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Yahya Ibrahim | The Sunnah of Love

Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim


‘Ali raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu came home one day from a journey that he had been dispatched on by the Prophet Muhammed ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, to find his wife, Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet, radiya Allahu ‘anha brushing her teeth with a siwak – twig of an Arak (Salvadora persica) tree used for brushing teeth.  Spontaneously, he, raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu, spouted out poetic endearment:

هنئت يا عود الأراك بثغرها … أما خشيت يا أراكُ أراك

لو كان غيرك يا سواك قتلته … ما فاز منى يا سواكُ سواك

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Fortunate are you O twig of the Arak tree,

Have you no fear of me observing you in this embrace

If it were other than you…O Siwak! I would have killed you!

None found this fortune of embrace before me, but you.

I get emailed & facebooked often from couples trying to salvage and mend broken trust and exponentially inhospitable relationships. I usually respond within a couple of weeks, detailing my unwillingness to “counsel” from a virtual distance that begets unilateralism. Horror stories of infidelity, violence, and arrogance abound.  Naturally, there is no greater issue facing the Muslim communities of the West that is more pressing and multidimensional than that of family relations.

The statistics are frightening, imams are untrained in effective counseling methods, mosques are under pressure, Islamically-oriented marital counselors are unheard of and professionalism in terms of confidentiality seem non-existent.

An important dimension of domestic marital problems, as I see, is that the Sunnah of Love and Gallantry seems to be overlooked or dismissed as a long-gone era. The Sunnah, that is taught at times, seems to overlook amazing instances of passion, valor, fidelity and sacrifice in the name of true love. Instances from the life of the Prophet sala Allahu ‘alihi wasSalaam and his companions builds a comprehensive system of devotion – a Sunnah of Love.

Love. The real kind – the genuine love between a man and his wife that stems from a seed of love that is planted by Allah in the hearts of those who are true in submission to the Dispenser of Love and Comfort.

A seed, literally and figuratively, in Arabic symbolizes love.

Houb in Arabic is derived from the same root for the word Haab – seed. The nature of the two words is functionally similar.

Love begins as a tiny speck – a seed that is buried deep in the folds of a receptive heart, carrying the potential of stunning beauty, nourishing sustenance, exotic delicacy, wealth of commodity, shading shelter, and resurgent growth that is stabilized through deep roots that withstand trauma.

Amr ibn al-‘As raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu was appointed by the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam to command an important mission. He was handpicked from many capable individuals who were in fact better than him.  Feeling a sense of pride in being selected, he raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu asks the Prophet, in front of a congregation of Sahabah about who he ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, loves? The Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam responds in the way that all of our wives would hope we would respond, by naming his wife, Aisha.

Consider that the Prophet would teach, ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, that if we love a friend, we need to let them know it. It was with this hope that ‘Amr thought to ask that question after the favorable appointment was given to him.

Thinking that his question has been misunderstood he clarifies, saying that he meant from amongst the companions who did the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam love? The Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam responds, “Her Father.”

He does not respond, “Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu.” His response alludes to ‘Aisha raḍyAllāhu ‘anha as she was still on his mind and in his heart. 


‘Aisha raḍyAllāhu ‘anha, al-Humayra – The Rosy Cheeked one, as the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam affectionately called her; Umm al-Mu’mineen – the Mother of the Faithful was loved and loved in return.

The Sunnah of Love is not whimsical or outrageously simplistic as you find depicted often in multibillion-dollar literary/theatrical sagas. No vampires competing with werewolves here.  It is not ambivalent and shifty. It is built on mutual acceptance of the decree of the Divine in search of comfort, repose and peace of mind.  It flourishes, paradoxically, in the mundanity of life. Finding fleeting moments of intimacy between stacks of dishes, soiled diapers, mounds of work emails, grocery lists and infinite commitments are its hallmark. A look that you receive as you rush out the door, a quick phone call itemizing how the day is going or an SMS that contains a list of groceries to buy on the way home punctuated with an I love You, are all indicators.

‘Aisha raḍyAllāhu ‘anha and the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam would use code language with each other denoting their love. She asked the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam how he would describe his love for her. The Prophet Muhammad answered, saying: “Like a strong binding knot.” The more you tug, the stronger it gets, in other words.

Every so often ‘Aisha would playfully ask, “How is the knot?” The Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam would answer, “As strong as the first day (you asked).”

So I begin to wonder, as should you, about what has happened to our community?

Why is it so hard to speak frankly of one’s love for his wife? Why is it “soft” for a brother to praise his spouse?

How is it the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam can kiss his wife, as he exits to leave his home to lead the faithful in prayer and some in our community find it difficult to just smile?

How is it that the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam can stop a whole army, in times of hostility in a region of the desert that had no water to camp near, to look for his wife’s misplaced bead necklace and some find it difficult to give a deserved compliment every now and again?

Since when is sternness considered leadership and harshness associated with married life?

How is it that the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam can mend his clothes and look after the domestic affairs of his household, and a brother can’t put away a plate, let alone wash it unless the wife is sick?

How is it that the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam can forbid upon himself milk infused with honey so as to please his wives, who complained of its scent, culminating in Allah revealing a chapter in the Qur’an forbidding the Prophet from forbidding the lawful upon himself, “Because you seek to please your wives (66:1).”  Yet, some in our community will not even give the rightfully due to their wife?

How is it that the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam teaches not to boycott a person for more than three days, and a brother can be out all day at work and feel apprehensive at the thought of returning home to a disgruntled partner who will give them the silent treatment over a petty squabble that has extended into weeks of dreary, isolating depression?

How is it that the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam forbids a person to lead another man in prayer in his home without permission, yet some brothers due to constant bickering and negative criticism feel more like the help than the king of the castle?

Misreading the Sunnah, and not linking it to all matters of our life, including the mundane aspects is a justified criticism.

All of us learn through the course of our elementary studies of Islam that if you have no water, or if it is scarce, that you can perform Tayamum – ritual purification for prayer using sand or dust.

What you probably were not taught, and what was glossed over, was the fact that the permissibility and the legislation of that enormously important function were revealed because of the lost bead necklace.

You were not told that the love of the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam for ‘Aisha resulted in him ordering a marching army to stop at a location without water and camp out at night with a dwindling supply of water for their consumption. Her father, Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu, was furious with her for mentioning what, to him, seemed to be a trivial matter.

You were not told how the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam ordered the troops to look for a necklace in the sands of the Arabian Desert, all for the comfort of ‘Aisha.  You were, probably, not informed how verses in the Qur’an descended upon the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam at such an occasion resulting in the joyous celebration of the Sahabah for the ease that Allah has provided for our Ummah as a result of this occurrence.

