Monthly Archives: October 2011
One of the things on which there is scholarly consensus among all the Muslims, ancient and modern, past and present, is that Hajj or pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allaah is one of the five pillars of Islam, as proven in al-Saheehayn from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) and others.
It is well known that Hajj, like other acts of worship, involves special actions, and each of these actions must be done in the prescribed manner, such as entering ihraam from the meeqaat, tawaaf, saa’i between al-Safa and al-Marwah, standing in ‘Arafah, staying overnight in Muzdalifah, stoning the Jamaraat, slaughtering the sacrifice, and the other well-known actions of Hajj. All of these actions should be done in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). There are very many ahaadeeth which describe the Hajj of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him); these have been compiled by Imam Ibn al-Qayyim in Zaad al-Ma’aad and by al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer in his book al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah; these scholars have also explained the rulings derived from these ahaadeeth. The Muslim should pay attention to learning these rulings and acting upon them.
Then we should remember that the basic purpose of the actions of Hajj is to establish the remembrance of Allaah, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Then when you leave ‘Arafaat, remember Allaah (by glorifying His Praises, i.e. prayers and invocations) at the Mash‘ar-il-Haraam. And remember Him (by invoking Allaah for all good) as He has guided you, and verily, you were, before, of those who were astray.
Then depart from the place whence all the people depart and ask Allaah for His forgiveness. Truly, Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.
So when you have accomplished your Manaasik [rituals of Hajj], remember Allaah as you remember your forefathers or with a far more remembrance. But of mankind there are some who say: ‘Our Lord! Give us (Your Bounties) in this world!’ and for such there will be no portion in the Hereafter…
And remember Allaah during the appointed Days. But whosoever hastens to leave in two days, there is no sin on him and whosoever stays on, there is no sin on him, if his aim is to do good and obey Allaah (fear Him), and know that you will surely be gathered unto Him”
And it was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “Tawaaf around the House and saa’i between al-Safa and al-Marwah and the stoning of the jamaraat were only prescribed so that the remembrance of Allaah may be established.” It was classed as mu’allaq by al-Bayhaqi (5/145) and narrated as a marfoo’ report, although there is some weakness in it.
So the Muslim venerates the rituals of Hajj because Allaah has commanded him to venerate them, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Thus it is and whosoever honours the Symbols of Allaah, then it is truly, from the piety of the hearts”
Al-Bukhaari (1610) narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) kissed the Black Stone and said, “Were it not that I had seen the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) kissing you, I would not have kissed you.”
Ibn al-Jawzi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, whilst discussing and explaining the actions of Hajj:
“The background to these rituals is no longer present but the rulings remain in effect. These rituals may be confusing for some who see them and do not know the reasons for them, so they may say, ‘This does not make sense.’ I have explained the reasons for them as far as narrated reports go, now I will explain to you the meanings behind them.
Note that the basis for acts of worship is something rational and comprehensible, which is the submission of the slave to his Lord and obedience to Him. Prayer involves humility and submission, which is is what is meant by the word ‘ibaadah (worship).
Zakaah involves kindness and helping the poor, so its meaning is clear.
Fasting means suppressing the desires of the self so that it will be obedient to the One Whom it serves.
By honouring the House and going there, and establishing a sanctuary (Haram) around it are acts of veneration. Arriving there unkempt and disheveled is like a slave turning to his Lord in humility and submission, and that is clear. A person feels at ease performing rituals that he understands, and that motivates him to do them, but to achieve full submission there are some rituals that a person may not understand, so he will not be at ease and will not comprehend them. In this case the only motive is to obey the commands of Allaah. This is a greater form of humility and submission.”
See Mutheer al-‘Azm al-Saakin (1.285-286).
If this is understood, then much of the history of the actions of Hajj before the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is not known to us. In this case it does not matter if we do not know. And there are some things concerning whose history a few indications are narrated in some texts; we will mention some of these here:
1 – When was Hajj enjoined? When did Hajj begin?
