Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It Is Prohibited To Praise Anyone So Much That There May Be Fear Of His Being Intoxicated Because Of That

The following ahadith warn against praising too much and showering undue praise upon someone which unfortunately occurs all too often on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which are a trial for some who are duped into seeking praise, fame, status, prestige, and the like.


Here are the ahadith:


1) ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Abu Bakra reported on the authority of his father that a person praised another person in the presence of Allaah’s Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam), whereupon he said: Woe be to thee, you have broken the neck of your friend, you have broken the neck of your friend-he said this twice. If one of you has to praise his friend at all, he should say: I think (him to be) so and Allaah knows it well and I do not know the secret of the heart and Allaah knows the destined end, and I cannot testify his purity against Allaah but (he appears) to be so and so.


[No. 7139]


2) Abd al-Rahman b. Abu Bakra reported on the authority of his father that a person was mentioned in the presence of Allaah’s Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam), and a person said: Allaah’s Messenger, no person is more excellent than he after Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam). Thereupon Allaah’s Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: Woe be to thee, you have broken the neck of your friend, and he said this twice. Then Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: If anyone has to praise his brother at all, he should say: I think him to be so and so, and even on this he should say: I do not consider anyone purer than Allaah (considers). This hadith has been transmitted on the authority of Shu’ba with a slight variation of wording.


[No. 7140]


3) Abu Musa reported Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) saw a person lauding another person or praising him too much. Thereupon he said: You killed him, or you sliced the back of a person.


[No. 7141]


4) Abu Ma’mar reported that a person lauded a ruler amongst the rulers and Miqdad began to throw dust upon him and he said: Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) commanded us that we should throw dust upon the faces of those who shower too much praise.


[No. 7142]


5) Hammam b. al-Harith reported that a person began to praise ‘Uthman and Miqdad sat upon his knee; and he was a bulky person and began to throw pebbles upon his (flatterer’s) face. Thereupon ‘Uthman said: What is the matter with you? And he said: Verily, Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: When you see those who shower (undue) praise (upon others), throw dust upon their faces.


[No. 7143]


6) This hadith has been narrated on the authority of Miqdad through another chain of transmitters.


[No. 7144]


Sahih Muslim, The Book of Abstinence and Heart-Melting Narrations (Book 42), CHAPTER: IT IS PROHIBITED TO PRAISE ANYONE SO MUCH THAT THERE MAY BE FEAR OF HIS BEING INTOXICATED BECAUSE OF THAT


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Some people are close to accepting the truth, but they need for you to explain it to them….

Shaykh Abdur Razzaq Al Badr narrates a personal story and he says the following:


Some years ago I was beside a man, and we were in the Masjid. We had prayed the Maghrib prayer and then we sat. I was sitting and I did not know the person next to me, he was from some country.


He spread his hands and began to make Dua, in reality his Dua had an effect upon me because I did not hear the words he was saying but I could only hear his crying; he was crying and he had a tremendous amount of humility in his crying.


So his humility and crying had an effect upon me, then he raised his voice while making Dua, and behold, he was making Dua to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), instead of making Dua to Allah.


He was saying, increase me O Messenger of Allah, aid me O Messenger of Allah, he spread his hands and was making Dua to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him).


I had been moved by this man, I was affected by the humility of this man his Dua, but then it became clear that this man, his humility in his Dua, was for other than Allah.


So I began to speak with him in a gradual manner, making small talk with him, saying some kind words to him, asking him about his health, children, family, just asking him about different things and then I said to him that Dua is great, and the status of Dua is tremendous, and the need for it is overwhelming, and Dua is the opening for all good, so I began mentioning to him the virtues of Dua.


Then I carried on the conversation by mentioning some verses, that show the falsehood of supplicating to other than Allah, and I mentioned a great number of verses, along with some Hadeeth. And some of the verses I mentioned to him were:


And who is more astray than he who invokes besides Allah those who will not respond to him until the Day of Resurrection, and they, of their invocation, are unaware. [46:5]


And also:


Say, “Invoke those you have claimed [as gods] besides Him, for they do not possess the [ability for] removal of adversity from you or [for its] transfer [to someone else].” [17:56]


After mentioning the verses and the Ahadeeth I wanted to be sure if he had understood it or not, so I said to him: What is your opinion on what I said?


The man said to me: You are asking me what is my opinion? These are verses from the Quran and these are Ahadeeth, and you ask what is my opinion? There is no opinion, these are the speech of Allah and His Messenger.


But I wanted to be more convinced, did he understand or not?, so I said to him: Well you know, I heard you making Dua to the Messenger, so how do you apply the verses of the Quran and the Hadeeth? Which are very clear and contradict that which you were doing.


He said to me: I am from such and such a country, I am from this country and no one has ever told me this before, but this speech that you have told me is clear.


Then the Shaykh explained to the audience that some people are close to accepting the truth, but they need for you to explain it to them, so if you read the verses of Allah to them and the Ahadeeth, and explain it to them and are clear with them, then by Allah’s permission they will return to that which is correct.


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Being A Slave Of Allaah

Sayyid Qutb said:


“Being a servant of Allaah is not merely a position of honour, it is the highest position to which a human being can aspire. True submission to Allaah alone protects people from being enslaved by their own desires or by other human beings. No human being can attain this highest position unless he refuses to submit to his own desires or to anyone other than Allaah.


Those who are too proud to submit themselves to Allah alone are automatically enslaved by their own desires and caprice, which is the worst type of slavery. They lose their sense of free will with which Allaah has favoured human beings. They sink to the level of animals ad soon descend to the worst rank of animals. They take themselves down to a level that Allaah describes as “the lowest of the low,” [95:5] after they had been created “in their fairest form.” [95:4]. They are willing to accept enslavement by others like them when they allow such people to conduct their lives according to narrow-minded theories and philosophies that are ignorant, deficient and arrogant.


Such people are also ready to submit to ‘certainties’ which they are told to be inevitable and to admit no discussion, such as the certainties of history, economic development and evolution! There is indeed a long list of such materialist certainties and inevitabilities which enslave man and keep his head in the sand.” [Fee Zhilaal Al-Quraan [English trans.], 7/146-7]


Elsewhere he said:


“Human beings are subject to the laws of nature God has set into operation in matters that affect their birth, growing up, health, illness, death and also those that determine the consequences of their own choices in the areas where they can exercise their free-will. They cannot change God’s laws governing the universe or these aspects of their own life.


It is only wise then for them to submit to God in those aspects of their life in which they have a free choice. When they do so, they make God’s law govern both aspects of their life, the one which follows God’s natural laws and the one subject to their own will.


Thus they bring harmony into their life.” [Fee Zhilaal Al-Quraan [English trans.], 7/207]


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Prophet Muhammad's kindness

Towards Children


He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) was especially fond of children and used to get into the spirit of childish games in their company. He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) would have fun with the children who had come back from Abyssinia and tried to speak in Abyssinian with them. It was his practice to give lifts on his camel to children when he returned from journeys. [Al-Bukhaari]


He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) would pick up children in his arms, play with them, and kiss them. A companion, recalling his childhood, said: "In my childhood I used to fell dates by throwing stones at palm trees. Somebody took me to the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) who advised me to pick up the dates lying on the ground but not to fell them with stones. He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) then patted me and blessed me." [Abu Daawood]


Towards the Poor


The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) enjoined upon Muslims to treat the poor kindly and to help them with alms, zakaat, and in other ways. He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "He is not a perfect Muslim who eats his fill and lets his neighbor go hungry."


He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) asked: "Do you love your Creator? Then love your fellow beings first."


Monopoly is unlawful in Islam and he sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) preached that: "It is difficult for a man laden with riches to climb the steep path that leads to bliss."


He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) did not prohibit or discourage the acquisition of wealth but insisted that it be lawfully acquired by honest means and that a portion of it would go to the poor. He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) advised his followers: "To give the laborer his wages before his perspiration dried up."


He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) did not encourage beggary either and stated that: "Allaah is gracious to him who earns his living by his own labor, and that if a man begs to increase his property, Allaah will diminish it and whoever has food for the day, it is prohibited for him to beg."


To his wife he sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "O 'Aa'ishah, love the poor and let them come to you and Allaah will draw you near to Himself." [Al-Bukhaari]


One or two instances of the Prophet's concern for the poor may be given here. A man from Madeenah, Ibaad Ibn Sharjil, was once starving. He entered an orchard and picked some fruit. The owner of the orchard gave him a sound beating and stripped off his clothes. The poor man appealed to the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) who remonstrated the owner thus: "This man was ignorant, you should have dispelled his ignorance; he was hungry, you should have fed him."


