Friday, October 20, 2017

The Prayer: Its prerequisites and essentials – I

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In Islam, performing the Prayer is the most important, mandatory act after the testimony of faith. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is the Prayer..."[At-Tirmithi]

It is the last thing, the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, recommended to his nation before he, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, died, saying: "The Prayer, the Prayer and what your right hands possessed." [Abu Dawood] An act of this weight and status is really worthy of getting all attention and care of Muslims. Because the prayer which Allah accepts and rewards plentifully is the prayer whose conditions, and basic elements are perfected.

But how could one carry out the prayer in the correct manner? One could attain that goal by learning the way the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, practiced it. By knowing its prerequisites, essentials and Sunnah acts. Because botching the prayer is a harmful act that results in the forfeiture of the reward, either completely or partially, the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, warned us: "Truly, a man leaves, and none of his prayer has been recorded for him except a tenth of it, a ninth of it, eighth of it, seventh of it, sixth of it, fifth of it, fourth of it, third of it, a half of it."[Abu Dawood]

In the following paragraphs, a detailed description of the prerequisites (Shuroot) and essentials (Arkan) of the Prayer is presented.

Prerequisites and essentials of the prayer

There is a difference between the terms "prerequisite" and "essential". The former is an object, quality, or condition that is required in order for something else to happen—and if it is missing, the thing is invalid and unfulfilled. For instance, Wudhoo' (ablution) is a prerequisite for the Prayer, as per the Prophetic narration: "The prayer of one without purification is void..." [Abu Dawood and At-Tirmithi] While "essential" is the property or characteristic of something that makes it what it is—and if it is missing the thing is null and void. For instance, the chapter of Al-Fatihah (the Opening of the Quran) is an essential for the Prayer because the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Anyone who does not recite the Opening of the Book in one's prayer is not credited with observing it." [Al-Bukhari]

The scholars concur that a willful violation of any essential or prerequisite in Prayer invalidates it. However when an essential act is unintentionally omitted, two things are required: 1. performing the missing act and; 2. making Sujood As-Sahw (prostration of mistake) before Tasleem (concluding the prayer with salaam) if it is on account of an omission or due to both an omission and an addition; or after Tasleem if the cause is only an addition. However, if the mistake is one of involuntary addition—such as an extra bowing—it is atonable by Sujood As-Sahw.

The prerequisites of the Prayer

It is obligatory on the one who wishes to perform the prayer to make sure that he/she satisfies the following conditions before he enters into it:

(1) Islam: One must be a Muslim in order for him/her to obtain the rewards of Islamic acts of worship.

(2) Intention (Niyyah): The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Verily all actions are only by intentions." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Scholars of all of the four schools of jurisprudence are unanimous that intention takes place in the heart and that it should not be uttered by the tongue. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, never instructed us to audibly or inaudibly state intentions for any act of worship, and the Companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, did not do this either. According to a few of the late scholars, one is only permitted to utter one's intention in prayer if one is in a severe case of forgetfulness or always doubting what he wants to do—the term they coined to describe the state of such a person is Al-Mustankah.

(3)  Sanity and maturity: One must be able to know and appreciate what he/she is doing. Sanity is mentioned in the narration in which the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "The pen (which records one's deeds) is raised from the account of a person in the following three situations: a sleeper until he awakes, a child until he matures (reaches age of puberty) and the insane until he regains sanity." [Abu Dawood]

One must also have a clear mind at the time of making the prayer. Allah Says (what means): "O you who have believed, do not approach prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying…"[Quran 4: 43] In addition, the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, also said: "If one feels drowsy while performing the prayer, one should go to sleep until his slumber is over, because if one perform the prayer while drowsy one would not know whether he is asking for forgiveness or for a bad thing for himself."[Al-Bukhari]

(4) Knowing the prayer's proper time: Allah Says (what means): "…Indeed, the prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times." [Quran 4: 103] The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Jibreel led me in prayer at the Ka'bah. He led me in the early afternoon prayer (Thuhr) when the sun had passed the meridian to the extent of the throng of a sandal; he led me in the mid-afternoon prayer ('Asr) when the shadow of a thing was as long as itself; he led me in the sundown prayer (Maghrib) when the one who fasts breaks the fast; he led me in the night prayer ('Ishaa') when the twilight (redness from the horizon at sunset) disappears; he led me in the dawn prayer (Fajr) when food and drink becomes forbidden for the faster. On the following day, he led me in the early afternoon prayer (Thuhr) when the shadow of a thing was as long as itself; he led me in the mid-afternoon prayer ('Asr) when the shadow of a thing was twice as long as itself; he led me in the sundown prayer (Maghrib) when the one who fasts breaks the fast; he led me in the night prayer ('Ishaa') when the first half of the night had passed; he led me in the dawn prayer (Fajr) when there was a fair amount of daylight. Then turning to me Jibreel said, 'Muhammad, this is the time observed by the prophets before you and the difference in time for each prayer we made on both days is anywhere between the two times.'"[Abu Dawood]

(5) Purification: One must make sure that the following three things are clear from all kinds of impurity before he starts the prayer:

A. Purity of the body from Major and Minor impurities:

A minor impurity is one that may be removed by the performance of ablution (Wudhoo'). A state of minor impurity results after defecation or urination. A major impurity requires the performance of Ghusl or ritual bathing. A state of major impurity results after sexual intercourse or sexual discharge for both men and women.

If one is not in the necessary state of purification then one must attain it for Allah Says (what means): "O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] the prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles And if you are in a state of janaabah (major impurity), then purify yourselves…" [Quran 5: 6] And the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "When you stand for prayer, perfect your ablution," [Al-Bukhari and Abu Dawood] and "the prayer is not accepted from anyone who nullifies one's ablution until she/he regains another one nor is charity from stolen property." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, also said: "Allah does not accept any prayer that was not performed while in a state of purity, nor does he accept charity from what has been stolen from booty." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Post-natal bleeding and menstrual bleeding are also considered forms of major impurity. Both postnatal bleeding and menstrual bleeding waives the prayer from a woman. In those cases, after such conditions come to an end, women are required to make Ghusl before praying.   

B. Clothes: If the clothes are contaminated with impurities one should wash them for Allah Says (what means): "And your clothing purify." [Quran 74: 4] and the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "If menstrual blood is on one's clothes she must wash it out and then make Prayer." [Al-Bukhari]

C. Place: If the ground is filthy, one can pour water over the impurity: A Bedouin entered the Masjid (mosque) and urinated. The people grabbed him and the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, ordered his release, told them to pour a tumbler of water over the soiled area, and said: "You have been sent to make things easy and not make them difficult." [Al-Bukhari] It is prohibited to offer prayer in graveyards [Muslim], camel pens [Abu Daawood], churches and synagogues with images [Al-Bukhari], public baths/bathrooms and dunghills [Abu Dawood], the roof of the Ka'bah, slaughterhouses, and the middle of the road.

(6) Covering the private parts: Allah Says (what means): "O children of Aadam, take your adornment at every Masjid (mosque)…" [Quran 7: 31] The meaning of "adornment" here is the covering of the 'Awrah. The meaning of "mosque" is "prayer." Therefore, it means "Cover your 'Awrah for every prayer."

The 'Awrah for a man, in general, is from his navel to his knees; however, inside prayer one should be dressed in a proper manner and the shoulders should not be left uncovered since it is greatly disliked. The 'Awrah of a woman (for prayer purposes) is her entire body except her face and hands.

(7) Facing the Qiblah: Allah Says (what means): "Turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid Al-Haram (Sacred Mosque), and wherever you are turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction." [Quran 2: 144] The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "When you stand for prayer face the qiblah, make takbeer, utter glorification and praise for Allah, recite the Mother of the Book (Al-Faatihah)..."[Al-Bukhari and Abu Dawood]

There are many ways to decide the Qiblah. And when one is ignorant of the right direction, one should inquire and strive to determine its exact or approximate direction, and in case neither of the two is possible one should follow his best judgement.

