Connect with us

#Islam

An Issue with Slavery | Dr Hatem Al Haj

Dr. Hatem El Haj M.D Ph.D

Published

By Dr Hatem Al Haj

slavery

The issue of slavery may be of the hardest issues to discuss. Our collective conscience as a global community is extremely averse to the discussion because of a variety of factors, not least of which is the cruel treatment slaves suffered for centuries. Many preachers find it difficult to talk about the issue, particularly when they are asked why Islam did not take an immediate and absolute abolitionist stance from it. Furthermore, reference books of Islamic law have extensive discussions of the rulings pertaining to the slaves, which cause many educators discomfort when they have to address them. In the following article, I will attempt to highlight some of the facts about Islam’s stance from slavery.

A Historical Matter

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

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.

To begin with, any discussion of slavery in Islam that does not put the issue in its proper historical context will be flawed. No heavenly religion sought to deplete the institution of slavery more than Islam did. Islam would, therefore, welcome the current state of abolishment of slavery worldwide, and it would certainly be keen on all the nations of the world maintaining that. A central credo of Muslim conduct is that when they engage in any agreement, they must make good on their agreement. To this point Allah said:

“يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَوۡفُواْ بِٱلۡعُقُودِ‌”

{O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts…} (al-Mâ’idah 5: 1)

This article’s defense of the Islamic stance on slavery and its mention of the excellent treatment of the slaves in Islam is only a matter of a historical and theological importance. After all, a Muslim must never posit that any Divine legislation revealed to any messenger of God was sub-ethical. An abolitionist stance at the time of revelation would have not been wiser or more ethical, and would have not served the cause of emancipation of the slaves of the time.

Never Racist

The second most important point to highlight is that slavery in Islam has never been a racist practice. There were slaves of all nations in the early history of the Muslim state. Even before Islam, the Arabs had slaves of all races. The most famous slaves in the history of Islam are Salmân the Persian, Bilâl the Abyssinian, and Suhayb the Roman. Indeed, as British historian S.H. Leeder writes, the issue of color was irrelevant to the early Muslims.

“TAKE away that black man!” exclaimed the Christian Archbishop Cyrus. “I can have no discussion with him!” when the Arab conquerors had sent a deputation of their ablest men to discuss terms of surrender of the capital of Egypt, headed by the negro Ubâdah, as the ablest of them all.

To the scared archbishop’s astonishment, he was told that this man was commissioned by the General Amr; that the Moslems held negroes and white men in equal respect— judging a man by his character and not by his colour. [S.H. Leeder, Veiled Mysteries of Egypt and the Religion of Islam (New York: Charles Scribners’ Sons, 1913), 332.]

This is not a claim that there have never been racist Muslims. Racism is a human condition that arises from the problem of egotism, which manifests in different forms such as tribalism, groupism, classism, nationalism, etc. The closer you become to Allah and more devoted, the less egotistic you are. The claim here is about the institution of slavery in its theory and communal legal practice. You cannot find any racism in the governing laws or the collective legal practice of the community. Slaves, throughout the history of Islamic states, came from all backgrounds, and in fact, in most of the Muslim history, they were from non-African nations, since there were not many conquests in sub-Saharan Africa; like the Far East, those nations mostly came into the fold of Islam without war.

Slavery before Islam and in Other Religions

Slavery existed before Islam, and it spanned nearly every culture, nationality, and religion. While it may have not been known among hunter-gatherer populations, it was a part of every ancient civilization. In both a socio-geographic and religious context, slavery was both normalized and tolerated worldwide, including in pre-Columbian America. Slavery was also common in Africa. In fact, in non-Muslim Africa, there were wide-spread pagan practices associated with slavery, such as burying one or two young slaves alive next to their deceased master. The spread of Islam is credited with ending this practice. [Gordon, M. (1989). Slavery in the Arab world. New York: New Amsterdam. p. 7.]

Upon further research, it becomes apparent that no religion encouraged the ending of the practice as much as Islam did. Moreover, no religion encouraged the beneficent treatment of the slaves as much as Islam did.

Here are some mentions of slavery in the Bible. (Note that the new translations changed the word “slave” to “servant,” to be politically correct!):

Numbers 31: 17-18

“Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.”

This is a clear communication attributed to Moses 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) allowing the enslavement of concubines and having sex with them.

Leviticus 25: 44-46

“Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.  You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly…”

Exodus 21: 2-11

“If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.  “If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him.  “If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone.  “But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.”

Will Durant (an American historian and philosopher) describes the position of the Church as follows:

The Church did not condemn slavery. Orthodox and heretic, Roman and barbarian alike assumed the institution to be natural and indestructible; a few philosophers protested, but they too had slaves… Pagan laws condemned to slavery any free woman who married a slave; the laws of Constantine ordered the woman to be executed, and the slave to be burned alive. The Emperor Gratian decreed that a slave who accused his master of any offense except high treason to the state should be burned alive at once, without inquiring into the justice of the charge. [Will Durant, The Story of Civilization: Vol. 4, The Age of Faith (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1950.]

Islam’s Answer to the Dilemma of Slavery

It may be said that Islam did not take an absolute abolitionist stance on the institution of slavery, and this is true. One must remember, though, that during the time of the ministry of the Prophet (SA), not only was the immediate abolitionist approach not proposed by any religious or secular order, but it would have been infeasible. Furthermore, it might have resulted in a great deal of social and economic turmoil, not only for the communities at large, but firstly for the many slaves who would have not been able to fend for themselves.