His clothes were restored and, in addition, some grain was given to him. [Abu Daawood]


A debtor, Jaabir Ibn Abdullaah may Allaah be pleased with him was being harassed by his creditor as he could not clear his debt owing to the failure of his date crop. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) went with Jaabir to the house of the creditor and pleaded with him to give Jaabir some more time but the creditor was not prepared to oblige. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) then went to the oasis and having seen for himself that the crop was really poor, he again approached the creditor with no better result. He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) then rested for some time and approached the creditor for a third time but the latter was adamant. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) went again to the orchard and asked Jaabir to pluck the dates. As Allaah would have it, the collection not only sufficed to clear the dues but left something to spare. [Al-Bukhaari]


His love for the poor was so deep that he sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) used to pray: "O Allaah, keep me poor in my life and at my death and raise me at resurrection among those who are poor." [An-Nasaa'ee]


Towards Animals


The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) not only preached to the people to show kindness to each other but also to all living souls. He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) forbade the practice of cutting tails and manes of horses, of branding animals at any soft spot, and of keeping horses saddled unnecessarily. [Muslim]


If he saw any animal over-loaded or ill-fed he sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) would pull up the owner and say: "Fear Allaah in your treatment of animals." [Abu Daawood]


A companion came to him sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) with the young ones of a bird in his sheet and said that the mother bird had hovered over them all along. He was directed by the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) to replace her offspring in the same bush. [Abu Daawood]


During a journey, somebody picked up some birds eggs. The bird's painful note and fluttering attracted the attention of the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) who asked the man to replace the eggs. [Al-Bukhaari]


As his army marched towards Makkah to conquer it, they passed a female dog with puppies. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) not only gave orders that they should not be disturbed, but posted a man to see that this was done.


He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) stated: "Verily, there is heavenly reward for every act of kindness done to a living animal."


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The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the establishment of the Islamic society

Praise be to Allaah.


Undoubtedly the society that was established by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in Madeenah was an example of a stable and secure society. That was manifestly apparent from the moment the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) first set foot in Madeenah and stated to form the Islamic state. The security and stability of this society were due to a number of reasons and factors, including the following:


The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) built the mosque in Madeenah as soon as he arrived there, which helped to establish a focal point to which people could turn when calamities struck, and a place where the Muslims could gather to meet one another and find out about one another, so they could find out who was sick and go to visit them, attend the funerals of those who died, help their poor and arrange marriages for those who were single.


These are some of the ahaadeeth concerning that:


It was narrated from Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) that when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to Madeenah, he ordered that the mosque should be built, and he said, “O Banu Najjaar, name me a price for this garden of yours.â€‌ They said, “No by Allaah, we will not seek its price except from Allaah.â€‌ (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2622; Muslim, 524)


It was narrated that al-Bara’ ibn â€کAazib said:


“[The verse] â€کand do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it’ [al-Baqarah 2:267 – interpretation of the meaning]


was revealed concerning us Ansaar. We used to own date palm trees. A man would bring (the harvest) from his date palms, whether it was a little or a lot. A man would bring one or two bunches of dates and hang them in the mosque. Ahl al-Suffah – or according to a report narrated by Ibn Maajah, the poor among the Muhaajireen – had no food, so if one of them got hungry he would come and strike the bunch with his stick, and ripe and unripe dates would fall, and he would eat them. But there were some uncharitable people who would bring a bunch of dates that contained rotten or dried-up dates, or a bunch that was damaged, and hang it up. Then Allaah revealed the words (interpretation of the meaning):


“O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate thereinâ€‌ [al-Baqarah 2:267]


He said: if any one of you were to be given something like they gave, he would not accept it unless he did so with his eyes closed or out of shyness. He said, after that one of us would bring the best dates that he had. Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2987; Ibn Maajah, 1822. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2389. Secondly:


The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) established brotherhood between the Muhaajireen (the Emigrants who had come from Makkah) and the Ansaar (helpers, the Muslims in Madeenah). This action strengthened the bonds between the members of the Madeenan society in a manner previously unheard of. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) established bonds of brotherhood between non-Arabs and Arabs, between free men and former slaves, between people of Quraysh and members of other tribes. So the society became one entity, after which it was not surprising that an Ansaari would ask a Muhaajir to take half of his wealth, or an Ansaari would offer to divorce one of his wives so that a Muhaajir could marry her, or a Muhaajir would inherit from an Ansaari, because of the strength of the bonds between them. Then inheritance between them was abrogated by the verse on inheritance, but the Ansaar were encouraged to bequeath something to them. This was an exemplary society.


There follow some of the ahaadeeth concerning that:


1 – It was narrated that â€کAbd al-Rahmaan ibn â€کAwf (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: When we came to Madeenah, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) established bonds of brotherhood between me and Sa’d ibn al-Rabee’. Sa’d ibn al-Rabee’ said: “I am the wealthiest of the Ansaar, so I will give you half my wealth, and see which of my wives you would prefer, I will divorce her for you, and when she becomes permissible you can marry her.â€‌ â€کAbd al-Rahmaan said to him, “I do not need that. Is there a marketplace where people trade?â€‌ He said, “The marketplace of Qaynuqaa’.â€‌ So the next day â€کAbd al-Rahmaan went there and took some cottage cheese and ghee, and he did that the next day. It was not long before â€کAnd al-Rahmaan came with traces of yellow (perfume) on him. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Have you gotten married?â€‌ He said, “Yes?â€‌ He said, “To whom?â€‌ He said, “A woman from among the Ansaar.â€‌ He said, “How much was the mahr?â€‌ He said, “A gold piece equal in weight to a date stone (or a date stone of gold).â€‌ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him, “Give a wedding feast (waleemah), even if with one sheep.â€‌ Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1943.


2 – It was narrated from Ibn â€کAbbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that when the Muhaajireen came to Madeenah, a Muhaajir would inherit from an Ansaari to the exclusion of the Ansaari’s own relatives, because of the bonds of brotherhood that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had established between them. When the verse “And to everyone, We have appointed heirsâ€‌ [al-Nisa’ 4:33 – interpretation of the meaning] was revealed, that was abrogated. And the phrase “To those also with whom you have made a pledge (brotherhood)â€‌ [al-Nisa’ 4:33 – interpretation of the meaning] has to do with the covenant of helping, supporting and advising one another. So the rights of inheritance no longer apply, but they may bequeath to one another. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2170.


Thirdly: Zakaah was prescribed in the second year of the Hijrah, which made the rich and poor more equal and increased the coherence of the Madeenan society, and the bonds of brotherhood for the sake of Allaah became stronger than before. Indeed, the matter went further than zakaah to include voluntary charity.


It was narrated that Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:


Abu Talhah was the wealthiest of the Ansaar of Madeenah in terms of palm trees, and the dearest of his wealth to him was (the garden of) Bayraha’, which was opposite the mosque. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to enter it and drink from good water that was to be found there. Anas said: When the verse


“By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness — here it means Allaah’s reward, i.e. Paradise), unless you spend (in Allaah’s Cause) of that which you loveâ€‌ [Aal- Imraan 3:92 – interpretation of the meaning]


was revealed, Abu Talhah got up and went to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said,


“O Messenger of Allaah, Allaah says â€کBy no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness — here it means Allaah’s reward, i.e. Paradise), unless you spend (in Allaah’s Cause) of that which you love’ and the dearest of my wealth to me is Bayraha’. (I give it in) charity for the sake of Allaah, hoping to earn its reward with Allaah, so dispose of it, O Messenger of Allaah, as Allaah shows you.â€‌ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Well done, that is a profitable deal, that is a profitable deal. I have heard what you said and I think that you should distribute it among your relatives.â€‌ Abu Talhah said, “I shall do that, O Messenger of Allaah,â€‌ and he distributed it among his relatives and the sons of his paternal uncles. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1392; Muslim, 998


So the signs of harmony appeared among the Muslims in Madeenah, and the Muhaajireen recognized the rights that their Ansaar brothers had over them. There are a number of ahaadeeth concerning that, including the following:


It was narrated that Anas said:


When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to Madeenah, the Muhaajireen came to him and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, we have never seen any people more generous when they have the means and more helpful when they have little than the people among whom we have settled. They have looked after us and they have let us join them and share in all their happy occasions, to such an extent that we are afraid that they will take all the reward. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Not so long as you pray for them and praise them.â€‌ Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2487; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2020.


Allaah created loved between the hearts of the people of Madeenah, and love for the sake of Allaah was one of the symbols of the people that Allaah enjoined upon them and made it one of the signs of perfect faith.


It was narrated from Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.â€‌ Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 13; Muslim, 45.


It was narrated that al-Nu’maan ibn Basheer said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The believers, in their mutual mercy, love and compassion, are like a (single) body; if one part of it feels pain, the rest of the body will join it in staying awake and suffering fever.â€‌ Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5665; Muslim, 2586.


Source: IslamQA


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Monday, December 30, 2013

The Elevated Status of Women in Islam

As-salamu 'alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu. Alhamdulillah wa's-salatu wa's-salamu 'ala rasulillah, 'amma ba'ad:


The topic that I was asked to discuss here at McGill University is the elevation of the status of women in Islam. Many, upon hearing the title of this lecture, might assume it to be an oxymoron because the prevalent idea - at least in the West - is that Islam does not elevate the status of women, but that Islam oppresses and suppresses women. So people might find the title in itself to be shocking or a curiosity at least.