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj)”
Ibn Katheer says in his commentary on this verse (3/221):
This means: Proclaim (O Ibraaheem) the Hajj to the people, calling them to come on pilgrimage to this House which We have commanded you to build. It was mentioned that he said, “O Lord, how can I proclaim it to the people when my voice does not reach them?” He said, “Call and We will convey it.” So he stood in his maqaam (station) – or it was said, on the rock, or on al-Safa, or on Abu Qubays (a mountain) – and said: “O people, your Lord has taken a House, so come to it on pilgrimage.” And it was said that the mountains lowered themselves so that his voice could reach all parts of the earth and those who were still in the wombs or in men’s loins also heard, and everything that heard him, cities, nomad encampments and trees, and everyone whom Allaah has decreed should perform Hajj until the Day of Resurrection responded, (saying) Labbayk Allaahumma labbayk (Here I am, O Allaah, here I am. This is the summary of what was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas, Mujaahid, ‘Ikrimah, Sa’eed ibn Jubayr and others among the salaf. And Allaah knows best.
Ibn al-Jawzi, in his book Mutheer al-‘Azm al-Saakin (1/354) narrated something similar, but more briefly, and he attributed it to the narrators of Seerah.
This has to do with the history of the enjoining of Hajj before the sending of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). With regard to the enjoining of Hajj in Islam, there is some scholarly difference of opinion concerning that. It was said that it was enjoined in 6 AH, or in 7 AH, or in 9 AH, or in 10 AH. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) was certain that it was enjoined in 9 or 10 AH. He (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Zaad al-Ma’aad:
“There is no dispute that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not perform Hajj after he migrated to Madeenah apart from one Hajj, which was the Farewell Pilgrimage. And there is no dispute that that occurred in 10 AH… When the command to perform Hajj was revealed, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) hastened to perform Hajj with no delay. Because the enjoining of Hajj came at a later stage, in 9 or 10 AH, one might say, How can you prove that the command to perform Hajj was delayed until 9 or 10 AH? We would say that the first part of Soorah Aal ‘Imraan was revealed in the year of delegations (‘aam al-wufood), during which the delegation from Najraan came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he made a treaty with them regarding their paying the jizyah, and the (ruling on) jizyah was revealed in the year of Tabook, 9 AH, when the first part of Soorat Aal ‘Imraan was revealed…”
Al-Qurtubi said in his Tafseer (2/4/92): Hajj was known to the Arabs. When Islam came, they were told about something they already knew and what was enjoined upon them was something they were familiar with…”
2 – Tawaaf around the House
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“and We commanded Ibraaheem (Abraham) and Ismaa’eel (Ishmael) that they should purify My House (the Ka‘bah at Makkah) for those who are circumambulating it, or staying (I‘tikâf), or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in prayer)”
This verse indicates that tawaaf around the Ka’bah was known at the time of Ibraaheem (peace be upon him).
3 – Raml
Raml means walking quickly with short steps. This is Sunnah for men but not for women during the tawaaf of arrival (tawaaf al-qudoom), which is the first tawaaf performed when one arrives in Makkah.
How did raml begin?
Al-Bukhaari narrated in his Saheeh (2/469-470, 1602) and Muslim also narrated (2/991-992, 1262) that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came with his companions and the mushrikoon said, “There have come to you people who have been weakened by the fever of Yathrib. So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded them to walk quickly (raml) in the first three circuits… According to another report, he said, “Walk quickly so that the mushrikeen will see that you are strong.”
4 – The water of Zamzam and saa’i between al-Safa and al-Marwah.
