Today, we bring you a double feature: Revive A Sunnah, and an Action Alert!
These days, as we read about the tragedy occuring in Gaza, the question on our minds is: What can WE do about it? How can WE help our brothers and sisters in Palestine, and everywhere else in the Ummah, as they are literally being mowed down?
The truth is, protests and rallies will do very little for us. Oh yes, of course they’ll “raise awareness” and “demonstrate the power of civil action.” But how many of us really believe that calling upon the ‘international community’ is going to stop the genocide of our brothers and sisters in Palestine?
Sheikh Ali Shehata eloquently sums up our situation:
Firstly, the du’a of “Laa ilaaha illa anta subhaanak innee kuntu min ath-Thaalimeen” was the du’a of Yunus (as) which he mentioned while he was in the belly of the whale, and alhamdulillah it is an excellent du’a for all of us to make at this terrible time. It means, “How perfect are You (O’ Allah) above all that they attribute to You, indeed I have been among those who wrong themselves.” And those who seek to understand will know, that this tragedy, and indeed every tragedy, happens because of what our hands have put forth – not just the hands of those in Gaza, but all of us as an Ummah, which includes you and me. It is our sins, our heedlessness, our weakness as a whole, that directly leads to these tragedies – there today, maybe here tomorrow.
Secondly, although it is the comment of only one or two people here regarding the alleged ineptitude of our scholars and how we they don’t deserve our respect because of their alleged silence, all I can say is subhaan Allah. I won’t detract from the seriousness of this tragedy and the focus we should have on it by answering those who have this question more than to say that countless ulamaa have been talking and teaching solutions to this matter for years now, if not decades. For so many of our ulamaa, this has been a catastrophe well before WE saw the images of dead bodies on our screens. Among the many reasons that they have my respect is because they don’t need to jump only when the world is looking in that direction, because they are the ones who keep our hearts remembering these downtrodden people long after the cameras leave. Those of you who share this disrespectful and arrogant opinion should humble themselves and be aware of the hundreds of programs, articles, and books that draw our hearts’ collective concern back to our brothers and sisters, our children and parents, who live not only in Palestine but in all other parts of the world today where Muslims are forgotten.
And lastly, I wonder what is the real benefit of rallies and protests, or of even expecting or placing your hope in a president or a president-elect? Does it change anything for us to go out and “ra-ra-ra” at a rally more than to give us that falsely wholesome feeling of “having done something” for our Ummah? I don’t know of any one protest that has ever stopped a war, stopped oppression or even contributed to the solution of any major problem. Those ulamaa that some people think are too busy dealing with questions of menstruation and nifaas have already discussed the value of such protests close to a decade ago, so I won’t repeat it here except to remember the question which Allah asks in the Quran:
Is not He (better than your gods) Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generation after generation. Is there any god with Allâh? Little is that you remember!
Or when He commands us:
And put your trust (O Muhammad SAW) in the Ever Living One Who dies not, and glorify His Praises, and Sufficient is He as the All-Knower of the sins of His slaves
It may be that when we stop looking to others other than Allah to help us that only then will the help and the relief of Allah come. But if we have become so low and shameless as to ask those who curse Allah to intercede for us then what shall we expect? In my limited view as a less than average Muslim, I see that it is our brothers and sisters around us who are overtaking us and entering Jannah in droves as shuhadaa’ while we remain to seek the mercy of those who make partners with Rabb al-‘Alaameen. The case of our downtrodden peoples is clear, whereas we are left to wonder if maybe Allah has given us our reward for our deeds in this life – in the form of luxuries – and that maybe we shall have no share in His reward on the Day of Judgment.
And Allah knows best.
Let’s not stop with that. We have just entered into the sacred month of Muharram, and Sheikh Younus Kathrada reminds us of the virtues of this month and what we can accomplish in it.
In the name of Allaah and may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon His final Messenger Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
Allaah says what means:
36. Indeed, the number of months with Allaah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allaah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allaah is with the righteous [who fear Him]. Soorat at-Tawbah
Of these sacred months is the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islaamic lunar calendar. The evidence of this is found in the hadeeth reported by al-Bukhaari: Abu Bakrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The year is twelve months of which four are sacred, the three consecutive months of Dhu’l-Q’adah, Dhu’l-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab Mudhar which comes between Jumaada and Sh’abaan.”
One may understand from the aayah (verse) that wrong done during these months is looked upon more seriously than wrong done at any other time. It is not to be understood that sinning during other months is permitted! Many scholars see that just as wrong during these months is more serious, then doing good during them brings greater reward than during other times as well.
