MuslimMatters.org http://muslimmatters.org Discourses in the Intellectual Traditions, Political Situation, and Social Ethics of Muslim Life Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:12:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Honoured | Part Two | Sh. Ahsan Hanif http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/24/the-honoured-part-two-sh-ahsan-hanif/ http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/24/the-honoured-part-two-sh-ahsan-hanif/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:12:51 +0000 http://muslimmatters.org/?p=56038 In part one of this article, we looked at the five times that Allah  mentions the honoured in the Qur'ān, and how they are two of the creations of Allah . The first is the angels and the second is the believers who will enter Paradise. In part two, we will look at some of […]

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In part one of this article, we looked at the five times that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mentions the honoured in the Qur'ān, and how they are two of the creations of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The first is the angels and the second is the believers who will enter Paradise. In part two, we will look at some of the ways we can ensure that the angels supplicate for us.

The following simple good deeds enable the angels to supplicate for you by the permission of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). We often take small deeds for granted, not realising the immense good Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has placed within them. Perchance, through these deeds Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will make us from among the honoured on the Day of Judgement.

Those Eligible for the Angels Supplications
1. Purifying Oneself

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said in the ḥadīth of ʻAbdullāh ibn ʻAbbās raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her), “Purify these bodies may Allah purify you. There is no person who sleeps in a state of ritual purity except that an angel sleeps alongside him. He does not turn throughout the night except that the angel says, 'O Allah forgive Your slave for he slept in a state of ritual purity.”[1] Thus, the simple deed of performing wuḍū before sleeping is a means of mercy and having an angel by your side as you sleep.

2. The Prayer

There are many aspects of the prayer, and in particular the congregational prayer, that bring about the supplications of the angels, and more importantly of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) . It is these small deeds which are often ignored and neglected that can make the difference.

The first of these acts is to arrive slightly early for the prayer at the mosque and wait. Abū Hurayrah raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her) narrated that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)  said, “One of you does not sit waiting for the prayer except that he is counted as being in the prayer, so long as he does not break his ablution. The angels supplicate for him saying, 'O Allah, forgive him. O Allah, have mercy upon him.'”[2]

As you wait, try your utmost to find a space in the first row. Do not just laze around at the sides or the back of the prayer hall allowing others to precede you in good. The famous scholar, Ibn Ḥibbān collected on the authority of Al-Barā' ibn ʻĀzib raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her) that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Indeed, Allah and His angels supplicate[3] for those who pray in the first row.”[4]

In the first row or any row, fill the spaces to the right of the imām before the left. A number of ḥadīth books record the narration of our mother, ʻĀ'ishah raḥimahullāh (may Allāh have mercy upon him) that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Indeed, Allah and His angels supplicate for those who stand on the right side of the row.”[5] It was also mentioned by the Companions that they used to prefer to stand to the right of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in their rows behind him.[6]

Then, once the iqāmah is called and people stand for the prayer, straighten the rows and more importantly fill in the gaps. If there is a space in the row ahead of you, hasten to fill it. If during the prayer someone leaves the prayer and a gap emerges in front of you, fill it. ʻĀ'ishah raḥimahullāh (may Allāh have mercy upon him) narrated that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Indeed, Allah and His angels supplicate for those who connect the rows.”[7]

After the prayer concludes, remain seated for a while making your adhkār. Unless you need to leave do not be in a hurry to rush off. Imām Aḥmad (rahimahu) reported that the illustrious Companion, ʻAlī raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her) narrated that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “If a person stays in his place after the prayer, the angels supplicate for him. Their supplication is, 'O Allah forgive him. O Allah, have mercy upon him.”[8]

In addition to all of the above, praying Fajr and ʻAṣr in congregation is extremely virtuous. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said in the ḥadīth narrated by Abū Hurayrah raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her), “The angels of the day and the angels of the night meet at the Fajr and ʻAṣr prayers. They meet at the Fajr prayer and the angels of the night ascend, while the angels of the day remain. They then meet at the ʻAṣr prayer, and the angels of the day ascend while the angels of the night remain. Their Lord asks them, 'How did you leave my slaves?' They reply, 'We came to them and they were praying and we left them and they were praying, so forgive them on the Day of Judgement.”[9]

3. Charity & Fasting

One of the ways to attain the blessings of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and the supplications of the angels is to spend a small amount in charity every day. Abū Hurayrah raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her) said that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) stated, “A day does not rise upon the slaves except that two angels descend. One of them says, 'O Allah, give the one who spends more. The other says, 'O Allah, give the one who withholds misery.'”[10]

Similarly for those who fast to eat the pre-dawn meal (suḥūr) is blessed. Imām Ibn Ḥibbān reports that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Indeed, Allah and His angels supplicate for those who make suḥūr.”[11]

4. Being in the Service of Others

Serving others and helping them is an easy yet effective way of achieving Allah's blessings and mercy. We often have needs and wants or sorrows and griefs, and for all of this we ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for His assistance. An additional way to do this, is to actually supplicate for our brothers and sisters in their absence. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “The supplication of the Muslim for his absent brother is answered. There is an angel appointed to it. Every time he supplicates for his brother with good, the angel says, 'Āmīn, and may you have the same.'”[12]

Another good deed that is often neglected is visiting the sick. ʻAlī raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her) narrates that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “A Muslim does not visit his brother except that Allah sends seventy thousand angels who supplicate for him, whichever hour of the day it is until the evening, or whichever hour of the evening it is until morning.”[13]

The angels also supplicate for those who teach others what is good and beneficial. In the ḥadīth of Abū Umāmah al-Bāhilī raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her), the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Indeed, Allah, His angels, the inhabitants of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth, including the ant in its hole and the fish supplicate for those who teach others good.”[14]

The above are just some of the good deeds by which we attain the supplication of the angels, most of them are easily performed and not very time consuming. Yet at the same time there are other actions that incur the curse of the angels. It would be too lengthy to discuss these in detail here. However they include cursing the Companions, not being forgiven in the month of Ramadan, one whose parents are alive and they do not manage to save themselves from the Fire, hearing the name of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and not sending salutations upon him and the one who draws a weapon against another Muslim.

I ask Allah, the Most High, with His Beautiful Names and Lofty Attributes to make us and our families from among the honoured.

 

 

 

[1] Ṭabarānī in Al-Awsaṭ, vol. 1, p.408.
[2] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 276.
[3] There are a number of opinions as to what Allah's supplications refer to. Some scholars stated that it refers to Allah mentioning that individual in this highest companionship. Other said it is the mercy of Allah or His blessings. Yet others said it refers to Allah purifying that person. The supplication of the angels is explained as being an actual duʻā' or the angels seeking forgiveness for that person.
[4] Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān, no. 2157.
[5] Sunan Abū Dāwūd, no. 672 and Sunan Ibn Mājah, no. 991.
[6] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 709.
[7] Sunan Ibn Mājah, no, 981.
[8] Musnad Aḥmad, no. 1218.
[9] Musnad Aḥmad, no. 9140.
[10] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, no. 1442 and Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 1010.
[11] Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān, no. 3467.
[12] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 2733.
[13] Musnad Aḥmad, no. 754.
[14] Jāmiʻ al-Tirmidhī, no. 2825.

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MuslimKidsMatter | When Parents Go to Hajj http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/23/muslimkidsmatter-when-parents-go-to-hajj/ http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/23/muslimkidsmatter-when-parents-go-to-hajj/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 17:43:54 +0000 http://muslimmatters.org/?p=56013 When Parents Go to Hajj… by Nur Kose, Nura F, and Safiyyah Ghori with additional content from Sabriya Zaman, Samiyah Ali Khan, and Sakinah F. Every year, millions of Muslims around the world gather to Mecca for Hajj.  Many men and women complete the sacred rituals that Muslims have been doing for hundreds, even thousands […]

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When Parents Go to Hajj…

by Nur Kose, Nura F, and Safiyyah Ghori

with additional content from Sabriya Zaman, Samiyah Ali Khan, and Sakinah F.

Every year, millions of Muslims around the world gather to Mecca for Hajj.  Many men and women complete the sacred rituals that Muslims have been doing for hundreds, even thousands of years.  During Hajj season, people around the world watch the daily tawaafs around the ka'bah on TV and on the Internet, observing the Hajjis fulfill the pilgrimage of a lifetime.  People wonder about the Hajjis' stories, their trips, how long their journeys will be, and how they feel in such a sacred place.  What many observers don't realize or consider, however, are the stories of the children left behind at home.

Some girls have collaborated together and have compiled some stories and experiences of Hajjis' kids on the homefront.  Kids from all around the United States share what it was like for them to be at home while their parents were off at Hajj.

Parent Replacements

Finding someone to take the place of one's parents can be a difficult job.  Most parents rely on other family members to take care of their young ones, whether at their own homes or at their family members' houses. Upon talking with various children whose parents went off to Hajj within the past few years, we realized that mostly, grandparents come to take the place of parents.  One family of kids, however, stayed without any adults at all except for a college student who was living with them at the time.  Fatimah, a then two-year-old, went to stay with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in another state when her parents traveled to Hajj last year.  Her grandmother came along, as well, to help take care of her.

Challenges the Kids Faced

Nura and her siblings from Texas initially thought that three weeks without their parents would be lots of fun. They looked forward to no restrictions and doing as they pleased.  However, as they soon came to realize, life without their parents would be a lot more than simply all fun and games. Even with the knowledge that a college student was staying in her parents' room upstairs, Nura felt like she and her siblings did most of the work. The college student stayed upstairs most of the time, making a lot of peculiar sounds that the kids preferred not to investigate.

Kids who are generally accustomed to everyday routine and habits they formed living with their parents must learn to adjust to new caretakers and possibly a new environment.  If their caretaker is someone they know well, it is easier for the kids to adjust. Often, however, many kids have not been separated from their parents before and may have separation anxiety, especially when they are young.

Even for older kids and teens, being without parents is difficult. Arranging rides to get to different masjid events and even Eid prayer can be a challenge. Kids quickly realize that, even with a capable caretaker, life without parents, even for a short amount of time, can be really difficult.

Sabriya from Pennsylvania found it very difficult to be without her parents when they went to Hajj a few years ago.  “I missed my parents so, so much. There isn't only one thing that I missed about them, I missed everything about them, their whole essence!”  Besides simply missing her parents, Sabriya also faced a few other challenges.  “I don't know why, but I felt like if my grandparents were to pick me up [from school], they would get lost in my school! Thankfully though, my grandpa knew where he was going and successfully found me.”  Sabriya also felt bad about asking friends over to her house because she didn't want to make extra work for her grandmother.

Challenges the Caretakers Faced

Caretakers take on a huge responsibility when they agree to take care of kids for such a long period of time.  Substituting as one's parents can be very difficult, especially for someone who hasn't taken care of younger children for years.  Additionally, caretakers are often not fully accustomed to the kids' daily habits and although they try their best, some children just don't feel at home. Toddlers and younger children are especially difficult because they often become cranky when they are upset without their parents.

Many toddlers do not understand why their parents are gone and feel abandoned for a while as well.  Although she had lots of cousins to play with her when her parents went to Hajj, two-year-old Fatimah was very confused when she didn't see her parents anywhere.  Even after she realized they had left, she assumed they would be returning the next day.  “When it was time to sleep, she spent half the night crying for her mom,” Fatimah's oldest cousin Nur remembers.  “The next day, although she was her cheerful self again, playing and having fun with the rest of us, it was evident that she expected her parents to be back right away.  We couldn't really explain the entire state of things, she being only two.  Being the busy family we were, the doorbell rang a few times that day.  Some people came to visit my grandmother while others came to drop something off.  Every time the doorbell rang, Fatimah's eyes lit up, she stopped whatever she was doing and excitedly ran towards the front door, exclaiming, “Mama!  Baba!”  We felt so bad for her every time she realized it was someone else, her entire body drooping with disappointment and her eyes ready to overflow with tears any moment.”  To distract her from the temporary loss of her parents, they often relied on paint and play-dough which were the causes of many messes over the next few days.

Not all kids whose parents went to Hajj had as many caretakers as Fatimah had.  Nur remembers how her family divided up the challenge of taking care of the toddler.  “Each of us had our role, official or unofficial in taking care of Fatimah. Fatimah quickly became a prize student in our homeschool and all the kids took turns teaching her. My mom and grandmother fed her. My sister and I helped dress her every morning and evening. I gave her a shower every few days.  And my mom, grandmother, and I embarked on a difficult task, that of potty training her.”

Eid Without Parents

Having Eid without their parents is also very upsetting for many kids. For many, it is their first Eid without their parents and exceptionally difficult to enjoy.  In fact, this is often the most difficult aspect of the entire Hajj experience for the kids left at home.  Samiyah, a teenaged girl in Delaware remarks that because her grandmother couldn't drive her to Eid prayer, she and her brother had to go to school on Eid day.  “Me and my brother were stuck going to school on Eid! No Eid prayer, no parties, and no gifts whatsoever. But my grandmother being the best grandmother ever got us pizza and donuts as a surprise.”  Nura, a teenager in Texas claims there was nothing very enjoyable about her Eid day. “Eid day wasn't very exciting either, because we spent most of the time at home with a friend of my brother's, and a house we did nothing at but eat.”

For other families, Eid was still enjoyable even with parents off at Hajj.  Fatimah got to enjoy tons of Eid gifts from all of her cousins and had lots of fun going to many Eid parties.  Twelve-year-old Sabriya missed her parents but was still able to enjoy Eid.  “I woke up and I wanted to say Eid Mubarak to my parents, but they weren't there. They were at Hajj. I knew that I should not be sad [because] of their absence, but happy that they were doing the special, life changing pilgrimage. So I put on a happy face and went to Eid prayer with my family. Honestly, I forgot I was so sad after a while because, come on! It's Eid!”  Sabriya had lots of fun visiting friends and family.

Long Separation

Children find it very hard to adjust to life without their parents in what seems like the longest weeks of their lives. The average amount of time parents leave their kids when they go to Hajj is around three weeks.  One couple, however, went for an entire month, while another was gone for a shorter time period of two weeks. Whatever the length, kids will think even one day without their parents is strange.  The first few days are usually the toughest for all parties involved.

