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Salam, the short piece below was written some three years ago after the mawlid at Wembley. I came to know of the blessed Sharh of the Shamail by Imam al-Lahji during the lesson of Sh. Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki which we attended during Umra the previous year. This was the lesson whose picture is on the banner above, mashallah after the lesson he kindly gave me, Imran A and Khayyam S licenses to narrate hadith from him (May Allah have mercy on him).

Asslamu Alaikum

Sheikh Hamza’s mentioning at the mawlid recently that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) liked the colour green jogged my memory about something i had read, alhumdulillah I managed to locate it, and thought i would share it with you. I found it in Sheikh al-Lahji’s commentary on the Shamail compiled by Sheikh Yusuf al-Nabahani, the text of the hadith is in square brackets, the rest is Sheikh al-Lahjis explanation, he said (1/293):
[And] Ibn al-Sunni and Abu Nuaym narrate in ‘al-Tibb al-Nabawi’ with a weak chain from Ibn Abbas May Allah be please with them both that:[He] the Messenger of Allah [Peace and Blessings upon Him liked to look at greenery] meaning trees and green vegetation… [and running/flowing water] meaning He loved to look at them and found pleasure in it, His liking to look at them was not for the reason that He would eat the greenery or drink the water

Categories: Sayyidi

Mid Shaban (Shab-e-Barat)

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Salam, this is from many years ago (apologies for the quality), a hanafi scholar recently asked to see the documentation for the virtues of the night of mid shaban when we passed over its mention in Imam al-Shurunbulali’s fiqh primer ‘Nur al-Idah’. I pointed him the direction of this article which is very ‘athari’ in its approach.
From the work al-Tarif bi Awham (4/470+) of the Muhaddith Allamah Mahmud Saeed Mamduh:

“The ahadith in the virtue of the night of mid shaban, and the sunnah of staying up (in it) is established from other chains of transmission which have been collated by our Shaykh, Allamah, the Muhaddith ..My Master, Abdullah bin al-Siddiq al-Ghumari in a treatise entitled Husan al-Bayan fi Lailah al-Nisf min Shaban, and it has been published.