To be concluded


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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Medically producing male children

Question:

Is it permitted in Islam to use the new medical methods to produce male children as (preconception gender diagnosis)?
 
Fatwa:
 
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

The procedure of selecting the sex of a baby is undertaken by separating the spermatozoon before fertilizing the ovum. Actually, the one who cannot give birth normally adopts the procedure of artificial insemination. Regarding the dangers that are in this act and the prohibitions that are committed in this procedure such as exposing the very private parts of a woman, the possibility of mixing the spermatozoon and the like, we believe that artificial insemination and selecting the sex of a baby is not permitted for anyone who is able to give birth normally.
 
The artificial insemination could be permissible only if the conditions that are mentioned in the resolution of the Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League in its seventh session are met; they are as follows:

1. A Muslim woman should not reveal her body to other than her husband at all except for some legal purpose that is acceptable in Sharee'ah.

2. The need for a woman to uncover her body to take the medical treatment for any disease that is harmful for her or cure any abnormality in her body must meet the legal reasons that allow her to uncover her body to other than her husband. Then the uncovering of the body should be restricted only to the extent of necessity.
 
3. When uncovering the body of a woman to other than her husband becomes lawful for any legal purpose, she should take the treatment from a Muslim lady doctor if it is possible; otherwise, a non-Muslim lady doctor; if it is not possible then from a reliable Muslim male doctor; if that is not possible then a non-Muslim male doctor. The above-mentioned sequence should be considered at the time of treatment. However, it is not permissible for a male doctor to stay in seclusion with a female patient. The presence of her husband or any other woman is compulsory.
 
Allah Knows best.
 
Fatwa answered by: The Fatwa Center at Islamweb
 

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fighting Satanic Thoughts about Life

Question


I always feel so depressed, and I have mood swings and sometimes think about other religions. I am sure that I am right, but it is as if Satan is dragging me to think these thoughts, and I try to neglect them. At other times, I think that like everything is haram and that I am supposed to die or live a miserable life and that it is wrong to be happy. I was not like that before; I was cheerful and optimistic, but these thoughts deprive me from living. Every day, I pray that Allah would help me and take me from this world which I no longer bear. I pray on time and read Quran daily, and I try to stick to Islamic rules as much as possible, but I do not know how to be okay again. I like to learn a lot about everything: Islamic rules, biology, science and everything which gets me nearer to the truth of everything in life, but lately, and because of these thoughts, I literally have lost my concentration. I no longer talk to anyone and barely go outside; it is as if I surrender to my thoughts, which is wrong, I know. Please help.

Answer


Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

May Allah make it easy for you, it seems like you're going through hard times, may Allah make it easy for you. What you are complaining from is nothing but whisperings from Shaytan (the devil). It would be helpful if you were to seek help from a good Muslim psychiatrist to help you overcome these negative thoughts if this becomes compulsive and you cannot push it away from yourself.

In the meantime, there are things that are needed to be done with your heart and speech and actions. With your heart, you need to revive your belief in the Creed and seek knowledge about matters of belief. If there is a masjid near you and its people are on the Sunnah, you can attend their lectures about matters of belief to strengthen your faith, or you can read some of the books of Creed, like the series on Creed written by Dr. Al-Ashqar, may Allah have Mercy on him, which has also been translated to English.

Also, halal and haram are from Allah alone, so seek the knowledge or ask the scholars about these rulings so that you will not think in a negative way, as you mentioned that everything is haram. You should also have the belief that Allah is the Most Wise and the Most Merciful, nothing is forbidden unless it is for what is best in this life and the Hereafter.

It is not permissible to supplicate that Allah take you from this world, you should ask Allah for good health in this life and the Hereafter. This life is a life of tests and trials, and Allah tests His slaves for them to turn to Him alone, worship Him alone, and rely on Him. He promised the patient ones great rewards without taking account, so be patient with whatever Allah has decreed for you, the real calamity is the loss of faith and good deeds; anything other than that is insignificance. This life is temporary and the Hereafter is everlasting, so keep your heart attached to the everlasting life through faith and good deeds.

You need to be busy and socially active; do not surrender to your thoughts, see what is applicable in your environment, and seek help from the trustworthy religious people to get you involved in productive things. When a person is not busy, these thoughts usually keep coming, so be involved in learning and teaching and helping others while supplicating Allah, the Most High.

Read the Quran with focus and humbleness, seeking cure by reciting it, and be patient doing that. Have good expectation of Allah, He is the Most Merciful.

If you can do what has been mentioned here, then please do so and be patient while facing the whisperings of Shaytan, but if you feel compelled to do otherwise, then, as I said earlier, seek professional help, but only from a trustworthy religious Muslim psychiatrist.

May Allah make it easy for you and remove these negative thoughts that are taking you away from what is good in this life and in the Hereafte


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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Conceit - II

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Difference between confidence in Allah The Almighty and conceit

Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, says, "He who has confidence in Allah The Almighty does what He has commanded him to and is certain that He will make him taste the fruit of his deeds. He is like one who plants a tree and seeds the land [awaiting the inevitable harvest]. On the other hand, the arrogant person is one who neglects the directives of Allah The Almighty but claims to possess faith in Him, when, in fact, [such] certainty is acceptable only after exerting sufficient effort."

He, may Allah have mercy upon him, added, "Confidence is a feeling of tranquility that is based on signs and indications with which the heart feels at peace. The stronger these signs are, the firmer one's faith is in Allah The Almighty, particularly when there is prior experience in this respect and truthful insight."

Conceitedness, on the other hand, is the sum of the status of a man who is deceived by himself, the devil that accompanies him, his fancies and false hope in the Forgiveness of his Lord. This leads him to pursue his desires and indulge in wishful thinking.

Moreover, arrogance is to put one's faith in those who are [known to be] untrustworthy, to feel comfortable with those who are not reassuring and to expect good from those who do not bring benefit, thereby mirroring the situation of a person who is deceived by a mirage. Its most serious manifestation is when one insists on doing what Allah The Almighty hates, despite His consecutive blessings on him or her.

Deception is the trade of the devil and conceit is the mannerism of the soul that has an inherence to persistently enjoin evil. Therefore, when wishful thinking, transgression, the misleading devil and the conceited soul are fused together, there is a consensus that the servant, too, becomes arrogant and misled. Indeed, the devils deceive those who are deluded about Allah The Almighty and make them hope in His Forgiveness and Clemency, despite their insistence on doing what He dislikes.

To sedate the hearts of the disobedient, the devils introduce a tinge of repentance in their hearts, but prevent them from truly repenting by continually urging them to procrastinate, until they are finally overtaken by death in the worst state. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): #{And wishful thinking deluded you until there came the Command of Allah. And the deceiver deceived you concerning Allah. }## [Quran 57:14]

As for the most conceited person and the one who is most mistaken about his Lord, that is whoever, when Allah The Almighty is Merciful to him or her, or confers a blessing on him or her, says, as is mentioned in the verse (what means): #{"This is [due] to me."}## That is to say, this individual believes that he or she is entitled to the Compassion and Favor of Allah The Almighty. He or she may further declare, as the verse continues, saying (what means): #{"I do not think the Hour will occur"}##, thus deeming him/herself worthy of the bounties of Allah The Almighty, despite his or her disbelief in Him. He or she then continues in his or her self-deception and says, as the verse mentions (what means): #{"If I should be returned to my Lord, indeed, for me there will be with Him the best"}##, i.e., Paradise and honor. This is the extent to which one can be deceived about Allah The Almighty.

Such a person who is deluded by Satan is actually fooled by his promises and wishes, which is then supported by him or her being deceived by the pleasures of this life and his or her own whims. He or she then remains like this till his or her utter destruction.

O weak slave! Allah The Almighty has warned us against regressing to such a state and informed us that we will soon stand before Him for reckoning and compensation on a Day that will advance even a newborn in years and turn its hair white. He Says (what means): #{O mankind, fear your Lord and fear a Day when no father will avail his son, nor will a son avail his father at all. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth, so let not the worldly life delude you and be not deceived about Allah by the deceiver.}## [Quran 31:33] Therefore, beware of being deluded about your Lord and recall the words of 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, may Allah be pleased with him: "Each of you will be in seclusion with Allah on the Day of Judgment and Allah will question him [or her], 'O son of Adam, what deceived you about Me? O son of Adam, what did you do concerning what you knew?'"

