Eight Things to Teach Your Sons

Our children are literally our investment in this world for the next, as the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: “When a man dies, all his good deeds come to an end except for three: ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge, and righteous offspring who will pray for him.” (Muslim)

The world is now changing. Due to globalization, our children are now exposed to all sorts of ideas and values, many of which do not conform with our Islamic sensibilities and which desensitize them to the widespread vices in the society. In these times of trials and fitnah, we need to make sure that we inculcate in our sons the ability to think and make the correct choices. We need to raise leaders, not sheep following the herd of the latest trends.

Here are eight things that Muslim parents must teach their sons to help them emulate the perfect model of our beloved Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam

1- You are the shepherd of your flock

Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Everyone of you is a shepherd and he is responsible for his flock… a man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them.” (Abu Dawood)

These words of our Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam need to be etched in our sons’ memories, especially in this day and age when men are absent from their families, and the degeneration of the institution of the family in the West is being glamourized. Teach your sons that a shepherd takes care of his flock and protects them from not only hunger and thirst but also the wolves out there to get them. Our sons should be the protectors and saviours of their family and society. Explain to your sons that even though hanging out with friends, being involved in propagating Islam, and spending time at work is encouraged, this does not absolve them of the responsibility of making sure that their family comes first.

2- Do not let others discount your sense of honour as jealousy

In the name of feminism, gender equality, and the live-and-let-live banner, men have been stripped of their most important value: their gheerah or sense of honour. Out of their fear of being stigmatized as jealous, intolerant, and backward, men have lost their innate sense of honour to protect their women, children, family, and their rights. This does not mean that we raise our sons to be jealous, over-protective, intolerant brothers and husbands; we need them to be men who are intolerant of the practices that lead their family away from the deen (religion) of Allah yet patient and wise in guiding their loved ones. Just as you teach your daughters, teach your sons too the importance of the Hijab and how it liberates the Muslim women from oppression and exploitation and not the other way round. Let your sons be the voice and the force that helps the Muslim woman walk about in her Hijab and Jilbab without the fear of being persecuted.

3- Modesty is not for women only

Do not let your sons grow up with the notion that only women need to be modest. Teach them that modesty is as much for men as it is for women and modesty being half of faith applies to all Muslims. Help them realize that looking good and sporting the latest trends is great as long as it does not lead them to feelings of superiority, imitation of the disbelievers, or extravagance. Inculcate in them a love for simplicity, for growing their beards like the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam advised, and a love for being clean and neat.

4- Gentleness and kindness befits a Muslim man far more than authority and harshness Teach your sons that the more respect they give, the more they will be respected. Teach them to be good listeners, as a good leader is one who accepts good counsel and opinions of others as we see in the example of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. Teach them to listen with the intent to understand, not with the intent to reply or argue. And last, but not the least, teach them early on to be caring and kind to their mother and sisters, so that they are gentle, loving husbands and fathers when they grow up.

5- A real man helps around the house Teach your sons from a very young age to help around the house and participate in chores as much as their sisters, so that they grow up to be men like the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, who would mend his own shoes, wash his own clothes, and help around the house. The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam is the model of excellence and our sons need to be taught his Seerah (biography) in detail so that they emulate him in every manner, expecting the reward from Allah for following his footsteps.

6- Less of halal is better than more of haram

Teach your sons not to measure their success on the yardstick of this world. Inculcate in them the understanding that it is better to earn less through halaal permissible ways, than to earn more through illegal or dodgy means. Make them understand that if earning halal gives them less in this world, the recompense in the Hereafter will be beyond their wildest imaginations.

7- Choose your friends as you would choose a perfume – the best and the most fragrant

Though we need to let our children learn how to make their own relationships and function in society independently, it is the responsibility of the Muslim parent to give their children the tools to help them choose the right friends.

Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: “A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend.” (at-Tirmidhi) Teach your children to befriend those who remind them of Allah and don’t lead them to things that are against the teachings of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam.  Explain to them the analogy of a good friend being akin to a perfume seller who leaves one with a good smell versus a bad friend who, like the blacksmith, will either burn you or leave you with a bad smell. (Muslim)

8- Be a superhero

In today’s day and age, when all one can see is an obsession for ‘comic book superheroes,’ capture your sons’ imaginations with tales of Khalid bin Walid who was more skilled than the best of the Jedi Knights; acquaint them with the powers granted to Sulayman which surpassed the powers of all the comic book heroes put together; entrance them with stories of the strength of Umar’s  faith which cannot be rivalled by any character of someone’s imagination. Teach your boys to look up to the prophets of Allah, Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, his Companions, and the righteous predecessors – the real superheroes – by telling them their stories and creating in them the urge to emulate them and follow in their footsteps.

