Monday, February 29, 2016

The story of Prophet Loot

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Prophet Luut, may Allaah exalt his mention, left Egypt, accompanied by his uncle Ibraaheem, may Allaah exalt his mention, and headed to the city of Sodom in Palestine, which was on the western shore of the Dead Sea.

This city was filled with evil. Its residents waylaid, robbed and killed travellers. Another common evil among them was that their men used to have sex with men instead of women. This unnatural act later became known as sodomy, after the city of Sodom. It was practiced openly and unashamedly.

It was at the height of these crimes and sins that Allaah revealed to Prophet Luut, may Allaah exalt his mention, that he should summon the people to give up their indecent behaviour, but their immoral habits were so deeply ingrained that they were deaf to Luut's preaching. Addicted to their unnatural desires, they refused to accept the call to repentance, even when Luut, may Allaah exalt his mention, warned them of Allaah's punishment. Instead, they threatened to drive him out of the city if he continued preaching against their evil habits.

Allaah Almighty revealed (what means): "The people of Luut denied the messengers. When their brother Luut said to them: 'Will you not fear Allaah? Indeed, I am to you a trustworthy messenger. So fear Allaah and obey me. And I do not ask you for it any payment. My payment is only from the Lord of the worlds. Do you approach males among the worlds. And leave what your Lord has created for you as mates? But you are a people transgressing.' They said: 'If you do not desist, O Luut, you will surely be of those evicted.' He said: 'Indeed, I am, toward your deed, of those who detest [it]. My Lord! Save me and my family from [the consequence of] what they do.' So We saved him and his family, all. Except an old woman [i.e., the wife of Luut] among those who remained behind." [Quran: 26:160-171]

The sinful actions of Prophet Luut's people saddened his heart. Their abominable reputation spread throughout the land, while he continued to struggle against them. As the years passed, he persisted in his mission, but to no avail. No one responded to his call and believed except for the members of his family; even in his household, not all the members believed: Luut's wife was a disbeliever.

If home is the place of comfort and rest, then Luut, may Allaah exalt his mention, found none, for he was tormented both within and outside his home. His life was continuous agony as he suffered greatly, but he remained patient and steadfast as a Messenger to his people. Instead of heeding to him, they belittled his message, and mockingly challenged him, saying (what means): "…'Bring us the punishment of Allaah, if you should be of the truthful!" [Quran: 29:29]

Overwhelmed with despair, Luut, may Allaah exalt his mention, prayed to Allaah to grant him victory and to destroy the corrupt. Allaah Almighty, therefore, sent three angels in the guise of young handsome men in answer to his prayer. They reached the walls of the town in the afternoon. The first person who caught sight of them was Luut's daughter while she was filling her jug with water from the river. When she saw them, she was stunned that there could be men of such magnificent beauty on earth.

One of the three men (angels) asked her: "O maiden! Is there a place to rest?"

Remembering the evil character of her people, she replied: "Stay here and do not enter the town until I inform my father and return." Leaving her jug by the river, she swiftly ran home.

"O father!" she cried. "You are wanted by young men at the town gate and I have never before seen the like of their faces!"

Luut, may Allaah exalt his mention, felt distressed as he quickly ran to his guests.

They visited him at home as guests. After ushering them in hospitably, he asked them where they came from and where they were going.

They did not reply to his questions. Instead they asked if he could host them. He began talking with them and impressed upon them the repulsive nature of his people. Luut, may Allaah exalt his mention, was filled with turmoil; he wanted to convince his guests without offending them, not to spend the night there, yet at the same time he wanted to extend to them the expected hospitality normally accorded to guests. In vain, he tried to make them understand the perilous situation. At last, therefore, he requested them to wait until nightfall, for then no one would see them.

When darkness shrouded the town, Luut, may Allaah exalt his mention, escorted his guests to his home. No one was aware of their presence. However, as soon as Luut's wife saw them, she slipped out of the house quietly so that no one noticed her. Quickly, she ran to her people with the news and spread it to all the inhabitants like wildfire. The people rushed towards Luut, may Allaah exalt his mention, quickly and excitedly.

When Luut, may Allaah exalt his mention, saw the mob approaching his house, he shut the door, but they kept on banging on it. He pleaded with them to leave the visitors alone and fear Allaah's punishment. He urged them to seek sexual fulfilment with their wives, for that is what Allaah had made lawful.

Luut's people waited until he had finished his short sermon, and then they roared with laughter. Blinded by lust, they broke down the door. Luut, may Allaah exalt his mention, became very angry, but he stood powerless before these violent people. He felt powerless to prevent the abuse of his guests, but he firmly continued to plead with the mob.

At that terrible moment, he wished he had the power to push them away from his guests. Seeing him in a state of helplessness and grief, the guests said to him: "Do not be anxious or frightened, for we are angels, and these people will not harm you."

On hearing this, the mob was terrified and fled from Luut's house, hurling threats at him as they left. The angels warned Prophet Luut, may Allaah exalt his mention, to leave his house before sunrise, taking with him all his family, except his wife.

Allaah had decreed that the city of Sodom should perish. An earthquake rocked the town. It was as if a mighty power had lifted the entire city and flung it down in one jolt. A storm of stones then rained on the city. Everyone and everything was destroyed, including Luut's wife.

The Holy Quran recorded this event; it states (what means): "So We saved him and his family, all. Except an old woman [his wife] among those who remained behind. Then We destroyed the others. And We rained upon them a rain [of stones], and evil was the rain of those who were warned. Indeed in that is a sign, but most of them were not to be believers. And indeed, your Lord – He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful." [Quran: 26:170-175]

Thus, the people of Luut, may Allaah exalt his mention, were destroyed and their towns and names have been erased from the face of the earth.

Source: Sheikh Muhammad Gemeiah's translation of 'Stories of the Prophets', by Imaam Ibn Katheer 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The healing of honey

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More than 1,400 years ago, Allaah All-Mighty told us through His Messenger, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, that honey can heal a variety of medical problems.

