A Prayer for the Muslim World

Salam

I came across the following prayer in the famous Azhari/Ottoman scholar of Palestine, Shaykh Yusuf al-Nabhani’s book Al-Wird al-Shafi, which is a compilation of the wording of the prayers contained in the book Al-Hisn al-Hasin of Imam al-Jazari.  I think the readers will agree that the words of the prayer are just as relevant today as when they were originally authored in the last century.  The additional point that Shaykh  Yusuf al-Nabhani hailed from Palestine should not be lost on readers, not least in these final days of Ramadan when events in Palestine are foremost on the mind of many believers.

If possible, please take the opportunity to recite this brief prayer when possible and easy to do so, whether in the original Arabic or the English, whichever is easy for you.  [It still being Ramadan, at the time of breaking the fast would be an excellent time]

Click link below:

A Prayer for the Muslim World

Sharh Hikam Imam al-Haddad

Sharh Hikam Haddadiyah

Salam

Shaykh Nizar Hamadi from Tunisia was kind enough to recently send me an electronic copy of his editing of a commentary on Imam al-Haddad’s Hikam collection; the commentary being by none other than Shaykh Muhammad Hayat al-Sindi of Madinah al-Munawwarah.  Some of you may have noted that his name is cited as one of the Shuyukh of Shaykh Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab; and that we have previously presented on this site a brief extract from Shaykh Hayat al-Sindi’s commentary on the Hikam of Imam Ibn Ataillah.  It goes without saying that thanks to these two commentaries on the Hikam works we can clearly see that the methodology and views of the teacher and student vary significantly.

Shaykh Hayat al-Sindi’s approach in his commentary is to unpack the and expand on the words of Imam al-Haddad without extensive discussions, an example of which is presented below.  Finally I would like to extend my thanks to Shaykh Nizar Hamadi for his tireless efforts in editing publishing works on traditional Islam which highlight our rich scholastic heritage.

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Imam al-Haddad (Allah sanctify his secret) said in his Hikam:

84- Two matters are necessary for a person in order to attain success in the next world:

First: Guidance (hidayah) and tawfiq from Allah, which is like the rain which falls on the earth

Second: Striving towards Allah upon the path of uprightness, which is like cultivating the earth and taking care of what it needs from seeds, weeding, protection and warding off that which would harm it etc.

Thus cultivating the earth without watering it is stubborness and effort without result, and watering it without cultivating it is a waste.  Tawfiq from Allah is like the rain, the servant has no say in it, and this is the reality (haqiqah).  The striving and effort which is like the cultivating of the earth and looking after it is for the servant, which is his action regarding which he will be questioned and compensated.  And this is the shariah.

***
Shaykh Muhammad Hayat al-Sindi (Allah have mercy on him)  in his commentary said (commentary in italics below)

84- Two matters are necessary for a person in order to attain success in the next world:

First: Guidance (hidayah) –to the path of goodness– and tawfiq –to perform good actions and leave sins are– from Allah,- in whose Hand lies guidance and tawfiq– which is like the rain which falls on the earth – and gives life to it after its death…

Second: Striving towards Allah – Who ordered His servants to strive towards Him– upon the path of uprightness,- which is the Muhammadan way, without any shortcomings and deviation in the principles (usul) and branches (furu)– which is like cultivating the earth – which grows crops by the mere falling of rain upon it–  and taking care of what it needs from seeds,- which is the material source of cultivation– weeding, protection – from that which harms – and warding off that which would harm it- which will not facilitate growth– etc.- which are required for cultivation.

Thus cultivating the earth without it being watered is stubborness and effort without result,- as the earth does not grow crops without water– and watering it without cultivating it is a waste.- as it does not grow without being cultivated.

Tawfiq from Allah is like the rain, the servant has no say in it,- rather it is the Generosity of Allah which He grants whom He wills– and this is the reality (haqiqah).- For in reality all matters in the Hand of Allah and the servant has no say.–  The striving and effort which is like the cultivating of the earth and looking after it is for the servant, which is his action –The upshot of this is that Allah (Taala) has placed in the heart the power to choose good and adopt the correct belief, and the power to not choose evil and not adopt false beliefs and knowledge.   Likewise He has placed in his body the power to do good and avoid evil and made him responsible for that that which in in his ability to do.  Thus he who utilises his power by the guidance and tawfiq of Allah in that which pleases Him is successful, and the one unable to do this is blamed.– regarding which he will be questioned – on the day of judgement- and compensated.  And this is the shariah.- whose limits and rulings must be observed, thus every haqiqah which conflicts with the shariah is false…

Please note: This is a rough draft which is under review.