In addition to this, the dilemma of the war captives and what to do with them made slavery the surest path to the preservation of their lives. In the past, due to the scarcity of resources, armies could not keep the captives in prisons and feed them, etc. It was also not always possible to free them because then they would regroup and go back to fighting.

Finally, since the enslavement of captives was a common practice of all armies, it would have been unexpected for the Muslims to be taken as captives if they lost and yet be mandated to free all the captives if they won.

Hence, Islam’s answer to the dilemma of slavery can be summarized in two major points:

  1. Gradual depletion of the institution by cutting off its tributaries and widening its runoffs
  2. The enjoinment of the excellent treatment of the slaves as long as the institution survived

In the following paragraphs, I will address these two points.

The Gradual Depletion of the Institution of Slavery

When one wishes to deplete a river of its water, there are two possibilities: either cut off its tributaries or increase its runoffs. Relating this analogy to slavery, in terms of the cutting off of tributaries, before Islam a person could be condemned into slavery through various means, including a man selling his own wife or child, child abandonment, debt-slavery, captivity in war, kidnapping, or as a punishment for certain crimes. Islam cut off all of those tributaries feeding into the river of slavery except for one: captivity in war, for, as mentioned previously, it was a logistical necessity at times, and more importantly, enslavement helped protect the captives’ lives. Despite that, Islam recommended freeing those captives. The Prophet said:

“فُكُّوا الْعَانِيَ يَعْنِي الْأَسِيرَ وَأَطْعِمُوا الْجَائِعَ وَعُودُوا الْمَرِيضَ”

Free the captives, feed the hungry and visit the sick.” (Bukhari)

Islam’s Encouragement of the Emancipation of Slaves

In Islam, the emancipation of slaves is considered one of the greatest virtues and ways of earning the Lord’s pleasure. Listed here are some pieces of evidence to this effect from the Quran and the Sunnah:

Allah said:

“وَهَدَيْنَاهُ النَّجْدَيْنِ*فَلَا اقْتَحَمَ الْعَقَبَةَ *وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْعَقَبَة* فَكُّ رَقَبَةٍ”

{And have shown him (humankind) the two ways [of good and evil]? But he has not broken through the difficult pass [to righteousness]. And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass? It is the freeing of a slave.} (Al-Balad 90: 11-13)

“لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ …”

{Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves;…} (Al-Baqarah 2: 177(

Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“من أَعْتَقَ رَقَبَةً مُسْلِمَةً أَعْتَقَ الله بِكُلِّ عُضْوٍ منه عُضْوًا من النَّارِ…”

Whoever frees a Muslim slave, Allah will save all the parts of his body from the (hell) fire as he has freed the body parts of the slave.

Sa`eed ibn Marjânah said that he narrated that hadith to `Ali ibn al-H@usayn, and he freed his slave, for whom `Abdullâh ibn Ja`far had offered him ten thousand dirhams, or one thousand dinars. (Bukhari)

Abu Hurayrah also narrated that he Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“من أَعْتَقَ شِقْصًا له في عَبْدٍ أُعْتِقَ كُلُّهُ إن كان له مَالٌ وَإِلَّا يستسعى غير مَشْقُوقٍ عليه”

“Whoever frees his portion of a common slave should free the slave completely by paying the rest of his price from his money if he has enough money; otherwise the price of the slave is to be estimated, and the slave is to be helped to work without hardship until he pays the rest of his price.” (Bukhari)

Islam also offered the expiation of many sins by the freeing of slaves (a much more conducive way of redemption than giving money to a religious institution).

Yet the most ingenious system Islam legislated was to give the slaves control over their passage into the world of the free by allowing them to purchase their freedom with the help of the community that was ordered by Allah to support their cause. Allah says:

“وَٱلَّذِينَ يَبۡتَغُونَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ مِمَّا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَـٰنُكُمۡ فَكَاتِبُوهُمۡ إِنۡ عَلِمۡتُمۡ فِيہِمۡ خَيۡرً۬ا‌ۖ وَءَاتُوهُم مِّن مَّالِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّذِىٓ ءَاتَٮٰكُمۡ‌ۚ”

{…And those who seek a contract [for eventual emancipation] from among whom your right hands possess – then make a contract with them if you know there is within them goodness and give them from the wealth of Allah which He has given you…} (An-Noor 24: 33)

This was beneficial for the slaves who had to be weaned from independence on their masters for provisions, for they would face problems if they suddenly found themselves required to provide themselves with food, clothes and shelter. (One must not underestimate what this could have meant to the stability and security of the society if the slaves were all freed at once by a mandate). It was also beneficial for the masters who were, to a great extent, dependent on the slaves for their businesses.

This was also favorable for the community, for they would see responsible people, who knew the value of work and labor, moving from the ranks of the slaves to those of the free.

It is noteworthy here to point out that the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) started by himself in leading that effort of emancipation. In the books of sirah (the Prophet’s noble history), it is indicated that he emancipated all of the slaves he had before Islam was revealed to him and those that he was gifted with after Islam. In the most authentic book of the Prophetic traditions, Al-BuKhari, ‘Amr bin Al-Harith (May Allah be pleased with him), the brother of the mother of believers, Juwairiyah (May Allah be pleased with her), reported from her that: (When he died) the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) left neither a dinar nor a dirham nor a male slave nor a female slave, nor anything else except his white riding mule, his weapons and his land which he had given in charity to wayfarers. [Al-Bukhari: Book 1, Hadith 475]

Finally, in attestation to what I mentioned above about the Islamic plan for the depletion of slavery, C. Snouck Hurgronje said:

Setting slaves free is one of the most meritorious pious works, and, at the same time, the regular atonement for certain transgressions of the sacred law. So, according to Mohammedan principles, slavery is an institution destined to disappear. [C. Snouk Hurgronje, Mohammedanism (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1916), 129.]

