Protecting Your Fast

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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Abu’l-Mutawakkil رحمه الله narrated that whenever Abu Hurayrah and his companions would be fast, they would go and sit in the masjid, and exhort:

  نطهر صيامنا  (“Let us purify our fasting”).

Abu’l-Mutawakkil said, in elaborating this statement:

لأن مخالطة الناس ومعافستهم قد تكون سببا في خدش الصوم فما أحوجنا إلى إحياء هذا الهدي في أيام الصوم

“(This is) because mingling with people (outside of the masjid) and social interaction may be a reason to scratch the fast, so we need to revive this guidance (of increased sitting in masajid) in the days of fasting.”  [Ibn Abi Shaybah, #8881]

While it’s not possible for many of us to sit in the masajid for prolonged periods of time, we can however, endeavor to strengthen the essence of fasting while out and about. As shaykh ‘Ali al-Tantawi رحمه الله said:

إذا أردتم أن تصوموا حقاً.. فصوموا عن الأحقاد والمآثم والشرور كفوا ألسنتكم عن اللغو وغضوا أبصاركم عن الحرام

❝ If you want to fast in reality… Then fast from malice and misdeeds, and cease the evil of false-speech that appears on your tongue; and turn your eyes away from the prohibited. ❞

May Allah grant us the acumen to see beyond rituals and safeguard the development of our spiritual well-being.


Essential Wisdom of Fasting

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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Shaykh al-‘Allâmah Ibn Bâz رحمه الله was asked:

لا شك أن للصيام معانٍ سامية عظيمة، فنسأل يا سماحة الشيخ ونقول: ما هو الغرض من الصيام؟

Question: “No doubt, fasting has many great and lofty meanings. Therefore, we ask your eminence, ‘What is the (main) purpose of fasting?'”

الغرض من الصيام هو التقرب إلى الله جل وعلا وترك الشهوات التي كان يحتاجها طاعة له، وتعظيماً له, وتقرباً إليه بما شرع-سبحانه وتعالى

Answer:  “The purposeful intent behind fasting is to draw close to Allah ﷻ‎, by leaving all the (usual) desires he needs in order to be obedient to Allah and glorify Him, draw closer to Him with what He has prescribed.

لأن الله يحب من عباده أن يتقربوا إليه بترك ما تحبه نفوسهم طاعة له وتقرباً إليه، فإن من طبيعة الإنسان محبة الأكل والشرب والاتصال بأهله

For Allah loves His servants to draw closer to Him by leaving what they desire, in order to adhere and draw closer to Him. As the nature of man is to love to eat, drink and have relations with his wives.

فالله جل وعلا فرض عليه ترك ذلك في أيام الصيام تقرباً إليه، وابتلاء وامتحاناً له، هل يؤثر محاب الله أو يؤثر هواه

Thus, Allah ﷻ‎ made it obligatory to leave all of this during the days of fasting in order to draw closer to Him, as a means of trial and test for the servant. To see if he is puts the love of Allah ahead, or his own desires.

فإذا وفقهه الله لإيثار محاب الله وطاعته سبحانه وتعالى وصيانة صيامه عما حرم الله عليه كان ذلك دليلاً على قوة إيمانه وقوة يقينه، ورغبته بما عند الله عز وجل

So if Allah has permitted him to conciliate (in agreement) to the love of Allah and obedience to Him, and maintains fasting from what Allah has forbidden, then this is evidence of strength of his certainty (of faith) and the strength of his expressed will for the sake of Allah ﷻ‎. ”

[http://www.binbaz.org.sa/noor/9810]

Speaking about the wisdom behind fasting, shaykh al-‘Allâmah Ibn ‘Uthaymeen رحمه الله said:

والسنة تدلُّ على أن الحكمة الوحيدة هي التقوى، أما ما يكون وافداً عليها فهذا أمر ثانويٌّ مثل قول بعضهم: إن الإنسان يتذكر نعمة الله عليه بالغنى وتيسير الطعام والشراب حيث إنه يَمَسُّه الجوع والعطش وفقدُ النكاح في يومه، وقالوا: ليتذكر حال الفقير… الخ

” The Sunnah indicates that the primary (reason) is taqwah, as for what is considered secondary, such as the saying of some of them, ‘(It is) a reminder of the blessings of Allah upon the person for the riches (he is granted) and the ease with which he can access food and drink; whereas he is touched by hunger and thirst and the loss of marital relations during his day’. They also say, ‘It is to remember the state of poverty that people endure… etc. ”

[Al-Duroos al-Fiqhiyyah, 2/29]

 


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.”


