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Life Lessons – Zucchini | Shaykh Waleed Basyouni

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I still remember those blue eyes, clearly visible behind thick, plastic glasses. I still remember the big, smiling face, the face of Professor Nuruddeen Julapular, who was one of my earliest teachers during the college years. Under the shaykh, I studied the science of hadeeth. Sh. Nurualdeen was Turkish, and I found it very interesting that he was a hadeeth scholar while being from Turkey, a land better known for producing scholars of Fiqh.

Curious about his choice to pursue the study of Hadeeth, and not one to shy away from asking the questions on my mind, I once asked him, “Teacher, what made you interested in this particular field of knowledge while most scholars from your region specialize in Hanafi Fiqh?” He first responded with a single unexpected word. “Zucchini.” Surprised, I eagerly awaited the rest of the story, which I was sure must follow. He continued, “When I was younger, there was an Imam in our village who gave an entire khutbah (Friday sermon) on how the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to love zucchini. The khutbah went on and on, enumerating all the possible virtues of zucchini! “In our culture,” he went on, “it was customary for families to take turns cooking for the Imam, and an Imam would almost never have to cook. Upon hearing the khutbah, people started making zucchini for him EVERY day. After all, it was a most virtuous food! I still remember carrying zucchini to his house when I was very young.” The Shaykh smiled in recollection. “Several weeks later, after he undoubtedly got tired of zucchini, the Imam started mentioning other types of foods and their claimed religious merits! At this point my father became angry and was skeptical of the Imam. Were all of these ahadeeth about food valid, or were they fabrications made to satisfy the cravings of our Imam? Knowledge of hadeeth was so sparse in my country there was no easy way to even find out!

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“It was then that my father decided to send me to Al-Azhar University in Egypt to study Hadeeth. I was a young teenager when I arrived to an Egypt ruled by King Fou’ad I (1930s). I was on a mission. I quickly mastered the Arabic language and memorized the Quran. It was not too long before I received my PhD in the Science of Hadeeth. From that day on, I dedicated my life to teaching, defending, and spreading the authentic narrations concerning our beloved Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and vehemently cautioning against the use of weak narrations.”

I witnessed that defense in action. Time and time again, during a class or during my private studies with him, the shaykh would mention any severely weak or fabricated hadeeth that he had seen posted on a street sign, in a newspaper, or on a flyer. He would ask us to go with him to speak to the one/s who had posted it. On his visits to the “offenders,” the shaykh would bring with him two hand-written papers, one containing explanations as to why the hadeeth is unacceptable and the other suggesting authentic ahadeeth that could be used to substitute for the weak one.

I learned a great many things from my Shaykh Nuruddeen:

  • I learned from him the love and respect for the Hadeeth of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)
  • He instilled in my heart the importance of depending on authentic narrations versus seeking support in weak ones. The scholars of our past used to say, “The authentic narrations suffice leaving no need for weak ones.”
  • He taught me the importance of providing people with alternatives when we try to correct them, and that offering alternatives makes our advice more acceptable.

Finally, I learned that you never know how your journey of knowledge may start! 

I later asked the shaykh about the zucchini narrations. “Did you ever find them?” I questioned. He had found a few of them, but they were all clearly fabricated. I was mildly disappointed. Zucchini has always been one of my favorite foods!

This is a weekly series of stories about my teachers and what I have learned from them through my years of studying with them. If you enjoy these stories and lessons and think they should continue, please show your support by commenting here and liking and sharing the post on my Facebook page!

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. 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.

is Vice President of AlMaghrib Institute and Director of Clear Lake Islamic Center (CLIC). He is a frequent guest speaker at Universities, Conventions, Radio Talk Shows, Television, Interfaith meetings, and community centers nationally and internationally. He is also a member of the North American Imam Federation (NAIF), Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA)-Fatwa and Research Committee, Director of Texas Dawah Convention, and Advisor to numerous Islamic Societies/Organizations around the US. Shaykh Waleed Basyouni graduated with a Bachelors in Islamic Sciences from Al-Imam Muhammad University, KSA; did his Masters in Islamic Theology, World Religions and Modern Religious Sects from Al-Imam Muhammad University; and acquired a Doctorate in Theology. He is also an instructor at the American Open University in Alexandria, VA, USA, and serves as, the Imam of Clear Lake Islamic Center, Houston, TX, USA. Shaykh Waleed has Ijaazahs in reciting the Holy Quran and in several books of Hadeeth, awarded by various scholars. He studied with great scholars time such as Shaykh Ibn Baz, Abdul-Razzaq Afify and others.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Shahgul

    March 22, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    Well, Sr. Yasmin, I am planning to cook some zucchini next week, and the next, and the next and the next. So watch out.

  2. muslimah

    March 23, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    jazakAllah khayr….i always used 2 wonder about da authentiity of this very hadith…jazakAllah for clarifiying

  3. ummsafiya

    March 23, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Aw man, I love zucchini as well!!! Great story sh. Waleed!

  4. melita

    March 25, 2013 at 3:47 AM

    Yes, I like it! Please do continue on this. A great read indeed :) Jazakallahu khayran katsira for creating the series.

  5. Abu Afeef

    March 27, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    Masha Allah, I enjoyed reading these lessons. The style of writing is very engaging. Looking forward to the other lessons.

  6. nousheen

    April 5, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    MashAllah these stories give us lesson so please continue,
    JAzakAllah

  7. Abdul Muhaymin

    April 9, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    I love Zucchini either way. <3 :D

  8. ibn khalid

    April 11, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    jazakAllah for the story sheikh, keem em coming!

  9. O H

    April 28, 2013 at 4:29 AM

    Barak Allaahu feek ya Shaykh. Please continue the great work.

  10. O H

    April 28, 2013 at 4:38 AM

    By the way for those who used Jazak Allaah, it is better to say the complete saying of Jazak Allaahu Khair. More info from this small video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5NBGS7AK7w

  11. Sana

    August 12, 2013 at 4:15 AM

    Asak, MashaAllah plaease continue these cool articles! Great insight for those who haven’t yet had the opportunity to go and study like that. :)

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