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Al-Tabari as a teacher for a wazir’s son


 

A friend of his knew that the wazir was looking for a tutor for his son, and the friend asked Tabari whether he was willing to accept the position if it was offered to him. Tabari agreed, no doubt eagerly. The friend was able to arrange matters. After first providing him with the proper clothes, he introduced him to the wazir. Ibn Khaaqan gained a good impression of him. He offered him the position and agreed to pay ten dinars per month.

 

In addition, he had a contract drawn up specifying the time Tabari was allowed to devote to study, prayer, eating, and resting, and even gave him upon his request a one-month advance. A well-equipped classroom (hujrat al-ta’dib) for the boy was assigned to Tabari. He instructed him in writing, and his pupil appears to have quickly learned how to write. The writing tablet that demonstrated the boy’s newly acquired skill was taken by servants to his mother and the other slave girls who had borne children to their master (ummahat al-walad) as proof of the good news.

 

The overjoyed ladies filled a tray with dirhams and dinars and sent it with the servants back to Tabari. He, however, refused to accept the money. He had, he said, a contract with the wazir to be paid a certain sum and was not entitled to any further compensation. The matter was submitted to the wazir who summoned him and told him that he was wrong to reject the well-meant gift of the women and had offended them by not accepting it. Tabari argued that the women were slaves and legally owned no property of their own. He obviously implied that it was really the wazir who was the source of the money and who therefore was paying more than had been agreed upon in the contract.

Tabari learned a lesson from this occurrence. Later on, when friends would bring him a gift of food, it was his established custom (sunnah) to accept it as being, in contrast to money, merely a token gift; but, prompted by his socially proper attitude (muruwwah), he would make an appropriate return gift. This taught his friends that it would be inadvisable to press gifts on him.

 

[Ibn ‘Asakir, LXXV; adh-Dhahabi, Nubala XIV, 271]

Pre-Islamic poetry by a mother to her son on the sanctity of Ka’bah


 

Subay’a, daughter of al-Ahabb, spoke the following verses for her son Khalid b. ‘Abd Manaf b. Ka’b b. Sa’d b. Taym b. Murra b. Ka’b b. Lu’ayy b. Ghalib, telling him to avoid sinning in Mecca and reminding him what Tubba (Yemeni ruler) had done there:

 

“0 my son, in Mecca, neither do wrong to the young nor to the old.
Preserve its sanctity, my son, and let not conceit confuse you.
Whoever sins in Mecca, my son, meets extreme disaster.
His face, my son, shall be beaten, his cheeks consumed by fire.
I have tested this there, my son, and found those harming it perish.
God made it secure, though no towers are built in its courtyards.
God made its birds inviolate and also the white-footed crows on Mt. Thabir.
Tubba’* raided it but dressed its buildings with new, smooth cloth.

My God humbled his power there, so he made proper sacrifice,
Walking barefoot towards it, in its courtyard,
And offering two thousand camels,
Well-feeding its people the flesh of Mahry camels and cattle,
Giving them strained honey and barley-water to drink.
And God destroyed the army of the elephants, casting rocks amongst them,
Ending their rule in far distant lands, in Persia and Khazir.
So hear when this is told, and understand how things ended.”

 

*Tubban (Yemeni ruler) As’ad Abu Karib was asked to come and plunder Kabah as it contains pearls, chrysolite, sapphires, gold, and silver according to them. King asked two Jewish rabbis about this and they warned him not to go ahead with this plan as he would perish if he tries to destroy it. Instead, they asked him to respect it and do the same as those living there. He was the first to clothe the Ka’bah and made for it a door and a key.

 

[By Ibn Ishaq as mentioned in Al-Sira al-Nabawiyyah, vol. 1, pg. 14-15]

 

Prompt your dying ones (to say): ‘laa ilaaha il-lal-laah’ and speak good words


 

Those people who are present should encourage the dying person to repeat after them the Declaration of Faith (Shahaadah) until he or she passes away confirming Allah’s unique oneness (Tawheed).

 

Both Aboo Sa ‘eed al-Khudree and Aboo Hurayrah quoted the Prophet (ﷺ) as saying

“Prompt your dying ones (to say): laa ilaaha il-lal-laah and whoever’s last words before dying are: laa ilaaha il-lal-laah, will enter paradise one day, even if he is afflicted before that by punishment.”

[ Sahih Muslim, vol.2, p.435, no. 1996]

 

This prophetic statement does not simply mean that the Shahaadah should be mentioned by others in the presence of the one who is dying. The dying person, himself or herself, should be instructed to say the Shahaadah, as is evident from the Prophet’s statement “whoever’s last words are: laa ilaaha il-lal-laah”.