Is Seeing Believing?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

رأى عيسى بن مريم رجلا يسرق ، فقال له : أسرقت ؟ قال : كلا ، والله الذي لا إله إلا هو ، فقال عيسى : آمنت بالله ، وكذبت عيني

“Jesus, son of Mary saw a man stealing (something) and asked him, ‘Did you steal?’ He replied, ‘Most definitely not, by Allah besides whom there is no ilah’. Jesus said, ‘I believe in Allah and my eyes have deceived me’.” [1]

Jesus عليهم السلام had such awe for Allah ﷻ that to honour His Mention, he attributed the error to his eyes instead. Ibn Qayyim said, “The truth is that his heart was overwhelmed with (the love of) Allah, and an oath by a liar (in Allah’s Name) made him lay the charge to his eyesight…” [2]

We see in the folds of the story how the great Prophet of Allah attributed the wrong on himself despite the fact he viewed a wrong having taken place. If we compare such attitudes to what we see today of much mistrust and suspicion that occurs between Muslims, for things that may not have even taken place; and where abstracts and hearsay are common; and where even apologies are rarely accepted… far are we from the Words of Allah:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ

“O you who believe! Avoid suspicion much (as possible), for suspicion in some cases is a sin…” [3]

Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

إيَّاكُمْ والظَّنِّ، فإنَّ الظَّنَّ أكْذَبُ الحَدِيثِ

“Beware of conjecture, for conjecture is the most lying of speech” [4]

And contrary to conjecture, there is no doubt that Muslims need to invigorate Ihsan, and show genuine want in securing and safeguarding fraternal relationships. Strong bonds enliven hearts and reassure strength; and as an old Arab saying states, “resisting conjecture, is better than to offend”, so we need to find ways to resist supposition and remove negative temptation from our hearts. Some points of benefit that can be extracted from the original hadeeth are:

1. The humility of Jesus عليهم السلام and his open heart in accepting the witness of his people.
2. His not holding suspicion despite witnessing the theft because of a mighty oath.
3. That theft was a crime in all previous religions before Islam.
4. That the man who stole was likely unbeknown to Jesus عليهم السلام.
5. To maintain husn ad-dhann (having good opinions of others) as a rule, and not to always opt for exceptions to the rule.
6. Reconciling upon genuine goodness is better than to become estranged and alienate.

Abu Darda’ رضي الله عنه narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

ألا أخبركم بأفضل من درجة الصيام والصلاة والصدقة ؟ قالوا : بلى ، قال : إصلاح ذات البين ، وفساد ذات البين الحالقة

“Shall I inform you of what is better than the rank of (voluntary) fasting, prayer and charity?” The Companions said, “Yes (O Messenger of Allah)”. He said, “Reconciling (i.e. making peace) between yourselves, for discord between you is the shaver.” [5]

In the version of at-Tirmidhi (2509) it explains what the “shaver” is: هي الحالقة لا أقول تحلق الشعر ولكن تحلق الدين [“…(I do not say that) it shaves hair, but rather it shaves (one’s) Deen.”]

How many relationships have led to ruination due to suspicion, argumentation and misunderstanding and other such anomalies? The corruption caused by such outcome eat away at a person’s Islam until their unity weakens and victory departs from them. [6]

May Allah ﷺ strengthen and continually renew our bonds of brotherhood, for this is extremely hard upon Shaytan.

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References:

[1] Saheeh al-Bukhari, 3444
[2] see ‘Ighathatil Lahfan’ of Ibn al-Qayyim
[3] Al-Hujuraat, 12
[4] Agreed Upon
[5] Abu Da’wud, 4919 – graded as saheeh by al-Albani and al-Waadi’
[6] See also ‘Fath al-Bari’, 3260 and this explanatory article.


So Allah Forgave Him

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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It from the rights of a Muslim that he is rendered what is due to him, and indeed the hand that gives is better than the hand that takes. However, there are situations where it’s not becoming of a Muslim to uncessarily demand and goad what is due to him of debt from one who is genuinely struggling to pay and is impoverished to do so. A person in such a state should be accorded grace and a rescheduled opportunity by the lender for repayment. If is becomes clear the indebted is in no position to repay what is owed, then the injunction of the Qur’an states: It is better to cancel debt

This act of immense kindness and mercy brings with it, relieving a believer from burden and grief, as well as becoming a sadaqah of immeasurable reward for the canceller of debt. Often times, we like to see everything in black and white and what is rightfully owed and what is rightfully due. However benevolence and empathy are ingredients many of us have need to refine and improve upon; and the consequence of which leads to something that money can rarely buy.

Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said:

كان تاجرٌ يداين الناس، فإذا رأى معسراً قال لفتيانه: تجاوزوا عنه، لعل الله أن يتجاوز عنا، فتجاوز الله عنه
كَانَ تَاجِرٌ يُدَايِنُ النَّاسَ، فَإِذَا رَأَى مُعْسِرًا قَالَ لِفِتْيَانِهِ تَجَاوَزُوا عَنْهُ، لَعَلَّ اللَّهَ أَنْ يَتَجَاوَزَ عَنَّا، فَتَجَاوَزَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ

“There was a merchant who used to lend the people, and whenever his debtor was in straitened circumstances, he would say to his employees: ‘Forgive him so that Allah may forgive us.’ So, Allah forgave him.” [1]

From the many lessons and points of benefits one can take from this narration, the following three will suffice:

1. Commenting on this narration, Ibn Battal [1] mentioned the words of Mahlab ibn Abi Safrah:

فيه أن الله يغفر الذنوب بأقل حسنة توجد للعبد، وذلك -والله أعلم- إذا خلصت النية فيها لله تعالى- وأن يريد بها وجهه، وابتغاء مرضاته فهو أكرم الأكرمين، ولا يجوز أن يخيِّب عبده من رحمته

“In this case (of cancelling debt) Allah forgives sins with minimum amount of goodness accorded to the servant (of Allah). Therefore, and Allah knows Best, if the intention is sincerely for the sake of Allah Most High, and he intends (by his action) seeking His Face and for His Pleasure, then He is the most Generous of those who show generosity. It then becomes disallowed for Him to disappoint His servant from his Mercy.”

فضيلة التجاوز عن المعسرين، وأن ذلك مما يجلب مرضاة رب العالمين

2. The virtue of overcoming (and abstaining) from being insolvent, and that this brings the satisfaction of the Rabb of the Worlds.

أن الجزاء من جنس العمل، لأن هذا التاجر كان يقول لفتيانه: إذا رأيتم معسراً فتجاوزوا عنه لعل الله أن يتجاوز عنا، فكان الغلام يفعل ذلك، فلقي الله فجازاه عزوجل بمثل ما يجازي به الناس.. فتجاوز عنه

3. The reward for this type of action, because the merchant was saying to his two employees: If you see an insolvent then forgive him so that Allah may forgive us. They followed orders and did so, Allah forgave him just as he (the merchant) forgave the people. [3]

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References:

[1] Al-Bukhari, 2078, 3480; Muslim, 1526
[2] Ibn Battal, ‘Sharh Saheeh al-Bukhari’ (2/616)
[3] Taken from the


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)


Wisdom for Every Du’at 💫

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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Qadi Sa’ud al-Shuraym imparted a few words of wisdom for those involved in da’wah:

‏لا تحدِّث الناس بما تفهمه أنت دون مراعاة تفاوت أفهامهم، فإن ذلك حريّ بصدهم عنك، أو تكذيبك، أو إساءة الظن بك، قال عَلِي: حدثوا الناس بما يعرفون

“Do not speak to people with what they’re unable to understand, without taking into consideration the varying contrast (of ability) in order to make them comprehend. It behooves you to repel (misunderstandings) from yourself, or from being (accused) of lying, or (permitting others to) think badly of you. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib رضي الله عنه said: “Narrate to people what they can understand…”

It is important to be able to read people and show empathy towards them, for this is a key component to delivering a message successfully. Commenting on the chapter entitled: “A person preferring some people with certain knowledge to the exclusion of others”; Ibn Hajar رحمه الله said in his Fathul-Bari: “(In this) there is evidence that ambiguous knowledge should not be mentioned among the general public.”

Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen رحمه الله explained an important principle regarding the narration of ‘Ali:

…ولهذا كان من الحكمة في الدعوة ألا تباغت الناس بما لا يمكنهم إدراكه ،بل تدعوهم رويدا رويدا حتى تستقر عقولهم

“Thus it is from wisdom in da’wah that you don’t surprise people with what they’re unable to perceive (or understand). Rather, you should call them gently, bit by bit until their minds settle…”

He continued, “…The same is the case when enacting a Sunnah that people are not familiar with, and which they might find objectionable. We should act by this Sunnah, but also inform people about it, to ensure they’ll be able to accept it and feel comfortable about it.”

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[See ‘Majmu’ Fatawa’, 10/140 for further discussion: http://bit.do/detzQ%5D