In discussing this topic - since it appears to me that this is a mixed audience of Muslims and non-Muslims - I'd like to make my remarks and comments brief. I will take no more than thirty to forty five minutes, and then allow you an opportunity to ask your questions. Perhaps the question and answer session might be more fruitful in addressing specific accusations, understandings or misunderstandings regarding the status of women in Islam.


As we all know, in the world today, there are - for the overwhelming majority of humanity - basically two world views. These two views are often in conflict - not only on the personal level where individual human beings are making choices, but also on the international level in terms of the debate over the authenticity and correctness of these two world views.


The first world view, which I am sure most of us are aware of, is the Western liberal view. A view which claims to draw its roots from the Judeo-Christian tradition that probably, upon investigation, is more well rooted in the ideas that appeared after the reformation; ideas that are rooted in secularism and the world view that appeared thereafter during the 'era of enlightenment'.


The second view is that of the Muslims - the Islamic world view, and this view says that its roots and ideas lie in the revelation given by God (or Allah in Arabic) to the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). Those who proclaim this view say that it can be used by humanity during all ages and times, and that its relevance and benefit is not restricted to a certain period of time, geographic area or certain race of human beings.


Likewise, the adherents of the first view, that of Western secularism and the liberal tradition, believe that their world view, ideas, culture and civilization are the best for humanity. Some of you might have read a book that came out a few years ago by an American author of Japanese descent, Francis Fukuyama, called "The End of Time". He basically put forth the theory that human development in terms of its ideas has concluded with this final period of liberal secular thought and nothing more will come to humanity. However in his book he adds that that the only part of the world which has not adopted this secular human view is the Islamic world and proposes that there will be a conflict in terms of this ideology in the Islamic world.


With that brief introduction, one of the topics of contention between these two worlds views, that of the secular liberal humanist in the West and the Islamic tradition, concerns women. What is the position and status of women? How are women looked to? Are women elevated in one culture and oppressed in another?


The Western view is that women are elevated only in the West and that they are getting more and more rights with the passage of time, while their sisters - they say - in the Islamic world are still being suppressed. The Muslims who they encounter say that in actuality it is the Islamic system that provides the true freedoms for men and women alike, and women in the West as well as men, are deceived into an idea of freedom which really doesn't exist.


What I'd like to discuss this evening is exactly how Islam looks to women. And therefore my discussion will be more upon - what we might say for the lack of a better term - the philosophical basis, rather than the individual practices which vary from one country to the other. How women are understood in Islam cannot be properly understood - and this is more significant, I feel - unless one understands exactly what we might call the philosophical basis or ideological understanding - since this is really a theological concept.


First, let's review how exactly women were thought of and understood in the western tradition, to compare and contrast perspectives. We know that the western tradition sees itself as the intellectual inheritors of the Greek tradition that existed before the Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), and so therefore many of the intellectual traditions of the West are found to some degree in the writings of the early Greek philosophers like Aristotle, Plato and so forth.


How did they look towards women? What were the ideas of Aristotle and Plato towards women? When one reviews the works of these early Greek philosophers, he finds that they had very disparaging views of women. Aristotle in his writings argued that women were not full human beings and that the nature of woman was not that of a full human person. As a result, women were by nature deficient, not to be trusted and to be looked down upon. In fact, writings describe that the free women in many aspects of the Greek society - except for the very few women of the elite classes - had positions no better than animals and slaves.


This Aristotelian view of women was later carried on into the early Christian tradition of the Catholic church. Saint Thomas of Aquinas in his writings proposed that women were the trap of Satan. The issue of Adam and Eve added a dimension to the earlier Greek ideas of Aristotle; women were the cause of the downfall of man and therefore were Satan's trap and should be looked at with caution and weariness because they caused the first downfall of humanity and all thus evil precedes from women. This type of thought was persistent within the writings of the Church fathers throughout the Middle Ages. In their writings we find this theme proposed in one aspect or another. However, after the Protestant reformation Europe decided to free itself from the shackles and chains of the Catholic Church. Ideas which have been entitled as the Age of Enlightenment or thought of, as such, caused them to feel that they needed to free themselves from many of these ideas. Some of these ideas were scientific in nature, that the earth goes around the sun, instead of the sun going around the earth; theological in nature, as in the writings of Martin Luther; and also social in nature, like the position of women in society. However, the writers of the Enlightenment still carried this basic theme that was not much of a switch - women were not full human beings.


French writers during the revolution, like Rousseau, Voltaire and others, looked at women as a burden that needed to be taken care of. This is why I believe it's Rousseau in his book "Emile", which he wrote concerning the education of women, proposed a different form of education for women based upon the fact that women were unable to understand what men were able to understand.


This is the tradition that the West inherited and thereafter we find in the 1800's the first writings appearing by women and some men calling for the change of these ideas. And with this we have the origins of the first feminine movements. One of the first books written was the "Vindication for the Rights of Women" by Mary Walsencraft which appeared in the 1800's. Thereafter the tradition of women receiving certain rights came.


The first of these were basically legal rights because until the 1800's women were not able to own property and were not able to dispose of their wealth as men did. It is very well known that the first laws that allowed women to own property in the United States or in Europe appeared only in the last couple of decades of the 1800's. The Industrial Revolution caused another impetus, another search, to this feminist movement. Women in the Industrial Revolution, especially England, were forced to labour for many hours in the coal mines and so forth, and would receive no pay whatsoever compared to men. So therefore the first calling of the movement was that people who work the same amount of hours deserved the same amount of money or pay. Finally a break occurred in this century of basically all which is understood from the Western tradition.


Coming from the latter feminist movement which appeared after World War II, a new movement called for the emancipation of women not only in terms of legal rights, but it also questioned some of the morals of society and called for greater sexual freedoms for women and men alike. It contended that basically a lot of problems were caused by the institution of marriage and the ideas of family and so forth. People wrote concerning the need to break from these. And finally in the 1990's, the prevalent argument in the West is that we should discuss genders, not sexes. This idea was expressed recently in a book which came out a year ago called "The Age of Extremes". The author discusses the idea that there is no difference between male or female and that gender is so only due to environment. So therefore we can change the environment so that men could take the roles of women and women take the roles of men by changing the education and climate. This is where it has ended up to now. So we find in this 2500 year old western tradition, we come from the first extreme which was expressed by the Greeks, where women were denied their essential humanity, to this extreme expressed today where there is no difference between the sexes and it is an issue of gender, climate and environment.


This is, of course, a very brief summary of the first world view. I didn't do justice to those 2500 years in just those few minutes, but it just gives us an idea.


The other view which I would like to talk about in more detail is the Islamic view. How does Islam look at the issue of women? Well, first of all, we should understand that Muslims unlike, for instance, the Greek philosophers or the French writers after the French revolution, do not feel that their concepts, ideas and beliefs are those of fellow men. But rather they believe that what they are taught, what they believe, what they practice, and all that is tied to this, is part of a divine revelation given to them by God. And so, its truth and veracity is not questionable because of it being revelation from God. The argument is that God knows best that which He created. He created human beings, He is a God of wisdom, and a God of all knowledge and so therefore He knows what is best. And He decrees that which is best for humanity, His creatures. Therefore, Muslims try to live by a code of law which is an expression of that belief.


Now I don't want to discuss the various details of the code of law because that, I feel, would not really benefit us in this lecture. Although perhaps some of that might come out in the question and answer session and I'll be glad to entertain any questions you might have. But what I would like to discuss is how does Islam look at women, i.e. what is womanhood in Islam? Did Muslims believe like the early Greek writers or early church fathers that women were not full human begins? Did they feel that women were Satan's trap, so therefore should be shunned and looked at as something evil and dangerous? How did they perceive women?


Upon investigating into the traditions of Islam which is, as I said, based on revelation known as the Qur'an, we find that it becomes very clear that Muslims are taught that men and women share a single humanity - that they are equal in their humanity and that there is no difference in the amount of human nature in them. We might now take that for granted, but as I explained, the initial western civilization was based on the fact that women were not full human beings.


So this being something that was taught 1400 years ago was a revolutionary idea in the sense that it is only within the last 100 years or so that the issue of women being full human beings has come to be accepted in western intellectual circles. Initially, women were not considered full human beings. The Qur'an in describing the origins of human beings tells them, the translation of which would be something like "O humanity! Verily we have created you from a single male and a single female, and have made you into tribes and peoples so that you may know one another. Verily the most honourable of you are those who are most pious with God." [Al-Qur'an 49:13] This verse in the Qur'an teaches that humans come from a single male and a single female. The indication here is that the male and female in terms of their human nature are at an equal level. Likewise another verse, from a chapter which is known in the Qur'an as the Chapter of Women - because most of the issues discussed there are laws dealing with women - starts off with a verse which could be translated as, "O humanity! Verily We have created you from a single soul, and have made from it its mate," this is a reference to Adam and Eve, "and have made from both of them many people, men and women, and scattered them throughout the earth." [Al-Qur'an 4:1] So here again is the issue of men and women and all human beings coming from a single source, a single family, a single set of parents. This shows that women share in full humanity with men.


