Please find below a supplicatory prayer I wrote a short time back based primarily (but not wholly) on a well known poem of Imam al-Haddad (see image above). Recitors will find that they should be able to sing this according to the tune of the Arabic version.
O Lord we have admitted
to sins we have committed
to You we have submitted
our hopes in Your Mercy
O Lord grant us repentance
coupled with Your acceptance
and free us from dependence
From all of the creation
O Lord grant us a veiling
which will protect us failing
a day of Your prevailing
upon all Your deniers
O Lord grant us admission
to blessings You have given
of health and wealth provision
raining upon your servants
O Lord protect our household
the elderly and young folk
for ever more our stronghold
and in Paradise unite us
O Lord grant Your protection
And ward off the affliction
With ease from all restriction
The homes of the believers
O Lord bestow Your favours
upon our friends and neighbours
and everyone who labours
to serve your creation
O Lord Your peace and blessings
Until the leaves and birds sing
Upon the light that guides us
Muhammad and companions
I came across the following short extract when looking for material regarding a description of wrestling at the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) 1500 years ago. It seems clear – to me at least – that the wrestling referred to in Muslim sources is closer in spirit to the stand up (Tachi-Waza) throwing techniques of Judo than the ground grappling focus of BJJ.
The great Moroccan sholar Shaykh Abd al-Hayy al-Kattani mentions the following in his work Taratib al-Idariyyah:
Ibn Ishaq amongst others mentions in his Sirah that in Mecca there was a person of immense strength who was skilled in wrestling. People would come from other places to wrestle him and he would defeat them. One day when he was in one of the valleys of Mecca he met the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) who said to him, ‘O Rukanah, are you not conscious of Allah and accept that which I call you to?’ Rukanah replied, ‘O Muhammad, do you have anything as proof of your truthfulness?’ He replied, ‘Yes, if I was to defeat you in wrestling would you have faith in Allah and His Messenger?’
Rukanah replied, ‘Yes O Muhammad, prepare for a wrestling match!’
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘I am ready,’ at which point the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) drew closer to Rukanah and threw him down.
Rukanah was astonished at this and asked for another match, and he was defeated for a second and then a third time. Rukanah stood up amazed and said, ‘Your matter is astonishing.’
This was narrated by Abu Nuaym and al-Bayhaqi from Abu Umamah from two routes of transmission, one Marfu and the other Mursal.
The Rukanah who has been mentioned here is Ibn Abd Yazid bin Hisham bin al-Muttalib bin Abd Manaf, al-Qurashi, a Meccan companion who entered in to Islam in the year of the Meccan conquest. He died in Medina during the caliphate of Muawiyah in the year 42. Rukanah was fearsome, well built, strong and well known for his wrestling skills, such that no one had ever defeated him in wrestling nor had his skin ever touched the ground in defeat.
It is authentically reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) wrestled him and defeated him, as was stated by al-Khafaji in al-Nasim.
In Ibn al-Tayyib al-Fasi’s notes on the Qamus it is mentioned regarding Rukanah, ‘His story is well known, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) defeating him is from his great miracles, for Rukanah was the most skilled wrestler of his age. His strength was such that he would stand on a piece of camel skin of a good flexible quality which would be pulled by ten men without his being moved from his spot, this was stated in the commentaries of the Shifa, al-Mawahib and other works.'”
The author then discussed some scholars who highlighted some weakness in the chain for this incident as well as it not being authentically established that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) wrestled Abu Jahl. It would however appear that the incident above with Rukanah does have a number of chains of transmission. Shaykh Abd al-Hayy al-Kattani continued:
I have in my possession a short work by Hafiz al-Suyuti named Al-Musarah ila al-Musarah in which he mentioned the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) wrestling with Abu Rukanah via a number of chains of transmission, likewise the younger companions wrestling amongst themselves to gain permission for military service. He also mentioned that Meccans were skilled in wrestling and defeated all others…and narrated via routes of transmission that Hasan and Hussain (Upon both of them be peace) wrestled in the presence of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).”
