Category Archives: Points of Benefit

Nurturing Nascent Strengths

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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Muslims are encouraged to enact deeds to the very end of their lives. People seeking happiness at the end of their lives will facilitate working righteous deeds that will lead to that happiness sought. Imam Malik رحمه الله once received a letter from a close friend of his named ‘Abdullah al-Umari, he was a person known for being diligent in worship. In the letter, he advised Imam Malik not to be excessive in sitting and teaching hadeeth in Madinah, and that he should spend time alone in order to perform a lot of worship.

Imam Malik responded with a profound and sufficiently apt statement (found in Ibn Abd Al-Barr’s Al-Tamheed, 7/185):

إن الله عز و جل قسم الأعمال كما قسم الأرزاق فرب رجل فتح له في الصلاة ولم يفتح له في الصوم وآخر فتح له في الصدقة ولم يفتح له في الصوم وآخر فتح له في الجهاد ولم يفتح له في الصلاة ونشر العلم وتعليمه من أفضل أعمال البر

“Indeed Allah Almighty has divided deeds (of His servants) just as He has divided their sustanence. A person for whom salah is made easy may not have fasting made easy for him. And for another, sadaqah may be made easy but not fasting. And for another, striving in the path of Allah may be made easy but not salah or spreading of knowledge or teaching it from the preferred deeds of goodness and piety…”

Then he continued:

وقد رضيت بما فتح الله لي من ذلك وما أظن ما أنا فيه بدون ما أنت فيه وأرجو أن يكون كلنا على خير ويجب على كل واحد منا أن يرضى بما قسم الله له والسلام

“And I am pleased that Allah has made easy for me such (teaching of knowledge). And I think what I am occupied with is not the same [i.e. not lower in rank] as what you are occupied with, and I hope that both of us are upon khayr. And it is wajib upon every one of us to be pleased with the division Allah Has granted (and made easy). Salaam be to you.”

Our deen does not require from us to become all things or to partake in everything that the deen permits. Neither does it encourage us to take up roles and responsibilities for which we are neither ready nor prepared. Yet each of us are tasked to perform duties and obligations as servants of Allah, and work towards providing benefits according to each person’s genuine potential.

Those who hold important roles may influence decisions for the betterment of communities. Those who are given excess wealth may benefit others who are in need. Those who are granted understanding of deen may extend its benefits to the rest. However, we see in many cases people are sacrificing time and effort and wealth, so as to merely develop their potential in things that bring no benefit at all.

And tawfeeq is from Allah alone.

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Habituate Goodness 💫

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” thus states Newton’s third law of (natural) motion. Whatever may be your action, there is bound to be a reaction; and nothing that illustrates this theory better than the shari’ idea of recompense. Rather, a good action may return a reward greater than the act itself.

It is authentically attributed to the eminent Companion, Ibn Mas’ood رضي الله عنه that he said, when advising people of causes and consequences:

تعودوا الخير فإنما الخير في العادة

Get in the habit of doing good, for indeed doing good becomes habitual. ❞  [Al-Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah, 4/165 (#4993)]

In other words, nurturing and priming oneself to enact good deeds will over time, accustom him to regular fulfillment of that deed. And it is revealed:

هَلْ جَزَاءُ الْإِحْسَانِ إِلَّا الْإِحْسَانُ

Is the reward for good (anything) except good? ❞  [Al-Rahman, 60]


Brotherhood Upon Obedience

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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Sometimes we become immersed in the daily chores of family life, and an open and deliberate cognisance of the Hereafter takes a back seat. Brothers and friends in Deen on the other hand, push us towards Allah’s dhikr and obedience of Him ﷻ‎.

Al-Hasan al-Basri رحمه الله said in comparing family and brotherhood:

إخواننا أحب إلينا من أهلينا وأولادنا، لأن أهلنا يذكروننا بالدنيا وإخواننا يذكروننا بالله والدار الآخرة

❝ Our ikhwan are more beloved to us than our family members and our children. For our families remind us of the dunya, while our brothers remind us of Allah and the abode of the akhirah. ❞  [Ihya’ Uloom al-Deen]

The importance of brotherhood in Islam is something our Deen has expounded in great detail. Even in today’s world, the virtue of righteous friendship remains highly guarded. However, the intent and love behind such brotherhood needs to move beyond mere worldly reasons and into more loftier motivations.

Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه said, while observing the state of bonds of brotherhood in his own time:

قد صارت عامة مؤاخاة الناس على أمر الدنيا وذلك لا يُجدي على أهله شيئاً

❝ It has generally become such that brotherhood of people is based on matters of the dunya, and it doesn’t notably (and positively) impact a person’s household of anything. ❞  [Kitab al-Zuhd, Ibn al-Mubarak, p.353]

This type of brotherhood that propels righteousness and obedience needs to develop into a mutual longing for the tangible benefits that inspires and influences one’s own personal development and that of those around him. And tawfeeq is from Allah alone.