Islam’s Enjoinment of the Excellent Treatment of the Slaves

The excellent treatment of slaves in Islam is a fact that I will try to highlight by proofs from the textual and historical accounts, including testimonies by non-Muslim historians and thinkers.

In the Quran there are several verses commanding the good treatment of slaves, including:

“وَاعْبُدُواْ اللّهَ وَلاَ تُشْرِكُواْ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَبِذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْجَارِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ وَالصَّاحِبِ بِالجَنبِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ مَن كَانَ مُخْتَالاً فَخُورًا”

{Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.} (an-Nisâ’ 4: 36)

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) commanded us repeatedly to treat the slaves with mercy and compassion. One of his last recommendations to the Muslims, prior to his death, was to fear Allah regarding their slaves. A quick review of the following hadiths will further testify to his instructions regarding the excellent treatment of slaves:

“ولا يَقُلْ أحدكم عَبْدِي أَمَتِي وَلْيَقُلْ فَتَايَ فَتَاتِي غُلَامِي”

None of you should say: My slave (abdi) and My slave-woman – for you are all (Allah’s) slaves, and the Lord is Allah, Most High. (a sound hadith recorded by Abu Dawood)

Al-Ma`roor ibn Suwayd narrated: I saw Abu Dharr al-Ghifâri wearing a cloak, and his slave, too, was wearing a cloak. We asked him about that (how both were wearing similar cloaks).

He replied: Once I abused a man, and he complained of me to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) asked me,

“يا أَبَا ذَرٍّ أَعَيَّرْتَهُ بِأُمِّهِ إِنَّكَ امْرُؤٌ فِيكَ جَاهِلِيَّةٌ إِخْوَانُكُمْ خَوَلُكُمْ جَعَلَهُمْ الله تَحْتَ أَيْدِيكُمْ فَمَنْ كان أَخُوهُ تَحْتَ يَدِهِ فَلْيُطْعِمْهُ مِمَّا يَأْكُلُ وَلْيُلْبِسْهُ مِمَّا يَلْبَسُ ولا تُكَلِّفُوهُمْ ما يَغْلِبُهُمْ فَإِنْ كَلَّفْتُمُوهُمْ فَأَعِينُوهُمْ”

Did you abuse him by slighting his mother? You are a man who has jahiliyah (pre-Islamic ignorance and disbelief). He added: Your slaves are your brethren upon whom Allah has given you authority. So if one has one’s brethren under one’s control, he should feed them with the like of what he eats and clothe them with the like of what he wears. You should not overburden them with what they cannot bear, and if you do so, help them (in their hard job).>> (Bukhari 3:46:721)

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) unequivocally prohibited the separation between a mother and her slave child. Abu Musa reported that he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“لَعَنَ رسُولُ اللَّهِ – صلى الله عليه وسلم – من فَرَّقَ بين الْوَالِدَةِ وَوَلَدِهَا وَبَيْنَ الْأَخِ وَبَيْنَ أَخِيهِ”

May he be cursed, he who separates a mother from her child or a brother from his sibling. (A weak hadith recorded by at-Tirmidhi)

And for one who humiliates his slave by beating him or slapping him, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“من لَطَمَ مَمْلُوكَهُ أو ضَرَبَهُ فَكَفَّارَتُهُ أَنْ يُعْتِقَهُ”

He who slaps his slave or beats him, there is no expiation for this but to free him. (Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was always concerned about the wellbeing of the salves that he would always mention them at the times where he expected the greatest attention from his audience, such as the time of his death and during the Farewell Pilgrimage, where he had the largest audience in his lifetime. “As for your slaves, male and female,” he exhorted them at the Farewell Pilgrimage, “feed them with what you eat yourself and clothe them with what you wear. If you cannot keep them or they commit any fault, discharge them. They are God’s people like unto you and be kind unto them.” [Gordon, M. (1989). Slavery in the Arab world. New York: New Amsterdam. p. 19.]

Because of the aforementioned examples of the divine and prophetic instructions regarding slavery, no other nation or religious group in the world treated slaves better than the Muslims did, and here are the testimonies of the non-Muslim historians and leaders regarding this very fact:

On the attitude of the Muslim master towards his slaves, American historian and philosopher Will Durant writes:

…he handled them with a genial humanity that made their lot no worse – perhaps better, as more secure – than that of a factory worker in nineteenth-century Europe… It is astonishing how many sons of slaves rose to high place in the intellectual and political world of Islam, how many, like Mahmud and the early Mameluks, became kings. [Will Durant, The Story of Civilization: Vol. 4, The Age of Faith (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1950), 209.]

At the end of the 18th century, Mouradgea d’Ohsson (an Armenian historian and diplomat who wrote extensively about the Ottoman Empire) declared:

There is perhaps no nation where the captives, the slaves, the very toilers in the galleys are better provided for or treated with more kindness than among the Muhammedans. [H. A. R. Gibb and J. H. Kramers, ed., The Encyclopaedia of Islam: New Edition, vol. 1 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1986), 35.]