That is the Sunnah of Love.  You look after the near, even if it may inconvenience the far.

You would have heard that the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam mended his own shoes at times. What you may not have heard was how once as he was sitting in a room with ‘Aisha raḍyAllāhu ‘anha fixing his shoes, ‘Aisha happened to look to his blessed forehead and noticed that there were beads of sweat on it. Mesmerized by the majesty of that sight she remained transfixed staring at him long enough for him to notice.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “What’s the matter?” She replied, “If Abu Bukair Al-Huthali, the poet, saw you, he would know that his poem was written for you.” The Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked, “What did he say?” She replied,

“Abu Bukair said that if you looked to the majesty of the moon, it twinkles and lights up the world for everybody to see.”

So the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam got up, walked to Aisha, kissed her between the eyes, and said,

Wallahi ya Aisha, you are like that to me and more.”

That is the Sunnah of Love.

From the earliest days of Islam, ‘Ali radiya Allahu ‘anhu was a continuous witness of the life habits of Rasool-ul-Allah ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He was a witness to Love.

‘Ali, raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu, arrived home to find the love of his life relaxing at home. No foreshadowing asserts anything special about the occasion or day. No fancy marketing to fleece customers of hard earned money. No gimmicks or convoluted infatuations promising a happily ever after proportional to carat size. It is just a man coming home after a long day at work.  What he finds there is the greatest attainment any man could dream to possess, and hopefully retain – a wife whose presence fills him with joy.

The Prophet Muhammad, ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “The world and all things in the world are precious but the most precious thing in the world is a virtuous woman.”

Virtuous, not, exclusively, in terms of the length of prostration or in devotion to religious obligations but rather as he, ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, once informed ‘Umar:

“Shall I not inform you about the best treasure a man can hoard? It is a virtuous wife who fills him with joy whenever he looks towards her.”

It is not love at first sight, rather exponential love with every glance.

Ya Allah, put love between our spouse and us and allow us comfort and mercy in our home.

Ya Allah, spread love and peace throughout the Ummah of Muhammed ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam

O Allah grant us Your Divine Love

O Allah grant us the love of those who Love You

O Allah grant us the love of doing the things that earn Your Divine Love

Yahya Adel Ibrahim.

Domestic Violence Series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

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Imam Yahya Ibrahim, Director of Islamic Community Service; A/Principal of the Langford Islamic College, Perth & Head of Islamic Studies. Imam Yahya Ibrahim is also Curtin University & University of Western Australia's Muslim chaplain and sits on the Human Research Ethics Committee at St Charles Gairdner Hospital for Western Australian Health Services. Imam Yahya is also an instructor for the world-renowned AlMaghrib Institute. His initiatives in Australia and internationally include diversity training, cultural sensitivity programs, educational lectures, and media presentations. His expertise is sought by schools, universities, and a wide range of government & non-government organizations. In recognition of his valuable contribution, Imam Yahya was awarded the West Australian Multicultural Community Service Award for Individual Excellence. He currently oversees a unique educational Online project through and his social media outreach.



  1. Avatar


    October 28, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    This is really nicely written Masha’Allah. May Allah grant us all righteous spouses.

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      August 3, 2014 at 4:49 AM

      Mashallah read the article give me a tears ,May Allah reward me with a good spouse in Jannah ya rabbi

    • Avatar


      December 3, 2014 at 6:49 AM

      Ameen, Inshallah may Allah guide us to honour one another!

  2. Avatar


    October 28, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    Ameen ya Rabb

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      October 30, 2011 at 5:28 PM

      I was smiling as I read this masha’Allah very touching and heart warming article. This is such a critical topic that you have chosen to address. Majority of people are truly suffering in their marriages because they lack the tools for communication, have preconceived negative notions of marriage, and they don’t apply the beautiful examples of the Prophet Mohammad (peace and salat upon him) the way you have eloquently described.

      When conducting marriage therapy, I find that the couples really make a break through when they finally embrace the concept of loving for the sake of Allah. At the moment when they can see beyond their needs, stop calculating who has done what and truly give for the pleasure of Allah they completely transform. I have seen it many times and its an amazing moment! If only more people would learn from the examples that you have provided we would have a society filled happier couples.

      JazakAllah khair,

  3. Avatar


    October 28, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    very beautifully aritculated masha’allah…<3

  4. Yahya Ibrahim

    Yahya Ibrahim

    October 28, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Ya Allah mend our relationships and grant us all the sweet love that stems from your obedience.

    I enjoyed writing this and of course it is intended as a reminder to those of us who teach the Sunnah to relay it honestly.

    Your brother
    Yahya Ibrahim

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    October 28, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    mashAllah beautiful article!

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    October 28, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    Jazakallah Khair for this truly beautiful post! I was a little hesitant about reading it now because I was tired but once I started I couldn’t stop!

    • Avatar

      Liana Uegaki

      October 30, 2011 at 9:37 AM

      yea me too.

  7. Pingback: In the realm of feelings, I am pretty clueless. « organised chaos

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    Hena Zuberi

    October 28, 2011 at 10:29 PM


    JazakAllah Khayr Shaykh, this was a blessed reminder. It is sad we are not taught hadith with all the depths of context and place. I think this should be mandatory reading for young men and women in every Sunday School, madrassa, Islamic School, youth group. Will share with mine inshaAllah. The theatrical sagas just are not real and can never be lived up to- din is for real, we can do this.

    and with my husband-Like a Knot- Alhamdulillah!

    You look after the near, even if it may inconvenience the far.

    This was the best reminder for me b/c sometimes being I get so involved in community activities etc, I need to learn to say NO to yet another project, so I can concentrate on my life at home.

    May we all be Aishas to our Muhammads and vice versa. Ameen

  9. Avatar


    October 28, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    Excellent excellent article!

    It is so sad that we have to look here and there for examples of what true love is, when the best of examples are right there in the Prophet’s SAW life.

  10. Avatar

    Shuaib Mansoori

    October 29, 2011 at 12:37 AM

    BarakAllahu Feekum Shaykhuna for the beautiful piece!

    Ameen to all the Du’as!

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    October 29, 2011 at 3:28 AM

    Wonderful article, but can mentioning examples of the life of the Prophet salla Allah alayhi wa sallam solve our problems, including marital problems?
    I think it is a main component of the solution, but we, Muslim, must translate these examples into practical plans which are prepared by our scholars, in cooperation with all those who have professional knowledge in their field of specialties.
    Keeping on mentioning examples will yield beautiful comments, but will not solve the problems

    • Yahya Ibrahim

      Yahya Ibrahim

      October 29, 2011 at 9:23 AM


      The intent is to establish within us an understanding of the habits of the Prophet sala Allahu ‘alihi wasSalaam and his companions with their respective partners.