Commensurate

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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Allah جل جلاله Said:

وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَىٰ لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا ۚ يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا ۚ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ  

“Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practise their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me. But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the Fasiqoon.” [Al-Noor, 55]

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Ibn Al-Qayyim said:  والعبد إن غير المعصية بالطاعة غير الله عليه العقوبة بالعافية والذل بالعز

“If the slave (of Allah) changes his sin (and disobedience) to obedience, Allah will change his punishment to safety, and change his humiliation to honour.”   [Al-Jawab al-Kafi, 93]

Shaykh Abdul Aziz bin Baz (rahimahullah) said:

فمتى تمسك المسلمون بدين الله والتزموا بما أوجب الله عليهم, وابتعدوا عما حرم عليهم, وحكموا شريعته, فإن الله سبحانه ينصرهم, ويؤيدهم على أعدائهم, ويكتب لهم النجاح والسعادة في الدنيا والآخرة, ويمنحهم الأمن في الدنيا وفي الآخرة, كما قال عز وجل: الذين آمنوا ولم يلبسوا إيمانهم بظلم أولئك لهم الأمن وهم مهتدون

“Whenever Muslims hold fast to the religion of Allah, and commit themselves to what Allah has enjoined upon them, and moved away from what is forbidden to them, and rule by His Law, then verily Allah Almighty will grant them victory and support them against their enemies. He will write for them success and happiness in this world and the Hereafter. As Allah ‘Azza wa Jal Said:

الذين آمنوا ولم يلبسوا إيمانهم بظلم أولئك لهم الأمن وهم مهتدون

“Those who believe and do not mix their belief with injustice – they will have security, and they are rightly guided.”  [Al-An’am, 82]

~ Majmu’ul Fatawa, 7/18


Intentions Rain Rewards

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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‘Abdullah, the son of Imam Ahmad asked his father, “O my father, counsel me” . He replied:

يا بني انو الخير فإنك لا تزال بخير ما نويت الخير

❝ O my son, (always) maintain a good intention (of purpose), for you will still (be rewarded) the good that was intended. ❞  [Ibn Muflih, ‘Adaab al-Shari’yyah’, 1/104]

After recording this statement in his work, ibn Muflih commented:

وهذه وصية عظيمة سهلة على المسئول سهلة الفهم والامتثال على السائل، وفاعلها ثوابه دائم مستمر لدوامها واستمرارها، وهي صادقة على جميع أعمال القلوب المطلوبة شرعا سواء تعلقت بالخالق أو بالمخلوق وأنها يثاب عليها

“This is a great piece of advice that is easy to comply to and understand, and its enactment provides constant and continuous reward. And this is true of all the actions of the hearts that are required by shari’ah; whether it is related to the Creator or to His creation, they will be rewarded for this…

ولم أجد في الثواب عليها خلافا قال الشيخ تقي الدين في كتاب الإيمان: ما هم به من القول الحسن والعمل الحسن فإنما يكتب له به حسنة واحدة وإذا صار قولا وعملا كتب له عشر حسنات إلى سبعمائة، وذلك للحديث المشهور في الهم

And I didn’t find that (attainment of) such reward differed from what was said by shaykh Taqi’udeen (ibn Taymiyyah) in his book, ‘Kitab al-Iman’: “There’s nothing they (intend) of saying good words and doing good actions, except that it is written for him as one good one deed. And if he implements his words and actions, it is written as (anything between) ten to seven hundred good deeds. And this narration is well-known to inspire.”

See also Saheeh al-Bukhari, 7062 & Muslim, 128


For the Love of Books!

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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Muslims have generally become apathetic to reading books. We simply don’t read enough – and when we do, it is done from a distance that prevents its understanding and impact from being felt. In making use of books and handling them in a more meaningful way, Abu Zayd al-Nahawi (d.215H) said, as was reported by Al-Khateeb in his, ‘Al-Jaami li Akhlaq al-Rawi’, 1/277:

لا يضيء الكتاب حتى يظلم

“The book will not illuminate until it is darkened.”

The intent here is that the brightness of the book and its illumination [from the knowledge it contains] won’t be fully utilised and benefited from, except when it is exhausted, accompanied by footnotes, comments, traces (of notetaking and ink) etc. until the book becomes darkened. This indicates two important things:

i. Taking care in reading and showing great interest in the content.

ii. To intentionally make notes therein and not to insist the book remains pristine and without blemish, thus preventing its content from shining through, such that it obscures the character of the book and prevents its beneficial use.

Regarding the love for books and studying them, Dr. Ali Al-Omran wrote in his beautiful work, ‘Nathar al-Seerah wa thamar al-Suhbah’ (the sprinkled biography and fruit of companionship) regarding Al-Allamah Bakr ibn Abdullah Abu Zayd (Allah have mercy upon him); a story that expresses his love for the world of books. Quoting Dr. Fahd ibn Saad Al-Juhani:

“Shaykh al-Qadi Muhammad al-Rifa’i al-Juhani (the owner of a huge library in Makkah, located in his home in al-Hidafah neighbourhood) told him that Shaykh Bakr ibn Abdullah Abu Zayd (Allah have mercy on him) was an acquaintance of his and one day asked him about a book, which he was searching for but unable find. Al-Rifa’i immediately said, ‘I have the book!” Shaykh Bakr made a request for it (knowing that Rifa’i does not lend books and is known for his dislike of lending), but he dared to hope for the book’s timeless knowledge and the mercy of the science connected to it!