Napoleon Bonaparte, a military leader who was Emperor of France from 1804 to 1814, is recorded as saying about the condition of slaves in Muslim countries:

In the East, slavery never had the same characteristics as in the West. The slavery of the East is that which is seen in the Holy Scripture: the slave inherits from his master and marries his daughter. Most of the Pashas had been slaves; a great number of grand viziers, all the Mamluks, Ali Bey al-Kabir, and Murad Bey had all been slaves. They started by performing the most menial services in the house of their master and subsequently rose in status because of their merit or through favours. In the West, on the other hand, the slave was always below the domestic servant; he occupied the lowest rank… (Christian Cherfils, Bonaparte et l’Islam d’après les Documents Français & Arabes (Paris: Libraire de la Cour d’Appel et de l’Ordre des Avocats, 1914), 124.)

 

I would conclude by emphasizing that Islam was keen on the emancipation of the slaves, and it enjoined this throughout its teachings. The original and natural state in which God created his servants is the state of freedom, and He desires a return to that freedom. Let us all pray for the deliverance of all people from all forms of disguised slavery that exist in our world today and for the end of all manifestations of subjugation of people by others.

Dr Hatem Al Haj is a member of the the Permanent Fatwa Committee, Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA). He has a PhD in Comparative Fiqh from al-Jinan University, Tripoli, Lebanon. He is Mishkah University’s dean in the College of Islamic Studies, English

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

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.

Dr. Hatem Al-Haj has a PhD in Comparative Fiqh from al-Jinan University. He is a pediatrician, former Dean of the College of Islamic Studies at Mishkah University, and a member of the permanent Fatwa Committee of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Um Z

    April 17, 2016 at 3:43 PM

    This article was very informative and helpful. It leaves me wondering about the female slaves and what rights they had. For instance, when the Quran refers to the women “who your right hand possesses,” does that mean slave women? Were Muslim men allowed to have intimate relationships with slave women, and if so, were there any regulations or limitations on those relationships? Did a man have to marry a slave woman if he wanted to have a relationship with her?

    • Avatar

      Hatem al-Haj

      April 29, 2016 at 8:23 PM

      This matter will be the subject of another detailed article, sister.

  2. Avatar

    Kirana

    April 17, 2016 at 8:48 PM

    One of the reasons that convinced me of Islam is precisely that it is not black & white in issues of governance. It always prioritises the implementable over the populist nice-to-say nice-to-hear but will never happen because it isn’t the way of least harm. It’s something our world today finds difficult to appreciate in our rampant immaturity across all generations.

    • Avatar

      Atif

      August 4, 2016 at 2:22 AM

      Salaamu alaykum, that is a very interesting point. Im wondering if you could elaborate on that and how it affected your acceptance of islam.

  3. Avatar

    Kufir

    April 22, 2016 at 9:48 PM

    Islam must be reformed or it will perish as an enlightened world population moves foreward.

    • Avatar

      Aziz Abdul-Zahir

      May 24, 2016 at 7:49 PM

      الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الأِسْلاَمَ دِيناً﴾

      (This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.) This, indeed, is the biggest favor from Allah to this Ummah, for He has completed their religion for them, and they, thus, do not need any other religion or any other Prophet except Muhammad .

      Islam is perfect and doesnt need reform but the mUslims need to reform themselves in accordance to it.

  4. Avatar

    Herman

    April 28, 2016 at 2:11 PM

    The author writes: “In Islam, the emancipation of slaves is considered one of the greatest virtues.” Okay then, why did Muhammad not emancipate immediately the slaves he himself owned (for example, see Quran 33:50)?
    The author writes about emancipation, “it would have been infeasible.” All Allah had to do was tell everyone that owning slaves is morally wrong. Allah chose not to do this. As a result, Muslims continued to own slaves for more than 1,300 years after Muhammad’s death.

    • Avatar

      Hatem al-Haj

      April 29, 2016 at 7:00 PM

      I apologize for the late reply. I Did not notice the comments except today. In the books of the Prophet’s noble history, it is indicated that he emancipated all of the slaves he had before Islam was revealed to him and those that he was gifted with after Islam. In the most authentic book of the Prophetic traditions, Al-BuKhari, ‘Amr bin Al-Harith (May Allah be pleased with him) the brother of Juwairiyah (May Allah be pleased with her), the Mother of believers) reported: (When he died) Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) left neither a dinar nor a dirham nor a male slave nor a female slave, nor anything else except his white riding mule, his weapons and his land which he had given in charity to wayfarers. Al-Bukhari: Book 1, Hadith 475

  5. Avatar

    Khaleed Abu Zayed

    May 1, 2016 at 2:36 AM

    Salaam wa aleikum. I implore that you re-evaluate the assertion that slavery was “never racist”. Please read booms such as “Islam’s Black Slaves” and some of Ibn Khaldun’s works. Moreover, slavery in the Arabian Peninsula did not end until the 20th century. Also, speak with the Afro-Arab population and they will say different as well. Our Islamic community cannot distort history in order to try to look better than the so-called West. Let’s keep it real so that we can heal.

    • Avatar

      Dallas

      May 12, 2016 at 8:33 PM

      Excellent point. My only reply is that I think the brother’s intent in this article is to free Islam from intertwining the practice of slavery with racism; the Divine legislation itself did not in any way call for or involve racism when it ruled on the issue of slavery.

      I don’t think that anyone here would disagree with you brother Khaleed when you correctly say that many Muslims over the centuries have practiced slavery with extreme racism. May Allah guide us all to proper belief and practice and forgive us.

    • Avatar

      Hatem al-Haj

      May 23, 2016 at 7:30 PM

      I am sorry for the late reply. I did not claim that there have never been racist Muslims. Racism is a human condition that arises from the problem of egotism, which manifests in different forms such as tribalism, groupism, classism, nationalism, etc. The closer you become to Allah and more devoted, the less egotistic you are. The claim here is about the institution of slavery in its theory and communal legal practice. You cannot find any racism in the governing laws or the collective legal practice of the community. Slaves came from all backgrounds, and in fact, in most of the Muslim history, they were from non-African nations, since there were not that many conquests in sub-Saharan Africa; like the far east, those nations mostly came into the fold of Islam without war.