The virtue of the night of mid shaban has been established from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give hime peace) and is reported by means of multiple channels of transmission from Abdullah bin Amr, Muadh, Abu Hurairah, Abu Thulabah, Awf bin Malik, Abu Bakr, Abu Musa and Aishah (May Allah be pleased with all of them), each one of the narrations strengthening each other.
1) As for the hadith of Abdullah bin Amr, it is reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad (2/176) from Abdullah bin Lahiah – Huyy(I) bin Abdullah – Abi Abd al-Rahman al-Jubuli- Abdullah bin Amr from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) who said: ‘Allah looks upon His creatures on the night of mid-Sha`ban and He forgives all His servants except two: one intent on hatred, and homicide.’
Hafidh al-Mundhiri said in al-Targhib wal-Tarhib (3/284): ‘Reported by Ahmad with a weak (layyin) chain of narration.’
Al-Haithami said in al-Majma (8/65): ‘Reported by Ahmad and it contains Ibn Lahiah who is weak (layyin) in hadith, and the rest of its narrators are trustworthy. As for Shaykh Ahmad Shakir, he declared it Sahih in his editing of the Musnad (10/327) on the basis of his declaring Sahih the hadith of Ibn Lahiah. And that which al-Mundhiri and al-Haithami said is correct because Ibn Lahiah is a mudallis, and may have mixed up, and may have clarified hearing so the isnad contains weakness (layyin), and layyin is the slightest form of weakness, and its like is Hasan (well authenticated) by the addition of another chain of transmission similar to it, and how is it when the hadith has multiple chains of transmission?
2) As for the hadith of Muadh bin Jabal, it is reported by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih (12/481) and al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (20/109) and in al-Awsat (al-Majma 8/65) and Abu Nuaym in al-Hilyah (5/195) and others all of them from Makhul from Malik bin Yukhamir from Muadh in a marfu form.
Hafidh al-Haithami said in al-Majma (8/65): ‘Reported by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and al-Awsat and its narrators are trustworthy.  Malik bin Yukhamir is trustworthy (thiqah) mukhdaram and he met Makhul, and there is no missing link (inqata) in its chain…
To sum up Ibn Hibban was correct to declare it Sahih (rigorously authenticated).  And from the previous two chains of transmission alone you will know the short sightedness of the one who adjudges this hadith to be weak.
3) As for the hadith of Abu Hurairah it is reported by al-Bazzar in his al-Musnad (Kashf al- Astar 2/435-436).  Al-Haithami said in al-Majma (8/65): ‘Reported by al-Bazzar and it contains Hisham bin Abd al-Rahman, and I do not know him, and the rest of its narrators are trustworthy.’
4) As for the hadith of Abu Thulabah al-Khushani it is reported by al-Tabarani (al-Majma 8/65) and Ibn Abi Asim in al-Sunnah (1/223). Al-Haithami said (8/65):  ‘It contains al-Ahwas bin Hakim and he is weak’.  The correct opinion with regards to al-Ahwas is that of al-Darqutni that he is relied upon if he narrates from a trustworthy (thiqah) narrator. Refer to al-Tahdhib (1/168) and his like are relied upon in the chapter of follow up and supporting narrations.
5) As for the hadith of Awf bin Malik, it is reported by al-Bazzar in his Musnad (Kashf al-Astar 2/436) from the hadith of Abdullah bin Lahiah- Abd al-Rahman bin Ziyad Ibn Naeem – Ubadah bin Nas(I) – Kathir bin Murrah – Awf bin Malik said: ‘The Messenger of Allah said: Allah looks at His creation in the night of mid-Sha`ban and He forgives all His creation except for a mushrik (idolater) or a mushahin (one bent on hatred).’
Al-Haithami said in Majma al-Zawaid (6/56): ‘Reported by al-Bazzar and it contains Abd al-Rahman bin Ziyad bin Anam, he was declared thiqah by Ahmad bin Saleh and he was declared weak by the majority of the Imams, and Ibn Lahiah is layyin (weak) and the rest of its narrators are trustworthy.
I say: the weakness is limited to Ibn Lahiah only and al-Ifriqi, a discussion of whom has preceded in the chapter of al-Adhan.
6) As for the hadith of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq it is reported by Ibn Khuzaimah in al-Tawhid (no.90) and al-Baihaqi (al-Targhib 3/283) and Ibn Abi Asim (no.509) Al-Bazzar said: ‘The people of knowledge report this hadith and rely upon it.’
Al-Haithami said in al-Majma (8/65): ‘It contains Abd al-Malik bin Abd al-Malik, he was mentioned by Ibn Abi Hatim in al-Jarh wal-Tadil and he was not declared weak and the rest of its narrators are trustworthy.’
However Abd al-Malik has a biography by al-Dhahabi in al-Mizan (3/658) and it contains that which indicates to him being weak.
7) As for the hadith of Abu Musa it is reported by Ibn Majah (1/446) and al-Lalikai (no.763) from the hadith of Ibn Lahiah – Zubair bin Muslim – Dahhak – Abd al-Rahman bin Musa in a marfu form. Ibn Lahiah, the discussion regarding him has preceded, and his Shaykh is unknown (majhul) (as in al-Taqrib P.214) and his Shaykh is trustworthy (thiqah) (as in al-Taqrib P.279)
