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Quran and Sunnah

Common Mistakes When Dealing With Crisis in the Ummah

Ali Shehata



“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are.”

-C. S. Lewis

Philosophers and writers have often discussed the importance of perspective and contemplation when it comes to understanding any issue; to not impulsively form an opinion without careful and thoughtful consideration.

For us as Muslims though, while we can appreciate and find common ground in such quotes, we have something far more insightful and full of wisdom – the Qur’an. The recent crisis in Gaza has afforded the Muslim world a host of lessons and reminders elaborately addressed in the Qur’an, if only we would stop to consider them. Gathering from much of what I have been blessed to learn from different scholars of this noble deen, I have noticed some common mistakes widespread in the Ummah when it comes to facing crisis.

  1. Having a Negative Opinion about Other Muslims based mainly on News from Dubious Sources
  2. Generalizing regarding an entire population based on the actions a small minority.
  3. Mistaking success for defeat due to a lack of perspective on life.

The sad reality about every single one of these mistakes though, is that each one is addressed in the Qur’an and was faced at one point or another by the Prophet (saas) and his companions. In this article, we will try to analyze each of these mistakes in detail specifically as they relate to the current crisis in the Muslim world and then understand how we can correct our perception, insha’Allah.

Not to Trust the Corrupt Without Inspection

I recently read a very powerful and eye-opening article written by Johann Hari, a non-Muslim columnist for the London Independent, titled, You Are Being Lied to About Pirates (here). Of course, the general trend in all media outlets regarding the whole Somali pirate issue over the past several months is that these pirates are nothing more than lawless bandits with no regard for international law or civility. No one ever questioned the rise of these so-called pirates and what was the motive behind their brazen attacks. It was assumed that extreme poverty and the lawless atmosphere of Somalia had driven these “terrorists” to seafaring robbery for their own corrupt gains and nothing else. But educated people should realize that nothing in the human psyche is ever that simple.

What Mr. Hari astutely discovered in the course of his research was the hidden truth of a shocking crime of outrageous magnitude. To quote from his article,

In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.” Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to “dispose” of cheaply. When I asked Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: “Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention.”

At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish-stocks by over-exploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea-life is being stolen every year by vast trawlers illegally sailing into Somalia’s unprotected seas. The local fishermen have suddenly lost their livelihoods, and they are starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there soon won’t be much fish left in our coastal waters.”

Personally, after reading this I was furious that such a crime could be happening to our already weary brothers and sisters in Somalia! I mean how low can these people get – stealing the only livelihood from one of the poorest nations on Earth right now while dumping their toxic waste in the source of that very livelihood? But that feeling of exasperation was quickly followed by shame; shame that I had been so gullible to believe the whole story that was being sold to us by the European nuclear crime cartel responsible for this scandal. I never questioned what was happening, I never gave those poor people any benefit of the doubt and I bought whole-sale the lies and deception about them. I had forgotten Allah’s words wherein He said (what means):

O you who believe! If a corrupt person comes to you with any news, verify it, lest you harm people unintentionally, and afterwards become full of remorse for what you have done. [49:6]

I had made the same mistake that some of the noble Companions had made when they heard the ifk – the lie about ‘Aisha committing zina. I had assumed the worst about my fellow Muslim by not investigating the news brought to me by a corrupt source well-known for its brazen lying, deception and wanton distortion of the truth – the media.

So, in the face of the latest crisis in Gaza, I was careful to not make the same mistake. The media desperately wanted to sell an idea so that we would believe that Israel was justified in its aggression against the civilian population of Gaza. They wanted us to believe that these were not human beings, but a society – 1.5 million people in fact – of hateful terrorists. They wanted us to believe that Israel had tried so hard to make peace, had been so patient, since 2006 when the people of Gaza democratically elected their leadership. It was those evil people in Gaza who couldn’t abide by the treaties they signed. It was those terrorists to the South who were hell-bent on killing civilians with wanton disregard. They needed to be put in their place. Israel needed to show these people that they had voted for the wrong group and punish them for their “mistake”.

So, it was unfortunate to see a number of Muslims following this line of “opinion”. Had they looked a little deeper into reality, they would have discovered a number of disturbing facts. Firstly, even before officially being elected in 2006, Hamas had agreed to stop suicide bombings and had succeeded in doing so for a period of 18 months into late 2006. During that same period of time, Israel refused to ackowledge them as a political entity and continued a campaign of abductions and assasinations (here). June 2008 brought the latest cease-fire into play in which Hamas and Israel agreed to the following conditions: 1) Hamas was to stop rocket attacks on Israel, 2) Israel would open blockades of relief supplies into impoverished Gaza and 3) Israel would not attack territories in Gaza. Amazingly, Hamas didn’t fire a single rocket for much of the duration of this cease-fire, but it was Israel that continued to keep most of the routes into Gaza blocked in effect continuing its strangle-hold upon the Gazan civilian population and violated the cease-fire on, of all days the US presidential election day, November 4th. It was on that day that Israel entered into Gaza where they killed six Hamas “militants” as reported by the Associated Press (AP).

AP stories November 5th and 6th discussed the possible collapse of the cease-fire based on these attacks, but they went largely unpublished in the US where media attention was focused almost entirely on the historic presidential election. Moreover, a Nexis search found no reference to the raid in the transcripts of any television news broadcast during the period. It is nothing short of amazing how deceptive the media can be in such circumstances, especially when partnered with an equally deceptive news-maker. Wallahu musta’aan.

The solution to this disease of the heart is two-fold:

  1. Maintaining benefit of the doubt and generally a positive idea regarding your fellow Muslim
  2. Careful inspection into any matter in which they are accused which must include getting the perspective of the Muslim

Indeed, Allah has said what means:

The believers are nothing else than brothers. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy. [49:10]

And among the many beneficial hadith on this matter which must cause us to reflect upon the rights that our oppressed brothers and sisters around the world have upon us are the following:

Ibn Umar (ra) reports that he heard the Messenger of Allah (saas) say, The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim; he should not oppress him nor forsake him (when he is oppressed).” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Abu Huraira (ra) reported Allah’s Messenger (saas) as saying, “He who alleviates the suffering of a brother out of the sufferings of the world, Allah would alleviate his suffering from the sufferings of the Day of Judgment, and he who finds relief for one who is in difficulty, Allah would make things easy for him in the Hereafter, and he who conceals (the faults) of a Muslim, Allah would conceal his faults in the world and in the Hereafter. Allah is will support and help a servant so long as the servant supports and helps his brother ….” (Muslim)

So have we given our fellow Muslims in Gaza their rights? Have we been just to them by trying to understand their actions, by seeking the truth about what is really happening – or have we forsaken them and oppressed them by just accepting the “news” that is fed to us by a distorted media? How many a statement can we find right now from those claiming imaan wherein they seem so focused on the mistakes of their brethren that are microscopic when compared to the atrocities of their attackers? Have the people of Gaza committed sins? Yes they have – but then again, so have we all. Has their leadership possibly taken too much license in certain areas of Islamic law when it comes to the defense of thir own people? Yes they have, but when any other military force does the same thing, we have been far more forgiving of their excuses than we are for these people who are struggling to raise the banner of Islam and to promote the Sunnah in this blessed land.

So what then should our response be when we see some things from oppressed Muslim communities that appear to be contrary to the teachings of Islam? Let us again refer back to the hadith:

Narrated Anas (ra) that Allah’s Messenger (saas) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or if he is an oppressed one.” People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger! We can understand how to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet (saas) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” (Bukhari)

And the great scholar of hadith Abdullah ibnal-Mubaarak also says, “The believer is he who gives his brothers an excuse, and the hypocrite is he who seeks their slips.”

Does this mean that we should excuse them even in the face of indefensible actions? Absolutely not! Remember the justice with which Allah commands us in the Quran where he says what means,

O you who believe! Stand out firmly for AllAh and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you act without justice. Be just: that is nearer to taqwa, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Well­-Acquainted with what you do. [5: 8]

So our understanding is that our position must be one of justice first, while at the same time seeking to find an excuse for the sincere Muslim who’s action may not be outwardly understood. If in fact no excuse can be found and it is clear that this Muslim has indeed transgressed the bounds set by Allah, should we then forsake him? No! What would you wish for yourself if you were in an impossibly difficult situation and your desperation led you to disobey Allah? No doubt, you would wish for His forgiveness. But are we asking Allah to forgive the trespasses of our brothers and sisters in Gaza? Are we asking Him to guide them and guide others through them? Are we asking that Allah cause their leaders to be just and upright? The last reminder I wish to give myself and the reader before moving on to the next point is to remember the beautiful statement of the Prophet (saas):

Abdullah ibnu ‘Amr ibnul-‘Aas (ra) reports that the Prophet (saas) said, “Those who have mercy will receive the mercy of the Most Merciful. Have mercy on those who are on earth, the One in the Heavens will have mercy on you.” (Tirmidhi ).

Generalizing About an Entire Population

As often as it happens to us as Muslims today, you would think that generalization would be the last mistake that we would ever make. But we have been slow to heed the warning of the Prophet (saas) wherein he said:

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (ra) reported that Allah’s Messenger (saas) said, “You will indeed tread the same path as was trodden by those before you, inch by inch and step by step, so much so that if they were to enter into the hole of the lizard, you would follow them in this also“. We said: O’ Messenger of Allah, do you mean the Jews and Christians (by your words)” those before you”? He said: “Who else (than those two religious groups)?” (Bukhari and Muslim)

He (saas) warned us that we will indeed follow their behaviors, even ones that make no sense whatsoever (think of those Muslims who had “rat-tail” hairstyles, hang their pants so low that their underwear is on full display like “gangstas”, and other assorted absurdities) which is among the meanings of following them into a lizard’s hole. So it is no real surprise to see us following them also in the practice of generalizing about entire populations of people. How do we do this?

When was the last time the imam in your local masjid prayed against the Jews? Did the Prophet (saas) ever make du’a against an entire people like this? How often do we hear some Muslims generalizing about how Jews are this and that of one bad attribute or another? Can such accusations be found in the Quran and Sunnah? Let us briefly review some of the many ayaat just in surat Aali-‘Imraan in the Qur’an that deal with the People of the Book to see indeed how they are described by Allah, the Most Just. He says what means (emphasis is mine):

A party of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) wish to lead you astray. But they shall not lead astray anyone except themselves, and they perceive not. [3:69]

Among the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) is he who, if entrusted with a great amount of wealth, will readily pay it back;and among themthere is he who, if entrusted with a single silver coin, will not repay it unless you constantly stand demanding, because they say: “There is no blame on us to betray and take the properties of the illiterates (Arabs).” But they tell a lie against Allâh while they know it. [3:75]

You [the generation of the Prophet (saas) and all who follow their way in general] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin all good and forbid all evil, and you believe in Allah. And had the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) believed, it would have been better for them; among them are some who have faith, but most of them are disobedient and rebellious against Allah’s Command. [3:110]

Not all of them are alike; a party of the People of the Book stand for the right, they recite the Verses of Allâh during the hours of the night, prostrating themselves in prayer. [3:113]

And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book (Jews and Christians), those who believe in Allah and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before Allah. They do not sell the Verses of Allah for a little price, for them is a reward with their Lord. Surely, Allah is Swift in account. [3:199]

But don’t be fooled into thinking that this pattern exists only in this noble and grand surah, for indeed it is found throughout the Qur’an:

Verily, those who disbelieve from among the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) and the pagans will abide forever in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures. [98:6]

Thus, Allah in His infinite Justice differentiates between those among the People of the Book who are righteous and trustworthy and those who are disbelievers and treacherous in their dealings. He does not generalize regarding them.

In the Sunnah of the Prophet we see this in practice where the Prophet (saas) would deal with some of the Jewish tribes harshly after their betrayals, but among others he was kind, generous and forgiving. How many a Jewish person accepted Islam simply due to the kindness and excellent character of the Prophet (saas), and how many a Jewish person even till today has accepted Islam for similar reasons. The behavior and attitude of a number of Muslims today is a sad departure from the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet and the righteous Companions who also displayed care and concern for the non-Muslims under their governorship.

We should be just in the realization that even in Israel there are those who are very distressed by what is happening not only now, but on a daily basis. There are entire organizations devoted to helping the Palestinian people live a better and safer life, people who stand at checkpoints and yell at their own soldiers for the mistreatment of Palestinians, people who bravely go on the record voicing their opposition of the discriminatory and oppressive practices of the Israeli occupation. These people have displayed one of the greatest acts in Islam, to speak the word of truth before an oppressive ruler and as such they are people who may very well be open to the message of Islam if they could see it in practice first.

The reason that the People of the Book have a distinguished status among the general category of disbelivers in the message of Islam is because they are the closest people to this belief. Our articles of faith are nearly identical and as such it doesn’t require much of a change for them to adopt Islam. For the Christian people, particularly in the West, we have been very accomodating in our dawaah, but ever since the Israeli occupation, our dawah to Jewish people has been lacking. It is wrong that due to the oppressive actions of a group of them that we deprive others of hearing the good of Islam and deprive ourselves of the natural cooperation in goodness that is allowed to us in Islam.

There is no doubt that Israeli policies are such that it is clear that they generalize against all Muslims. We are all equally bad in their myopic vision, but let us not stray from the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet by behaving the same way against them. This can only happen when we give every Jewish person that we meet the benefit of the doubt in regards to their character as did the Prophet. There is no contradiction between having caution when dealing with someone and also being open to the good that they might have. This is what the Prophet (saas) demonstrated and what the Companions acted upon. Another aspect of this justice is to specify in our du’a that Allah aid the believers against those People of the Book who have disbelieved and spread corruption on the Earth as opposed to making du’a against all of them, wallahu a’lam.