  6. Avatar

    Feresh

    May 7, 2016 at 4:54 PM

    If slavery had immediately been abolished during the rise of Islam, it wouldn’t have been erased from people’s minds. Even today, slavery marked countries struggle with immense racism. The way Islam did it, people’s minds parted from slavery first, and then the phenomenon itself. That’s the difference between divine and human law.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#Islam

Podcast: Prayer is a Work in Progress | Shaykh Abdullah Ayaaz Mullanee

Zeba Khan

Published

Many of us have been Muslim for our entire lives, and despite praying regularly for years, can still never feel like we’re never doing it right. Why is it so hard to focus in salah? And what should someone do if they feel like they are AWFUL at it?

Join Zeba Khan as she asks Shaykh Abdullah Ayaz Mullanee, who not only struggles with his prayers too, but is also the dean of Mishkah Institute, and author of the books “A Ramadan With the Prophet ” and “The Poetic Words of Sayyiduna Ali رضي الله عنه.” To take a free short course on the meaning of Salah, visit this link.

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

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.

 

 

 

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

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.

Continue Reading

#Islam

Undisputed And Undefeated: 13 Ways Khabib Nurmagomedov Inspired Us To Win With Faith

Avatar

Published

Many fans anxiously watched UFC 254 with bated breath as Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov went head-to-head with Justin “The human highlight reel” Gaethje. The latter had just come off a spectacular TKO win against a formidable and feared fighter in the form of Tony Ferguson, beating him over 5 nerve-wracking rounds by outstriking him with a combination damaging head shots and crippling low kicks.

We all knew what both would do – Khabib would go for the takedown, and Gaethje would try to keep the fight on the feet and opt for stand-up striking – which fighter’s strategy would prevail? Alhamdulillah, it was Khabib, in a mere 2 rounds.  We weren’t in the fight, but we are all nervous and supplicating, making du’a to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to give him another victory.

And so it was that after the win, he collapsed in the middle of the ring to cry, as this was his first fight after the loss of his father due to complications with Covid-19. He cried, and many a man cried with him, feeling his pain. Gaethje revived from his triangle choked slumber and consoled his former foe, telling Khabib his father was proud of him.

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

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.

We were all sure when “The Eagle” got on the mic, he would say he wanted to fight GSP, George St Pierre, and then retire 30-0, as he had said in previous press conferences leading up to the fight.  Instead, he surprised us all by announcing his retirement at 29-0, and I couldn’t help but marvel that not only was he turning away from a lucrative final fight, but the way in which he announced his retirement reminded us of our faith, our deen, our religion, Islam.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an

“And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers.”

Throughout his MMA career, Khabib has proudly worn his faith on his sleeve. As he has risen to become the current pound-for-pound #1 fighter in the world and arguably the GOAT, the greatest of all time, his unwavering example as a practicing Muslim transformed him into a global phenomenon and role model for many of us by reminding us to be better worshippers, to be closer to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Let’s look at a few of the ways he did this:

1. Beginning with Alhamdulillah

The announcer at UFC 254 began by congratulating Khabib on a job well-done yet again by praising him, stating, “The world is in awe of your greatness once again…your thoughts on an epic championship performance, congratulations.” Khabib didn’t immediately begin talking about himself. Instead, he said:

“Alhamdulillah, SubhanAllah, God give me everything…”

After stating this, he went on to announce his retirement, his reasons for retiring, and thanked everyone who supported his professional MMA journey.

The Reminder

Alhamdulillah is literally translated into “All Praise Belongs to God”. Khabib begins by thanking Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), pointing out that his talents and abilities are a gift, a blessing from the Most High. When we have any blessing from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), we must remember that whatever our own effort, our abilities, our support, and our achieved outcomes ultimately tie back to support from our Rabb, our Lord, who controls all.

Khabib pointing to Allah

It’s not from me, it’s from Him

If you’ve ever seen Khabib point at himself, shake his finger back and forth as if to say, “No” and then point up to the sky, this is a nonverbal way of him saying, don’t think all these great things you see are from me – they’re from Allah above.

2. The Prostration of Thankfulness – Sajdat al-Shukr

You may have noticed at the end of Khabib’s victory, when the announcer states that he’s the winner of the bout, he falls into a prostration known as Sajdat al-Shukr – the Prostration of Thankfulness (to Allah).

Khabib and his sons prostrating

The Reminder

Performing this is recommended when someone receives something beneficial (eg good news, wealth, etc) or if they avoided something potentially harmful (e.g. job loss, healing from a disease, etc). The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would do this when he received good news. The believer should remember to be thankful to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as much as they can.

See also:

3. Establishing the 5 Daily Prayers

Khabib and me, don’t be jelly

Years ago (early 2018), Khabib visited my local masjid in Santa Clara, California (not far from where he was training in San Jose at the AKA gym). Many at the masjid didn’t know who he was, but we heard he was the #1 contender for the UFC Lightweight championship belt, at that time held by Tony Ferguson.

He did a Q & A with the community, and someone asked him a general question about what he would recommend for the youth.  He said, and I’m paraphrasing:

Take care of your prayers, if you come to Day of Judgment not take care of your prayers, on that day you will be smashed.