Likewise in the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) - which is the second source of the Islamic religion - we find that the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said in a hadith that women are the twin halves of men. The Arabic word shaqa'iq, which I translated as twin halves, means taking something and splitting it in half. The understanding is that there is a single humanity, a single essence which is shared, and there are twin halves of that - one is man and one is women.


This is repeated often in the Qur'an. The words of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) also emphasise this. As I said, this is a very important concept to understand when one reflects on how traditional western civilization looked at women as not being full partners and not sharing in humanity. Although now, we might not find much surprise to that because it is a given perhaps that men and women are full human beings. But this is something that is a late occurrence in western traditions.


Let us take it to another step, what is the aim of humanity? What is the purpose for which human beings exist on earth; to what ends do they strive? What will occur to them if they strive to those ends and what will occur to them if they did not strive to those ends? Since Islam is a religion which sees itself as revelation from God and the truth, Muslims would feel that human beings have a set purpose here on earth; that in everything of God's creation there is wisdom. There is nothing of God's creation that does not have any wisdom. There is nothing for sport or play and so therefore human beings have a purpose, and that purpose has been elucidated for them in the teaching of Islam. They were created to worship God. A verse from the Qur'an says that God says that He has not created human beings except to worship Him. So therefore, the essence of humanity is the same between male and female, and they also share the same aim and that is to worship God. And that is the most important issue in the Islamic culture and civilization. You know that the Islamic culture and civilization is rooted in religious belief. American civilization is rooted in what? In the writings of the founding fathers of the United States of America. It is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, the ideals which were placed therein. It is rooted in the Constitution of the United States. It is rooted in some of the arguments between monarchy or democracy which were written by some of the early writers or founding fathers. So it is rooted in a political thought. Yes, it might have some traditions which go back further and extend to certain ideas like in parts of Christianity and so forth, but in its essence it is a political thought, unlike Islam which is a religion in its essence.


The civilization of Islam - a civilization which is 1400 years old - is one which is rooted in religion. For a Muslim the greatest aim is to serve God, to worship God alone, and that is what the word Muslim means. Muslim is not a racial description, it is not an ethnic category, Muslim means one who submits. Islam means submitting to the will of God - the voluntary submission to God - so Islam is a religion of submission. Therefore, in the most important aspect of the Islamic religion, we find that men and women share in the same aim and are expected to have the same responsibilities, in that men and women are both required or obligated to testify that there is none worthy of worship but Allah alone - God alone - and that Muhammad is His Messenger. Men and women are both obligated to pray five times a day, which is the second pillar of Islam. They are obligated to fast the month of Ramadhan. They are obligated to make pilgrimage to Makkah. They are obligated to give charity. They are obligated to have the same beliefs. They are obligated to have the same type of morality and the same type of code of conduct and behaviour.


Men and women share these essential ingredients of Islamic behavior, which define a Muslim from a non-Muslim. And this is of extreme importance because it breaks from the tradition of religions. For instance fifty years before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) who was born around 560 CE we find that there was a gathering of bishops in France to discuss whether women possessed souls or not, and that, if they do possess souls, what would be their purpose on earth? Was it to worship God? And if they worshipped God, would they go to paradise? In the end it was decided that, yes, women do possess souls - which was a break from previous tradition - but that their purpose was not just to worship God, but also to serve men.


In Islam, however, the basis of submission is not that women are submitting to men, but that men and women together submit to God. So therefore, when you read the passages of the Qur'an, it becomes very clear that the obedient from among both the believing men and women receive paradise, which is the greatest aim and objective in a Muslim's life, and the basis of that civilization. Likewise, those who are disobedient and who are renegades, and who do not want to worship God also receive the same punishment whether they are male or female. This is why throughout the Qur'an you find the wording addressed to both males and females.


The Arabic language like French has two types of verbs, one representing the feminine and one the masculine. So in the Qur'an you'll find both categories of the human race, both sexes, being addressed. This you find over and over and over. There is no need to now recite all these passages, but they are there if anyone wants to know.


In summary we found three bases: (i) that they share the same humanity, (ii) that they have the same aim on this earth, and, also, (iii) they expect the same reward, which is the goal which they are working for collectively as human beings. And this is a break as I said from the previous religious traditions and also political and social understanding prevalent among the philosophers before the coming of Islam. And as a result of that, we find that Islam accorded women rights which perhaps we take for granted now, but were given by God to men and women some 1400 years ago. These rights like the right to own property, the right to dispose of property according to their own wishes as long as they follow the laws of the religion of Islam, which apply the same for men or women and the right to certain what we would call now political rights, like the right to enter into a treaty with combatant, are something very recent relatively speaking in the West.


One of the rights given by Islam in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was that if a woman gives a treaty to a combatant from a non-Muslim attacking force - her treaty would be considered as was the case with a female companion of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). In the Christian Church these companions would be called disciples for instance, the disciples of the Prophet Muhammad are the companions as they are called. They were in the hundreds and thousands not just twelve as with Jesus Christ, and there are both men and women amongst them. When the Prophet Muhammad came to Makkah, one of the women companions by the name of Umm Hani, who was an inhabitant of Makkah and a believer in the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), accorded certain relatives of hers protection that they would not be harmed. Her brother who was one of the main companions of the Prophet Muhammad and married his daughter, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, wanted to execute two of these men who were known for harming the Muslims and fighting against them. So Umm Hani went to the Prophet Muhammad and complained that she had accorded them protection and the Prophet recognised her giving protection to those two individuals. This is what we might call, in the classification and terminology that we now use, a political right. In the sense of according protection for another person during the state of war is something which is relatively new in the West and was a known tradition in the Islamic world 1400 years ago.


Likewise, in terms of what we might call public participation, there are certain acts of worship which are public acts of worship in Islam, and there are certain acts of worship which are private. One of the public acts is the pilgrimage, when men and women all make pilgrimage, and this is one of the pillars of Islam. Likewise another public act of worship is the two 'Eid prayers which occur twice a year, once after the pilgrimage and once after the pass of Ramadhan. Men and women both participate in that publicly.


Likewise, we have a verse which shows that the social contract between men and women is the same in Islam. This verse might be translated as the following: "And the believing men and women are," what we might translate as, "awliya" - the word in Arabic for friends or allies or supporters of one another, "they" - meaning men and women - "bid to that which is correct" i.e. they commend that which is correct, "and they forbid that which is evil". And this is a corrective process in society, removing evil and commending that which is good. And then "they perform the prayer", both men and women, "they pay the alms", or the charity to the poor, "and they obey God and His Messenger." And then God shows them the reward and that they are those upon whom God will have mercy and God is Almighty and All-Wise. So in this verse, we find that the social contract between men and women, as individuals in the society, is the same, that they both go for the highest goal of bidding or commanding that which is correct, forbidding that which is evil, and that they share in the two major acts of worship, which are the prayer and giving charity. They share in the beliefs and obedience to God and obedience to the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and likewise, they share in the reward in the end of obtaining Allah's mercy. This is a very important concept, which is in contradiction with what the western tradition is upon today, and that is as I said as a result of the initial extreme of the Greek philosophers that women did not share in humanity. As the result of that extreme another extreme occurred - at least the Muslims consider it extreme - that there is no difference between men and women.


So therefore, the idea of having genders - this is a term which is not used in a biological sense, as we might use the word sex in a biological sense for male and female, but the understanding today is that the traits that define maleness or femaleness, the social traits and so forth are determined by upbringing, culture, and environment and that there is no inherent difference in the way men and women think or act or what their make up is and so forth. And that is why they use the term gender. This extreme resulted from the initial extreme that occurred 2000 years ago, when the Greek thought that the women did not possess humanity. So as a result of this 2000 year processes we now come to another extreme - at least this is what Muslims would say - this extreme now is that men and women are the same, that there is no difference.


Islam, although confirming that men and women do share in the same essence of humanity, also confirms that men and women are different. But does this difference mean that men are inherently good or women are inherently evil? No. And this is why when you look at one of the verses in the Qur'an that sheds light on this aspect, God says, recounting His creation, that He is the One Who created the night, as it envelops, as it comes - if you look at the horizon, it comes like a sheet enveloping the horizon - and He is the One Who created the day as it comes bursting, shining, - that is how Sun rises and He is the One Who created male and female. And then the next verse says, verily, what you strive for - human beings are into different ends, diverse ends - some strive for God's pleasure, some strive for disobedience of God, some strive to do good to humans, some strive to do harm, different ends. But what is the example here? God mentions night and day and then mentions male and female. The understanding is, yes, night has a purpose, and in the Qur'an you always find verse after verse, describing that night has wisdom behind it. And also it tells humanity that had it been only night and no day human beings could not live on earth. And this is now shown scientifically that if it was only night and there was no sunlight, certain hormones of body would not be able to reproduce and human beings would die. Life as we know it on earth would not exist. And likewise, day has its wisdoms behind it. But can one argue and say, that night is good and day is evil? No, and no Muslim would believe that. And can one argue and say that day is good and night is evil? No. Likewise, male and female also have their roles to play. But can one say that the role of men is inherently good and the role of women is inherently evil? No. And can one say the opposite to that - the role of women is inherently good and the role of men is inherently evil? No. But they both have a role.


