Monthly Archives: February 2013
It is mentioned that ash-Shafi’i – may Allaah have mercy on him – debated a scholar over a complex legal issue. They differed and argued for a long time, during which they raised their voices and failed to convince each other. The other scholar’s complexion changed and he became angry and felt hurt. When the meeting ended and they decided to leave, al-Shafi’i turned to the scholar, took hold of his hand and said, “Why can’t we differ and still be brothers?”
Some scholars of Hadith once sat in the presence of a Caliph. One of the scholars in the gathering narrated a Hadith, and thereupon, another scholar became very surprised and said, “This is not a Hadith! From where did you get it? Are you lying upon the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)?”
The scholar replied, “To the contrary, this is a well established Hadith!”
The other scholar said, “No! We have never heard this Hadith nor memorised it!”
In the gathering there was an intelligent vizier. He turned to the scholar and said very gently, “O Shaykh, have you memorized all of the Hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)?”
“No”, the scholar replied.
The vizier asked, “So did you memorise half of them?”
“Perhaps”, the scholar replied.
The vizier replied, “Then consider this Hadith to be from the half you have not memorised!” and that was the end of the problem.
Al-Fudhayl bin ‘Ayadh and ‘Abdullah bin al-Mubarak were two close friends who would never leave each other. They were both modest scholars.
‘Abdullah bin al-Mubarak decided to go for Jihad and join the garrison troops for guard duty at the frontiers, while al-Fudhayl bin ‘Ayadh decided to stay in the Haram to pray and worship Allaah.
One day, his heart melted and he began to weep. Al-Fudhayl was sitting in the Haram and worshipping Allaah. He longed for his friend, Ibn al-Mubarak, and recalled their gatherings in which they would remember Allaah. Thus, al-Fudhayl wrote to Ibn al-Mubarak asking him to come to the Haram for worship, remembrance of Allaah and recitation of the Qur’an.
When Ibn al-Mubarak read al-Fudhayl’s letter, he took a piece of paper and wrote to al-Fudhayl:
“O you who worships in the vicinity of the Two Holy Mosques! If you but see us, you will realize that you are only jesting in worship.
He who brings wetness to his cheek with his tears should know.
Our necks become wet with our blood.
He who tires his horses without purpose, now that our horses are getting tired in battle.
The scent of perfume is yours, while ours is
The glimmer of spears and the stench of dust [in battle].
We were narrated about in the speech of our Prophet,
An authentic statement that never lies
That the dust that erupts by Allaah’s horses and which fills the nostrils of a man, Shall never be combined with the smoke of a raging Fire.
This, the Book of Allaah speaks to us. Is that the martyr is not dead, and this cannot be denied.
He then said,
“From Allaah’s slaves are those whom Allaah has blessed with fasting. They fast like no other people. From them are those blessed with recitation of the Qur’an. From them are those blessed with seeking knowledge. From them are those blessed with Jihad, and from them are those blessed with praying at night. What you are engrossed in is not better than what I am engrossed in. Both of us are involved in something good.”
This is how gently the dispute ended between the two of them, by simply saying, “both of us are doing good,” and as Allaah says, “Your Lord creates what He wills and chooses.”
This was the way of the Companions.
A group of disbelievers got together and rallied to fight the Muslims in Madinah. They came with an army the like of which was never witnessed amongst the Arabs, in terms of numbers and weapons.
In response, the Muslims dug up trenches which were not able to be crossed in order to enter Madinah. Hence, the disbelieving army was kept behind the trenches. In Madinah, there was a tribe called Banu Quraydhah. They were Jews, lying in wait for the believers. They turned to the disbelievers to help them and began to cause mischief and disorder in Madinah, whilst the Muslims were busy guarding the city at the trenches.
The days passed with great difficulty until Allaah sent wind and His hidden army against the disbelievers that tore their army apart. They turned back in failure, dragging their belongings back with them in the darkness of the night.
When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) woke up the next morning, he departed from the trenches for Madinah. The Muslims put their weapons down and returned home. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered his home, put his weapons down and took a bath.When the time for Dhuhr prayer entered, Jibril came and called the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) from outside his house. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) instantly stood up in fear. Jibril (peace be upon him) said to him,
“Have you put down your weapons, O Messenger of Allaah?”
“Yes”, the Prophet replied.