 

The following hadeeth narrated by Anas indicates the Prophet’s practise in this regard:

Anas ibn Maalik reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) visited a man from among the Ansaar and said to him,“O Uncle, say : laa ilaaha il-lal-laah. The man asked, “Am I a maternal uncle or a paternal uncle?” and the Prophet (ﷺ) replied,“Indeed you are paternal.” The man then asked, “Is it better for me to say: laa ilaaha il-lal-laah? The Prophet (ﷺ) replied, ‘Yes.’”

[Collected by Ahmad and authenticated in al-Fat-h ar-Rabbaanee, vol.7, p.57, no.34 as well as in Ahkaamul-Janaa’iz, p.11.]

 

 

Muslims are also encouraged to be present when non-Muslims are dying in order to present Islam to them, in the hope that they would accept Islam prior to their death.

 

For the acceptance of Islam at this point to be of any benefit,
it must be based on knowledge,

Know that there is no god worthy of worship besides Allah.” Chapter Muhammad, (47):19.

it must be expressed sincerely,

“The were only commanded to worship Allah, making the religion sincere for Him alone.” Chapter al-Bayyinah, (98):5.

and with certainty,

Aboo Hurayrah reported Allah’s Messenger as saying, “I testify that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah. Any servant who meets Allah with those two [testimonies], having no doubt in them, will enter paradise.” (Sahih Muslim, vol.1, p.20, no.41)

and it must take place before the actual throes of death begin.

The Prophet (ﷺ) was reported by ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar to have said, “Allah, Most Great and Glorious, will accept His servant’s repentance until the throes of death begin.”

(Collected by at- Tirmithee and Ibn Maajah and authenticated in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah, vol.2, p.418, no.3430. See also Riyadh-us-Saleheen, vol.1, p.12, no.18, for an English translation of this hadeeth).

 

This point is evident in the Prophet’s (ﷺ) attempt to get his uncle Aboo Taalib to bear witness to Allah’s oneness when the latter was on his deathbed.( Sahih Muslim, vol.1, p.18, no.36.)

Aboo Taalib knew about Allah, Islam, and the Prophet (ﷺ) very well.

 

Similarly, the following incident involving the Prophet’s servant is one of a person who knew about Allah and the Prophet (ﷺ).

Anas also reported that,

“When a Jewish youth, who used to serve the Prophet (ﷺ) got sick, the Prophet (ﷺ) visited him. The Prophet (ﷺ) sat by his head and said to him, “Accept Islam.” The boy looked at his father who was near him and the man said, “Obey Abul-Qaasim.” So the boy accepted Islam and the Prophet (ﷺ) left saying, “All praise is due to Allah who saved him from the Fire.”

(Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol.2, p.246, no.438)

(When the boy died the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Make salaah for your comrade.”)

(This addition is found in Musnad Ahmad and is authenticated in Ahkaamul-Janaa’iz, p.11.)

 

People present may pray aloud for the dying person, letting them hear their concern and compassion for them. Those present should also avoid saying anything in the dying person’s presence which is not good. Negative words will only increase the difficulties which the sick and dying are facing. On the other hand, good words and positive thoughts will make the process of dying easier and the recovery from illness more bearable.

 

Umm Salamah reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) said,

“If you are in the presence of a sick or dying person, you should say good things for verily the angels say “Aameen” to whatever you say.”

[Sahih Muslim vol.2, p.436, no.2002]

 

When Umm Salamah asked the Prophet what should she say, he replied:

Say: Allaahumma-ghfir lee wa lahu wa a‘qibnee minhu ‘uqba hasanah [O Allah, forgive him and me, and grant me a good substitute after him.]”

[Sahih Muslim vol.2, p.436, no.2002]

 

[From: Funeral rites in Islam by Dr. Bilal Philips, pg. 3-6]

Dhee Suwaiqatain Will Destroy Ka’bah – May Allah Disfigure him


 

Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (radiAllahu anhu) related that he heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say,

“Dhu As-Suwaiqatain, who is from Habasha (Ethiopia), will destroy the Ka’bah; he will steal its jewels and remove from it its covering. It is as if I am looking at him – Usaili’an (one who has a receding hairline or who is bald), Ufaidi’an (having crooked joints). He will strike it with his Masaahiyah (a steel shovel) and his Mai’wal (a huge axe that is used to pierce through rocks).”

(Ahmad) This chain is good and strong.