Note: I have been informed that the short treatise of Imam al-Suyuti referenced above has been translated and will inshAllah be published soon.
Have any of the classical Hanbali scholars made mention of Imam Hussain and Karbala in their works? The answer is: Yes.
Imam Ibn Abd al-Hadi al-Maqdisi, better known as Ibn al-Mibrad (d.909 Hijri) discussed this in his work related to the Islamic months of the year in the entry for Muharram.
He said in his book Ma-arif al-Inam wa Fadl al-Shuhur wal-Ayyam p.71:
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Hasan and Hussain are leaders of the youth of Paradise.” [Tirmidhi 3768; Ibn Majah 118]
Abdullah bin Nujayy reports from his father that he was travelling with Ali (Upon him be peace)…when they came close to Nineveh on their way to Siffin, Ali called out: Have patience O Abdullah at the banks of the Euphrates! I said: What is this?
Ali replied: I entered upon the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) one day and found that he had tears in his eyes. I said: O Prophet of Allah, has someone upset you? He replied: No. I then said: Why is it that you have tears in your eyes?
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied: Gibril visited me and informed me that Hussain will be killed at the bank of the Euphrates, and he said to me: Would you like to smell the fragrance from its soil? I said: Yes. He [Gibril] then extended his hand and took a handful of soil which he gave to me, and I was unable to stop myself crying.” [Imam Ahmad in his Musnad 1/85]
(Poem) I weep over the one murdered in Karbala
His body soaked with blood
I weep over the one murdered by oppressive tyrants
For no reason except Wafa (faithfulness)
I weep for the murdered one for whom weeped out of sorrow
The people of the earth and the heavens
We narrate that: A rock was found 300 years before the coming of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) upon which it was written in Greek:
(Poem) Do the group who murdered Hussain hope for
The intercession of his grandfather on the day of reckoning?
Woe be to the killer of Hussain, how will his matter be with Hussain’s parents and his grandfather!
My brothers! I ask you by Allah, those who were treacherous to Yusuf, with which face can they face Yaqub?
(Poem) Fatima will pass through on the day of judgement
Her shirt having the blood of Hussain on it
Woe be to the one whose supposed intercessors will in fact be his enemies
On the day of judgement when people are resurrected.
Please find below some advice regarding a matter which we may regard as insignificant but was identified by the scholars of the past as in need of rectifying. Shaykh Abd al-Wahab al-Sharani said in his work Tanbih al-Mughtarrin p.128:
And from the Salaf’s character traits – Allah the Exalted be pleased with them – was their regularly asking about the condition of their friends, this was in order to be able to assist them regarding their needs such as food, clothing, money, paying of debts…and the possessors of this character trait in this age are rare. People in this time practice the opposite of this, a person may say to his friend, “how are you?” To which his friend will respond, “I am fine” but in fact hiding his true state of affairs because of his knowing of the emptiness of heart of his friend…rather many a time a person will pass by his brother and say, “How are you” but not wait for an answer, thus the one asking does not wait for an answer nor does the person being asked trouble himself to utter a response.
It was due to this that Sayyidi Ali al-Khawwas – Allah the Exalted have mercy on him – would say: If you do not have a firm resolve to help your brother or share in his worries or supplicate for him – then do not ask him “How are you” for this will become a case of hypocrisy.
Hatim al-Asam – Allah the Exalted have mercy on him – said: if you say to your friend: How are you this morning? and he replies: “I am in need of a particular thing”, however you do not deal with it seriously and do not fulfil his need, then your saying “How are you this morning” is a mockery of him, and this is predominant amongst the folk of this age.