      It is to encourage us to learn from it and seek to implement it in our life.

      Equally it is to establish that there are many instances of information being left out of our Fiqh and Hadith classes that could be used to as powerful examples of love and fidelity.

      I agree that a systems approach and re evaluation of Islamic Scholarship is incredibly important and timely.

      Allah grant us All success

      Yahya Ibrahim

      • Avatar

        Kamran M Khan

        January 20, 2014 at 6:50 PM

        my question is what is the use of lectures and lectures and lectures. I did not see a solution except that I (or her) have to fix my self, that I (or she) am at fault, I (or she) am the one who is doing wrong.
        Love should come by itself not by doing a Phd, or getting smarter by attending few lectures, or just keep acting like every thing is fine, have some kids and time will pass until you will become older or just don’t get married or marriage here is a test and real life starts in heaven. If there was one case I will say it is an exception but not when many examples.
        Give me a simple solution?

  12. Avatar


    October 29, 2011 at 4:11 AM

    masha’Allah..what a beautiful article…

  13. Pingback: The Sunnah of Love – Yahya Ibrahim | Different Strokes..My musings!!

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    Umm Sulaim

    October 29, 2011 at 4:25 AM

    Splendid. An article on love written by a man.

    My views on marriage includes, pleased with and sensitive to each other’s feelings, playing with (not restricted to when one desires intimacy) and making each other laugh.

    Brothers were amused; I was ‘romantic’, as if marriage were a monotonous, distasteful cohabitation of two persons one a baby machine to whom attention is paid only in the bedroom and the other no more than an income earner. At least they are aware of one woman who insists on ENJOYING a nuptial relationship.

    “Marriage is supposed to be fun. If it is anything less, it is not worth it.” I uttered those words over a decade ago and I still mean every word.

    Umm Sulaim

    • Avatar


      October 29, 2011 at 3:35 PM

      “Marriage is supposed to be fun. If it is anything less, it is not worth it.”

      I have watched a few couples in a rehabilitation center come and go with their disabled husbands or wives day after day, month after month. They help them change, go to the bathroom, get from one room to another. These are old men and women, hardly able to help themselves, but willing to do so much for their spouses.

      Do they have fun doing it? I don’t think so.

      But they still think their marriage is worth it. Perhaps there is another ingredient to marriage that would make it worth it.

      • Avatar

        Umm Sulaim

        October 29, 2011 at 5:50 PM

        That very much depends on your idea of fun, and whether it is mutually exclusive to kindness.

        And that reminds me, I also believe making sacrifices for ones spouse depends on how the spouse treated one prior to the incident necessitating the sacrifice.

        That decision was also made over a decade ago in response to a woman returning or being made to return to an absentee husband. When I learnt some spouses go AWOL for a number of years expecting the woman to search for them indefinitely until they are ready to return home, I muted,

        “If he was loving and warm with me, I shall wait for as long as possible or until it is clear he is dead. If he was a miserable overlord, I’ll give him just 48 hours and begin divorce proceedings.”

        Umm Sulaim

      • Avatar

        Umm Sulaim

        October 30, 2011 at 5:45 AM

        One more thing, aiding ones spouse should be an ENJOYABLE act, at least it is to me.

        It in no way implies putting a brave face to an unbearable, intolerable situation. Loving ones spouse implies that what one would in other circumstances not tolerate becomes acceptable (here, I refer to your comment and not to the context of domestic abuse).

        I have fun in whatever I do, especially at home, because I ENJOY doing them. This is based on another one of my numerous principles:

        My home is a PLACE OF COMFORT; I fight battles outside not at home.

        Is that an indication of the absence of sources of stress at home? It means the constant ability to return to the stress-free state after each episode of stress (Le Chautelier’s Principle of Equilibrium).

        Umm Sulaim

        • Avatar


          October 30, 2011 at 6:34 PM

          I dont think leaving per se would be a negative issue. Imam Ghazali went “AWOL” for a number of years but of course the sacrifice was not for a selfish cause (and how we all have benefitted!!)

      • Avatar


        October 31, 2011 at 9:36 AM

        Jazakallahu khayr brother for such a great reminder. Marriages in our society are becoming more the source of distress and depression rather than pleasure and comfort. May Allah swt accept all of the duas made aameen
        Jazakallahu khayr once again for such a beautiful piece.

  15. Avatar

    Fauzia Mohamed

    October 29, 2011 at 6:00 AM

    Subhana Allah! Masha Allah! This brought tears to my eyes. Your article, ustadh Yahya offers us all a new, deeper glimpse into the life of our beloved Rasul salalahu alayhi wassalam.
    However what is sad, is that I for one, was never taught about this facet of his life. In fact it was almost a ‘taboo’ for us to be taught about his love and of the ways he salallahu alayhi wassalam, manifested his love towards his beloved Aisha or Khadija ra. So growing up this was devoid from our textbooks and it wasn’t until I moved to Canada that I began learning about this. Your article is a masterpiece and it offers hope for those whose lives are devoid of this pure, unselfish and unadulterated love and it also offers a wealth of knowledge for those who aspire to follow in his footsteps, salallahu alayhi wassalam. Baraka Allah feekum for taking the time to share these wonderful, insightful words. May your home and ours always be filled with nothing but the purest form of love that first extends to Ar Rahman…Ameen thumma ameen. It’s simply breathtaking! I can’t find words to express my gratitude and joy after reading this article. 

    Sent from my iPhone

  16. Avatar


    October 29, 2011 at 6:39 AM

    if you are married, brother, clearly you love your wife.

    there are many kinds of marriages that make up a society. while i won’t trash those held together solely by duty and responsibility, there needs to be more awareness that that’s not the only kind (weird how this even needs to be highlighted). there are marriages characterised by joint participation in society, still others by partnership to spiritual fulfilment, and then others as a dance through life.

    • Yahya Ibrahim

      Yahya Ibrahim

      October 29, 2011 at 9:28 AM


      Alhamdulillah I am happily married and yes I do love my wife dearly, alhamdulillah.

      I agree that there are many marital arrangments that work on some level. This should not, however, dissuade us from seeking comfort and love with our partner.

      I pray that we all receive the best in this dunya and akhira


  17. Avatar


    October 29, 2011 at 7:52 AM

    A beautiful account of love through the eyes of Islam. I feel like I know and love the Prophet ﷺ more after reading this. JazakAllah khairan, ya Shaykh.