Taken from; http://blog.iiph.com/eight-things-to-teach-your-muslim-sons

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The Patience of Abu Qilaabah

Imam al-Awza’i narrates from ‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad that he said:

I went out to the shore as a patrolman and our patrol at the time was in al-‘Areesh in Egypt. When I arrived at the shore, I came upon an open area and there was tent on it. In the tent was a man who had no hands and legs and he was hard of hearing and sight. None of his limbs were of benefit to him but his tongue, and he was saying: ‘O Allah, grant me (the ability) to praise you a praise through which I can sufficiently thank You for the favours You have bestowed upon me and by which You have preferred me over many whom You have created a great preference.’

Al-Awza’i said: ‘Abdullah said: ‘By Allah, I will certainly go to this man and I shall certainly ask him about this speech. Perhaps it is an understanding, or knowledge or inspiration which was inspired to him?’

So I approached the man and greeted him and said to him: ‘I heard you and you were saying: ‘O Allah, grant me (the ability) to praise you a praise through which I can sufficiently thank You for the favours You have bestowed upon me and by which You have preferred me over many whom You have created a great preference’ so what favour from the favours of Allah upon you are you praising Him for? And in what way did He prefer you over others a great preference that you need to thank Him for it?’

He said: ‘Don’t you see what my Lord has done? By Allah, if He sent the sky to me as a fire which burned me, or ordered the mountains to crush me, or the oceans to drown me, or the earth to swallow me up; it would only cause me to be more grateful to my Lord for the favour of this tongue He bestowed upon me.

However, O slave of Allah, as you have come to me, I have a need of you! Perhaps you see me and the state I am in, I cannot harm nor benefit myself. I had a young son who used to come to me at the time of prayer and help me do my ablution, and when I became hungry he’d feed me, and if I became thirsty he’d provide me with a drink but I have missed him for the last three days, so please look for him on my behalf may Allah have mercy on you.’

I said: ‘By Allah, no creature could fulfill the need of another which is greater in reward with Allah than a need similar to yours.’ So I set out looking for the young boy, and I hadn’t gone far before I came by a sand hill, and behold I found the boy who had been preyed upon by a beast which ate his flesh! I did istirjaa’ (saying ‘inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un’) and said: How am I going to be able to face this man with a gentle face?!’

As I was heading towards him, the dhikr (words of remembrance) of Ayyub (‘alayhisalam) came to my heart. So when I reached him I greeted him and he responded and said: ‘Are you not my companion?’ I said ‘Yes!’ He said: ‘What did you do about my need?’ I said: ‘Are you more honourable in the site of Allah or was Ayyub the Prophet?’ He said, ‘Of course, Ayyub the Prophet.’ I said: ‘Do you know what His Lord did with him? Did He not test him in his wealth, family and children?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said: ‘How did He find him?’ He said: ‘He found him patient, grateful and praising.’ I said: ‘He was not pleased with that for him until his relatives and loved ones deserted him?’ He said, ‘yes.’ I said: ”How did His Lord find him?’ He said: ‘He found him patient, grateful and praising; make this short may Allah have mercy on you.’ I said to him: ‘The young boy you sent me in search of, I found him in a sand hill having been preyed upon by a beast which had eaten his flesh. May Allah increase for you tour reward and may He inspire you with patience.’

The tested man said: ‘Praise be to Allah Who did not create from my progeny creations who would disobey Him and He would then punish them by the fire. He then did istirjaa’ and breathed a sigh and died.’

I said: ‘Indeed to Allah we belong and to Him is our return. What a huge calamity before me; a man like this, if I were to leave him the beasts would eat him, and if I stay I won’t be able to harm nor benefit.’ So I covered him in a cloak which was over him and sat at his head crying.

As I was sitting, four men came upon me and said: ‘O slave of Allah, what is your situation and what is your story.’ So I told them my story and his. They said to me: ‘Uncover his face for us, perhaps we know him.’ I uncovered his face and the men fell upon him kissing his eyes and his hands alternately and saying: ‘May our father be sacrificed; for how long these eyes were lowered from the prohibitions of Allah. May our father be sacrificed; for how long this body prostrated before Allah while the people were sleeping.’

I said: ‘Who is this, may Allah have mercy on you?’ They said, ‘This is Abu Qilabah al-Jurmi, the companion of Ibn ‘Abbas. He had tremendous love for Allah and the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam)!!’

So we washed him and shrouded him with clothing we had with us and prayed over him and buried him. The men left and I went back to my station. When night fell, I put my head down and saw him in a dream, in a garden from the gardens of Paradise wearing two garments from the garments of Paradise while reciting the revelation (which means): “Peace be upon you for what you patiently endured. And excellent is the final home.” (al-Ra’ad: 24).

I said: ‘Aren’t you my companion?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said: ‘How did you receive this?!’ He said: ‘Verily, with Allah are levels that cannot be attained except with patience at times of trial and gratitude at times of prosperity along with fear of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, in private and in public.’