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We have detailed elsewhere on this blog the great Indian scholar Shah Waliullah al-Dehlawi’s link to the Ba Alawi tariqah by means of his Hajj journey where he met scholarly members of the family in the Hijaz. Shaykh Muhammad Ashiq al-Phulati in the biography of his teacher (Qawl al-Jalli p.100-101) records an additional incident related to the Ba Alawi order writing that:
An Arab man by the name of Ahmad Ba Raja was afflicted by fever, an illness which increased daily. One day he saw in a dream that he was at the tomb of Sayyid Abd al-Rahman Saqqaf who is from the Sadat of the family of Ali (Allah be pleased with him) and is buried in Hadramawt. At the tomb he found that our Hazrat-e-Aqdas (Shah Waliullah) was also present and that he recited Surah Yasin to donate the reward to the deceased. This man then proceeded to recite Surah Mulk, after which both of them recited Fatiha. Hazrat-e-Aqdas gave this man a small amount of halwa and said, “Eat this, for the cure for your illness is in this halwa.”
After this the man awoke and came to to visit Hazrat-e-Aqdas and informed him of the whole dream. Shah Waliullah affirmed this dream and proceeded to recite Surah Yasin, Surah Mulk and then recited Fatiha for this saint (Sayyid Abd al-Rahman Saqqaf). Shah Waliullah then asked for some halwa and said to the man, “Eat this, the cure for your illness is in this”, the man duly ate and went to his home. It was only a few days later that he returned back to Shah Waliullah and said, “I ate the halwa and my tribulation has vanished.” (Akaltu al-Halwa Zalat al-Balwa).
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Imam Abd al-Wahab al-Sharani’s work entitled Tanbih al-Mughtarrin (which could be roughly translated as “A note to the deluded”) is a book I have dipped in to many times over the past 15 years. In this book the author highlights the different akhlaq (character traits) of the salaf (pious early Muslims) which the people and scholars of his era had abandoned. I will InshAllah see if I can share some extracts from it in the near future, in the meantime the introduction to the work presented below gives a fascinating insight in to the reason for its being written and the reception it received. Imam Abd al-Wahab al-Sharani said:
“From the main reasons for my writing this work was what I witnessed from the investigation undertaken by the staff of Mawlana, the Sultan Sulayman bin Uthman in second half of the 10th [Islamic] century looking in to the theft of his wealth by government employees and others, and their reason for [this investigation] was in order to support him.
I noticed that none of the scholars of the sacred law had undertaken an investigation – with the intention of supporting the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) – in to the prominent akhlaq of the Muhammadan shariah which had become extinct, just as the staff of Mawlana the Sultan (May Allah grant him victory) had done so.
I was overcome by a feeling of protectiveness (ghayrah al-imaniyyah) to the sacred law and thus authored this book as clarification as to what has disappeared from the prominent akhlaq from the world of scholars of the outer and inner (al-zahir wal-batin). It is a work which is beneficial to every jurist and Sufi in this age to the point that perhaps none of them are without need of looking in to it as you will find out when you examine the book – InshAllah Taala.
This book is akin to a sword striking the neck of every unqualified claimant to being a Shaykh in this time. This book will bankrupt him because he will find that he is divorced from the akhlaq of righteous people just as snake sheds its skin.
I know a group of people who have become aware of this book and are grieved, if it was possible for them to steal it and delete its contents they would do so out of fear that a person who holds them in esteem will read it and as a result change their view regarding them when they see that they do not possess the akhlaq of the righteous people whom they claim to be the deputies of.
It is more appropriate that they had rejoiced and been happy at its being written for all of it is sincere advice, and they will not find anyone in this age who will give the likes of this advice.”
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Shaykh Muhammad Ashiq Phulati mentions the following in the biography of his teacher Shah Waliullah al-Dihlawi (Qawl a-Jalli p.52-53):
Point of benefit: When the desire to undertake travel to the Haramain Sharifain (May Allah increase them both in nobility and honour!) occurred and this blessed resolve became firm, in Rabi al-Akhir 1143 hijri he (Shah Waliullah) set off in the company of his elder maternal uncle Shaykh Ubaydullah (May Allah Taala protect them) via the route of Lahore.During this blessed journey wherever they came across a tomb (mazar) of a wali they would go to it and spend a little time there, and whichever nisbat the wali possessed would become apparent to him which he would then explain in detail.When they reached Panipat they visited the tomb of Shah Bu Ali Qalandar, Shah Shams Turk and Shah Jalal (Allah sanctify their secrets). After this after reaching Sirhind they visited the tomb of Hazrat Mujaddid Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi and from there they went to Lahore and the tomb of Shaykh Ali Hujwiri (Allah sancitify his secret).They then reached Multan where they visited the shrine of Makhdum Baha al-Din and Shah Rukn Alam (Allah sanctify their secrets) and he proceeded to detail the spiritual states (ahwal) of each person.In the city of Multan most of the students of knowledge took the pledge of spiritual allegiance (bayat) and received instruction on spiritual exercises to perform. Some even attained the station of “spiritual ecstasy” from merely one blessed spiritual gaze and only came to their senses after some time. Some others began to shout ecstatically without being able to control themselves .At the time of Shah Waliullah’s departure most peoples state was that they were insistent on leaving friends and family behind and departing with him. However Hazrat-e-Aqdas keeping in mind what was best consoled everyone and then departed.