We ask Allah The Almighty to grant us discernment, reform us from inside and out, and protect us from the evil of conceit.


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Monday, October 16, 2017

Conceit – I

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There is no doubt that depravity is detrimental to both individuals and communities. When they deviate from noble morals and the disease of immorality becomes epidemic, they grow vulnerable to division and collapse that, in turn, threatens their very existence.

Conceit is one such moral weakness that gravely afflicts the person as well as society at large. This disease heralds a lack of insight and blindness in the reasoning and perception of people. It causes man to be deceived by what Allah The Almighty has bestowed on him in terms of authority, looks and other ephemeral pleasures of this world. Thus, he becomes disdainful of others and arrogant, and this attitude extends to his relations with the Lord, Creator and Protector, such that he refuses to submit to Him and fulfill the duty of worship. Rather, he follows his vain desires and whims, ignoring the fact that Allah The Almighty is watching him; he also pays no attention to people around him. His own self becomes beautified for him and his mistakes seem to him to have justification.

Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {O mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Generous, Who created you, proportioned you and balanced you?} [Quran 82:6-7] This verse asks us what it is that has deluded and enticed us. It questions us: how could you be so daring with your Lord by disregarding His obligations and committing sins that He forbade? Thus, Allah The Almighty censures and reprimands the conceited slave whose soul is pleased with what satisfies its whims, even if they are a cause for provoking His Wrath.

Conceit and ignorance

One of the factors that enable this malady to dictate [the actions of] a person is ignorance. If man is oblivious to the truths of his soul, the reality of life and the Attributes of Allah The Almighty, he will accord his self more than its due, bear contempt toward others and be arrogant with his Lord; thus, he will be counted among the conceited.

Types of conceit

Some scholars mentioned that there are different types of arrogance. Al-Ghazali, may Allah have mercy upon him, said, "The most apparent and serious types of conceit are that of the disbelievers, the disobedient and those who are corrupt." Let us summarize what he mentioned regarding the three categories:

1. Conceit of the disbelievers

Some of these people are fooled by this worldly life and others are deceived about Allah The Almighty by the deceiver [i.e., Satan]. As for the former, they are those who declare that cash is better than credit, drawing on that as an analogy for the now of this world and the prospect of the Hereafter. Accordingly, they believe that this life is better than the next and give preference to it. These people also claim that since certainty is better than doubt, so too is the evident pleasure of this world, compared to the mere promise of it in the Hereafter.

Now, arrogance can either be treated with belief or evidence. As for the first, one must believe in the verses where Allah The Almighty Says (what means):
{Whatever you have will end, but what Allah has is lasting.} [Quran 16:96]
{And the Hereafter is better for you than the first [life].} [Quran 93:4]

The second method of treatment, which is through establishing evidence, entails that a person is persuaded as to the invalidity of the two analogies insinuated by Satan. The first one argued that cash, like this world, is better than credit, meaning, the Hereafter; however, this is a misleading point and the truth is something else. That is so, because if both cash and credit are the same in value and purpose, only then would the former be better; however, if it is less, then credit is better. For instance, the deceived disbeliever offers only one dirham in trade in order to receive ten dirhams in credit; surely, he would not maintain that cash is better than credit and cease that practice. Furthermore, when a physician cautions a patient against consuming sugary and oily foods, does not he or she immediately stop eating them for fear of pain sometime in the future?

The second parallel that certainty is better than doubt is even more flawed than the first. That is because this is only applicable when there is an even occurrence of certainty and doubt. Otherwise, in trade, for example, a businessman certainly exerts effort, but achieving profits is doubtful. Likewise, a seeker of knowledge definitely works hard to learn, yet becoming knowledgeable is not always achieved. Similarly, a hunter surely works hard when he hunts, but catching the game is not inevitable.

Hence, the believer is confident in the inaccuracy of this analogy, particularly due to two reasons. The first is his or her faith, conviction and imitation of the prophets and scholars. This factor also uproots arrogance, aside from being a source of certainty for the common Muslims and most of the learned people. Thus, they become like an ill man who is unaware of the remedy for his illness; when the physicians agree that his cure is in a certain plant, he believes them without demanding medical proof and instead wholly trusts their decision and acts accordingly.

The other factor that helps ward off the deception of the devil that the Hereafter is improbable, other than what is mentioned above of faith, belief and imitation of the prophets and scholars, is internal reflection and understanding.

However, when the believers do not adhere to the commands of Allaah The Almighty, forsake performing righteous deeds, follow their whims and commit acts of disobedience, they actually share in conceit with the disbelievers in favoring this worldly life over the Hereafter. Yet, they will not be treated in the same way as them, such that they will not be condemned to Hell for eternity; rather, they will be taken out of it after a certain period of chastisement. On the other hand, faith alone is not enough to attain success, as Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {But indeed, I am the perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance.} [Quran 20:82]

2. Conceit of the disobedient believers

Following on from the point above, these people say that Allaah The Almighty is Generous and that they hope for His forgiveness; therefore, they rely on that and abandon working. Moreover, they beautify their wishful thinking and arrogance by labeling it hope, thinking that is praised in our religion. They claim that the Favor of Allaah The Almighty is infinite and His Mercy comprehensive, and they expect to attain it by means of their faith in Him.

One may think that there is nothing wrong with their proclamations because Allaah The Almighty Says in a Hadeeth: "I am as My slave expects Me to be, so let him have good expectations of Me." This seems to be a sound and acceptable argument; however, we should know that the devil exploits such ideas to delude us. Had it not been apparently good, it would not have deceived the heart. The Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, exposed this notion when he said: "The clear-sighted man is one who reproaches himself and works for the Hereafter; and the foolish one is he who pursues his fancies and longs for the forgiveness of Allah." Thus, this wishful thinking that is not accompanied by action is mislabeled by the devil as 'hope'; in this way, he has managed to deceive the ignorant.

However, Allah The Almighty explains the meaning of true hope, when He Says (what means): {Indeed, those who have believed and those who have emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah - those expect the mercy of Allah. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.} [Quran 2:218] This means that such people are entitled to have hope in the mercy of Allaah The Almighty, because their reward in the Hereafter is a compensation for their deeds in this world.

Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {And you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection.} [Quran 3:185] So, let us suppose that a man was hired to fix something for a certain fee and the one employing him was very generous and he could not only pay that much, but more. However, if the appointed person did not do his job and instead sat around waiting for payment, claiming that the contractor is very kind, will the one who hired him then view this as wishful thinking and arrogance on his part, or good expectations and hope? Indeed, this only happens because of an ignorance of the difference between hope and conceit.

It was once said to Al-Hasan, may Allah have mercy upon him, "There are some people who say that they hope for the Forgiveness of Allah The Almighty but overlook working [for it]." He, may Allah have mercy upon him, responded, "How fanciful and far-fetched is their wishful thinking that they fluctuate within! A man who [truly] hopes for something [actually] exerts his utmost to attain it; and a person who fears something [actively] flees from it."

The praised hope in Allah The Almighty manifests in two situations:

- The first is when a disobedient person, tired of sins, thinks of repentance, but the devil tries to make him lose hope in the mercy of Allaah The Almighty. In this case, despair should be dispelled and this person must remember the verse (that means): {Allah forgives all sins.} [Quran 39:53] When he or she then expects forgiveness along with having repented, he or she has come to truly hope for the Forgiveness and Mercy of Allah The Almighty.