Al-Bukhaari narrated in his Saheeh (6/396-397, 3364) that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
Ibraaheem brought Haajar and her son Ismaa’eel when she was still breastfeeding him, to a place near the Ka’bah under a tree on the spot of Zamzam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Makkah, nor was there any water. So he left them there and left with them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Ismaa’eel’s mother followed him saying, “O Ibraaheem! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?” She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look at her. Then she asked him, “Has Allaah commanded you to do this?” He said, “Yes.” She said, “Then He will not forsake us,” and went back while Abraham proceeded onwards. When he reached al-Thaniyah where they could not see him, he turned to face the Ka’bah, and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayer:
“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka‘bah at Makkah) in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah). So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allaah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks”
Ismaa’eel’s mother went on breastfeeding Ismaa’eel and drinking from the water (she had). When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Ismaa’eel) tossing in agony. She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of al-Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from al-Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached al-Marwa where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between al-Safa and al-Marwa) seven times.
Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “This is the (origin of) the people’s saa’i (walking) between them between them (i.e. al-Safa and al-Marwa).” When she reached al-Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she said to herself “Shh!” and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, “O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?” Then she saw an angel at the place of Zamzam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), until water appeared. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it.
Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “May Allah have mercy on the mother of Ismaa’eel! Had she let Zamzam (flow without trying to control it) (or had she not scooped from that water) (to fill her water-skin), Zamzam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.” And he said: “The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people’…”
Ibn al-Jawzi said in his book Mutheer al-‘Azm al-Saakin (2/47): “This hadeeth explains the reason why it is called Zamzam, because when the water flowed, Haajar tried to control it (zammat-ha). The linguist Ibn Faaris said: Zamzam comes from the words zamamtu al-naaqah (I reined in the camel).
5 – The standing at ‘Arafah
Abu Dawood and al-Tirmidhi (883) narrated that Yazeed ibn Shaybaan said: We were standing in ‘Arafah in a place far from the mawqif [where the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood]. Ibn Mirba’ al-Ansaari came to us and said, “I am the messenger of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who says to you: ‘Stay where you are (for it is also the place of standing), for you are standing in the area where your father Ibraaheem stood.’” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 1688.
Many of the actions of Hajj stem from the time of Ibraaheem (peace be upon him), but the mushrikeen introduced some innovations which were not prescribed. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was sent, he opposed them in that and explained what was prescribed for the actions of Hajj.
This is a brief look at the history of Hajj and the history of some of its rituals. For more information you could refer to the book of al-Haafiz ibn al-Jawzi (may Allaah have mercy on him) which is called Mutheer al-‘Azm al-Saakin ila Ashraf al-Amaakin – the whole of the first volume and the beginning of the second volume.
And Allaah knows best.
Praise be to Allaah.
Al-Masjid al-Haraam (the Sacred Mosque) is situated in Makkah, a city in the Arabian Peninsula 330 meters above sea-level. The history of the mosque goes back to its founding at the time of Ibraaheem (Abraham) and his son Ismaa’eel (Ishmael), peace be upon them both. Makkah is the place where the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was born and where the Revelation began, and from which the light of Islam spread. Al-Masjid al-Haraam is located here. This is the first mosque that was built for people on earth, as Allaah says in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for al-‘aalameen (mankind and jinns).” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:96].
It was reported in Saheeh Muslim that Abu Dharr said: “I asked the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about the first mosque to be built for people on earth. He said, ‘Al-Masjid al-Haraam.’ I asked, ‘Then which?’ He said, ‘Al-Masjid al-Aqsaa [The Furthest Mosque, in Jerusalem].’ I asked, ‘How long between them?’ He said, ‘Forty years.’”
The Ka’bah – which is the direction of prayer for all Muslims throughout the world – is situated roughly in the middle of al-Masjid al-Haraam. It is a 15-meter high stone structure more or less in the shape of a cube. It was built by Ibraaheem (peace be upon him) on the command of Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And (remember) when We showed Ibraaheem the site of the (Sacred) House (the Ka’bah at Makkah) (saying): ‘Associate not anything (in worship) with Me, and sanctify My House for those who circumambulate it, and those who bow and make prostration.” [al-Hajj 22:26]
The word “bawwa’naa” [translated here as “We showed”] means “He guided him and gave him permission to build it.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer).