More Responsibility

Older siblings often have to take on much more responsibility when their parents are gone, even with substitute caretakers.  As Safiyyah and her sisters from Maryland soon came to realize, they would have to get themselves ready for school while their grandparents took care of their energetic younger brothers.  “The plan was that my grandparents would come to our house and take care of us for those three weeks. As we later learned, this meant that we had to get up and make sure everyone was ready for school on time without any prompting. We also had to make sure that all of our homework was done on time and that we prayed on time without being told.”  Safiyyah also quickly realized that she and her siblings would often have to entertain themselves without the usual daily events their parents would take them to.  With six siblings in the house, finding activities to occupy everyone at home was a challenge.

As the eldest sister of her family, Samiyah realized that she would have more responsibilities than usual during her parents' absence.  “I had a few extra chores to do around the house, more than usual which definitely wasn't something I enjoyed.”  She also wasn't able to go anywhere except school during the entire month her parents were gone.

Nura's older sister was in charge of making sure the lights were on outside at night, and the doors were locked. She had to make sure everyone did their jobs of washing dishes, cleaning the house, and cooking. It was her responsibility to call people for rides. From her experience, she says, “We rely on our parents for so many things, but you don't realize how much responsibility it is until you experience it yourself.”

Positive Memories

Although staying at home when parents go off to Hajj poses many challenges for the kids, there are many positive experiences that the kids get to enjoy, even with their parents across the country. Nura from Texas invited one of her friends over for a baking day once. Another time, she went for Jumuah on the Friday after Eid and hung out at the masjid's playground with her siblings and the college student she stayed with.  They all were so hungry that they decided to have ice cream at the only ice cream place in town. They couldn't go home because their usual ride was at work. Nura was so desperately hungry that she actually took a piece of wrapped cheese she discovered on the grass and ate it. It was actually worth it! When the ride came, Nura went shopping with her siblings, and since it was October at the time, Halloween candy was all over the place. Nura's younger brother suggested buying a bag of candy, and since no parents were around to set off tirades about cavities and prices, the bag of candy was purchased! They remembered these memorable random experiences even months later. Nura tells of another hilarious memory she experienced in her parents' absence.

“An event I must not forget while my parents were at Hajj was one of the enjoyable things about being without them. It was a normal (well, not really normal) Saturday afternoon. I have no idea what we were doing, but my younger brother brought everyone's attention to a black widow spider that had been hanging around the shoe place for a while. We decided to kill it. First we sprayed it with something to freeze it on the wall, and then we trapped it there with a yogurt container. One of us slid a piece of paper under the container. Then we put all that jazz into a giant Ziploc bag…[W]e were screaming the whole time, and wondering why the college student upstairs was paying no attention to us. The Ziploc bag somehow ended up outside. That was one of the memorable things about those three weeks without my parents, and I still wonder how the college student did not hear us. ”

Samiyah and her siblings enjoyed positive memories, as well, as they bonded with their grandmother more than they ever had before, particularly on Eid day when they enjoyed pizza and doughnuts together.  Safiyyah and her siblings had a lot of fun at the airport while dropping their parents off.  “It was very cool to see all the planes and people who were going to different parts of the world.”

Connecting with Parents

It's not so easy to connect with people from overseas, but there's always a way to greet one's parents at Hajj and ask them how everything is going. Nura video chatted with her parents two times while they were gone, and called them on Eid day.  They were doing great, but sounded awfully tired and looked even worse. However, by the stories told by her mother much later, Nura could tell her mother had a great time with the humorous, silly, and awesome members of her Hajji group.

Because of the time difference, other kids were not always able to communicate often with their parents.  Fatimah was only able to talk to her parents on the phone once.  And then she was too shy to say much.  When the rest of the family video chatted with her parents, Fatimah was usually asleep.

After Parents' Return

Once parents return from Hajj, everything doesn't go back to normal right away.  There is lots of fun, of course, reuniting with each other, getting gifts from Mecca and celebrating Eid again a few days late.  However, readjusting to the everyday life before Hajj can also be difficult, especially for younger kids who had gotten used to new adjustments and habits.  When their parents come back, young children often act rebellious as payback for their parents' absence. They may also take time to warm up again.

After the Hajj experience, younger kids can ironically get even more attached to their parents than before, making sure not to let their parents out of their sight again.  When two-year-old Fatimah's parents returned from Hajj, she was careful to stay close to her mom always after that.  The next time she visited her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Delaware, she started crying when her mother was in the other room.  When her dad and uncle went out for a few hours, she assumed that they had gone to Hajj and said, “Baba went to Hajj!”

Two young girls whose parents performed Hajj last year found it strange and frightening to live without their parents, and found it harder to warm up to their mother again once she returned. Two of Safiyyah's younger brothers wouldn't leave their parents even to go to the bathroom. The older children weren't able to simply give up their responsibilities once their parents returned.  After the long Hajj experience, Hajjis are usually jetlagged and tired.  Many develop illnesses and have to rest before resuming care of their children.  During the time after her parents' return, Nura and her siblings continued to do the work they had been doing before because their parents were sick.  Fatimah's parents were also sick when they returned from Hajj, and they were not able to continue potty-training her.

Learning about their parents' experiences, however, is lots of fun.  Safiyyah marveled at her parents' descriptions of their Hajj.  “They talk about the crowds and how everything stops at salah time and how amazing it is to hear the athan in the streets.”  All of this makes Safiyyah eager to perform Hajj, as well.

When Nura went to pick up her parents from the airport, it was wonderful and strange at the same time. At home, the kids helped their parents unpack, and discovered lots of strange and unique souvenirs, like two enormous bottles of ZamZam water, little packages of dates, and strange-but-delicious Arab sweets. Among the gifts Nura's parents brought were beautiful abayas with matching hijabs, fancy thawbs, and hats to go with them.

An additional strange part about reuniting with one's parents occurs after the dads shave their heads.  When Nura video-chatted her parents, she was surprised to see her dad's shiny bald head. Her first reaction was, “Whoa” and then it became, “Oh yeah, I forgot you're supposed to shave your head.” Still, throughout the whole video chat, she could not take her eyes off her dad's head. Later, at a girls' halaqa gathering, Nura remembers telling her friends, “My dad is, like, totally bald.”

Lessons Learned

Kids left behind when their parents are off to Hajj usually learn important life lessons.  After such a big event and long absence from their parents, they realize the importance of their parents.  Many kids also learn how to be a lot more independent and to take care of themselves more than they had before.

Since she was supposedly freer without her parents around, Nura left her Algebra I alone for just a while. She soon realized the hard way that she should not have left those days alone, and ended up finishing her Algebra I near the end of May. That was not fun, considering Algebra I was really challenging for her!

Nura also came to appreciate her parents more after the experience.  “Life wasn't very exciting without Mom and Dad. I had nothing to blog about in their absence, except for their absence. That Eid was the first one I'd ever spent without Mom and Dad. I'm not hoping for an Eid like that again. Obviously, this experience was Allah showing me how important my parents are.”

Samiyah learned that she “could be more independent and didn't need my parents around all of the time.”

Advice to Other Kids

Many of the kids had their own pieces of advice to give to others whose parents will be going off to Hajj in the near future.

“When your parents leave, you are so overwhelmed with boredom that even interesting, fun things become dull and gray and all you even want to do most of the time is sleep and wish your parents were home,” Safiyyah says.  “I was really bored while my parents were gone. I didn't think I would be, but I was, and it was terrible!” Nura says. Samiyah from Delaware agrees.  “My advice to kids whose parents are at Hajj is that they shouldn't think about their parents all the time…Another thing that makes it better is having someone who's the next best thing after your parents around to keep an eye on you and your siblings.”

The unspoken advice of toddlers is definitely to keep an eye on your parents all the time.  Otherwise, they might just decide to escape from you for a few weeks…

 

Have your parents gone to Hajj before?  What was it like for you?  Tell us by commenting below!

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Pray, Connect, Learn, Speak – Ferguson http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/20/pray-connect-learn-speak-ferguson/ http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/20/pray-connect-learn-speak-ferguson/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:34:28 +0000 http://muslimmatters.org/?p=55999 We await the grand jury decision on whether Darren Wilson, the police officer who fired on and killed unarmed Michael Brown, will be indicted on criminal charges. Our Noble Prophet ﷺ said, “By Allah, if you have killed one man, it is as if you have killed all the people” (Sunan SaEid ibn Mansur 2776). […]

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We await the grand jury decision on whether Darren Wilson, the police officer who fired on and killed unarmed Michael Brown, will be indicted on criminal charges. Our Noble Prophet ﷺ said, “By Allah, if you have killed one man, it is as if you have killed all the people” (Sunan SaEid ibn Mansur 2776). While Michael Brown's death is a deep tragedy in and of itself, the militarized response to the protests it sparked reflect racial disparities and long standing injustices in our society. As Muslims we should draw upon our strong tradition of standing with the most marginalized members of society.

Allah tells us in the Qur'an:

4:135

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted (Sahih International 4:135)

Mass incarceration, police brutality and the frequency of  extrajudicial killings  of Black Americans in the United States , including that of imam Luqman ameen Abdullah and Amadou Diallo (one every 28 hours) are reflections of the structural racism in our society. The activation of the National Guard  in Missouri this week is a stark reminder of the militarized response to non-violent protests. It is our duty as Muslims to stand with the victims of oppression for justice. On the authority of Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) who said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say, “Whoso-ever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith” (Muslim). We are calling on our brothers and sisters to stand, speak, and act.

We ask that Muslim organizations be part of the solution by taking proactive steps in responding to a growing crisis. As part of our mission to challenge racism, we invite you to address the grand jury decision and to prepare our communities to create safe space for conversation and develop strategies to address inequity in our society. Regardless of the decision, the realities of structural racism affects the lives of Muslims and people of color nationwide.  There are 75 Planned Actions for Darren Wilson Grand Jury Decision which you can join and support. In addition, we offer the suggestions below and we would invite you to share your own ideas as well:

  • Pray. Either deepen your prayer for the situation, or get started now. Pray for an end to racism, for the family of Michael Brown, for the people of Ferguson, for the police and other government officials. If you are an imam, be sure to include a prayer for the people of Ferguson in your Friday prayers.  Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, even if he is an unbeliever, for there is no screen between it and Allah” (Musnad Ahmad 12140).

  • Connect. Start thinking now about your community and their likely reactions, and needs. Are there other Muslim community centers you could join with? Are there other faith communities? Reach out to other imams and leaders to plan and strategize. Reach out within your community to support Muslims for Ferguson and others who will support this effort.

  • Learn. Become well informed about structural racism, police brutality, state surveillance, and prison-industrial complex. The Ferguson syllabus is an excellent place to deepen your knowledge and begin to make connections.

  • Discuss. Create safe space to meet and start conversations about the decision, in order to share reactions, fears and hopes. It may be immediate or within 24 or 48 hours, online or in face to face meetings. Gather the resources needed to support honest engagement with this issue with a goal of unmasking, dismantling and eradicating racism.

  • Speak. Prepare to teach, preach, and speak out against racism, now and on a regular basis.

  • Release. Kaethe Weingarten (South African psychologist) writes “Let yourself release the feelings that you have. if you feel sadness, cry; if anger, yell. Think of one small action that you can take, symbolic or actual, that makes you feel less helpless” Be mindful of how this fear, anxiety, anger and rage manifests itself in our physical bodies.

  • Talk. Speak to your children and other young people in your lives about current events. Children especially take their cues from us and we have to be prepared to help them process what is s happening. There are numerous resources on How to Teach Kids About Ferguson. Above all, reassure them of our love and affection.

This is not an exhaustive list, but we hope they prepare us for meaningful action. We urge all Muslims to engage this situation in a way that can bring about sustained change.

If you have questions, comments, ideas or suggestions, please contact one of us. As part of our commitment to fighting racism within the Muslim community and standing for justice, we must take action.

Jazak Allah khayr,

Margari Hill,

Co-founder and Programming Director

Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative

(Adapted heavily from Rev. Dr. Keith Bolton and Rev. Deborah Blood Co-Chairs of the Sacred Conversations on Race Ministry Facebook  Post retrieved November 19, 2014)

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From Financing Homes the Sharia Way to Brokering Real Estate the Modern Way http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/19/from-financing-homes-the-sharia-way-to-brokering-real-estate-the-modern-way/ http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/19/from-financing-homes-the-sharia-way-to-brokering-real-estate-the-modern-way/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 17:00:49 +0000 http://muslimmatters.org/?p=55962 The “Guidance” brand is synonymous with leadership and authenticity in the world of Islamic Finance. As a subsidiary of Capital Guidance, a 40-year old investment company, Guidance Financial Group (“GF Group”) was conceived over 10 years ago to focus on the Islamic financial services sector. Its subsidiary, Guidance Residential, became a highly respected and recognized […]

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The “Guidance” brand is synonymous with leadership and authenticity in the world of Islamic Finance. As a subsidiary of Capital Guidance, a 40-year old investment company, Guidance Financial Group (“GF Group”) was conceived over 10 years ago to focus on the Islamic financial services sector. Its subsidiary, Guidance Residential, became a highly respected and recognized institution in the Islamic home finance industry and is today's leading US provider of Sharia-compliant home financing.

To build on this success, earlier this year, GF Group launched its second U.S. subsidiary to also be mainly focused on the housing industry. The new company, Guidance Realty Homes, is a premier real estate brokerage that is rapidly growing with new offices in San Diego, Orlando, and the Greater NYC area.

Although far from being a household name just yet, Guidance Realty Homes is an innovative, technologically savvy and incredibly service-oriented real estate brokerage that promises consumers three things; convenience, simplicity and savings. That's because Guidance Realty Homes is committed to a new and better way to buy and sell homes in today's technology-driven real estate market.

Gone are the days when real estate agents printed a stack of listings from the MLS and handed them to their buyers for review. These days, a vast majority of buyers use their computers, smartphones or tablets to find their dream homes. Realizing the critical importance of harnessing the power of technology, Guidance Realty Homes launched earlier this year a powerful property search website and mobile app designed to allow buyers to view, share and save online listings.