I found the following from Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq, the great Shaykh of the Shadhili tariqah who said in his book Uddat al-Murid al-Sadiq:
“I heard a person saying whilst indicating to himself:
‘Every Shaykh who does not guarantee for his murid [that he will help him] in three places – meaning at the time of death, at the time of being questioned [in the grave] and on the bridge [sirat] – is a fraud.’
This is an immense affliction! this is because the state of the Shaykh in these three places is unknowable, likewise the state of all of the creation, and the next world will be a day where Masters will not be able to help each other nor can they be sought help from – except those whom Allah bestows His mercy upon! The supplication of the Messengers upon the Sirat will be “Allahumma sallim sallim” so how can other than the Messengers possess that which they do not? May Allah protect us from this disgraceful matter and lying against Him. This is a great tribulation and mistake which has occurred from this person, and this is due to his ignorance, good opinion of himself and love of leadership. Added to this is his eating in the name of the religion, accompanying the oppressors, giving preference to the rich over the poor and those who hold him in esteem over those who do not…”
Archery has over the past few years become increasingly popular amongst the Muslim community in the UK. This is primarily due to several Prophetic narrations regarding the virtue of this activity such as:
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever learns archery and then leaves it is not from amongst us, and has done wrong.” (Sahih Muslim 1919)
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever learns archery but then forgets it, then it is regarded as a blessing which has been lost.” [Tabarani in Al-Awsat]
These above narrations along with a number of others can be found in Imam Murtada al-Zabidi’s work listing his students and teachers entitled Mujam al-Mukhtas. Whilst looking through this book (p.536 onwards) I was interested to find a lengthy ijazah an expert bowyer (the term used for a person who makes bows) asked him to write on their behalf regarding the issue of archery and more specifically the art of bow making. Imam al-Zabidi after mentioning several narrations regarding the virtue of archery (including the above) wrote on behalf of Ali bin Abdullah al-Rumi (the Mawla of Ahmad Katakhda Salih) saying:
It is established that the first person who practised archery with an Arabian bow was Adam (upon him salutations and peace), for Gibril (Upon him be peace) descended from Paradise with a bow, a bowstring ad two arrows in his hand, which he passed to him and taught him how to practise archery. It was then passed on to Ibrahim (Upon him be peace) and then on to his son Ismail (upon him be peace) at whom the chain of transmission (isnad) of the scholars of this science ends. This being the case…I issue this specific license (ijazah) to him (Hasan bin Abdullah Mawla Ali) in this noble art, with the witnessing of the brethren, just as I was authorised by the Shaykh, the pious complete expert, the deceased: Abdullah Effendi bin Muhammad al-Busnawi, on the basis of his taking from his Shaykh, the deceased, al-Haj Ali al-Albani, from his Shaykh Muhammad al-Istanbuli with his continuous chain to Abdur Rahman al-Fazari and the Imam, the author of al-Ikhtiyar and author of al-Idah, better known as al-Tabari, on the basis of both of them taking from the well known Imams of this art: Tahir al-Balkhi, Ishaq al-Rafa, Ibn Hashim al-Barudi by means of their continuous chains via Shaykh from Shaykh until it reaches Sayyiduna Ismail (Upon him be peace).
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