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Why only One God and not two or more than two gods? — Imam al-Tabari

September 11, 2017 Leave a comment

 

Our description has made it clear that the Creator and Originator of all things was before everything, that night and day and time and hours are originated, and that their Originator Who administers and manages them exists before them, since it is impossible for something to originate something unless its originator exists before it. (It is also clear that) God’s word:

“Don’t (the unbelievers) look at the camels (and reflect) how they were created, and at the heaven how it was raised, and at the mountains how they were set up, and at the earth how it was spread out flat? (Quran 88:17-20)

contains the most eloquent evidence and the most effective proofs for those who use reason to reflect and the mind to be instructed, that the Creator of all those things is eternal and that everything of their kind is originated and has a Creator that is not similar to them. That is because everything mentioned by our Lord in this verse, the mountains, the earth, the camels, is dealt with and administered by man, who may move it around and manage it, who may dig, cut, and tear down, none of which he is prevented from doing. Yet, beyond that, man is not able to bring anything of that into existence without a basis (to work from).

 

The conclusion is that the one who is incapable of originating those things could not have originated himself and that the one who is not prevented from managing and organizing whatever he wishes could not have been brought into existence by someone like himself and he did not bring himself into existence. Further, the One Who brought (man) up and gave him substantial (‘ayn) existence is the One Who is not incapable of (doing) anything He wishes, and He is not prevented from originating anything He wants. He is “God Unique and Forceful.” (Quran 12:39)

 

Someone might ask:

Why should it be disapprovable to assume that the things you have mentioned result from the action of two eternal (beings)?

The reply would be:

We disapprove of that because we find that the administration is continuous and the creation perfect. We say:

If the administrators were two, they would necessarily either agree or disagree. If they agree, the two would conceptually be one, and the one would be made two merely by positing two.

If they differ, it would be impossible to find the existence of the creation perfect and (its) administration continuous. For each one of two who differ does what is different from what his fellow does . If one gives life, the other causes death . If one of them produces existence, the other produces annihilation . It would thus be impossible for anything in creation to exist in the perfection and continuity it does.

God’s words: “If there were other gods except God in (heaven and earth), both would be ruined. Praised be God, Lord of the Throne, (who is above) what they describe“; (Quran 21:22) and: “God has not taken to Himself a child , and there has been no god together with Him. Otherwise, each god would have gone off with what he created and risen over the others. Praised be God (who is above) what they describe. He knows what is unseen and what is observable, and He is exalted above their associating (other gods with Him)” (Quran 23:91) -these words of God are the most eloquent evidence and the most concise explanation as well as the most effective proof for the falsehood of those falsehood-mongers who associate (other gods) with God.

 

That is because, if there were another god except God in the heavens and the earth, the condition of the two as to agreement and disagreement would necessarily be the one I have described. Saying that there may be agreement implies that saying they are two is wrong. It confirms the oneness of God and is an absurd statement in as much as the one who makes it calls the one two. Saying that there may be disagreement indicates ruin for the heavens and the earth, as our Lord says : “If there were other gods except God in them, both would be ruined.” (Quran 21:22) For if one originates and creates something, it would be the other’s business to put it out of existence and invalidate it. That is because the actions of two who differ are different, just as fire that warms and snow that cools what fire has warmed.

 

Another argument (would be this):

If it were (true) as those who associate other gods with God say, each one of the two whom they consider as eternal would necessarily be either strong or incapable.

 

If both were incapable , each one, being incapable, would be defeatable and not be a god.

 

If both were strong, each one of them, by virtue of being incapable of subduing the other, would be incapable and being incapable would not be a god.

 

If each one of them were strong enough to subdue the other, he, by virtue of the strength of the other to subdue him in turn, would be incapable. God is above the association of other gods with Him!

 

It has thus become clear that the Eternal One, the Creator and Maker of all things is the One Who existed before everything and Who will be after everything, the First before everything and the Last after everything. He existed when there was no momentary and extended time, no night and no day, no darkness and no light except the light of His noble face, no heaven and no earth, no sun and no moon and no stars. Everything but He is originated, administered and made. He alone by Himself created everything without an associate, helper, and assistant . Praised be He as powerful and forceful!

 

[The history of al-Tabari, vol. 1, pg. 218-220]

 

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Poetry on Prophet Muhammad by Imam Abu al-Abbas Abdullah b. Muhammad al-Naashi

September 9, 2017 Leave a comment

 

I praised the Messenger of God, seeking by praising him a plenitude of the best of rewards for myself;

I praised a man beyond praise, unique in his qualities, far beyond others far or near,

A Prophet whose light shone high in places east, his gifts apparent to the people of places west.

The prophets brought him to us before his coming, news of him spreading on all sides.

The foretelling divines began calling his name, using it to fend off the impact of misleading ideas.

Idols were given voice declaring to God their innocence of those who told the untruths.

They spoke in clear words to the unbelievers, ‘A prophet has come to you from Lu’ayy b. Ghalib.

And evil spirits wanted to eavesdrop hut shooting stars scattered them from their seats.

He led us to where we would never have found our way, so lengthy was our blmdness to clear philosophies.

He brought evidences showing that they were signs from one Almighty in reward and punishment

One of which was the splitting of the moon in two, mountain tops then being covered as if by a turban by the moonbeams.

And another was the rising of water springs between his fingertips while no wells or pools were near.

And another was the rising of water springs between his fingertips while no wells or pools were near.

By it he quenched the thirst of a large crowd; and the water flowed into rivulets in all directions, down to the plain land.