Beyond simply generalizing against the Jewish people in du’a, there is a far more dangerous habit that occurs not only among Muslims, but in all human societies – extremism. Shortly after the atrocities against the people of Gaza began, a Dutch of Arab lineage was arrested after he wounded two Israelis in a shopping mall in Holland with a hand-gun. Around the same time, a relatively unknown (I found a total of nine lectures by this Imam online whereas “popular” shuyookh have over 500) and elderly Imam in one of the Muslim countries issued a “fatwa” wherein he encouraged Muslims to attack Israelis and Israeli interests all over the world “in defense of Gaza”. Any rational person can see that these two individuals, amidst the hundreds of millions of Muslims world-wide, acted out of rage and unchecked emotion. Their actions are not representative of Islam or Muslims, but they represent a dangerous trend of the human personality which can be seen globally in different expressions (“road rage” killings, “crimes of passion”, “going postal” work place killings, etc.). Some people, be they Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Atheist or any other “ism”, do not control their anger and instead act upon it in terrifying ways.

The Islamic teaching on this matter is clear though as can first be demonstrated from the Qur’an:

And race towards the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious. Those who spend (for the sake of Allah) in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allah loves those who excel in doing good. [3:133-134]

Ibn Kathir states in regard to the latter portion of these ayaat,

“for when they are angry, they control their anger and do act upon it. Rather, they even forgive those who hurt them. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah (ra) said that the Prophet said, “The strong person is not he who is able to physically dominate people. The strong person is he who overcomes his rage when he is angry.” [Also Bukhari]

Also from guidance of the Prophet (saas) is the following hadith:

Abu Hurairah (ra) reports that a man said to the Prophet (saas), “Advise me.” “The Prophet (saas) said, “Avoid rage (sometimes translated as “Don’t get angry“)” The man asked (the same question) again and again, and the Prophet said in each case, “Avoid rage.” (Bukhari)

Furthermore, when it comes to doing any deed for the sake of Allah we must remember that our sole motivation must be only the pleasure of Allah and in accordance with His limits. Emotion must always be removed from the equation lest it over-ride our primary intention of pleasing Allah and submiting to Him. An example of this concern and control is well illustrated in the story of when Ali ibn Abi Taalib (ra) was in a battle and was about to kill his opponent when the other man spat in his face. Immediately after this happened, Ali pulled away from him and walked away from him. The man, surprised, asked him why he didn’t kill him although he had the chance. Ali replied, “I have nothing personal against you. I was fighting you solely for the sake of Allah. If I had killed you after you spat on my face, then it would have become my personal revenge which I do not wish to take.” So as Muslims, we need to always remember that our actions are for the purpose of justice and good for mankind in submission to Allah and that we do not act on anger, revenge or any other emotion.

Mistaking Success for Defeat

This pervasive mistake in our Ummah today is most representative of our collective disregard for the Qur’an; Allah grants victory and we somehow see defeat. How so? One of the reasons is what I call “romantic comedy syndrome”.

The Romantic Comedy Syndrome is very typical in younger generations although with the general collapse in morality throughout the world today, it can be found in people in their 40’s and 50’s as well. The source of the problem is watching romantic comedy movies where the typical storyline is that of two star-struck “soul-mates” find their perfect match in one another in hopelessly romantic settings and events. I’m not saying that its completely impossible that a wealthy entepreneur couldn’t find his long lost soul-mate in a street prostitute with a “heart of gold”, but I don’t recommend that as a way of meeting promising marriage prospects for even non-Muslims. The end result is that we have this vaulted idea of love – or any other ideal – that is based entirely upon fantasy, which prevents us from having a normal relationship. For many young people seeking marriage, this leads them on a mythical quest for “the one” which most often results in finally “settling” for a distant second choice in their late twenties or early thirties because their “perfect” match was never found. For others, they are so deep in their fantasy world that they believe they indeed have found “the one” or their “soul-mate” and when that magical romance dies 1-2 months into their marriage then they seek divorce or resolve to an unhappy marriage.

So how does this apply to crisis in the Muslim world? We have an unrealistic and vaulted idea about what victory means. For many people, victory would mean that the Gazans would overcome surmountable odds and defeat Israel whereby the Jewish people would be once again living under a Muslim rule. This of course would happen simultaneously with the return of the khilaafah and money falling from the heavens. The time expectation for these events would be next week at the latest. These ideas are clearly the result of complete ignorance of Qur’anic ayaat and historical precedent. To better understand how the help of Allah comes and why, let us return to the Qur’an first:

Those of you who turned back on the day the two hosts met (at Uhud), it was Satan who caused them to backslide (run away from the battlefield) because of some (sins) they had earned. But Allah, indeed, has forgiven them. Surely, Allah is Oft­-Forgiving, Most Forbearing.

O you who believe! Be not like those who disbelieve (hypocrites) and who say to their brethren when they travel through the earth or go out to fight: “If only they had stayed with us, they would not have died or been killed,” so that Allah may make it a cause of regret in their hearts. It is only Allah that gives life and causes death. And Allah is All­-Seer of what you do.

And if you are killed or die in the Way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are far better than all that they amass (of worldly wealths, etc.).

And whether you die, or are killed, verily, unto Allah you shall be gathered.

And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh­hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs. And when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, for certainly Allah loves those who put their trust in Him.

If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in Allah (Alone) let believers put their trust. [3:155-160]

Ibn Kathir explains these very important ayaat by reporting:

(Those of you who turned back on the day the two hosts met, Shaytan only caused them to err because of some of what they had earned) [3:155], because of some of their previous errors. Indeed, some of the Salaf said, “The reward of the good deed includes being directed to another good deed that follows it, while the retribution of sin includes committing another sin that follows it.” Allah then said, (but Allah, indeed, has forgiven them), their giving flight …

As for Allah’s statement, (And if you are killed or die in the way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are far better than all that they amass.) [3:157], indicating that death and martyrdom in Allah’s cause are a means of earning Allah’s mercy, forgiveness and pleasure. This, indeed, is better than remaining in this life with its short lived delights. Furthermore, both the one who dies and the one who is killed will each return to Allah in any case, and He will reward him if he has done good deeds, or will punish him for his evil deeds …

Allah then addresses His Messenger and reminds him and the believers of the favor that He has made his heart and words soft for his Ummah, those who follow his command and refrain from what he prohibits. (And by the mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently) means, “With Allah’s mercy you became this kind.” Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that this, indeed, is the description of the behavior that Allah sent Muhammad with …

(And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you;) The severe person is he who utters harsh words, and, (harsh-hearted) is the person whose heart is hard. Had this been the Prophet’s behavior, “They would have scattered from around you. However, Allah gathered them and made you kind and soft with them, so that their hearts congregate around you.” `Abdullah bin `Amr said that he read the description of the Messenger of Allah in previous Books, “He is not severe, harsh, obscene in the marketplace or dealing evil for evil. Rather, he forgives and pardons” …

As for Allah’s statement, (Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah,) means, if you conduct the required consultation and you then make a decision, trust in Allah over your decision.

How do these ayaat relate to the current crisis some might ask? Let us take each ayah into closer consideration as it relates to our time.

The first ayah gives us a very clear understanding of one of the major obstacles to success and progress when Allah says what means (it was Satan who caused them to backslide because of some sins they had earned). Our adherence to Allah’s boundaries is a very real ingredient to success, and our disobedience of His commandments is a direct pathway to failure both in this life and the Hereafter. This matters very much today in our community globally because of the widespread lack of concern for obedience to Allah. I personally found it very shocking when I was recently in Egypt to be standing outside praying Isha’ on a reed mat extension of one of the smaller musallas as people walked by the rows chatting to one another as if nothing was the matter. They expressed absolutely no shame for not being among those who pray, and there were many who had no problem playing music loudly or shouting to their friends while the prayer was in session. This is unfortunately not limited to Egypt. In Ramadan, people may actually abstain from food and drink during the day, but they erase any good they may have attained from their action in the day by sinning all night in “Ramadan parties” where they eat and drink until about 1-2 hours before fajr and then go home to sleep until the mid-afternoon. Are they the people whom the Prophet (saas) described as getting nothing more from their fasting than thirst and hunger? Yes, there is to a degree some “awakening” among our youth, but there is an entire other subset of youth who are ten times more astray and more sinful than the last generation. All of this contributes to our collective failure as an Ummah in so many endeavors.

The second ayah describes another scene ripped directly from many bloglines and comments today, where Allah says what means (Be not like those who disbelieve [hypocrites] and who say to their brethren when they travel through the earth or go out to fight: “If only they had stayed with us, they would not have died or been killed,“). Today, there are a number of people who make statements like, “Had not Hamas launched rockets then these people would not have died. If only they would stop then these people’s lives would be saved!” These people have unknowingly made two great mistakes. Firstly, it is Allah who gives life and death and when Allah decrees for a soul to die then it shall die no matter where it is or what the circumstances are. The people who have died in Gaza have met their decree – were they not killed by Israel, they would have died another way. Secondly, it should be very clear to those who closely analyze the news reports that the recent actions of Hamas have little bearing on today’s situation. It has been confirmed in numerous news reports that Israel had been planning this ground invasion into Gaza for close to six months now. Certainly, it feels that it has more of an “excuse” now, but had things been different there is little doubt that another reason would have been manufactured. Why?

The current invasion and relentless bombing campaign have the removal of Hamas as their ultimate goal. This has been stated in black and white terms. Why does Israel wish to remove this government democratically elected by the Palestinian people and replace it with another? It is simply because this government has not submitted to them like every other regional government. They have submitted to Allah and attempts to buy them off have failed. They have declared their loyalty to Islam and to the Sunnah and they have made great efforts to stick to this creed. This is of great concern to Israel because of its implications both to Israel and to the surrounding nations whose populations grow more and more fed up with dictatorships whose loyalty is to everything else but their own people’s interests. If Hamas can succeed then this may cause significant ripples in the pond of Middle East nations. For this reason, they must be demonized in every way possible. They must be dehumanized in the media until no one cares if they are killed or not. They must be stopped at all costs and this is what we see now.

The third ayah brings us to the issue of perspective, where Allah says what means (And if you are killed or die in the Way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are far better than all that they amass of worldly wealth). There is a difference between what we see and what many of the people of Gaza see, a difference between our understanding and theirs. We see people dying needlessly in a horrifying attack that respects no standard of human decency or international law. They see people dying in the cause of Allah and attaining the greatest status with Allah.

The people of Gaza are a people, who in their own words, have chosen to stay in this land even though they know it will be difficult for them. They could leave, but they have chosen to raise their children in this land even though they know that they may lose them due to the aggression of the occupiers. They could leave, but they have stayed in this land remembering that it was this same land upon which thirty thousand of the Prophet’s companions were martyred in their quest for Jerusalem. To live in this land requires the heart of a lion and a will of iron. But life in this land also affords the ultimate status with Allah. It is ribaat – the guarding of the frontiers and its immense reward – and it is more. They have chosen to face the inhumanity of those who have mercilessly occupied them and slaughtered them so that they can be the standard bearers of Islam upon this blessed land. They stand strong in the face of their enemy shouting with their presence that you can take away our homes, our lands, our crops and even our lives but you can never take away our faith and the honor of maintaining the Islamic presence upon this hallowed ground. They want what is with Allah and they prove it daily with their lives.

The fifth ayah is also very descriptive of these noble people. Their leaders come from among them, and every time Israel kills or abducts them, they are replaced from the same pool of believers. They consult with their people by virtue of the fact that they are their people. And as a nation, they have made their decision to face Israel and have put their collective trust in Allah. They have been cut off from the whole world through the blockade placed on them. Their reliance upon Allah only increased when this happened as they realized that no one would help them except Allah. The governments of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, for all their strength would do nothing – not even to open their borders to allow in much needed food or other humanitarian aid. No, it was Allah who allowed them to be cut off from the world so that thier trust and reliance upon Him would be pure and complete.

Through this they came to the ultimate realization, (If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in Allah (Alone) let believers put their trust.). They know the history of this embattled area and they know that it takes time for ultimate victory to come. The Prophet (saas) left Makkah after thirteen years of persecution and returned eight years later in victory. He was not victorious overnight even though he was the Messenger of Allah and even though he was aided by the very Angels. It took Saluhuddin twelve years to unite many of the Muslim lands (Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia and Palestine), and tens of thousands of lives, before succeeding in overcoming the Crusaders to take back Jerusalem after it had been in their hands for 88 years. As such, Jerusalem will not return to Muslim governance in a few weeks or months. It will not happen without lives lost and without difficulties. The people of Palestine have understood this well – they understand that they may be blessed with either one of two victories; to take back Jerusalem or to die for the sake of Allah in the effort. To this end they have put their trust in Allah and their hope in His mercy, His help and His reward. In this there are a great many lessons for us to learn in our individual struggles and should cause us to increase our love for these noble people of Honor (‘Izzah). And Allah knows best.


Disclaimer:  As a citizen and resident of the United States, I am bound to respect the rules established by this government. At the time of this writing, the United States continues to maintain Hamas on their list of terrorist organizations despite the fact that they were democratically elected by their people in free elections. This thus prohibits any American citizen from knowingly providing material support or resources to Hamas, or any other organization listed.

The State Department website states: “The term “material support or resources” is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2339A(b)(1) as “any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (1 or more individuals who maybe or include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials.” 18 U.S.C. § 2339A(b)(2) provides that for these purposes “the term ‘training’ means instruction or teaching designed to impart a specific skill, as opposed to general knowledge.” 18 U.S.C. § 2339A(b)(3) further provides that for these purposes the term ‘expert advice or assistance’ means advice or assistance derived from scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge.” To further explore this matter please see the State Department website here.

Thus, I wish to clarify that the purpose of this article has been specifically aimed at religious education and that although Hamas has been mentioned, at no point in time (presently or in the past) have I encouraged or recommended any material support or resources to be directed to them until such time as they are removed from this list. I believe that adherence to the law of the land is a confirmed part of Islam and as such I have made all efforts to make this clear in my writing and speaking. Their mention in this article or elsewhere in my writings has been solely for educational purposes.


Dr. Ali Shehata is the author of Demystifying Islam: Your Guide to the Most Misunderstood Religion of the 21st Century. Dr. Ali is an Emergency and Family Medicine physician currently living in an area of central Florida. He was born in Maryland to parents who had immigrated to the US from Egypt. He has studied Islam mainly through traditional methods among various scholars, du'at and students of knowledge here in the US.