Honey is a remarkable viscous liquid, prepared by bees from nectars of various plants. It has occupied a prominent place in traditional medicines throughout history. The ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Chinese, Greeks and Romans employed honey for different diseases.
The Noble Quran and many Prophetic narrations refer to honey a great healer of disease and a nutritious food as well.
Allaah, Almighty, Says (what means): "And your Lord inspired the bee, saying: ‘Take you habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they erect. Then, eat of all fruits, and follow the ways of your Lord made easy (for you).’ There comes forth from their bellies, a drink of varying color wherein is healing for men. Verily, in this is indeed a sign for people who think." [Quran; 16: 68-69]
Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri, may Allaah be pleased with him, related that a man came to the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, and said: "My brother has some abdominal trouble." The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said to him "Let him drink honey." The man returned to the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, and said: “O Messenger of Allaah! I let him drink honey, but it caused him more pain.” The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said to him: “Go and let him drink honey!” The man went and let his brother drink honey, then returned back and said: “O Messenger of Allah, it did not cause him except more pains.” The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, then said: "Allah has said the truth, but your brother's abdomen has told a lie. Let him drink honey." So he made him drink honey and he was cured. [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, also said: "Make use of the two remedies: honey and the Quran." [At-Tirmithi, Ibn Maajah and Al-Bayhaqi] Modern medicine is only just learning of this fact.
Benefits of honey:
1.      Alleviates inflammation of cornea if used locally on the eye.
2.      An antibiotic if used locally in situations of wounds and burns, and it is used for healing of wounds:
·        In case of wounds, honey absorbs moisture from the air, facilitates healing process and prevents scarring. This is because honey stimulates the growth of epithelial cells that form the new skin cover. In this way, honey may eliminate the need for tissue transplantation.
·        Honey stimulates the re-growth of tissue involved in the healing process. It stimulates the formation of new blood capillaries and the growth of fibroblasts that replace the connective tissue of the deeper layer of the skin and produce the collagen fibers that give strength to the repair.
·        Honey has an anti-inflammatory action, which reduces the swelling around a wound. This improves circulation and thus hastens the healing process. 
·        Honey does not stick to the underlying wound tissues, so there is no tearing away of newly formed tissue, and no pain, when dressings are changed.
·        Thanks to its antimicrobial property, honey provides a protective barrier to prevent wounds becoming infected. It also rapidly clears any existing infection from wounds. It is fully effective, even with antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
·        Some studies showed that honey is a good treatment against the hospital infection bacteria "superbugs" (MRSA.)
3.      As honey does not accommodate bacteria, this bactericide (bacteria-killing) property of honey is named "the inhibition effect." There are various reasons of this anti-microbial property of the honey. Some examples are: the high sugar content that limits the amount of water microorganisms need for growth, its high acidity (low pH) and composition which deprive bacteria from nitrogen necessary for reproduction. The existence of hydrogen peroxide as well as antioxidants in the honey prevent bacteria growth.
4.      Antioxidant: Those are the components in cells that get rid of harmful byproducts of normal metabolic functions. These elements inhibit destructive chemical reactions that cause spoilage of food and many chronic illnesses. Researchers believe food products rich in antioxidants may prevent heart problems and cancer. Strong antioxidants are present in honey: Pinocembrin, pinobaxin, chrisin and galagin. Pinocembrin is an antioxidant that merely exists in the honey.
5.      A treatment for gastric and duodenal ulcers, as honey decreases the secretion of hydrochloric acid to a normal rate, thus helping to heal such ulcers and alleviate the related pains and reduce resultant cases of vomiting and colic. For the treatment to be effective, honey should be taken dissolved in warm water one or two hours before meals.
6.      A treatment for involuntary urination at beds. So, if the child is given one small spoon of honey before sleeping, this will have a positive effect, as honey is sedative for the nervous system, thus helping the cyst to relax and expand during sleep.
7.      It supports blood formation: Honey provides an important part of the energy needed by the body for blood formation. It helps in cleansing the blood. It has some positive effects in regulating and facilitating blood circulation. It also functions as a protection against capillary problems and arteriosclerosis.
8.      A treatment for colds, flu and pharyngitis.
9.      A treatment for cases of chronic hepatitis, as honey increases the liver stock of the glycogen material through the increase of blood glucose, thus helping the liver to function properly and relieve it from more burdens.
10. A treatment for insomnia and a sedative for nerves, as it contains some sedative and tonic substances as sodium and potassium at a reasonable rate such.
11. A treatment for alcoholic poisoning. Fructose and vitamin B group in the honey help oxidize the alcohol remaining in the body.
12. A treatment for cough.
13. In cosmetics, a mixture of honey with lemon and glycerin is considered of the best old medical prescription for the treatment of skin cracking and roughness, the inflammation and wounds of lips, sun stroke, and dermal pigments.
14. A treatment for muscular spasm of sportive exercises or facial spasms and eyelids muscles, which disappear after having one big spoon of honey for three days after each meal.
15. Has a low calorie level. When it is compared with the same amount of sugar, it gives 40% less calories to the body. Although it gives great energy to the body, it does not add weight. Furthermore, the use of honey is safe and has no allergic or side effects.
The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, was right in his prescription for the ailing man. When the fourth treatment of honey was given to the man, he got better. Such is part of the knowledge that the Almighty has revealed to His Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam.

Ibn Khaldoon: The founding father of sociology

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Ibn Khaldoon was born in Tunisia in 732 A.H. to a fairly well-to-do family who had earlier migrated from Seville in Muslim Spain. His lineage goes to Yemen which land our hero's family had left in the company of the army that conquered Spain.

During his childhood in Tunis, Ibn Khaldoon must have had his share in his family's active participation in the intellectual life of the city, and to a lesser degree, its political life, the household in which Ibn Khaldoon was raised was frequented by the political and intellectual leaders of Western Islam (i.e. North Africa and Spain), many of whom took refuge there and were protected against angry rulers.

Ibn Khaldoon led a very active political life before he decided to write his well-known masterpiece on history. He worked for rulers in Tunis and Fez (in Morocco), Granada (in Muslim Spain) and Baja (in Tunisia) successively. At the age of forty-three, Ibn Khaldoon finally succeeded in crossing over once more to Muslim Spain, not with ambitious designs of his youth, but as a tired and embittered man with no purpose save escaping the turmoil of North Africa." Unfortunately, the ruler of Granada caused Ibn Khaldoon's friend, Ibn Al-Khateeb, to flee to North Africa. When he learnt of Ibn Khaldoon's attempts to help his friend, he was expelled from Granada. So he went back to North Africa to spend four years in seclusion to do some thinking in peace.

Intellectually, Ibn Khaldoon was well-educated, having studied (in Tunis first and Fez later) the Quran, Hadeeth and other branches of Islamic studies such as dialectical theology, Sharee'ah (Islamic Jurisprudence). He also studied Arabic literature, philosophy, mathematics and astronomy. But we can safely say that Ibn Khaldoon learnt very much from the school of life in which he actively participated, moving from place to place and from one royal court to another, sometimes at his own will, but often forced to do so by plotting rivals or despotic rulers.

Ibn Khaldoon learnt much from his meetings with all sorts of rulers, ambassadors, politicians and scholars, he came in contact with in North Africa, Muslim Spain, Egypt and other parts of the Muslim World. All of these circumstances and experiences seem to have contributed to the formation of his views on history, culture and society, neatly expressed in his book on history and concisely summed up in his well-known master-piece “Al-Muqaddimah (‘Prologue’).”

The revolutionary views of Ibn Khaldoon have always attracted not only Arab scholars’ attention but the attention of many a Western thinker as well. In his study of history Ibn Khaldoon was a pioneer in subjecting historical reports to the two basic criteria of (1) reason and (2) social and physical laws. He considered the following four points worthy of consideration in studying and analyzing historical reports:

1. Relating events to each other through cause and effect.

2. Drawing analogy between the past and the present.

3. Taking into consideration the effect of the environment.

4. Taking into consideration the effect of inherited and economic conditions.

But Ibn Khaldoon's work was more than a critical study of history. It was, in fact, a study of human civilization in general, its beginning, factors contributing to its development, and the causes of its decline. Thus, unwittingly, Ibn Khaldoon founded a new science: The science of social development or sociology, as we call it today.

“I have written on history a book in which I discussed the causes and effects of the development of states and civilizations, and I followed in arranging the material of the book an unfamiliar method, and I followed in writing it a strange and innovative way.” These are the words of Ibn Khaldoon indicating the new interesting method he followed in the study of history, whereby he created, in effect two new sciences: Historiology and Sociology at the same time.

Due to his emphasis on reason and its necessity in judging history and social events, it has been claimed that Ibn Khaldoon tried to refute conventional religious knowledge and substitute it with reason and rational philosophy. The claim is founded on a false premise or assumption, i.e. that religion and reason are necessarily in conflict with each other. Naturally, it is true that some religions do teach things which are irrational in nature. But this is certainly not true of Islam which has always encouraged observation and thinking and condemned the non-believers for not using their reason and thinking. There are many verses in the Qur'an to this effect.