This is the main contention now between western thought and Islamic belief. Western thought has basically accepted, except for maybe some few corners perhaps in the Vatican or so, that men and women share in their humanity and that they are the same. Muslims have believed this for 1400 years. But the difference is that in western thought, as a reaction to the initial thought that women did not share humanity fully, the argument is that the roles of men and women in society are only defined by culture, environment and upbringing, therefore there is really no true role for men and no true role for women and that we can switch this, if we just teach the society correctly. But in Islam there is a defined role for men and a defined role for women. Who is the one who defines this role for men and women? It's their creator.


This is the major, if you want to use the term philosophical, even though it is an inaccurate term in that sense, but we can just use if for the lack of better term, philosophical, ideological or theological difference between the two opposing arguments. Now with that said, it is important to understand that when Islam gave these roles to men and women alike, it put responsibilities equal to obligations to both. I will give you an example for that: Islam senses that women have the nature of mother not by cultural tradition or by sociological system but inherently are better in providing and taking care of the offspring, that there is a bond there which goes beyond tradition. A psychological bonding, a physical bonding, something which is more than just traditions of human beings. As a result of that it has placed greater responsibilities upon women towards their children are then those of men. At the same time, the obligations that children have towards their mother in Islam is greater than they have towards their fathers, and this is why when the prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was asked by a man one was his companions "Who should I befriend in this world?" The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) replied "your mother." And then the man asked a second time, and the prophet replied your mother, and then a third time, and again he replied your mother, and on the fourth time, he said "your father". Likewise in the Qur'an we find that it tells human beings that your mother bore you from one hardship to the other hardship, talking about the labours and difficulties of pregnancy and childhood, and then fed you for two years, suckled you, and tells us to be kind to our parents and reminds us of our mother first before our fathers.


The point is that even though it has defined a role for women with the children which is different than the role of the father, at the same time it gives women honour and respect from their children which is greater than that received by the fathers. The fathers do receive respect and their honour, they are not just thrown out of the picture, but it is given to them and according to the degree of their responsibility. And likewise, because the mother inherently, not just because of cultural tradition, has something inherent which makes that bond greater between her and her child then the male. She receives a greater honour and respect from the child and at the same time she is required to give a greater obligation.


I only gave that as an example to show you that while Islam recognizes differences between the sexes, it does not accept the concept that gender is just an issue of upbringing or cultural traditions, for there are inherent differences in males and females, and as a result of that the obligations and responsibilities of each of the two sexes are together. Imported from that is another matter that even though men and women are different, they are not in opposition to one another, which is the basis of much of the western thought and especially of feminist traditions. That there's a struggle between men and women, "There is a battle of sexes", as it is sometimes said in the popular sort of designation. This doesn't exist in Islam. Men and women work in tandem, just like day and night revolve, and you live in day time and you live in night time. You cannot live only in night, and you cannot live only in day, likewise, men and women are not against one another, they are not pitted against one another but rather they share in the same aim, the same purpose of being, the same humanity. They have different roles, but these roles complement one another and are needed by one another in order for the success of humanity, not in this world, but also - of course since Muslims believe in the hereafter- in the hereafter, which is the ultimate goal for Muslims.


Now, I would like to make one final comment and then I'll leave it open for questions. Let's look at the applicabilities of both of these programs. We discussed a lot of ideas, thoughts and beliefs and historical concepts, but when they are actually applied, which of the two viewpoints is more successful? Which brings more bliss to humanity? Is it the secular western view or is it the Islamic view? And I have a concrete example which I'd like to share with you. When I was in Beijing this last summer for the UN 4th World Conference on Women, there was a platform for action which was being discussed by the different nations and organizations there. The aim of the platform for action was to upraise, uplift, and to embetter the status of women around the world, which are of course noble and correct aims, there is no contention concerning that. The platform for action was divided into different areas of concentrations, such as poverty, health, finances, conflicts and violence and so forth, and one of it was the girl child. The 12th issue of the 12 concerned areas for the platform for action, the girl child, the status of girls - future women - in the world today. The country which was hosting the conference, China, is known for the practice of killing girls. The reason why is because of their population. You can only have one child per couple and Chinese by their tradition view males as lesser than females and so as a result they will usually kill the female child, in hope that the wife gives birth to a boy.


This is an issue which exists and because the hosts were the Chinese, the United Nations didn't really want to get into this issue. They didn't want to talk about it because it was not politically correct to address that issue in China. Moreover, even though they might have passed certain regulations, platforms for actions and certain commitments which they have required of citizens of the world to follow, they at the end will see that perhaps in twenty-five to fifty years the status of the world child will not have markedly improved. We can see from other things, one of the major issues which the United Nations was created for after World War II, was the slaughter of so many million human beings, six million Jews in Europe, and yet fifty years later, in the year of the fiftieth celebration of the UN, a genocide has taken place in Europe of the Bosnians. All the human rights, all of the declarations in the last fifty years has not been able to change anything on the ground. Now when the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was sent to the Arabs, the Arabs had the same practice. They used to kill their girl children. The Arabs killed their girls for a number of reasons, most of the time due to poverty. Being a desert people without industry or any sort of means of trade, existence was very minimal. And as a result, out of fear of poverty they would kill their girl children, and they would bury them alive. This is a fact which is mentioned in the Qur'an and was well known during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). God condemns in the Qur'an with verses, the idea of killing of the girl child, the burying in the ground, and also the attitudes of the Arabs towards girls. One verse in the Qur'an says that "when he is given the good news that his wife is given birth." God calls it a good news, " - to a female child, a girl - his face becomes blackened and he becomes ashamed." Will he hide the fact "that he has given birth to a girl and not tell the people," because he feels it as a shame. "Or will he bury it in the ground", this is a condemnation of the practice of the people. And likewise the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) before they accepted Islam, many of them killed their girl children. One man came to Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and said I killed ten of my daughters in my lifetime, will I receive paradise? For will God accept my repentance for this sin, now that I have left this pagan religion of before, worshipping idols and killing girl children and so forth. Within one generation, within 23 years this was how long the prophet was amongst the Arabs, the practice of killing girls ended. It no longer existed in Arabia. And likewise, it didn't just stop like that, but a change in attitude came towards women, in educating them and making morally upright people.


People receive no other reward, but paradise. Again that is the greatest aim for the Muslim and that is their motivation and reason of being. So Islam not only tried removing the negative aspect of murdering girls, but also included the positive aspect of educating girls and raising them in society, and this brings me to my final point. This is something of course which we can look at the previous declarations of human rights or whatever, irrespective of whether these being true or false, but they have not been able to achieve the aims which they have stated. As the example of human rights and the UN in Bosnia shows. Fifty years after the creation of the UN, there is no change in Europe, the same land which killed six million Jews. The same genocide of the Bosnians occurs fifty years later by the same people who started the UN.


They are unable to stop their own from this matter, and with this I come to my final point, that I would like to leave you with. Islamic civilization unlike any other civilization is based, of course on revelation, but it is in its essence supported and founded by women. The first person to believe in Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was his wife Khadijah, and it was through her money and through her support of him, her financial backing, and also her encouragement that the prophet was able to spread the message of Islam in his first year of prophecy. The pagans did not have the ideas of freedom of religion, that you can take your own beliefs. This was not practiced by the pagans of Arabia - they saw this as an insurrection, they saw this as a changing of their ways, so they sought to stop it out by torture, by killing and by all other means that they could. And likewise, they tried to stop the Islamic revelation, this tradition, when the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) converted only the people of Arabia. But as you know there are about one billion Muslims in the world. They are in every single continent of the world, even in Beijing where the UN was convening. There was a mosque there which is over a thousand years old. And the neighborhood that lives there is about forty to fifty thousands Muslims. Now the king’s palace, the forbidden city in front of Tien Anh Man square which many of you have heard of, is only 500 years old. This shows how the growth of Islam and the sprit of Islam is not just a Middle Eastern phenomenon or an Arabian phenomenon but extends to all people and races throughout the world.


Where is this teaching from, of course when the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) died after twenty three years Islam only spread in Arabia. This religion of Islam was basically spread by four or five individuals who had the most in teaching. One of them was the Prophet's wife 'A'ishah. She is among the most to have narrated his statements and likewise she is amongst the three, four, five who have mostly given religious pronouncements, who have given religious verdicts, explained what these verses in the Qur'an meant or what the words of the prophet meant. Look at any other civilization in the history of humanity, you will not find a women playing a role in its establishment where it can be attributed to her efforts for its establishment. The Greeks - look at the philosophers Plato, Aristotle and others - all were men. The early church fathers writings were basically men and until today the idea of women scholarship is limited in some areas of the church. The French writers at the French revolution and Voltaire and the Russians were men. The founding fathers of the United States were men, and also other civilizations are basically based upon men. Islam is the only civilization which is known by humanity where a leading input in terms of its transmission and establishment was based upon the efforts of women. Central - and this is an historical matter which is not open to interpretation, it is a fact - these are the people who transmitted these teachings these are the people who supported it hereafter.