  1. Avatar


    January 12, 2009 at 7:33 AM

    JazakAllahkhair bro Shehata for this very enlightening article/advice.

    The Quranic evidences, that support non-generalization of people & nations, were a real eye-opener.

    You are correct about our viewing perspective. If that can be changed, we might just end up envying the Gazans for the honorable position Allah Subhanawataala has placed them in, & the unimaginable rewards they stand to gain inshaAllah.

    JazakAllahkhair for pointing to our mistakes & correcting them.

  2. Avatar

    Ibn Jafaar

    January 12, 2009 at 8:31 AM

    oh man! wonderfull

    so in summary, not ALL Jews in Palestine, even though they are ALL occupiers, are bad?!

    and we have to obey the law when it says not to support the mujahideen?!

    So let me ask you, can we make dua, or is that illegal too? I mean it is an intangible religious service right?

    To hell with your american law……

    What a joke this is….

  3. Amad


    January 12, 2009 at 10:06 AM

    Ibn Jafaar, I bet you didn’t even read the entire post. And I would be surprised if you did, based on your callous comment. If you cannot respect people of knowledge, even if you have a legitimate disagreement, then please refrain from making comments.

  4. Avatar

    Ibn Jafaar

    January 12, 2009 at 10:13 AM

    The line about israelis and the disgusting disclaimer ruined the whole thing

    Mostly the disgusting disclaimer

  5. Avatar


    January 12, 2009 at 10:30 AM

    Wow Br. Ibn Jafaar, do you really think every single Jew in Palestine is for the occupation? Have you never heard of the Jews who’ve been JAILED for refusing to join the Israeli Army because they believe the occupation is unjust? Go google “Shministim” but here’s an excerpt of their letter ”

    We oppose the actions taken in the name of the “defense” of the Israeli society (Checkpoints, targeted killing, apartheid roads-available for Jews only, curfews etc.) that serve the occupation and exploitation policy , annex more conquered territories to the State of Israel and tramples the rights of the Palestinian population in an aggressive manner. These actions serve as a band-aid covering a bleeding wound, and as a limited and temporary solution that will accelerate and aggravate the conflict further.

    We expostulate the plundering and the theft of territories and source of income to the Palestinians in exchange to the expansion of the settlements, reasoning to defend Israeli territories. In addition, we oppose any transformation of Palestinian cities and villages to ghettos without minimal living conditions or income sources enclosed by the separation wall.

    We also protest the humiliating and disrespectful behavior of the military forces towards Palestinians in the West Bank; violence towards demonstrators, public humiliations, arrests, destruction of property regardless to any safety or defense needs, all of which violate global human rights and international law.

    We hereby challenge every citizen who wonders if the military’s policy in the occupied territories is conducive to the progression of the peace process, to discover by himself/ herself the truth and to lift the veil which distorts the reality of the situation; to verify statistical data; to look for the humane side in him/her and in the society which stands in front of him/her, to disprove the myths that were routed within us regarding the necessity of the IDF’s in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, and to stand up against every action which he finds irrational and illegal.


    Or the 1000 Israelis who protested in Tel Aviv against the attacks on Gaza?

    Or what about the Jewish Voice for Peace, who’ve condemned the attacks, urged the US Senate to vote NO on the Israel Resolution, and for that matter, strongly condemned the Obsession DVD’s of last year’s campaign?

  6. Avatar


    January 12, 2009 at 10:31 AM

    They’re all just Yahoodee tricks to divide Muslims, right? Damn, why didn’t I see that?

  7. Avatar


    January 12, 2009 at 10:44 AM

    As sallamu Alykum,

    The meaning of some or all the verses which have been underlined (among/not all/party etc) has been misinterpreted. The author mentions after quoting those verses “Thus, Allah in His infinite Justice differentiates between those among the People of the Book who are righteous and trustworthy and those who are disbelievers and treacherous in their dealings. He does not generalize regarding them.”

    I think the author has misunderstood some or all of these verses.

    As far as I understand they refer and praise those amongst them who embraced Islam and become Muslim and Allah does not praise them for their worship in nights (to Jesus) and having faith in their false beliefs.


  8. Avatar


    January 12, 2009 at 10:57 AM

    Thanks for the article.

  9. Avatar


    January 12, 2009 at 11:18 AM


    The ‘Disclaimer’ is a joke…..

    The Author should take a ‘Wala and Bara 101’ course with some student of knowledge and re-check his loyalty… Is he American first or a Muslim? If the law of the land one day is going to say that you can not give zakat, then is he is also going to stop giving zakat too?

    The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A human must not be obeyed if that involves disobedience to Allah. Indeed, obedience is only in righteous deeds” (Sahih Al-Bukhari with Fath Al-Bari, 13/121; Ahmad, 1/91; and the context is found in Al-Silsilah As-Sahihah, No. 181)

    I’ve hardly visited this site, and am quite disappointed…..

  10. Avatar

    Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    January 12, 2009 at 11:56 AM

    Jazzak Allaahu Khayr for an article which makes many excellent points. May we all benefit from it inshAllaah.

    We must avoid falling into bigotry against all Jewish people. It is unjust and we should not let the injustice of some cause us to swerve from justice.

    This may not be the proper forum to address this issue, but I do believe that it is problematic that in a case where it would appear to be at least a collective obligation to aid and assist our brothers and sisters that we would do so only if given permission by unjust governments. This is true whether we are talking about western countries in which we live or “Muslim” governments.

    I believe it is imperative that scholars and community leaders amongst us address that problem in a serious way, in the meantime alhamdulillaah there are at least some ways in which we can help the masses of our brothers and sisters in Gaza and we should do so with all available resources inshAllaah. These include spreading news and understanding of what is actually going on and giving charitable contributions through agencies like Islamic Relief. If we are not doing those actions, then this shows that we would not do any action which required a greater sacrifice on our part even if we had the chance.

    And Allaah knows best.

  11. Avatar

    Ibn Jafaar

    January 12, 2009 at 12:27 PM

    We need to support our brothers and sisters, and the mujahideen. If anyone in America has the ability to support the mujahideen with money DO IT, but don’t tell ANYONE cause our community is full of snitchs who think it illegal to do so cause George Bush says so!

    We need to redefine our concept of legal and illegal…NOT giving material support to the mujahideen, when we have the ability to do so, is illegal.

    Pray for the victory of HAMAS, and the end of the Jewish State…

  12. Avatar


    January 12, 2009 at 1:31 PM

    Excellent article, ma sha Allah
    May Allah give strength to the Muslims and honor to Islam
    Allahumma salli ‘ala saydina Muhammad wa ‘ala Aali Muhammad

  13. Avatar


    January 12, 2009 at 1:35 PM

    Thank you. Shall share.

  14. Avatar


    January 12, 2009 at 1:39 PM

    This is not the time to debate whether Hamas are mujahideen or not, though this is what the OTSI (occupied terrorist state of Israel) wants us to do. I think the disclaimer was required.

    Lets now concentrate on helping our brothers and sisters in Gaza by whatever means that we can. And this article has been in the right direction.

    Thanks again for taking the time to write such a thoughtful article, and overlook the comments of my brothers who are obviously angry at the situation and the injustice happening in Gaza.

  15. Avatar


    January 12, 2009 at 2:00 PM

    asalaamu alaikum,

    at least we should read with attention the good and try to understand what has enraged some of you.

    this person does not want to end up in guantanamo to be tortured and is making clear their position in case this article is brought up in a court of law. (disclaimer)

    Peace be upon the muslim ummah, and i would like to say to the author that these are hard times and the trials are unimaginable Allah is witness and i do appreciate your article. Happy to see that somene even bothers to go to this length to admonish us, and still has hope that we will even hear or understand.

  16. Avatar


    January 12, 2009 at 2:23 PM

    As Salaamu Aleykum,

    Know the hikmah (wisdom) behind the tests, calamities and afflictions for the believers. Like the Sahaaba learned from the mistakes of Battle of Uhad we should learn from the recent calamities as well.

    A true visionaries vision does not end at the wall in front of him, rather it surpasses all walls beyond his imagination.

  17. Avatar


    January 12, 2009 at 3:43 PM

    Jazakallah Khair Dr. Ali Shehata, once again, for producing such a wonderful piece. Please ignore the over-zealous brothers who doesn’t look at the whole picture but are too quick in criticising a tiny portion in the article.

  18. Avatar

    Ibn Jafaar

    January 12, 2009 at 4:09 PM

    As if not putting that ridiculous disclaimer would land him in Gitmo! Come on guys!

  19. Avatar

    Ibn Jafaar

    January 12, 2009 at 4:12 PM

    So let me ask you, can we make dua, or is that illegal too? I mean it is an intangible religious service right? It is more powerfull then giving money right?
    So what if that stupid law said you can’t pray for “terrorists”, you saying you wouldn’t make dua?

  20. Avatar


    January 12, 2009 at 4:22 PM

    Well first of all Shaykh has put up the reason for the disclaimer and it is not gitmo. And we must pray for the people in Gaza and not for terrorists such as the OTSI (occupied terrorist state of Israel).

  21. Avatar

    Abu Amin

    January 12, 2009 at 4:31 PM

    It is sad that people have glossed over the excellent points made in this article and make a mountain out of the disclaimer. The reality is that one has to be cautious in these difficult times. It is a matter of fact for all those people in the West who claim that the West is the best place in the world to practice Islam in “its fullest sense” to see the real limitations. There are a number of people lingering in jails across the world who have been deprived of the greater good of caring for their families, raising their children and such because of mindless comments. This is where emotion overcomes wisdom. And this is one step in the overall process of limiting Islamic practice in such countries as has been done historically to Muslim minorities elsewhere. I personally can see the wisdom in that and how the author doesn’t want this or any other statement to ever be used to decrease his chances for good. No, the article will not land anyone in jail but it can be used by devious souls as additional evidence against someone as has been done in so many other mocked up trials in the past decade.

  22. Avatar

    Ibn Jafaar

    January 12, 2009 at 4:48 PM

    being cautious is different than being afraid of your own shadow.and the article for the most part was good, the parts i highlighted, like the disclaimer and the line about some Israelis being good messed it all up…

  23. Avatar

    Ibn Jafaar

    January 12, 2009 at 5:01 PM

    Look, I guess I should make myself clear before Ali responds… so this is directed to Ali….

    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    Bro, first off I wanna say I like (most) of what you have to say, in the above and in other places. I read your short bio on here and honestly I am impressed. You seem like a very good and active brother, who has and will do, I’m sure, more for Islam and Muslims than me or many who might critize you. I didn’t realize you also wrote a couple books….one looks like it is ment for non-muslims, the other I would like to buy. It looks wonderfull. I want to stress the point that I respect and look up to up…you seem like a great guy.

    That being said I stand by my criticism regarding what you said about “good” Israelis and the disclamier. They were both really uncalled for.

  24. Avatar


    January 12, 2009 at 5:06 PM

    To Ibn Jaffar,

    Instead of “wasting” your valuable time here on the “blog” why don’t you give your “valuable time and efforts” to your brothers who need the most in Gaza. Physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially. Go…GO.. Ibn Jaffar Mujahid

  25. Ali Shehata

    Ali Shehata

    January 12, 2009 at 6:32 PM

    Salaam alaikum wa rahmatallah wa barakaatuhu,

    Brother Ibn Jaafar, I would like to thank you for the good things you said and for taking the time to read the article, walhamdulillah.

    You have said that my article claims there are good Israelis and so I would like you to look through the article again before you misquote. As far as the disclaimer, if you feel it is uncalled for then alhamdulillah that is your opinion and we are allowed to differ in our approach. I on the other hand felt it is necessary. There was once a well respected scholar named Dr. Ali Tamimi who was in Virginia. He used to give classes and I believe you can find some of his articles and lectures online. Unfortunately, some people took some of his teachings overboard and allegedly used them as a basis for launching some attacks within America. He is now serving life in prison where his dawaah is limited, his ability to benefit the Muslim community here is practically zero and he is cut off from his family. If this was another time and place and he had fought for the sake of Allah and opposed an oppressive ruler who then jailed him for that, then maybe that would be different. But he is unable to do a lot of good because someone mistook his words and allegedly used them as a basis for a poorly thought-out act of extremism. As Muslims we try to take lesson from what happens to others.

    If you cannot understand this, then you should again try your best to be respectful of someone you think is in a higher position of knowledge than you and with more experience. My reasons for doing so may not need to be clear to you and in the end may not be necessary at all, but we live in difficult and insecure times especially for du’aat. Accepting some limitations if they are a lesser evil is something the Prophet indeed did in the treaty of Hudaibiyyah. The Companions did not like the terms of the treaty at all, but they never disrespected him nor spoke against him. That treaty, even with its clear aspects of submissiveness at times to the pagans of Makkah, was called a “clear victory” by Allah in surat al-Fath. It resulted in thousands of people accepting Islam and eventually in the peaceful conquest of Makkah. This is my hujjah for temporarily accepting such a condition – temporary because this law may change. Since there is a precedent at this time for jailing people and other forms of injustice (rendition, etc.) because someone may misinterpret your message and use it as a basis for criminal acts, I felt it was necessary and a necessary thought that should cross the mind of all du’aat.

    This would also be my response to brother Muhammad who would like me to review al-Walaa’ wa-Baraa’. Remember ya akhi, that even hating something in your heart is still part of imaan, and it is part of hikmah if it results in a greater good.

    As for the comments about Jews that other people have an issue with, I certainly expected some flak for the points I made. Zia, the ayaat are clear and yes they do include – among others – those who have accepted Islam. What about those who have not yet learned about Islam, but Allah knows they will accept it in the future when they do get introduced to it? Are the evil and wicked and worthy of death until they get this knowledge? Certainly you cannot say so!

    Everyday alhamdulillah someone accepts Islam in many countries around the world – some of these people come from Jewish backgrounds and they fall under the description Allah gives in the Qur’an which is explained under the following heading in Ibn Kathir:

    The BELIEVERS among the People of the Book

    Allah tells us that the pious scholars among the People of the Book believe in the Qur’an, as He says:

    (Those to whom We gave the Book recite it as it should be recited, they are the ones who believe therein) (2:121).