The site also allows buyers to calculate what their estimated mortgage payments would look like on each property and furthermore pre-qualify for financing using its sister company, Guidance Residential. With just a few clicks, clients can now pre-qualify for financing, let their agents know they have added properties to their virtual list of “favorites” and begin scheduling their showings.

“We are empowering buyers to do their own research,” said Hussam Qutub, President of Guidance Realty Homes. “By creating a profile our clients can choose to receive regular listing alerts, or they can be proactive by having the most advanced search tools right at their fingertips.”

The app allows buyers to gain a thorough, accurate picture of the neighborhood they're considering with dozens of local area data points, such as gas stations, schools, public transportation, restaurants and more. The website, guidancerealtyhomes.com, offers walkability scores, commuting scores, school ratings and dining scores.

“With this level of transparency and education, all at a click of a mouse, buyers are beginning to make some decisions – mostly in the initial phase of the process – without involving a real estate agent,” Qutub said.

There's more. All this access puts buyers in the driver's seat and subsequently affords them a discount in the form of a rebate equaling a half a percent of the purchase price paid from commissions at closing. “That rebate to us represents the fact that technology has begun to assist us in serving consumers in the initial phase of the process,” Qutub said. He adds “we believe that buyers who get involved in the vetting and filtering process deserve a financial reward that can help them offset some of the expenses associated with moving in to that new house”.

Following that same spirit, Guidance Residential, has begun offering buyers who use the site and its agents a $350 appraisal credit when financing online with them. “Everything is done electronically now, including documentation,” Qutub said. “We use e-signing, which makes the whole process as simple and straightforward and cost-effective as possible. We believe it can be a pleasant and much more user-friendly experience.”

And clients agree. Since Guidance Realty Homes launched in February of this year, the company has served numerous buyers and sellers in New York, California and Orlando. Plans call for further expansion into more markets in Texas; Illinois; and Washington, D.C.

Buyers are not the only ones being wowed with discounts. Sellers are also experiencing the unique difference Guidance Realty Homes offers. “We go above and beyond with sellers, beginning with a fantastic online tool that allows them to access a very accurate valuation of their home,” Qutub said. “This gives a very detailed valuation using the best assessment tool on the market.”

Once a client decides to sell, his/her listing agent presents a highly detailed and targeted marketing plan that includes professional high-definition photography, submission of property to the MLS, open houses, and best of all a discounted listing fee. Even with a listing, Guidance Realty Homes says their service is never diminished and their agents, led by seasoned brokers, are highly committed to helping sellers pocket more of their equity for perhaps the next major purchase.

Currently, Guidance Realty Homes is focused on growing their three branches. The brokers in charge of the three offices are not only qualified local real estate experts but are active members of the Muslim community. The Orlando office is lead by Tariq Saleem, an award-winning broker and designated Realtor who has serviced the real estate industry of Central Florida for more than a decade. In San Diego, the broker is Nasser Alameddin who is a seasoned real estate professional with over 20 years of experience in the business. Last but certainly not least, the New York City office, located in Queens, is led by Sami Kabir who has more than a decade of real estate expertise under his belt.

Guidance Realty Homes Advantages

BUY FOR LESS: Buyers save 0.5% off the purchase price

SELL FOR MORE: Sellers keep 0.5% of their listing price

$350 appraisal credit for buyers when financing online with Guidance Residential

The Guidance Realty Homes app allows buyers to gain a thorough, accurate picture of the neighborhood with many of local area data points, such as gas stations, schools, public transportation, restaurants, and many more

The website, guidancerealtyhomes.com, offers walkability, commuting, and dining scores as well as school ratings

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The Hypocrisy of Feminist Outrage http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/17/the-hypocrisy-of-feminist-outrage/ http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/17/the-hypocrisy-of-feminist-outrage/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 06:37:53 +0000 http://muslimmatters.org/?p=55933 If it is okay for women to bare it all in public without regard to the sensitivities of those around them, why is it not ok for men to make comments regarding women’s dress without regard to their sensitivities? Perhaps catcallers are just sexually expressing themselves. Perhaps that is what freedom and equality are all about.

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The viral NYC Catcall video has caused a stir in social media and online forums. It records a woman receiving over 100 catcalls from men as she walks the streets of New York City for 10 hours.

Just consider the 100,000+ youtube comments alone. While most commenters found the behavior of the catcalling men disgusting, some took issue with how the woman in the video was dressed. These commenters were daring enough to suggest that perhaps she would have attracted less negative attention had she dressed more “modestly.”

This suggestion, in turn, was met with backlash. How dare anyone “blame the victim” by suggesting that a woman change the way she dresses because men cannot or will not act with common decency!

What do we make of all this?

Is it completely outlandish to suggest that the way a woman (or man) dresses has an impact on how others treat her (or him)?

A Different Kind of Sexual Harassment

Here is another suggestion: why can't we recognize that sexual harassment can go both ways?

Often, we characterize catcalling men as the predators who harass helpless women. What about immodest dress? If a person dresses in “sexy” clothes and goes out in public, why shouldn't we consider this a form of sexual harassment in its own right?

Let me be frank. As a Muslim man, it is not easy walking through the streets these days. Women's fashion continues to get increasingly sexy and provocative, and, in effect, public spaces are increasingly sexualized. From an Islamic perspective, the harm caused to individuals by this is clear and inarguable. Even from a non-religious perspective, constantly bombarding men with sexiness can be tortuous. Think of men or adolescent males who for whatever reason cannot find a sexual partner. Or think of married men being endlessly tempted by strangers as soon as they step out of the house. And, of course, the same or analogous harm can be inflicted on women by provocatively dressed men.

So, given the extent of this harm, why can't concerned members of society raise their voices and say, enough is enough?

Expressing Sexuality

Unfortunately, people who do suggest that public dress should abide by basic standards of decency are characterized as prudes and out-of-touch religious fundamentalists. Even the words “decency” and “modesty” are seen as relics of a patriarchal past.

“So what if a woman wants to show some skin?” is the typical line. “A woman's right to bare it all is what freedom and equality is all about! This is the 21st century. Are we still talking about women dressing 'modestly'? How quaint! Modesty is dead. Women have the right to express their sexuality any way they please. If some women want to dress in long skirts, cover their hair, wear burkas, etc., that's fine, but don't tell anyone else how to dress.”

These are the arguments, more or less, from self-proclaimed “feminists” (especially third-wave) and others on the subject of modest dress. (Of course, there are many schools of thought in the feminist movement, and we should be cautious about characterizing feminists with too broad a brush. For example, some feminists will argue that current fashion merely serves to “objectify” women and, thus, serves the interests of men. But, even among this group, few would analyze the issue of women's dress from the lens of men as victims, and even fewer would endorse the view that women's dress be dictated by the sensitivities of men.)

Whose Power and Control?

The problem with the above argument against modesty is that it is hypocritical or, at least, wildly inconsistent.

When it comes to street harassment, catcalling is considered indecent, disrespectful, and immodest, to say the least. That means that, contrary to the above rant about “modesty being dead,” we all recognize and understand the value of these concepts, at least in the context of street harassment. And that means that we all do recognize some standard of decency, modesty, and respect. So why don't we similarly recognize that a person's dress could (and should) also abide by standards of modesty and decency?

In other words, it is hypocritical to bemoan the lack of decency/modesty on the part of catcallers but then, in the same breath, deny that those same concepts of decency/modesty can apply to the way people dress.

In response to this, some might argue that their grievance against street harassment has nothing to do with some arcane notion of decency, modesty, or honor. Rather, what makes street harassment so odious is that it is an instance of a person “exerting power and control over someone else.”

But, again, from a certain perspective, provocative dress, too, can be understood as an exertion of power over others in the public space, even an act of violence. From the Islamic worldview, for example, a person's gaze is an invaluable treasure to be protected as it serves as the gateway to the heart/mind. And, while much of the onus in protecting one's gaze falls on the person himself, others bear some moral responsibility too in being mindful of what they display in the presence of others. As we will see below, this moral-metaphysical construct has clear parallels in the legal and psychoanalytical traditions of the secular West.

Double Standards Abound

Ultimately, the point is if feminists wanted to be consistent, they should adopt the same hands-off attitude with respect to catcallers as they have for fashion.

If it is ok for women to bare it all in public without regard to the sensitivities of those around them, why is it not ok for men to make comments regarding women's dress without regard to their sensitivities?

After all, perhaps catcallers are just sexually expressing themselves. Perhaps that is what freedom and equality are all about. Few would deny that men and women have different, gender-specific modes of sexual expression. If women can “own their bodies” by displaying it, why can't men “own their feelings” by expressing their instinctual reactions to what women display?

Besides, on what basis can it be argued that a woman being catcalled suffers any real harm? Are comments like, “Hey beautiful,” by strange men in actuality harmful to a woman? How so?

Of course, I believe there is harm, but I also believe that immodest dress can be equally if not more harmful to onlookers.

Blaming the Victim

The suggestion that people modify their behavior or dress in order to avoid sexual harassment or assault is widely considered as nothing more than “blaming the victim.” What do we make of this?

First of all, as I have already said, certain kinds of behavior and dress should be understood as unacceptable due to the fact that they cause harm to others. (This is in line with secular moral reasoning, namely that only acts that harm others can be legally regulated or even deemed immoral in the first place.) A woman or man dressed provocatively, walking in public causes acute harm to those around her or him. As Muslims, we recognize this harm in the Islamic sense, but it should not be too difficult for non-Muslims to recognize – or at least acknowledge the possibility of – this harm as well. A few examples:
1- Workplace standards of dress: All places of business in the West have dress codes. The idea is that dressing provocatively is inappropriate as it can cause distraction and unneeded sexual tension that can contribute to a hostile working environment. If those standards are commonplace, why is it so hard to understand that provocative dress can be cause for a hostile public space?

2- Children: Everyone seems to recognize that children should not be exposed to certain kinds of scenes or images. That is why the MPAA in the US puts out movie ratings (PG, PG-13, etc.) and pundits question the presence of dancing cheerleaders at professional sporting events where children are present. Few would deny that there is harm, psychological or otherwise, that can afflict children exposed to sexually provocative imagery. Well, why can't we extend that logic to adults? Could regular exposure to sexually provocative imagery cause psychological or neurological harm in adults? Scientific research has already concluded as much.

3- Indecent exposure laws: As it turns out, Saudia Arabia, Iran, and the Taliban are not the only governments that dictate to their populations how much to cover themselves. Secular countries also have laws about what parts of the human body can or cannot be exposed in public spaces. Oftentimes, these laws simply represent Western cultural norms and, thus, go unquestioned, whereas analogous laws in Muslim countries that do not reflect Western norms are criticized. But, as far as Western norms go, who gets to decide that certain parts of the body, such as genitalia or a woman's chest, are the only areas on the body that need to be covered in public? As any anthropologist can explain, different cultures have different views on dress, nudity, and the metaphysical and social significance of displaying the body. What is considered “naked” in one culture might be “modest,” even “prudish,” in another and vice versa. By means of colonialism and mass media, however, Western standards of dress and nudity have been mass imposed around the globe to such an extent that much of the world's intuitions and subjective views on bodily propriety reflect Western sensibilities. In contrast to these idiosyncratic sensibilities, Islamic norms are seen (and experienced) as restrictive, alien, even barbaric. Even many Muslim women in hijab consciously feel like the veil is burdensome and would prefer to dress “normally” and only refrain from doing so due to their (commendable) religious devotion. If these Muslim women were taken back in time to, say, the year 1910 in America or Europe, the hijab would not stand out at all, since, even then, it was considered improper for a woman to expose her hair in public, let alone wear miniskirts and high heels. While the “normal” in secular society is in constant flux, Islamic principles of `awrah have remained consistent.

With these examples in mind, it is not hard to motivate the idea that, even from a secular perspective, immodest dress can cause harm. Does this mean that the woman in the viral video deserved the disrespectful treatment? Does this mean that a scantily dressed woman (or man) deserves to be sexually assaulted?

Absolutely not. Such harassment is never justifiable. But that fact has no bearing on the question of what is or is not appropriate dress and behavior. As Muslims, we should not be hesitant to denounce sexual harassment in the form of catcalling while also noting that immodest displays are in their own way a form of harassment that ought to be curbed with appropriate dress.

Ultimately, the implication is that, through these kinds of arguments, we can justify and demonstrate the ethical superiority of modest dress, such as the hijab, even from a secular, non-religious perspective. In this way, rather than being defensive and apologetic about hijab, Muslims should be confident in the emphasis their religion puts on modesty and even propose the hijab (and its analogs) to non-Muslims as a clear moral alternative.

What About Sexual Harassment Against Veiled Women?

Of course, some will be quick to point out that modestly dressed women, even women in full hijab, are still victims of catcalling and sexual assault. This response completely misses the point.

No one claims that dressing modestly will completely foreclose on the possibility of receiving negative attention. The claim is simply that, all else being equal, modest dress, e.g., hijab, significantly reduces the likelihood of such harassment. In fact, a recent youtube video demonstrated precisely this claim in spectacular fashion. So, yes, while women in hijab are, unfortunately, frequent victims of catcalling in Cairo's busy streets, for example, the undeniable fact remains that the harassment would be much, much worse if these same women were dressed in yoga pants, tank tops, and other common Western styles.

Defining the Provocative

Throughout this post, I have expounded on the harm of “provocative dress” without defining exactly what this phrase means. Are short sleeves “provocative”? Are skinny jeans? Are maxi dresses? Is a one-piece swimsuit more or less provocative than a bikini?

I do not need to define the term because, as US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said about the concept of obscenity, I know it when I see it. Clearly, what is or is not provocative is in the eye of the beholder, and cultural standards shift all the time. But all is not lost to radical subjectivity and relativism. For example, at the very least, people today generally share this notion of “sexiness” within a given culture. In fact, being sexy is a sought after quality when it comes to dress and general demeanor. So, it is this commonplace notion that I would tie to “provocativeness” in benchmarking a more extensive discussion of appropriate dress in the public sphere. In other words, let's scale back the sex appeal.

