front of Mukhtaar bin Abi ‘Ubaid Ath-Thaqafi. Next I saw the head of Mukhtaar in front of Mus’ab bin Zubair. Then I saw the head of Mus’ab in front of Abdul Malik. I mentioned this to Abdul Malik. He regarded this as a bad omen and vacated the place.”

 

The lesson learned from this is condensed in the famous adage

كما تدين تدان

“The way you treat people is how you will be treated.”

‘Ubaidullah commanded the assassination of Husain radiallahu anhu only to be murdered by Mukhtaar who was in turn killed by Mus’ab bin Zubair.

 

At the Hands of a Liar

It was not long after the martyrdom of Husain radiallahu anhu that Mukhtaar bin ‘Ubaid Ath-Thaqafi rose to power. Mukhtaar was a liar whose objective was nothing more than power. Capitalizing on the public’s sympathy, especially that of the supporter’s of the Ahl-ul-Bayt (household of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam), he falsely claimed that he was commissioned by the son of ‘Ali radiallahu anhu, Muhammed ibn-ul-Hanafiyyah, to avenge the blood of Husain radiallahu anhu and the other martyrs of Karbala. He thus pursued and killed ‘Ubaidullah bin Ziyaad (the governor of Kufah), Umar bin Sa’d (the head of the army that was sent to kill Husain radiallahu anhu), Shamir bin Dhil Jowshan (the commander of the regiment who killed Husain radiallahu anhu) and many others. Ibn Katheer writes: “He (Mukhtaar) then began pursuing the assassins of Husain radiallahu anhu and all those who witnessed the incident of Karbala on the side of Ibn Ziyaad. He killed a huge number of them and seized the (decapitated) heads of the senior officers among them; Umar bin Sa’d (the commander of the army that killed Husain), Shamir bin Dhil Jowshan (the commander of the thousand who were responsible for the actual killing), Sinaan bin Abi Anas, Khawli bin Yazeed Al-Asbahi and many others. He continued until he sent Ibrahim bin Al-Ashtar An-Nakha’I with an army of twenty thousand men to fight Ibn Ziyaad . . . Ibn-ul-Ashtar killed Ibn Ziyaad, defeated his army and took everything in his camp. This was on the Day of ‘Aashoora (the tenth of Muharram), 67AH.”

 

Mukhtaar was himself an imposter. Thus Ibn Katheer writes that there is no doubt regarding the compulsion of killing the assassins of Husain radiallahu anhu and the benefit in hastening to do so. However, Allah had destined this to happen at the hands of Mukhtaar, the liar who became a kaafir (unbeliever) by claiming that he receives wahi (divine revelation). This reminds us that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “Allah helps the deen by means of a sinful man.”  Similarly, Allah said, “In a similar manner do We turn some of the wrongdoers against the others due to what (the actions) they earn.”  In this regard a poet said:

و ما من يد الا يد الله فوفها – و لا ظالم الا سيبلى بظالم

“There is no hand but the hand of Allah is above it.

There is no oppressor but he will be tested by an oppressor.”

 

In the Court of ‘Ubaidullah

At the end of the battle there was only one male survivor; Husain’s radiallahu anhu son, Ali (who was later given the title Zain-ul-‘Aabideen). He was then sent with the female members of his family to ‘Ubaidullah bin Ziyaad in Kufah and subsequently to Yazeed in Damascus. In Kufah the following discussion ensued between ‘Ali and ‘Ubaidullah bin Ziyaad:

‘Ubaidullah: What is your name?

‘Ali: I am Ali bin Husain.

‘Ubaidullah: Did Allah not kill Ali bin Husain?

‘Ali: (Ali did not respond to this question.)

‘Ubaidullah: What is wrong? Why do you not answer?

‘Ali: I had a brother who was also called ‘Ali. The people killed him.

‘Ubaidullah: Allah killed him.

‘Ali: (Ali did not respond to this question also.)

‘Ubaidullah: What is wrong? Why do you not answer?

‘Ali: “Allah takes the souls away at the time of their death.”  “It is not possible for a soul to die except with the command of Allah.”

‘Ubaidullah: By Allah, you are one of them!