    (And there are, certainly, among the People of the Scripture, those who believe in Allah and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before Allah) (3:199).


    (Verily, those who were given knowledge before it, when it is recited to them, fall down on their faces in humble prostration. And they say: “Glory be to our Lord! Truly, the promise of our Lord must be fulfilled.”) (17:107-108)


    (Those to whom We gave the Scripture before it, they believe in it. And when it is recited to them, they say: “We believe in it. Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before it we have been from Muslims.”) meaning, `even befor e the Qur’an came we were Muslims, i.e., we believed in One God and were sincerely responding to Allah’s commands. These will be given their reward twice over, because they are patient,) [28:52-54]

    means, those who have this characteristic — that they believed in the first Book and then in the second. Allah says:

    (because they are patient,) meaning, in their adherence to the truth, for taking such thing upon oneself is not easy for people. It was reported in the Sahih from the Hadith of `Amir Ash-Sha`bi from Abu Burdah that Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah (saas) said:

    (There are three who will be given their reward twice: a man among the People of the Book who believed in his Prophet then believed in me …)

    Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Umamah said: “On the day of the Conquest [of Makkah] I was walking alongside the Messenger of Allah as he was riding, and he said some very beautiful words, including the following:

    (Whoever among the people of the two Books becomes Muslim, he will have his reward twice, and he has the same rights and duties as we do. Whoever among the idolators becomes Muslim will have one reward, and he has the same rights and duties as we do.)”

    So, Allah describes these people as believers and as having righteousness before they accepted Islam because they had not been properly introduced to it until that time. Certainly a person from among them who hears about Islam and then rejects it out of pride or such then he can never be called righteous or a believer, and to say so would be entirely against our aqeedah.

    So, I hope that this explanation will cool the hearts to some degree and help us get back to the points being made in the article. As people of Justice, we need to be just and recognize that there are people even within Israel who are not there as occupiers but taking the opportunity to oppose the occupation and the oppression that comes with it towards the people of Palestine. In some ways, they are like the Companion Na‘eem ibnu Mas‘ood who accepted Islam during the Battle of the Trench but was commanded by the Prophet to remain among the ahzaab to sow dissention. These people are doing something good even if they never accept Islam and it was the sunnah of the Prophet (saas) to ackowledge the good no matter from whom it came. He recognized the inherent justness in Mut’am ibnu Jubayr as an example. Our recognition of thier good is a significant point in our dawaah to such people – we should recognize that they have much in common with us as people who believed in Musa (as) and have continued to stand even against the actions of thier own people for justice. If I could be there, then these would be people I would very much like to invite to Islam and I would be hopeful that Allah would open their hearts to it.

    Furthermore, Israel is not the only place in the world with a Jewish population. To make general du’a against “Jews” is to include other people who have nothing to do with the atrocities of the Israeli state. Again, this detracts from our message of dawaah to a people of the Book. This shows us as emotional, angry people who cannot differentiate between one and another. If we are unable to do that, I do not think we should be so unahppy when America or Europe lumps all Muslims together with the extremists. The guidance of Islam requires better of us than such a shallow mentality and I ask Allah to guide my heart and the hearts of all Muslims to that which is in line with the manners of this noble deen and to not make us among those who oppress with our opinion, our words or our actions – ameen.

  26. Ali Shehata

    Ali Shehata

    January 12, 2009 at 6:52 PM

    Salaam alaikum everyone,

    I would like to also remind – especially my younger brothers and sisters – of one important manner when it comes to disagreement. I know that when it comes to knowledge that I am a nobody, and I do not claim to have any status or any position. I am a regular Muslim at best, humbled and sometimes blinded by my own baggage of sins. Sometimes I too hear a statement from one of my teachers who are far above me in honor, righteousness, knowledge and all good – yet I may disagree with them. My initial approach to such a disagreement is not to disparage them or to put them down or to call them names. To do so would mean that I think i am better than them and that I am hence looking DOWN upon them; a description which the Prophet (saas) said would keep a person out of Jannah (at least temporarily) as in Sahih Muslim.

    If one of you looks down upon me, then I would say that I would be deserving of it because I know myself and I know how low I am because of my weakness in this deen. But it is a dangerous trend that I hope you do not repeat with others – scholars, du’aat or just an average Muslim who attends your masjid or halaqah.

    The approach that may be the most compatible with the humility we all should have before Allah is to think the best of your brother, to give them the benefit of the doubt (which ironically is the first point in this article that seems to have been missed by some). Assume that they are better than you and wiser and that YOU have missed something – then ask them how they came to that conclusion. I know that some people may be shocked to read this, but you may actually LEARN something when you approach disagreement this way. For knowledge cannot fully enter the heart that possesses arrogance, pride or contempt for another Muslim.

    I am sure that there are many people who comment on my posts who are greater in knowledge than me, and I aspire to reach that level and beyond. But more important than decorating myself with knowledge that has no accompanying action, I prefer to have the manners of student of knowledge first so that when I do come into contact with the knowledge that I will know what properly to do with it, wallahu ‘ala wa a’lam.

  27. Avatar

    Ibn Jafaar

    January 12, 2009 at 7:10 PM

    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh Ali…

    Well once again I am impressed with your calm, mature, and patient reply. I am being very honest when I say I have a high level of respect for you, and this respect only increases when I see your calm and detailed reply to those that disagree with you (even in a rude way). That being said I still stand by what I said…but I said it all so there is no need to disagree further. But just remeber that in times like these emotions run high…it is only natural

    That being said I agree with the majority of what you say (here and else where) anyway…

    Thank you for your service to Islam and Muslims….keep it up bro.

  28. Avatar

    Ibn Jafaar

    January 12, 2009 at 7:18 PM

    BTW, I took a look at your book and it looks great. InshaAllah more are on the way…

    Us english speaking Muslims need more books written in english, and not translated.

    Really bro…keep up the good work..

  29. Avatar


    January 12, 2009 at 7:24 PM

    Would you write something on MANNERS……….. i mean really i just don’t understand why so many people born and raised in the states call their Mothers “Wus UP’ and elders bros……………..
    I mean i am born and raised here and our parents advised us of how to talk to teachers, counselors, and parents with respect………..
    I don’t get this attitude……………

    sometiemes there remarks can be a turn off………….. i mean really we are suppose to have the highest regard for our parents especially our MOTHERS………..
    we are suppose to call elders “AP” and talk with IHTARAM and respect…………..
    uh anyway its a turn off.
    i does one put that in a nice way………. for someone to understand………… I mean if a DA’EE like some people i know talks like “wus up’ i am just not going to be motivated in listening to him.

  30. Avatar

    Ibn Jafaar

    January 12, 2009 at 7:31 PM

    Since I got your attention……what was the reason/context for the oft quoted ayah in surah Ar-Ra’d?

    This isn’t like a test question…I really wanna know…

  31. Avatar

    Nur el Masih Ben Haq

    January 12, 2009 at 8:23 PM

    WAR ON GAZA: Let us React Like Godly People
    I am baffled by the responses of some people, who call themselves Christians, to the massacre taking place in Gaza. On the other hand, I am impressed by the attitude of those who demonstrate the true Christian spirit by calling for prayers and immediate end to the disproportionate war.
    It is true that the foolish and terrorist leadership of the Hamas instigated the war by firing rockets severally on Israeli civilians. But that is not an excuse for Israel to massacre numerous innocent civilians in Gaza. They should confine their understandable vengiance to the real culprit, the notorious leadership of the Hamas; but not extend it to numerous innocent civilians at all.
    Don’t misunderstand me, as a Christian and an advocate of justice, not only do I endorse Israel’s right to exist, but would go out of my way to even expose any plans against the State of Israel just as I would do in respect of an Arab country. But no honest person would be indifferent to the way Israel is capitalizing on the foolishness and foolhardiness of the leadership of Hamas to massacre their Arab cousins. The massacre in Gaza is extremely Godless. God loves the Gazans the same way He loves the Israelis because He is the creator of both brothers. And God hates killing of non-Christian civilians too. It is therefore very immoral for any true Christian to be indifferent or even support a situation where Israel keeps excessively pounding Gaza in the name of retaliating the Hamas rockets that hardly kill a fly in Israel.
    Christian Arabs all over the World are praying for the civilian Gazans and of course, Israeli civilians.
    But it must be admitted that to whom more is given, more is expected. Therefore, since God has given Israel more high precision military powers than the Hamas, they (Israelis) are morally supposed to use their high precision military technology to exclusively strike at the Hamas leaders and not the innocent civilians. On the other hands, it would be unrealistic to expect the Hamas to exclusively strike at Israeli soldiers because they don’t have the high precision military technology. They just manage to fire un-guided rockets for ego boosting. That is even the reason why in the 18th day of the war Hamas has been able to kill just 13 Israeli citizens, one of which is an Arab as against Israeli soldiers that killed over 919 Gazans, many of which are innocent civilians. Many of those killed by Israelis might not have actually been supporting Hamas while alife.
    So, we should all blame the Hamas for ending the cease fire especially when it knew it did not have the military capacity to face Israelis or defend the innocent civilian Gazans. But Israel should be blame more for excessive retaliation against even a weaker opponent. In any case, this disproportionate war must end.

  32. Ali Shehata

    Ali Shehata

    January 12, 2009 at 9:03 PM

    Salaam alaikum Dear Brother Ibn Jaafar

    May Allah reward you for your manners even in disagreement, wa lilaahi alhamd.

    I think you are referring to the ayah, “Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in their hearts.” If not please clarify.

    The idea is mentioned in a slightly different wording first in surat al-Anfaal:

    That is so because Allah will never change a grace which He has bestowed on a people until they change what is in themselves. And verily, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower. Similar to the behavior of the people of Fir`awn, and those before them. They belied the Ayat of their Lord, so We destroyed them for their sins, and We drowned the people of Fir`awn for they were all wrongdoers. [8:52-53]

    Ibn Kathir states: Allah affirms His perfect justice and fairness in His decisions, for He decided that He will not change a bounty that He has granted someone, except on account of an evil that they committed.

    The original context in al-Anfaal was Badr. As far as the reason behind the revelation in ar-Ra’ad I do not know that there is a specific one. The way it is represented in the Qur’an is that Allah will not change the good condition – the blessings and ease – that He has bestowed upon a people until they change what is in their hearts (by disobedience, kufr, ingratitude towards His blessings by not using them for halaal, etc.). It also applies in reverse, that Allah will not change the bad condition that a people are in until they change what is in their hearts. This has been the reason behind the emphasis on our good deeds these days because our condition as an Ummah can never change until we collectively go back to Allah by obeying Him in at least the obligatory matters, wallahu a’lam.

  33. Ali Shehata

    Ali Shehata

    January 12, 2009 at 9:08 PM

    Nur el Masih,

    Thank you for your comment but Hamas did not end the cease fire as has been detailed in several places both on this blog and in the media at large. Israel violated the cease fire by killing 6 Gazans on Nov. 4th and had been violating the cease-fire condition of opening the blockade of humanitarian aid supplies for the whole of the six month term. Hamas did not fire a single rocket into Israel until after the cease-fire ended even though Israel had not kept any of the terms it had committed to in July.

  34. Avatar

    Ibn Jafaar

    January 12, 2009 at 9:45 PM

    Thanks Ali…

    you know too often when people (muslims) disagree, we go to extremes. Like “fulan said XYZ which is wrong so he is my enemy and must be destroyed!” etc

    THIS attitude shows the ignorance we have of Wala and Bara…

  35. Avatar

    Abu Sabaya

    January 12, 2009 at 9:51 PM

    @ Ali Shehata:

    There was once a well respected scholar named Dr. Ali Tamimi who was in Virginia. He used to give classes and I believe you can find some of his articles and lectures online. Unfortunately, some people took some of his teachings overboard and allegedly used them as a basis for launching some attacks within America…But he is unable to do a lot of good because someone mistook his words and allegedly used them as a basis for a poorly thought-out act of extremism.

    When did this happen? This is news to me.

  36. Avatar


    January 13, 2009 at 12:59 AM

    asalaamu alaikum

    ibn jafar masha Allah, Allah is pleased with those who turn to him again and again in repentence.

  37. Avatar

    just to clarify

    January 13, 2009 at 1:00 AM

    assalamu alaikum

    Dr. Ali, I believe Dr. Ali al Timimi was actually imprisoned for allegedly inciting some youth to wage war in Afghanistan and DID NOT incite attacks within America. I know it is a small technicality, but better to be accurate with the facts

  38. ibnabeeomar


    January 13, 2009 at 2:42 AM

    this was a really good article, and made a lot of deep points. this one in particular stuck with me –

    some of the Salaf said, “The reward of the good deed includes being directed to another good deed that follows it, while the retribution of sin includes committing another sin that follows it.”

    jazakallahu khayr

  39. Avatar


    January 13, 2009 at 2:51 PM

    as-salamu alaykum. JZK for the article.

    in one of your responses Dr. Ali you compared following the laws in this country to the peace treaty of the Prophet and the Mekkans. i do not see how a treaty that two parties come together to formulate is the same thing as obeying the laws of this country.

    i am not trying to say or imply that we should not follow laws (that is another big conversation) just questioning the comparison being made.

    ALSO. it seems that apart from a few muslims here or there, most are unaware and lack understanding of the real issues we are facing today. there are many many people writing articles about these issues, such as mentioned in this article, but muslims dont seem to be accessing these alternative venues of news.


  40. Avatar

    Nuruddeen Lewis

    January 13, 2009 at 4:40 PM

    Assalaamu alaykum,

    I would like to hear thoughts about the possibility of the Palestinians leaving their land. I know this has been proposed before and it caused a big uproar. I must admit that I don’t know everything about this situation, but my heart aches from what I do know of what is going on over there. Is it sensible for the Palestinians to give this land to the Jews and migrate to other countries? Why is such a solution so despised? Is such a migration even possible?