Those are just some thoughts and impressions concerning how Islam uplifted women.


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Moneywise Kids

As consumers we are surrounded, practically all the time, by adverts and consumerism. The internet, TV screen, mobile phone and bill board are all constantly telling us materialism is a core part of being happy and successful. Maintaining a healthy and spiritual balance in the face of this onslaught is understandably quite a challenge for any adult, let alone a child. To help parents facing this all too common dilemma, here is a list of top ten tips:


1. Inspire in kids a holistic faith-based view of money. Islam teaches us to earn an honest halal living, yet at the same time money and the pursuit of it should not distract us from our ultimate purpose in life. To curtail both greed and selfishness, believers are repeatedly reminded in the Quran to spend on others purely for the sake of God.


2. Teach them the value of money. When they reach a responsible age, instead of continuing to fund them, encourage them to start earning. Make them economic actors. For e.g. give them a budget and tell them they have to prepare a meal for the family or save up with them to purchase a gift for someone.


3. Deconstruct adverts with them. Advertising is a powerful tool which exploits the weakest aspects of an individual. Sit down with them and discuss questions like ‘What do you think of this advert? What do you think it’s trying to sell you? Why does it sell it to you like this?’


4. Give them information to make more responsible choices. For e.g. discuss labour conditions in the developing world and how that is linked to our excessive purchases. Explain debt, credit cards and mortgages etc. in a simple manner and instill in them from a young age the dangers of getting into debt. As they get older discuss more complex issues for e.g. helping them see the wisdom behind the prohibition of interest.


5. Be a role model. Although it may seem at times that it’s a lost battle when you’re competing with the multi-billion pound advertising industry and your teens are doing exactly what you’re telling them not to do, most children pick up their parents’ financial habits. As parents, for e.g. let them see you treating them equally when it comes to giving gifts, as instructed by the Prophet Muhammad (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him). This will be economic justice experienced by them at a micro-level.


6. Give charity. Encouraging children to give charity from their own savings will reduce selfishness and teach them to be generous. They should be urged to share not only with people far away but also take them to shelters and soup kitchens where you volunteer your time together as a family. This will allow them to appreciate what they have and meet people who are (materially) poorer than them. Likewise, once they come of age, make them responsible for giving their own zakah.


7. Allowance and savings pot. An allowance will give them the space to learn how to manage money and make mistakes when the cost is minimal. Instead of the store tantrums and sulks, draw a list with them of items they will have to purchase themselves. Each time they plead ‘Mum, can I please buy these trainers?’, or go behind Mum’s back and play the guilt card on Dad, if it’s an item on the allowance list, they can save up and buy it themselves.


8. Don’t buy everything for them. Sometimes, parents feel pressurised into buying everything the child demands or worry that their child will be bullied at school if (s)he can’t keep up with the latest trends. But children need to be disciplined from a young age and empowered to become emotionally detached from money.


9. No extravagant spending. The Qur’an reminds us to {… eat and drink, but do not be extravagant.} [Al-A’raf 7:31]


{...وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ} الأعراف:


31


Transliteration: wakuloo waishraboo wala tusrifoo innahu layuhibbu almusrifeena Avoiding waste and getting children practically involved in reusing and recycling items will reduce unnecessary spending.


10.Bedtime Reinforcement. Tell them stories related to wealth, such as the tale of Qarun (Q28:76) (Cue eyes popping and jaw dropping when you get them to visualise his wealth). Read Surah al-Waqi‘ah with them to protect them from poverty and teach them the Prophetic Prayers, for e.g. ‘O Allah, make me content with what You have provided for me and bless me in it.’


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How to work out the seventh day on which it is mustahabb to sacrifice the ‘aqeeqah

My question is: I had a baby boy born to me on Thursday at 4 p.m.; when should his ‘aqeeqah be? Should Thursday be counted (in working it out)?




Praise be to Allah


It is mustahabb to sacrifice the ‘aqeeqah on behalf of the new born on the seventh day, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Every child is in pledge for his ‘aqeeqah, which should be sacrificed on his behalf on the seventh day, and his head should be saved and he should be given his name.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2455; classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani.


Ibn Qudaamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Our companions said: The Sunnah is to sacrifice it on the seventh day, and we do not know of any difference of opinion among the scholars who say that it is prescribed concerning the fact that it is mustahabb to sacrifice it on the seventh day. The evidence for that is the hadeeth of Samurah, from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) according to which he said: “Every child is in pledge for his ‘aqeeqah, which should be sacrificed on his behalf on the seventh day…”


End quote from al-Mughni, 9/364


Secondly:


Once it is established that it is mustahabb to sacrifice the ‘aqeeqah on behalf of the child on the seventh day, is the day of birth included in that, according to the majority of scholars? An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Is the day of birth counted as one of the seven? There are two opinions, the more correct of which is that it is counted, so the sacrifice is done on the sixth day after (the day of birth).


The second view is that it is not counted, so the sacrifice is done on the seventh day after (the day of birth). This is what is stated in al-Buwayti, but the first view is the apparent meaning of the hadeeths. If the child is born at night, the day that follows that night is included, and there is no difference of opinion on this point.


End quote from al-Majmoo‘, 8/411


In al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah (30/279) it says: The majority of fuqaha’ are of the view that the day of birth is counted as one of the seven, but the night is not counted if the infant is born at night; rather the day that follows that night is counted. End quote.


Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The words “is to be sacrificed on the seventh day” mean that it is Sunnah to sacrifice the ‘aqeeqah on the seventh day. So if the child was born on Saturday, the sacrifice is to be done on Friday, i.e., one day before the day on which the child was born. This is the basic guideline. If the child was born on Thursday, then (the ‘aqeeqah) should be on Wednesday.


End quote from ash-Sharh al-Mumti‘, 7/493


Thirdly:


What was said about the day of birth not being counted if the child is born after midday was stated by a number of scholars (may Allah have mercy on them). In fact they said that the day of birth should not be counted at all, whether the child was born before or after midday. This is the view of the Maalikis.


It says in Mukhtasar Khaleel: It is recommended to sacrifice one sheep that meets the requirements of udhiyah on the seventh day after birth, during the day, and the (previous) day should not be counted if the birth occurred shortly before Fajr.


Al-Mawwaaq (may Allah have mercy on him) said, quoting from Ibn Rushd: The view of Ibn al-Qaasim and his report from Maalik in al-Mudawwanah and elsewhere is that if the child was born after dawn, that day is not to be counted, and the seven days should be counted from the following day. If the child is born before dawn, if that was at night, then that day is to be counted.


End quote from at-Taaj wa’l-Ikleel, 4/390


The correct view is that of the majority of scholars (may Allah have mercy on him), which is that the ‘aqeeqah is to be sacrificed on the child’s behalf on the seventh day from his birth, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “[it] should be sacrificed on his behalf on the seventh day…”.


Shaykh Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Mukhtaar ash-Shanqeeti (may Allah preserve him) said: What is meant is that the day of the ‘aqeeqah is the seventh day after the day of birth. Therefore the day (of the week) on which he is born is the seventh day.


End quote from Sharh al-Mustaqni‘.


The matter is mustahabb. If it is possible to sacrifice the ‘aqeeqah on the seventh day after his birth, this is better, but if it is not possible to do it until after the seventh day, there is nothing wrong with that and the ‘aqeeqah sacrificed on the child’s behalf will be acceptable.


An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: If he sacrifices it after the seventh day or before it, or after the birth, that is acceptable, but if he sacrifices it before the birth, that is not acceptable, and there is no difference of scholarly opinion on this point; rather it is just meat.


End quote from al-Majmoo‘, 8/411


And Allah knows best.

Islam Q&A


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The Myth of the Naturally Good Muslim

On a dark and stormy night in the dark cave of man's mind, Shaitaan once lit a campfire and settled down to tell a story- a myth, in fact. It went like this:


Once upon a time Islam was revealed to a Prophet of near God-like perfection. He shared it with his friends, who were all superhumans lacking any embarrassing or inconvenient biological urges. They implemented it with inspirational dedication, passion, and flawlessness. Since then it has been passed down through the generations, and only a privileged few are able to embody the wisdom, piety, and errorless rejection of sin that its holiness demands. By Shaitaan, the End.


Shaitaan is possibly millions of years old and pretty damned (literally!) sneaky. His goal, at the end of the day, is to get as many of us into hell with him as possible, and one of the ways that he does this is by using this myth of effortless, perfect implementation of Islam by effortless, perfect Muslims.