Allaah also says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And (remember) when Ibraaheem and (his son) Ismaa’eel were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah)…” [al-Baqarah 2:127]
Wahb ibn Munbih said: “… It was built by Ibraaheem, then [rebuilt] by the Amalekites, then by Jurham, then by Qusayy ibn Kilaab. Its rebuilding by Quraysh is well known… They began to rebuild it with the stones of the valley, which Quraysh carried on their shoulders, and they built it up, 20 cubits high… Between the rebuilding of the Ka’bah and the beginning of the Revelation there were five years, and between the rebuilding and the Hijrah there were fifteen years. ‘Abd al-Razzaaq reported from Mu’ammar from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Uthmaan from Abu’l-Tufayl, and from Mu’ammar from al-Zuhri: ‘They were building it and when they reached al-Rukn, Quraysh argued about which tribe should lift it up. Then they said, “Let us ask the first person who comes from this direction to judge between us.” They agreed on that, then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to them, and he was a young man wearing a spotted sash. They asked him to judge between them, and he told them to place al-Rukn on a piece of cloth, then he told the chief of every tribe to hold the edge of the cloth, then he climbed up and they lifted al-Rukn up to him, and he himself (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) put it into its place.” (Taareekh Makkah by al-Azraqi, 1/161-164)
Muslim (2374) reported that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “I asked the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about al-Jadr [the wall] and whether it was part of the House [the Ka’bah]. He said, ‘Yes.’ I asked, ‘So why is it not incorporated into the House?’ He said, ‘Your people ran out of money.’ I asked, ‘What about the door? Why is it high up?’ He said, ‘Your people did that so they could let in whomever they wanted and keep out whomever they wanted. If it were not for the fact that your people are still new [in Islam] and too close to their Jaahiliyyah, and I am afraid that they would resent it, I would think of incorporating al-Jadr into the House and bringing the door down to ground level.’”
Before Islam (in the year in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was born), the Ka’bah was subjected to an attack by the Ethiopian Abrahah, who had built al-Qulays, a church to which he wanted the Arabs to make their pilgrimage. He set out with his army, with whom was the elephant, and when they reached Makkah, Allaah sent flocks of birds against them; each bird was carrying three stones like chickpeas or lentils, one in its beak and two in its claws. Every man who was struck by a stone was killed, so the army was destroyed, by the command of Allaah.
Allaah has mentioned this incident in His Book, where He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with the Owners of the Elephant? Did He not make their plot go astray?
And sent against them birds, in flocks,
Striking them with stones of Sijjeel,
And made them like an empty field of slaks (in which the corn has been eaten up by cattle).”
(See al-Seerah al-Nabawiyyah by Ibn Hishaam, 1/44-58).
There was no fence or wall around the Ka’bah until it became necessary. Yaaqoot al-Hamawi said in Mu’jam al-Buldaan (5/146): “The first one to build a wall around the Ka’bah was ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him); there was no wall around it during the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or Abu Bakr. [The wall was built] because people were building their houses too close to the Ka’bah and making the space around it too small for people. ‘Umar said: ‘The Ka’bah is the House of Allaah, and a house needs a courtyard. You have encroached on its space, it has not encroached on yours.’ So he bought those houses, demolished them and added that space to the space around the Ka’bah. He also destroyed the houses of people in the vicinity of the Ka’bah who had refused to sell, and kept the money aside for them until they came and took it later on. He built a wall around the mosque, lower than the height of a man, and lamps were placed on it. When ‘Uthmaan was khaleefah, he bought more houses that were more expensive… It was said that ‘Uthmaan was the first one to build porticos around it … When Ibn al-Zubayr was in power, he improved its appearance, although he did not increase its size, by adding marble pillars, extra doors and other improvements. When ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwaan was khaleefah, he added to the wall of the mosque, and brought columns from Egypt by sea to Jeddah, which were carried from Jeddah to Makkah on wheels. Al-Hajjaaj ibn Yoosuf commanded that the Ka’bah should be covered in drapes (al-kiswah) and when al-Waleed ibn ‘Abd al-Malik was khaleefah, he added to the adornment of the kiswah and spent money on improvements to the drainage spout and roof… When al-Mansoor and his son al-Mahdi were khaleefahs, they added more adornments to the mosque and improved its appearance.”