  18. Avatar


    October 29, 2011 at 7:55 AM

    would suggest if you can use bit more simple language…so that people like me who is not so well versed with English can also grasp it easily…Jazak Allah Khair

  19. Avatar

    Farahnaz Zahidi Moazzam

    October 29, 2011 at 7:58 AM

    MashaAllah……I cannot thank you enough for bringing ti light these aspects of Seerah which we have a tendency to ignore…..Jazakallahu Khairan Kaseera. Actually these are the “not-so-easy” Sunnahs. May Allah swt heal our hearts of illnesses like selfishness, anger and coldness, and let us have the Hikmah to have relationships which Allah swt Likes and Looks upon with Mercy.

  20. Avatar


    October 29, 2011 at 8:28 AM

    Jazakallahu khairaan ya shaykh.Mashaallah.It`s really touching..

  21. Avatar


    October 29, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    Mashallah so well written.

  22. Avatar

    abu Rumay-s.a.

    October 29, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    What an amazing “uswatun hassana” for us, what a noble example to live up to (sallallahu alayhi wa salama tasliman katheera)… this in itself is enough for one to be convinced and submit themselves into this sublime way of life.

    jazak Allahu khairun Ustadh for this beautiful piece, it touches the hearts, I pray that Allah blesses us to live up to it..ameeen.

  23. Avatar


    October 29, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    SubhanAllah! amazing article! :)

  24. Avatar


    October 29, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Wow. Just wonderful. Subhan Allah, thanks v much for this. It touches the heart and warms the soul.

  25. Avatar


    October 29, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    Only if i could extract a tiny percent of the Prophet (S)’s comprehensive personality!!


  26. Abez


    October 29, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    MashaAllah, a very lovely reminder :)

  27. Avatar


    October 29, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    Salaam alaykum Shaykh Yahya,

    I often wonder if some of the exemplary characteristics we remember are of the virtuous who are relatively few and we generalize it to the majority in bygone eras? Whether it be chivalry, religious practice, or otherwise?

    I wonder this because with what little studies in history I’ve done, I tend to find the problems we have are may be unique in their cultural context, but no different than what the people surrounding us face from nonMuslims, nor different from what the Muslims faced in previous generations (and in some cases, worse).

    What are your thoughts on this?


    • Yahya Ibrahim

      Yahya Ibrahim

      October 29, 2011 at 8:48 PM


      I actually think the opposite is applicable sometimes. The sad reality is that the Islam we are taught at times omits the construct that brought it into being. The examples above are LITERALLY a drop from the ocean of the virtuous conduct that the salaf provided towards their spouse; be it man to wife or wife to her husband.

      I understand the extrapolation syndrome that some fall into, where there is an absence of the challenges that we all face in life. But what you see when you take a close look at the compendium that is the sunnah is that the BEST moments where the ones that dealt with the difficulties of life that we all deal with.

      The Prophet sala Allahu ‘alihi wasSalaam had people accuse his wife of adultry, he had jealousy between the spouses, he was a widower and buried some of his children and grand children with his own hands. His daughter was married to a man who was an unbeliever who WAGED war against him sala Allahu ‘alihi wasSalaam, he had a wives from a variety of cultural backgrounds and ethnicity including jewish, christian, young, mature, matrons, virgin, rich, poor, with children and without.

      When you look at all of that…you see that what we have been taught about His blessed life sala Allahu ‘alihi wasSalaam RARELY analysis the intricacies of that life and finds parallels in our own.

      Humans have the same needs, irrespective of culture, place or time. All of us can relate to each other on a multitude of levels.

      The generalization is deserved because the life of the salaf to the most part is a reflection of the life of the Prophet.

      I do not know if that is what you were asking about .. but to me the more we look into the sunnah and seerah the more we find parallels to our life.

      This of course does not mean we can not critique the life of the companions to equally learn from those experiences.

      Wa Allahu a’laam,


    • Avatar


      November 1, 2011 at 2:47 PM

      Siraaj’s new MM profile pic is certainly exemplary.

  28. Avatar


    October 30, 2011 at 1:39 AM

    Masha’Allah beautiful article! Thank you! :-)

  29. Avatar


    October 30, 2011 at 2:38 AM

    MashAllah nice article! It is true for whatever reason many brothers these days feel embarrassed to say “i love my wife” in public. I mean e.g. my husband sometimes leaves sweet words on my facebook, which obviously is also seen by everyone on my list. The sisters see it, tell their husbands about it, some of their husbands are actually my husband’s friends and then they call him up and make fun of his comments! Really is silly at times.
    And I hear some terrible stories from my husband and it’s really scary how so many couples in the West have problems and it seems to be only increasing!
    May Allah guide us all into following the footsteps of the Salaf in every matter.

  30. Avatar


    October 30, 2011 at 5:23 AM

    Very eloquent and beautiful, mA! Definitely a great reminder for all of us to remember to finding meaning in the simplicities of life and to appreciate our spouses more for all the things that they do for us. JazakAllah khairan!

  31. Avatar


    October 30, 2011 at 12:57 PM


  32. Avatar


    October 30, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

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  34. Avatar


    October 30, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    Beautiful article mashallah I couldn’t. Stop crying so touching. May allah fill our home and our hearts with love and mercy
    Barak allah fike for sharing this

  35. Avatar


    October 31, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    Salam Sheikh Yahya – this was an outstanding piece.

    Do you mind posting the line for Abu Bukayr Al-Hudhaili in Arabic?


  36. Avatar


    October 31, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    best article i have read in a long time.

    thank u

  37. Avatar

    Aamir Shamsi

    October 31, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    SubhanAllah amazing piece!

    Although I would like to add that the horror stories you mentioned above (infidelity, violence etc.) are not occuring because men do not know how to/want to express their love but because, as you mentioned, they don’t feel that love but also because they are devoid of basic morality. You do not need to be a Muslim or even study the Sunnah of Love to know infidelity in a relationship is a disgraceful crime to your partner as well as to yourself.

    The world we live in is becoming worse and worse and these crimes are not only becoming more rampant but more tolerated/accepted in society further increasing their frequency.

    So not only do we need to teach them the Sunnah of Love as you have described above but also basic morals and values.

    Another important matter is choosing the correct partner for you to feel this way about them for many of these instances actually occur in completely arranged marriages where the partners do not even know one another. In Islam we are taught to choose our partners carefully and this can only be done by getting to know them in a halal manner and making sure our values are similar to theirs.

    I’d also like to add one last point – that there are people in this world who will come across as described above ie. they will show plentiful love that will make you believe it is genuine, but unfortunately it is a hoax and there is nothing more fake than their emotion for a day comes when their reality is shown and the chasms in their morality and basic human principles as well as grave lack of integrity, respect and understanding of the word Love comes to vew and that indeed is a difficult calamity to face for those in such a situation – may Allah save us all from such a day.

    inshAllah I ask you to pray for me in finding a wife that will “fill me with joy” upon glance.