The Reminder

The second pillar of Islam that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has commanded us to follow is to pray to Him 5 times daily. Khabib was no doubt referencing the following statement of the Prophet (saw):

“The first action for which a servant of Allah will be held accountable on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayers. If they are in order, he will have prospered and succeeded. If they are lacking, he will have failed and lost…”

 

 

Shaykh AbdulNasir Jangda notes that when the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) first began his mission of da’wah and faced devastating rejection from family and community, Allah told the Prophet to stand and pray. The reason for this is because when we are weak and suffering, the place to turn to for strength is back to Allah in prayer. There is no doubt Khabib’s strength came from his connection to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) which in turn came from his 5 daily prayers.

Praying multiple times daily, consistently, can be challenging; when it was legislated by Allah to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) kept telling him to go back and ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for a reduction, saying, “Your people will not be able to handle it.”

Khabib is a great reminder that no matter how high you climb in life and career, no matter how busy you think you are, worshipping Allah is the most important deed one can do, and this discipline is the most important habit to build.

4. Strong Wrestling Game

Some say Khabib is already 30-0 for wrestling a bear

In a sport that sees far more striking and kicking than it does wrestling, Khabib came to dominate the lightweight division of the UFC with a strong grappling style that is a combination of sambo (a Soviet martial art), judo, and wrestling. Famously, he outwrestled a bear when he was much younger.

During his fights, he doesn’t close out his bouts by pummeling his opponents and causing them damage as most strikers would. Most of his hits open up his opponents to being forced to tap out via submission. Even his last opponent, Justin Gaethje, noted that he was much happier to be choked out in a submission, as all he would get is a pleasant nap, as opposed to striking, which could have long-term health consequences.

The Reminder

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was not only able to wrestle, he took down the strongest wrestler in Makkah. Rukanah, the famed Makkan wrestler, challenged RasulAllah because of his hatred for the da’wah. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) accepted his challenge and took him down multiple times, body slamming him again and again. It was said that after the conquest of Makkah, Rukanah accepted Islam.

5. Fighting / Training through Sickness and Injury

During the post-fight press conference with UFC President Dana White, it was revealed that Khabib had broken one of his toes 3 weeks before the fight. Prior to that, he had taken two weeks off upon arriving at Fight Island having contracted mumps, according to AKA trainer and coach Javier Mendez. Khabib is quoted as having told Mendez, “My toe may be broken, but my mind is not.” In addition to this, his father had just passed away months earlier, and this would be his first fight without his father present.

Mumps, broken toes, and the emotional turmoil of family tragedy

The Reminder

In addition, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has told us, “A strong believer is better and is more beloved to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone…” This strength includes strength of body, mind, and spirit; not just when conditions are perfect, but when trials surround you from every conceivable direction.

6. Relationship With His Father

After defeating Justin Gaethje, Khabib went to the center of the ring and cried, and everyone cried with him. We all knew his father’s death weighed heavily on his mind and his heart, and this was his first fight without him. His father was his mentor and trainer, whom everyone could obviously see he both loved and greatly respected.

In the post-fight question and answer with Dustin Poirier, Khabib was asked, “What’s your message for your young fans out there who look up to you so much?” he responded:

“Respect your parents, be close with your parents, this is very important. Parents everything, you know, your mother, your father, and that’s it, and everything in your life is going to be good, if you’re going to listen to your parents, mother, father, be very close with them, and other things come because your parents gonna teach what to do.”

The Reminder

There isn’t enough space in this article to go over how much emphasis our faith places on respecting our parents. Allah says in the Qur’an:

Your Lord has commanded that you should worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say no word that shows impatience with them, and do not be harsh with them, but speak to them respectfully. [17:23]

7. Relationship With His Mother

Our parents ultimately want us to succeed, but also want us to maintain our well-being. Without his father’s presence, it was clear that Khabib’s mother didn’t want him continuing in the Octagon (the UFC ring). After 3 days of discussion, Khabib gave his word to her that this would be his final fight. After beating Justin Gaethje in UFC 254, Nurmagomedov announced he was retiring because he promised his mother that he would retire and that he’s a man of his word.

The Reminder

This hearkens back to a statement of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) about how much respect mothers deserve. A man asked the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, “Who is most deserving of my good company?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man asked, “Then who?” He (saw) said “Your mother.” The man asked again, “Then who?” The Prophet again said, “Your mother.” The man asked again, “Then who?” The Prophet finally said, “Your father.”

Khabib easily had millions more to make on a journey to hit 30-0 in his professional fighting career and decided to hang it all up to make his mother happy. This is true respect and obedience, and for that matter, the love of a mother for her son and his well-being over monetary gains.

8. Respect for Muhammad Ali

When asked about the comparisons between himself and Muhammad Ali, Khabib stated that it was an inappropriate comparison. He noted that Muhammad Ali didn’t just face challenges in the ring, but challenges outside of it due to racism, and that he was an agent of change with respect to bringing about greater civil rights for African Americans.

The Reminder

In his final sermon, Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, or of a non-Arab over an Arab, and no superiority of a white person over a black person or of a black person over a white person, except on the basis of personal piety and righteousness.”

From the 7th century until today, our faith recognizes that people are not judged by their race, but by their actions and the intentions behind those actions. In the video above, Khabib recognized both the wrongness of racism, and the challenge it posed along the way of Muhammad Ali’s own journey, and that his contributions to social justice transcended his involvement in sport.

9. His Conduct with Other Fighters

With the exception of the fight with Conor McGregor, Khabib always dealt with his opponents with respect. He hugs them, shakes their hand, and says good things about their accomplishments and strengths both before and after fights. In a sport known for heavy trash talking and showboating to build hype, Khabib kept his cool and his manners.