The idea is simple. Shaitaan says:


Do it all perfectly or just stop, because you're embarrassing yourself.


In fact, a person like you has no chance of getting into Jannah.


In fact, just kill yourself now. At least it will be over sooner.


His message is so insidious that people all over the world actually give up trying to be better Muslims because they fall short of their own expectations for how effortless and impeccable their Islam should be. They try hard to implement Islam- they go through the motions even when their hearts aren't in it, and because they find themselves being pulled in two directions, they assume they're doing something hypocritical or wrong and they stop altogether.


Shaitaan wants you to believe that there are naturally religious people, and then there's everybody else. And the reason why you are having a hard time isn't because spirituality is one of man's greatest struggles, it's because you aren't one of the beautiful people. So the sister who yearns for the wind in her hair gives up hijab because she feels like she's living a lie. The brother who has a beard shaves it because he feels he doesn't deserve one until he can quit marijuana. The convert won't pray until they're sure they've got all the words right. All of these are success stories for the myth of the Naturally Good Muslim. They are Muslims who, instead of realising that struggle was a sign of progress, saw difficulty as a sign of defeat.


Some people do fall for it. Others- like imām Sufyaan ath-Thawri- saw through this cheap trick and insisted on praying at night for twenty years even though he wasn't “feeling it.”


NightJihadImagine if, one day he had just thrown his hands up and said “You know what? I'm not cut out for this, I've been praying for twenty years and I've yet to find this whole peace and contentment with my ṣalāh. What's the point? I'm never going to get it right…”


Shaitaan is trying to convince you that because your Islam is less than perfect, you're a failure who should give up already. In reality, everyone is a sinner and the Jihad of the nafs is a constant struggle for everyone. The best people aren't those who sin, but those whose sins cause them to try even harder and draw even closer to Allāh next time. For some people, major sins can be major set-backs. For others, they are life-changing events that mark the end of heedlessness and the beginning of seeking Allāh's pleasure.


Every Muslim is a combination of successes and failures when it comes to their religious practice. So as a sinner, you're in great company! Everyone, everywhere, accumulates sin on a daily basis, and if everyone like you took Shaitaan's advice and just killed themselves, we'd all be dead.


O My servants, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you. -Excerpt from Hadith Qudsi


Shaitaan wants you to think that the passing grade for this test is 100% and failure is everything else. But if you believe him, then you're buying into an insult to Allāh. How? Allāh is The Most Merciful, Most Forgiving- Most Loving, Most Gracious, Most Kind- He alone has attained perfection and as The All-Knowing, He knows how and what we're made of, so by what crazy logic would He mercilessly penalize us for not reaching a standard that He best knows that we can never attain?


Shaitaan might add at this point: well, ok, Allāh is The Best. But you can't think that you're getting into Jannah with *that* old sack of a soul. Have you seen the state of your nafs? Brother, it is bad.


If you think you're too bad for Allāh to forgive, then you're grossly underestimating Allāh's capacity for forgiveness. You're implying that your teeny-tiny mortal capacity to sin is even greater than Allāh's capacity to forgive. Please, don't insult God. They don't call Him Al-Ghaffar, The Continuously Forgiving, for nothing.


On the authority of Anas (may Allāh be pleased with him), who said:I heard the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say: Allāh the Almighty said:


O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind.


O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you.


O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great at it.


Related by at-Tirmidhi (also by Ahmad ibn Hanbal). Its chain of authorities is sound.


Whenever I read that Hadith, it puts a certain picture in my head, and in my primitive photoshop imagination, it looks like this:

Mountain of Sins


Mountain of Sins= Mountain of Rewards for Repentance.


Repentance for a mountain of sins is equal to a mountain of blessings. So, the greater the sin you've committed, the greater the reward for seeking forgiveness. Knowing that this is how Allāh works helps us appreciate how truly generous Allāh is in His forgiveness- instead of seeking forgiveness on a level -10 sin and only being returned to a clean slate with 0, we seek forgiveness on a level -10 and in response are given a +10 in its place. AllahuAkbar.


Shaitaan wants you to forget that Allāh is the Greatest- even in His capacity to forgive those who sincerely ask it. He wants you to think that you only have two choices; perfection or failure, and since perfection ain't gonna happen, what option does Shaitaan leave you? Killing yourself and getting it over with already. But, there's a third option that Shaitaan doesn't want you to remember:


Between perfection and failure lies your only real choice: Fight.


Fight shaitaan's insistence upon your failure, fight your own soul's inclination to sin, fight your own weaknesses and no matter how hard you've been hit or how long you've been laying on the ground- get up and keep fighting. Fight shaitaan as hard as he's fighting you, as long as he's fighting you, and don't stop fighting him until the Angel of Death draws your soul gently away from your body and into the safety of your grave, spacious and fragrant with the winds of Jannah, where you can finally relax a little, reassured and kept company by your good deeds until Allāh raises you on Qiyama.


Just because your heart is aching right now, and you're locked in the seemingly endless cycle of sin, regret, and self-reproach doesn't mean you're a lost cause. It's actually good news, and here's why. The human heart (or soul, or nafs) has three settings according to the Qur'an.


The lowest level is the Nafs al-Amarra bis Su' or the soul that is inclined to evil, and a majority of humankind lives in this guiltless, no-regrets, live for the moment mode. This seems to be the default setting for most pop music as well.


And I do not free myself from blame. Indeed the human self is inclined to evil, except when my Lord bestows His Mercy (upon whom He wills). Indeed my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Surah Yusuf: 53)


Knowing that it's possible to have varying levels of soundness to one's heart/nafs- Muslims don't rely on the soundness of their heart to provide a compass to morality. It is not your heart's job to point you towards what's right, it only points you towards what it wants. So in a sense, you don't follow your heart as much as your heart follows you.


Have you seen the one who takes as god his own desire? Then would you be responsible for him? Surah Al Furqan: 43

The Medium Setting: Nafs al-Lawwama


“I do call to witness the Resurrection Day. And I do call to witness the self-reproaching Soul.” Surah Al-Qiyamah: 1-2


This is a soul that battles with its desires, that commits sin and then reproaches itself and tries harder next time. It has awareness of its shortcomings, but despite its imperfections, it hasn't given up. Your guilt and self-reproach about the shortcomings in your Islamic practice are evidence of having made progress on your spiritual journey. The bad news is though, is that Shaitaan is trying to knock you down a notch so that instead of trying harder, you just stop trying altogether- whether because you've killed yourself, or because you've decided that you're a hypocrite and you've written yourself off as ever being a “good” Muslim.


Alḥamdulillāh though, Allāh has good news for the Reproaching Soul.


“And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous- Who spend [in the cause of Allāh ] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allāh loves the doers of good; And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allāh and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allāh ? – and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know.” Qur'an 3:133-135


The very fact that you are aware of your shortcomings, even pained by them- is reassuring proof that you have a Nafs al-Lawwama. If you didn't care, didn't want to care, and didn't even want to hear about why you should try to give a care- well, that would be worse. Sure, you'd probably be happier and more “at peace with your self,” as many modern proponents of self-worship would say, but you'd actually be wallowing in heedlessness.

The Highest setting: Nafs al-Mutma'inna


“O you satisfied soul. Return to your Lord pleased with yourself and pleasing to Him. Enter among My servants. And enter My paradise.” (Surah Al-Fajr: 27-30)


You might not be here yet, but that's ok. You can still strive to accomplish this. The Contented Soul, or the Satisfied Soul, is the highest setting for your heart. It is a place of happiness, peace, acceptance, and sweetness of faith. It takes hard work to get there, and Allāh has good tidings for the Contented Soul but get this- not even the Contented Soul is a perfect soul. It's just a very happy one, and very close to Allāh. I'd write more about it, but I've yet to get there myself. :)


So, in a nutshell:


No one is perfect except Allāh, so don't hate yourself for being an imperfect Muslim.

You're not the only one accumulating sin every day that you're alive, so don't let Shaitaan pick on you.

The difference between a good Muslim and a bad Muslim is not that one sins and one doesn't- it's that one seeks forgiveness & tries harder, and one doesn't.

Shaitaan's trying to trick you into thinking you're a failure so that you give up.

Believing him is the only way to lose.

Fighting him is the only way to win.


There's one more thing that we need to remind you of:


No Soul


On no soul does Allāh place a burden greater than it can bear.


That means that whatever situation you're in -despite how hard it seem and how badly Shaitaan is trying to bring you down- you can overcome this. You can succeed. You can find a way- either out or through- that is pleasing to Allāh and perhaps even terribly frustrating to Shaitaan.


There is nothing coming that you can't handle, not because you're great, but because Allāh is the Greatest. He knows what you're capable of, and He promised your challenges would never exceed your strengths. Allāh sets us up for growth, not failure. And Allāh never, ever breaks His promises.