Al Hasan al Basri and others from our pious predecessors opined that the month of Muharram is the best of all the sacred months. From that which indicated to the virtue of this month is the hadeeth reported by Muslim: Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘The best of fasting after Ramadaan is fasting Allaah’s month of Muharram and the best of prayers after the faraaidh (compulsory prayers) are the prayers offered during the (late) night.”
Therefore, it is highly recommended that one fasts in abundance during this sacred month. Remember that observing voluntary fasts is a means of gaining closeness to Allaah and being protected from the Hell fire. Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudhri, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Every slave of Allaah who observes fasting for one day for the sake of Allaah, Allaah will draw his face farther from Hell-fire to the extent of a distance to be covered in seventy years.” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim].
Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Fasting is a protection (i.e. from Hellfire).” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim].
‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Amr, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Fasting and [reading] Quraan will intercede for the person: Fasting will say: O Lord I forbade him from eating and drinking so let me intercede for him, and the Quraan will say: I deprived him from his sleep at night so let me intercede for him,” He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then said: “So their intercession will be accepted.” [Ahmad].
During this month also falls a great day known as the Day of ‘Aashooraa. It is the day of victory, that day on which Allaah made the truth prevail and falsehood fail; the day Allaah saved Moosa and his people and drowned Firáun and his people. Indeed, it is a virtuous and great day with a wonderful history.
Ibn `Abbas, radhiallahu `anhu, reported: “The Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, came to al-Madeenah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of `Aashooraa. He asked them about that. They replied, “This is a good day, the day on which Allaah rescued Bani Israaeel from their enemy. So Moosa observed fast on this day.” The Prophet said, “We have more claim over Moosa than you.” So the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, observed fast on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to observe fast (on that day).” [Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Muslim].
Therefore, it is highly recommended for the Muslim to fast the day of ‘Aashooraa. In addition to the preceding hadeeth, we find the following concerning observing this fast: The Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said about the voluntary fasting on the Day of `Aashoraa:
“It expiates the sins of the preceding year.” [Saheeh Muslim].
Ibn `Abbas also reported, “The Messenger of Allaah fasted on the day of `Aashooraa and ordered the people to fast on it. The people said, “O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that the Jews and Christians honour.” The Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, said, “When the following year comes – Allaah willing – we shall fast on the ninth.” The death of the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, came before the following year.” [Saheeh Muslim, Abu Dawood]. So it is recommended to fast on the 10th of Muharram and the 9th along with it as well.
Dear Muslims, recall also that the du’aa (supplication) of the fasting person is readily accepted by Allaah.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “There are three people whose supplications are not rejected: the fasting person when he breaks the fast, the just ruler and the supplication of the oppressed”. [Tirmithi, Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban].
`Abdullah Ibn `Amr Ibn al-`Aas also reported that the Messenger of Allaah, salla Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Indeed there is for the fasting person, when he breaks his fast, a supplication which is not rejected”. [Ibn Majah, al-Hakim and others; Sahih].
This being the case, let us not forget during these days the plight of our brothers and sisters in Palestine (Ghazza) and elsewhere. The enemies of Allaah are attacking them (and that means they are attacking us too) and trying to break their resolve. Let us turn to Allaah regularly begging of Him to strengthen the oppressed Muslims and to destroy the plots of the Zionists and their helpers.
Younus Kathrada, Wed. 3rd Muharram, 1430h
Thus we have the ultimate action alert. Not a protest in front of the White House. Not a petition to the leaders of our governments. Not a rally flooding the streets of Times Square or London. No. None of this is going to do us, or our brothers and sisters in Palestine any good.
Instead, turn to Allah in repentance and sincerity and increase in obedience and worship to Him! Turn to Him, in this month which He enriched with His Blessings and His Reward for those who take advantage of it. Oh you who believe, oh you who claim to care about the injustice and evil being inflicted upon your brothers and sisters! Don’t waste your time or energy waving placards and shouting slogans. Spend your days fasting, spend your nights in prayer, beseech your Lord for His Forgiveness, for His Mercy, for His Victory over the enemies of Islam and the Muslim. Call upon your Lord, Allah ‘azza wa jal; al-Malik al-Mulk, al-Mu’minun, al-Muhaymin, al-‘Azeez, al Jabbar, al-Mutakabbir! Call upon your Lord by His Most Perfect Names and Attributes! Acquaint yourself with Him once more and realize that He is the only one who can ever grant us strength and victory, and by Allah, never will we be given that strength and victory until we have proven ourselves worthy of it. So do it! Prove it!