8) As for the hadith of Aishah it contains the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) staying up on that night, it is reported by Ahmad (6/238) al-Tirmidhi (743) Ibn Majah (1389) al-Lalikai (p.448) Ibn al-Jawzi in al-Illal (2/66) and al-Baghawi (4/124) and others from the chain of transmission from: (No. 586) Hajjaj bin Artah – Yahya bin Abi Kathir – Urwah – Aishah said: I missed the Prophet one night so I went out to al-Baqi` (and found him). He said: “Were you afraid that Allah would wrong you and that His Prophet would wrong you?” I said: “O Messenger of Allah, I thought that you might have gone to visit one of your wives.” He said: “Allah Glorious and Exalted descends to the nearest heaven on the night of mid-Sha`ban and He forgives to more people than the number of hairs on the hides of the sheep of the tribes of Kalb.’
He (al-Albani) mentioned it in Daeef al-Tirmidhi (86/199) and in Daeef Ibn Majah (103,104/295) and He said: ‘Daeef’.
I say: the chain of narration contains a weak narrator, but the hadith is strong and established even according to al-Albani. There is a discussion surrounding him al-Hajjaj , and he is a mudallis who did not clarify hearing. And Yahya bin Abi Kathir is a Hafidh thiqah, and there is a difference in his hearing from Urwah bin al-Zubair, and his hearing was affirmed by Yahya Ibn Maeen, and this is the strongest opinion because the affirmation is given precedence tothe negation, and then he is a mudallis, and did not clarify having heard, and al-Hakim Abu Abdullah held the opinion that it is from the marasil of Yahya bin Abi Kathuir as in Shuab al-Iman.
And it has another chain of transmission from Aishah with a weak chain reported by al-Baihaqi in al-Shuab (3835) and it clearly contains (mention) of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) staying up on that night. And Allah the Exalted knows best.
To Conclude that which has preceded from the narrations affirming the virtue of the night of mid shaban due to their collective number, not withstanding that one of them, and that is the narration of Muadh bin Jabal has been declared Sahih by Ibn Hibban in of itself and the words of al-Bazzar have preceded that: ‘The people of knowledge report this hadith and rely upon it’. And the hadith is established (thabit) even according to al-Albani as he declared it Sahih in his al-Sahihah (1144) and in his notes to al-Sunnah of Ibn Abi Asim (509,510,511,512) As for one who adjudges the hadith to be weak then he either has no knowledge of hadith, and it is incumbent for him to make taqlid of the one who is knowledgeable of it, or he is hasty or arrogant and we have no discussion with him.
Benefit: The night of mid shaban is a season from the seasons of good, and the virtue of this night has been specifically established as has preceded. And along with this some people are accustomed to troubling their brothers by printing publications warning from staying up on this blessed night and declare weak anything which comes in praise of its virtues. And if the virtue of this blessed night is known then it is recommended to do any action of obedience that comes under a general principle such as prayer, charity and the like. And if it is accepted from them – for arguments sake only – that the hadith is weak, then the answer is to say:
First: That the non satisfaction in the issue with a general or absolute proof and the seeking of a specific proof for every particular issue necessitates the nullification of the generalities of the shariah and leads to the tightening of the scope of the pure shariah……as requesting a specific proof for every issue is an innovation in the religion.
Second: As for deducing from the likes of the Words of Allah the Exalted: “Do they have partners who legislate for them the deen that which Allah does not give permission for.” As in the publication that some have published the likes of this issue and that which is similar to it, and the deduction is weak due to two reasons.
First: That the one who affirms the virtue of this blessed night deduces this from a shari proof, which is blessed sunnah, and the most is that it is weak in the sight of others, and this does not necessitate it being labelled a bidah or excessively condemning it. Not withstanding that acting on weak (hadith) in legal rulings(Ahkam) and virtues (fadail) is established from the Imams.
Second: The virtue of the night is established in the ahadith as has preceded, so they should refer to it themselves.
Ibn Taymiyyah was asked of the prayer of mid shaban, he answered: ‘If a person prays the night of mid shaban on his own or in a group specifically as was done by a group of the salaf then it is good (hasan). And he said in another place: As for the night of mid shaban its virtues have been reported in ahadith and athar, and it is reported from a group of the salaf that they would pray in it. So the prayer of a person in it on his own, and the salaf have preceded him in it and he has a proof in it, and the likes of this is not condemned’. Refer to Majmu al-Fatawa.
Hafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali said in Lataif al-Maarif (P.263):  ‘The night of mid shaban, the tabieen from the people of Shaam exalted it and exerted themselves in worship on it, and Khalid bin Madan, Luqman bin Amir and others from the Tabieen of Shaam would stay in the masjid on the night of mid shaban, and Imam Ishaq bin Rahaway agreed with them on this, and he said of their staying (qiyam) in the masjid where the congregational prayer was offered (masjid al-jamaah) that this is not an innovation (bidah).’ End of quote with a slight change and summary.
To conclude the virtue of this blessed night are established by ahadith and a group of the salaf it is recommended to stay up on it, and the opinion that it is bidah (innovation) is a reprehensible (munkar) opinion…”