  41. Avatar


    January 13, 2009 at 4:58 PM

    I would like to hear thoughts about the possibility of the Jews to migrate to the States. I know when i bring this up it will cause an uproar but this situation is making me sad and after all it was initially the Palestinians land anyway………………. before world war 2.
    I just don’t understand why jews can’t migrate to america where there is an strong ziionist lobby anyway. WHY is my solution so despised i don’t understand please help me to understand DR. ALI SHEHATA……
    thank you
    please advise.

  42. Ali Shehata

    Ali Shehata

    January 14, 2009 at 12:38 AM

    As-salaam alaikum Shireen,

    Alhamdulillah. Thank you for taking the time to read the post and comment. In regards to your question, my point in that comment was to say that as Muslims living under non-Muslim governments that we sometimes are put in the position to accept certain things which would otherwise being unacceptable in Islamic tradition. When we are in such a situation, we have two choices: a) to leave and find a more suitable Islamic environment where our practice is not constricted or b) to see if there is a good that we can accomplish in that place that otherwise would be difficult to accomplish if we lived elsewhere, and thus outweighs the evil we are facing. This is the principle of the lesser of two evils.

    The Prophet (saas) chose the lesser of two evils in al-Hudaiybiyyah and in our present circumstances we have a similar predicament. We play an important role today in the fabric of the United States and the US remains the country with the greatest percentage of Muslim conversions world-wide. Our presence here at this time plays an important role in balancing the views represented even in the media. There may come a day when such restrictions are placed upon us in our religious practice where the lesser of the two evils may be to live elsewhere. In the meantime, we have a lot of good work to do here in this society in the form of teaching people about the true nature of Islam, doing good community work and doing our best to use our position as citizens to effect positive changes in our government.

    To Brother Nuruddeen

    Salaam alaikum brother … I am curious to know if you are a convert or the child of a convert as your name would suggest. I can understand your confusion in this regards and I can see also why you might wonder why the Palestinians simply don’t move away to protect their lives. Since you don’t know the history it is understandable.

    The reason is because this is a land of Islam, and these people understand full well that their lives are in danger if they stay there, but also how much more dangerous it would be to leave it and surrender to the forces of oppression and genocide. This land has often been a land of strife but it is their home. They will not allow a land in which the third holiest site of Islam exists, a land in which Allah is praised and remembered and a land in which truth stands up to a manufactured lie as David stood before Goliath – they will never allow it to become a land where Allah and His Messenger are ridiculed, disparaged and attacked. They are not fighting for a flag, a country or a people – they are fighting to keep Islam from being extinguished in this land. This is the great honor which they have for which we should respect, admire and love them.

    I tried to think of a good example in American history but I could not, because the history of the israeli-palestinian conflict is a very unique one with few precedents in history. It is rare that a population of people comes to a foreign land as beleaugered guests (those who left Holocaust Europe to find peace and safe-haven in Palestine) only to rise up against those who offered them safe-haven and hospitality and murder them and take over their homes, properties and possessions because it was “promised to them in the Bible”. Maybe someone else can come up with a good example to help you better see what it is they are fighting for and why they will alhamdulillah never surrender.

    And Allah knows best.

  43. Pingback: Jewish Criticisms of Israeli Tactics - TalkRadio Interview |

  44. Avatar

    aamer khan

    January 14, 2009 at 7:51 AM

    Dr. Ali Shehata: an example could be the native americans. had they not saved the early colonists there would be no america, and look what happened to them…

  45. Avatar


    January 14, 2009 at 9:37 AM

    i was just coming to say the same thing, the Natives. and in this case there was also the idea of the Bible supporting what the europeans did, i believe, they called it manifest destiny. plus the idea that the europeans were escaping religous persecution and serfdom to come to america the land of the free.

    i have often told muslims that muslims assimilating into american politics is not much different than if we were to go to the occupied lands and assimilate into israel.

    it is a shame that we are supposed to be a just community upholding Islam and yet we give no attention to what the american govt has done to the Natives and still continues to do to them. although they were almost wiped out, they have small pockets of communities and are the most poor in this country and still very oppressed. what tiny bits of land they have supposedly been given the american govt now uses either to mine for uranium or dump their garbage or something of the sort. although they are supposed to have autonomy, the govt will not allow them to do much. there is a documentary i have been wanting to see called standing nation about one family today trying to grow hemp and how the fbi burned down all their fields.

  46. Avatar

    Nuruddeen Lewis

    January 14, 2009 at 2:19 PM

    Wa alaykum salaam wa rahmatullah Ali. Alhamdulillah, I did convert to Islam about 6 years ago.

    I understand your point. However, the Palestinians are being extinguished and none of their Muslim neighbors (nearby countries) have officially agreed to help them militarily. And I pray to Allah that they are rewarded for their struggle. It may be in the best interest of the Palestinians and the Ummah as a whole to retreat and regroup. I think even our best examples of Muslim commanders would pull back under these circumstances. Certainly Allah knows best, but this, in my opinion right now, seems to be the most practical thing for the Muslims to do right now. May Allah grant victory to those he is pleased with.

  47. Avatar


    January 14, 2009 at 3:06 PM

    Nuruddeen Lewis said:

    Wa alaykum salaam wa rahmatullah Ali. Alhamdulillah, I did convert to Islam about 6 years ago.

    I understand your point. However, the Palestinians are being extinguished and none of their Muslim neighbors (nearby countries) have officially agreed to help them militarily. And I pray to Allah that they are rewarded for their struggle. It may be in the best interest of the Palestinians and the Ummah as a whole to retreat and regroup. I think even our best examples of Muslim commanders would pull back under these circumstances. Certainly Allah knows best, but this, in my opinion right now, seems to be the most practical thing for the Muslims to do right now. May Allah grant victory to those he is pleased with

    You know its not bad idea to retreat, regroup and retake. Just like in the crusades, we did loose jerusalem in between. But the problem is that “muslim” countries do not have balls to do anything. And they are always afraid of refugee/immigrants, as the monarchs feel threatened by their presence.

  48. Avatar


    January 14, 2009 at 9:16 PM

    btw. JZK for clarifying my question above Dr. Ali.

  49. Avatar

    Sadaf Farooqi

    January 15, 2009 at 7:48 AM


    What an excellent article! May Allah reward the author abundantly. It has greatly added to my knowledge, particularly that of the historical aspect of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

    I think Dr Ali’s list of the common mistakes Muslims make during crises have been adequately proved true by reading – ironically – most of the comments under the article itself! Allah has demonstrated how right the author is in what he is saying about Muslims’ mistakes. I think our lack of knowledge is the biggest reason for these mistakes. Look at the way we talk to our learned da’ee’s and scholars; look at how we form opinions, pass judgments and make accusations, not to mention the biting sarcasm! Subhan Allah. We should be cautious and should hold our tongues before being emotional.

  50. Avatar


    January 15, 2009 at 11:45 AM

    What is the solution to the misery of palestenians. Are they to endure? MUSLIM UMMA headed by Saudi arabia has blamed Hamas for the present crisis. the only Islamic nuclear power Pakistan is organsing demo and helping US to kill Iraninas through Jundoallha and infidel Indians through LET Ofcourse Zai ul haq of Pakistan killed 10,000 palestenians in 1973 in Jordan..Bnagladesh and Indonesia ,Malysia are just not bothered except to organise demo.
    Two state
    Unitary state
    Part of Jordan,egypt etc
    Merge with Israel
    what is the solution you offer.?

  51. Avatar


    January 15, 2009 at 1:45 PM

    @Sadaf Farooqi
    I concur with your INTELLIGIENT COMMENTS
    Thank you for sharing your assessment of the bloggers. you are very perceptive.

  52. Avatar


    January 15, 2009 at 2:25 PM

    i’msorry. i cant help it. they keep saying we teach our kids to kill. look at how sweet israelikids are.

  53. Avatar

    Gazacaust- Trials are blessing for a Muttaqi

    January 15, 2009 at 3:53 PM

    From the Greatest of Sins: Being Bored of Allah’s Blessings

    Ibn al-Qayyim said:

    “From the greatest of sins which are hidden – and widely practiced – is that the servant is enjoying a blessing that Allah has blessed him with and chosen for him, then that servant becomes bored of it and seeks to exchange it for what he thinks – due to his ignorance – is better for him than it, and His Lord continues to be merciful to him and does not prevent him from this blessing, and He excuses him due to his ignorance and this bad choice that he has chosen for himself. When he reaches the limit in scorning this blessing and his boredom with it overcomes him, Allah removes this blessing from him. So, if he is given what he sought in exchange for that blessing, and he sees the immense difference between what he was previously enjoying and and what he has now been given instead of it, his anxiety and regret increase and he requests a return to what he previously had. So, if Allah desires good and guidance for His servant, He allows him to bear witness that what he had was a blessing from the blessings of Allah upon him, and He causes him to become pleased with that blessing and to give thanks to Allah for it. If his soul then whispers to him to again seek to exchange that blessing for something else, he makes istikharah to His Lord, the istikharah of the one who is ignorant of what is in his best interests and unable to attain them. He turns his affairs to Allah, requesting of Him to help him make the best decision.

    And there is nothing more harmful to the servant than to become bored of the blessings of Allah, because he does not see it as a blessing, and he does not thank Allah for it, and does not become happy because of it. Rather, he belittles it, complains about it and considers it to be a disaster – all this while it can well be from the greatest of Allah’s blessings upon him.

    Most people have a feeling of enmity towards Allah’s blessings upon them, and they do not percieve that this opening that Allah has given them is actually a blessing, and they exert the utmost effort in repelling it and pushing it away out of ignorance and oppression. So, how many are those whom Allah’s blessings comes to one of them, and they rise to repel and fight against it? And how many are those whom the blessing comes to one of them and he strives to push it away and brush it to the side out of ignorance and oppression?

    Allah – the Exalted – says: {“And this is because Allah would not change a blessing that He has blessed a people with unless they change what is within themselves.”} [al-Anfal; 53]

    The one who is devoid of logic loses his chance * Until the affair passes him by. Then, he blames predestination.”

    [‘al-Fawa’id’; p. 248

  54. Avatar


    January 15, 2009 at 4:19 PM

    Jazakum Allah khairun Br. Ali Shehata, Amazing reminders which I benefitted from tremendously. May Allah reward you immensely for your hard work.

  55. Avatar

    Gazacaust-Blessing of another Salahuddin

    January 16, 2009 at 1:56 AM

    From Salahuddin Ayyubi To the Muslim Ummah

    This is a letter written by Salah El Din A Ayyubi when he started his Jihad against the crusaders more than 9 centuries ago:

    “We hope in Allah most high, to whom be praise, who leads the hearts of Muslims to calm what torments them and ruins their prosperity.

    “Where is the sense of honor of Muslims? The pride of Believers? The Zeal of the Faithful?

    “We shall never cease to be amazed at how the disbelievers for their part have shown trusts, and it is the Muslims who have been lacking in zeal. Not one of them has responded to the call. Not one intervenes to straighten what is distorted; but observe how far the Franks have gone what unity they have achieved. What aims they pursue. What help they have given. What sums of money they have borrowed and spent. What wealth they have collected and distributed and divided amongst them. There is not a King left in their lands or islands, not a lord or a rich man who has not competed with his neighbors to produce more support and rival his peers in strenuous military efforts. In defense of their religion they consider it a small thing to spend life and soul; and they have kept their infidel brothers supplied with arms and champions of war; and all they have done and all their generosity has been purely out of zeal for him they worship in jealous defense of their faith.

    “The Muslims on the other hand are weak and demoralized; they have become negligent and lazy, the victims of unproductive stupefaction and completely lacking in enthusiasm. If , Allah forbid, Islam should draw rein, obscure her splendor, blunt her sword, there would be no one, east or west, far or near who would blaze the zeal for Allah’s religion, or choose to come to the aid of truth against error.

    “This is the moment to cast off laziness, to summon from far and near all those men who have blood in their veins; but we are confident (he speaks about himself and the small party of believers who began with him and then became a large party); but we are confident, thanks to Allah-Alhamdulillah-in the Help that will come from him and entrust ourselves to him in sincerity of purpose and deepest devotion.

    “Insha Allah, the disbelievers shall perish and the faithful have a sure deliverance.”

    -Salahuddin Ayyubi 12 CE

  56. Avatar


    January 16, 2009 at 1:40 PM

    Allah knows better!
    Allah say’s jews not some of them but jews.

    Al-Fatiha [1:7] The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).

    Al-Baqara [2:89] And when there came to them (the jews), a Book (this Qur’ân) from Allâh confirming what is with them [the Taurât (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)], although aforetime they had invoked Allâh (for coming of Muhammad Peace be upon him ) in order to gain victory over those who disbelieved, then when there came to them that which they had recognised, they disbelieved in it. So let the Curse of Allâh be on the disbelievers.

    Al-Baqara [2:96] And verily, you will find them (the jews) the greediest of mankind for life and (even greedier) than those who ascribe partners to Allâh (and do not believe in Resurrection – Majus, pagans, and idolaters). Everyone of them wishes that he could be given a life of a thousand years. But the grant of such life will not save him even a little from (due) punishment. And Allâh is All-Seer of what they do.

    Al-Baqara [2:120] Never will the jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad Peace be upon him ) till you follow their religion. Say: “Verily, the Guidance of Allâh (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism) that is the (only) Guidance. And if you (O Muhammad Peace be upon him ) were to follow their (jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. the Qur’ân), then you would have against Allâh neither any Walî (protector or guardian) nor any helper.

    Al-Baqara [2:65] And indeed you knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday). We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected.”

    Al-Maeda [5:60] Say (O Muhammad SAW to the people of the Scripture): “Shall I inform you of something worse than that, regarding the recompense from Allâh: those (Jews) who incurred the Curse of Allâh and His Wrath, those of whom (some) He transformed into monkeys and swines, those who worshipped Tâghût (false deities); such are worse in rank (on the Day of Resurrection in the Hell¬fire), and far more astray from the Right Path (in the life of this world).”

    Al-Araf [7:166] So when they exceeded the limits of what they were prohibited, We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected.”