 

Ubaidullah then turned to one of his men and said, “Check if has reached puberty! I think that he has.” Mury bin Mu’aadh checked him and confirmed that Ali had reached puberty. “Then kill him!” retorted ‘Ubaidullah. “And to whom do you entrust these women?” cried ‘Ali. At that moment ‘Ali’s paternal aunt, Zainab, began speaking. “O son of Ziyaad! You have harmed us enough. Are you not quenched with our blood? Have you left any of us?” She then clung to ‘Ali and said to ‘Ubaidullah: “I implore you in the name of Allah, if you are a believer, if you kill him, kill me also!” ‘Ali spoke again: “O son of Ziyaad! If there are any family ties between yourself and these women, please send with them a man of taqwa who will accompany them according to the laws of Islam.” ‘Ubaidullah looked at the women and then at his men and said: “Family ties are amazing. She desired that if I kill him, I should kill her too. Leave the boy. (Although ‘Ali had already reached puberty, he was still very young.)” ‘Ali was thereafter sent with the rest of the family (the women and children) to Yazeed in Kufah. However, his hands were fettered to his neck through out the journey.

 

In the Court of Yazeed

‘Ali’s aunt, Fatimah, narrates: When we were seated in front of Yazeed, he felt sorry for us and commanded that we be given something (to eat). He spoke gently to us. Then a man from the Syrians went up to him and said, ‘Give me this girl.’ He was referring to me. I was a young girl with a bright face. Thinking that this was permissible for them, I began trembling with fear and caught hold of my sister Zainab’s clothes. She was elder than me and more understanding. She knew that this was not permissible for them. ‘You are a liar and an evil man!’ she shouted to him, ‘It is neither permissible for you nor for him (Yazeed).’ This angered Yazeed. ‘You are lying’ he retorted, ‘By Allah, it is permissible for me. I will do so if I wish.’

Zainab: Never! By Allah, Allah has not given you permission to do so unless if you exit our religion and adopt a religion other than ours.

Yazeed: Do you speak to me in this manner? It was your father and brother who left the religion.

Zainab: You, your father and your grandfather were guided through the religion of Allah – the religion of my father, brother and grandfather.’

Yazeed: You are a liar, O enemy of Allah!

Zainab: You are an oppressive ruler! You swear oppressively! You utelise your authority to oppress!

 

Fatimah continues: By Allah, he felt ashamed and did not say anything further.

 

Back to Madinah

After a few days Yazeed arranged for the whole family to be taken back to Madinah. At the time of bidding them farewell he said to ‘Ali, “May Allah curse Ibn Marjaanah (‘Ubaidullah bin Ziyaad). By Allah, if I was in his position, I would have given your father whatever he requested and I would have tried my best to protect him from being killed, even if it resulted in the death of my own children. However, Allah decreed what you have seen.” He then gave him provisions for the journey and a huge sum of money and told ‘Ali to write to him for the fulfillment of any need that he may incur in the future. He also commanded the guide who was appointed to lead the family to Madinah to take care of them. Thus the guide remained in their service throughout the journey and, despite ensuring that he never lost sight of the women, maintained a slight distance from them until they reached Madinah. In view of the stressful events of the past few days (the martyrdom of Husain radiallahu anhu and fourteen other members of the family in front of their eyes, Ubaidullah’s threat to kill ‘Ali and the incident of the Syrian man in Yazeed’s court), the women were so appreciative of his modest conduct that, upon reaching Madinah, they gathered some of their jewelry and offered it to him as a token of thanks. He, however, refused to accept it saying, “I did that for the pleasure of Allah and due to your relationship with Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam.”

 

What Do We Say?

Fourteen centuries later, reading about the events of Karbala still brings more than just tears to one’s eyes. Is there anything which we can do? Is there anything which we can say? Ibn Katheer replies that Husain radiallahu anhu narrated from his grandfather, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, that when a Muslim recalls a difficulty which he experienced in the past and thus reads انا لله و انا اليه راجعون (We belong to Allah and to Him will we return) , Allah blesses him with the same amount of reward as the day when he was afflicted with that particular difficulty. This (انا لله و انا اليه راجعون) is therefore the best thing we can say whenever we recall Karbala and any other calamity.

 

What We Should Not Do

Ibn Katheer writes that the murder of Husain radiallahu anhu should make every Muslim feel sad because he was among the saadaat (masters) of the Muslims and the ‘Ulamaa of the Sahaabah radiallahu anhum. He was the son of the most excellent daughter of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. He was an aabid (worshipper), brave and generous. This, however, does not make it permissible for us to mourn his death. His father, Ali radiallahu anhu, was afdal (better) than him. He was assassinated on a Friday, the seventeenth of Ramadaan, while on his way for the Fajr salaah. The status of ‘Uthmaan radiallahu anhu was greater than that of ‘Ali radiallahu anhu. He was murdered during the days of tashreeq in the month of Dhil Haj. Umar radiallahu anhu ranked higher than both, ‘Uthmaan and ‘Ali radiallahu anhuma. He was killed in the mihraab while leading the Fajr salaah. Greater than ‘Umar radiallahu anhu was Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu. However, nobody ever mourns the death of any of these august personalities. What about the sayyid (master) of all mankind in this world and the Hereafter, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam? Nobody mourns his death! So then, why should we mourn the death of Husain radiallahu anhu?