 

Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (radiAllahu anhu) related that the Prophet (ﷺ) said,

“Leave Habasha (Ethiopia) alone so long as they leave you alone, for none shall remove the treasure of the Ka’bah except for Dhu As-Suwaiqatain, who is from Habasha.”

(Abu Daawood)

Ibn ‘Abbaas (radiAllahu anhu) related that the Prophet (ﷺ) said,

“It is as if I am looking at him — (he is) black and bowlegged. He will tear it (i.e. the Ka’bah) down, stone by stone.”

(Ahmad)

 

Abu Hurairah (radiAllahu anhu) related that the Prophet (ﷺ) said,

“Dhu As- Suwaiqatain is from Habasha; he will destroy the House of Allah (the Ka’bah).”

(Related by Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bazzaar) And Muslim related it through a different chain.

 

Hijab (Niqab)- Why? — Dr. Bilal Philips


 

The covering of Muslim women has become one of the international symbols of female oppression in feminist circles.

 

1.

There are two major trends which have developed in the West over the past century. On one hand, the fashion industry has systematically unclothed women. From being fully clothed from head to toe at the turn of the century, she now wears virtually nothing when the weather permits.

 

On the other hand there has been a dramatic rise in the reported incidents of rape. In the USA in the early 90s the reported incidents of rape had crossed the 100,000 mark. And researchers estimated that the actual number was between 7 to 10 times that number since most women are shy to report rapes. The two trends are closely interrelated.

 

The woman in the West has become a sex-object with which to sell products thereby pumping up the sexual tension of the society. The Corvette is not sold based on its powerful engine or its special features, instead the car is displayed with a model in a bikini lying on it. Similarly, a new Gillette razor blade is not sold by giving details about its new titanium blades. Instead, a man is shown in ads shaving with a woman’s hand with long red fingernails coiled around hold his. The subliminal message being taught is: You buy the car, you get the girl. You buy the razor, you get the girl. 

 

2.

Islam prescribes the covering of females for two primary reasons stated in the Quran. God says in Soorah al-Ahzaab (33: 59):

Let them cast their outer garments over their bodies. That is best in order that they be known and not harmed.

 

3.

The hijab is to make the Muslim woman known in the society as a virtuous and honorable woman. Her hijab makes the statement that she is not available and not interested in any immorality. Many Muslim women who have emigrated to the West take of their scarves and outer garments because they claim it draws attention to themselves. If they expose their hair and dress in modest western dresses no one will look at them.

 

It is true that the hijab does provide a level of anonymity, as many of the woman’s physical details will be hidden. However, the intent is not to prevent men from looking. When men see a nun in her habit, fully covered like a Muslim woman in full hijab, they will turn their heads and stare at her. Similarly, when they see a woman walking in a bikini, they will also turn their heads and stare. However, the first stare is different from the second. The first is out of curiosity, having seen something unusual, while the second is out of lust and aroused sensuality. The consequence of the second is the molestation of women on a national scale while the first causes respect.

4.

The penalty in the Islamic state is very severe for rape in order to further guarantee protection for females. Where weapons of any type are used in the rape, the punishment is death. The death penalty has also been introduced in Philippines and it is being called for in India currently. However, to allow women to expose themselves and then kill those who react unduly is not practical. The law should be balanced. The circumstances, which might encourage rape, should first be removed from the society, then a severe penalty may be enacted.

 

5.

It may be said that even in societies where women are fully covered, they may still be approached and molested. However, if the vast majority of those who are molested are not properly covered, the principle of protection still applies. Even in the society of the Prophet, one thousand four hundred years ago, some women were molested and raped.

 

6.

Some people question the imposition of hijab by the Islamic state. Is it a personal choice of women or a legal obligation? It is the responsibility of the head of every family to insure that the women of his household leave the home in a legally acceptable state of dress. The state is further responsible to prevent any women who appear in public in a state of undress in order to protect public dignity and morality.

 

The West has set its own limits for dress which change according to the mood of society. At one point in time, strip joints were illegal. Now many bars have topless waitresses and dancers. In most states, a woman may not appear in public topless. However, a woman recently contested the law in Florida and won her case. Complete nudity remains public crime throughout the West, though nudist camps and nudist beaches have sprung up in different locations in Europe and America.

 

7.

There are conditions which must be fulfilled for the hijab to be acceptable. a) It should be wide and loose so as to not show the shape of the woman’s body; b) it should be made of thick material which will not reveal what is underneath; c) It should not be colorful and ornamented so as to attract sexual admiration.

 

8.