  57. Avatar


    January 16, 2009 at 3:29 PM


    So you mean Salahuddin didn’t call for the tasfiyya and tarbiya of the Muslims, before calling them to action? He didn’t first ask them all to become students of knowledge studying at the feet of the scholars learning the detailed rulings of fiqh and chains of narrations?

    Indeed, his methodology was completely incorrect: calling the Muslims to action without knowledge, jihad without taqwa. Didn’t he realize that all that befell the muslims was due to their own sins? If only he would have been guided by the ulama and students of knowledge of our times he would have been on the true salafi manhaj. He would have been patient. He would have made sincere dua. He would have advised the lazy and corrupt rulers *in secret*. What was all this about inciting the people (steeped in sin) to action and causing fitna and strife for the rulers? Didn’t he know that the people have to be prepared *to deserve* the victory by working on themsleves and this can only be achieved by sitting on your musalla, saying istighfar, and learning the *knowledge*?

    Please stop bringing up references to Salahuddin. It seems he was not on the true Manhaj. We don’t want to take him as an example. We are peaceful people following a peaceful religion. We do not rely on worldy means for anything. All we need is true taqwa and true tawakkul and all our problems will be solved automatically in an instance. Go and sit at the feet of the scholars and learn some words of wisdom on how to get out of this mess. They have all the answers and all the solutions, if only we listened.

  58. Avatar

    Nur el Masih Ben Haq

    January 16, 2009 at 7:18 PM

    In response to comments on Gaza Massacre

    I have read most of your pro-Hamas comments and I have observed that Palestinians are largely innocent victims of those trying to impose Islam 100% in the Middle East and the Arab lands. Your blind pro-Hamas comments generally suggested that you are not really concerned about the massacre of the innocent Gazans; you are just interested in using them as sacrificial forces for pushing Islam. Those who want Palestinians to continue with the ‘Jihad’ or ‘Resistance’ in order to push Islam should also send their children (or go themselves) to fight Israel. Of course they should desire SHAHADA not only for the poor and innocent Palestinian children and civilians but for themselves and their children too, if they are sincere. I notice that even President Ahmadi Nejad or so of Iran, who had been advocating for the extermination of the state of Israel has not militarily supported the foolhardy Hamas. He has only been barking from a ‘safe’ distant position. If he is a sincere and serious anti-Zionist jihadist who wants to destroy Israel as he pretended to be, this is an opportunity for him to unleash Jihad on Israel since they are massacring his fellow Muslims. But the fact is that Ahmadi Nijad appeared eager to confront Israel just to impress the illiterate and gullible section of the umma (just as we have illiterate and gullible section of Ecclesia in Christianity). He never meant it. The children of most of these Hamas leaders are hidden in safe havens. Why don’t they want to die and go to Heaven like the children of less privileged Gazans? Why are they not eager to do SHAHADA?

    Look, like it or not; the Iranian-supported Hamas are the problem of Palestinians. The crime being committed by the Israeli military against the innocent civilians was engineered by Hamas by default. I don’t see what Hamas gains by this so-called resistance. What are they resisting any way? The occupation is not intelligently resisted; it is only ‘resisted’ in a crude, dangerous and fatal manner.
    Let me tell you one bitter truth: It would take mother of miracles for Hamas to prevail through her militant approach. So, they should stop giving the Jews excuses to kill innocent Palestinians only for them to be making empty threads. When Israel threatened to enter Gaza Hamas made outrageous noise but Israel entered and an iota of what Hamas threatened has not come to pass.

    After all the entire land of Israel is how much? The Arabs have over ten countries while the Jews have only one, a tiny area. So I believe the Jews have already designed a sophisticated means of retaining this tiny land. For them, it is a matter of life and death. So let us be realistic in our expectations. Let us encourage the Palestinians and their brethren Israel to negotiate objectively and realistically. But most importantly, these criminal killings of innocent gazans must stop right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!….Kill millions of Hamas if you want!

  59. Avatar

    Abu Abdurrahman

    January 16, 2009 at 8:04 PM

    Akhi ‘salaf0follower’ – may Allah bless you in this world and the Next, ameen!

    Brother, please do not let anyone encourage you to continue saying the type of comment as the one above. I know with full certainty that you say it with the bets of will and intention in this world – and I truely have no doubt about that, and upon Allah lies the ecision of all affairs; but my brother, I cannot help but feel, and I could be wrong, that it is in fact this type of comment which is in fact a statement/action without being preceded by knowledge of whether it’s correct or not.

    May Allah forgive and pardon us all.

    You are obviously totally right about many things such as the importance of sitting by the feet of the scholars and people of virtue etc. and of tarbiyyah upon tasfiyyah etc. and the solution lying in Islam. But perhaps you overlooked the reality of Salahuddeen, rahimahullah. It was a time, actually almost similar to ours in the sense, that the land(s) of Islam were being literally attacked. At that point, it is not a case of sitting down and exclusively doing the ta’leem of all aspects of the deen, as should usually be the case – but rather is one of acting upon the fara’id that are known to the best of one’s ability and aquainting one’s self as much as possible of what one is not aware; in brief: there is an agreement of the People of Knowledge that it then becomes binding on all those of ability in those lands and its surroundings to endure that they come to the physical defence of the lands of Islam. That is not a ‘incorrect methodolgy’ brother.

    As for other matters wherein Salahuddeen may have erred then that is obviously open to discussion, but by no means should that preclude someone being able to cite an example from his times, as long as it is correctly cited and interpretted and it is being used in tandem and in support of the clear message of how to revive the Deen, as per the guidance from Allah in the Quran and Sunnah. Allah knows best.

    I hope you did not take any offence to me saying any of the above bro.

    JazakumAllahu khairan for your eagerness to state the truth.

    Wassalamu alaykum wa rahmtullah

  60. Avatar

    Gazacaust-to salaf follower

    January 16, 2009 at 8:54 PM


    Brother Salaffollower you need help.

    The words of “advice” you are giving to others can HELP YOU the most, Insha’Allah.

    I am the slave of Allah swt and He guides me through sources and scholars youhave no knowledge of< I am sorry brother, I am NOT the slave of esteemed scholarly feet, no matter how good they smell.

    Your speech shows your Eemaan, people on this blog from your previous post know what I am talking about, may Allah have Mercy on your soul.

  61. Avatar


    January 17, 2009 at 1:00 AM

    @Abu Abdurrahman

    Dear brothers,

    Please try to read a little bit more everyday so that you’re able to pick up sarcasm.


  62. Avatar

    Shah Faisal

    January 17, 2009 at 5:30 PM

    Another proof of point number 2 “Generalizing About an Entire Population “.

    Jewish British Lawmaker Likens Israel to Nazis

    Sir Gerald Kaufman, on Thursday 15 Jan 2009 compared the actions of Israeli troops in Gaza to the Nazis who forced his family to flee Poland. Sir Gerald, a member of the Jewish Labour movement linked to Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s ruling party, called for an arms embargo against Israel.

    Listen to Sir Gerald Kaufman’s speech on Video:

    http://www.informat ionclearinghouse .info/article217 81.htm com/watch? v=qMGuYjt6CP8

    Read the text of Sir Gerald Kaufman’s Parliamentary Speech:
    15 Jan 2009 : Column 407

    http://www.publicat ions.parliament. uk/pa/cm200809/ cmhansrd/ cm090115/ debtext/90115- 0013.htm

  63. Avatar


    January 18, 2009 at 5:36 PM

    Some of you guys really got some issues. “Salahudeen Ayubi was not on the right manhaj” … whoa big words, yeah right and you are on the right manhaj?

    “Go and study under the feet of the scholars because they have the solution”…what a contradiction of Qur’an and the Sunnah, you got real issues to deal with. If I was you I would just refrain from typing or speaking because the nonsense that is coming out of you is beyond anything I know.

    -pls refrain from copy-posting long list of verses. -edited

  64. Avatar


    January 18, 2009 at 5:52 PM

    Haqq…he was being sarcastic. Read his blurb a post before yours.

  65. Avatar

    Em Ahmad

    January 18, 2009 at 6:52 PM

    Mashallah, nicely documented article – especially regarding socio-political factors.

    My sole comment is (and I do not mean this in the callous way some people have emotionally put it throughout this comment section) that every “israeli” Jew living in Palestine IS an occupier. While they may be against further expansion into what is now referred to as Palestinian territories, their very presence makes them an occupier by definition. In order to lose that moniker they would have to move, as I personally know many Jews to have done in protest. I have met many Jews who had immigrated to “Israel” only to give up their citizenship in protest after what they witnessed and move to the US or elsewhere. You will find many of them in the protest marches, and they feel that any self-respecting Jew should renounce their israeli citizenship and leave its illegally formed borders.

    That point aside, this is one of the best researched and documented articles written by a Muslim in quite some time, mashallah. I was actually able to read it to the end without clicking on something else. Important lessons for all!

  66. Avatar


    January 18, 2009 at 9:22 PM

    1.Since we are out of the Emergency Room(CRISIS, Genocide, war) now and placed in the ICU(Cease fire). What do we need to do now to get to better and stronger health?
    This is my question for Dr. Ali Shehata. I have great RESPECT for your ADVICE.

    2. Umm Reem has written about helping some families of Gaza in the recuperation process through CAIR. Something to look at for those of us who can give more than our 2 1/2 %


  67. Pingback: Open Thread Sunday 1/25/09 |

  68. Avatar


    January 28, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    excellent article mashaAllah!

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Lesson 13 From Surah Al -Kahf

Last verses of Surah Kahf

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi



Surah Kahf

Alhamdulillah last session we were able to cover the meanings of verses 83-98. InshAllah tonight we’ll explore the meanings of verses 99-110, which will bring us to the end of this noble and beautiful Surah. Just as a quick reminder, the last set of verses related the story of Dhul Qarnain, who was an upright and God-conscious ruler who ruled over the entire known world of his time. He was a righteous servant of Allah to whom Allah granted might, power and sovereignty over the world along with knowledge and wisdom. He was a special servant of God. We’re told about his journeys to the east, west, and north as well as his building of a huge wall to prevent Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj from escaping. This story highlighted the fitna and trial of might, power, leadership, and authority and showed us that the way to deal with it is through faith and sincerity. Dhul Qarnain was tested with a lot of wealth and power but it was unable to corrupt him because of his faith and sincerity. The Surah follows the story of Dhul Qarnain with a scene from the Day of Judgment.

Verse 99: And We shall leave them, on that day, to surge over one another like waves. And the trumpet shall be blown, and We shall gather them together.

The first part of this verse is referring to Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj and the second part refers to resurrection, when the Angel Isrāfīl will blow into the horn bringing all creation back to life. On that day, is referring to the day near the end of times when Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj will break through the barrier and surge down the mountains like waves upon humanity destroying everything in their way. As Allah ﷻ tells us in Surah Al-Anbiya, “Until when [the dam of] Gog and Magog has been opened and they, from every elevation, descend…” They will wreak havoc for a period of time known to Allah until they will be destroyed.

As we’ve covered before there will be two instances when the trumpet will be sounded. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has appointed the Angel Isrāfīl to blow into the trumpet. This will happen twice. The first time every single thing will be destroyed. The second time every single thing will be brought back to life. This is how the day of Resurrection will start. The sūr, which is a trumpet or a horn, will be blown and all of mankind will rise from their graves and come towards the plain of judgment. That’s what Allah ﷻ is mentioning here in this verse, “And the trumpet shall be blown, and We shall gather them together.”

The Surah then describes a scene from the day of Judgment that’s specific to the non-believers. Those who received the message and consciously chose to reject it and rebel against God and His messengers.

Verse 100-101: And We shall present Hell, on that Day, as an array before the non-believers, those whose eyes were veiled from the remembrance of Me, and could not hear.

Meaning on the Day of Judgment Allah ﷻ will show the non-believers Hell Fire, exposing it to them so that they can see it with their own eyes. They will see it with their own eyes and hear its raging and frightening sounds even before entering it. Allah then describes the non-believers with 3 characteristics, which are essentially three reasons why they will be punished in the hereafter:

1) “Those whose eyes were veiled from the remembrance of Me, and could not hear.” They weren’t able to understand the truth when it was presented to them because they were spiritually blind and deaf. They were blind to the signs of Allah’s existence and power all around them spread throughout the universe, so they never thought or reflected over them. On top of that, they weren’t able to understand what was being recited to them. Meaning, they consciously chose to ignore the message and turn away from it. Here Allah is contrasting their condition in the hereafter to their condition in the life of this world. In this world, they chose to turn away from belief in the fire and in the hereafter, they won’t have the option to turn away. The veil over their eyes will be removed and they will see the consequences of their choice.

2) The second is that they worshipped others besides Allah.

Verse 102: Do those who disbelieve reckon that they may take My servants as protectors apart from Me? Truly We have prepared Hell as a welcome for the disbelievers!

Allah is scolding them and showing them their mistake. Did they really think or believe that they could take created beings or inanimate objects as protectors apart from Me? Did they really believe that worshipping idols, angels or people would benefit them or help them in any way? There’s no help or protection except with Allah, who deserves to be worshipped alone without any partners. As Allah ﷻ says in Surah Maryam, “No! Those “gods” will deny their worship of them and will be against them opponents [on the Day of Judgment].” Allah then tells us that their punishment is Jahannam, which has been prepared as a resting place for them. “Truly We have prepared Hell as a welcome for the disbelievers!”

3) The third quality that the non-believers are described with is that they are fools for thinking that their actions in this world will be of any benefit to them in the Hereafter.

Verse 103-104: Say, “Shall We inform you who are the greatest losers in respect to their deeds? Those whose efforts go astray in the life of this world, while they think that they are virtuous in their works.