    • Avatar

      Umm Ismael

      April 16, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      Asslam u alaikum wr wb brother, Being married for five years, I agree to a large part of what you have to say- However the instance where you generalize about arranged marriages is quite incorrect. One can NEVER really know a person until one is married to them and starts living with him/her. It is the everyday life that one experiences with ones spouse that inculcates and nurtures love. They are not one time ‘halal’ meetings that can ever do that beyond telling you that the   other person is pleasant to be with. So keep that in mind- brother when looking for a spouse – no fairy tales- you will have your share of arguments but what happens at the end is that feeling of “being home” with a person that matters. And ALLAH Knows best.

    • Yahya Ibrahim

      Yahya Ibrahim

      August 18, 2012 at 8:11 AM

      Allah bless you with more than you seek for yourself.

  38. Avatar

    Ainul Mardhiah

    October 31, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    Thanks a lot Bro. Yahya. After I read your article, I feel so much love for the Prophet, MasyaAllah.. May Allah grant you the highest rank of Jannah, insyaAllah. Please pray for me may Allah give me a good husband who can follow the sunnah of love of the Prophet..peace be upon him. I shared your article in my blog. I hope it can benefit others too… Jazakallahu khair, Brother =)

  39. Avatar


    October 31, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    Asaalamu alaykum brother Yahya

    Mashallah beautiful article and read. i pray that all our brothers and sisters view the union of marriage in this way inshallah. out of interest brother, i was wondering where the story of the beaded necklace has been reported in the sunnah?

    jazak allahu khairun

    wa asalamu alaykum

  40. Pingback: The Sunnah of Love « Wintersamar's Blog

  41. Avatar


    November 1, 2011 at 4:48 AM

    marriage is so overrated these days.

    • Avatar


      November 1, 2011 at 4:24 PM

      Maybe you or someone close to you suffered something terrible and have lost faith in the most beautiful bond created by Allah? Or maybe you’re having a difficult time finding the right spouse?
      Well sister, have tawakkul in Allah. Never loose hope. Marriage is the ONLY way a believer can fulfill his/her desires. Also our souls need rest because we can’t worship Allah 24/7 and it’s through marriage…through that Sunnah following spouse of ours that we can rejuvenate ourselves and get back to worshiping Allah.
      I will disagree with you and say because of the influence of the immoral culture, marriage now a days is underrated.

  42. Avatar

    A. Stranger

    November 2, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    SubhanAllah! This is the beauty of Islam at its purest.

    MashaAllah may Allah bless you.

    We’ve been bombarded from all directions with reminders of how marriages go wrong (any news website, will provide plenty of examples) this is truly uplifting =] and MUCH needed.

    Jazakum Allah Khair.

  43. Avatar


    February 8, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Assalam Alaikum Hebah, Is it possible to get your email address, I like to get in touch with you for an upcomming event :)

  44. Avatar


    February 11, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    SubhanAllah, what a beautiful and heart touching article as i never read such a lovely article about love before. jazak’Allahu khair brother, may Allah blesses you and your family always. I’m single but i wish to learn a lot about be a good spouse due to Islamic rule, in shaa Allah. Beautiful..!!

  45. Pingback: A Very Superficial Post on Love « The Almas Tree

  46. Avatar


    March 7, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    for most of your quotes from the prophet and his companions and wives could you plz provide PROOFs of them plz, not saying that it didnt happen just saying that for most people to take from these quoted hadith its best to leave a valuable source so that we can refer to them as well thank you and baarakallahu feekum

  47. Avatar


    April 22, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    LOVE IT jazak Allahu khair!!!!

  48. Avatar

    Sheba Arifullah

    April 25, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    mashallah, this is a beautiful article, and it made me smile the whole time.  Thank you so much for sharing this.

  49. Avatar


    May 15, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Wonderful Masha Allah!!

  50. Avatar


    June 25, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Assalamualaikum bro yahya wonderful article, many believe that love has no place in islam however ur article proves how can the very emotion of existence not have place in islam, without love we would not exist and i m not talking only about physical love but also love for all ie parents brethen our brothers and sisters in iman , indeed love makes the world go round. In fact the love between Our beloved Prophet Sallala alaihi wassallam and his beloved wife Hazrat Khadija teaches us that modernisation touched islam 14 hundred years back and there is nothing as age difference. May Allah bless u and ur family ..Take care Allah hafiz

  51. Avatar

    Maria Ahmad

    August 17, 2012 at 12:28 AM

    AOA Brother Yahya, jazak Allah khairun for sharing these precious ahadith with us. We’re far, very far from our religion, from understanding it because these are the small, everyday things and moments we don’t know about. My primary education was in the top schools of Saudi Arabia till age 17 where Islamic Studies were compulsory. Year after year, the dates of Ghazvas and battles and historical details were ingrained in my head. However, it is at age 30 that I’m actively pursuing authors who talk about the true essence of Islam – these moments, the Propher PBUH, Azwajun Muttahira and the Khalifas’ personalities. How am I supposed to love the Prophet more than my father if I don’t even know what he was like outside the battlefield? How do I inspire to be a better woman if I don’t know the real challenges of Hazrat Aisha RA and how it feels to be jealous of another woman’s beauty? How can I be a better Muslim if I don’t know how Hazrat Umar RA learned to control his anger?
    I look forward to reading more of your articles Brother, so I can learn and grow. If you can share resources (books, online, etc.) for more, I’ll be indebted. May Allah bless you with more knowledge and sawab. Jazak Allah Khairun.

  52. Avatar


    August 17, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    MashAllah, this was beautiful! May I put a quote from here to engrave on my Wedding Card Box? “Love begins as a tiny speck – a seed that is buried deep in the folds of a receptive heart, carrying the potential of stunning beauty, nourishing sustenance, exotic delicacy, wealth of commodity, shading shelter, and resurgent growth that is stabilized through deep roots that withstand trauma.”

    Was that written by you? If so, may I use it and give you credit (of course) and if it is not written by yourself, may you tell me from whom?


    • Yahya Ibrahim

      Yahya Ibrahim

      August 18, 2012 at 8:00 AM


      I would be honoured to play a role in your blessed wedding, albeit small. It is my authoring and you may use it as you feel appropriate.

      Yahya Ibrahim

      • Avatar


        October 29, 2013 at 6:19 AM

        Is it Islamically appropriate to concede feelings of honour towards recognition? If this is a source of personal fitnah then we should fear Allah subhana wa ta’ala in regards to such feelings.
        Perhaps it would have been a more humble option to suggest a Quranic verse, ahadith, or even the quote of a Sahaba insha Allah. As they were the best of three generations and undoubtedly possessed the best understanding of Islam as well as marriage in Islam.