Champion vs Champion, the respect is mutual

The Reminder

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“The only reason I have been sent is to perfect good manners.”

Maintaining good character and conduct during press-conferences was Khabib’s calling card; even when trash talkers like Tony Ferguson tried to go after him, he would still recount Ferguson’s formidable stature as a fighter.

When reporters tried throwing him a softball opening to insult Ferguson’s mental health, Khabib responded that he didn’t want to talk about Tony Ferguson’s problems if he they were real; if Ferguson truly has a problem, then we should help him, as we all have problems.

10. Fighting Those Who Dishonor Faith and Family

As mentioned above, Khabib is known for being very respectful of his opponents during press conferences. He speaks well of their strengths, shakes their hands, hugs them; he even runs up to his opponent after a fight and hugs them, consoling them and wishing them well. After his win against Poirier, he traded shirts with him and donated $100k to Poirier’s charity.

Khabib vs Dana’s boy, the chicken

The exception was the infamous UFC 229 which Muslim fans watched holding years, maybe decades of pent up anger at the type of crass secular arrogance represented by Conor. We desperately wanted Khabib to maul the mouthy McGregor. The latter had gone after his family, his faith, his nationality, anything and everything to hype up the fight and try to get under the champ’s skin. Some people lose their calm, and others, well, they eat you alive.

Khabib made it clear he wasn’t having any of that. He took the fight to Conor and choked him out with a neck crank. We then learned why he was called “The Eagle” as he hopped the cage and jumped into the audience to go after other members of Conor’s team who had spoken ill of him, giving birth to “Air Khabib”.

The Reminder

When our faith and family is spoken of in an ill fashion, it’s not appropriate that we sit there and take it. Khabib never cared when it was criticism against him, but once it went to others around him, he took flight. We as Muslims should never give anybody who tries to attack and dehumanize us a chance to rest on their laurels. We should strive ourselves to take the fight back to them by whatever legal means necessary, as Khabib did, whether it is cartoons of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) or political pundits and satirists who monetize hatred against Muslims.

11. Shaking Hands and Training with Women

In numerous public instances, Khabib reminded us that our faith demands we don’t shake with the opposite gender. As one of my teachers taught us, the Qur’an instructs us to “lower our gaze” when dealing with women. If we shouldn’t even look at them out of respect for Allah’s command, how can we take it to the next level and touch them?

Extended to this is even more serious physical contact like training at the gym. Cynthia Calvillo, one of Khabib’s teammates at AKA gym, said the following about Khabib and his unit:

“It’s a little bit weird because of their religion and stuff…They don’t talk to women you know. I mean we say ‘hi’ to each other but we can’t train with them. They won’t train with women…I don’t think any other woman does.

The Reminder

Our faith places stricter physical and social interaction boundaries between men and women. Keeping matters professional and respectful with the opposite gender need not include physical contact. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was said to have never touched non-mahram women. It was narrated that he said,

“It is better for you to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle than to touch the hand of a woman who is impermissible to you.”

For this reason, the majority of scholars prohibited physical contact between men and women with some exceptions (e.g. old age). Watching Khabib maintain this practice, even in public where it could potentially embarrass him and cause undue negative attention, gives us all inspiration to deal with this issue in the workplace better. He encourages us to strive for better tolerance and awareness of our faith rather than forcing us to conform.

12. Not Making a Display of The “Trophy” Wife

If you follow Khabib’s Instagram, you won’t find lewd pics of him and a significant other. In fact, you won’t find any pictures at all of him and his wife. Who she is is a mystery to all. In an age and a sport where many post photos with their romantic partners, Khabib again is a standout with his gheerah, his honorable protectiveness for his significant other.

Khabib and his wife

The Reminder

We are again reminded that a part of manhood is to have protective ghayrah, jealousy over one’s spouse. Ibn al-Qayyim also said, bringing in the concept of chivalry,

“The dayyuth / cuckold is the vilest of Allah’s creation, and Paradise is forbidden for him [because of his lack of ghayrah]. A man should be ‘jealous’ with regards to his wife’s honor and standing. He should defend her whenever she is slandered or spoken ill of behind her back. Actually, this is a right of every Muslim in general, but a right of the spouse specifically. He should also be jealous in not allowing other men to look at his wife or speak with her in a manner which is not appropriate.”

13. Owning His Mistakes, Looking to Be Forgiven

Finally, it should be noted there is no real scholarly disagreement on prohibiting striking the face. Recognizing this, Khabib stated when asked if “he thinks the AlMighty will be satisfied with him for taking part in haram fights for money,” he replied, “I don’t think so.”

In an interview with the LA Times, he said:

“You go to mosque because nobody’s perfect. Everybody makes mistakes, and we have to ask Allah to forgive us. This is very important mentally, to be clear with Allah. This is not about the UFC. There is nothing else more important to me than being clear with Allah. And being clear with Allah is the No. 1 most hard thing in life.”

The Reminder

We as human beings aren’t perfect – perfection is only for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). We all make mistakes, sometimes small, sometimes large, but in the end, He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is ready to forgive us if we’re willing to recognize our failings and ask to be forgiven.  Allah says in the Qur’an in 2:222:

“Allah loves those who always turn to Him in repentance and those who purify themselves.”

There are no sins so great that redemption is beyond any of us. Whatever Khabib’s flaws, his value as a positive change maker and faith-based role model globally outweighs his negatives.