 

May Allah guide us to a better understanding of His deen.

May He guide us to ponder and take heed.

Aameen.

 

Abu Hudhaifa Muhammed Karolia

12 Rajab 1431 \ 25 June 2010

Al-Jaami’ah Al-Mahmoodiah

Persida, Springs

 

 

 

 

 

WHO CAN BE LIKE ABU DAM-DAM?

 

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

WHO CAN BE LIKE ABU DAM-DAM?

 

Have you heard of Abu Dam-Dam radiallahu anhu? He was a Sahaabi (companion) of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. It was his daily habit to tell Allah in the morning: “O Allah! I do not possess any wealth which I could donate to the people as charity. I therefore donate my honour to them. Thus I forgive anybody who will swear me or falsely accuse me of something that I did not do.” Knowing of this practice of Abu Dam-Dam, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam would ask his Sahaabah radiallahu anhum: “Who among you can be like Abu Dam-Dam?”

 

Subhaanallah! He was generous with his honour. This means that generosity is not confined to the wealthy and financial donation. Do you recall the occasion when the Muhajireen complained to Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam that: “The wealthy (i.e. the Ansaar) have acquired lofty stages and eternal comfort. They perform salaah and fast like us. However, they have excess wealth. Thus they go on Haj, ‘Umrah and Jihaad and they give charity.” Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam asked them if he could inform them of method by which they could achieve the same status as the Ansaar and excel others. Their answer was obviously “yes”. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam then advised them to say Subhaanallah, Al-Hamdulillah, and Allahu-Akbar thirty three times each after every salaah. Some time later, the poor Muhajireen returned to Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam and complained that: “Our wealthy brothers heard of what we were doing and began doing the same.” Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam replied, “That is the bounty of Allah which He bestows to whomever He desires.”  What about the Hadith  that “every Subhaanallah is sadaqah, every Al-Hamdulillah is sadaqah, every Laa ilaaha illallah is sadaqah, every Allahu-Akbar is sadaqah”? In short, dhikr (the remembrance) of Allah is a form of charity. There is therefore no need for the less fortunate to despair; they too can be charitable – they can engage in the dhikr (the remembrance) of Allah, follow the example of Abu Dam-Dam or engage in some of the many other forms of generosity in Islam. This incorporates:

 

1. Sacrificing one’s life for the sake of Allah. Ibn-ul-Qayyim rahimahullah described this as the noblest form of generosity.

يجود بالنفس اذ ضن البخيل بها – و الجود بالنفس أقصى غاية الجود

“He is generous with his life when the miser is stingy with it.

Generosity with one’s life is the highest level of generosity.”

 

2. Fulfilling the needs of others by engaging in an action that may seem beyond one’s status as a leader. The example of Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu may be cited in this regard. Prior to his appointment as khaleefah (head of state) he would milk the goats for the people in his locality. At the time of his appointment as khaleefah it was feared that he would no longer assist his neighbours in this task. However, Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu proved that these fears were unfounded. Despite becoming the khaleefah, he continued to milk the goats until his demise. Similarly, he would often meet a slave-girl taking her animals to the pasture or the pen. On such occasions he would not hesitate to offer his assistance to the slave-girl. He would thus be seen taking the animals to the pasture or pen even though he was the khaleefah.

 

3. Sacrificing one’s comfort (for example, sleep, a family get-together or a long anticipated fishing trip) in order to fulfill the needs of others.

متيم بالندى لو قال سائله – هب لى كرى عينيك لم ينمِ

“Enthralled with being generous, if the beggar tell him:

‘Give me your sleep!’ he will not sleep.”

 

4. Using one’s integrity to assist people. One way of doing this could be to intercede on behalf of a needy person with somebody who may be able to fulfill his need. If the needy person approaches the other person on his own, his request may not be granted. However, his request stands a greater chance of being granted if you speak on his behalf. You therefore pay the other person a visit or merely telephone him and intercede on behalf of the person in need. Actions of this nature have been described as the zakaah of one’s jaah (integrity).