It is noteworthy that in many cultures and religions throughout time we find parallels to the Muslim standards of hijab. In the Jewish and Christian traditions, covering the hair and donning loose fitting clothes were the norm. These archetypal modes of dress can also be found in non-Abrahamic traditions. For the majority of human history, numerous civilizations independently maintained a common conception of modesty, virtue, and honor, as if these standards emanated from a universal source. Even in Western society, up until 60 or 70 years ago, these values still had currency. But, ever since, everything has been up in the air.

Rules of Engagement

If anyone can be blamed for the erosion of basic norms of sexual propriety as seen in the catcalling video and elsewhere, some of the blame must fall on the “Sexual Revolution” itself. What is obvious is that the hypersexualization of the public space in modern times, driven by the “sexual revolutionaries” of the past 50 years, is directly contributing to the catcalling and harassment happening on the streets of our cities, among other things.

How so?

The 20th century Sexual Revolution in the West was meant to subvert sexual norms and standards of behavior between the sexes — norms and standards deemed coquettish at best, oppressive at worst. What feminists, modernists, and sexual revolutionaries failed to realize in their haste to overturn the old rules is that some of those mores might have actually served a crucial purpose.

For example, is it appropriate to shamelessly proposition a stranger in public by way of catcall?

Apparently not.

But what about “hitting on” said stranger?

Well, depends on the situation.

Is it appropriate to meet someone at a bar and decide to go home with her for the night?

In today's culture, yes.

What if that person has had too much to drink?

Well, that becomes a little trickier…

How much alcohol is too much? What if the stranger is willing and ready? What if the stranger has boyfriend? What if the stranger is willing now, but changes her mind half way through? Or the next day? What if the person is not a stranger but a coworker? What if the location is not a bar but an office party? What if the coworker is married? etc., etc., etc.

The point is there are countless rules and standards of behavior — both explicit and implicit, of varying degrees of subtlety — that dictate appropriate sexual behavior even in “sexually liberated,” third-wave feminist Western culture. But the very existence of these rules squarely conflicts with the “no rules,” “no inhibitions,” free love,” “free sexual expression” ethos of the post-sexual revolution world we inhabit.

Hypocrisy Upon Hypocrisy

The hypocrisy is we are teaching and conditioning members of society, men and women, that “free sexual expression” is the only way to be healthy but, then, we are outraged by certain kinds of “indecency,” e.g., catcalling. Is it really that surprising that when people are incessantly told to, “Throw away your inhibitions,” “Don't be a prude,” “Let the inner animal loose,” that the result will be an increase of indecency and socially taboo behaviors? Again, from a certain perspective, catcallers are essentially just expressing their sexuality. Maybe it would be “prudish” of us to suggest that they hold their tongues.

The lasting effects of the Sexual Revolution are reverberating in the street, in our homes, and in our psyches. Young people are the unfortunate victims. Things are so confused that girls are having trouble understanding if they have been victims of rape or not. Boys are insecure if they have not lost their virginity by the end of middle school.

Just look at the contradictions in the field of fashion itself. Girls as young as 10 are encouraged to dress sexy, but what does this amount to other than attracting sexual attention from others? Obviously certain kinds of attention are socially acceptable and others are not, but what are these standards grounded in? Not tradition, not cultural memory, not elderly counsel, not organized religion. The rules exist and the consequences are steep, but the institutions that historically were responsible for instilling these norms have all been undermined by the vicious anti-authoritarianism of modern sexual liberation. Yet the same voices calling for liberation are also the ones bemoaning the acts of catcallers and sexual harassers.

We are all victims of this hypocrisy.

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Do Muslims Believe in Aliens? ~ Dr. Yasir Qadhi http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/15/do-muslims-believe-in-aliens-dr-yasir-qadhi/ http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/15/do-muslims-believe-in-aliens-dr-yasir-qadhi/#comments Sat, 15 Nov 2014 05:00:48 +0000 http://muslimmatters.org/?p=55820     There are many incidences documented of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and weird creatures from another world coming to our world. Some believe it to be true, others believe it to be a hoax – what is the correct 'theological' Islamic position on other life forms? In this video clip Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi […]

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There are many incidences documented of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and weird creatures from another world coming to our world.

Some believe it to be true, others believe it to be a hoax – what is the correct 'theological' Islamic position on other life forms?

In this video clip Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi answers – Do Muslims believe in Aliens?

What was the position of ibn Taymiyyah on other life forms?

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The Honored In The Quran | Part 1| Sh Ahsan Hanif http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/14/the-honored-in-the-quran-part-1-sh-ahsan-hanif/ http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/14/the-honored-in-the-quran-part-1-sh-ahsan-hanif/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 19:15:35 +0000 http://muslimmatters.org/?p=55875 Five times in the Qur'ān does Allah refer to the 'honoured' or 'Al-Mukramūn'. In part one of this two-part article we will be analysing these five passages as well as how we can work to be from amongst them. Al-Anbiyā', Yā Sīn, al-Ṣāffāt, al-Dhāriyāt and Maʻārij are the five chapters in which the honoured are […]

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Five times in the Qur'ān does Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) refer to the 'honoured' or 'Al-Mukramūn'. In part one of this two-part article we will be analysing these five passages as well as how we can work to be from amongst them.

Al-Anbiyā', Yā Sīn, al-Ṣāffāt, al-Dhāriyāt and Maʻārij are the five chapters in which the honoured are mentioned in the Qur'an.

Surah Al-Anbiya

21:26

In Sūrah Al-Anbiyā', verse 26, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says, “And they say 'The Most Gracious has taken a child'. Exalter be He! Rather they are honoured servants.”[1] This verse primarily refers to those Arab tribes such as Khuzāʻah who used to believe that the angels were the daughters of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) responds to this by stating that rather they are honoured slaves. They are honoured because, “They cannot precede Him in Word and they act by His command.”[2] Thus, the angels are but humble slaves of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that He has chosen to honour.

21:27
21:28

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) then continues, “He knows what is before them and behind them, and the cannot intercede except for those He is pleased with. And they, from fear of Him are in awe.”[3] Thus, the angels can only obey Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and their intercession is only by the permission of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for those He is pleased with; namely the people of tawḥīd as mentioned by the exegete of the Companions, ʻAbdullāh ibn ʻAbbās (ranhu). The angels – as established in this verse – intercede in this life and the next as we will mention in more detail in part two of this article. At the same time, their knowledge of Allah, His Names and His Attributes increases them in their awe and reverence of Him as the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentioned, “The heavens creak and they have a right to creak. There is not the area of a four finger except upon it is an angel with its forehead prostrating to Allah.”[4] It is important to note that as one learns more about Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), increases in faith and gains more knowledge they should also increase in khashyah of Him. This is the case with the angels. It was also true of the Prophets including our own Prophet (saw) who despite having all his sins forgiven would spend all night standing in prayer until his feet had blisters. It is for this reason that Allah describes the scholars as those who truly have khashyah of Him subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

21:27
21:29

However, even if one of the angels, for the sake of argument was to claim to be a god besides Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), they would be punished with the Fire. “And whoever of them says, 'I am a god besides Him', We shall recompense them with Hell. Thus, do We recompense the oppressors.”[5] It is impossible for the angels to commit shirk, yet to demonstrate the gravity of this sin and the importance of tawḥīd, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) makes this statement. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says something similar in relation to our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) emphasising the same principle, “And it has surely been revealed to you and those who came before you that if you were to commit shirk, all your actions would be nullified and you would be from the losers.”[6] Thus, we see that the first group to be classified as the 'honoured' are the noble angels of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Surah Ya Sin

Yaseen

36_26

36_27

The second passage of the Qur'ān to speak about the honoured is in Sūrah Yā Sīn. It is mentioned in the context of the story of those people of the city to whom the messengers were sent. When the people rejected the messengers, a man from the farthest end of the city came imploring them to follow the messengers. This man; a carpenter named Ḥabīb according to some scholars of tafsīr, was killed by his people. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says that the man said, “Indeed I have believed in Your Lord so listen to me.”[7] As a result of this he was rewarded with Paradise, “It was said, 'Enter into Paradise'. He said, 'If only my people knew.'”[8]

He is longing for his people to know the reality of how Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) rewards the believers in the hopes that they too would follow his example. If only my people knew. Knew what exactly? Two things as Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mentions, “…Of how my Lord has forgiven me and placed me among the honoured.”[9] Thus, the second honoured category is the righteous believers who will enter into Paradise.

Surah Al Saffat

We move onto the Sūrah al-Ṣāffāt, wherein Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in the opening pages of this chapter speaks about the disbelievers and their condition on the Day of Judgement. There will be reprisals amongst them, each one blaming the other. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says concerning these people, “Indeed you will be tasters of the painful torment. And you will not be recompensed except for what you used to do.”[10]

37_38

37_39

37_40

37_41

37_42

However there are exceptions to these people, “Except for the sincere slaves of Allah. They will have a provision which is known.”[11] Some of the exegetes said it will be known in terms of its sweetness and taste, others said it will be known in terms of the timings, i.e. that they will have their provision every morning and evening as mentioned elsewhere in the Qur'ān. Yet others said that the well-known nature of this provision is explained in the next verse, “Fruits, and they will be honoured.”[12] As such, this third occasion also refers to the righteous believers of Paradise as the honoured.

Surah Al Dhariyat

51_24

Sūrah al-Dhāriyāt is the fourth chapter to mention the honoured. This time it is in relation to the story of the Prophet Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). “Has there reached you the story of the honoured guests of Ibrahim?”[13] These were the three angels who came to Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) in the form of men. When they then refused to eat from his food, Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) became afraid at which point they mentioned they were angels who had come to give him glad tidings of a son. Therefore, in this incident as in Sūrah Al-Anbiyā', the honoured refers to the angels once again.

Surah Al Maarij

70_1970_20 70_21 70_2270_23

The fifth and final mention of the honoured comes in Sūrah al-Maʻārij. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says speaking about mankind, “Indeed mankind was created impatient. If evil befalls him he is irritable. And if good comes to him he is miserly. Except for those who pray. Those who are constant in their prayers.”[14] Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) then mentions a number of the virtues of these people.

70_32 70_33 70_34 70_35

Towards the end of these virtues, He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says, “And those who are to their trusts and promises attentive. And those who in their testimonies are upright. And those who maintain the prayer. They will be in gardens, honoured.”[15] Thus, the fifth category of honoured also refers to the righteous dwellers of Paradise.

From the above five occasions on which the honoured are mentioned in the Qur'ān, we conclude that they fall into two categories; the angels and the righteous believers who will be given Paradise. Therefore, the question is how do we ensure that the noble angels of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), who only obey His commands and intercede for whom He is pleased with will intercede for us? The Prophet (saw) understood the connection between these two honoured creations of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), which is why the Sunnah is replete with narrations of those that the angels supplicate for and those they curse.

It is this issue that part two of this article will look at in the hopes we can gain the supplications of the angels and safeguard ourselves from their curses.

[1] 21:26.

[2] 21:27.

[3] 21:28.

[4] Al-Tirmidhī, no. 2312.

[5] 21:29.

[6] 39:65.

[7] 36:25.

[8] 36:26.

[9] 36:27.

[10] 37:38-39.

[11] 37:40-41.

[12] 37:42.

[13] 51:24.

[14] 70:19-23.

[15] 70:32-35.

The post The Honored In The Quran | Part 1| Sh Ahsan Hanif appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

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Khutbah: Wudu (Ablution) Fiqh, Rules, Purification & Blessings http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/14/khutbah-wudu-ablution-fiqh-rules-purification-blessings/ http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/14/khutbah-wudu-ablution-fiqh-rules-purification-blessings/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 05:00:46 +0000 http://muslimmatters.org/?p=55824 Transcribed by  Ayaz Siddiqui One of the unique actions of worship that Allah has blessed us with that He did not bless nations before us is the action of wudu. The action of performing ablution was the very first ritual that our Prophet Muhammad ever performed as a Prophet and as a Muslim. How so? […]

The post Khutbah: Wudu (Ablution) Fiqh, Rules, Purification & Blessings appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

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Transcribed by  Ayaz Siddiqui

One of the unique actions of worship that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has blessed us with that He did not bless nations before us is the action of wudu. The action of performing ablution was the very first ritual that our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) ever performed as a Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and as a Muslim. How so? Allah revealed the following verses from Surah Al-Mudatthir early on in the seerah:

[1-7] O you who lies wrapped up, arise and warn and proclaim the greatness of your Lord. And keep your garments pure, and avoid filth, and do not favor (others) expecting to get more, and be patient for the sake of your Lord

On the second day after this revelation, right after the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) understood he was a Prophet, we learned that Jibreel came down and taught him about the five prayers [1], taught him about wudu [2], and the timings to pray [3]. Although it is true that the five prayers were ordained for the rest of the Muslims at Al-isra' wal miraj (The Night Ascension), for the Prophet and for the early Muslims the prayer, and therefore the wudu, were legislated from the very beginning of Islam. That is why we have the commandments to pray in the early Makkan Surahs. Even before prayer became obligatory for the rest of the Muslims, they were still commanded to pray generically. As for the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), He was told to pray exactly when we are praying the five daily prayers and Jibreel taught him how to do wudu. Jibreel demonstrated for Him how wudu is done and then our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) followed him in that procedure [4].

Therefore, the purpose of this article is to be a brief reminder for us of the blessings that Allah has given us thru this simple ritual as well as some basics of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) related to wudu. Why should we be so concerned about it? It is hoped by the end of the article that the act of wudu will be one of the highlights of your day to stand in front of that sink and do wudu. It will be part of your daily routine to wash and cleanse yourself for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Realize, my dear brothers and sisters, there are dozens of Hadith regarding wudu. This simple article cannot to justice to this topic by discussing all of the Hadith, however it will be as comprehensive as possible.