        The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:
        “What I fear for you the most is the minor shirk, that is ar-riya. Allah will say on the Day of Judgement when He is rewarding the people for their actions: Go to those for whom you did riya for in the world then see if you find the reward with them.”
        [Related by Ahmad (5/428, 429) and al-Baghawi in Sharh as-Sunnah (4135) from the hadith of Mahmud bin Lubayd, radiallahu ‘anhu, with an authentic chain upon the conditions of Muslim]

        As a speaker, or a sheikh, this should mean that we possess even more fear of Allah subhana wa ta’ala than the layman. As such it should also be evident through our speech and our actions. I say this as a reminder to myself first and to others secondarily.

        May Allah subhana wa ta’ala guide us from becoming those of which the hadith says;
        ‘Umar ibn Khattab (Radi Allah ‘Anhu) narrates that the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “What I fear most for my Ummah is every eloquent-tongued hypocrite.”
        (Jami Saghir #239) (Ahmad #137) (Foryabi #23)

  53. Avatar

    Md.Afzal Hussain

    September 13, 2012 at 5:06 AM

    Assalamu Alaikoom. I read your article Sunnah of love .I am finding no language to congratulate you . I think Islamic intellectual may kindly write on the basic fundamental lessons of our DEEN that will help the muslim who are ignorant in religion.Sukran my deene brother .

  54. Avatar

    Mel muslimah

    November 4, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    JzkAllah khayr. great article. May Allah reward you and make our deeds solely for Allah (swt).

  55. Avatar

    Abdul Khair

    January 25, 2013 at 2:46 AM

    MasyaAllah. I smile as i read this beautiful love story. May Allah reward you and make our deeds solely for Allah swt. Thank you so much for sharing this. Assalamualaikum.

  56. Pingback: On Love: Beautiful article by Yahya Ibrahim « Hana's Musings

  57. Avatar


    March 13, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    Masha’Allah…such a wonderfully written article full of love & wisdom…Jazaak’Allahu Khair Ustadh Yahya Adel Ibrahim

  58. Avatar


    March 13, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    And Ameen Ya Rabbil Aalamiin to all the wonderful du’as

  59. Avatar


    July 25, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Great article! Somebody asked me the source of the narration regarding Aisha r.α and the example of the knot. Will apreciate if u could provide it.
    Jazakallah Khair!

  60. Avatar


    August 31, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    Best article on MuslimMatters, masha’Allah. I find myself constantly referring back to it.

  61. Avatar


    October 31, 2013 at 4:49 AM

    Great article but can you support whatever u r reporting from the sunnah from some authentic source ? Otherwise it is just a story…we never hear such stories as part of sunnsh except for the necklace incident which is well documented. Plz indicate your source so we get better understanding of sunnah. Also plz elaborate on the issue of not lead ing any one in house for prayer without their permission? Can u explain yhis in some detail? Thank you

  62. Pingback: The TMI Hijabi | Yahya Ibrahim | The Sunnah of Love |

  63. Avatar


    October 31, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Truly amazing article. With its legendary writing style and innovative gripping approach it kept me mesmerized till the end. Great work done.

  64. Avatar


    November 1, 2013 at 2:06 AM

    Well done sheikh, i sincerely appreciated this awesome article, though i’m married but i’m praying to Allah to join me with d comfort of my eyes Amin.I find the article as a moral booster n if implemented by couples i hope it will go along way to mend the predicaments faced in many homes n build trust nd mutual understanding between couples nd create a happy home fostering love without boundaries.

  65. Pingback: The Sunnah of Love by Ustadh Yahya Ibrahim | AlKauthar Blog - Enriching Lives Through Knowledge

  66. Pingback: Songs on women | madiha33's Blog

  67. Pingback: The Sunnah of Love | Every Moment Is Another Chance

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  69. Avatar


    April 10, 2014 at 8:02 AM

    Brillint article . Subahanallah the Prophet’s(peace be upon him)love story brought me into tears!

  70. Avatar


    April 16, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    ok i just missed Manchester cities game 2nite reading this hehe. So gud. Alhamdhulillah 4 givin me the opportunity to read this. Was actually crying inside when I sat down here n scrolling through FB. OK now i can watch the second half smiling :)

  71. Avatar

    Prof Saadiah

    May 1, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    Dear Brother Yahya, I am looking for something to put in my daughter’s wedding book which my husband and I are coming up as a gift to guests at our daughter’s wedding reception. this is such a beautiful article, a few things new for me. …I seek your permission to reproduce some of your words here. ..and cite the the original source, so that people could refer to this site. Dr saadiah

    • Yahya Ibrahim

      Yahya Ibrahim

      May 1, 2014 at 7:51 PM


      I would be honoured to play a role in your daughter’s wedding. Please use of the article whatever you find worthy.

    • Aly Balagamwala

      Aly Balagamwala

      May 2, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      Dear Sister

      You may use excerpts from the article as long as proper attribution is made. For more information please see

      Best Regards
      CommentsTeam Lead

      • Avatar

        Prof Saadiah

        May 4, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        Thank you very much both Brother Yahya and Aly. I have read the legal disclaimer and will make proper attribution to the author and website of MM. In any case it is non commercial and will be distributed to the guests at the wedding.

        Saadiah Mohamad

  72. Avatar


    December 2, 2014 at 1:48 AM

    Mashallah ! Beautifullly written. brought tears ..

  73. Avatar

    Umm hadi

    February 25, 2015 at 5:19 AM

    Asalaam a laikum wrwb Br. It is indeed a very inspiring, heart touching article. It brought tears to my eyes.
    May Allah swt bless you and your family. Ameen.

  74. Avatar


    March 26, 2015 at 10:20 AM

    Sh. Yahya is amazing. I learn lots from him at the Sacred Formula course at

    And it’s absolutely free too! May Allah reward

  75. Pingback: [مترجم] سنّة الحب - مشروع مسلم

  76. Avatar


    July 3, 2016 at 9:09 AM

    Islam is about love and peace and Love. Glad everyday that I am a Muslim and I have a wonderful wife. Love is a bless that makes your life shine. Prophet Muhammad you are my role model. Peace Be Upon You.

  77. Avatar

    Paris Ruff

    September 2, 2016 at 3:02 AM

    I love it! Excellent article. I also can be helpful here :) Filling out forms is super easy with PDFfiller. Try it on your own here Form A and you’ll make sure how it’s simple.

  78. Avatar


    October 31, 2016 at 8:10 AM

    Nice to see an article about Ummul Momineenm Hazrat Ayesha Siddiqa

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Gender Relations

Loving Muslim Marriage Episode 10#: Do Angels Curse the Wife Who Refuses Sex?