Getting Advice

Salam

You cannot put a price on the value of getting good advice from someone.  Seeing some very young ulema barely out of their teens being in the position of offering advice/issuing fatawa does make me wonder what depth and quality of advice they can offer those faced with difficulties in their daily lives; as the saying goes, there is nothing like experience itself.

A young scholar who has never tasted the delights of what of many of us experience on our daily commutes and full time work cannot offer advice in that area (sorry Mawlana/Mufti Sahib, that part time job in a supermarket/family business doesn’t count).  Just as a young scholar who hasn’t been married long and hasn’t raised a family cannot really offer much in the way of marriage counselling or a convincing lesson on ‘ways to raise your family’.

I found the following guidelines to be quite useful from the work Ghayat al-Manuwwah by Hazim Khanfar (p.73 onwards) where he quotes Imam al-Mawardi on those whose advice should be sought.  Perhaps the guidelines mentioned may enable us to reflect and take note before we seek advice from people and prevent us from being misinformed about a correct course of action.

Imam al-Mawardi mentioned 5 characteristics of those whose advice should be sought:

First:  Sound intellect along with previous experience

Al-Mawardi said, “Because extensive experience allows for sound contemplation.”

Second:  That the person be a practising Muslim and pious.

Al-Mawardi said, “For this is the pillar of all good and door to all success.”

Third:  That the consulted be one giving sincere advice (nasiha) and caring.

Al-Mawardi said, “Sincere advice (nasiha) and love enables a person’s thought to be correct and view to be clear.  One of the early Muslims (salaf) said:  The strike of the person who gives you sincere advice is better for you than the greeting of the one who insults you.  One of bedouins said:  The sincere advice of a friend is training (ta’dib) and the advice of the enemy is a rebuke (ta’nib).”

Fourth:  That the person being consulted is free from worries and concerns.

Al-Mawardi said, “As the person whose thoughts are preoccupied worries cannot think objectively nor concentrate on a matter.”

Fifth:  That person whose advice is sought does not have a personal interest in the in the matter being discussed.

Al-Mawardi said, “Because peoples personal objectives pull them and personal desires will repel.  If thoughts are conflicted by personal desires and are pulled by personal objectives they will be ruined.”

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Wassalam

Childrens Upbringing

Salam

For those with children residing in non Muslim countries of the West the issue of raising children is one of great concern. The seeming downward spiral in morals and behaviour in popular culture is disturbing, and is churning out a new generation more dysfunctional to the ones previous to it.  More can perhaps be written on this in the future Insh-Allah.

I recently took off the shelf my approximately 10 years old copy of Mufti Taqi al-Uthmani’s excellent commentary on Sahih Muslim entitled Takmilah Fath al-Mulhim.  I had not looked through it seriously for a long time, but after opening it soon remembered why it had been a work Ihad often looked through on a regular basis.  I thought I would share the following brief extract which highlights the care and attention our predecessors took in the upbringing of their children.

Mufti Taqi whilst discussing a narration regarding the discouragement of a child being breast fed by individuals of deficient character wrote the following: (6/39-40 of the Mawsuah edition):

There is another hadith related on this subject, which is narrated by al-Qudai from the hadith of Salih bin Abd al-Jabbar from Ibn Jurayj from Ikrimah from Ibn Abbas in a marfu form, “Fostering (breastfeeding) changes the temperament/character of people”… Al-Sakhawi said after his citing it “Similar to this is when Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Juwayni entered his home he found his son Imam Abu Ma-ali being breastfed by a woman other than his mother, so he took him from her. He lowered his head, wiped his stomach and entered his finger in his mouth and continued to do so until the milk was vomited….When the Imam grew older, during a debate if he made a mistake/slipped up he would say, “This is from the remainder of that breastfeeding.”

Al-Izz al-Dirini said, “The normal pattern is that a person who is breastfed by a woman will be predominated by her character, whether it be good or evil.” End of al-Sakhawi’s words in Maqasid al-Hasanah (p.227, 228 no.524).

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We ask Allah (Most High) to protect us and all of our children; Amin.