Jibril said, “The angels have not yet put down their weapons. I have just come back, having chased them away. We chased them until we reached Hamra al-Asad”, meaning, they chased the Quraysh away when they left Madinah for Makkah. The angels were following them and chasing them away from Madinah. Jibreel then said, “Allaah has ordered you to head for Banu Quraydhah, for I am heading towards them to shake the earth beneath them.”
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) then ordered a man to make an announcement, “Whosoever hears and obeys, let him not pray the ‘Asr prayer except in Banu Quraydhah.” The men dashed to grab their weapons, they heard and obeyed and went to the dwellings of Banu Quraydhah, but as they were on their way, the time for ‘Asr prayer entered upon them. Some of them said, “We will not pray ‘Asr except in Banu Quraydhah’s dwellings.” Others argued, “Rather, we will pray now, for this wasn’t what the Prophet meant. He only wanted us to hurry.”
They prayed ‘Asr and continued with their journey, while others delayed the prayer until they reached Banu Quraydhah.
When this was mentioned to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) he did not chastise any of the two groups. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) then besieged Banu Quraydhah until Allaah gave him victory over them.
Consider how they used to differ amongst each other as brothers, such that their differences would not lead to discord, argumentation and people turning against each other.
Believe me, if you deal with the people with ease and gentleness, and with an open mind, they will love you and you would thereby enter into their hearts. And before all of this, Allaah would
Love you, for discord is something always negative.
A point of view…
The objective is not that we should agree. Rather, the objective is not to conflict.
O My Beloved Student:
Assalaamu’alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh
Make Allah’s Pleasure Your Priority
My first advice to you is to make Allah’s pleasure your priority in everything, from personal friendships to your Islamic studies. This means spending each night reflecting on the events, thoughts, words, and deeds of your day. As one of the Companions advised, “Take account of your deeds before they are taken to account for you.”
This also means making sincere Istikhaarah your “best friend” before embarking on any decision, especially that which does not have a clear Islamic ruling. This includes everything from where you plan to study, whom you study with, the madhhab you choose to follow, and most especially the taking of a position in which there is disagreement amongst scholars.
Stick to the Sunnah
My second advice is to stick firmly to the authentic Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu’alayhi wa sallam. This may, on the surface, appear as a given. But in today’s world where knowledge is little and ignorance is great, living in actuality of this advice is tremendously difficult as we sift through claims of truth and discover that much of it is falsehood. Know too that falsehood does not come only from insincere, “bad” people. It can come from the kindest, most sincere, and well-meaning of people—and it can even come from those who are regarded as “scholars.” Therefore, this reality necessitates your having an open heart and mind when turning to Allah for guidance. Pray:
“O Allah, I ask you for beneficial knowledge, a submitting heart, truthful conviction, and a tongue that is in constant remembrance of You!”
The Prophet and His Companions Knew Islam Best
My third advice is to stick firmly to understanding Islam as it was understood by the Prophet sallallaahu’alayhi wa sallam and his Companions. For Allah says to them,
“You are the best people ever raised for mankind…” (Aali-‘Imraan, 3:110)
Since they are the best of us, they are our “measuring stick” in our practice and understanding of Islam.
Truth Is Not in a Label
The Prophet sallallaahu’alayhi wa sallam said, “The best of my nation is my generation then those who follow them and then those who follow them” (Bukhari). Thus, the first three generations of Muslims are our example in our practice and understanding of Islam. However, your concern should never be the word or claim of following the earliest generations; rather, your concern should be the reality of understanding and practicing Islam as it was revealed.
Learn from Scholars Who Teach the Sunnah
The Prophet sallallaahu’alayhi wa sallam said, “Indeed, the scholars are the inheritors of the prophets, for the prophets do not leave behind a dinar or a dirham for inheritance, but rather, they leave behind knowledge. So whoever takes hold of it has acquired a large share” (Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi).
In other words, the scholars most deserving of being followed are those who teach what they “inherited” from the knowledge of the Prophet—the Qur’an and Sunnah, where all authentic Islamic sciences, rulings and schools of fiqh are derived. However, our focus should never be on a particular scholar or school of thought more than the truth we are obligated to follow.
You’ll Answer for Your Deeds & Taqleed Is No Excuse
Know too that, especially for the student of knowledge on the path to being a scholar, there is no taqleed (blind following) to any scholar or school of thought except in that which you know (based on clear proofs) to be from Allah or the Prophet sallallaahu’alayhi wa sallam.