The close relationship between Ibn Khaldoon's views and Islam are clearly seen in his remarks on the role of religion in unifying the Arabs and bringing progress and development to their society. We also see that connection in his opinion on the close affinity between religion and the state, pointing out that injustice and despotism are clear signs of the downfall of the state. On philosophy, Ibn Khaldoon points out that metaphysical philosophy has one advantage only, which is to sharpen one's wits. For knowledge of the metaphysical world, especially in matters of belief, can only be derived from the divine revelation, i.e. the Quran and the Sunnah.

In education, Ibn Khaldoon was a pioneer when he remarked that suppression and use of force are enemies to learning, and that they lead to laziness, lying and hypocrisy. He also pointed out to the necessity of good models and practice for the command of good linguistic habits.

Because the era of Ibn Khaldoon was an age of decline for Muslim civilization, and most of the efforts of scholarship were directed to collecting, summarizing and memorization of the body of knowledge left by the ancestors, he severely attacked those unhealthy practices that led to stagnation and to the stifling of creativity on the part of Muslim scholars.

But if Ibn Khaldoon made some interesting contribution to education, he certainly made a major and pioneering contribution in the fields of sociological and historical studies. For it was he who pointed to the necessity of subjecting both social and historical phenomena to scientific objective analysis. He noted that those phenomena were not the outcome of chance, but were rather controlled by laws that had to be discovered and applied in our study of society, civilization and history. Historians, he remarked, committed errors in their study of historical events, due to three major factors:

1) Their ignorance of the natures of civilization and peoples, (2) their bias and prejudice and (3) their blind acceptance of reports given by others.

  Ibn Khaldoon pointed out that true progress and development comes through correct understanding of history, and the latter can only be achieved by observing the following:

2) Absolute objectivity, which means that the historian should not be in any way show prejudice for or against anyone or any idea.

3) Confirmation and scrutiny of reported information. One should learn all one can about the historians whose reports one hears or reads. One should check their morals and trustworthiness before accepting their reports.

4) Not limiting history to the study of political and military news or to news about rulers and states. For history should include the study of all social, religious and economic conditions.

These were but a few of the many interesting views left by Ibn Khaldoon in his famous Al-Muqaddimah (‘Prologue’) and his book on history, two masterpieces that have left clear marks on human thought and its development.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Ahmad Ibn Hanbal

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Ahmad bin Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, was born in Baghdad, in the year 780 CE. Of pure Arab lineage, Ibn Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, belonged to the tribe of Shaybaan through both parents. He was still an infant when his father died at the age of 30. When Ibn Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, was fifteen, he began to study the Traditions (Ahadeeth) of the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, (may Allaah exalt his mention). Seeking to learn from the great scholars of his day, he traveled to the cities of Koofah and Basrah in Iraq; Makkah, Hijaaz and Al-Madeenah in Arabia; and to the lands of Yemen and Syria. He made five pilgrimages to Makkah, three of which were on foot. Ibn Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, led a life of asceticism and humility, acquiring many students. He had eight children, of whom two were well known and closely associated with his intellectual work: Saalih (died 880 CE) and ‘Abdullaah (died 903 CE).

Ahmad bin Hanbal , may Allaah have mercy upon him, became so competent in the sciences of religion that al-Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “I left Baghdad and did not leave there any man more knowledgeable than Ibn Hanbal.”
 
His Ordeal:
The most talked about issue of Ibn Hanbal's life is the suffering to which he was subjected during the trial, known as “al-mihnah”, ordered by the Caliph Al-Ma’moon. The tribulation began in 833 CE, when the Caliph made obligatory upon all Muslims the belief that the Quran was created --a doctrine of the Mu’tazilites, a rationalist Islamic school that claimed that reason was equal to revelation as a means to religious truth. The Caliph had already made public profession of this belief in 827 CE. Before this time, the Glorious Quran had been regarded as the uncreated, eternal word of Allaah. The inquisition was conducted in Baghdad, central location of the ‘Abbaasid Caliphate, as well as in the provinces. It lasted from 833 to 848 CE, a period involving the reign of four Caliphs, ending during the Caliphate of al-Mutawakkil, who returned people to the correct view.
At the risk of his life, Ibn Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, refused to subscribe to the Mu’tazilee doctrine. He was put in chains, beaten and imprisoned for more than two years. After his release, he did not resume his lectures until the inquisition was publicly proclaimed at an end. In order to survive the ordeal, some scholars had recanted, and later claimed the privilege of dissimulation, Taqiyyah (hiding their feelings because of the extreme danger involved), as a justification for their behavior. Other scholars, following the example of Ibn Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, refused to renounce their beliefs.
In 833 CE, Ibn Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, and another scholar, Muhammad bin Nooh, may Allaah have mercy on him, who had also refused to recant, were cited to appear for trial before Caliph al-Ma’moon, who was in Tarsus (now in modern Turkey) at the time. They were sent off in chains from Baghdad; but shortly after beginning their journey, the Caliph died and on their trip back to the capital, Ibn Nooh died as well.
Ibn Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, was ordered to appear before the new Caliph, al-Mu’tasim. He was on trial for three days, and on the third day after the learned men disputed with him, there followed a private conference with the Caliph who asked Ibn Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, to yield at least a little so that he might grant him his freedom. Ibn Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, made the same reply he had been making from the beginning of the inquisition; he would yield when given some proof for modifying his faith derived from the Quran and the Traditions of Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Losing patience, the Caliph ordered that he be taken away and lashed. Throughout the lashing, the Caliph persisted in his attempts to obtain a recantation, but to no avail. Ibn Hanbal's unflinching spirit affected the Caliph, but his advisers warned that if he discontinued the punishment, he would be accused of having opposed the doctrine of his predecessor al-Ma’moon, and it would be counted as a victory for Ibn Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, resulting in dire consequences on the reign of the caliphs. Nevertheless, the Caliph's treatment of Ibn Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, had to be suspended, because of the mounting anger of the populace gathering outside the palace and preparing to attack it. Ibn Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, is reported to have been beaten by 150 lashers, each in turn striking him twice and moving aside. The scars from his wounds remained with him to the end of his life.
The inquisition continued under the next Caliph, al-Waathiq, but Ibn Hanbal was left alone, in spite of attempts on the part of his opponents to persuade the Caliph to persecute him. The new Caliph, like his predecessor, was most likely influenced by the threat of a popular uprising should he lay violent hands on a man popularly held to be a great scholar and the most knowledgeable person of his time. The momentum of the inquisition carried it two years into the reign of Caliph al-Mutawakkil, who finally put an end to it in 848 CE.
Ibn Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, earned the greatest reputation of all the persons involved in the inquisition and the everlasting gratitude of the Muslim people. He is credited with having held his ground in the face of all odds, saving Muslims from becoming unbelievers. Ibn Hanbal’s record in history is that of a great scholar who stood firm in the face of the Mu’tazilites’ heresies, and their campaign to alter Allaah’s religion.
 
His Death:
Ibn Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon him, died in 855 CE, in Baghdad. He was then 77 years old. People attending his funeral ceremony flooded the streets of Baghdad and the procession was estimated at more than 800,000 mourners.

Origin of birds and mammals

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Evolutionists embark on flights of fancy of their own, while trying to justify how birds and mammals developed from amphibians

According to the theory of evolution, life originated and evolved in the sea and was then transported onto land by amphibians. This evolutionary scenario also suggests that amphibians evolved into reptiles, creatures living only on land. This scenario is implausible, due to the enormous structural differences between these two classes of animals. For instance, the amphibian egg is designed for developing on land. A “step by step” evolution of an amphibian is out of the question, because without a perfect and fully-designed egg, it is not possible for a species to survive. Moreover, as usual, there is no evidence of transitional forms that were supposed to link amphibians with reptiles. Evolutionist paleontologist and an authority on vertebrate paleontology, Robert L. Carroll has to accept that ‘the early reptiles were very different from amphibians and that their ancestors could not be found yet.'