There are also other religious monuments in the Mosque, such as Maqaam Ibraaheem (the Station of Ibraaheem), which is the rock on which Ibraaheem (peace be upon him) stood whilst he was building the Ka’bah. There is also the Well of Zamzam, which is a spring of water brought forth by Allaah for Haajar and her child Ismaa’eel (peace be upon him) when he got thirsty. We should not forget either the Black Stone and al-Rukn al-Yamaani, which are two of the precious stones of Paradise. Al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad reported that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saying that the Rukn and the Maqaam are two of the precious stones of Paradise, whose light has been extinguished by Allaah. If He had not extinguished their light, it would illuminate everything between the East and the West.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 804).
Near the Mosque are the two hills of al-Safa and al-Marwah. One of the unique features of the Mosque is that it is the only mosque in the world to which people come on pilgrimage (Hajj). Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily! Al-Safa and al-Marwah are of the Symbols of Allaah. So it is not a sin on him who performs Hajj or ‘Umrah (pilgrimage) of the House to perform the going (tawaaf) between them. And whoever does good voluntarily, then verily, Allaah is All-Recognizer, All-Knower.” [al-Baqarah 2:158]
Another of its unique features is that Allaah has made it safe, and one prayer in it is equal to a hundred thousand prayers elsewhere. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And (remember) when We made the House a place of resort for mankind and a place of safety. And take you (people) the Maqaam (place) of Ibraaheem as a place of prayer, and We commanded Ibraaheem and Ismaa’eel that they should purify My House for those who are circumabulating it, or staying (I’tikaaf), or bowing or prostrating themselves.” [al-Baqarah 2:125]
“In it are manifest signs (for example); the maqaam (place) of Ibraaheem; whoever enters it, he attains security. And Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to Allaah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves [i.e., denies Hajj, then he is a disbeliever of Allaah], then Allaah stands not in need of any of the ‘aalameen (mankind and jinns).” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:97]
(See Akhbaar Makkah by al-Azraqi and Akhbaar Makkah by al-Faakihi).
And Allaah is the Source of Strength and the Guide to the Straight Path.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
The fuqaha’ define dayn (debt) as an obligation to be fulfilled, as it says in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (21/102). The linguistic meaning of the word dayn (debt) in Arabic has to do with submission and humiliation. The connection between the shar’i meaning and the linguistic meaning is clear. The debtor is a prisoner, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Your companion is being detained by his debt.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3341; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
Islam takes the matter of debt very seriously and warns against it and urges the Muslim to avoid it as much as possible.
It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say in his prayer: “Allaahumma inni a’oodhi bika min al-ma’tham wa’l-maghram (O Allaah, I seek refuge with You from sin and heavy debt).” Someone said to him: “How often you seek refuge from heavy debt!” He said: “When a man gets into debt, he speak and tells lies, and he makes a promise and breaks it.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (832) and Muslim (589).