Know of a surety you will be called to account for your deeds and your thinking, and no one but you can answer for them. So do not think that it is ever excusable to throw away your mind when following scholars of Islam. We throw away our thinking only when our thoughts conflict with something clearly established in the Qur’an or Sunnah, not when we’re differentiating right from wrong amongst the opinions of scholars. For all scholars of the Sunnah advised: never, ever follow a scholar’s opinion when it goes against the Sunnah. If you do, then the blame is on you, not on them, as they advised you otherwise.
Quotes from the Early Scholars
”It is not permitted for anyone to accept our views if they do not know from where we got them from.” —Imam Abu Hanifah
“Indeed I am only a human: I make mistakes [sometimes] and I am correct [sometimes]. Therefore, look into my opinions: all that agrees with the Book and the Sunnah accept it; and all that does not agree with the Book and the Sunnah, ignore it.” —Imam Malik Ibn Anas
”For everything I say, if there is something authentic from the Prophet, sallallahu’alayhi wa sallam, contrary to my saying, then the hadith of the Prophet, sallallahu’alayhi wa sallam, comes first, therefore do not [do] taqleed of my opinion.” —Imam Muḥammad Ibn Idris al-Shafi’ee
” Do not follow my opinion; neither follow the opinion of Malik, nor Shafi’ee, nor Awza’i, nor Thawri, but take from where they took.” —Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal
Knowledge Is Beneficial Only If Your Foundation Is Correct
Know this and know it well: There is a tremendous amount of knowledge in this world, and there are many, many scholars. But knowledge is of no benefit if one’s foundational knowledge is incorrect. This includes the knowledge of normal people and the knowledge of scholars. And this includes knowledge of worldly matters and knowledge of religion.
Know too that knowledge itself is of two types: beneficial and non-beneficial. Beneficial knowledge is that which can help your affairs in worldly matters and that which can help your affair in the Hereafter. Of the non-beneficial knowledge, there are two subcategories: useless knowledge and harmful knowledge. Useless knowledge could be your knowing something as simple as what your neighbor is eating for dinner (if there is no reason for you to know this). And harmful knowledge is learning anything that can lead to disbelief, religious innovation, or sin.
Tazkiyyah Is Islam Itself
In Islam, tazkiyyah (purification of the soul) is the religion of Islam itself. Anything you do that fulfills the following two conditions results in tazkiyyah:
1. It is done seeking the pleasure of Allah alone.
2. It is done according to the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu’alayhi wa sallam.
Thus, any act that is claimed to be tazkiyyah, know my dear student, that it must fit both of these conditions; otherwise the claim is false or mistaken.
There’s No ‘Bridge’ to the Sunnah
Know too that just as there is Tawheed (the Oneness of Allah) and its opposite Shirk (setting up partners or intermediaries with Him), there is, too, Sunnah and its opposite Bid’ah (innovation in religion). Those who commit shirk claim to do it in order to draw closer to Allah. And those who do bid’ah claim to do it in order to draw closer to the Sunnah.
In truth, there is no Shirk that is a “bridge” to Tawheed. Tawheed is both a means and an end: It your starting point, your bridge, and your goal. Similarly, there is no Bid’ah, in fact no act at all, that is a “bridge” to the Sunnah. Like Tawheed, the Sunnah is both a means and an end: The Sunnah is your starting point, your bridge, and your goal.
So any path that claims otherwise, know that it is, surely, a path to your loss in this world and in the Hereafter.
Be Merciful and Forgiving
On a personal note, I advise you to be ever forgiving of your Muslim brothers and sisters, be they friends, classmates, family or even people you barely know. This is the path to Paradise.
Forgiving, making excuses, and overlooking faults are basic parts in our religion, and anyone who wishes to call others to Islam or become a student of knowledge or a scholar must have an especially merciful heart and forgiving nature, and he or she must constantly make excuses for others, searching for explanations that protect a person’s honor and reputation.
May Allah Have Mercy on You
May Allah have mercy on you and your family. May He increase you in beneficial knowledge, guide you on the Sunnah of His Messenger sallallaahu’alayhi wa sallam. May He show you what is right and make you follow it, and may He show you what is wrong and keep you far from it. And may your last days be your best days, your last deeds your best deeds, and your best day the Day you meet Ar-Rahmaan.
Please keep me in your prayers.
By Umm Zakiyyah on 03 February 2013.