Yet the hopelessly doomed scenarios of the evolutionists are far from over. There still remains the problem of making these creatures fly! Since evolutionists believe that birds must have somehow evolved from lower life-forms, they assert that they were transformed from reptiles. However, none of the unique mechanisms of birds, which have a completely different structure from land-dwelling animals, can be explained by gradual evolution. First of all, the wings -- which are the exceptional traits of birds -- pose a great impasse for evolutionists. One of the Turkish evolutionists, Engin Korur, confesses the impossibility of the evolution of wings: 

"The common trait of the eyes and the wings is that they can only function if they are fully developed. In other words, a half-developed eye cannot see; a bird with half-formed wings cannot fly. How these organs came into being has remained one of the mysteries of nature that needs to be enlightened."

The question of how the perfect structure of wings came into being as a result of consecutive haphazard mutations remains completely unanswered. There is no way to explain how the front arms of a reptile could have changed into perfectly functioning wings as a result of a distortion in its genes (mutation).

Moreover, just having wings is not sufficient for a land organism to fly. Land-dwelling organisms are devoid of many other structural mechanisms that birds use for flying. For example, the bones of birds are much lighter than those of land-dwelling organisms. Their lungs function in a very different way. They have a completely different muscular and skeletal system and an extremely specialized circulatory system. These features are pre-requisites for flying, at par in their importance with wings. All these mechanisms had to exist simultaneously,  they could not have formed gradually by being “accumulated”. This is why the theory asserting that land organisms gradually evolved into aerial organisms is completely fallacious. 

All of these bring another question to mind: even if we suppose this impossible story to be true, why are evolutionists unable to find any “half-winged” or “single-winged” fossils to back up their story?

Another alleged transitional form: Archaeopteryx

Evolutionists pronounce the name of a single creature in response. This is the fossil of a bird called Archaeopteryx which is one of the most widely-known so-called transitional forms among the very few that evolutionists still defend. Considered the ancestor of modern birds by evolutionists, Archaeopteryx lived 150 million years ago. The theory holds that some of the small-scaled dinosaurs named Velociraptor or Dromeosaur evolved by acquiring wings and then starting to fly. Thus, Archaeopteryx is assumed to be a transitional form that diverted from its dinosaur ancestors and started to fly for the first time.

However, the latest studies of Archaeopteryx fossils indicate that this creature is absolutely not a transitional form, but a bird species bearing some characteristics distinct from today’s birds.

The thesis that Archaeopteryx was a “half-bird” that could not fly perfectly was popular among evolutionist circles until not long ago. The absence of a sternum (chest bone) in this creature, or at least the structural difference from flying birds, was held up as the most important evidence that this bird could not fly properly. (The chest bone is a bone found under the thorax on which the muscles required for flight are fastened. In our time, this chest bone is observed in all flying and non-flying birds, and even in bats – a flying mammal which belongs to a very different family).

However, the seventh Archaeopteryx fossil found in 1992, caused great astonishment among evolutionists. The reason was that in this recently found Archaeopteryx fossil, the chest bone that was assumed to be long missing by the evolutionists actually existed. This recently-found fossil was described in Nature magazine as follows:

"The recently discovered seventh specimen of the Archaeopteryx preserves a partial rectangular sternum, long suspected but never previously documented. This attests to its strong flight muscles."

This discovery invalidated the mainstay of the claims that Archaeopteryx was a half-bird that could not fly properly.

On the other hand, the structure of the bird’s feathers became one of the most important pieces of evidence verifying that Archaeopteryx was a flying bird in the real sense. The asymmetrical feather structure of Archaeopteryx is indistinguishable from modern birds, indicating that the animal could fly perfectly. As the famous paleontologist Carl O. Dunbar states: “because of its feathers Archaeopteryx is distinctly to be classed as a bird”.

Another fact that was revealed by the structure of Archaeopteryx’s feathers was the bird’s warm-blooded metabolism. As it is known, reptiles and dinosaurs are cold-blooded animals that are affected by environmental temperatures and are incapable of regulating their body heat independently. A very important function of the feathers in a bird is the maintenance of the animal’s body heat. The fact that Archaeopteryx had feathers showed that it was a real, warm-blooded bird that needed to maintain its body heat in contrast to the dinosaurs.

 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah (691-751 A.H.)

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"Through patience and poverty one attains leadership in religion. The seeker of Truth needs the will that will inspire him and push him upward and (religious) knowledge that will lead him and guide him."

These words of our hero sum up the personality of this great man, Muhammad bin Abi Bakr, who is better known as Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah or Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him. He was born in 691 AH.

He, may Allaah have mercy upon him, began his long journey on the road of learning early in his life, moving from one teacher to another to quench his thirst for knowledge. At the age of 21 (in 712 AH), Ibn Al-Qayyim met his teacher Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, another great hero of Islam and a revivalist of the faith. Their companionship lasted to the end of the teacher's life. Ibn Al-Qayyim kept close company to Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, with whom he suffered the pains of imprisonment and flogging many times. Apparently, it was from Ibn Taymiyyah that Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, learnt many special qualities such as frankness and courage in defiance of the falsehood of others, including those in authority. For both, the truth had to be said regardless of the consequences. However, unlike his teacher, Ibn Al-Qayyim was less fierce in his attacks -- in words or actions.

The 8th century AH witnessed a state of ignorance and feuds in the Muslim community. Muslims were fighting each other, and each trying to impose his authority in everything, including religious opinion and scholarship, which suffered from stagnation. The majority of religious scholars were acting more like 'recorders' of knowledge rather than true scholars and teachers. To them, their teachers were the main, if not the sole, source of knowledge, and the schools of thought they blindly imitated were the only acceptable ways.

Like his teacher Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, spent his life attempting to correct the wrong course the community was following. He fought the exaggerated reverence for the tombs of the pious despite the strong resistance he met from the masses. He tried to show the errors committed by the misled sects and their blind followers. He, may Allaah have mercy upon him, considered that the disputes and fights among the Muslims of his time were caused by their sectarian attitude and chauvinistic practices, each one considering himself and his sect or school of thought the only right one, and claiming that everyone else was on the wrong path.

Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, spent most of his time and great efforts trying to unite the people, pointing out to them the dangers of blind imitation of the predecessors. He explained that a Muslim should be open-minded; that is, he should accept what is right and good regardless of the teacher, as long as what he or she accepts is consistent with the Quran and the Sunnah, the consensus of the scholars, and the general spirit of the faith. To him imitation was wrong in the following cases:

  1. If it entails violation of Divine teachings,
  2. If it represents an act of blind following of people we are not sure of their knowledge,
  3. If it is in defiance of truth after finding it.

It was blind imitation that caused stagnation in scholarship and differences among people. Some so-called scholars, he pointed out, were not really scholars of Islam but rather simple propagators of others' opinions. To those people the words and views of their teachers or leaders were the only correct way of understanding the faith, to the extent that they subjected even the interpretation of the Quran and the prophetic teachings to the views of their teachers, which they wrongly took for the ultimate criteria.

 Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, considered that the sources of religious knowledge were to be taken in the following order:

1) ) The Quran, (2) The Sunnah (the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, (may Allaah exalt his mention)) and (3) The teachings of the companions of the Prophet, may Allaah be pleased with them. To these, one could add the consensus of Muslim scholars and analogy. Bigotry and prejudice were to him the enemies of learning. To propagate his views, he wrote scores of books besides teaching directly to the people.