Categories: Hadith

Sayyid Ibrahim al-Khalifah al-Hasani al-Shafi

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I found this old picture of Sayyid Ibrahim al-Khalifah who is a Shafi Scholar and respected for his attention to the sciences of hadith. I visited him twice in al-Ahsa, once at his masjid opposite the fort pictured elsewhere on this blog.
The second time was in the basement of his home where he was reading Sahih al-Bukhari with his students. He began the lesson by reading hadith for quite some time, and then went round each student asking them to read several hadith each, alhumdulilah I was honoured to be able to read to him when my turn came.
After the dars I asked him for Ijazah which he kindly gave me, unfortunately I do not have his thabat at hand to scan, however it should be noted that he narrates from over 70 different Shuyukh.
He has studied the Shafi madhab with the scholars of al-Ahsa, is known for his abilities as a Munshid and has a number of students, some of them quite young who study with him and look up to him as a father figure.
It is not difficult to see why as the Sheikh is one of the most friendliest scholars I have met, and one quickly feels at ease around him.
May Allah swt keep him in good health and enable us to benefit from him further.
NOTE: The picture above was taken some time ago

Categories: al-Ahsa Scholarship

Reasons for Writing

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Many a time when browsing in a bookshop I find works by contemporary scholars which make me think: Why!

I found the following quote in the interesting autobiography of Sh. Abdullah al-Ghumari which pretty much sums up what should be kept in mind by all authors. I would perhaps add an extra point, namely that of editors meticulously editing material which have not received critical editions, but perhaps this could be incorporated into one of the seven reasons, as editing as in the modern form did not exist at the time of Imam al-Maqqari.

Reasons for writing:
Al-Maqqari said in Azhar al-Riyad:
I saw in the handwriting of some of the senior (scholars) regarding that which is desired from writing are seven:
-something which has not been written before and is authored
-something written incompletely and is completed
-or is incorrect and is corrected
-or is difficult and is explained
-or is lengthy and is condensed/abridged
-or is not in one place and is gathered
-or is prose and is versified

Categories: Scholarship

Its All About Sincerity

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Imam Zaid Shakir recently said “Its all about sincerity”. Invaluable advice for all of us working on the “Islamic Scene”.

A quote from Sheikh Ibrahim bin Hasan al-Mulla, as quoted by another great scholar of the al-Mulla family, Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Mulla in Minhaj al-Raghib p.37:

When action is of no benefit without sincerity, one of the actions being seeking knowledge. It is not befitting for a sane person to waste his life in action which does not benefit. Therefore he should strive to purify his intention of seeking knowledge for Allah Taala. This is by the student intending by his seeking of knowledge the pleasure of Allah Taala, the next world, removal of ignorance which the sacred law and intellect hold to be repugnant from himself and all those who are ignorant. He should also intend the revival of the religion and preserving of Islam, for the preservation of Islam is by means of knowledge.

Taqwa, worship and travelling to Allah taala is not correct when ignorant due to that which is related in some reports that: ignorance is closer to disbelief (kufr) than the whiteness of the eye is to the black. We ask Him (Glorified be He) to guide us to the path leading to Him, and to bless us to travel towards Him in the manner that He is pleased with, by means of His generosity and kindness

Categories: It-haf al-Talib Other

Ramadan in Madina the illuminated

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Im pretty sure I took this picture in Ramadan. Mashallah it was an excellent way to spend the last week of Ramadan, i was walking down the street outside Masjid al-Nabawi al-Sharif and literally bumped in to Sheikh Ihsan from Turkey, I spent 2 weeks with him nearly 4 years ago in his village and in Istanbul, i gave him the longest hug i remember giving anyone in my life 🙂

Categories: Sayyidi

no need to queue!