Al-Nasaa’i (4605) narrated that Muhammad ibn Jahsh (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
We were sitting with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he raised his head towards the sky, then he put his palm on his forehead and said: “Subhaan-Allaah! What a strict issue has been revealed to me!” We remained silent and were afraid. The following morning I asked him, “O Messenger of Allaah, what is this strict issue that has been revealed?” He said, “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if a man were killed in battle for the sake of Allaah, then brought back to life, then killed and brought back to life again, then killed, and he owed a debt, he would not enter Paradise until his debt was paid off.” Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i, 4367.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) refrained from offering the funeral prayer for one who had died owing two dinars, until Abu Qataadah (may Allaah be pleased with him) promised to pay it off for him. When he saw him the following day and said, I have paid it off, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Now his skin has become cool for him.” Musnad Ahmad (3/629); classed as hasan by al-Nawawi in al-Khalaasah (2/931) and by Ibn Muflih in al-Adaab al-Shar’iyyah (1/104).
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Fath al-Baari (4/547):
This hadeeth indicates how difficult the issue of debt is, and that it should not be undertaken except in cases of necessity. End quote.
It was narrated from Thawbaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Whoever dies free from three things – arrogance, cheating and debt – will enter Paradise.”
Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1572); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“The soul of the believer is suspended because of his debt until it is paid off.”
Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1078).
Al-Mubaarakfoori said in Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi (4/164):
The words “the soul of the believer is suspended” – al-Suyooti said: i.e., it is detained and kept from reaching its noble destination. Al-‘Iraaqi said: i.e., no judgement is passed as to whether it will be saved or doomed until it is determined whether his debt will be paid off or not. End quote.
It was also narrated that many of the salaf warned against debt:
It was narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
Beware of debt, for it starts with worry and it ends with war. Narrated by Maalik in al-Muwatta’ (2/770).
In Musannaf ‘Abd al-Razzaaq (3/57) it says:
Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
O Humraan, fear Allaah and do not die in debt, lest it be taken from your good deeds when there will be no dinars and no dirhams.
These stern warnings about debt only came because of the negative consequences to which it leads both on an individual level and on a community level.
With regard to the personal level, al-Qurtubi said in al-Jaami’ li Ahkaam al-Qur’aan (3/417):
Our scholars said: It is a disgrace and a humiliation because it preoccupies the mind and makes one worried about paying it off, and makes one feel humiliated before the lender when meeting him, and feeling that he is doing one a favour when accepting a delay in payment. Perhaps he may promise himself that he will pay it off then break that promise, or speak to the lender and lie to him, or swear an oath to him then break it, and so on. Moreover, he may die without having paid off the debt so he will be held hostage because of it, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The soul of the believer is held hostage by his debt in his grave until it is paid off.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1078. All of that undermines one’s religious commitment.
With regard to the community level, specialists have described the negative consequences and the danger it poses to the economy, for example:
1- Desire for immediate gratification with no thought of the future
2- Lack of responsibility and self-reliance
3- Poor distribution of wealth
In order to understand these negative consequences better, please see the study by Shaykh Saami al-Suwaylim entitled Mawqif al-Sharee’ah al-Islamiyyah min al-Dayn (6-11).
Based on the above, the scholars have stipulated three conditions for debt to be permissible:
1- The borrower should be determined to repay it.
2- It should be known or thought most likely that he is able to repay it,
3- It should be for something that is permissible according to sharee’ah.
Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said in al-Tamheed (23/238):
The debt for which a person will be kept out of Paradise – and Allaah knows best – is that for which he left behind enough to pay it off but he did not leave instructions to that effect, or he was able to pay it off but did not do so, or he took the loan for some unlawful or extravagant matter and died without having paid it off.
As for the one who took a loan for something lawful because he was poor, and he died without leaving behind anything to pay it off, Allaah will not keep him from Paradise because of it, in sha Allaah. End quote.