- The second situation is when a person is too supercilious to perform supererogatory acts and offers only the obligatory acts of worship. He or she should hope for the reward of Allah The Almighty and what He has prepared for the righteous, in order to revive his or her zeal and feel encouraged to do voluntary good deeds as well. He or she must remember the verses where Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who are during their prayer humbly submissive; And they who turn away from ill speech; And they who are observant of Zakah (obligatory charity); And they who guard their private parts, Except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they will not be blamed - But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors -; And they who are to their trusts and their promises attentive; And they who carefully maintain their prayers - Those are the inheritors, Who will inherit Al-Firdaws (a level in Paradise). They will abide therein eternally.} [Quran 23:1-11]

3. Conceit of people who perform acts of obedience and disobedience, but the latter exceed the former

These people hold out hope in the Forgiveness of Allah The Almighty, thinking that will tip the scale of good deeds such that they outweigh their evil acts. This, though, is extreme ignorance. Such people may donate a few dirhams, not all of which is lawfully earned, while they dishonestly usurp much more than that of Muslims' properties. They think that spending ten dirhams in charity is expiation for their ill-gotten gains; truly, this is arrogance.


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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Steadfastness on the Truth

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People who abide by what is right are most resolute in terms of keeping to their words and beliefs, despite the afflictions they may experience – this is exactly what "steadfastness on the truth" symbolizes. Staying firm on what is upright has been a characteristic of the righteous since the initiation of the blessed propagation of Islam, when the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, began preaching Islam publicly. Few responded to him and those that did, suffered and were tortured for it. Antagonists tried to entice them to renounce their religion, but this only increased them in their firmness and adherence to what is right, which Allah The Almighty guided them to.

Their enemies, let alone their allies, testified to their steadfastness in this regard. When Heraclius asked Abu Sufyan, may Allah be pleased with him, about the Companions of the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, saying: "Do any of those who embrace his religion become displeased with it and renounce it afterwards?" , the latter, who was still a polytheist at the time, replied, "No." So, Heraclius said, "In fact, this is a sign of true faith; when its delight enters and infuses the hearts.'"

Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said, "None among the scholars or the virtuous people of Ahlus-Sunnah Wal Jama'ah (the people of the Sunnah and Mainstream) ever forsook his sayings and beliefs. To the contrary, they were remarkably persevering in that regard, even if they were exposed to various sorts of affliction and trial."

Such was also the state of all Prophets and their followers from previous nations, like the people of the trench [who are mentioned in the Quran in the chapter The Great Stars]. Also, it was a quality of the righteous predecessors of this Ummah (nation), including the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, their successors and other senior scholars, may Allah have mercy upon them, such as Imam Malik, who used to say, "Do not envy anyone who is not afflicted for the sake of this matter [i.e., for their adherence to true Islamic ideals]. Certainly, Allah The Almighty tests the believer; if one shows patience, He raises his [or her] rank, as He Says (what means):
{Alif, Laam, Meem * Do the people think that they will be left to say, "We believe" and they will not be tried? * But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allaah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars.} [Quran 29:1-3]
{And We made from among them leaders guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs.} [Quran 32:24]
{ By time, * Indeed, mankind is in loss, * Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.} [Quran 103: 1-3]"

Nowadays, believers are undoubtedly subjected to numerous and various trials, such as malicious allegations, vain desires of the self and the evils associated with wealth, status and fame. Moreover, there is the tribulation of the domination of aggressors and their tyrannical offenses against believers, like imprisonment, torture, and other such ordeals, from which we ask Allah The Almighty to save us.

Hence, given the fact that hearts, particularly in such circumstances, waver, the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, would beseech his Lord, "Ya muqallib-al-quloob, thabbit qalbi 'ala deenik (O Controller of the hearts, make my heart firm on Your religion)."
Scholars have described factors that help a person be steadfast on the truth; some of them are:

1- Seeking refuge with Allah The Almighty by proclaiming one's need for Him and supplicating to Him: the slaves can never dispense with their Lord, even for a second. Thus, if Allah The Almighty does not make them firm on His religion, they will deviate and go astray, as He Says (what means): {And if We had not strengthened you, you would have almost inclined to them a little.} [Quran 17:74]

Hence, as mentioned above, the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, would implore Allaah The Almighty to keep his heart firm on His faith and would swear by His Name, saying: "By the Controller of hearts." By being conscious of one's need for his or her Lord, a person remains connected to and inclined towards Him. Consequently, Allah The Almighty will protect him or her from all evils and trials.

2- Reflecting on the Quran, studying it and applying its teachings: Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):
{And those who disbelieve say, "Why was the Quran not revealed to him all at once?" Thus [it is] that We may strengthen thereby your heart. And We have spaced it distinctly.} [Quran 25:32]
{Say, [O Muhammad], "The Pure Spirit has brought it down from your Lord in truth to make firm those who believe and as guidance and good tidings to the Muslims."} [Quran 16:102]

The Noble Quran contains encouragement and admonition, promises and threats, as Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {[O Muhammad], inform My servants that it is I Who am The Forgiving, The Merciful. * And that it is My punishment which is the painful punishment.} [Quran15:49-50] Hence, studying it and listening to it increases one's faith, as Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And whenever a Soorah is revealed, there are among the hypocrites those who say, "Which of you has this increased faith?" As for those who believed, it has increased them in faith, while they are rejoicing.} [Quran 9:124]

He also describes believers, saying (what means): {The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His verses (this Quran) are recited unto them, they [i.e., the verses] increase their faith.} [Quran 8:2]

Furthermore, the Quran is a remedy for the diseases of desires and doubts, as Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):
{And We send down of the Quran that which is healing and mercy for the believers.} [Quran 17:82]
{Say, "It is, for those who believe, a guidance and cure."} [Quran 41:44] If a person's heart is free of whims and distrust, it will be stronger in the face of trials and be more steadfast on the truth.

Additionally, the Quran includes stories of previous nations, which give believers glad tidings of victory and empowerment, and show the fate of the oppressors, criminals and disbelievers. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And each [story] We relate to you from the news of the messengers is that by which We make firm your heart.} [Quran 11:120] Thus, studying the Quran is among the greatest enablers of keeping a person firm on the path that is upright.

3- Obeying Allah The Almighty and avoiding His prohibitions: acts of worship are like food for the heart, while sins are like poison that kills it. Allah The Almighty Says (what means):
{O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life. And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that to Him you will be gathered.} [Quran 8:24]
{But if they had done what they were instructed, it would have been better for them and a firmer position [for them in faith].} [Quran 4:66]

Thus, obedience to Him makes a person firm and strong when facing tribulations, whereas negligence and disobedience of Allah The Almighty weakens a person in confronting temptations.

4- Frequent remembrance of Allah The Almighty, as He Says (what means):
{O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance * And exalt Him morning and afternoon. * It is He Who confers blessing upon you, and His angels [ask Him to do so] that He may bring you out from darknesses into the light. And ever is He, to the believers, Merciful.} [Quran 33:41-43]
{Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured."} [Quran 13:28]

Allah The Almighty even ordered Mosa (Moses) and Harun (Aaron), may Allah exalt their mention, to evoke Him regularly when He sent them to Pharaoh, Saying (what means): {Go, you and your brother, with My signs and do not slacken in My remembrance.} [Quran 20:42]

Therefore, He also commanded believers to do the same when contending with disbelievers, Saying (what means): {O you who have believed, when you encounter a company [from the enemy forces], stand firm and remember Allah much that you may be successful.} [Quran 8:45]

The frequent remembrance of Allaah The Almighty, then, strengthens the heart and body in the face of temptations, trials and enemies.

5- Keeping company with virtuous scholars who practice what they preach: learned men are the heirs of Prophets and they guide their followers to the way of Allah The Almighty.

Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, relates: "No sooner had we finished burying the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, that we felt something unusual in our hearts [i.e., trepidation and lack of assurance]." Why would that not be so, when, as Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Certainly did Allah confer [great] favor upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error.} [Quran 3:164]

Shaykh Sa'eed Hawwa, may Allah have mercy upon him, explains the sentiments of Anas, may Allah be pleased with him: "This indicates that the improvement of the heart depends on keeping company with those who adhere to what is right and being spiritually associated with them. Therefore, we stress the importance of being attached to upright scholars and the devout."

Similarly, Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote, describing his teacher Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah have mercy upon them both: "Whenever we panicked and started having ill thoughts about Allah The Almighty, we would go to him. Once we saw him and listened to him, we would no longer feel that way; instead those emotions would transform into strength, happiness, conviction and confidence."