In his private life, Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, was a very pious and devout worshipper who spent most of his time in prayers and recitation of the Quran. He was, in fact, an ascetic who rejected the unorthodox practices of some Sufis (mystics) who claimed that religious teachings had external and internal sides, implying that religious obligations (such as prayers, fasting during Ramadan etc.) did not apply to them.

As pointed out earlier, our hero was a man of courage and frankness to whom truth was the ultimate goal. His open-minded and flexible attitude is reflected in his views on the correct understanding of religious laws (Sharee'ah), and that these should be interpreted in the light of the circumstances of time and place, because Islam is intended and practicable for mankind at all times. He wrote many books to explain this invaluable principle. Many of his views find their application in the legal system of modern nations, more than six centuries after his death in 751 AH.

Source: Heroes of Islam, by Mahmoud Esmail 

The Superiority Of The Understanding Of The Companions, By Ibn Al-Qayyim

Ibn Al-Qayyim said:

“If we compare our understanding to theirs (the companions), there is no doubt that they were more sincere at heart, had deeper knowledge, were more straightforward and were more likely to understand the text correctly than we can do, because Allaah (swt) blessed them with smarter minds, more eloquence, deeper knowledge, a more straightforward approach to the text, proper and quick understanding, little or no impact from other influences, good intentions and fear of the Lord.

The Arabic language came naturally to them, and the correct meanings and concepts were instilled in their hearts and minds. They had no need to examine the chains of narrations and background of the narrators to see if there were any faults in the hadeeth or to assess the quality of the narrators or to examine the fundamentals of the branches of knowledge and the different views of the experts on the principles of Islamic law. They had no need of all of that. For them there were only two steps to follow: (a) Allaah (swt) said such and such, and His Messenger said such and such. (b) What it means is such and such.

They were the most capable of people to go through these two steps easily, and they were the most qualified because all of their energy, knowledge and quality was focused on these two things only.

In comparison, the energies and focus of the later scholars were scattered. Studying the Arabic language and matters connected to it took up a great deal of their intellectual efforts. Understanding the fundamentals of different branches of knowledge took up further efforts, and knowledge of the chains of narration and the backgrounds of the narrators took up even more, as did their focus on examining the books of the shaykhs from whom they were learning, of whom there were many, and what the meant (in their books and in what they said), and so on.

When they reached the point, after all this effort, of seeing to understand the texts with hearts and minds that were exhausted from examining everything that came before they were in a position to examine the text, and after that they had expended their energy in studying things other than the text, then they would understand the text and what it meant with whatever was left of their energy.”

[I’laam Al-Muwaqqi’een, 4/149]


Filed under: Knowledge, Methodology Of The Salaf, Miscellaneous

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Using the Qur’aan as a shifaa’ (cure)


Using the Qur’aan as a shifaa’ (cure)


Question: The first question is from Sister Mujahida from New York, she says: My aunt has a daughter who is about 5 and can barely speak and recently started walking. The doctors said there isn’t anything physically wrong with her and she is just slow. Some claim that she has ‘ayn (عين – evil eye) on her and someone suggested that she read Surah Ikhlaas X number of times and she will start walking and talking. My aunt did this for a while and my cousin started to walk. However, I was trying to explain it to her if it was practised by the Sahaabah, but she says, “It is a surah from the Qur’aan and Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says it’s a book that cures, then what’s wrong with me reading it?” The questions are:

i. How do I explain this issue to her?

ii. Is there any ruqyah from Qur’aan and Sunnah that I can give her and tell her to do on her daughter?

Answer: About the question, as I understand it this lady is reading suratul-Ikhlaas and she said inshaa’ Allaah in suratul-Ikhlaas there is a cure. We should know that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says in the Qur’aan:

وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ مَا هُوَ شِفَاءٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلاَ يَزِيدُ الظَّالِمِينَ إَلاَّ خَسَارًا

{And We send down of the Qur’ân that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe (in Islâmic Monotheism and act on it), and it increases the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers) nothing but loss.} [Al-Israa 17:82]

This cure includes the cure from doubts, cure from physical illness and also from the illness of the soul i.e. shak an-nafsiyyah (شك النفسية – doubting of the soul). So the Qur’aan is a shifaa’ (شفاء – cure). We know this, and we know that there are special surahs that the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه و سلم has guided us to, and some aayaat, and we know the Qur’aan as a whole is ash-shifaa’ (The Cure). When you read Qur’aan Inshaa’ Allaah with the intention ofshifaa’, and knowledge (understanding), it is shifaa’.

There are special surahs and aayaat like al-Faatihah, and the beginning aayaat of surah al-Baqarah, and ayatul-Kursi, and suratul-Ikhlaas, suratul-Kaafiroon, the muwaddataan (Surah al-Falaq and an-Naas). There are verses which Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم tells us that if you read them on a sick then Inshaa’ Allaah they will be cured. There is also a saying of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم that I think she can find it in the Sunnah book (Hisnul Muslim) and if she asks her Imaam, he will guide her to it like:

Place your hand at the site of the pain and say: Bismillah ‘In the name of Allaah’ (three times) Then supplicate seven times:

أَعُوْذُ بِاللهِ وَ قُدْرَتِهِ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا أَجِدُ وَ أُحَاذِرُ

A’oodhu billaahi wa qudratihi min sharri ma ajidu wa uhadhir

‘I take refuge in Allaah and within His Omnipotence from the evil that I feel and am wary of.’[6]

Also from the Sunnah of Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم is to recite:

أَذْهِبِ الْبَاسَ، رَبَّ النَّاسِ، وَاشْفِ أَنْتَ الشَّافِي، لاَ شِفَاءَ إِلاَّ شِفَاؤُكَ، شِفَاءً لاَ يُغَادِرُ سَقَماً

Adhibilba’s Rabbanaas wasfi antashaafee laa shifaa’a illa shifaauka shifaa’an laa yughaadiru saqamaa[7]

So the Qur’aan is shifaa’ and there are special surahs that we can say on the sick person, and he can read them himself. However, specifying a special surah or special aayaat that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم did not mention, is wrong. There is nothing that specifies this and specifying a number of times to read this surah also does not come from Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, and the Sahaabah رضي الله عنهم did not do this, so we should follow the way of using the ruqyah shar’iyyah (الشرعية الرقية – permissible incantation). He should not be very harsh regarding this. She is reading Qur’aan and surah al-Ikhlaas has special meanings in it, so I think it is okay to read the Qur’aan but not specific (parts); it is better to read the whole of surah al-Faatihah, Ayatul-Kursi, suratul-Baqarah Wallaahu A’lam.

--------------
Reference:
Answered by: Shaykh Salaah Muhammad Aal Shaykh
Title of lecture: Question and answer session
[6] Reported in Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab as-Salaam (#2203).
[7] Reported in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, Kitaab at-Tibb (#5418) and Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab as-Salaam (#2191).