Sheikh Ali Shehata continues with more practical advice:
Some people have been asking what du’as and athkaar can be said in times of great tribulation like this. Insha’Allah what follows is a collection of authentic du’as and athkaar for these difficult times:
1. It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: “My Lord came to me tonight in the most beautiful form…” and in this hadith he said that Allah said, “O Muhammad, when you pray, then say:
اللهم إني أسألك فعل الخيرات ، وترك المنكرات ، وحب المساكين ، وأن تغفر لي وترحمني وتتوب علي ، وإن أردت بعبادك فتنة فاقبضني إليك غير مفتون
‘Allaahumma inni as’aluka fi’lal khayraat wa tark al-munkaraat, wa hubb al-masaakeen, wa an taghfira lee wa tarhamanee wa tatooba ‘alayya. Wa in aradta bi ‘ibaadika fitnatan, faqbidni ilayka ghayra maftoon (O Allah, I ask You (to enable me) to do good deeds and avoid evil deeds, and to love the poor, and (I ask You) to forgive me, have mercy on me and accept my repentance. If You decree that some trial should befall Your slaves, then take me to You [i.e., cause me to die] without having me be subjected to that trial).” (Tirmithi – hasan)
2. Abu Burdah ibn ‘Abd-Allah narrated from his father that when the Prophet (saas) was afraid of some people he would say,
اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّا نَجْعَلُكَ فِي نُحُورِهِمْ وَنَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شُرُورِهِمْ
“Allaahumma inna naj’aluka fi nuhoorihim wa na’oodhu bika min shuroorihim (O Allah, we place You before them and we seek refuge in You from their evil).” (Abu Dawud – Sahih)
3. It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saas) used to say the following words of relief at times of distress:
لا إله إلا الله العظيم الحليم ، لا إله إلا الله رب العرش العظيم ، لا إله إلا الله رب السموات ورب الأرض ورب العرش الكريم
“Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah al-‘Adheem al-Haleem, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah Rabb al-‘Arsh al-‘adheem, la ilaaha ill-Allaah Rabb ul-samawaati wa Rabb ul-ard wa Rabb ul-‘Arsh il-kareem (There is nothing worthy of worship but Allah, the All-Powerful, the Forbearing; There is nothing worthy of worship but Allah, Lord of the mighty Throne; There is nothing worthy of worship but Allah, Lord of heaven, Lord of earth, and Lord of the noble Throne).” (Bukhari and Muslim)
4. The Prophet (saas) said: “Shall I not tell you of something that, if any worldly calamity or disaster befalls any man among you and he says these words, he will be relieved of it. (It is) the du’a’ of Dhu’-Noon (the Prophet Yunus – as): “Laa ilaaha illa anta subhaanaka inni kuntu min al-dhaalimeen (none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah), Glorified (and Exalted) be You [above all that (evil) they associate with You]! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers).” According to another report: “No Muslim man says this du’a’ concerning anything but Allah will answer his prayer.” (Sahih al-Jaami’)
5. The Messenger of Allah (saas) said: to Asmaa’ bint ‘Umays, “Shall I not teach you some words which you can say at times of distress and hardship?
اللَّهُ رَبِّي لا أُشْرِكُ بِهِ شَيْئًا
‘Allaahu rabbee laa ushriku bihi shay’an (Allah is my Lord, I do not associate anything with Him).’” (Sahih – Abu Dawood)
According to a version narrated in al-Sahih al-Jaami’, “Whoever is afflicted by worry, distress, sickness or hardship, and says, Allaahu rabbee laa shareeka lah (Allah is my Lord, He has no partner or associate), will be relieved of that.”
As a side note, a review of the various authentic supplications in this matter show that the statement of tawheed is common to many of them and indicates that when we fall into aspects of shirk in our life that this negatively impacts upon our affairs. Could it be that the degree of shirk in our ummah today is a major factor in their inability to throw off the yokes of oppression and humiliation? This has been a repeated effort by many of the ulamaa for the past 20 years with great success where it has been implemented – and Allah knows best.
May Allah forgive us for the countless sins we have committed, and make us amongst the truly sincere and repentant, and strengthen us in emaan, and make us worthy of victory over our enemies. Ameen, thumma ameen, ya Rabb al-‘Aalameen.