In the first Hadith to be discussed, the well-known Hadith of Jibreel, wudu has been mentioned as one of the pillars of Islam. When Jibreel came to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and asked him “What is Islam?”, He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) responded by mentioning the five pillars. What may not be as well-known is that there are other narrations of this same Hadith with different wording. In one of these narrations found in Ibn Khuzaymah, narrated by Abdullah ibn Omar, when Jibreel said what is Islam, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) gave a longer list of not just the five pillars, but also included in that list is that Ghusl should be performed in the state of Janabah (impurity) and that this is a part of Islam, and that you perfect your wudu [5]. So in this Hadith, doing wudu is listed as one of the pillars of being a Muslim. Jibreel then asked him at the end of this, 'if I do all of these things then will I be a Muslim' and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said 'Yes, if you do these things you will be a Muslim'. The reason why we are discussing this Hadith is that wudu is included in this list of the pillars of Islam.

The concept of doing wudu was told to us in the famous Hadith of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) that we memorize as children where He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Cleanliness is half of faith…” [6]. This translation is correct however, in the language of the Shariah, taghoor primarily applies to doing wudu. Therefore, if this hadith were to be translated that doing wudu is half of iman, it would actually be more accurate. In Islam, the concept of Taharah is doing wudu and ghusl. Therefore to translate this hadith as doing wudu, and also doing ghusl, is half of iman, is actually a more appropriate translation. In fact, the other half of iman would then be the prayer. To underscore this point, in one version of this hadith what is mentioned is perfecting the wudu is half of faith [7]. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) actually said the phrase perfecting wudu is half of faith. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, those of us who do not have wudu, or do wudu, or perfect wudu have not fulfilled even the bare minimum of even half of Islam.

Our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) encouraged us to do wudu throughout the day. Were it not for the fact that I know my ummah would have found it difficult, I would have commanded them to do wudu every time they prayed. We know that if we previously made wudu and we haven't broken it, then we don't have to make wudu again for the upcoming salah. However, what did our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say? He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said “were it not for the fact that it would be too difficult, I would have commanded my ummah to do wudu every time they stand up to pray”. This shows us He is encouraging us by indicating that even if you have wudu, go ahead and do it again because Allah will bless you with that.

In another beautiful Hadith, our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told us that doing wudu cleanses us from our daily sins. Abu Umamah narrates that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“Whoever stands up to perform his wudu, intending to offer salah, then cleans his hands, the sins of his two hands fall out with the first drop of water. Then, when he rinses his mouth, and draws water into his nose and expels it, the sins of his tongue and two lips fallout with the first drop of water. Then, as he cleans his face the sins of his hearing and seeing fallout with the first drop (of water). Then, when he cleans his two arms including the elbows and his two feet including the ankles, he becomes free of all his offenses and sins, just as he was the day his mother gave him birth.” He (then) said: “When he stands for salah Allah elevates his position and if he (merely) sits (without standing for salah) even then his sitting is free of sins.” (Musnad Ahmad)

In other words, one wudu, if you do it properly, will cause all of these sins to be forgiven. Then when he stands up to pray Allah will raise his rank even more. Our scholars point out that these traditions should be understood as purifying what is called the minor sins. As for the major sins such as drinking, fornication, drugs, or murder, these major sins need to be repented from and cannot be wiped away by simply by performing wudu and then the good deeds only add to the excellence of repentance. Wudu will cleanse the minor sins, such as the white lies we may say or the glances we make towards the opposite gender. This is proven in another hadith that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“Five (daily) prayers and from one Friday prayer to the (next) Friday prayer, and from Ramadhan to Ramadhan are expiations for the (sins) committed in between them provided one shuns the major sins.” (Muslim)[8]

This Hadith not only shows us that wudu will not cleanse one of their major sins, but also the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentions the five prayers here, and as we know wudu is a pre-requisite to the five prayers. Therefore, we can say that doing wudu regularly will cleanse one of all of their sins, provided that the major sins are avoided as the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentions. Performing wudu only increases the perfection of repentance in this regard.

In another beautiful and profound Hadith, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“Adhere to righteousness even though you will not be able to do all acts of virtue. Know that the best of your deeds is salah (prayer) and that no one maintains his ablution except a believer.” (Majah) [9]

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is telling us that we won't be perfect, but even then we should adhere to righteousness. We should do what we can to avoid sins, we should perform the obligatory actions that Allah has told us to do, and go above and beyond the obligatory actions into the supergatory actions as well. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) then mentions that the best of deeds is the prayer, but then what is the key to the prayer? It is the wudu, and so the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentions that nobody will maintain or protect their wudu except a true believer. What does it mean to protect one's wudu? It means that a Mu'min (true believer), which is a higher level that just a Muslim, will always want to be in a state of wudu. Whenever he or she breaks their wudu, they immediately want to perform wudu again to always be in the state of spiritual purity. He or she makes wudu not necessarily because they need to pray right then and there, rather they perform wudu to be in the state of purity out of love for being in the state of purity. That is why the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) encouraged us to protect our wudu so that we are that we may obtain this higher level of faith.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also told us that on the Day of Judgment that the wudu will beautify the one who has perfected it. In a famous hadith in Sahih Muslim, Abu Hazim reported:

“I was (standing) behind Abu Huraira and he was performing the ablution for prayer. He extended the (washing) of his hand that it went up to his armpit. I said to him: 'O Abu Huraira, what is this ablution?' He said: 'O of the tribe of Faruukh, you are here; if I knew that you were here, I would have never performed ablution like this; I have heard my Friend ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say. In a believer adornment would reach the places where ablution reaches.'” [10]

The beauty of the believer on the Day of Judgment will be shown and demonstrated wherever the wudu was perfected. How will the believer be beautified on that day? There will be light coming from those limbs that were washed during wudu. The light from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will be coming from the body and the limbs of the one who did wudu.

In another hadith our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) encouraged us to do wudu perfectly as that will allow all of the doors of Jannah to be opened to us. This means that Jannah is waiting, and just as soon as we die, we can go to Jannah. He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“Whoever performs wudu, making wudu well, then says: (Ashhadu an la ilaha illallah, wahdahu la sharika lahu, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan-abduhu wa rasuluhu, Allahummajalni minat tawwabin, waj'alni minal mutatahhirin) 'I testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone, there are no partners for Him. And I testify that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. (Allahummaj-'alni minat-tawwabina, waj-'alni minal-mutatahhirin) 'O Allah! Make me among the repentant, and make me among those who purify themselves.' Then eight gates of Paradise are opened for him, that may enter by whichever of them wishes.” [11]

What does this Hadith mean? It is saying whoever perfects his wudu, and it important to perfect it, and then says the dhikr that is supposed to be said, our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said all eight doors of Jannah will be flung open for him just after one wudu and after saying one dhikr in a proper manner. This shows us how beloved wudu is such that Jannah opens up its gates waiting for the one who has done wudu.

Perhaps the single most important blessing that we should truly appreciate and want to achieve for performing wudu is the blessing of being recognized on the Day of Judgment by our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). The only way our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will recognize His nation will be thru the effects of wudu. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in a beautiful hadith narrated by more than 12 sahabah and in all of the books of Hadith, and it is a Hadith that we should keep in our minds every time we stand up for wudu so that we perfect it, said in one narration reported by Abu Hurayrah:

“On the Day of Resurrection, my followers (or Ummah) will be summoned `Al-Ghurr Al-Muhajjalun' from the traces of wudu'. Whoever can increase the area of his radiance should do so.”[12]

In this Hadith, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used two words that are used to describe horses, Al-Ghurr and Al-Muhajjalun. Ghurra is a horse that has a white streak on its forehead. It is human nature that when we see a horse with a white streak on its forehead, we feel that this horse is valuable and it is beautiful. Muhajjal means a horse that has white streaks that are going down to its limbs. To this day, the most prized horses are Arabian horses, and for the Arabs the most prized Arabian horses were those that were ghurr and muhajjal. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) by describing his nation with these two adjectives is saying that their faces will be shining bright and their limbs will be shining bright from the effects of wudu. Abu Hurayrah, when narrating this Hadith to his students, would encourage them that whoever amongst them can prolong their wudu or make their wudu such that they would be more beautiful or shine more on the Day of Judgment, should do so.

This Hadith is what Abu Hurayrah himself acted on which was discussed previously, as narrated by Abu Hazim. Abu Hurayrah is telling Abu Hazim that if he had known he was there, he wouldn't have done wudu in this manner so that Abu Hazim doesn't think this is Sunnah. Abu Hurayrah is doing this because he heard the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say that his ummah would come on the Day of Judgment ghurr and muhajjall so he wants to beautify himself more thru his wudu. This is Abu Hurayrah's opinion, and no doubt the Sunnah is to stick with the Sunnah and make wudu to the elbows but the point here is to look at the love of Abu Hurayrah and his desire to be recognized by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). He wants to be known and to stand out on the day of judgment by perfecting his wudu.

In a very beautiful and similar Hadith narrated in Sahih Muslim, Abu Hurayrah reports:

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) went to the (Baqi`) cemetery and said, “May you be secured from punishment, O dwellers of abode of the believers! We, if Allah wills, will follow you. I wish we see my brothers.” The Companions said, “O Messenger of Allah! Are not we your brothers?” He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “You are my Companions, but my brothers are those who have not come into the world yet.” They said; “O Messenger of Allah! How will you recognize those of your Ummah who are not born yet?” He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Say, if a man has white-footed horses with white foreheads among horses which are pure black, will he not recognize his own horses?” They said; “Certainly, O Messenger of Allah!” He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “They (my followers) will come with bright faces and white limbs because of wudu'; and I will arrive at the Hawd (Al-Kauthar) ahead of them.”[13]

In this Hadith, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is again describing his nation as coming ghurr and muhajjal due to the effects of wudu. He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is saying here that He will be able to recognize His nation easily because of the effects of wudu on their faces and limbs, similar to how it is easy to recognize a horse that is ghurr and muhajjal from a group of pure black horses. It is important to note that generally only one horse out of maybe 500 or a thousand horses is ghurr and muhajjal and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is saying his nation will be amongst non-Muslims and he will still be able to recognize them. SubhanAllah, all of mankind will be the color of their skins and their won't be any light emanating from them, but the Muslims will be the only nation that there will be a divine light emanating from their faces and limbs due to their wudu. Therefore, anyone who did wudu shall be recognized by our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), no matter what era they lived in, no matter what timeframe, no matter what geographic location, wherever and whenever a person a person lived, if he or she made wudu they will be recognized by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) amongst millions of people.

That will be our ticket, God-willing, to drink from the fountain of al-Kawthar. Why? Who does that fountain belong to? It belongs to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Who can drink from it? Only those whom the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) owner allows will be allowed to drink from it How will we who are living today get permission to drink from the fountain of al-Kawthar when the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has not seen us? The only method of recognition the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentioned is thru the perfection of wudu and its effects. Also, my dear brothers and sisters, we all want the intercession of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). It is part of our iman to believe that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will intercede on the Day of Judgment. How will he recognize his ummah or us when we don't have the tell-tale characteristics of what it means to be a Muslim? It is thru wudu that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will recognize his ummah who will be shining bright, their faces will be bright, and their limbs will be shining bright from the effects of wudu.

In yet another beautiful and very profound Hadith, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) discusses a dream that he had with the companions. In Jami' at-Tirmidhi, Muadh ibn Jabal the following story:

“One morning, the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was prevented from coming to us for salah As-Subh, until we were just about to look for the eye of the sun (meaning sunrise). Then he came out quickly, had the salah prepared for. The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) performed the salah, and he performed his salah in a relatively quick manner. When he said the Salam, he called aloud with his voice saying to us: 'Stay in your rows as you are.' Then he turned coming near to us, then he said: 'I am going to narrate to you what kept me from you this morning: I got up during the night, I performed wudu and prayed as much as I was able to, and I dozed off during my salah, and fell deep asleep. Then I saw my Lord, Blessed and Most High, in the best of appearances. He said: 'O Muhammad!' I said: 'My Lord here I am my Lord!' [14] He said: 'What is it that the most exalted group (Angels) busy themselves with?' [15] I said: 'I do not know Lord.' And He said it three times.” He said: “So I saw Him place His Palm between my shoulders, and I sensed the coolness of His Fingertips between my breast. Then everything was disclosed for me, and I became aware. So He said: 'O Muhammad!' I said: 'Here I am my Lord!' He said: 'What is it that the most exalted group (Angels) busy themselves with?' I said: 'In the acts that atone.' He said: 'And what are they?' I said: 'The footsteps to the congregation, the gatherings in the masajid after the salah, Isbagh Al-wudu during difficulties.' He said: 'Then what else?' I said: 'Feeding others, being lenient in speech, and salah during the night while the people are sleeping.' He said: 'Ask.' I said: 'O Allah! I ask of you the doing of the good deeds, avoiding the evil deeds, loving the poor, and that You forgive me, and have mercy upon me. And when You have willed Fitnah in the people, then take me without the Fitnah. And I ask You for Your love, the love of whomever You love, and the of the deeds that bring one nearer to Your love.'” The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “Indeed it is true, so study it and learn it.” [16]

In the first part of this Hadith, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said that He had a dream in which he saw Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Now, the scholars of Ahlul-Sunnah say it is not allowed for any human to see Allah in a wakeful state in this world. However, it is possible for the Prophets to see a dream and in that dream, they may speak to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) directly. How this occurs is beyond our knowledge, but they are not seeing Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in a wakeful state and a dream is a different state than a wakeful state. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) then asks the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) what the Angels are debating. The point of the Hadith and the phrasing of the Hadith indicates that they are debating which deeds are the most beloved to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

What do the Angels debate? They don't debate over useless sports or politics. They are debating over which deed is the most beloved to Allah, what deed will bring a person closest to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) responds that He does not know what they are debating. This shows the humility of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and teaches us an important lesson in that we shouldn't hesitate in saying 'I don't know' if we are unaware of a matter. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) then opens up to him the doors of the unseen thru a method of direct revelation (meaning without an Angel as an intermediary) and, at that point, he says he knew everything. So, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) asks Him ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) again what the Angels are debating. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said they are debating about the things that cleanse a person of their sins the most. They are debating which of these deeds is the first, which is second, and which is third in terms of most beloved to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and which cleanse the sins the most. All three of these are at the top of the list.