Pearls from Tafsir al-Mazhari from Surah al-Nur

Salam

Tafsirs of the Quran are many, time to read them  however is limited.  Two of my favourites are the Tafsir al-Mazhari of Qadi Thanaullah and Mahasin al-Tawil of Shaykh Jamal al-Din al-Qasimi.   Opening the Tafsir al-Mazhari every so often at a random page usually yeilds interesting points of commentary which make me regret not being able to spend more time with this work.  Looking through the former tafsir I was reading the commentary of these verses:

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a shining star. (This lamp is) kindled from a blessed tree, an olive neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself) though no fire touched it. Light upon light. Allah guides unto His light whom He will. And Allah speaks to mankind in parables, for Allah is Knower of all things.

Qadi Thanaullah in his detailed discussion of this verse – in the course of citing a number of different commentaries- said the following (6/525 onwards):

Al-Baghawi said:  The people of knowledge have differed over the meaning of this similitude.  Some of them said this similitude is of the light of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace).  Ibn Abbas said to Kab al-Ahbar, “Tell me about His (Most High’s) words ‘The similitude of His light is as a niche’.  Kab replied that this likeness was struck by Allah of His Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).  The niche (Mishkat) is his chest, the lamp is his heart and the glass in it is Prophethood.  The light and matter of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) would almost become manifest to people, even if he did not articulate that he was a Prophet, just as the oil would glow even if it was not touched by light.  Light upon light.

How wonderful is that which Kab said…

Then Qadi Thanaullah after detailing some of the Prophetic miracles returned back to this interpretation of this verse and said the following:

Salim related from Ibn Umar regarding this verse:  The niche is the inner self of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), the glass is his heart and the lamp is the light which Allah placed in him.

‘Neither East nor West’ meaning neither Christian nor Jewish.

‘Lit from a blessed tree’ meaning Ibrahim (Upon whom be peace).

‘Light upon light’ the light of Ibrahim upon the light of the heart of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Muhammad bin Kab al-Qurazi said:  The niche is Ibrahim, the glass is Ismail and the lamp is Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace).  Allah named him a lamp (Misbah) just as he named him ‘Siraj al-Munir‘.  Lit from a blessed tree which is Ibrahim (Upon him be peace).  He was named blessed (mubarak) because the majority of the Prophets are from him.

‘Neither Eastern nor Western’ meaning Ibrahim was neither Jewish nor Christian, but rather was a an upright (Hanif) Muslim…

‘Whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself) though no fire touched it’  The excellent qualities of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) would almost become apparent to people before he was given revelation.

‘Light upon light’  A prophet from the offspring of a Prophet, the light of Muhammad upon the light of Ibrahim (Blessings and peace be upon them both).

Preparation for Ramadan

Salam

Please find below extracts regarding fasting from an on-going translation project which we hope to complete in the near future inshAllah.  The text called Shir’ah al-Islam, by Allamah Muhammad bin Abi Bakr al-Samarqandi, a respected scholar of the Hanafi school.  The text covers the Sunnahs related to various aspects of a Muslims life, and has been printed with an excellent commentary by Sayyid Ali-Zadah which further elaborates on the points mentioned by the author.  We hope the passage below is of some benefit for the month of Ramadan which is fast approaching.

Section: On the Virtues of Fasting and its Sunnahs

Fasting for Allah (Most High) is a shield from the hellfire, a door of worship, zakat of the body and lessens arrogance and lust.  It increases piety, makes the scales of deeds heavy…makes the traversing of the bridge (Sirat) easy and makes the body healthy.  It illuminates the heart and intellect.

From its sunnahs is that a person intends to fast at night, intending by means of it to conquer his ego which orders to evil, and to cut off its evil desires.

He should not engage in false and vile speech and leaves all that which does not concern him.  He refrains listening to that which is detested.  He neither swears at anyone nor fights them.  If someone disputes with him he says: ‘I am fasting’.

He should adopt tranquility, reverence, piety and silence.  If anyone confronts him with that which he dislikes he says to him, ‘Peace be upon you (Salam Alaykum) I am fasting’.

He should not engage in that which might result in the invalidating of the fast, such as the bathing house, cupping, physical contact, kissing and looking at women.