 

5. Sharing one’s knowledge with others. This includes:

 

Answering the queries of the people (provided one is qualified to do so).

To give a detailed answer instead of a mere yes or no.

To answer more than the actual question. For example, when the Sahaabah radiallahu anhum asked Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam whether it is permissible to make wudoo with seawater, he did not suffice with answering the actual question. Instead he replied that just as seawater is suitable for wudoo, the fish that die in the sea are halaal (suitable for Muslim consumption).

Sharing one’s knowledge with others is described as the zakaah of one’s knowledge.

 

6. Rendering manual assistance to others. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said in this regard that helping a man mount his conveyance or load his goods thereon are acts of charity.

 

7. Exercising patience and tolerance and overlooking the inconvenience caused by others. Ibn-ul-Qayyim quoted two aayaat in this regard:

و الجروح قصاص فمن تصدق به فهو كفارة له

“And there is retribution in wounds. However, whoever is charitable in this regard (overlooks the crime done to him and does not demand retribution), it will be an atonement for him.”

و جزاؤا سيئة سيئة مثله فمن عفا و أصلح فأجره على الله

“The compensation of an injustice is an equal amount of injustice. However, the one who forgives and rectifies (his own actions), his reward is by Allah.”

Ibn-ul-Qayyim writes that a person who experiences difficulty in being generous with his wealth should engage in this type of generosity because he will be able to pluck its praiseworthy fruits in this world already (i.e. before the Hereafter). He also comments that this is a very noble type of generosity; it is more beneficial than generosity with one’s wealth. However, it can only be achieved by people who have big hearts.

 

8. Displaying good character when dealing with others. This is also a form of generosity. In fact, it is even greater than the previous type. It allows those who observe it to attain the ranks of the pious servants of Allah who fast everyday of their lives (excluding the five days in the year during which fasting is impermissible) and spend their nights in optional salaah. On the Day of Qiyaamah it will be the weightiest item to be placed on the scale of the Mu’min (believer). Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “Do not look down on any good action even if it be meeting your brother with a smiling face.”  There is tremendous benefit and much pleasure in this type of generosity. Remember, man’s wealth is limited. It cannot suffice all the people. However, he can benefit all of them with his good character.

 

9. Abstention from the wealth of others. Thus you neither desire their wealth in your heart nor do you engage in any physical activity (speech or otherwise) to gain it. Abdullah bin Mubaarak said regarding this type of generosity:

انه أفضل من سخاء النفس بالبذل

“It is greater than sacrificing one’s life (for a good cause).”

 

It is as if the pauper is being told that although he does not possess wealth, he too can be generous. All that he has to do is abstain from the wealth of others. If he does that, he will be able to excel them because while he will be able to compete with them in generosity, he will enjoy comfort.

Before concluding let us ask ourselves: Can we be like Abu Dam-Dam? I hope that reading the above different types of generosity, you have not forgotten who Abu Dam-Dam was. I also hope that you and I will never forget the question of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam: “Who among you can be like Abu Dam-Dam?”

 

We conclude beseeching Allah to guide us to implement all of the above traits in our lives.

 

و صلى الله على نبيه المصطفى و على آله و أصحابه أجمعين

برحمتك يا أرحم الراحمين

 

Abu Hudhaifa Muhammed Karolia

02 Sha’baan 1431 \ 14 July 2010

Al-Jaami’ah Al-Mahmoodiah

Persida, Springs

 

CHARACTER DEFINITION

 

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

CHARACTER DEFINITION

 

 

وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ

Surely you are upon a magnificent character is how most writers/speakers translate the above aayah. As simple as it may sound, its meaning is quite profound.

 

Obviously the aayah is praising Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. However, it could be asked: why did Allah Ta’aala not say something like surely you have magnificent character or you are a man of exemplary character? What is meant by you are upon a magnificent character? The answer to these questions is rooted in Al-Balaaghah (the study of Arabic rhetoric). According to a number of classical experts in this field, usage of the word ‘alaa (upon) in this aayah is based on a figure of speech called at-tamtheel. Without going into the definition and other technicalities of at-tamtheel, the purpose of the aayah is hence a comparison of the exemplary character of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam to a horseman riding firmly on his horse. While Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam is compared to a horseman, good character is compared to a horse and the impeccability of Rasulullah’s sallallahu alaihi wasallam character is compared to the firmness with which the horseman rides his horse. Just as the horseman ensures that he does not fall off the horse, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam always ensures that his actions never contradict the dictates of good (exemplary) character. Just as the skilled horseman never falls off his horse, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam never falls off good character.