One of these is perfecting the wudu when it is difficult to do so. What does it mean to perfect wudu when difficult? This can apply especially in the winter months, or when there is no water, or when the wind is blowing while making wudu outside. The houses of the companions and the house of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) were not fully blocked from the wind. There were cracks and crevices so their houses were not completely sealed off the way our houses are sealed off. They did not have hot water like we have hot water. Can you imagine doing wudu in the freezing cold when the water is freezing cold and doing it perfect? This is what the Hadith is indicating by perfecting wudu at times of difficulty. Another deed that is beloved to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is walking on your feet to the masjid and in another version walking during the darkness to the masjid, both versions are correct. This applies to going to the masjid for Fajr and Isha in particular and praying it in the masjid. The third deed mentioned is waiting from one salah to the next salah, i.e. you are always eager for when the next salah is coming up. These are the three things the angels are arguing about that will bring people close to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and the Angels mention wudu as one of them.

One additional hadith that truly demonstrates what wudu will do to a person and what benefit it will have is a Hadith, which we are all familiar with. It is the story of Bilal whose footsteps the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) heard in Paradise. Abu Buraidah narrates in Tirmidhi:

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) awoke in the morning and called for Bilal, then said: 'O Bilal! By what have you preceded me to Paradise? I have not entered Paradise at all, except that I heard your footsteps before me. I entered Paradise last night, and I heard your footsteps before me, and I came upon a square palace having balconies made of gold. So I said: 'Whose palace is this?' They said: 'A man among the Arabs.' So I said: 'I am an Arab, whose palace is this?' They said: 'A man among the Quraish.' So I said: 'I am from the Quraish, whose palace is this?' They said: 'A man from the Ummah of Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).' So I said: 'I am Muhammad, whose palace is this?' They said: ”Umar bin Al-Khattab's.' So Bilal said: 'O Allah's Messenger! I have never called the adhan except that I prayed two Rak'ah, and I never committed Hadath except that I performed wudu upon that, and I considered that I owed Allah two Rak'ah.' So the Messenger of Allah (sallahu alayhi wa salam) said: 'For those two.' [17]

This Hadith shows Bilal's desire to always be in a state of wudu. This Hadith does not mean that Bilal is higher that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) or that Bilal will enter Jannah before the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). We learn in other hadith that the first person to enter Jannah after Adam was expelled from it will be our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) [18]. It simply means Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is showing that Bilal is doing something very beloved and great to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Bilal responds to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) by saying that there are two things he does. The first of which is that he prays to rakah after performing the adhan, and the second is that he never breaks his wudu except that he renews it immediately. Regarding the two rakah after the adhan, how many times does Bilal give the adhan? Five times a day because he is the Muadhin, and every single time he will pray two rakah. It is a Sunnah to pray two rakh between the adhan and the iqamah. The second thing he says is that he is always in a state of wudu. Praise by to Allah, Bilal is linking his place in Jannah to being in a state of wudu. Obviously, Bilal endured punishment and torture due to being a Muslim and was steadfast, but when Bilal himself was asked what he thinks and what he expects Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to reward him for, it is for the extra prayers he performed and for always being in a state of wudu.

My dear brothers and sisters, to summarize, there are many benefits of wudu. Of the ones we discussed are:

  1. wudu is half of iman. Half of your faith is dependant upon wudu.
  2. wudu cleanses sins. So much so that it is possible for a person to be completely purified of their minor sins simply by perfecting wudu.
  3. wudu will come as a bright decoration on the Day of Judgment for the believer. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will decorate you and make you look beautiful and handsome on the Day of Judgment.
  4. Your faces and limbs will come Ghurran Muhajileen from the effects of wudu.
  5. It is of the noblest deeds that even the Angels are arguing about and are putting it first on the list.
  6. It is of one's iman to protect one's wudu throughout the day and night and you raise your rank in Islam simply by guarding your wudu.
  7. It is the only means of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) recognizing us. When the Sahabah asked him how will you know your ummah, the one thing he said was that He will recognize them from the effects od wudu.

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, if these are some of the effects and blessings of wudu, then how can we ever trivialize this deed when Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has placed so many blessings in it. When Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has linked our iman, our love for Him, and our recognizing of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) thru it, how can we possibly trivialize this deed? How can we perform wudu in two seconds splashing water on ourselves and everywhere around us when we stand in front of that sink? My dear brothers and sisters, a little bit of knowledge will affect us for an entire lifetime and we have only narrated a few Hadith. It is impossible after knowing these Hadith to stand in front of the sink and trivialize the wudu when you recognize how much is at stake here. If this is how much we benefit from simply talking about the blessings of one deed, imagine how much more we will benefit when we learn about the blessings of each and every deed that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has told us to do.

It is also important to discuss some of the basic legal laws pertaining to wudu. There is no doubt that the fiqh aspects of wudu require a much lengthier discussion. Yet at the same time it is important to very briefly summarize some of the things everyone should be aware of.

Wudu, my dear brothers and sisters, is needed primarily for two things. The first area where wudu is required is for any salah whether it is fard, nafl, Sunnah or any type of salah. The second area where wudu is required is when you are touching the mushaf. Not a book of tafseer, or a book on Islam, the actual Qur'an itself. Wudu is not needed to recite the Qur'an, only when you are touching it. You may recite the Qur'an from memory or you may recite from the Qur'an without actually touching the mushaf. However, if you want to touch a mushaf, you should have wudu. Wudu is not needed for sajdah that is done for tilawa. If you hear somebody reciting the Qur'an, you can fall into sajda without wudu. Wudu is also not needed for sajda of thankfulness. if some good news comes to you, you can fall into sajda as you are. Wudu is not needed because it is not a salah, it is only a sajda.

Wudu is not needed for when you are making duaa or dhikr. You don't need to have wudu for any duaa and any dhikr, you may make them in any state that you are.

Wudu has seven pillars that you must do. They are very simple and you can memorize them easily. They are:

  1. Intention – Intention if a pillar of all good deeds. You must have the intention to do wudu.
  2. Washing the face
  3. Washing the hands up to the elbows
  4. Wiping the head
  5. Washing the feet up until the ankles
  6. Following the order above. We don't mess this order up because the Qur'an mentions this order.
  7. The wudu is performed in a small amount of time. You don't delay it half an hour between washing various parts of the body to take a phone call or watch TV for example. It must be done in a small amount of time.

The sunnah is to perfect wudu beyond this and that is to begin with mentioning Allah's name by starting with the basmala (bismillah ir rahmanir raheem). Perfecting the wudu also includes washing the hands in the beginning, to gargling water in the mouth, and to blowing water from the nose. These acts are from the sunnah and not of the necessary things of wudu. It is also only necessary to wash each part once, but if you wash each part three times [19], other than the wiping of the head, which is done once, than this is a sunnah as well. You may also wash each part twice [20] or once [21], but once is the bare minimum. Finally, it is sunnah to say the dhikr at the end of wudu as we said earlier.

The wudu is broken by anything that is expelled from the private organs such as a fluid, gas, or solid. It is also broken by a heavy deep sleep, not if you just doze off. If your sitting in your office chair and go to sleep, it is not broken. Only a heavy deep sleep such that you lose your consciousness is what breaks wudu. It is also not broken by vomiting or bleeding according to the strongest position of the scholars. If you do vomit or bleed, that does not break the wudu even though it is better to do wudu to cleanse yourself. The wudu is not broken if you touch somebody of the opposite gender. It is authentically reported by Aisha that sometimes the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would kiss her and then he would go and pray without doing wudu [22]. Aisha is telling us merely to touching a women does not break the wudu, even though you are not supposed to touch a non-mahram women and it is my position that it is makruh to shake hands with non-mahrams of the opposite gender. It should be avoided, but suppose you do shake hands with someone who is not your mahram in an office setting it does not break you wudu, even though it is makruh to do so. Lastly, there is a big controversy over touching ones private organ and whether or not the wudu is broken. The evidences are ambiguous in this regard and in my humble opinion it is safer to do wudu, but it does not break the wudu if you touch your own organ.

Realize, my brothers and sisters, that there is a general rule in fiqh that certainty is not lifted up because of doubt. The meaning of this is if you are unsure if you have wudu or not, you try to determine what you are certain of. For example, if you positively remember making wudu at 2 o'clock, and it now 3 o'clock and your unsure if you've broken wudu or not. If you are sure you did wudu, then you base your state on what you're sure about which is that you did wudu at 2 o'clock and you disregard being unsure because religion is based upon certainty. The opposite also applies in that if you're certain you went to the restroom at 3 o'clock, but now its 4 o'clock and your unsure if you made wudu although you remember going to the bathroom. In this case you base it on certainty and certainty is you broke your wudu. So whatever you are certain about, you base your religion and your state on that and you discard what your uncertain of.

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, I conclude by reminding you of one more hadith that we did not discuss in the previously and it demonstrates the importance of perfecting the wudu. This Hadith is perhaps the most common Hadith about wudu. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saw a man who was doing wudu and when he finished, the back of his foot was still dry. In those days they would do wudu sitting down and the back of the foot would be put on the sand while the top of the foot is washed, similar to how we was our feet today. This man finishes doing wudu and stands up, while the back of his foot had not been washed. Our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) says to this man “Woe to the heels because of hell-fire” [23]. This Hadith demonstrates that being careless in wudu might bring about punishment from Allah. It demonstrates that perfecting wudu guarantees Jannah because if you can enter Hellfire for not doing wudu properly, then you will enter Paradise for doing properly.

My dear brothers and sisters, heaven and hell are linked to our rituals and worship. Wudu is the key to salah and salah is the key to Jannah. The one who perfects his wudu will automatically be creating a way directly Jannah. As for the one who does not perfect his wudu, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) threatened a similar person during his time for being careless with wudu so similarly you may be punished. What will become of the person who does wudu once a year, once a month, or once a week? What will the status of the one who is not addicted to the purity of wudu? How do you think that person will ever be saved from the Fire? How do you think the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will recognize such a person?

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, we thank Allah for having blessed us with such a ritual that our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) can recognize us with. We thank Allah that such a simple routine which is in fact good for us, its healthy for us, its hygienic for us, we thank Allah that so many blessings are linked to such a simple ritual that takes barely two minutes every time we do it. what a beautiful religion that Allah has given us as Allah says in the Qur'an Allah wants to purify you and Allah wants to cleanse you and this is of the goals of the Shariah. may Allah make us of those who understand those goals.

 

 

 

 

[1] Narrated by Ibn Shihab, Once `Umar bin `Abdul `Aziz delayed the `asr prayer a little. `Urwa said to him, “Gabriel descended and led the prayer in front of the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salaam)ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) ” On that `Umar said, “O `Urwa! Be sure of what you say.” “Urwa, “I heard Bashir bin Abi Masud narrating from Ibn Masud who heard Allah's Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saying, 'Gabriel descended and led me in prayer; and then prayed with him again, and then prayed with him again, and then prayed with him again, and then prayed with him again, counting with his fingers five prayers.” (Bukhari, 59:32)

[2] The Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salaam)ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said “Jibreel came to me at the beginning of what he revealed to me and taught me how to do wudu and the prayer…” (Ahmad, al-Hakam) (Kishk, pg.55)

[3] Narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas, The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Gabriel (ﷺ) led me in prayer at the House (i.e. the Ka'bah). He prayed the noon prayer with me when the sun had passed the meridian to the extent of the thong of a sandal; he prayed the afternoon prayer with me when the shadow of everything was as long as itself; he prayed the sunset prayer with me when one who is fasting breaks the fast; he prayed the night prayer with me when the twilight had ended; and he prayed the dawn prayer with me when food and drink become forbidden to one who is keeping the fast. On the following day he prayed the noon prayer with me when his shadow was as long as himself; he prayed the afternoon prayer with me when his shadow was twice as long as himself; he prayed the sunset prayer at the time when one who is fasting breaks the fast; he prayed the night prayer with me when about the third of the night had passed; and he prayed the dawn prayer with me when there was a fair amount of light. Then turning to me he said: Muhammad, this is the time observed by the prophets before you, and the time is anywhere between two times. (Dawud, 2:3)

[4] Jibreel took the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) behind Mount Safaa. There, he caused, by the permission of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), a spring of Zamzam to appear. Jibreel then demonstrated the wudu and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) followed him in that procedure. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) later brought Khadija (ra) to the same spring and taught her to make wudu and they together performed prayer. (Jangda, Episode 31)

[5] Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) narrates in the episode when Jibreel came to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to ask him some questions regarding Islam. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) answered, 'Islam is to testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and to establish salah, to pay Zakaah, to perform the Hajj and Umrah, to take a complete bath from major impurities, to complete the wudu and to fast in the month of Ramadhaan.' Jibreel then asked, 'if I do these acts, am I then a Muslim?' He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) replied, 'Yes'. (Ibn Khuzaymah)

[6] The Messenger of Allah (sallahu alayhi wa salaam) said: Cleanliness is half of faith and al-Hamdu Liliah (Praise be to Allah) fills the scale, and Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah) and al-Hamdu Liliah (Praise be to Allah) fill up what is between the heavens and the earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof (of one's faith) and endurance is a brightness and the Holy Qur'an is a proof on your behalf or against you. All men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves. (Muslims, 2:1)

[7] Sunan an-Nasa'i 2437

[8] (Muslim, 2:19)

[9] (Majah, 1:1:277)

[10] (Muslim, 2:53)

[11] In the version narrated in Sahih Muslim (2:20), the additional duaa “O Allah! Make me of the repentant…” is not narrated. The version narrated in Jami' at-Thirmidhi (1:55) contains this additional duaa.