Part of seeking forgiveness is the process, and the first part of that process is acknowledging the mistake. This means not being in denial about it or not justifying it, just owning it. As Khabib has owned his mistake publicly, there is no need for us to try and justify it either.

We can own that there are problems with MMA and the industry, in participating as well as watching and supporting. At the same time, we can do as Dr Hatem al-Hajj said about Muhammad Ali:

Concluding Thoughts

While UFC pundits will forever debate over the greatest of all time, there is in doubt that Khabib Nurmogomedov, the first Muslim UFC champion, will always be our GOAT.

I ask that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) accepts the good from what Khabib has done, rewards him tremendously for the inspiration he’s given us all to better focused on the akhirah, the next life, and continues to make him a powerful sports icon who uses his platform as Muhammad Ali did to teach Islam and exemplify it in the best way for all of us to benefit and follow.

Ameen.

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

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.

Continue Reading

#Islam

Does A Muslim Have To Wish Well For An Oppressor Who Is Struck With Disease?

Imam Imran Salha

Published

First, we should differentiate between those who want to curse at the oppressor because it’s a fad, and those who do so because they either experienced oppression directly from said oppressor, or they genuinely empathize with those who have been directly oppressed.

To those who are doing it as a fad, I say what my teachers always said to me:

“Islam is not for blowing off steam.”

You cannot use Islam as an outlet for immaturity. Imam Shafi’i said if you are stuck between two options, choose the one that goes against your desires for there is a higher likelihood that the truth lies in that option.

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

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.

Second, we also have to be careful not to restrict the Islamic position on something just because it sounds like the moral high road. This may be personal preference for some to hold back from cursing the oppressor, but that doesn’t mean Islam specifically asks this of us.

What is the standard?

The Qur’an – “Tell my servants to say the best word.”

“I was not sent as one who always curses.” -Hadith

“The Muslim is not one who always curses.” -Hadith

Scholars noticed that the Prophet ﷺ used the word اللعّان (la’aan) instead of لاعن (laa’in). The former is صيغة المبالغة which means that one is always cursing, where the latter is a description for one who curses once. If the Prophet ﷺ meant to say that the Muslim NEVER curses he would have said “A Muslim is not one who curses even once.”

Instead, what He ﷺ actually said is it is not part of the character of a Muslim that they frequently curse, which is why he used the word لعّان.

Also, the Prophet ﷺ could not have meant that he never cursed, because he himself cursed at an entire tribe. In an authentic hadith in Saheeh Muslim, Khifaaf ibn Imaa’ al-Ghifaari narrates that the Prophet ﷺ made the following dua during salah:

اللَّهُمَّ العَنْ بَنِي لِحْيَانَ، وَالْعَنْ رِعْلًا، وَذَكْوَانَ، ثُمَّ وَقَعَ سَاجِدًا.

“Oh Allah, send your curse upon Bani Lihyaan, and curse Ri’l, and Thakwaan – and then the Prophet ﷺ fell in prostration.”

There is no way that the Prophet ﷺ would command us never to curse and then in certain instances invoke the curse of Allah on others. This proves that cursing is in fact necessary sometimes.

Abu Bakr [ramhu] told Urwah bin Masood to lick the genitalia of Al-laat, which was an idol that was worshipped at the time. This was after Urwah disrespected the Prophet ﷺ. This is a hadith in Bukhari and the Prophet ﷺ did not scold AbuBakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) for his reaction and all the narrations that say the Prophet ﷺ scolded him are weakened if not fabricated. We know the rulings on the Prophet ﷺ’s silence. His silence is legislation. If there was something wrong with Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)‘ s words the Prophet ﷺ would have HAD to say something about it. His ﷺ silence means he agreed with what Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) did.

Even if you do not want to curse, why should you wish well on any oppressor when Allah cursed all oppressors in the Qur’an? You can be clever. Look at the following example.

When Jamal Abdel-Nasser died, Imam Mohammed al-Ghazzali (ra) said: “Oh Allah have mercy on him in the same way he had mercy on your Ummah.”

لما مات جمال عبد الناصر قال الشيخ الغزالي: اللهم ارحمه بقدر ما رحم الامة

So I can say, (and again this is in the case of wanting to avoid cursing): Oh Allah! Have mercy on Trump to the same degree that Trump had mercy on the immigrant mothers who had to be separated from their children as a result of his ruthless policies.

For Tarbiyah purposes, it is beneficial to teach your children and students of knowledge never to curse. This was the methodology of Imam AbdelQadir Jilani (ra) who would force his students never to curse even against oppressors. However, this is in the context of Tarbiyah and preparing students for scholarship and leadership, not the context of Fiqh. This is so that the students lean more towards the Prophetic reality and is also more in line with the hadith we mentioned in the beginning! A student of knowledge and future leader should not be in the habit of constantly cursing.

Many spiritual paths force their students into a certain “extreme” to discipline them and make their default setting leaning towards what is more spiritually beneficial, so that only when it is absolutely necessary will they use these “licenses” that allow them to express their anger. When it comes to the general masses though, we should not make it seem like this is absolutely not allowed, or that it is even spiritually superior to wish well on an oppressor.

We should not be in the business of telling people that Islam forces you to wish well on forces of evil.

The Prophet ﷺ passed by a janazah and said: “Relieved and one who others are relieved from.” Upon being asked, the Prophet ﷺ explained: “The Believer is relieved at the moment of their death from the toil of life. As for the wicked, the people, land, trees and animals are relieved from their presence as soon as they die.”

May the eyes of the oppressors never find rest. Ameen.

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

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.

Continue Reading
..

MuslimMatters NewsLetter in Your Inbox

Sign up below to get started

Trending