Shaitaan, on the other hand, has been lying to you. He's saying that anyone who's struggling with deen shouldn't even bother to try, whereas Allāh gives double the normal reward to those who have difficulty reading Qu'ran. The Prophet Muḥammad, peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him said “The magnitude of the reward goes along with the magnitude of the affliction.” (Tirmidhi)


The more you're afflicted now- whether it be with stress, illness, financial difficulties, emotional turmoil or self reproach- the more you will be rewarded when you succeed, and the fact that you're struggling right now isn't a sign that you should just give up and kill yourself, it's an invitation from Allāh to come closer to Him.


Will you accept?


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Umm Salamah

Her real name was Hind; while her title was Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her. She may Allaah be pleased with her came from the family of Makhzoom, which belongs to the Quraysh tribe. Her father’s name was Abu Mugheerah Ibn 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Umar Ibn Makhzoom and her mother was 'Aatikah Bint 'Aamir who belonged to the family of Faraas.

Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her was first married to her cousin Abu Salamah Ibn 'Abdul-Asad. He was a young man with exceptionally good nature and unblemished conduct. It was improbable for this young man of exceptionally lofty morals to remain unmoved by the noble and life-giving message of the Noble Prophet, Muhammad sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ).



Defying his tribesmen, Abu Salamah may Allaah be pleased with him embraced the new faith and entered the fold of Islam. Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her followed suit.



Thus, the couple joined the rank of those noble souls, who had won the unique distinction of embracing the new faith in its early phase.



These noble souls suffered all kinds of hardships and harassment in the cause of Islam, but they did not budge even an inch from the right path. As the number of the people who had embraced the new life-giving faith increased, the persecution and torture meted out to them also increased in intensity.



When this persecution reached intolerable levels, the Noble Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) gave permission to his followers to migrate to Abyssinia, which was ruled at that time by a kind-hearted king, in order to protect their lives and preserve their religion. According to an authentic narration, Abu Salamah may Allaah be pleased with him and Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her who has already entered the fold of Islam, also migrated to Abyssinia. They may Allaah be pleased with them came back to Makkah after spending some time in exile. From Makkah, they may Allaah be pleased with them left for Madeenah on their second migration. Those days, Abu Salamah may Allaah be pleased with him had only one camel with him. He they may Allaah be pleased with him seated Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her and his young son, Salamah, at the saddle. Holding the reins of his camel, he may Allaah be pleased with him started his long journey on foot.



When her family came to know about the couple’s planned destination, they intercepted the camel and told Abu Salamah may Allaah be pleased with him that he could proceed, but they would not allow their daughter (Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her). They took away the reins of the camel from Abu Salamah may Allaah be pleased with him and forced Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her to dismount. In the meantime, Banu 'Abdul-Asad, the members of Abu Salamah’s clan, appeared on the scene and snatched Umm Salamah’s child from his mother and threatened Banu Mugheerah that if they did not allow their daughter to accompany her husband, they would also not allow the child to accompany his mother. As for Abu Salamah may Allaah be pleased with him they said that he was free to go anywhere liked.



By this time, the Noble Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) had given permission to his Companions may Allaah be pleased with them to migrate to Madeenah, where they could live in peace and safety from the torture of Quraysh. Abu Salamah may Allaah be pleased with him left for Madeenah, leaving his wife and child behind. Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her was staying with Banu Mugheerah while her child was in the custody of Banu 'Abdul-Asad. Thus, the three of them – the father, the mother and the child – were undergoing the pain of living separately.



Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her was grief-stricken due the separation from her child and husband. Everyday she may Allaah be pleased with her would go and sit forlorn on a hillock, crying and longing to join her husband and son. A whole one year passed like this.



One day, a kind-hearted and influential man from the clan of Banu Mugheerah saw her pathetic condition and was moved by her agony. He called out the people of his tribe and said: “This woman is our own flesh and blood, how long will we keep her away from her husband and child? By Allaah! Our tribe is very brave and honorable; we can’t tolerate persecution of innocent people.”



Hearing this, her tribesmen gave permission to Umm Salamah they may Allaah be pleased with her to join her husband in Madeenah. When Banu 'Abdul-Asad heard of this, they also took pity and sent her child, Salamah, to her. She may Allaah be pleased with her took the child and a camel to ride alone to Madeenah. At At-Tan'eem (in the outskirts of Makkah), she met 'Uthmaan Ibn Talhah Ibn Abu Talhah may Allaah be pleased with him a chivalrous and decent man of Makkah. When he saw Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her traveling alone with a small baby, he thought: “How unbecoming of me, if I did not escort this lonely woman traveler of Quraysh to Madeenah!”



He may Allaah be pleased with him took the reins of Umm Salamah’s camel and started for Madeenah. Whenever they stopped on the way, 'Uthmaan may Allaah be pleased with him would withdraw to rest under the shade of a tree. When they reached Qubaa', where Abu Salamah may Allaah be pleased with him was staying, 'Uthmaan may Allaah be pleased with him returned to Makkah and Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her rejoined her husband, who thanked Allaah for once again reuniting his family.


Umm Salmah may Allaah be pleased with her always remained grateful to 'Uthmaan , may Allaah be pleased with him for his thoughtful and kind gesture. She may Allaah be pleased with her used to say: “I have never seen a more gallant and compassionate man than 'Uthmaan Ibn Talhah.”


Her widowhood and marriage to the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ).

In the third year of Hijrah (Migration of the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) from Makkah to Madeenah), Abu Salamah may Allaah be pleased with him fought in the Battle of Uhud. In that historic and crucial battle, his arm was wounded by a poisoned arrow shot by the enemy. He may Allaah be pleased with him later recovered after treatment, but could survive only for a few months. His wound relapsed and ultimately he may Allaah be pleased with him died.



Umm Salamah. may Allaah be pleased with her was immensely grief-stricken at the demise of her loving husband. When the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) heard about this, he sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) went to offer condolences to her may Allaah be pleased with her and asked her to have patience and bear the calamity with fortitude.

According to one narration, when the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) paid a condolence visit to Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her after the death of her husband, he sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) asked her to pray Allaah to grant Abu Salamah the lofty rank of the righteous and grant her a better husband than him.



At this, Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her wondered who could be a better husband for her than Abu Salamah may Allaah be pleased with him. Seeing the forlorn state of Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her after she was widowed, Abu Bakr may Allaah be pleased with him sent her a proposal for marriage, which Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her declined.



The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) was greatly impressed with the courage, which Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her displayed in facing the misfortunes and adversities of life. He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) was also highly moved for her tragic situation and sent the proposal for marriage to her through 'Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab may Allaah be pleased with him. Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her consented, and in Shawwal, the 4th year of Hijrah, her marriage to the Noble Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, took place.



A Historical example of her wisdom

In the 6th Hijrah year, the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) accompanied by his 1,400 companions may Allaah be pleased with them decided to perform 'Umrah (minor Pilgrimage). When Quraysh learned about this, they decided to stop the Muslims from performing the pilgrimage; but when the Muslims decided to fight them they feared and signed a treaty with the Muslims, which consisted of several terms and conditions which appeared to be unfair for the Muslims as it prevented them from performing 'Umrah that year.



The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) accepted these conditions in adherence to the Divine Command instructing him sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) to do so. Then the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) ordered the Muslims to slaughter animals in sacrifice (indicating the end of the 'Umrah rites). But the Muslims hesitated in offering the sacrifice, which grieved the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ).



Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her who was with the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) on this journey, heard this and suggested to the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) to offer the sacrifice, shave his head and take off the Ihraam. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) did so acting on her advice. When the companions, may Allaah be pleased with, them saw that the Prophet’s command was irrevocable, they at once sacrificed their animals and shaved their heads.



Her character:

Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her led a very simple and austere life. She may Allaah be pleased with her was a devout worshiper. Every month, she may Allaah be pleased with her fasted for three days (other than the fasting of Ramadan). Once, she may Allaah be pleased with her wore a necklace, which had a little amount of gold in it. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) did not like her wearing even this little amount of gold. So Umm, Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her immediately took it out.



Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her was very generous. She may Allaah be pleased with her implored others also to give away in the cause of Allaah. Whatever she may Allaah be pleased with her had, she may Allaah be pleased with her would readily give away to a beggar or a needy person.



Once, a few destitute people came to her begging for charity importunately. Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her ordered her maid not to send them back empty-handed, and if there was nothing in the houses, she should give them just a few dates.



Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her has narrated 378 Hadeeths of the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ). In moral excellence and nobility of conduct, she ranks, among the Prophet’s wives, next only to 'Aa'ishah may Allaah be pleased with her. She may Allaah be pleased with her was an excellent reciter of the Quran, and her style was much similar to the Prophet’s.



She may Allaah be pleased with her was endowed with exceptionally beautiful countenance, deep knowledge, intelligence and sound judgment.



Her death:

After a life filled with faith and righteous deeds, the Mother of the Believers, Umm Salamah may Allaah be pleased with her died in the year 61 A.H., aged 84 and the venerable Companion, Abu Hurayrah may Allaah be pleased with him led the people in her funeral prayer, after which she may Allaah be pleased with her was buried in Al-Baqee' Cemetery in


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