There are many other factors that help a person remain steadfast on the truth, but we will suffice with these here.


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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Mutual Rights - Maintaining Chastity - II

When righteousness touches a woman, one would not hear or see from her anything but good. Such is the righteousness of the early Muslim generations about whom the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, spoke highly, saying: "My generation is the best of generations." Surely, they were the best generation, men and women, old and young people, and children. Allah The Almighty brought about goodness through them. Look how the woman refused to react in a bad way or say hurtful words; rather, she mentioned that his prayers kept her husband away from her bed, and listed his virtues and good qualities. Even her saying that she did not praise him in matters related to women, may be a fault in the state of perfection, not necessarily a criticism. The man replied that the chapters in the Quran of An-Nahl and the seven lengthy Surahs (Al-Baqarah, Aal 'Imran, An-Nisa', Al-Ma'idah, Al-A'raf, Al-An'am and Yonus) kept him away from her bed and cast fear in him from Allah The Almighty and reminded him of the Hereafter. He, may Allah be pleased with him, said that when he read the Quran, it portrayed the Hereafter to him as if he was seeing it with his own eyes. So, Hell and its chains as well as Paradise and its bliss made him relinquish this temporary enjoyment and transitional delight.

Ka'b, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "O man, she has rights on you, and you should have intercourse with her at least once every four nights. Adhere to this and do not make excuses." There is no excuse and a wise man should do so once every four days, because Allah The Almighty permitted the free man to marry up to four women, so each of the four women has the right to one night out of four.

Some scholars have said that it is not obligatory on the man to have intercourse with his wife and this should be left to his activity and strength, but this is limited to four months. If the four months elapsed without intercourse, the husband would bear a sin and would be unjust because four months are the period of Eelaa'(mourning). In fact, the first opinion, which is having intercourse once every four nights, is preponderant because it is based on a Shari'ah fundamental. The period of Eelaa', which is four months, would be the maximum period in which the man may not approach his wife. After this period, the wife has the right to lodge a complaint against him, particularly if he swore not to have intercourse with her. True, intercourse should be left to the activity of the husband, and a man should not be obliged to excessively have it, as scholars said. They added that if the woman has impediments, such as lack of beauty or that the husband is not inclined to his wife or does not desire her, then the best form of kindness to the wife occurs in this state. This is because the man often has intercourse with his less beautiful wife for the sake of Allah, out of fear from Him and for fulfilling the rights that Allah entitled for the woman. If the man showed this to his wife and tried his best to guard her against prohibition, it would be of a greater effect. If the woman is beautiful, intercourse in this case takes place as a natural tendency and self desire. If the woman is not beautiful, scholars say that the husband honors himself and tries to overcome himself in order to increase his reward.

The Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "There is a charity in having intercourse with one's wife." [Ahmad] The Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, informed us that having intercourse with one's wife is considered an act of charity. This encourages the man who has a less beautiful or unattractive wife to remember the goodness and righteousness in her. Perhaps a woman is not beautiful, but she is one of the righteous and devoutly obedient women who guard in the husband's absence what Allah The Almighty would have them guard. Moreover, a man does not know what would have happened to him if he had married a very beautiful woman. She may betray or dishonor him – Allah forbid. Also, a beautiful woman may look at her husband with contempt, thinking that she is more entitled to a more handsome husband. However, Allah The Almighty may favor the woman who is not beautiful with a good mind, religiosity and observance of the Islamic teachings that she appreciates.

There are many unattractive women, but Allah The Almighty compensates them with a good mind. It is commonly known that the more a man lacks beauty, the more Allah The Almighty may distinguish him in his religiousness, mind, wisdom, insight, health or well-being. Allah The Almighty is just and does whatever He wills. He distributes His blessings among His slaves. His is the judgment and there is no one to put back His judgment. The point is that the husband should immediately fulfill his duties, and some scholars said that he should do so even if he is tired or exhausted, hoping for the reward from Allah The Almighty.

Some righteous men get bored with these things, and sometimes they impose on their wives to be in the state of obedience, religious matters and worship. A wife may be busy with religious matters but not give the rights of Allah their due. For instance, an Islamic caller may devote himself to the Da'wah (call) or a scholar may devote himself to knowledge but this takes place to the detriment of the family and wife. He should organize and manage his time, and should not set out for Da'wah or travel unless he fulfills the rights of his family so that he has guarded them against prohibitions. He should not leave until he feels that his absence or traveling would most probably not lead them to commit anything unlawful by fulfilling this duty in the most perfect way.

Equal overnight distribution:

The right to equal distribution and overnight stay implies that since it is obligatory on the spouses to fulfill this right, it is not permissible for the wife to decline the request of her husband to share his bed. The Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "For a woman who declines the request of her husband to bed, the angels curse her until the morning." He also said: "For a woman, whose husband calls her for intercourse, and she refuses, those in heaven will keep cursing her until the morning." Therefore, the spouses should observe this right.

This right leads to another issue, which is distribution and equality between co-wives when they are four. The Sunnah of the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, outlined this distribution, and we will discuss it in brief. Every wife has the right to one full night, namely, an overnight stay. The guidance of the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, regarding the daytime was that he might have visited his wife on a day other than hers; if the night was for another wife, he, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, would visit the rest of his wives after the 'Asr Prayer, according to some scholars, particularly if the other wife had children or needed his presence. In that case, he would fulfill their needs and check their affairs.

This distribution was obligatory on him even if he, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, was sick. In the latter case, he would move between the houses. Thus, in the sickness in which he died, the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, would: "Where will I move to tomorrow?" He, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam,asked the permission of his wives to be nursed in the house of 'Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, and they agreed and gave him permission. This indicates that equal distribution was obligatory upon him even if he, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, was sick. If a man is severely sick and cannot move to another house, he should ask their permission to be nursed in one of their houses; if they agree, it would be fine; otherwise, he should draw lots as he does in travel.

There are two cases if he wishes to travel:

• There is no problem to take them all, and in this case he would distribute the nights as usual.
• He cannot take them all, and in this case he would draw lots. It was narrated that when the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, intended to go on a journey, he would draw lots to decide which wife would go with him. After his return, the distribution would continue as it was before he left.

 

 


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Friday, October 13, 2017

Mutual Rights - Maintaining Chastity - I

Maintaining Chastity

The second right of the two rights that this series of articles pertains to is the overnight stay, which signifies that the spouses help each other in observing chastity. Each of the spouses should fulfill this right for the other. Some scholars have said that the purpose of marriage is that both the man and the woman preserve their chastity. Thus, the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "Whoever has the ability [to get married] should marry. It helps a person lower his gaze and maintain his chastity." [Muslim]

A man cannot properly lower his gaze and guard his organs from violating the boundaries and prohibitions of Allah The Almighty except when the woman plays the role of a good wife to him. The same applies to the wife. So, the husband should help his wife observe her chastity, considering it an act of worship. The Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "There is a charity in having intercourse with one's wife." The Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, said, "O Messenger of Allah, if one of us fulfills his desire, is there a reward in that?" He, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, replied: "Do you not see that if he does it in an unlawful way he will have the burden of sin?" [Ahmad]

Allah The Almighty appreciates this act from the husband, so He gives him a reward for the sperm he puts into his wife. This good act which is done to the wife helps her abstain from violating the rules of Allah The Almighty and prohibited acts, and helps her follow the straight path of Allah The Almighty. It is the duty of the husband to help his wife in this way, and it is the duty of the wife to help her husband in this way by utilizing the lawful available means. The woman should perfectly adorn and beautify herself for her husband in order to make him lower his gaze and observe his chastity. The man should do the same.

The Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, affirmed the words of Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, when he, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "Your wife has rights over you." [Muslim] One day, Salman, may Allah be pleased with him found Umm Ad-Darda', may Allah be pleased with her, looking untidy and dressed in shabby clothes. He asked her why she was in that state. She, may Allah be pleased with her, replied that his brother, Abu Ad-Darda', may Allah be pleased with him, was not interested in her. When Abu Ad-Dada', may Allah be pleased with him, arrived, Salman, may Allah be pleased with him, admonished him, and said, "Your body has a right over you; your wife has a right over you and your family has a right over you. So, fulfill the rights to those whom they are entitled," as if it was like a debt that he owed to his wife. Abu Ad-Dardaa', may Allah be pleased with him, went to the Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, and reported the whole story. The Prophet, sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "Salman has told the truth." [Al-Bukhari]

A man certainly owes rights to his body and rights to his family. This story took place when Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, found the woman dressed in shabby clothes and knew that she could not fulfill the rights of her husband in that way. He, may Allah be pleased with him, was sure that there was something behind that state, so he, may Allah be pleased with him, investigated the matter and asked to know what was the matter with his brother. Once he found out that negligence was on the part of his brother, he admonished him, reminded him and explained to him that this was a duty upon him. A Muslim seeks closeness to Allah The Almighty through bowing and prostration for Him, and he also seeks closeness to Him by guarding himself against committing prohibitions. Allah The Almighty is obeyed in two ways; by carrying out His commands and by avoiding His prohibitions.

Among the gravest sins that people fall into is committing adultery – Allah forbid! Adultery is always an immorality, abominable and an evil act. It violates the honor of the Muslims, leads to mixing up of the progenies and lineages and entails enormous evil that only Allah knows the extent of. It is the righteous wife and the righteous husband who, after Allah The Almighty, guard the chastity of one another, particularly at a time filled with temptations. The woman should pursue the means of beauty and perfection so that the husband would find everything he needs in her, and hence, he would not approach any other woman. Also, the man should prepare himself by avoiding staying frequently outside the house late at night or returning in the hours in which he is very tired, exhausted and sluggish and consequently neglect the right of his wife and deprive her of affection and the means that help her maintain her chastity and guard her against the prohibitions of Allah The Almighty.

Both of the spouses should prepare themselves for that, and the husband should manage his time well to give the family and the work their due hours. Thus, scholars always recommend time management. One of the largest catastrophes the Muslim Ummah suffers, especially in this era, is staying up late at night. It has destroyed Muslim homes and caused negligence of the rights of spouses and children. Most divorce cases arise from staying up late at night because by doing so the husband neglects the rights of his wife and children. If people properly utilize their time, especially after 'Ishaa' prayer and the man was keen to organize his time so that he could find some to bring happiness to his family, this would not happen. This is because Allah The Almighty made the night a time for rest. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {[He is] the cleaver of daybreak and Has made the night for rest.} [Quran 6:96] This is the law and creation of Allah The Almighty. He has assigned rights for the wives upon their husbands and assigned other rights for the husbands upon their wives.

Scholars have said that it is obligatory upon the man to have intercourse with his wife, but they differed about the frequency. Some said that it is obligatory upon the husband to have intercourse with his wife once every four nights. They argued that Allah The Almighty allowed men to marry up to four women at the same time, so the minimum share of the woman in case of plurality of marriage is one night out of four. For that reason, they said that he should have intercourse with his wife once every four nights. Therefore, when a woman came to 'Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, and said, "O Commander of the Believers, my husband observes fasting during the day and performs voluntary prayers during the night." He, may Allah be pleased with him, replied, "May Allah bless your husband for you," and he spoke good of him. The woman left and came again and said, "O Commander of the Believers, my husband observes fasting during the day and performs voluntary prayers during the night." He, may Allah be pleased with him, asked her who her husband was, and when she mentioned his name, he, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "May Allah reward you for letting us know his virtue." Again, the woman left and returned and said, "O Commander of the Believers, my husband observes fasting during the day, and performs voluntary prayers during the night."

The words of the woman show the perfection of the righteous predecessors and their politeness and bashfulness. How beautiful women are when they observe bashfulness and shyness! They amount to perfection. Scholars have said that bashfulness is like the wrapping on a sweet; when the wrapping is removed, flies fall on the sweets. Similarly, when the woman is adorned with bashfulness, it approaches perfection and becomes a valuable secret and well-kept pearl. The woman felt too shy to speak explicitly and hurt her husband by saying directly that he had mistreated her. Scholars interpreted her behavior in two ways: she was shy and shyness is good, or she was a noble woman and did not want to belittle her husband in front of 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him.

In any case, Ka'b, may Allah be pleased with him, who was attended the conversation, said, "O Commander of the Believers, the woman came to complain about her husband." We should not think that 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, did not understand her. No. 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, was intelligent, but he wanted the woman to be patient. This was the practice of 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, and he would dismiss the prescribed punishments in case of uncertainty. He, may Allah be pleased with him, did the same thing with Az-Zibriqan ibn Badr, may Allah be pleased with him, when he came to complain about Al-Hutay'ah. So, 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, would always use indirect words to clear the problems between people because the more people settle their own problems, the better. He, may Allah be pleased with him, did not encourage them to lodge complaints, then call them to judge between them, and this methodology is known in managing the affairs of people.

'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said to Ka'b, "Since you have understood their case, you shall be the one to judge between them." The man came, and the woman said, "Prayers have kept my husband away from my bed and he does not sleep during the day or the night, and in matters related to women, I do not praise him." The woman did not say that, "my husband does so-and-so, he is unfair," or that "he has such-and-such faults," contrary to many women today. Such women abuse and revile their husbands before judges, and once a woman suffers ill-treatment, she overreacts. She does not leave any defect or bad quality in her husband but she reveals it. May Allah have mercy upon this righteous woman!

(To be continued)

 


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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Islam: The Religion of Mercy

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The Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, once kissed Al-Hassan ibn 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, while Al-Aqra' ibn Haabis was in his presence. So Al-Aqra', may Allah be pleased with him, said to him: "Do you kiss your children? I swear by Allah, I have ten children but I have never kissed any one of them!" Thereupon, the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "Whoever is not merciful will not be treated mercifully." [Muslim]

Verily, in Islam, mercy encompasses this world and the Hereafter, as well as humankind, animals, birds and the surrounding habitats. Allah Says (what means): "And My Mercy encompasses everything." [Quran 7:156]

Allah has ascribed Mercy to Himself and He has also described His Prophets, may Allah exalt their mention, and righteous servants as being endowed with it. Allah Says (what means): "Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and those who are with him are severe against the disbelievers and merciful to one another." [Quran 48:29]

Allah has made his sending forth of the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, as a mercy to all of creation, as He Says (what means): "And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) except as a mercy to the worlds." [Quran 21:107] The word "worlds" ('Aalameen) is general and includes the world of the humans, the world of the Jinn, the world of the animals, the world of the birds, as well as the nations found on land and in the sea.

Allah has commanded that mercy be applied to everything and in every action. Thus, even when you slaughter a sacrificial animal, you show mercy to it by saying 'Bismillaah' (In the name of Allah) and by sharpening your knife (so that it will be a quick and painless death). The Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "Verily Allah has prescribed Ihsaan (goodness) for everything. So when you slaughter, slaughter in a good manner, and when you kill (in war), then kill in a good manner. And let each of you sharpen his blade and let him spare the animal he slaughters from suffering."

It is reported that Allah forgave a prostitute from the children of Israel who showed mercy to a dog that was dying from thirst. She filled her shoe with water and then taking hold of the dog's mouth, she gave it the water to drink. Allah appreciated what she did and forgave her sins.

Once our Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, saw that one of his Companions, may Allah be pleased with him, grabbed the chick of a lark, and it began screeching over the heads of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them. So he, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "Who bereaved this (lark) of her child? Return her children back to her!"

The weaker and poorer a human being is, the more we are required to show mercy to him and be gentle with him. This is why our Lord has forbidden us from oppressing the orphan. Allah Says (what means): "Therefore, treat not the orphan with oppression. And do not repel the beggar." [Quran 93: 9-10]

The Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "The person that looks after and supports the widow and the needy one is like the Mujaahid (one who makes Jihaad) in the Cause of Allah." He, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, would rub the head of the orphans and say: "I and the guardian of an orphan will be like this in Paradise - and he gestured with his index and middle finger."