In the Sunnah there are a number of du’aa’s which specifically seek the help of Allaah in praying off debts. They are:
1 – It was narrated that Suhayl said: Abu Saalih used to tell us, when one of us wanted to sleep, to lie down on his right side and say:
“Allaahumma Rabb al-samawaati wa’l-ard wa Rabb al-‘arsh il-‘azeem, Rabbaanaa wa Rabba kulli shay’in, Faaliq al-habb wa’l-nawa wa munzil al-Tawraati wa’l-Injeeli wa’l-Furqaan, a’oodhu bika min sharri kulli shay’in anta aakhidhun bi naasiyatihi. Allaahumma anta al-awwal fa laysa qablaka shay’un, wa anta al-aakhir fa laysa ba’daka shay’un, wa anta al-zaahir fa laysa fawqaka shay’un wa anta al-baatin fa laysa doonaka shay’un. Iqdi ‘annaa al-dayna wa aghninaa min al-faqri (O Allaah, Lord of the seven heavens and the exalted Throne, our Lord and Lord of all things, splitter of the seed and the date-stone, Revealer of the Tawraat and the Injeel and the Furqaan [Qur’aan], I seek refuge in You from the evil of all things You shall seize by the forelock [have total mastery over]. O Allaah, You are the First so there is nothing before You, and You are the Last so there is nothing after You. You are al-Zaahir [the greatest and highest] so there is nothing above You, and You are al-Baatin [aware of the subtlest secrets] so there is nothing closer than You. Settle our debt for us and spare us from poverty).”
He narrated that from Abu Hurayrah, from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Narrated by Muslim (2713).
2 – It was narrated from ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) that a mukaatib (slave who had entered into a contract of manumission) came to him and said: “I am unable to pay off my manumission; help me.” He said: “Shall I not tell you some words which the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught me? And if you have debt like the mountain of Seer, Allaah will pay it off for you. He said: ‘Say: Allaahumma akfini bi halaalika ‘an haraamika wa aghnini bi fadlika ‘amman siwaaka (O Allaah, suffice me with what You have permitted so that that I have no need of that which You have forbidden, and make me independent of means by Your bounty so that I have no need of anyone besides You).’”
Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2563) who said: This is a hasan ghareeb hadeeth. It was also classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
3 – It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered the mosque and saw an Ansaari man whose name was Abu Umaamah. He said: “O Abu Umaamah, why do I see you sitting in the mosque when it is not the time for prayer? He said: Worries and debts, O Messenger of Allaah. He said: “Shall I not teach you some words which, if you say them, Allaah will take away your worries and pay off your debts?” He said: Yes, O Messenger of Allaah. He said:
“Say, morning and evening, ‘“Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min al-hammi wa’l-hazani, wa a’oodhi bika min al-‘ajzi wa’l-kasali, wa a’oodhu bika min al-jubni wa’l-bukhli, wa a’oodhi bika min ghalabat il-dayn wa qahri al-rijaal (O Allaah, I seek refuge with You from worry and grief, and I seek refuge with You from incapacity and laziness, and I seek refuge with You from cowardice and miserliness, and I seek refuge with You from being heavily in debt and from being overcome by men).”
He said; I did that, and Allaah took away my worry and paid off my debt.
Narrated by Abu Dawood (1555). Its isnaad includes Ghassaan ibn ‘Awf; al-Dhahabi said: he is not strong. Hence Shaykh al-Albaani classed the hadeeth as weak in Da’eef Abi Dawood. But the du’aa’ mentioned – “Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min al-hammi wa’l-hazani…” – is proven in al-Saheehayn in a report other than this story of Abu Umaamah.
And Allaah knows best.