And a well brimmed over at his arrow’s touch, one before too dry for a single drinker’s palate.

And the udder flowed to his palm’s rub, which before when squeezed for liquid had no teat to respond to a milkman’s touch.

And there was eloquent utterance from the hand of a fortune teller about plans of an enemy bent on attack.

And his being told of matters before their being, and of the after-effects to come when these did arise.

And from those signs there was revelation he brought, one that is expedient, to come with a multitude of wonders.

Thought could not conceive of it (Quran), and so the like of which no eloquent man could articulate, nor did it occur to the mind of any preacher.

It encompassed all knowledge, embraced all wisdom, eluding the aim of the scheming and deceitful.

He brought it to us, not through a trickster’s tales, a scribe’s pages, or an author’s description.

Revelation comes to him sometimes to answer a questioner, to respond to a solution seeker, or in the exhortation of someone who is conversing;

For the bringing of proofs, the imposition of laws, the telling of narration, or the interpretation of purpose;

For the quotation of proverbs, the proving of a case, the revealing of some disbeliever, or the suspension of a liar;

In the meeting of some assembly, in the thick of some battle, or as difficult, puzzling problems occur.

So, it came down in different ways, with straight-out meaning and flowing varieties.

Its verses confirm each other, as if their meanings were scrutinized by a watchful eye.

And the inability of man to achieve such as we have described is well known by the many who attempted (to imitate it).

 

[Al-Sira al-Nabawiyyah, vol. 1, pg. 78-79]

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

August 11, 2017 Leave a comment

 

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]

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

July 11, 2017 Leave a comment

 

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]

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]

 

Balancing between Seeking Knowledge and Softening the Heart— Ibn al-Jawzi


Imam abu’l-Faraj ibn a-Jawzi, in his book Sayd al-Khaatir, wrote the following on the importance of softening the heart in the midst of talab al-’ilm (seeking knowledge):

رأيت الاشتغال بالفقه وسماع الحديث لا يكاد يكفي في صلاح القلب إلا أن يمزج بالرقائق والنظر في سير السلف الصالحين‏.‏ لأنهم تناولوا مقصود النقل وخرجوا عن صور الأفعال المأمور بها إلى ذوق معانيها والمراد بها‏.

I feel that occupying oneself with fiqh and acquiring narrations is hardly enough to rectify the heart, unless one mixes with that the study of al-raqaa’iq (heart-softening narrations) and examining the biographies of the salaf al-saaliheen, because they [i.e. the Salaf] realized the intended purpose of those narrations and extracted the commanded actions from them, perceiving their intended meanings and desired understandings thereby.

 

 

‏ وما أخبرتك بهذا إلا بعد معالجة وذوق لأني وجدت جمهور المحدثين وطلاب الحديث همة أحدهم في الحديث العالي وتكثير الأجزاء‏.‏ وجمهور الفقهاء في علوم الجدل وما يغالب به الخصم‏.‏ وكيف يرق القلب مع هذه الأشياء‏.‏

And I do not inform you of this except after personal trials and error, because I have found that the majority of the muhadditheen and students of hadeeth are primarily concerned with the shortest chain of narration and increasing the number of narrations. And that the majority of the fuqahaa’(jurists) are primarily concerned with knowledge of debate, argumentation and how to win an a dispute. And how can hearts by softened with these things?

 

 

وقد كان جماعة من السلف يقصدون البعد الصالح للنظر إلى سمته وهديه‏.‏ لا لاقتباس وذلك أن ثمرة علمه هديه وسمته فافهم هذا وامزج طلب الفقه والحديث بمطالعة سير السلف والزهاد في الدنيا ليكون سبباً لرقة قلبك‏.‏

And there used to be a group of the salaf who would visit a righteous servant in order to observe his characteristics and manners, and not to take knowledge from him. And that is because the fruits of his knowledge were his manners and conduct, so understand this! So combine the study of fiqh and hadeeth with studying the lives of the salaf and those who exercises zuhd in this dunya in order that this might be a cause of softening for your heart.

 

 

وقد جمعت لكل واحد من مشاهير الأخيار كتاباً فيه أخباره وآدابه‏.‏ فجمعت كتاباً في أخبار الحسن وكتاباً في أخبار سفيان الثوري وإبراهيم بن أدهم وبشر الحافي وأحمد بن حنبل ومعروف وغيرهم من العلماء والزهاد والله الموفق للمقصود‏.‏ ولا يصلح العمل مع قلة العلم‏.‏ فهما في ضرب المثل كسائق وقائد والنفس بينهما حرون ومع جد السائق والقائد ينقطع المنزل ونعوذ بالله من الفتور‏.‏

And I have compiled a book for each and every one of the well-known and excellent people, containing their tales and their manners. I have compiled a book about the exploits of al-Hasan (al-Basri), and a book about the exploits of Sufyan al-Thawri, Ibrahim ibn Adhham, Bishr al-Haafi, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ma’roof, and others from the ‘ulamaa’and those who were known for their zuhd, and Allah is the giver of success. And deeds are not performed correctly with (only) a little knowledge. And what should be understood (from all this speech) is in the parable of a stick and a carrot [i.e. a push-factor and a pull-factor, one thing which is motivating you by fear and another which is motivating you with a reward], and a person’s soul is stubbornly in between the two. But with a persistent stick and carrot, one can keep moving, and we seek refuge with Allah from apathy.

 

[Sayd al-Khaatir 1/71]

 

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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