From the Sunnahs of the month of fasting is to prepare for it from the month of Shaban, by repenting (tawbah), leaving bad actions, making up with enemies, seeking forgiveness for any acts of oppression, rejecting any causes distracting one from doing acts of goodness, making a good intention for doing acts of good and to dedicating oneself to good actions.

From the Sunnah is to search for the new moon of Ramadan at night on the last night of Shaban, desiring acts of goodness, the remembrance of Allah and obedience.  If he sees the new moon he makes takbir and tahlil and then says

هلال خير ورشد

أمنت بالله الذي خلقك  (A new moon of goodness and right guidance, I believe in Allah who created you).

اللهم اهلله علينا بالآمان والإيمان والسلامة والإسلام

(O Allah manifest this new moon upon us with safety, faith, security and Islam).

He increases spending in Ramadan, gives leeway to his debtors and lightens the load on his servants.

He makes much remembrance (dhikr) of La Ilaha Illallah and forgiveness (istighfar).  He asks Allah Most High for paradise and seeks refuge in Him from the fire.

He should not leave the blessed meal which is the pre-dawn meal (suhur) and should delay it.  He delays it to the last part of the night because it is from the practice of the Prophets (Peace be upon them).

He hastens to break the fast and should not pray Maghrib before breaking the fast.

He breaks the fast with something sweet, it being superior that it be with dates and if he does not have it then pure water.  The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) would break his fast with three dates or something which was not cooked by fire.  It is said that he would break the fast in the summer with water and in the winter with dates, and supplicate at this time with his most important needs.

He would say at the first mouthful يا واسع المغفرة إغفرلي

and say الحمد لله الذي  أعانني فصمت ورزقني فأفطرت

He should feed a fasting person from the believers to attain the like of his reward

He should not join between his lunch and dinner when breaking the fast so as to not be deprived of the reward of fasting and the benefit of fasting being nullified, which is to conquer the ego which orders with evil.

Wasiyyah Imam al-Haddad (1-3)

Salam

We continue with some very brief extracts from the commentary of Imam al-Habshi on the al-Wasiyyah by Imam al-Haddad.  The detailed commentary of Imam al-Habshi contains many gems, thus it is a difficult task deciding what to translate and what to leave.  However we hope the material presented will give a glimpse of the benefits contained within the lines of this poem and its accompanying commentary.  Thanks are extended to Sidi Amin Buxton for his translation of the poem.

Al-Wasiyyah of Imam al-Haddad, Lines 1-3

1. My advice to you, o distinguished and respectful one,

    If you wish to attain high stations

2. And if you wish to surpass others and reach the highest levels

    With ease and attain your goal and desire..

3.  Then have taqwa of Allah whose mercy is hoped for,

     The One, the Unique, the Reliever of difficulties


Allamah Ahmad bin Zayn bin Alawi al-Habshi said:

Advising with taqwa is the matter which is most deserving of being mentioned first, as it is the advice of Allah, the Lord of the worlds to the early and later people.  Likewise it is the means to all of the good in the world and on the day of judgement.  It is the firm steadfast foundation of the believers and the great precious treasure of the truthful ones.

Manners (Adab) is of great importance to the Sufis, Allah (Most High) said, “O those who believe protect yourselves and your families from the hellfire” [al-Tahrim:6].  Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with both of them said, “Meaning teach them good manners and educate them”.  In the hadith it is mentioned, “No father has gifted his son with a gift better than good manners”. [al-Tirmidhi 1952; al-Hakim 4/292].

One of them said: He who does not have good manners (adab) has no sacred law (shariah), nor faith (iman) nor tawhid.

Know that all of the religion is good manners, for every action there are good manners, for every spiritual state (hal) there are good manners, for every rank (maqam) there are good manners, for every moment there are good manners, such as the manners of wudu, prayer, fasting, zakat, Hajj, knowledge, recitation, dhikr, the manners of working and unemployment and the manners of wealth and poverty.

Taqwa: Our Shaykh the author said, “Taqwa refers to obedience to the commandments of Allah (Most High), avoiding his prohibitions both outwardly and inwardly along with a cognisance of the greatness of Allah (Most High) with awe, humility and fear. [Nasaih al-Diniyyah p.30]

Taqwa is the core principle of the people of the spiritual path upon which they have built their matter, and it is as one of them said, “Four: Establishing the obligatory acts, avoiding the unlawful, following the sunnah and adhering to good manners”.