[12] (Bukhari, 4:2)

[13] (Muslim, 2:52)

[14] At IlmSummit 2014, Shaykh Yasir comments on this Hadith and mentions that it is an etiquette to respond to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) by saying 'Labbayk' (Here I am). This is why when we are called for Hajj, we say Labbayk Allahuma Labbayk (Here I am, O Allah, Here I am)

[15] This shows us that the Angels are of different ranks and the higher the rank, the better. (Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, IlmSummit 2014)

[16] (Tirmidhi, 1:44:3245)

[17] (Tirmidhi, 1:46:3689)

[18] (Muslim, 1:392), (Muslim, 1:394)

[19] (Bukhari, 4:25)

[20] (Bukhari, 4:24)

[21] (Bukhari, 4:23)

[22] (Dawud, 1:179)

[23} (Muslim, 2:40)

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Gay and Muslim? http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/13/gay-muslim/ http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/13/gay-muslim/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 18:00:28 +0000 http://muslimmatters.org/?p=55817 A Cry for Help I have a question and I really don't know where to turn. This is something I can't even talk to my parents or friends about, so I hope you can help me. I am a 19-year-old Muslim girl and I'm sexually attracted to other girls. Please don't judge me. I know […]

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A Cry for Help

I have a question and I really don't know where to turn. This is something I can't even talk to my parents or friends about, so I hope you can help me. I am a 19-year-old Muslim girl and I'm sexually attracted to other girls. Please don't judge me. I know it's not right to act on my feelings and so far I haven't, alhamdulillah. But I come from a good Muslim family, and now I live away from home for college and it's getting more & more difficult to stay away from sin. I'm part of the MSA (Muslim Student Association) & I tried to bring up this topic once (without telling them it was about me); and the Muslims got all upset & some people started making jokes about “It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” And I was just asking what someone with these feelings should do to stay away from sin. I didn't say homosexual acts are okay! Now I'm getting really depressed and feel so alone. I'm even starting to question my faith. I mean, why can't Muslims with gay & lesbian feelings get advice or help when Muslims have no problem giving advice to Muslims who don't wear hijab, who drink, who commit zina, and even Muslims who don't pray! Do you know of any online resources or support groups for Muslims I can join anonymously? I don't want to lose my faith. Please help me. -Don't want to be Gay Muslim

This is an example of the type of questions I regularly receive from Muslim youth wanting advice.

UZ Corner

How Can We Help?

Undoubtedly, any Muslim who reaches out for help in practicing his or her faith deserves not only help and guidance, but also patience, compassion, and empathy. No believer should be shamed or blamed for simply wanting advice in fighting sin, whether that sin is major or minor, normal or abnormal. None of us is without sin. Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu'alayhi wa sallam, taught us that all of the children of Adam sin, and the best of those who sin are those who constantly repent.

Therefore, as we strive for Paradise, we should help each other in our efforts of repentance, even if the sin is shocking or repulsive, as homosexuality is to many people.

Homophobia: Remaking Religion in a New Image

Ironically, one of the greatest barriers to helping Muslims like the nineteen-year-old Muslim girl above is the alleged fight against homophobia. Literally, homophobia means an irrational fear of or paranoia regarding homosexuality or homosexuals. However, socially and politically, homophobia has come to mean anything that offends gays and lesbians, specifically those gays and lesbians who either reject God and religion altogether or those who wish to remake God and religion in their image.

Unfortunately, the latter group now includes professed Muslims. Some of these Muslims identify with a gay or lesbian orientation while others are merely silent (or vocal) supporters of “the cause”—whose primary goal is to dismantle the moral teachings of the Qur'an under the guise of “new interpretations.”

Gay Struggle vs. Gay Agenda

In the Qur'an, Allah discusses the stipulations of nikaah (Islamic marriage):4:4

“And give to the women [whom you marry] their mahr [dowry or marital gift]…”

Al-Nisaa, 4:4

However, one lesbian blogger who professes to be Muslim claims that Allah's instructions are outdated. “I think the concept of nikkah is largely outdated,” the lesbian blogger told me in an email.

She went on to say that Islamic marriage is, for all intents and purposes, a reprehensible financial transaction that involves selling and buying a woman's sexual organs, a concept that is inferior to her homosexual “marriage”

In the fiqhi discussions, the nikkah contract at its most basic is one whereby the husband purchases with the mahr access to the wife's sexual organs usually from one of her male relatives. This is why this is little discussion or understanding of marital rape or the wife's right of consent before engaging in sex with her husband. This concept of purchasing or a contract stipulating access to a spouse sexually is anathema to the relationship I have with my wife. Our marriage is based on more egalitarian principles of mutual love, support and commitment.

Interestingly, this explanation utilizes the same approach used by Islamophobes, wherein they describe praiseworthy Islamic concepts in reprehensible terms to make their “alternative” appear not only logical and justifiable, but also more desirable than anything offered by Allah in Islam.

Clearly, this view is not indicative of a Muslim's “gay struggle,” wherein one struggles with gay feelings but merely needs support and empathy from believers in striving against temptation to sin. Rather, this view is indicative of a “gay agenda” designed to dismantle Islamic teachings altogether.

As we seek to be supportive and empathetic with Muslims struggling with homosexual desires, it is important that we don't mistake a gay agenda for a gay struggle. The former is a path to kufr (disbelief) while the latter is a path to tawbah (repentance).

Is a Gay Orientation “Natural”?

In her email, the lesbian blogger argued, “God created us perfectly, irrespective of orientation.” She also said that “a person's sexual orientation is not a mistake, sinful, or something to feel ashamed about nor hidden or suppressed.”

In other words, Islam's requirement to avoid acting on our underlying sinful desires (homosexual or otherwise) and the perpetual existence of our underlying sinful desires are somehow mutually exclusive to each other…Or they are evidence that no Islamic law exists to prevent us from acting on our sinful desires as long as we can convince ourselves that our sinful desires stem from a static “orientation” that is part of our “perfect nature.”

Put simply, if we can blame Allah for our ongoing struggles and desires in this world, we are allegedly absolved of any responsibility for following His laws in the process.

This is an interesting argument given that not a single one of us controls the tests we are handed, only how we respond.

Sexual Orientation Argument Debunked

If we use the blogger's definition of orientation (an underlying consistent sexual desire that the person himself/herself did not choose), then we have to recognize that there are people who have an underlying “orientation” toward animals, inanimate objects, and even children—orientations that they too did not choose. Thus, if we remove acts of homosexuality from the category of sin based on the consistency of the underlying sexual desire beyond one's control, then we must accept that a host of sexual desires can be acted on without falling into sin.

Though the modern Western world typically uses the “consenting adults” argument to dismiss the validity of acting on sexual desires toward children, the “consenting adults” argument is inherently flawed when approving homosexual acts.

In other words, if you believe homosexual acts are not sinful but you apply the condition of “consenting adults,” then you are agreeing to the same principle that rules homosexual acts as sinful in the first place—that, ultimately, morality trumps desire. The only question is: What is your definition of “morality”?

Muslims, like Jews and Christians, recognize only one ultimate authority in defining morality: God. Thus, any underlying “nature” is irrelevant in discussions of sexual morality. Although many Muslims (as well as Jews and Christians), argue that homosexuality is “unnatural,” this is really a moot point as far as the religious concepts of sin and obedience are concerned.

Islam, as a general rule, is most concerned with sinful acts, not with the underlying desire itself, irrespective of whether or not the desire is rooted in nature (i.e. a man and a woman sexually desiring each other) or a perversion of nature (i.e. a person desiring sexual relations with an animal).

However, viewing certain desires as unnatural (as some desires certainly are) is helpful for those seeking to understand and subsequently root out their perverted desires. But, in the context of religious morality, the categorization of the sexual desire as natural or unnatural is irrelevant when discussing sinful behaviors.

In other words, in Islam, we are not held accountable for desiring something sinful. We are held accountable only for acting on something sinful.

When We Betray Those We Can Help

When offering advice to others about a sinful lifestyle, there are only two possibilities: We frame our advice according to how the sin is viewed in Allah's Book and the Sunnah; or we frame our advice according to some other point of view.

When we choose the latter approach, we are betraying those whom Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has entrusted us to help.

Whenever we are given both emaan (Islamic faith) and a severe trial, it as if we are being given an answer key along with a test. And if we are able to share with others the lessons we learn during our tests in life, we are offering a hand to others with struggles like ours. In fact, as believers we have a responsibility to help others during our brief sojourn on this earth, especially if Allah has equipped us with both the life experience and the Islamic knowledge necessary to help others remain on the right path.

I just wish there were more experienced, knowledgeable people to help Muslims like the nineteen-year-old Muslim girl struggling with lesbian desires, help that strikes a balance between not judging her for her struggle and not inviting her to effectively indulge in the very sin she is crying out for help in fighting.

…Or inviting her to leave the very faith she wants to hold onto by encouraging her to replace her gay struggle (a path to tawbah) with a gay agenda (a path to kufr).

Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of the If I Should Speak trilogy. Her latest novel Muslim Girl is now available.

To learn more about the author, visit ummzakiyyah.com or subscribe to her YouTube channel.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Al-Walaa Publications. All Rights Reserved.

WRITTEN FOR MUSLIMMATTERS.ORG

Related Reading: From our What's the Matter Counselors Attracted to Same Sex

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi Dealing with homosexual urges

 

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Top Five Misquotations Of The Quran http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/13/top-five-misquotations-of-the-quran/ http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/13/top-five-misquotations-of-the-quran/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 05:00:12 +0000 http://muslimmatters.org/?p=55829 You have seen the memes, the misquotes on many anti Muslim blogs- here is a comprehensive researched answer.

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by Dr. M. Nazir Khan on Spiritual Perception

 

The recent surge in negative sentiments towards Islam and Muslims has resulted in many attempts to depict the religion as inherently violent. This has also resulted in absurd accusations against the Qur'an. What are the five most frequently misquoted passages in the Qur'an? Do accusations of violence stand up to academic scrutiny, or are the verses being distorted to suggest the opposite of what they actually say?

 
Religion has always been a convenient scapegoat for violence. Genocidal maniacs and extremists throughout history have frequently invoked religion to grant cosmic significance to their earthly conflicts. The political conflicts, brutal dictatorships, and warfare involving Muslim countries in recent decades have lead to the emergence of modern extremist groups attempting to justify violence in the name of Islam. Chaos, instability and prolonged warfare create a political vacuum where power-hungry groups vie for control. Such groups will raise whatever banner draws support for their cause, whether it be the banner of ethnic identity, cultural identity, nationalism, 0r a particular ideological or religious identity.

One should immediately be skeptical of the political instrumentalization of religion by such groups, and of the attempt to shift blame to a religion that has been around for 1400 years and is practiced by almost two billion adherents around the world. Nevertheless, certain verses of the Qur'an have been tossed around by radicals and by islamophobes alike, alleging that there is some Qur'anic support for violent activity. The slightest familiarity with the verses in question would demonstrate that nothing could be further from the truth.

It is fairly easy to misquote a text. All one must do is cherry-pick partial sentences and delete the surrounding context. What makes the five most misquoted Quranic verses so interesting is that the supposed violent nature of such verses immediately dissolves with a quick glance at the textual and historical context. All one needs to do is simply complete the sentence, or read the preceding or following verse, and it becomes evident that the verse in no way preaches violence. In addition, this perspective is further substantiated when one looks at the other passages in the Qur'an and statements of the Prophet Muhammad, which are unequivocal in their condemnation of violence and affirmation of peace. Furthermore, 1400 years of scholarly analysis of the Qur'an dispels the misinterpretations of contemporary radicals and anti-Muslim bigots

Misquotation 1 – Verse 2:191

The phrase “kill them where you find them” is by far the most frequent phrase that is misquoted by ardent Islamophobes and radical extremists. But this battlefield exhortation comes right after the verse which states “fight against those who fight you” and it comes right before the part which states “but if they cease fighting, then let there be no hostility except against oppressors“!

What is the historical context of verses 2:190-3 and who does it refer to? Ibn Abbas, the famous companion of the Prophet and Qur'anic exegete, says that this passage was revealed in reference to the Quraysh [1]. The Quraysh had persecuted the Muslims and tortured them for thirteen years in Mecca. They had driven Muslims out of their homes, seized their properties and wealth, and fought battles against them after the Muslims sought refuge in Madinah. The Muslims were apprehensive about another attack occurring during their sacred pilgrimage when fighting was prohibited. This is why these verses were revealed to reassure them that they would be able to defend against a Qurayshi attack during pilgrimage. Such fighting never ended up occurring between them and Quraysh, for a peace agreement was upheld and the pilgrimage was permitted [2].

The phrase “do not commit aggression” was explained by Ibn Abbas to mean, “Do not attack women, children, elderly, or anyone who is not fighting against you“, and thus harming any non-combatants is deemed a transgression against God Almighty [3]. The erudite Qur'anic exegete Ibn Ashur (d.1393H) states, “If they desist from fighting you, then do not fight them for verily God is Most Forgiving and Most Merciful, and so it is only befitting that the believers show mercy” [4]. In this regard, this verse is very similar to 4:89 which prescribes fighting the enemy but is immediately followed by the statement in 4:89, “So if they remove themselves from you and do not fight you but rather offer you peace, then God has made no way for you to fight them.

Returning to 2:190-3, the word fitnah in this passage means religious persecution (as used in 85:10) and punishing someone for their faith, and coercing them to disbelieve or commit idolatry. The great Qur'anic scholar imam al-Kisaa'i (d.189) explains that fitnah here means “torture ('adhaab) because the Quraysh used to torture those who accepted Islam” [5]. Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.310H) explains that the phrase “fitnah is worse than killing” means that “to persecute a believer for his faith until he recants it and becomes an idolater is worse and more painful to him than being slain while holding onto his faith” [6]

Therefore, the passage clearly prohibits fighting against those who are not fighting. The particular misquoted phrase describes fighting in defence against perpetrators of anti-religious persecution and torture.

Misquotation 2 – Verse 9:5

The next phrase that is frequently misquoted is quite similar – “slay those pagans wherever you find them”, but again the slightest familiarity with the historical and contextual context would immediately dispel this misquotation. The verse immediately before speaks of upholding peaceful agreements with those who are at peace and never supported enemy warriors against the Muslims – so who is verse 9:5 in reference to? Qur'anic exegetes al-Baydawi (d.685H) and al-Alusi (d.1270H) explain that it refers to those pagan arabs who violated their peace treaties by waging war against the Muslims (nakitheen) [7], and thus Abu Bakr al-Jassas (d.370H) notes that these verses are particular to the Arab polytheists and do not apply to anyone else [8]. These comments are substantiated by what the Qur'an itself says. Verse 13 of the same chapter states, “Will you not fight against those who violated their peace treaties, plotted the expulsion of the messenger, and initiated the fighting against you?” and verse 36 states, “and fight the pagans collectively who wage war against you collectively.” The textual context is abundantly clear that verse 9:5 is not a random instruction out of the blue but relates to the pagan tribes of Arabia, who were in a state of war with the Muslims [9]. Therefore, to interpret the passage in any other way is to contradict the very text of the Qur'an.