Ibn `Abbâs (may Allah be pleased with im) relates that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to say when he stood for the Tahajjud prayer: “O Allah! Yours is the praise. You are the sustainer of the heavens and the Earth and all that they contain. And Yours is the praise. Yours is the dominion of the heavens and the Earth and all that they contain. And Yours is the praise. You are the light of the heavens and the Earth and all that they contain. And Yours is the praise. You are the king of the heavens and the Earth. And Yours is the praise. You are the Truth. Your promise is true. The meeting with You is true. Your word is true. Paradise is true and the Fire is true. The prophets are true. Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is true. The Hour is true. O Allah! To You I have surrendered. In You I believe. Upon You I rely. To You I repent. With you I present my argument. To you I appeal for judgment. So forgive me what preceded and what will follow, and what I have concealed and what I have revealed. You are the one who brings forward and the one who postpones. There is no god beside You.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1120) and Sahîh Muslim (769)]
Then, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) addresses Him as: “the sustainer of the heavens and the Earth”. This is one of Allah’s attributes. Allah is al-Qayyûm, which means that he is eternally independent of all else and the sustainer of everything else. He is in charge of the affairs of creation and the sustenance of His creatures. He is witness to all that they do and He is the one who will recompense them for their deeds. Allah says: “Is He then who watches every soul as to what it earns?” [Sûrah al-Ra`d: 33]
Then, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) addresses Him as: “the light of the heavens and the Earth”. This is another attribute of Allah. One of Allah’s names is al-Nûr. Allah attributes light to Himself when He says: “And the Earth shall shine with the light of her Lord, and the Book is set up, and the prophets and the witnesses are brought, and it is judged between them with truth, and they are not wronged.” [Sûrah al-Zumar: 69]
One of the meanings conveyed by the statement “You are the light of the heavens and the Earth” is that Allah is the one who gives guidance to the denizens of the heavens and the Earth. He is the one who illuminates the heavens and the Earth by creating the light that illuminates them.
Then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) says: “You are the Truth.” This is another of Allah’s names – al-Haqq. Allah is the clear and manifest truth in His essence and His attributes. There is no doubt about His existence, which is necessary. None has dominion or has the right to be worshipped aside from Him. All other deities and objects of worship are false.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) then says: “Your promise is true.” This means that Allah’s promise is certain and will never be broken. Allah’s promise must come to pass. Everything that follows in the supplication that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) mentions as being true is part of Allah’s promise. Here we have an enumeration of things that have been promised, or we simply have mention being made of particulars after a general statement.
When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) says: “The meeting with You is true” he is making an affirmation of the Resurrection, of life after death. This is the destination of Allah’s creatures and this is where Allah will recompense them for their deeds.
When he says: “Paradise is true and the Fire is true”, he is affirming that these creations are in existence right now.
When he says: “Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is true” this is conferring distinction upon him.
When he says: “The Hour is true”, he is referring to the Day of Resurrection.
Referring to all of these as true means that they have to come to pass. It also means that it is obligatory for us to believe in them. The word “true” is repeated over and over again, providing a strong emphasis to this meaning.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) then says: “With you I present my argument.” This means that he argues with what Allah has provided him with of proofs end arguments.
Then, when he says: “To you I appeal for judgment”, this refers to his deferring judgment to Allah for all those who refuse the truth. Allah is the judge between us, not to what the people in times of ignorance used to appeal to for judgment of charlatans and soothsayers.
Then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) pleads: “So forgive me.” He asks this even though he had already been forgiven. However, he does so out of humility and deference, and to glorify and extol his Lord. He also may be doing so here in order to teach his followers who follow his example. Most likely, he is doing so for all these reasons.
He concludes by saying: “You are the one who brings forward and the one who postpones.” Allah brings forth to His servants what He pleases and holds back what He wills. He puts all things in their proper place.
This supplication is significant. It is a good example of the Prophet’s eloquence whereby in a few brief words he speaks volumes of meaning. This supplication starts by praising Allah with His names and attributes that in turn express His greatness and perfection and how He encompasses with his power and knowledge all of His creation. The supplication also expresses our worship of Allah, our devotion to Him and our submission to Him of ourselves and our affairs. It acknowledges our faith in the unseen – in the matters that constitute the basic tenets of our belief in Allah, his Messengers, the Last Day, and the abode of the Hereafter. It also entails the idea of praising and extolling Allah before humbly beseeching Him for forgiveness.
We as Muslims should humble ourselves before Allah by way of this noble supplication. By doing so, we will be following in the footsteps of our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
And Allah knows best.