Where else on earth can you touch the blackstone without being shoulder barged or rugby tackled by swirling cyclone of pilgrims?!? (me touching the blessed black stone fragment in istanbul)

Categories: Istanbul

Mehmet Sokulu Pasha Masjid

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A beautiful autumny/spring day in Istanbul, taken in the Mehmet Sokulu Pasha Camii, housing fragments of the blackstone, we finally found this blessed masjid after several blank looks from locals who hadn’t heard of the place, all praise due to Allah swt by whose grace all good things are completed

Categories: Istanbul

Understanding Love….

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Most of us have heard of the hadith about the importance of loving the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wassalam), I can’t exactly remember where i bought the book ‘Lamahat min Tarikh al-Sunnah wa Ulum al-Hadith’ of Sheikh Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah, maybe it was Istanbul, maybe it was good old Bolton. However what i do remember is reading the following section about the famous hadith of Sayyidina Umar (ra) and thinking about our Master Umar’s reply which had never occured to me before. I thought I’d share it with others, I’ve included the whole section and combined the footnote into the text, maybe it might activate your brain cells the same way that mine were busied. By the way its not an exact translation but rather a ‘translation of the meaning’Sheikh Abd al-Fattah said (p.38):

-The Companions love for the Messenger (Sallalahu Alaihi Wassalam)

The noble companions, may Allah be pleased with them, were the most fervent of people in their love of the Messenger (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasslam), they saw and witnessed his noble blessed face, they sat with him and and knew his blessed way/manners, they saw with their own eyes his truthful miracles (which suspended the law of nature), they believed in him based on insight and conviction. It was due to this that they gave precedence to loving him above loving anything else, (and gave precedence) to his order to any other order, and they became the most closest in following him, and being guided by his guidance and sunnah, he became more beloved to them than their own selves, and the most dearest to them than anyone else.

al-Bukhari narrated in his ‘Sahih’ (11/525) from the honourable companion Abdullah bin Hashim al-Taymi said:
We were with the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wassalam), he was holding the hand of Umar bin al-Khattab, Umar said to him: O Messenger of Allah, you are the most beloved to me than anything else except my own self, the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasslam) said: No, by the one in whose hand is my soul, until I am beloved to you than your own self, Umar said to him: You now are the most beloved to me than my own self, the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wassalam) said: Now O Umar
(fn) Hafidh Ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Bari 11:528:
al-Khattabi said: a persons loving himself is natural, and his loving others is by choice due to various factors, what the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasslam) was referring to was love that is made by choice, as there is no means to change that which is the nature of the heart.
I say (Ibn Hajar): Umars first answer was on the basis of what is natural, then he reflected and understood by contemplating that the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wassalam) was more beloved to him than his own self, because he is the means of him (Umar) being saved from destruction in this world and the next, so then he (Umar) informed that which was necessitated by his choice, and therefore He (Sallahu Alaihi Wasslam) answered: Now O Umar, meaning now you have understood and have said that which is incumbent…. (fn)

and al-Bukhari also narrated in his Sahih 1:58, from Anas (ra):

The Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alaihi Wassalam) said: ‘No one believes until I am more beloved to him than his parents, children and the rest of the people’

Indeed He (Sallalahu Alaihi Wassalam) had this position within the hearts of the companions, as has preceded in the hadith of Sayyidina Umar al-Khattab (ra)

(fn) Hafidh Ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Bari 1:59 commenting on this hadith:
In this hadith is an indication towards the virtue of contemplation, as the those aforementioned things which are loved are known by contemplation, as that which beloved to a person is either himself or others, as for himself he wishes to be remain free of troubles, this is the reality of that which is sought…… so if he reflects upon the benefit he has obtained from the Messenger (Sallalahu Alaihi Wassalam), the one who took him out from the darkness of disbelief to the light of Iman, either directly or by intermediary, he comes to know that he is the cause of his eternal existence in everlasting bliss, and comes to know that his benefit from this is the greatest of benefits, and due to this it entitles the amount love for him to be more than to anyone else, as the benefit which arouses love, come from him more than anyone else. However people are of different levels with regards to this upon the basis of their remembering this or not paying attention to it…. (fn)

Categories: Sayyidi