A glimpse at the life of ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab – II

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His religious knowledge and the Prophet's praise of him:

 

Allah, the Magnificent and Glorified, had willed goodness for `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, and thus rendered him well versed in the religion and enriched him with knowledge. Many scholars have compiled numerous narrations of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam regarding Umar's knowledge and other virtues. Among these narrations, four were reported by Imaam Az-Zuhri, may Allah have mercy upon him:

 

The first was where the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: “While I was sleeping, I saw in a dream that a cup full of milk was brought to me, and I drank (from it) until I saw the milk coming out of my nails. Then I gave the remaining milk to `Umar.” The Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, asked: ‘What did you interpret it (i.e., this dream) to mean?’ He sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam replied: “(Religious) knowledge.” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]

 

The second was where the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: “While I was sleeping, I saw (in a dream) people wearing shirts; some (had shirts) reaching down to their chests, others reaching down to their knees, and others still down to their ankles, each according to the strength of his faith and his knowledge. `Umar was wearing a shirt that was so long that it was dragging (i.e. on the ground).” The people asked: ‘How did you interpret this?’ The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam replied: “His commitment to the religion.” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]

 

The third was where the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: “I saw (in a dream) that I had entered Paradise, and there was (in it) a palace or a house. I asked: 'For whom is this?' They (the angels) replied: 'For a man from the Quraysh.' I was hoping that I was this man, but then it was said to me: 'This is for `Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab'”

 

The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam added: “I wanted to enter (this palace) but I remembered your jealousy, O Abu Hafs!” `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, cried upon hearing this and exclaimed: ‘How could I be jealous of you, O Allaah's Prophet?’ [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]

 

The fourth was where the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: “In a dream, I saw myself drawing water from a well with a bucket. Abu Bakr came and drew a bucket or two in a weak manner, and Allaah will excuse his weakness. Then `Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab came and the bucket turned into a very large one in his hands. I have never seen such might in a person in doing such strenuous work. He drank until he quenched his thirst and then gave (water) to all the people, who drank to their satisfaction; then, he watered all their camels that had knelt down in that place.” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]

 

The scholars, may Allah have mercy upon them, interpreted this dream as follows: “This dream was regarding the durations for which the caliphates of his two companions would last. The era of Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was a very short one, as it only lasted for two years, during which he was preoccupied with fighting the tribes that had apostatised, as well as other major battles.

 

The era of `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, was a longer one, and Allah blessed the Muslims with many victories during it, and a vast number of people accepted Islam in that time. He, may Allaah be pleased with him, spread justice in the lands he conquered, although the foundation for this was laid by Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, who had paved the way for `Umar, may Allah be pleased him.”

 

There is also the narration where the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: “Allah has placed the truth upon `Umar's tongue and heart.” [Ahmad] Allah did this via the religious knowledge that He taught him. It is through such knowledge that one finds guidance to the truth. Thus, one must pay attention to seeking and acquiring religious knowledge.

 

It is through the acquisition of knowledge that one is guided as it leads to him shunning sinning, to recognising the truth when he becomes confused, to being saved from prohibited matters, and to being guarded against misconceptions and doubts.

 

His views coinciding with revelation:

 

Allah caused him to utter the truth and placed this truth in his heart. His views coincided with that which was to be revealed from the Quran on more than one occasion.

 

‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "I coincided with (the revelations from) Allah on three matters. (The first was when) I said: 'O Allah's Apostle! Would that you take the station of Ibraaheem as a place of prayer.' (The second was when) I also said: 'O Allah's Apostle! Good and bad people visit you; would that you order the Mothers of the believers (i.e. his wives) to cover themselves with veils.' So the Divine Verses of Al-Hijaab (i.e. veiling of the women) were revealed. (The third was when) I came to know that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) had rebuked some of his wives, so I entered into their presence and said: 'You should either stop (troubling the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) or else Allah will give His Apostle better wives than you.' Thereupon, Allah revealed the verse (which means): "Perhaps his Lord, if he divorced you [all], would substitute for him wives better than you – submitting [to Allah]…" [Quran 66: 5]”

 

His views also coincided with the revelation of his Lord with regards to the issue of how to treat war hostages. Indeed, on that occasion, Allaah inspired him to say what he said, and thus the verses that were later revealed from Allaah were exactly the same as the words of `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him.

 

His dignified stature:

 

`Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, was a very dignified man - a quality that many figures nowadays lack. This is a quality that people who fear others more than Allah are deprived of, but `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, was someone whom people would fear and respect greatly.

 

Once he, may Allaah be pleased with him, took permission to enter into the presence of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam while there were some women there, asking questions in loud voices. When these women heard that `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, was about to enter, they immediately lowered their voices and hid behind a veil, which caused the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam to laugh.

 

When `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, entered and saw the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam laughing, he said: “May Allah cause you to laugh more and more, and may my father and mother be sacrificed for you. O Prophet of Allah! What makes you laugh?” He sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam answered: “I am amazed at the women who were just here, who heard your voice and fled.”

 

`Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, then went over to them and addressed them from behind the veil, saying: “O enemies of yourselves! I swear by Allah that the Prophet is worthier of being respected and feared than I am.” The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: “O `Umar! Leave them. I swear by Allah that if Satan sees you passing through a valley, he will take another route.” [Al-Bukhaari]

 

His mercy:

 

When `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, assumed the caliphate, the good traits that were hitherto hidden into his soul were uncovered. Such traits included compassion, kindness, benevolence and mercy. He, may Allaah be pleased with him, was also compassionate at the time of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, but his compassion became more apparent and obvious after he became caliph.

 

His character was a combination of dignity, mercy, precision in executing Allah’s laws and soft-heartedness, so much so that he would weep when reciting the Noble Quran and would even fall sick due to his interaction with it.

 

Having a strong character and being dignified in no way entails being arrogant or hard-hearted. Nor does it mean being harsh or pompous. To have an awe-inspiring character is praiseworthy only if the person can judge the correct time to be strict. History testifies that `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, was a noble and merciful ruler of the Muslims.

 

The example of `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, symbolises the ideal leadership that the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam bequeathed. It was a remarkable demonstration of how leadership should be; an ideal one which Muslims are eagerly seeking to repeat, especially when compared to their contemporary predicament.

 

Having known of such an example, the Muslims are eager for a caliphate and leadership like that of `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, who would set off in order to check on the lives of the ordinary Muslims.

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A glimpse at the life of ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab – I

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When this religion was revealed and the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam taught it and raised people according to its instructions, it delivered brilliant men and women who illuminated history and were esteemed by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

This religion produced such people who upheld its exalted standards and applied its edicts all over the world. As such, they came to be beacons of guidance for everyone who followed their example.

Why do we read about the lives of the Companions and the Predecessors?

We owe it to these great individuals to acquaint ourselves with their biographies and relate their incidents for the following purposes:

First: To learn how magnificent this religion is, that it produced such individuals.

Second: To take our predecessors and leaders as role models, for they are beacons that guide us through the utter darkness. We need also to learn that such examples are reproducible, although to a lesser extent, should there exist the proper Islamic environment and upbringing that refine the characters of people, entrenches the correct belief and creed in them, and instils the ethics of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam into their characters.

`Umar as a character:

`Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him, was undoubtedly one of the outstandingly ideal characters that have been witnessed by Islamic history, which many people are negligent of.

Recalling the life of such characters reminds all those oblivious people who are infatuated by the stories of famous characters from the east and west, although a closer analysis of many of these characters reveals the opportunism, vice, consumption of intoxicants, adultery and fornication, profound injustice and tyranny that defines their lives. Conversely, the personalities and characters of the prominent pioneers of Islamic history are literally unmatched.

Before becoming a Muslim, `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, would worship idols, bury his baby daughters alive, treat people unjustly, and commit other foul acts, particularly if it was against Muslims. Sa'eed Ibn Zayd, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "I swear by Allah that I went through times when 'Umar would shackle both myself and his own sister (who was Sa'eed’s wife) to force us out of Islam, but then he himself became a Muslim."

By the will of Allah, `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, transformed from being a disbeliever living a life of pre-Islamic ignorance, into a guided Muslim, and thus his character soared towards excellence. Some of the sayings of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam referring to the life of this man will be mentioned later, which will highlight a number of magnificent aspects of his character.