Indeed the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, commanded us to take care of the children, women and the elders. Thus, in his last words to his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, and his nation, he, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "The prayer and whatever your right hands possess." "Take good care of the women (i.e. wives)." And he said: "The best of you is the best to his wives. And I am the best amongst you to my wives."

Mercy is something innate, which Allah has placed into the hearts of His creatures, even the lions -- the most ferocious of beasts -- are merciful to their children. Yet, Allah is more merciful to His creation than a mother to her child. It is reported that on the day that Allah created mercy, He created one hundred parts of it. He left ninety-nine parts with Him, by which He will show mercy to His servants on the Day of Judgment and He sent down one single part of mercy to the Earth, which humans and animals share amongst themselves.

The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, has condemned the person that is void of any mercy, and he condemned the one who breaks family ties. He, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "Kinship is connected to the Throne ('Arsh). It says: 'Whoever severs me, then Allah will break (away from) him. And whoever maintains me, then Allah will keep connected to him."

In another narration he, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "Verily, the kinship will be connected to the Throne of the Most Merciful on the Day of Judgment. It will say: 'This is the place for the one who sought refuge in You from the severing (of family ties).' So Allah will say to it: 'Will it please you that I connect those who maintained you and that I cut off those who severed you?' And it will say: 'I will be pleased (with that), my Lord.'"

Allah has named Himself Ar-Rahmaan and Ar-Raheem, so he is the Most Merciful of this world and the Hereafter (i.e. Ar-Rahmaan), and The Bestower and giver of mercy (i.e. Ar-Raheem). This is why He has commanded it in every place and in every situation. A Muslim begins his action by saying 'Bismillaahir-Rahmaanir-Raheem' (in the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Giver of Mercy) so that Allah can bless him in his action. Every action that is devoid of mercy has no blessing in it, nor does it have any good. If the servants of Allah show mercy towards one another, this is a cause for Allah sending His mercy down on them.

The Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "The Most Merciful shows mercy to those who have mercy on others. Show mercy to those on earth, and the One above the heaven will show mercy to you."

O Allah, have mercy on us above the earth and below the earth and on the Day when our deeds will be presented to us. And cause us to be merciful to one another just as the Companions of Your Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, were merciful. And have mercy on our dead ones and put those who have mercy from amongst Your Servants in charge over us, O Most Merciful!

 


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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Da'wah priorities in the Quran

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Da'wah is an Arabic word which comes close to the word "invite" or "invitation" in English. The understanding of the usage of the word "Da'wah" with regard to the faith of Islam is that it is the responsibility of the Muslims to "invite" all humanity to the way of Islam, i.e., submission to the One True God (Allah Almighty) on His terms. Da'wah is incumbent on all Muslims and must be done in compliance with the methodology already established by the last Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam.

Muslims therefore must exercise their efforts and use all permissible means to invite others to the truth they have. Bearing the message is a serious responsibility and a noble task and, as such, it has to be performed with knowledge, seriousness, consideration and wisdom. When embarking in such an effort, there are some priorities that should be taken into account. Such priorities can be divided into two categories: (1) those regarding the content of Da'wah and (2) those regarding those who make/receive Da'wah. Priorities of the first category are:

1-    Tawheed (Islamic monotheism)

Tawheed is the bedrock of every Islamic activity, whether directed to Muslims or non-Muslims. It is the essence of Islam, without which every effort is rendered null. The Quran shows, in no uncertain terms, that the message and the top priority of all the Prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention, was one and the same: The message of Tawheed.

Tawheed means "the realizing and maintaining of Allah's Oneness in all of man's actions which directly or indirectly relate to Him. It is the belief that Allah is One, without partner in His Dominion and His actions (Ruboobiyyah), One without similitude in His Names and Attributes (Al- Asmaa' Was-Sifat), and one without rival in His Divinity and worship (Uloohiyyah)."

Muhammad sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, the last and the final Prophet sent to humanity and the Jinn, was ordered by Allah, to call the people to the way of Allah. Allah Says in the Quran (what means):

"Say (O Muhammad): 'This is my way; I invite unto Allah (i.e. to the Oneness of Allah - Islamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me (also must invite others to Allah) with sure knowledge. And Glorified and Exalted be Allah (above all that they associate as partners with Him). And I am not of the polytheists.'" [Quran 12:108]

Tawheed is the most important concept in Islam and the top priority in bearing the Message. The following evidence shows this in a clear way:

The oft-quoted reference with regards to priorities and gradation in Da'wah is the famous narration reported by Ibn `Abbas, may Allaah be pleased with him, who said: "The Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam sent Mu`ath to Yemen and said: "Invite the people to testify that La ilaha illa Allah [none has the right to be worshipped but Allah] and that I am the Messenger of Allah. If they obey you in that, then inform them that Allah has enjoined upon them five daily prayers in every day and night. If they obey you in that, then inform them that Allah has made it obligatory on them to pay the Zakat (alms) from their properties and it is to be taken from the wealthy among them and given to the poor among them. '" [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

It was for this reason that the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam stayed in Makkah for thirteen years, calling people to the correct understanding of the Oneness of Allah Almighty, and making worship solely for Him.

Priorities of Da'wah to non -Muslims is as important as Da'wah to Muslims. The top priority with regards to non-Muslims is to bring them away from their disbelief or polytheism to belief in the Oneness of Allah Almighty and the Messengership of Muhammad sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, and teaching them the true purpose of their existence.

2-  Strengthening belief:

The best of generations, the Companions, may Allaah be pleased with, them learned their religion from the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam himself and continued on keeping the same priorities, strengthening belief before anything else.

Abdullah Ibn `Umar, may Allaah be pleased with them, said, "We lived during a period of time in which one of us would receive faith first before receiving the Quran and when the Quranic Chapters were revealed, we would learn what they permitted, what they ordered and what should be the stance towards them. But I have seen men, some of whom are given the Quran before faith and they read it from the opening chapter of the Book to its closing and they do not know what it orders, what it forbids and what should be his stance towards it. They are like someone who picks dates only to throw them (i.e. he does not get any benefit from his recital)." [Al-Hakim]

Having shown that the first priority is calling to correct beliefs and faith in Allah, it is important to understand the underlying reasons as to why this primary objective remains true in all places and at all times.

There is no doubt that all our shortcomings are related to our level of faith. Many consider the unity of Muslims to be one of the most fundamental issues that we should concentrate our efforts on, since without strong unity, Muslims are unable to face their problems.

However, unity cannot be achieved through organizations or lectures, nor can it be achieved by spending money. We need to realize that it was Allah Himself Who united the hearts of the Companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, of the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, once faith entered their hearts. Allah Almighty Says (what means):

"And He has united their (believers') hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah has united them. Certainly He is All-Mighty, All-Wise." [Quran 8:63]

So, there is no way for establishing unity, brotherhood or an Islamic society except through profound faith which leads to righteous action.

Consequently, the first step for us to take is to correct our faith. Anything else would be short-sightedness and lead to failure. We must learn and teach the true Islamic faith; its realities, signs and benefits. Learning the faith should be accompanied by learning about Shirk (associating partners with Allah in worship) and disbelief, so that Muslims safeguard themselves from the disbelief and misguidance of the disbelievers. To strengthen our faith we must put the Quran back to its proper place in the Muslim's life. The Quran is the book of guidance that is to be understood and abided by, not merely recited and used as a talisman.

As concerns the priorities related to the second category: they are:

1- Cultivating one's personality and character

The Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam said: "The best believers are those with the best character." [Abu Dawood and others]

One of the duties of the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam was purifying people around him, by helping them acquire noble character and rid any evil that was in their souls.

Spirituality and piety also need to be developed. Muslim scholars must teach Muslims simple things first, before proceeding to more complicated matters, while Muslims must turn to their scholars for guidance and leave interpreting religion without knowledge. This is a very grave matter which is one of the major causes of many problems that Muslims are facing today.