Another of the Sufis said, “The core principles are three, First: That he makes the sacred law (shariah) the ruler upon his intellect and desires.  Second: Viewing the self in utmost lowliness and despicability, such that he does not see that it deserves anything.  These two are knowledge based principles.  The Third is: Action based, which is action and struggling…”.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Have taqwa of Allah where ever you are, follow a bad action with a good action which will wipe it out.  And deal with people with good manners.” [al-Tirmidhi 1987]

Ahl al-Bayt and Tasawwuf (Tafsir al-Mazhari 4)

Salam

I came across the comments below from Qadi Thanaullah al-Uthmani in his Tafsir al-Mazhari (8/320).  The author whilst discussing the interpretation of verse 23 of Surah al-Shura discussed the virtues of the Noble Ahl al-Bayt, and towards the end of a lengthy discussion mentioned the following which might be of interest to readers:

 

“And from this I say that the the more preferable interpretation of the verse ‘I do not ask you for a wage..’ is except that you show love to my close relatives, household and family.  This is because he (Allah bless him and give him peace) was the seal of the Prophets, and there is no Prophet after him.  Rather the scholars of his community from the people of outward and inward knolwedge were placed to call towards Allah after him (Allah bless him and give him peace).  Due to this Allah (Most High) ordered His Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) to order his community to show love to his household (Ahl al-Bayt) because Ali (Allah be pleased him) and the Imams from his offspring were the Poles (Aqtab) of the perfection of sainthood (wilayah).  It was due to this that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said ‘I am the city of knowledge and Ali is it’s door’ which was reported by al-Bazzar, al-Tabarani from Jabir and it has supporting narrations from the hadith of Ibn Umar, Ibn Abbas, Ali and his brother, and was graded Sahih by al-Hakim. 
And it is due to this that you see that many of the spiritual orders (salasil) of the Shaykhs link back to the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt, and that many of the Friends of Allah (awliyah) have been from the great Sayyids.  Amongst them being the Ghawth al-Thaqalayn: Shaykh Muhiyuddin Abd al-Qadir al-Jili al-Hasani al-Hussaini, Baha al-Din al-Naqshabandi, Sayyid al-Sanad Mawdud al-Chishti, Sayyid Mueen al-Din al-Chishti, Abul Hasan al-Shadhili and others.  Due to this the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said ‘I have left amongst you two weighty things, the Book of Allah and my family’.”

How Are You?

Salam

The following caught my attention when reading extracts from Imam al-Dhahabi’s Siyar Ialam al-Nubala ( 4/487-489).  I believe it relates to a discussion that Hajjaj (a ruler known for his harsh temperament and aggressive policies)  had with one of those who fought in an uprising against his rule.   Imam al-Dhahabi cites the following:

It is said that Hajjaj said to Abdul al-Rahman bin  Aidh when he was brought to him: “How are you?”

He replied “Not as how Allah wants me, not as how the Shaitan wants me, and not how I want.”

He (Hajjaj) said “Woe be to you, what are you saying?”

He replied “Yes, Allah wants that I be an ascetic( zahid) slave, and I am not like this.  The Shaitan wants me to be wayward sinner and I am not like this.  I want to be left alone in my home, safe amongst my family, but I am not in such a situation.”

Hajjaj said “Iraqi manners, Shaami by birth and our neighbour when we were in al-Taif.  Free him.”

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See Fawaid al-Gharra (2/584)

Story of a Bird and Sufyan al-Thawri

 

Salam

Imam al-Dhahabi mentions the following story in his entry for Sufyan al-Thawri -Allah have mercy on him- (as cited in Fawaid al-Gharra 3/281):

“Ali bin Abd al-Aziz said: Arim narrated to us saying: I went to Abu Mansur to visit him, he said to me: Sufyan resided in this house, and there was here a nightingale belonging to my son.

He [Sufyan] said: Why is this locked up (in a cage)? It should be freed

I said: It belongs to my son, and he gives it to you as a gift

Sufyan said: No, I will give him a dinar for it

He said: He then took it and freed it, and it would go out and return in the evening, and would be at the far end of the house.

When Sufyan died, it followed his funeral procession and was flying over his grave.  After this on some nights it would go to his grave, and sometimes would spend the night there, and sometimes would return back home.

They then found it dead by his grave and it was buried alongside Sufyan.