It is often heard that the Prophet said that if a man calls his wife to bed and she refuses him, that the angels will curse her until the morning. There are a lot of ways that people understand this, but what is the right way of understanding this Hadith?

Join us with Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jandga to talk about this commonly mistranslated, misunderstood narration.

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Torment And Tears: The Emotional Experience of Tawbah

Zainab (AnonyMouse)


Have you ever had that moment where, all of a sudden, you remember something that you said or did in the past, the severity of which you only realized later on?

That sharp inhalation, shortness of breath, the flush of humiliation, the sick lurching in the pit of your stomach as you recall hurtful words, or an action that was so clearly displeasing to Allah… it is a very physical reaction, a recoiling from your own past deeds.

It may not even be the first time you think about those actions, it may not even be the first time to make istighfaar because of them… but sometimes, it may be the first time that you really and truly feel absolutely sickened at the realization of the gravity of it all. It might not even have been a ‘big deal’ – perhaps it was a cruel joke to a sensitive friend, or not having fulfilled a promise that was important to someone, or betraying a secret that you didn’t think was all that serious.

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And yet… and yet, at this moment, your memory of that action is stark and gut-wrenching.

It is a deeply unpleasant feeling.

It is also a very necessary one.

The Act of Tawbah

Tawbah – seeking forgiveness from Allah – is something that we speak about, especially in Ramadan, the month of forgiveness. However, it is also something that we tend to speak about in general terms, or write off as something simple – “Just say astaghfirAllah and don’t do it again.”

In truth, tawbah is about much more than muttering istighfaar under your breath. It is a process, an emotional experience, one that engages your memory, your soul, and your entire body.

The first step of tawbah is to recognize the sin – whether seemingly small or severe – and to understand just how wrong it was. Each and every one of our deeds is written in our book of deeds; each and every deed will be presented to us on the Day of Judgment for us to be held accountable for. There are times when we say things so casually that it doesn’t even register to us how we could be affecting the person we’ve spoken to.

As RasulAllah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) once told A’ishah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her),

“You have said a word which would change the sea (i.e. poison or contaminate it) if it were mixed in it.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)

The second step is to feel true remorse. It’s not enough to rationally acknowledge that action as being sinful; one must feel guilt, remorse, and grief over having committed it.

Tawbah is to feel that sucker-punch of humiliation and guilt as we recall our sins: not just the mildly awkward ones, like a petty fib or mild infraction, but the genuinely terrible parts of ourselves… ugly lies, vicious jealousy, violations against others’ rights, abuse.

Some of us may be actual criminals – others of us may seem presentable on the outside, even religious, maybe even spiritual… and yet have violated others in terrible ways. Abuse comes in so many forms, and some of us are perpetrators, not just victims.

Facing that reality can be a gruesome process. 

It is a necessary process. Token words, glib recitation of spiritual formulae, those do not constitute tawbah in its entirety. Rather, it is a matter of owning up to our violations, experiencing genuine emotion over them – true humiliation, true regret – and striving not to be that person ever again. 

Much as we hate to admit it, we have our own fair share of red flags that we create and wave, even before we get into the nasty business of committing the worst of our sins. Tawbah isn’t just feeling bad for those Big Sins – it’s to recognize what led us to them to begin with.

It requires us to acknowledge our own flaws of character, of the ease with which we fall into certain behaviours, the way we justify the pursuit of our desires, the blindness we have to the worst parts of ourselves. Tawbah is to sit down and face all of it – and then to beg Allah, over and over, not just to forgive us and erase those specific actions, but to change us for the better. 

This experience is so much more powerful than a mere “I’m sorry,” or “omg, that was awful”; it is an act that embodies our submission to Allah because it requires us to make ourselves incredibly emotionally vulnerable, and in that moment, to experience a deep pain and acknowledge our wrongdoing. It is to hold your heart out to Allah and to beg Him, with every fiber of your being, with tears in your eyes, with a lump in your throat, wracked with regret, to please, please, please forgive you – because without it, without His Mercy and His Forgiveness and His Gentleness and His Love towards us, we have no hope and we will be utterly destroyed.

Surah Araf Verse 23

{Rabbanaa thalamnaa anfusanaa, wa illam taghfir lanaa wa tar’hamnaa, lanakunanna mina’l Khaasireen!}

{Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers!} (Qur’an 7:23)

This experience of tawbah is powerful, emotional, and heartbreaking. It is meant to be. It is a reminder to us of how truly dependent we are upon our Lord and our Creator, how nothing else in our lives can give us joy or a sense of peace if He is displeased with us. It is a reminder to us of how deeply we crave His Love, of how desperately we need it, of how His Pleasure is the ultimate goal of our existence.

Finally, there is the step of resolving never to commit that sin again, to redress the wrongs if possible, and to follow up the bad deed with a good one.

The vow is one we make to ourselves, asking Allah’s help to uphold it – because we are incapable of doing anything at all without His Permission; the righting of wrongs is what we do to correct our transgression against others’ rights over us, although there are times when we may well be unable to seek another individual’s forgiveness, whether because of distance, death, or otherwise; and the good deeds to undertake as penance are numerous, whether they be sadaqah or increased ‘ebaadah.

But it doesn’t end there. And it never will.

Tawbah is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. It is not even a once-a-year event, or once a month, or once a week. It is meant to be a daily experience, a repeated occurrence, in the earliest hours of the morning, in the depths of the last third of the night, during your lunch break or your daily commute or in the middle of a social gathering.

Tawbah is a lifelong journey, for who amongst us doesn’t commit mistakes and errors every day?

All we can do is beg of Allah not only for His Forgiveness, but also: {Allahumma ij’alnaa min at-tawwaabeen.} – O Allah, make us amongst those who are constantly engaging in repentance!

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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Moonsighting Gone Wrong, Again.



Moonsighting is just not working out.

Atleast not for our community here in the Toronto area. As I speak to my friends in other large (read: fragmented) communities, such as those in the UK, I hear similar tales of confusion, anxiety and horror. The problem in these communities stems from the fact that there are numerous moonsighting organizations in the same area, all following different methodologies for declaring Eid and Ramadan. This naturally results in a catastrophe and Muslims from the same family living in the same city are forced to celebrate the holidays on different days.