Moreover, what is fascinating is that the very next verse (9:6) states that if any enemy warrior suddenly demands protection, one is religiously obligated to provide that individual with protection, explain the message of Islam to him, and if he refuses to accept, escort him to a place of security. This instruction to protect and escort enemy combatants to a safe haven makes it blatantly obvious that this passage in no way, shape or form, can be construed as violent.

Misquotation 3 – Verse 8:60

Another favourite text to misquote is the passage that states, “Prepare against them all you can of power and steeds of war..” but again, the very next verse reads, “If they incline towards peace, then incline towards peace as well” – hardly a violent passage!

Moreover, one must again ask who is being referred to in this citation? The historical context clearly places these verses again in reference to the ongoing war between the Muslims and the enemy forces of the Quraysh of Mecca and their tribal allies [10]. This chapter was revealed in reference to the Battle of Badr which took place between the Muslims who sought refuge in Madinah and the Quraysh who had persecuted them and driven them out of their homes in Mecca. The same chapter describes the pervasive warfare in Arabia and lack of security suffered by the early oppressed Muslim community. “And remember when you were few and oppressed in the land, fearing that people might abduct you, but He sheltered you, supported you with His victory, and provided you with good things – that you might be grateful.” (8:26)

Note also that sometimes Islamophobic bigots cite verse 8:12 from this same chapter “strike above their necks”, somehow completely missing the fact that the verse describes what God said to the angels during the battle of Badr. The first half of the verse reads, “When your Lord inspired the angels, 'Verily, I am with you, so strengthen the believers…'”. To take a description of God's inspiration to angels during a historical battle against the Quraysh oppressors and somehow distort that into a generic command for Muslims to attack non-muslims is profoundly dishonest, to say the least.

Misquotation 4 – Verse 47:4

This is perhaps the most outrageous of all misquotations. A phrase in the middle of a passage about battle is ripped out of its context and presented ludicrously as, “When you meet disbelievers, smite their necks.” To even the most casual reader who bothers to glance at the passage, the verse is talking about a meeting in mutual battle between warriors (Ar. “fi'l-muharabah” as al-Baydawi explains [11]) that comes to an end “when the war lays down its burdens” as the verse itself states. This verse is specifically discussing mutual battle with those disbelievers engaged in warfare as noted by Ibn Jareer al-Tabari [12]. This is clear from the opening line of the chapter which states, “Those who disbelieve and prevent people from the path of God“, which as Ibn Abbas has stated, is in reference to the pagans of Quraysh [13], who oppressed the believers by denying them the freedom to practice their faith and then went to war with them to exterminate their community.

With respect to the phrase, “until the war lays down its burdens“, imam Qatadah (d.117H) explained it saying, “until the enemy warriors lay down their burdens” – a phrase that was echoed by many scholars throughout history, including Ibn Qutaybah al-Daynuri (d.276H) [14]. Note also that this verse provides Muslims with only two options for prisoners of war – unconditional release, or acceptance of ransom. The verse mentions no other option, and indeed scholars have pointed out that this is the general rule, for the Prophet Muhammad only punished those war criminals guilty of treachery or gross violations, but otherwise he almost universally would pardon people even his most ardent opponents, as he did with the war chief Thumamah ibn Uthal, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, Habbar ibn al-Aswad, Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl, Umayr ibn Wahb, Safwan ibn Umayyah, Suhayl ibn Aamir, and the list goes on.

Misquotation 5 – Verse 9:29

One of the most interesting citations is 9:29, along with the claim that it instructs Muslims to fight people of the Book “until they pay the jizya and feel subdued”. But this verse as well has a historical context that is neglected. The very early exegete, Mujahid ibn Jabr al-Makhzumi (d.104H) explained that this fighting was revealed in reference to the Prophet Muhammad's campaign against the Byzantine empire [15]. The Prophet Muhammad sent al-Harith ibn Umayr al-Azdi as an emissary to the Byzantine vassal state of the Ghassanids, but the chieftain Shurahbeel committing the shocking crime of tying up the emissary, torturing him, and murdering him [16]. When an army was dispatched to confront the Ghassanids for their crime, the Vicarius Theodorus summoned a large force of Roman soldiers to engage in war against the Muslims in the Battle of Mu'tah.

Thus, this verse was revealed in regards to fighting within an existing war against an enemy political entity, namely the Byzantine empire, which lead to preparations for the expedition of Tabuk. The hostility of the group in question is mentioned in the this very Qur'anic passage itself, which goes on to state (9:32) that this instruction refers to those “who attempt to extinguish the light of Islam with their mouths“, which al-Dahhak (d.105H) stated meant “they wish to destroy Muhammad and his companions.” [17]

As history went on, imperial conflicts continued between the Byzantine empire and the subsequent Muslim empire of the Umayyads. Many writing within the historical setting of imperial conflict assumed that this verse characterized a generic state of perpetual warfare with opponent political entities. However, as noted in Tafsir al-Maraghi, all of the Qur'anic conditions of warfare mentioned earlier still apply to this verse. Thus, the verse means, “fight those mentioned when the conditions which necessitate fighting are present, namely, aggression against you or your country, oppression and persecution against you on account of your faith, or threatening your safety and security, as was committed against you by the Byzantines, which was what lead to Tabuk.” [18]

Quran-text-closeup

 

Conclusion

The Qur'an is a message to humanity that repeats 114 times, “In the Name of God the Most Compassionate the Most Merciful.” The Qur'an instructs Muslims to show goodness to those who do evil (41:34), to speak words of peace to those who are hostile (25:63), to call to the way of God with wisdom and beautiful preaching (16:125), to treat peaceful non-muslims with the utmost kindness and justice (60:8), to be the best of people towards other people (3:110), and to respect freedom of religion (2:256, 10:99). There is simply no plausible way to understand the Qur'an in a manner bereft of mercy, compassion or peace. Any sincere and reasonable person looking at these passages must necessarily recognize that the Qur'an stands for mercy, not for destruction and violence.

Attempts to portray the Qur'anic text as preaching violence do not stand up to academic scrutiny, and in fact, can be dispelled by simply reading the entire sentence and the immediate context. Dishonesty abounds in the selective chopping of sentences by both Islamophobes and radicals alike. Knowledge of the historical context of these verses clearly demonstrates that all of these passages without exception relate to fighting against those engaged in warfare. A careful examination of the scholarly analysis of these passages provides abundant statements clarifying the meaning of these verses.

At this point, it should be obvious that one of the best ways to combat misuse of scripture is by propagating the voluminous evidences which necessitate an understanding of scripture that is peaceful, merciful, and tolerant, and empowering those who advance this understanding. To insist on characterizing the religion as inherently violent is to play right into the hands of extremists on both sides who wish to incite hatred and perpetuate war.


  1. See Asbab al-Nuzûl by Al-Wahidi (d.468H)  
  2. Ibn Abbas explains that when the Muslims went to Mecca in 6 AH intending to perform pilgrimage, they were prevented from doing so by the Quraysh and agreed to turn around and go home after a peace treaty was made permitting them to return the following year. However, they were apprehensive to return again, fearing that they would be slaughtered while in a state of pilgrimage as the Quraysh had plotted to attack them at that time. These verses were revealed to assure them they would be able to defend themselves from such an act of aggression in the sacred precincts of Mecca. In the end, no such fighting took place at all and the Muslims were able to perform their pilgrimage in peace (al-Wahidi, al-Samarqandi, al-Tabari). 
  3. See Tafsir of Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.310H) and al-Tha'labi (d.427H). Also, the famous early Muslim scholars Abu'l-Aliyah, SaEid ibn Jubayr, and Ibn Zayd all explained that aggression here means “fighting anyone who is not fighting you”. The famous Umayyad caliph and religious scholar Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz was asked about this verse and he stated that it prohibited any fighting against those not engaged in warfare. This has been taken as a legal maxim by Muslim scholars prohibiting harming any non-combatants. 
  4. Tahrir wal-Tanwir 2:192. Multiple early exegetical sources explain that the phrase “if they desist, then verily God is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful” means if they cease fighting you and desist from their warfare against you, including Tafsir Muqatil b. Sulayman (d.150H), Tafsir al-Samarqandi (d.375H) and Tafsir al-Tha'labi (d.427H).  
  5. Reported by al-Tha'labi and al-Tabarani (d.360H). Some may wonder if scholars like imam al-Kisaa'i were contradicted by the statement of some later Qur'anic commentators who said that fitnah means disbelief or idolatry. However, Ibn Jareer al-Tabari (d.310H) and others demonstrate that there is no contradiction as “coercing Muslims to commit disbelief/idolatry” is also intended by the verse as a form of persecution of Muslims. As the eminent early Qur'anic scholar, Makki ibn Abi Talib (d.437H) notes, “Fitnah linguistically means a trial, so a trial that causes one to lose faith is worse than being slain.” Ibn Jareer al-Tabari states the same (see next footnote). Moreover, we have the irrefutable evidence of the companion Abdullah ibn Umar related in Sahih Bukhari. Ibn Umar was asked to justify his pacifism during the war in the time of Caliph Ali, especially when the Qur'an states “Fight them until there is no more fitnah.” Ibn Umar replied that when the persecution of Muslims for their faith has ceased and the tortures and killing had subsided, there was no longer any fitnah (وقاتلوهم حتى لا تكون فتنة قال ابن عمر قد فعلنا على عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذ كان الإسلام قليلا فكان الرجل يفتن في دينه إما يقتلونه وإما يوثقونه حتى كثر الإسلام فلم تكن فتنة).  
  6. Jami' al-Bayan 'an Ta'wil ay al-Qur'an (2:190-193)ofImamal-Tabari states:

    وقد بـينت فـيـما مضى أن أصل الفتنة الابتلاء والاختبـار فتأويـل الكلام: وابتلاء الـمؤمن فـي دينه حتـى يرجع عنه فـيصير مشركا بـالله من بعد إسلامه أشدّ علـيه وأضرّ من أن يقتل مقـيـماً علـى دينه متـمسكاً علـيه مـحقّاً فـيه 

  7. Anwar al-Tanzeel wa Asrar al-Ta'weel (9:5) of imam al-Baydawi and Rooh al-Ma'ani (9:5) of imam al-Alusi. Such statements by exegetes are given authority because the are in agreement with the text of the Qur'an itself. When reading the comments of various classical figures, it is important to note the historical context of their comments. Many exegetes lived in the era of rival empires vying for control against each other. Often, people in those times saw imperial conquest and political expansion as the only means of conveying the message of truth to other communities who lived under hostile political entities, and so some of them attempted to reinterpret such passages in order to permit a broader scope of application. However, such interpretations are refuted by the textual and historical context of the Qur'an. Moreover, those figures themselves stated that the ultimate goal was to establish the security of the Muslim lands (see Bidayatul-Mujtahid of Ibn Rushd) or communicate the message of the faith to other people, and thus by the principles of Islamic law political expansion as a means of propagation becomes irrelevant in the digital age of mass communication and globalization. 
  8. Abu Bakr al-Jassas states, “صار قوله تعالى: {فَاقْتُلُوا المُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدْتُمُوهُمْ} خاصّاً في مشركي العرب دون غيرهم.” 
  9. Note also that verses 9:8 and 9:10 characterize the referents of these verses further by stating that those intended are the ones who “observe neither pact nor kinship in their dealings with believers”. The importance of understanding the general state of tribal Arabia cannot be understated. Today, a person can walk down the street fairly confident of not being mugged for their personal possessions, and can simply call the police should they feel their security threatened. But in seventh century Arabia, there was no police, no law, no order, only tribal protections. And these tribes were in a state of constant warfare with each other and would conduct perpetual raids. The Qur'an itself alludes to this environment, saying “Do they not then see that We have made Mecca a sanctuary secure, while men are being snatched away and ravaged from all around them?” (29:67). Wandering in the desert was a certain guarantee that one would be either killed and robbed, or worse – sold into slavery. In fact, that is precisely what happened to several of the individuals who became companions of the Prophet, including Suhaib al-Rumi, Salman al-Farisi and Zaid ibn Harithah. It is impossible to read chapter 9 without understanding this background context to appreciate the consolidation of order and rule of law that was being established in war-torn Arabia. 
  10. Zad al-Masir (8:60) of Ibn al-Jawzi (d.597H) and Nadhm al-Durar (8:60) of al-Biqa'i (d.885H). 
  11. Anwar al-Tanzeel wa Asrar al-Ta'weel (9:5) of imam al-Baydawi (d.685H). 
  12. Jami' al-Bayan 'an Ta'wil ay al-Qur'an (47:4) of imam al-Tabari (d.310H). 
  13. Ma'alim al-Tanzeel of imam al-Baghawi (d.516H). Likewise, the same is stated by Ibn al-Jawzi:  ” وصَدُّوا } الناس عن الإِيمان به، وهم مشركو قريش” Zad al-Masir (47:4) of Ibn al-Jawzi (d.597H). 
  14. ” حتى يضع أهل الحرب السلاح” as cited in Tafsir al-Samarqandi (47:4). 
  15. Jami' al-Bayan 'an Ta'wil ay al-Qur'an (9:29) of imam al-Tabari, also al-Kashf wa'l-Bayan (9:29) of imam al-Tha'labi. 
  16. Kitab al-Tarikh wa'l-Maghazi of imam al-Waqidi (d.207H), p. 755. 
  17. Recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim (d.327H), as cited in Fath al-Qadeer (9:32) of imam al-Shawkani (d.1250H). 
  18. Tafsir al-Maraghi vol. 10, p.95 of Sh. AhmadMustafaal-Maraghi:

     “أي قاتلوا من ذكروا حين وجود ما يقتضي القتال كالعتداء عليكم أو علي بلادكم أو اضطهادكم و فتنتكم عن دينكم أو تهديد أمنكم و سلامتكم كما فعل بك الروم و كان ذلك سببا لغزوة تبوك” 

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