 

Why Magnificent ?

أُأُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّهُ فَبِهُدَاهُمُ اقْتَدِهِ

Those are the ones whom Allah had guided,

therefore follow their guidance.

In this aayah, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam was commanded to adopt the أخلاق (character) of all the previous ambiyaa. Like every other command of Allah, there is no doubt that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam fulfilled this command too. Hence we conclude that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam was the quintessence of the excellent character traits of all the previous ambiyaa. Adoption of the behaviour and conduct of every other Nabi is the reason why Allah Ta’aala described him sallallahu alaihi wasallam as a person of magnificent character.

 

An Astounding Example

Examples of Rasulullah’s sallallahu alaihi wasallam impeccable character are many. Let us suffice with just one example – the fact that even after the Sahaabah radiallahu anhum (almost all of them) fled the battlefield of Uhud, he sallallahu alaihi wasallam did not even rebuke them (let alone punish them). On the contrary, he forgave them and uttered not a single word of reprimand. In this regard Allah Ta’aala said:

فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ ، وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانْفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ

Due to mercy from Allah you were lenient to them.

If you were foulmouthed and harsh-hearted,

they would have dispersed from you.

 

Three Levels

This aayah speaks of خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ (magnificent character). On other occasions we read of خُلُقٍ حَسَنٍ (good character) and خُلُقٍ كَرِيْمٍ (noble character). Is there any difference between these terms or are they the same thing? Some ‘Ulamaa are of the opinion that they are three different levels of good character – the lowest is خُلُقٍ حَسَنٍ (good character) and the highest is خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ (noble character).

خُلُقٍ حَسَنٍ (Good Character)

This is when you take revenge from those who wrong you to the extent of the wrong that they had done to you. Such revenge is permissible, but only to the extent of the wrong done to you. If the victim takes more revenge then he is entitled to, he too becomes a criminal. Thus extreme caution is required when exercising one’s right to take revenge. In fact, considering human weakness, it would be advisable to swallow one’s pride and forgo one’s right instead of taking revenge. For example, if a man swore you, it will be permissible for you to swear him . . . but only to the extent that he swore you. Thus, if he only swore you, it will not be permissible for you to swear him as well as his parents. If you do so, you too will be guilty of injustice.

 

خُلُقٍ كَرِيْمٍ (Noble Character)

This is when you forgive the person who abuses your rights. This is certainly a higher level of good conduct and has been encouraged by Allah and His Rasool sallallahu alaihi wasallam.

لا يُحِبُّ اللَّهُ الْجَهْرَ بِالسُّوءِ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ إِلا مَنْ ظُلِمَ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ سَمِيعًا عَلِيمًا

إِنْ تُبْدُوا خَيْرًا أَوْ تُخْفُوهُ أَوْ تَعْفُوا عَنْ سُوءٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَفُوًّا قَدِيرًا

Allah disdains loud utterance of evil except for the oppressed, and Allah is All-Hearing and All-Knowing.

If you expose good deeds, conceal it or forgive the wrong (that was done to you), then certainly Allah is All-Forgiving and All-Able (to take revenge).

 

خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ (Magnificent Character)

This is when, let alone forgiving the person who harmed you, you present him with a gift. Remember that when a person unlawfully harms you, he is actually transferring his good deeds to you. Thus, خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ is when you repay those who trample your rights with kindness (du’aa, a gift etc.) instead of revenge. Do you recall Hasan Basri’s (ra) reaction to the person who had backbitten him? Did he not send him a plate of fresh dates and a message that ‘I have learnt that you had backbitten me and thus presented your good deeds to me. I therefore present my dates to you’.

 

Zain-ul-‘Aabideen

There are probably very few who have not heard of ‘Ali bin Husain, more commonly known as Zain-ul-‘Aabideen (ra). He was the grandson of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. Accompanied by his servants, he was one day confronted by a man who began hurling all sorts of verbal abuses at him. Realising that his servants were furious and going to attack the man, he stopped them saying: ‘Leave the man alone’. He then told the man: ‘The amount of my conduct that is hidden from you is much more. Do you have a need in which we could assist you?’ The man felt ashamed of himself when he heard this. On the contrary, Zain-ul-‘Aabideen (ra) immediately gave the man one-thousand dirhams. Thereafter, whenever the man met Zain-ul-‘Aabideen (ra), he would tell him: ‘I bear testimony that you are among the children of the Rasool sallallahu alaihi wasallam’.