In this verse, Allah ﷻ is addressing the Prophet ﷺ directly and he’s telling him to pose this question to the non-believers. “Shall We inform you who are the greatest losers in respect to their deeds?” Do you want to know who the greatest and biggest losers are with respect to their deeds? They are the ones who did good deeds and put in effort, but all of it went to waste. Those individuals who were misguided in the life of this world so their actions were guided by their wants, desires, and pleasures. Their actions were misplaced and not guided by faith in Allah. The reason why all of their efforts will go to waste is their disbelief or absence of faith. As Allah says,

Verse 105-106: They are those who disbelieve in the signs of their Lord, and in the meeting with Him. So their deeds have gone to waste, and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall assign them no weight. That is their recompense, the Jahannam, for having disbelieved and for having taken My signs and My messengers in mockery.

The greatest losers with respect to their deeds are those who reject the signs of Allah in this world. Those who refuse to accept the oneness, might, power and magnificence of Allah, those who refuse to believe in life after death and accountability. Their deeds will go to waste and on the Day of Judgment, they won’t have any weight. We know from multiple verses and narrations that our deeds are going to be weighed on the Day of Judgment. And on the Day of Judgment, it’s not about the number of deeds but the quality. That’s why on the Day of Judgment our deeds won’t be counted but they will be weighed. It could be that the weight of one action or deed is more than a thousand other deeds.

Those actions that are devoid of faith and sincerity will have no weight whatsoever. As Allah ﷻ says in Surah Al-Furqān, “And We will regard what they have done of deeds and make them as dust dispersed.” Their recompense is the fire of Jahannam, and that is the ultimate justice and fairness. They get punishment as recompense because of their rejection and disbelief and mockery of Allah’s signs and His messengers. Allah ﷻ then contrasts the punishment of the non-believers with the reward of the believers in Paradise.

Verse 107-108: Those who believe and perform righteous deeds, theirs shall be the Gardens of Paradise as a welcome. Abiding therein forever, they don’t seek any change from it.

Just as Hell is a “welcome” for the non-believers, Paradise is a true “welcome” for the believers. Meaning, those who believe in the existence and oneness of Allah, believe in the Prophet ﷺ and life after death and that faith expresses itself through their actions, their reward will be Gardens of Paradise. Again we see this formula being mentioned, faith + righteous deeds. This is the simple formula to achieve success in this world and the next. Our faith has to be real and practical; it has to translate into action. If we do so then our reward will be Jannah al-Firdaws, which is the highest and most virtuous level of Paradise. The Prophet ﷺ said, “When you ask Allah for Paradise ask Him for Al-Firdaws. It is the highest level of Paradise, the middle of Paradise and the rivers of Paradise flow from it.”

  • إذا سألتم الله الجنة، فاسألوه الفردوس، فإنه أعلى الجنة، و أوسط الجنة، و منها تفجر أنهار الدنة.

In another narration, the Prophet ﷺ said, “In Paradise, there are a hundred levels, what is between every two levels is like what is between the heavens and the earth. Al-Firdaws is its highest level, and from it the four rivers of Paradise are made to flow forth. So when you ask Allah, ask Him for Al-Firdaws.”

  • “‏ فِي الْجَنَّةِ مِائَةُ دَرَجَةٍ مَا بَيْنَ كُلِّ دَرَجَتَيْنِ كَمَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ وَالْفِرْدَوْسُ أَعْلاَهَا دَرَجَةً وَمِنْهَا تُفَجَّرُ أَنْهَارُ الْجَنَّةِ الأَرْبَعَةُ وَمِنْ فَوْقِهَا يَكُونُ الْعَرْشُ فَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُ اللَّهَ فَسَلُوهُ الْفِرْدَوْسَ ‏”‏ ‏.

They will be in Paradise for all of eternity, enjoying all of its pleasures and not wanting or desiring anything other than it. Allah (swt) then tells us about the extent and vastness of His knowledge. That his knowledge is infinite. This is also a description of the greatness and status of the Qur’ān.

Verse 109: Say, “If the ocean were ink for the words of my Lord, the ocean would be exhausted before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even if We brought the like thereof to replenish it.”

“The words of my Lord” may be a reference to Allah’s infinite knowledge or wisdom or the meanings of the Qur’ān. Meaning that if the oceans were turned into ink and the words of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) were to be written with this ink, then the ink would run out and the words of Allah (swt) would still be left, even if more ink were to be brought. This is an example to make us understand the vastness of Allah’s knowledge, wisdom, and secrets. This example is being given to make us as human beings recognize the infinite nature of Allah’s knowledge as compared to or finite and limited knowledge.

The ocean is the largest and richest creation known to us as human beings. It takes up more than 70% of the surface of the Earth. And we use ink to document and record our knowledge, which we think is vast and amazing. So Allah gives this example of the ocean as ink being used to write and record His words. The entire ocean is used up and then it’s replenished but the words of Allah are still being written. This example is trying to help us comprehend the difference between the infinite and the finite. “And if all the trees on earth were pens, and if the sea and seven more added to it were ink, the words of Allah would not be exhausted. Truly Allah is Mighty, Wise.” This example should allow us to recognize the greatness and magnificence of Allah ﷻ as well as humble us as human beings as well.

We as human beings should never be deceived or fooled by our own intellect and abilities. No matter how much we learn and how advanced we become scientifically and technologically, it’s nothing compared to the infinite knowledge and wisdom of Allah ﷻ. Our knowledge compared to the knowledge of Allah is like a drop of water compared to all the oceans. Allah ﷻ then ends the noble Surah by reminding the Prophet (saw) about humility and us about the path of true salvation.

Verse 110: Say, “I am only a human being like you. It has been revealed to me that your God is one God. So whosoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, let him perform righteous deeds and make no one a partner with his Lord in worship.

Allah ﷻ is speaking directly to the Prophet ﷺ. He’s telling him to tell his nation, his community, that he is a human being just like them. He’s not an Angel nor is he divine in any way. He eats, drinks, walks, talks and sleeps just like them. The only difference is that he ﷺ receives revelation from above from the Most High. It has been revealed to him that there is only one God, alone without any partners. So whoever believes in the meeting with their Lord, meaning they believe in the last day, resurrection, accountability and judgment. They know that the life of this world is temporary and finite and that the life of the hereafter is eternal and infinite, should “perform righteous deeds and make no one a partner with his Lord in worship.”

Righteous deeds include fulfilling all of our obligations, obeying the commands of Allah and staying away from His prohibitions. It includes all voluntary acts of worship such as praying, fasting, reading Quran, making dua, dhikr and charity. It includes being kind to our parents, spouses, children, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers. It even includes smiling at someone. There are multiple paths of righteousness in Islam.

We’re then reminded to not associate partners with Allah in our worship; to not commit shirk. There are two types of shirk: al-shirk al-akbar and al-shirk al-asghar. Al-Shirk Al-Akbar is associating partners with Allah; it’s an act of disbelief. Al-Shirk Al-Asghar refers to ostentation and showing off or not having sincerity in acts of worship. The Prophet ﷺ referred to ostentation as “the lesser idolatry.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “I do not fear that you will worship the sun, the stars and the moon, but I fear your worshipping other than Allah through ostentation.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “What I fear most for my community is doing things for other than the sake of Allah.” Ibn al-‘Arabi quotes his shaykh, “Let not the hours of your dear life pass away confronting contemporaries and socializing with friends. Watch out! Allah concluded His statement on the following verse…”

Alhamdulillah that brings us to then end of this noble and beautiful Surah. A Surah that has a special and unique status because the Prophet ﷺ encouraged us to recite it specifically on Fridays. Through four stories the Surah focuses on four different types of trials we’re going to face in this world and how to respond to them.

1) The story of the people of the cave represents the trial of faith. And we’re taught that one of the best ways to deal with it is through good company; surrounding ourselves with people of faith and righteousness.

2) The story of the owner of the two gardens is representative of the trial of wealth. And we’re taught the most powerful way to deal with it is by recognizing the reality of the life of this world.

3) The story of Musa (as) with Khidr is representative of the trial of knowledge and the way to deal with it is through seeking knowledge and humility.

4) The last story, the story of Dhul Qarnain is representative of the trial of power. The solution is sincerity and righte

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Qur’an Contemplations: Openings of Timeless Truths | Sh Abu Aaliyah Surkheel

Shaykh Abu Aaliyah Surkheel



From the outset, the Qur’an establishes a link between worshipping Allah and knowing Him. The first half of the ‘Opening Chapter’ of the Qur’an, Surat al-Fatihah, states:

.‎الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ. الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ. مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ. إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ

All praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds. The All-Merciful, the Compassionate. Master of the Day of Judgement. You alone we worship, and Your help alone do we seek. [Q.1:1-4]

The first three verses teach us who Allah is, so that hearts may love, hope, fear and be in awe of Him. Only then does Allah ask us to declare our singular devotion and worship of Him. It is as if the Qur’an is saying: ‘You can’t worship or adore whom you don’t know.’

Thus in the first verse, Allah describes Himself as rabb – ‘Lord’. In the Quranic language, rabb is Master, Protector, Caretaker, Provider. And just as water descends from above as blessings and rises again to the skies as steam or vapour, so to the sending down of divine blessings and gifts; they are transformed into declarations of loving thanks and praise that ascend to the Lord of the Worlds. Reflecting on Allah’s care and kindness to us, as rabb; as Lord, then, nurtures an abiding sense of love for Allah in our hearts.

Allah then reveals that He, by His very nature, is al-rahman – the All-Merciful, and by dint of His divine act is al-rahim – the Compassionate. It has been said that al-rahman is like the blue sky: serene, vast and full of light; a canopy of protective care over us and over all things. The divine name, al-rahim is like warm rays, so to speak, touching, bathing and invigorating lives, places and events with this life-giving mercy. Those who flee from this joyous warmth, and opt to cover themselves from the light, choose to live in conditions of icy darkness. Knowing Allah is al-rahman, al-rahim, invites optimism; it instils hope (raja’) in Allah’s impulse to forgive, pardon, pity, overlook and, ultimately, to accept what little we offer Him as needy, fragile and imperfect creatures.

The Prophet ﷺ and his Companions once saw a woman frantically searching for a person among the warn-out and wounded. She then found a babe, her baby. She picked it up, huddled it to her chest and gave it to feed. On seeing this, the Prophet asked if such a woman could ever throw her baby into a fire or harms way? They all resoundingly replied, no; she could never do that; her maternal instincts of mercy would never permit it! The Prophet ﷺ went on to tell them:

 لَلَّهُ أَرْحَمُ بِعِبَادِهِ مِنْ هَذِهِ بِوَلَدِهَا – ‘Allah is more merciful to His creation than that mother is to her child.’ [Al-Bukhari, no.5653]

The final name of Allah that we encounter in this surah is: Malik – Master, King, Owner of all. It is Allah as Master, as King of Judgement Day, who stands at the end of every path. All things come finally to Him to be judged, recompensed and given their final place for the beliefs that defined who they are, the deeds that defined what they stood for and the sins that stand in their way. To know Allah as Malik, therefore, is to be wary, as well as apprehensive. It is a reason for hearts to be filled with a certain sense of fear (khawf) as well as trepidation concerning the final reckoning and one’s ultimate fate.

The Prophet ﷺ once visited a young boy on his death bed and asked him how he was. The boy replied: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I am between hoping in Allah and fearing for my sins.’ To which the Prophet ﷺ said:

‎لاَ يَجْتَمِعَانِ فِي قَلْبِ عَبْدٍ فِي مِثْلِ هَذَا الْمَوْطِنِ إِلاَّ أَعْطَاهُ اللَّهُ مَا يَرْجُو وَآمَنَهُ مِمَّا يَخَافُ

‘The like of these two qualities never unite in the heart of a servant except that Allah grants him what he hopes for and protects him from what he fears.” [Al-Tirmidhi, no.983]

Only after being made aware of these four names of Allah which, in turn, instil in hearts a sense of love, fear and hope in Allah, are we led to stating: You alone do we worship, and Your help alone do we seek. In other words, the order to worship comes after the hearts having come to know Allah – the object of their loving worship, reverence and adoration.

The surah concludes by teaching us to give voice to the universal hope, by asking to be guided to the path of Allah’s people and to help steer clear of the paths of misguidance and perdition:

‎اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ. صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ. غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّينَ

Guide us to the Straight Path; the path of those whom You have favoured; not of those who incur wrath, nor of those who are astray. [Q.1:5-7]


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Lesson 12 From Surah Al-Kahf

Tafsir of Verses 83-98

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi



Alhamdulillah last session we were able to explore the meanings of verses 71-82. InshAllah tonight we’ll cover the meanings and lessons of verses 83-98. Just as a quick reminder the last passage of the Surah dealt with a very unique and interesting episode from the life of Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him); the story of his encounter and journey with a man of God known as Khidr or Khadir. There are a number of very beneficial and practical lessons that we can learn from this particular story. That’s why it’s important for us to recite it, reflect over it and try to relate it to our daily lives.

In this next set of verses, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) tells us the story of Dhul Qarnain, a just and righteous king who ruled over the entire known world of his time. He was a righteous servant of Allah to whom Allah granted might, power and sovereignty over the world along with knowledge and wisdom. He was a special servant of God. We’re told about his journeys to the east, west, and north as well as his building of a huge wall to prevent Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj from escaping. This narrative is the answer to the third question that the Quraysh asked the Prophet ﷺ after consulting with the Jews of Madinah. If you remember at the beginning of the Surah we talked about the sabab al-nuzūl or the circumstances and background in which the Surah was revealed.

Ibn ‘Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that the Quraysh sent two men, Al-Nadr ibn Al-Hartih and ‘Uqbah ibn abi Mu’ayt, to the Jewish scholars of Madinah. The Quraysh told these two men to ask the Jews about Muhammad (saw), his characteristics and to inform them about some of his teachings because they knew more about Prophets since they were people of the book. So they arrived in Madinah and told the Rabbis about Muhammad (saw), about his characteristics, his message and his teachings. They said ask him three questions; if he answers them correctly then he is a prophet and a messenger. If he doesn’t answer them then he is a fake.

  • سلوه عن ثلاث، فإن أخبركم بهن فهو نبي و إن لم يفعل فالرجل متقول

Ask him about the young men who left their city in the distant past and what happened to them, because this is a unique event. Ask him about the person who traveled the East and the West and what happened to him. Ask him about the spirit and what it is.