After a while, Rifa’i agreed under the pressure of friendship and the mercy of knowledge, but stipulated that it must be returned the following morning. Shaykh Bakr accepted the condition without hesitation, and he then hurried home to race against the ticking clock and spent his entire night on the treasure he had, which was a temporary guest for what seemed to be, the fastest of nights.

Al-Rifa’i spent his night in fear since the unique book was taken out of his library, fearing it would not be returned safely to its shelf, for what seemed to him, the slowest of nights. This charged atmosphere of anxiety lit a glimmer of hope. Al-Rifa’i remembered that he had another copy of the book, not an original like the one shaykh Bakr took. He got up from his bed and went down to the library in the middle of the night, wandering through the library and searching for this copy. Time was in vain, where would he find such a small folder among thousands of books?

The feeling of desperation to find it took over his mind, and the dawn of hope was also returning (with the break of fajr) that he would be reunited with the borrowed book. He finally managed to find the second copy. He later met shaykh Bakr and took his book back, but noticed the effects of stress on his face and redness in his eyes. He asked about this, and shaykh Bakr said, ‘I spent my night reading and copying what I needed and did not cloud my eyes with sleep!’ He also noticed Rifa’i’s face too and asked, ‘You too seem stressed and your eyes do not differ from what you asked me about.’ Al-Rifa’i replied, ‘I spent my night searching for the other copy of the book in my entire library…’

Each of them was surprised by the other, and no wonder the lovers of something are always one. Al-Rifa’i asked shaykh Bakr to, “take the second copy as a gift, and you will see signs of satisfaction with what you have done.” And he grabbed the hands of shaykh Bakr and walked towards his home. Both tired and having won the same ambition and the pleasure of their soul.”


Glimpse into Merit of ‘Ilm

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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It is recorded by Ibn ‘Abd Al-Barr, in his ‘Jaami’ Bayan al-‘Ilm’ [1],  that Mu’ad Ibn Jabal رضي الله عنه said:

تعلموا العلم ، فإن تعلمه لله خشية ، وطلبه عبادة ، ومذاكرته تسبيح ، والبحث عنه جهاد ، وتعليمه لمن لا يعلمه صدقة ، وبذله لأهله قربة ، لأنه معالم الحلال والحرام ، ومنار سبيل أهل الجنة ، وهو الأنيس في الوحشة ، والصاحب في الغربة ، والمحدث في الخلوة ، والدليل على السراء والضراء ، والسلاح على الأعداء ، والزين عند الأخلاء ، يرفع الله به أقواماً فيجعلهم في الخير قادة وأئمة ، تقتص آثارهم ، ويقتدى بأفعالهم ، وينتهى إلى رأيهم ، ترغب الملائكة في خلتهم ، وبأجنحتها تمسحهم ، يستغفر لهم كل رطب ويابس ، وحيتان البجر وهوامه ، وسباع البر وأنعامه ، لأن العلم حياة القلوب من الجهل ، ومصابيح الأبصار من الظلم . يبلغ العبد بالعلم منازل الأخيار ، والدرجات العلى في الدنيا والآخرة . التفكر فيه بعدل الصيام ، ومدارسته تعدل القيام ، به توصل الأرحام ، وب يعرف الحلال من الحرام ، هو إمام العمل ، والعمل تابعه ، يلهمه السعداء ويحرمه الإشقياء

❝ Aquire knowledge, for indeed seeking it for Allah (develops) fear. Seeking it is worship; studying it is glorification; researching is striving; teaching it to the one who does not know is a charity. Humbling towards its people is a drawing nearness, and it is an illuminated path to Paradise. It is a comfort in times of loneliness; a companion in times of strangeness; and it provides comfort in times of solitude. It is a guide in times of prosperity and adversity, a weapon against the enemy; an adornment among (close) friends. With it Allah raises up a group of people placing them among the best of leaders and imams, whose stories (of achievement) are followed and actions emulated. Their opinions are always sought; the Angels are eager to touch them with their wings; and every moist and dry patch (on earth) seeks forgiveness for them.

The fish and creatures in the sea; animals on land all seek blessings for him. Because knowledge gives life to the hearts from ignorance; brightens eyes in the darkness [and strengthens the body from weakness]. Through it, the slave (of Allah) reaches ranks of the righteous and pious, and a high status in this world and the Hereafter. Reflecting (upon knowledge) is as (voluntary) fasting and studying it equates to standing (in prayer). Through it the ties of kinship are kept, the lawful and unlawful are known. It is the leader of actions; and the one who acts is inspired by the successful and ignored by the wretched. ❞

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[1] #268; (with a weak mawqoof sanad)