To give you a taste of how (and why) things went wrong in this year’s Ramadan declaration, here’s a summary highlighting the series of events as they unfolded. (Reminder: Ramadan was expected to start on Friday, April 24th or Saturday, April 25th 2020 in North America)

  • Wednesday, April 22, 10: 13 pm EST: Crescent Council of Canada (CC) declares Ramadan to start on Friday, 24th April based on the fact that it received no reports of moonsighting sighting on Wednesday night. This committee follows global moonsighting and it declared Ramadan so early because it was already the 29th of Shaban based on the lunar calendar it follows (for most of North America, the 29th of Shaban was to be on Thursday). So, starting Ramadan on Saturday was simply not an option for the group (as it would have meant observing 31 days of Shaban). Also to note is that this group gives precedence to official declarations from authorities from Muslim-majority countries, even if these declarations conflict predictions of visibility charts and astronomical calculations. It argues that testimony of witnesses takes precedence in the sharia over astronomical data.
  • Thursday, April 23rd, 7:27 pm EST : The Hilal Council of Canada (HC), another committee in the area that follows global sighting, states that there has not been any sighting of the moon in any country, including South and Central America (it is past sunset in most of the Muslim world by now). The committee decides that it will wait till sundown in California to receive the final reports before making a declaration. Confusion starts spreading in the community as one organization has already declared Ramadan while another claims no one in the Muslim world saw the moon. Note that HC does not accept moonsighting reports if they contradict astronomical data.
  • 8:39 pm: Confusion continues. The CC claims that Saudi Arabia, UAE, Malaysia, Turkey and a host of Muslim countries have declared Ramadan. The committee thus feels validated in its original declaration which it made on Wednesday night.
  • 8:48 pm: More confusion: California-based also claims that moonsighting reports from the Middle-East and Africa are all negative. People naturally start wondering how so many countries supposedly declared Ramadan if there were no positive sightings.
  • 9:40 pm: The Hilal Committee of Toronto and Vicinity, the oldest moonsighting group in the city, declares Ramadan to start on Saturday the 25th of April. Since the committee did not receive any positive reports by sunset from areas in its jurisdiction, it declared Ramadan to commence on Saturday. This committee follows local moonsighting and doesn’t rely on reports from the Muslim-world. Two of the three major moonsighting groups in the city have declared Ramadan on different days at this time. Residents are confused whether to fast the next day or pray tarweeh as its almost Isha time.
  • 11:11 pm: The HC finally declares Ramadan to start the next day, i.e. Friday, based on confirmed reports from California. Mosques following the HC advice to pray tarawih – an hour after Isha time had already entered. After an anxiety filled and frustrating evening, residents finally know the positions of the various moonsighting groups in the city. Now they just have to decide which one to follow!
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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

This baffling circus of contradictory declarations is nothing new; it has become a yearly occurrence. Last year we saw the exact same series of events unfold and the same confusion spread throughout the community; it is entirely expected that the same will happen again in future years.

Our leadership has decided that it is acceptable to put the average Muslim through this nerve-racking experience every year. For Eid declarations, the experience is far worse as thousands are often waiting till midnight to decide whether to go work the next day or send their children to school. The stress and anxiety this decision causes for the average person year after year is simply unacceptable.

Popular advice in these situations has been to ‘follow your local masjid’. However, this idea is impractical for large communities where there are numerous local mosques, all following various opinions. It is also impractical for the thousands who simply don’t frequent the mosque and are not tied to a particular organization. The layperson just wants to know the dates for Ramadan and Eid; it is an undue burden on them to research the strength of various legal opinions just to know when to celebrate a religious holiday with their families.

Only one way forward: astronomical calculations

There have been numerous sincere attempts to solve these long-standing problems associated with moonsighting over the past 50 years – all have failed. I have documented in detail these attempts, the reasons for their failure and argued for the only viable solution to this problem: astronomical calculations.

Since its introduction in 2006, Fiqh Council of North America’s calculations-based lunar calendar has proven to be the definitive solution for communities struggling to resolve the yearly moonsighting debacle. An example of such a resolution is the 2015 agreement by some of the leading mosques in the Chicago area who put aside their differences and united behind FCNA’s calendar. This approach has brought ease and facilitation for the religious practice of thousands of Muslims in that community.

While the use of calculations has been a minority position in Islam’s legal history, it has a sound basis in the shariah [1] and has been supported by towering figures of the past such as Imam Zakariya al-Ansari and Imam Ramli. Given the challenging circumstances we find ourselves in now, it is incumbent on scholars of today to revisit this position as a means of providing much needed relief to the masses from this lunar quagmire.


[1]  From SeekersGuidance: Scholars upholding this can be traced all the way back to the first Islamic century. The textual basis for this opinion is the hadith narrated by al-Bukhari, “When you see it [the new moon of Ramadan] then fast; and when you see it [the new moon of Shawwal], then break the fast. If it is hidden from you (ghumma ‘alaykum) [i.e. if the sky is overcast] then estimate it (fa-qdiru lahu);” (al-Bukhari, hadith no. 1900). The last verb, fa-qdiru, can be validly understood to mean calculation. Of the scholars who held this, are Abu al-‘Abbas b. Surayj (d. 306/918), one of the leading founders of the classical Shafi‘i school, the Shafi‘i scholar and renowned mystic Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri (d. 465/1072), the leading Shafi‘i judge Taqi al-Din al-Subki (d. 756/1355), the Shafi‘i legal theorist al-Zarkashi (d. 794/1392), the renowned Maliki legal theorist al-Qarafi (d. 684/1285), and some Hanafi scholars. The late Shafi‘i commentator al-Qalyubi (d. 1069/1659) held that all sighting-claims must be rejected if calculations show that a sighting was impossible, stating, “This is manifestly obvious. In such a case, a person may not fast. Opposing this is obstinacy and stubbornness.” See al-Mawsu‘ah al-fiqhiyyah al-kuwaytiyyah, c.v. “Ru’yat al-hilal,” vol. 22, pp. 31-4. The leading scholar of the late Shāfi‘ī school Muhammad al-Ramli (d. 1004/1596) held that the expert astronomer was obliged to follow his own calculation as was the non-astronomer who believed him; this position has been used by some contemporary Shafi’i scholars to state that in the modern world, with its precise calculations, the strongest opinion of the Shafi’i school should be that everyone must follow calculations; see ‘Umar b. al-Habib al-Husayni, Fath al-‘ali fi jam‘ al-khilaf bayna Ibn Hajar wa-Ibn al-Ramli, ed. Shifa’ Hitu (Jeddah: Dar al-Minhaj, 2010), pp. 819-22. See also the fatwa of the Hanafi scholar Dr Salah Abu al-Hajj (معنى-حديث-لا-تصوموا-حتى-تروا-الهلال-ول) last accessed 9/5/2016) which states, after arguing against relying on calculations, “However, the position of [following] calculations is the position of a considerable group of jurists, so it is a respected disagreement in Islamic law, whereby, if a state were to adopt it, it is not rejected, because the judgment of a judge removes disagreement, and the adoption of a state is [as] the judgment of a judge.

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