So they came back and posed these three questions to the Prophet ﷺ. The Prophet ﷺ told them that he would reply to them the next day expecting Allah ﷻ to send down revelation, but he forgot to say inshAllah. Allah ﷻ didn’t send down any revelation for the next fifteen days (one narration says 3) and the Quraysh began to assume that he didn’t know the answers and that his claims to prophethood were false. After 15 days Allah ﷻ revealed the entire Surah and reminded the Prophet ﷺ to always say InshAllah.

This is the fourth story mentioned in the Surah after the story of the people of the cave, the owner of the two gardens and the story of Musa (as) and Khidr. Allah ﷻ introduces the story by saying,

Verse 83: They ask you about Dhul-Qarnain. Say, “I shall now recite to you an account of him.”

Meaning the Quraysh asked you about Dhul Qarnain after consulting with the Jews of Madinah so tell them you will now recite some of his story to them that will answer their question.

Who was Dhul Qarnain?

The Quran doesn’t tell us the exact identity of Dhul Qarnain, why he was given that name, and what time period he lived in or the exact location of his travels and rule. All these details are extra and unnecessary and immaterial; no aspect of our belief or action depends on knowing these details. However, the commentators do get into discussions regarding these details in an attempt to present historical facts. So we’ll go through a brief discussion about who he was and his time period.

Some historical narratives mention that there were four people who ruled over the entire known world of their respective times, 2 believers and 2 non-believers. Throughout history, there have been a few people who were given the name Dhul Qarnain and interestingly they all had the title Alexander as well. Some people held the opinion that the Dhul Qarnain mentioned in the Quran is the famous Alexander the Great, the Greek who had Aristotle as his teacher. Although he fits the description of having ruled the East and the West he can’t be the Dhul Qarnain mentioned in the Quran because he was a non-believer. This is the conclusion of ibn Kathīr.

According to ibn Kathīr, Dhul Qarnain lived during the time period of Ibrahim (as) and he also mentions that Khidr was his minister. Other researchers are of the opinion that the Dhul Qarnain mentioned in the Quran is the ancient Persian king Cyrus the Great. In modern times this theory has been given more weight because of supporting evidence. As for the name Dhul Qarnain, it literally means “the person with two horns”. The name is due to his having reached the two ‘Horns’ of the Sun, east and west, where it rises and where it sets” during his journey. The following is what the Quran tells us about him.

Verse 84: Surely, We gave him power on earth and gave him means to (have) everything (he needs).

Meaning, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) gave him all the material instruments and resources, knowledge, insight, and experience needed to be an effective ruler. Allah gave him everything he needed to maintain just rule, establish peace and extend his area of influence.

Verse 85-86: So he followed a course until when he reached the point of sunset, he found it setting into a murky spring, and found a people near it. We said, “O Dhul-Qarnain, either punish them or treat them well.”

He traveled towards the West until he reached where the sun sets, to the extreme west beyond which there was only an Ocean, which was most likely the Atlantic. There he found the sun setting into dark, muddy spring, meaning that it looked as if the sun were setting into the Sea. Depending on our own geographic location the sun seems to set into different places within the horizon. For example, from our perspective sometimes it looks like the sun is setting into the ocean, or behind a mountain or into the sand.

At this location, there was also a nation of disbelievers. So Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) told him through Ilham (inspiration) that he has a choice. He can either punish them for their disbelief or he could deal with them kindly, invite them to the truth and teach them. Then reward those who believe and punish those who choose to disbelieve. He chose to invite them to belief first and then reward the believers and punish the non-believers.

Verse 87-88: He said, “As for him who does wrong, we shall punish him, then he will be sent back to his Lord, and He will punish him with severe punishment. As for the one who believes and acts righteously, he will have the best (life) as reward, and we shall speak to him politely in our directions.”

This is an expression of his justice; Dhul Qarnain was a just ruler who ruled according to the dictates of faith, belief, and righteousness. Those who were presented with the truth, Islam, and then chose to consciously reject it would be punished in this world and then Allah will punish them in the next. And as for those who accept Islam, who affirm faith in Allah, His prophets and the last day and do righteous deeds will be rewarded. When those who do well in the community, pursuing a fair line of action in all their pursuits, receive a good reward for their actions, and when the unjust and oppressors receive a fair punishment and humiliation, then the whole community is motivated to follow the line of goodness. But when matters go wrong, and the unjust, oppressor and corrupt people are the ones who enjoy favor with the ruler, while those who are good and fair are persecuted, then the ruler’s power becomes no more than a tool of corruption and misery for the whole community. Nothing remains fair. The whole society sinks into chaos. He established peace and justice and this location and then decided to travel towards the East.

Verse 89-90: Thereafter, he followed a course until when he reached the point of sunrise; he found it rising over a people for whom We did not make any shelter against it.

Then he travelled towards the East and there he found a group of people who were not used to the ways of advanced people. They didn’t have homes or shelter or clothes to protect against the sun. These people were also non-believers so he dealt with them in the same way as he dealt with the previous people. He employed the same policy of fairness and justice and building a society on faith.

Verse 91: Thus it was, and Our knowledge fully comprehends whatever (wealth and equipment) he had with him.

Ibn Kathīr writes that the early commentators Mujahid and As-Suddi said, “This means that Allah knew everything about him and his army, and nothing was hidden from Him, even though they came from so many different nations and lands. For, ﴿لاَ يَخْفَى عَلَيْهِ شَىْءٌ فِي الاٌّرْضِ وَلاَ فِى السَّمَآءِ﴾ truly nothing is hidden from Allah in the Earth and in the heaven. After establishing justice and peace he decided to move north.

Verse 92-93: Thereafter he followed a course until he reached between the two mountains, he found by them a people who were almost unable to understand anything said.

Then he traveled towards the North until he reached a point between two mountains. There he found a nation of people who were barely able to understand what he was saying because of their foreign language. They said to him through a translator or through some other means.

Verse 94: They said, “O Dhul-Qarnain, the (tribes of) Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj (Gog and Magog) are mischief-makers on the earth. So, should we assign a payment for you on condition that you make a barrier between us and them?”

These people recognized that Dhul Qarnain was a fair and just ruler so they asked him for help against the menace of Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj. Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj is the name of a tribe of people. There’s a lot of speculation regarding who exactly they are and what area or region they’re from, but nothing can be said with certainty. They complained to Dhul Qarnain saying that they spread mischief and corruption in our lands by killing and destruction. If we pay you some money will you build a barrier between them and us to prevent them from reaching our town?

Verse 95: He said, “What my Lord has (already) given in my control is better (for me than the payment you are offering to me), so help me (only) with strength, and I shall make a barrier between you and them.

Basically, he told them that he doesn’t need their money, but he will need their help. Meaning, Allah ﷻ had given him such great wealth and power that he had no need of what they could offer him. He would provide this service simply for the sake of righteousness and doing good.

Verse 96: Bring me big pieces of iron.” (They proceeded accordingly) until when he leveled (the gap) between the two cliffs, he said, “Blow.” (They complied) until when he made it (like) fire, he said, “Bring me molten copper, and I will pour it upon this.”

So they brought pieces of iron and filled the space between the two mountains with it. Then they made this iron really hot and poured molten copper over it making a huge metal structure.

Verse 97: So they (Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj) were not able to climb it, nor were they able to make a hole in it.

They weren’t able to climb it because of its height nor were they able to make a hole in it because of its depth and strength. After building this giant barrier Dhul Qarnain said,

Verse 98: He said, “This is a mercy from my Lord. Then, when the promise of my Lord will come, He will make it leveled to the ground. The promise of my Lord is true.”

Meaning his ability to build such a strong and impenetrable barrier was a mercy from Allah ﷻ; it had nothing to do with his own strength or ability. The “promise of my Lord” is referring to the onset of the events that will lead to the Hour; the Day of Judgment. This includes the trials of Dajjāl and the return of ‘Isa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). One of these events will be that the barrier will crumble to dust and Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj will wreak havoc across the Earth. And once their barrier is opened and they’re let loose they will descend from every elevation, attacking humanity from every single corner and angle. They will come rushing down the mountains in huge groups like waves crashing down upon the people while destroying and killing everything in sight.

There are many sings of the Day of Judgment mentioned in the Quran and Ahādīth of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Some of them are minor and some of them are major. Some of them will happen further away from the Day of Judgment and others will happen very close to the Day of Judgment. For example, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) being appointed the last and final Messenger is one of the signs that the Day of Judgment is near. As the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told us, “I and the Last Hour have been sent like this and (he while doing it) joined the forefinger with the middle finger.”

  • عَنْ أَنَسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ بُعِثْتُ أَنَا وَالسَّاعَةُ كَهَاتَيْنِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ وَضَمَّ السَّبَّابَةَ وَالْوُسْطَى ‏.

Hudhaifah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that once the Companions were sitting together in the middle of a discussion and the Prophet (saw) came and asked what they were talking about. They said they were talking about the Day of Resurrection. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Indeed the Hour will not come until you see 10 signs before it.” He mentioned the smoke, Dajjal, the beast, the rising of the sun from the west, the return of ‘Isa ibn Maryam (as), Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj and three land-slides (sink holes); one in the East, one in the West and one in the Arabian Peninsula, at the end of which fire would burn forth from Yemen, and would drive people to the place of their assembly.”

Two of the greatest trials, greatest fitnahs, this Ummah will face before the Day of Resurrection is the fitnah of Dajjal and the attack of Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj. Both of these are major signs of the Day of Judgment and will happen very close to each other. There’s a very lengthy hadīth recorded in Sahīh Muslim narrated by Al-Nawwās ibn Sam‘ān raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) that gives the details of these two specific trials, meaning the trial of Dajjal and Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj. Basically, the narration tells us about the details of the fitnah of Dajjal; his description, how long he will stay and how exactly he’s going to test us. He will stay in this world for a period of forty days; but the first day will be equivalent to one year, the second day to one month and the rest of the days will be normal. He will move extremely swiftly across the Earth spreading his mischief and asking people to believe in him. He will continue to misguide and test people until ‘Isa (as) is sent back to this world. ‘Isa (as) will search for him until he catches up with him at the eastern gate of Ludd, located in Palestine, where he will kill him.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will then reveal to him, “I have brought forth from amongst My creatures people against whom none will be able to fight. Take My servants safely to mount (Tūr).” Then Allah will send Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj, as Allah says: “And they, from every elevation, will descend.”

Another narration from Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) describes what they will do when they descend upon the people. They will be seen coming down from the mountains like waves of people overwhelming humanity, killing and destroying everything in sight. ‘Isa (as) along with his companions will take refuge on Mount Tūr and the other Muslims will retreat to their own cities and strongholds. They (Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj) will drink all the water of the land until some of them will pass a river and drink it dry, then those who come after them will pass by that place and will say, “There used to be water here once.” Then there will be no one left except those who are in their strongholds and cities. Then one of them will say, “We have defeated the people of the earth; now the people of heaven are left.” One of them will shake his spear and hurl it into the sky, and it will come back stained with blood, as a test and a trial for them.

The narration of Al-Nawwās tells us that while this is happening, ‘Isa (as) and his companions will turn to Allah asking him to remove their distress. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will answer their prayer and send an epidemic that will completely wipe Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj out. Allah will send some sort of insect that will attack their necks, and in the morning they will all perish as one. Then `Isa and his companions will come down and they will not find a single spot on earth that is free from their putrefaction and stench. Then `Isa and his companions will again beseech Allah, and He will send birds with necks like those of Bactrian camels, and they will carry them and throw them wherever Allah wills. Then Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will send rain continuously for forty days to cleanse and purify the earth. The earth will be washed clean until it looks like a mirror. Then it will be said to the earth: bring forth your fruit and restore your blessing. On that day a group of people will be able to eat from one pomegranate and seek shade under its skin, and everything will be blessed. A camel will give so much milk that it will be sufficient for a whole group of people, and a cow will give so much milk that it will be sufficient for a whole clan, and a sheep will be sufficient for an entire household. (This period of extraordinary peace, protection, and blessings will last for forty years) At that time Allah will send a pleasant wind which will reach beneath their armpits and will take the soul of every Muslim — or every believer — and there will be left only the most evil of people who will commit fornication like mules, and then the Hour will come upon them.”

From other narrations, we learn that Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj have already made a hole in their wall. Zainab bint Jahash raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that once the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) woke up from sleep saying, “There is no being worthy of worship except Allah; there is a destruction in store for Arabia because of turmoil which is at hand, the barrier of Gog and Magog has opened so much. And Sufyan made a sign of ten with the help of his hand (in order to indicate the width of the gap) and I said: Allah’s Messenger, would we perish in spite of the fact that there would be good people amongst us? Thereupon he said: Of course, but only when the evil predominates.”

  • عَنْ زَيْنَبَ بِنْتِ جَحْشٍ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم اسْتَيْقَظَ مِنْ نَوْمِهِ وَهُوَ يَقُولُ ‏”‏ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَيْلٌ لِلْعَرَبِ مِنْ شَرٍّ قَدِ اقْتَرَبَ فُتِحَ الْيَوْمَ مِنْ رَدْمِ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ مِثْلُ هَذِهِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَعَقَدَ سُفْيَانُ بِيَدِهِ عَشَرَةً ‏.‏ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَنَهْلِكُ وَفِينَا الصَّالِحُونَ قَالَ ‏”‏ نَعَمْ إِذَا كَثُرَ الْخَبَثُ ‏”‏ ‏.

In a narration recorded in Tirmidhi Abu Hurairah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said: Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj continue digging through the wall built by Dhul Qarnain. Every day the dig so much that they reach the farthest part of the iron wall. They’re so close that light from the other side is almost visible. But at that point, they stop digging and decide that they will complete the task the following day. However, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) makes the wall just as thick and strong as it was before so when they come back they have to start all over again. This cycle of digging and re-building will continue as long as Allah wills. Then one day when it has been decreed for them to be released they will dig all the way to the end and say, “If Allah wills we will cross it tomorrow. So when they return the next day they will find the wall just as they left it and break through wreaking havoc on the Earth.

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