Where the hijab has become a cultural norm and women comply out of fear of embarrassment, it will not be worn properly. It may become transparent, or worn tight exposing the curves of the body, or it may become so ornamented as to be attractive by itself. It may be short so as to expose the dress underneath, or the face may be covered and the front of the hair exposed. Such practices are the result of women wearing hijab for the wrong reasons. They should be educated to realize that it is for their benefit and for the benefit of the society.

 

[From the book: Contemporary issues, pg. 12-14]

 

Answering claims that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) composed the Quran helped by Jewish & Christian sources


 

We come now to an oft-repeated charge, namely that the Prophet (ﷺ) composed the Quran either with direct help from others, after reading books (despite the constantly reiterated fact of his illiteracy), or after being taught by someone of Jewish or Christian background. Like those other charges, these particular ones were again reiterated in the Middle Ages as well as more recently. Once more, it has to be pointed out that far from being original to this period these assertions were actually levelled by infidels in the lifetime of Mubammad (ﷺ) as reponed in the Quran itself in which they are challenged, (10:38; 11:13; 16:103).

 

Ibn Taymiyah makes the point that Muhammad (ﷺ), before reaching the age of forty never preached, nor could he utter a passage of the Quran which is clearly distinct even from his own speeches and sayings.

 

Had Muhammad (ﷺ) in fact learnt from a Christian monk, a bishop, a Jewish person, or even from Christian slaves, the following might have happened:

 

    1. Muhammad (ﷺ) would never have denied it because he was famous all his life for both preaching and telling the truth.

 

2. He could never have preached a faith so radically different from Christianity and Judaism, particularly with respect to their basic creeds.

 

3. Under the circumstances, and considering the climate of antagonism existing between him and those who did not believe in his message, particularly the Jews and polytheists, his teacher’s name could scarcely have remained unknown throughout all the years of the Prophet’s mission.

 

4. Whoever taught him would surely have written a book or at least a chapter similar to the Quranic revelations.

 

5. The Jews, referred to in the Quran as “The people of the Book” had been persistently cross-examining him, defying him and hiding their books from others. How then could they have taught him at the same time? If they had taught him anything would they not have been the first to declare it in order to disprove his prophethood? It is difficult to believe that they would not also have been careful to suppress the uncomplimentary references to them contained in the Quran.

 

6. Had Muhammad (ﷺ) not been sincere in his prophethood and honest in delivering his revelations his friends and followers would never have been so devoted to him, nor would they have clung to his teachings despite devastating hardship and persecution. It is a remarkable tribute to the character of Muhammad (ﷺ) and to those of his friends and followers that not one of them ever betrayed him.

 

7. The Quran confirms certain biblical records of previous prophets. Since the historical events in the Bible were originally revealed by God to Moses and other prophets why could not this confirmation be a sign that the source is one, and divine?

 

8. If divine authorship has never been claimed for the Bible by a Christian why should Muhammad (ﷺ) have risked additional persecution from his enemies by claiming the Quran to have been revealed by God if this were not so?

 

Allah refuted all such claims in a simple sentence by saying :

And We certainly know that they say, “It is only a human being who teaches the Prophet.” The tongue of the one they refer to is foreign, and this Qur’an is [in] a clear Arabic language.

[Quran 16:103]

 

[Source: Book “The Sublime Quran and the Orientalist”, pg 33-34]

 

 

 

Connotative meanings of patience —Ibn Qayyim


 

Patience takes on the name what it refers to. Different names may be applied to patience in different situations. Ibn Qayyim (rahimahullah) has beautifully mentioned few examples here:

 

Patience is called chastity if it is associated with restraining a sexual desire.

 

Patience is called self-restraint if it refers to controlling one’s stomach.

 

When referring to refraining from disclosing what is better to keep secret, it is called keeping one’s secret.

 

If it consists of being content with what is sufficient for one’s needs, it is called asceticism.

 
If it consists of being content of what someone has of worldly life, it is called self-content.

 

If it refers to controlling one’s nerves when angry, it is called forbearance.

 
When it refers to detesting from haste, it is called gracefulness.

 
If it refers to not fleeing or running away, it is called courage.

 

If it refers to refraining from taking revenge, it is called forgiveness.

 

If it refers to not being stingy, it is called generosity.

 

When it refers to abstaining from food and drink for a specific period, it is called fasting.

 

If it consists of refraining from being helpless and lazy, it is called discretion.

 

If it refers to refraining from loading other people’s burden it is called chivalry.

 

In conclusion, patience has various names according to the situation it applies to, but all of them are included under patience. This indicates that all tenants and rites of Islam are associated with patience.

 
[Taken from “The way to patience and gratitude”, by Ibn Qayyim, pg. 21-22]

 

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