The story of how he embraced Islam:

The Muslims did not believe that `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, could ever become a Muslim. Umm ‘Abdullaah bint Abu Huthmah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “While we were preparing to emigrate to Habashsah (i.e. Ethiopia), `Umar came, and he would inflict great harm upon us Muslims. When he saw us preparing to leave, he came and said to me: 'O Umm ‘Abdullaah! Are you preparing to set off?' I replied: `Yes! I swear by Allaah! We leave and travel in the land of Allah, as you have afflicted much torture upon us.` He said: `May Allah be with you in company.` I noticed that his position had softened in this conversation, and perceived that he was saddened by what we were having to endure. I said to my husband, `You should have seen `Umar - how sad he looked and how soft he was in his tone.' My husband replied: `Are you hoping he becomes a Muslim?` I said: `Yes.` He said: `If this man’s donkey were to become a Muslim, perhaps then he would embrace Islam.`” He said this because he had given up all hope of `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, becoming Muslim due to his harsh and aggressive stance against the Muslims.

However, when Allah wills guidance for someone, He facilitates the means for his guidance, even if such a person has the hardest heart on earth and is the furthest from Allah. This is a lesson for all those who call others to Islam to never despair or give up on people, regardless of how harsh they may be. When Allah wills goodness for someone, He will facilitate for him the means of guidance.

The fact that `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, embraced Islam represented a great victory for the Muslims.

His embracing of Islam was no secret:

‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, narrated the story of his father’s Islam saying: “When he, may Allah be pleased with him, embraced Islam, he enquired: `Which person amongst the tribe of Quraysh conveys news the fastest and spreads rumours the most?` He, may Allah be pleased with him, was informed that it was a man named Jameel Ibn Ma’mar Al-Jumahi. He, may Allah be pleased with him, went looking for him, and I followed my father. When he saw him, he asked him: `O Jameel! Do you not know that I have embraced Islam and joined the religion of Muhammad?` Jameel did not even bother asking him to repeat or to confirm what he, may Allah be pleased with him, had just said, but rather, he immediately got up and set off; my father followed him with me behind him. As soon as Jameel reached the area of the Haram (i.e. the Ka’bah) he shouted at the top of his voice: `O Quraysh! Know that `Umar has become a Saabi (a derogatory term used by Quraysh to describe one who had become a Muslim).' ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, shouted from behind: `You lied! I have become a Muslim and testified that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger…`”

He proclaimed it openly due to the might that he had in his heart. This defines his courageous personality.

Returning to the story: “…The Quraysh approached my father, wishing to warn him, so he began fighting them, all, until noon. At that time he was exhausted, so he sat down and said to them: `Do whatever you wish. ` They continued to beat him until an old man from their tribe named ‘Aas Ibn Waa’il came and stopped them.”

It was only after `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, became Muslim that the Muslims could openly circumambulate the Ka’bah. Indeed Allah granted the Muslims might through his coming to Islam, may Allah be pleased with him.

 

Advising is Linked to Secrecy while Condemning is linked to Publicizing – Imam Ibn Rajab

Al-Fudail (rahimahullaah) said: “The believer conceals (the sin of his brother) and advises (him), while the evildoer disgraces and condemns (him).”

This is what Al-Fudail has mentioned as being from the signs of advising and condemning – and it is that advising is linked to secrecy while condemning is linked to publicizing.

It used to be said: “Whosoever commands his brother (towards doing good) at the head of a gathering, then he has condemned him.” Or it is something with this meaning.

The Salaf used to hate that commanding good and forbidding evil be done in this manner. Instead, they loved that it be done privately between the one commanding and the one being commanded, for indeed, this is from the signs of sincere advice.

This is since it is not the goal of the one who is advising to spread and publicize the faults of the person he is advising, rather his goal is only to put an end to the evil that he has fallen into.

As for spreading and exposing someone’s faults, then that is from the things that Allaah and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم have forbidden. Allaah, may He be Exalted, says:

“Verily, those who love that the evil and indecent actions of those who believe should be propagated (and spread), they will have a painful torment in this world and the Hereafter. And Allaah knows and you know not. And had it not been for the grace of Allaah and His mercy on you, (Allaah would have hastened the punishment on you) and that Allaah is full of kindness, Most Merciful.” [Surah An-Noor: 19-20]

The ahaadeeth concerning the virtue of keeping the faults of others secret are many.[27] Some of the scholars would say to those who were commanding towards good:

“Strive hard to conceal the faults of the sinners, for indeed, exposing their faults shows a weakness in Islaam. The thing that deserves the most to be concealed is one’s faults.”

It is for this reason that spreading someone’s evil and indecent actions is linked to condemning. And they are both from the affairs of the evildoer, since it is not the goal of the evildoer to put an end to the fault nor that the believer avoids that fault or defect. Rather his only goal is to spread and publicize the defects found in his believing brother, and to destroy his honor. So he initiates that and repeats it. And his intention is to belittle his believing brother by exposing his defects and bad qualities to the people so that some harm can fall upon him in this world.

But as for the person that is sincerely advising, his aim in doing that (advising) is to eradicate the faults found in his believing brother and to help him avoid it. This is what Allaah the Most High, has described His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم with, saying:

“Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any harm or difficulty. He is anxious over you (to rid you of faults and sin), for the believers he is full of pity, kind and merciful.” [Surah At-Tawbah: 128]

And He described his صلى الله عليه وسلم Companions with that, saying:

“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah. And those who are with him (i.e. his Companions) are severe with the disbelievers and merciful towards one another.” [Surah Al-Fath: 29]

And He described the believers with the characteristics of patience and mutual advising of one another towards mercy and compassion. [28]

But what drives the evildoer to propagate (his brother’s) evil and to disgrace him is force and harshness, his love for abusing his believing brother, and (his desire) to inflict some harm upon him. These are the characteristics of the Devil – the one who beautifies disbelief, sin and disobedience to the children of Aadam so that due to it they may become amongst the dwellers of the Hellfire, as Allaah says:

“Verily, the Devil is an enemy for you, so take him as an enemy. Verily, he only calls his party (of followers) to be from amongst the dwellers of the Hellfire.” [Surah Faatir: 6]

And He says, after telling us the story of Iblees (the Devil) when he was with the prophet of Allaah, Aadam, and the evil plot that he unleashed on him, such that it brought him to be cast out from Paradise:

“O Children of Aadam! Let not the Devil deceive you, as he got your parents out of Paradise, stripping them of their garments, to show them their private parts.” [Surah Al-A’araaf: 27]

So what a difference there is between one whose intention it is to advise (naseehah) and one whose intention it is to disgrace (fadeehah)! And no one confuses one of these with the other, except someone who does not possess sound intellect.

Footnotes:

[27] See Fath-ul-Baaree (5/97) and Saheeh Muslim (4/1996)
[28] As is found in Allaah’s saying: “Then he became from among those who believed and recommended one another towards patience and recommended one another towards compassion.” [Surah Al-Balad. 17]

Source: From the al-ibaanah eBook :
The Difference between Advising and Condemning – Imaam Ibn Rajab


Filed under: .Checked OK, Advice (Naseeha), Criticism & Praise Tagged: Al-Ibaanah.com, Imam Ibn Rajab

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

It appears to be an art of commanding the good or prohibiting the evil, But in actuality it is an act of injustice and transgression!