A More Encompassing Definition

Without differentiating between the three types mentioned thus far, some ‘ulamaa define خُلُقٍ حَسَنٍ as: التَّخَلِّى مِنْ الرَّذائِل وَ التَّحَلِّى بِالْفَضَئِل (shunning of bad behavior and adoption of good conduct). Others define it as: بَذْلُ النَّدَى وَ كَفُّ الْأَذَى و احْتِمَالُ الْأَذَى (to be generous to people, avoid causing them any difficulty and tolerance of inconvenience caused by them). However, such statements do not really define خُلُقٍ حَسَنٍ – they merely identify its ثمرات (benefits).

 

Ibn-ul-Qayyim (ra) explains that bad character comprises of four components:

1. الجهل – (Ignorance) which causes people to regard good things as bad and vice versa.

2. الظلم – (Immoderation) which causes man to do things at the wrong time; thus:

He gets outraged whereas he should remain calm

He remains calm whereas he should be outraged

He is harsh whereas he should be lenient

He is tolerant whereas he should be stern

He spends when or where he should not do so

etc.

3. الشهوة – (Greed)  which results in niggardliness, indifference towards haraam and disgraceful, lowly behaviour .

4. الغضب – (Anger) which results in haughtiness, malice, jealousy, hostility and insolence.

 

Accordingly, good character comprises of the following components:

1. الصبر – (Patience) which leads to gentleness, tolerance, suppression of anger, avoidance of inconveniencing others and abstention from irrational decisions.

2. العفة – (Chastity) which leads to avoidance of:

Lies

Backbiting

Slander

All indecent speech and actions

3. الشجاعة – (Courage) which causes dignified behavior, noble character traits, generosity and selflessness.

4. العدل – (Moderation) which results in:

Generosity – Thus he is neither miserly nor wasteful

Modesty – Thus he is neither shameless nor prudish

Bravery – Thus he is neither cowardly nor belligerent

 

Another Definition

However, it could be argued that even the above explanation of Ibn-ul-Qayyim (ra) does not define good character; it only highlights its components. Thus Al-Ghazzaali (ra) writes that: الْخُلُق is a firmly established spiritual attitude due to which actions are accomplished without any prior deliberation.  If the resultant actions are praiseworthy, this attitude is called  خُلُقًا حَسَنًا Conversely, if the resultant actions are blameworthy, it is called خُلُقًا سَيِّئًا    Likewise, Ar-Raazi (ra) writes that: الْخُلُق is a spiritual aptitude through which man finds it easy to do good actions. Accomplishing  good is one thing, accomplishing it with ease is another. Included in the meaning of حُسْنُ الخُلُق (good character) is:

Polite speech and behavior towards others

Harmonious fulfillment of the rights of others

Avoidance of greed, miserliness, anger and harshness in one’s dealings

Abstention from severing ties with others

 

An Interesting Observation

While the Arabic word for character is خُلق (with a ضمَّة on the letter خ), the Arabic word for physical features is خَلْق (with a فتحة on the letter  خ).  This indicates a relationship between the two. Regarding this relationship, the commentator of Tafseer-ul-Baydaawi, Shaikh Zaadah (ra), explains that although (good) character is only attained after extensive effort and lengthy exertion, it is called خُلق due to its resemblance with خَلْق in firmness and permanence.

 

The Weightiest Item

The merits of خُلُقٍ حَسَنٍ (good character) are many. We suffice with the following two ahaadith of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam:

ما مِنْ شَيْءٍ أثْقَلُ فِى مِيْزَانِ المؤمِنِ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ مِنْ خُلُقٍ حَسَنٍ

On the Day of Qiyaamah nothing will be weightier

in the scale of the Believer then good character.

سُئِلَ رَسُوْلُ اللهِ صَلَّى الله عليهِ وَ سَلَّم عَنْ أكْثَرِ مَا يُدْخِلُ النَّاسِ الْجَنَّةَ ؟

فقال: تَقْوَى اللهِ وَحُسْنُ الْخُلُق

Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam was asked about the most frequent cause of the  people’s entry into Jannah. He replied: The taqwa of Allah and good character.

 

May Allah Ta’aala guide us to adopt the character of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam,

Aameen.

 

Abu Hudhaifa Muhammed Karolia

15 Dhil-Hajj 1432 / 11 November 2011

Al-Jaami’ah Al-Mahmoodiah

Persida, Springs