2-  Starting with one's own family and relatives:

Among the priorities, too, is that the first people that Muslims should call to Allah are their own families and relatives. Allah, The Most Exalted, ordered His Messenger sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam to warn his relatives (of disbelief and urge them to submit to Allah), as He Says (what means): "And warn (O Muhammad) your closest kindred." [Quran 26:214]

Addressing the believers in general, Allah Almighty Says (what means): "O you who believe! Protect yourselves and your families from the Fire whose fuel will be people and stones (idols)." [Quran 66: 6]

Family is the basic nucleus of the society and when that institution is healthy, all of the society will be healthy too.

3- Consulting scholars whenever needed

Every innovation or act of Shirk entails speaking about Allah and His religion without knowledge. This is why it is such a great priority that Muslims learn to consult scholars in religious matters and speak only based on certain knowledge. Were Muslims to follow the way of Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him, who said: "What earth will hold me, and what heaven will shadow me if I say something concerning the Book of Allah (Quran) which I do not know?", there would probably be no secularism, modernism, feminism, rejection of the Sunnah and other deviations present among the Muslims nowadays.


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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

How to deal with bad in-Laws

Question

I have two questions:

1. My sister-in-law (husband's sister) treated me in a bad way and would yell at me and humiliate me in front of everyone. People used to ask me how she was with me. I only spoke the truth and said what she did to me, and I did not lie. I heard that it is okay to do that to get back at the oppressor. Is this true? I read a fatwa that says that this is not considered backbiting. Did I do something wrong? I never ever replied to her when she was hurting me; I just kept quiet, because Prophet Mohammed, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, ordered to either speak good or remain quiet, and I choose to remain quiet.

2. My husband got in a fight with his mom and told her that they cannot go out without his permission because his father left him in charge as he is in a different state, and she and her daughter let my husband walk out the house and started blaming me that I was setting my husband up against his own mom. I swear by Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, that I did not tell him to disrespect his mom, and he even told them with his own mouth when he was fighting with his mom. She was saying something like, "May Allah take those who oppressed me and set you against me." He said, 'If you mean to say that it is my wife, then know that my wife had nothing to do with this." I have been treated badly, and when they started blaming me for everything, my husband said that I am innocent. I forgave them the first couple of times, but I cannot do so now. I have been asking Allah to make them suffer with the level of oppression which they have caused me. Please, advise me with what to do. They really hate me. They do not even talk with me, and I do not know what I did wrong, and may Allah reward you.

Answer

May Allah make it easy for you. According to what you wrote, you have been facing a difficult situation from the misconduct of your in-laws.

Dealing with people in life can be challenging at times. This is all from the qadar (destiny) of Allah. Allah is the Most Wise, and everything is done by a fixed measure for people to be tested on whether they are obedient to Allah in dealing with these situations or not. You do not have much control over others, but you are in charge of your own self, and on the Day of Judgment, you will come by yourself, and you will not be asked about others, but rather only about yourself. Therefore, it is important to have the proper knowledge and principles in life that make you focused on what is benefiting and leave what is harmful for you.

Here are some basic principles that you must have, and then the solution comes afterwards:

1- Allah created us to worship Him alone; therefore, we have one purpose in life, and everything serves this purpose, including your relationship with your in-laws.
2- We have no knowledge of how to live this life seeking the pleasure of Allah unless we learn that from the Quran and Sunnah from the scholars of the religion.
3- After coming to know what Allah wants from you, you should seek help from Allah and be patient in applying it.

Here is some advice based on the principles mentioned above:

1- If people are accusing you falsely, know that Allah is the Most Just; He will protect you as long as you stay honest and truthful.
2- Never return oppression and humiliation with oppression and humiliation; rather, answer with justice and righteousness.
3- Supplicating against the ones that humiliate you is permissible, but a higher level of goodness is to forgive and pardon.
4- You should be grateful to Allah that your husband defends you and is on your side. That should make you overlook others' oppression of you since they have no authority on you.
5- Focus on your family and take care of your husband and children (if any), and do not get involved with your in-laws except in good manners and goodness.
6- Increase your worship of Allah, make sure you never miss any prayer, and stay away from sins. Increase your faith by doing acts of worship like praying, fasting, charity, and thikr (remembrance of Allah). The more your faith increases, the more you will be under the protection of Allah and it will make you focus on what is benefitting.
7- A higher level of goodness is to be kind to those who are oppressing you, so instead of supplicating against them, supplicate for them that Allah guide them and forgive their sins. The benefit of that is tremendous, the least of which is you get great reward from Allah and that He will protect you from all harm.

May Allah make it easy for you and change your situation to what is best.


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Sunday, October 1, 2017

The rule defining the land in which it is obligatory to make hijrah (migration) from – Shaykh ‘Abdur Rahmaan al-‘Adanee

Question 5:

The rule defining which land it is obligatory to make hijrah from

"What is the rule defining the land in which it is obligatory to make hijrah from?"

The Answer:

It has already preceded that hijrah is made from the land of disbelief to the land of Islaam, so if what is meant by this question, is an explanation and clarification of the rule defining the land of shirk or disbelief then the Scholars have many interpretations defining that rule.

The most famous rule amongst the Scholars defining the land of shirk and the land of disbelief is: 'The land in which shirk or disbelief is in the open and predominant,' as has been mentioned in 'Sharh Al-Iqnaa' by al-Buhootee, and in the fataawa (legal verdicts) of Ash-Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Ibraaheem, and in the fataawa of Ash-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, may Allaah have mercy upon all of them.

Imaam ash-Shawkaanee (Rahimahullaahu Ta'ala) has also mentioned in his book 'AsSail Al-Jarraar' a rule defining the land of disbelief, and the land of shirk, and also the land of Islaam. He (Rahimahullaahu Ta'ala) said,

"What is considered is, who's word is predominant. If the commands and prohibitions in the land belong to the people of Islaam, then it is a land of Islaam, and that ruling is not impaired by the appearance of certain traits of disbelief because they didn't appear by means of the might and force of the disbelievers as is witnessed in Ahl Adh-Dhimmah (those disbelievers who pay a tax to live in the Muslim lands) from the Jews and Christians, and in the Muaahadoon (those who have a pact with the Muslims) who reside in the Islaamic cities, and if the situation is opposite to that, the land takes the opposite ruling."

Also, there is a nice discussion by Ash-Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen (Rahimahullaahu Ta'ala) in his explanation to 'Al-Usool AthThalaathah'. He (Rahimahullaah) said,

"And the land of shirk is the one in which the rituals of disbelief are performed and the rituals of Islaam, such as the Adhaan (call to prayer), and the Salaah (prayer) in congregation, and the 'Eed prayers, and Jumu'ah (Friday prayers) are not performed in a general universal manner."

He said,

"We only said: 'in a general universal manner' in order to exclude those places in which these rituals are performed in a limited way like the lands of the disbelievers that have Muslim minorities, for verily they don't become the lands of Islaam by the Islamic rituals that the Muslim minorities perform therein. As for the lands of Islaam, they are the lands in which these rituals are performed in a general universal manner."

This statement of Ibn 'Uthaymeen (Rahimahullaahu Ta'ala), could be used to refute that which al-Maawardee mentioned. He is a Shaafi'ee Scholar who said, "If he is able to openly perform the deen in a land from the lands of disbelief, then that land has become a land of Islaam, and therefore, residing in it is better than leaving it because of the hope that others will enter Islaam." Ibn Hajar (Rahimahullaah) reported that on him. So the statement of Ibn 'Uthaymeen (Rahimahullaah) could be used as a refutation against what al-Maawardee (Rahimahullaahu Ta'ala) mentioned.

So this is the rule defining the land of shirk and the land of disbelief from which hijrah is obligatory upon whoever is not able to openly perform his deen, nor perform the rituals therein.

Source : Transcribed by AbdurRahman.Org from the PDF –  Questions and answers concerning al-Hijrah – By Shaykh 'Abdur Rahmaan al-'Adanee

Related Link: Hijrah (Migration to Muslim Lands) – abdurrahman.org/hijrah


Filed under: .Islam Sunnah Salafiyyah, Hijrah (Migration) Tagged: Shaykh Abdur-Rahman al-Adani
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