THE BALANCED APPROACH

Shaykhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah – rahimahullaah – said:

“When dealing with the people of sin, one must not exceed the limits prescribed by the Sharee’ah – neither in hating, censuring, preventing, abandoning or chastising them. Rather, the one who does so should be told: Worry about your own self. No harm will come to you from those who are misled, if you are truly guided, as Allaah – the Mort High – said: “And do not let your hatred of others swerve you away from doing justice. But be just! That is closer to taqwaa (piety).” [Soorah al-Maa’idah 5:8]. And Allaah said: “And fight in the way of Allaah those who fight you, but do not transgress the limits.” [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:190]. Indeed, many of those who command and forbid overstep the limits set by Allaah, either through jahl (ignorance) or dhulm (injustice). Thus, this issue (of justice) must be firmly maintained, whether it is in regards to censuring the unbelievers, the hypocrites, the sinners or the disobedient ones.” [3]

He further said: “The one commanding the good or forbidding the evil should do so in the way prescribed by the Sharee’ah; with knowledge, gentleness and patience, and with good intentions, and by following a balanced approach. All of this enters into Allaah’s saying: “O you who believe! Beware of your own selves. No harm will come to you from those who are misled, if you are truly guided.” [Soorah al-Maa’idah 5:105) … There is in this Aayah (Verse) another meaning as well, which is that a person must turn towards that which will be of benefit to him, both in knowledge and action, and he must avoid what does not concern him – as the conveyer of the Sharee’ah (i.e. the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “From the perfection of a person’s Islaam is to leave alone that which doer not concern him.” [4] This especially applies to a person delving into that which doer not concern him regarding someone’s religious or worldly affairs. Thus, such a person may speak out of envy or desire for position; or act either with deliberate oppression, or foolish scorn and sarcasm. How often does Shaytaan make such an act appear to be an art of commanding the good or prohibiting the evil, or jihaad in the path of Allaah, whereas it is actually an act of injustice and transgression!” [5]

Footnotes:

[3]. Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (14/381).
[4]. Saheeh: Related by at-Tirmidhee (no.23 18) and others, from Abu Hurayrahradiallaahu ‘anhu. It was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albaanee in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah (no.3976).
[5]. Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (14/382).

Posted from: http://bit.ly/1p2fjsI – Al-Istiqaamah , Issue No.5


Filed under: .Checked OK, Dawah Tagged: Al-Istiqaamah Magazine, Imam Ibn Taymiyyah

Whoever believes that there is some guidance better than the guidance of the Prophet – Shaykh ‘Abdul-Azeez Ar-Raajihee

THE FOURTH NULLIFIER

Fourth: Whoever believes that some guidance other than that of the Prophet’s (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is more complete than his guidance and that someone else’s judgement is better than his judgement, such as the one who prefers the judgement of the Tawaagheet (pl. of Taaghoot; false deities/religions) over his judgement, then he is a disbeliever.

◄ explanation ►

Whoever believes that there is some guidance better than the guidance of the Prophet, such as by saying: “The way of the philosophers, the Sabians and the Sufis is better than the way of Muhammad” or “There is guidance in this way” or “It is like the guidance of the Prophet.” Such a person that says this is a disbeliever. This is because there is no guidance that is better than the guidance of Allaah’s Messenger, since he does not speak from his desire rather it is only revelation that has been sent down to him. So whoever says that there is a guidance better than the guidance of the Messenger of Allaah or similar to it, such as by him practicing or seeking a way towards Allaah through the philosophical or Sabian or Sufi way, then such a person is a disbeliever, an apostate.

Likewise, when someone believes that there is a judgement that is better than the judgement of the Prophet, such as when one believes that ruling by man made laws is better than ruling by the Sharee’ah (Divine Legislation), this person is an apostate according to the unanimous agreement of the Muslims.

The same goes for if one believes that ruling by man made laws is similar to ruling by the Sharee’ah, as he also commits disbelief.

Similarly, if he believes that ruling by the Sharee’ah is better than ruling by man made laws, however it is permissible to rule by man made laws, such as by him saying: “People have free choice – it is permissible for one to rule by man made laws and it is permissible for him to rule by the Sharee’ah, however the Sharee’ah is better”, then such a person has committed disbelief according to the consensus of the Muslims. People do not have free choice in this matter. And this person has rejected something that is known from the Religion by necessity.So ruling by the Sharee’ah is an obligation upon everyone. But yet this person is saying: “It is not obligatory, it is permissible for people to rule by man-made laws.” Such a person is a disbeliever, even if he says: “The Divine Laws (Sharee’ah) are better.”

So based on this,

  • If someone rules by man-made laws and believes that they are better than ruling by the Sharee’ah, he has disbelieved.
  • And if he rules by man-made laws and believes that they are equal to ruling by the Sharee’ah, he has disbelieved.
  • And if he rules by man-made laws but yet believes that ruling by the Sharee’ah is better than ruling by man-made laws, however it is permissible to rule by man-made laws, he too has disbelieved.

So in all three cases, this person has committed disbelief.

There is a fourth situation, which is when one rules by man-made laws or by a man made law in one issue or in one judicial affair, but yet he believes that judging by the Sharee’ah is obligatory and that it is not permissible to judge by man-made laws and that it is not permissible to rule by other than what Allaah has revealed, and he believes that he is doing wrong and that he deserves to be punished. However his inner whims, desires and devil have overtaken him and so he rules by other than what Allaah has revealed. He rules by other than what Allaah has revealed on an individual so that he can benefit the person he is judging or cause him harm. So he benefits the one he is judging because he is his friend or his relative or his neighbor. Or he causes harm to the one he is judging because he is an enemy to him, but yet he knows that ruling by what Allaah has revealed is an obligation and that he has committed a sin. Such a person has committed minor disbelief and he does not leave from the fold of Islaam.

Therefore, ruling by other than what Allaah has revealed occurs in four situations. Three of these cases result in a person committing major disbelief and the fourth one results in a person committing minor disbelief.

Issue: The Ruling on removing all of the Sharee’ah and Ruling by Man-Made laws.

If a person establishes all of the man-made laws and removes the Sharee’ah in its entirety, changing it completely around, this is considered changing the Religion. A group amongst the scholars have taken the view that such a person that does this has disbelieved because he has changed the Religion of Allaah. This is the verdict that was given by Shaikh Muhammad bin Ibraaheem, may Allaah have mercy on him, the former Muftee of the lands of Saudi Arabia. He said: “This is changing the Religion completely around – it is not in one issue only but rather it is changing all of the laws. So it means removing the Sharee’ah in its entirety and replacing it with man-made laws in every small or large affair.” Furthermore, our teacher, Shaikh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez bin Baaz, may Allaah grant him success, held the view that even though he changes the Religion, he must believe that it is permissible to rule by man-made laws so that the proof can be established against him. So therefore this is the fifth situation, which is when someone changes the Religion.

There is also a sixth situation, which is when the religious judge expends his efforts and strives hard to gain knowledge of a religious ruling, but he errs and rules by other than what Allaah has revealed. This is an error. So this person is not a disbeliever nor is he a sinner. Rather, he is a Mujtahid who has one reward based on the statement of the Prophet: “When the judge issues a verdict, making Ijtihaad (exerting himself) and is correct, he gets two rewards. And if he makes Ijtihaad and errs he gets one reward.” So this error of his is pardonable and he gets one reward for his Ijtihaad. And if he exerts his efforts and attains the truth, then he gets two rewards – one reward for the Ijtihaad and one reward for attaining the truth.

Posted fromExplanation of “The Nullifiers of Islaam” – Shaykh ‘Abdul-Azeez Ar-Raajihee – al-ibaanah eBook

Reference: AbdurRahman.Org


Filed under: .Checked OK, Aqeedah (Creed), Nullifiers of Islam Tagged: Al-Ibaanah.com, Shaykh 'Abdul-Azeez Ar-Raajihee, Shaykh Muhammad bin AbdulWahhab

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