– From ‘al-Thiqat’ by Ibn Hibban

credit to: http://www.fajr-literary.com

 

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A Goodly Life

Life, is either for a person, or against him, It’s hours and seconds, days and years pass him by Leading him (by his actions) to the Love and Good Pleasure of Allah until he is amongst the people of Ultimate Success and the Gardens of Paradise or they are against him, leading him (by his actions) to the Fires of Hell and to the Anger of the One, the Just Ruler [Allah]

Life, either it will make you laugh & rejoice for an hour over which you will cry for an eternity (in the Hereafter) or it will make you cry for an hour over which you will laugh & rejoice for an eternity (in the Hereafter)

Life, is either a great blessing for a person, or an adverse affliction against him

This is a life which was lived by the earliest generations, by our fathers and forefathers and by all those who preceded us. All of them, returned to Allah with what they used to do [their deeds]

“Life” refers to every single moment that is lived within it and every hour spent within it And within all of these, we live a life that is either for us or against us

Thus, the successful and happy person is the one who sees life, and recognises its reality and true nature, for by Allah, it is a life that frequently causes some people to weep, their tears never drying and frequently makes others laugh, their laughs and joys then never to return

Allah has made this life as a trial, a test, an exam, in which is made apparent the true nature of His slaves, thus happy is the one who is made successful (in this exam) by the Mercy of Allah while miserable & banished (from salvation) is the one upon whom the Pleasure of Allah becomes forbidden (as a result of him failing this exam)

Know for every hour that you live, either Allah is pleased with you in this hour (by your deeds) or the opposite, we seek refuge in Allah from that, either you come closer to Allah or you stray further from Him

It may be, that you live a single moment of love and obedience to Allah (by your actions) by which you are forgiven the inequities of your life and a lifetime of sins, and it may be that you live a single moment in which you deviate purposely from the Path of Allah, distancing yourself from His obedience which then becomes a cause of misery & distress, for the rest of your life.  We ask Allah for His Safety and Pardoning

In this life there exist two separate ‘callers’, the first is anything that calls to the Mercy, the Good Pleasure and the Love of Allah (be they thoughts or actions) and the second type of caller is anything which invites to the opposite of that, Such as a desire or lust that incites one to evil or a sudden sinful whim that may result in an evil ending (dying in bad or sinful circumstances)

Thus it may be, that a person within a moment of his life, weeps; a weeping of regret and repentance over his negligence towards his Lord; and by these tears Allah changes his evil deeds into good deeds (on his record)

But how many a people continue to commit sins? how many a people still indulge in evil? how many a people continue to distance themselves (from Allah), frequently travelling away from their Lord (by their actions)? Thus all of them are distant from the Mercy of Allah unbeknownst to them, strangers to the Good Pleasure of Allah

Then comes upon them that hour, that exact moment (of penitence), which is what we are referring to, by “the goodly life”, in order that they shed tears of regret and remorse ,and that a reason for anguish in the heart may be ignited, such that the person realises how long his alienation from Allah has been and how long his absence from his Lord truly has been so that he may then say, “Indeed I am turning to my Lord repentant, remorseful, and in hope of His Mercy and Good Pleasure!”

This time (of penitence) is a person’s key to happiness and contentment, the time of regret. It is as the scholars say, “Indeed man sins a great deal, but if he is truly sincere in his regret and repentance, Allah will change his sins into good deeds” Thus his life too then becomes pure and goodly, by the purity and truthfulness of that regret and repentance and by the sincerity in the very distress and pain felt within himself

Every single one of us needs to ask themselves a question, we need to ask ourselves day and night, how many nights are spent awake in activity? and how many hours are passed (in this way)? How many have laughed in this life? And most importantly was Allah Pleased with this laughter?

How much of this time was spent in entertainment and enjoyment in this life? Was this enjoyment one that Allah was Pleased with? How many nights were spent awake in activity? Was this staying awake (and what you did in those nights), pleasing to Allah? And so on and so forth, these are the questions that he should be asking within himself, but a person might wonder why he should be asking these questions (i.e. what’s the point)?

Yes! You must ask yourselves these questions, as not the instant of a blinking of an eye a  passes, nor a fleeting moment in your life, except that you are living in and experiencing the Blessings of Allah! Thus it is from great respect and humility towards Allah that a person remains constantly aware of the greatness of the Blessings bestowed upon him.  From this humility is to truly feel and acknowledge that the food we eat, belongs to and is provided by Allah, and that we quench our thirst with a drink created by Allah and that we are shaded and sheltered by a roof provided by Him and that we walk forth upon a ground provided by Him and that without doubt we are living in and experiencing His every Bounty and Mercy, so what could we possibly have to offer Him in return?

So it’s important a person asks himself these questions. When he wakes up in the morning, possessing his hearing, possessing his sight, possessing his physical strength. Who is the one safeguarding his hearing? Who is the One safeguarding his sight? Who is the One safeguarding his intellect? Who is the One safeguarding his very soul? He must ask himself, who is the One protecting all of these things? Who is the One who Bestowed him with good health and wellbeing? Think of those who are sick, lying on white beds (in hospital) those who are sighing and in pain (from illness), By Allah, through these great blessings Allah conveys His Love for us, the great blessings of good health, wellbeing, security and safety, All of these things are provided purely so that we may live a goodly life.

Allah, praised & exalted is He, desires two things from His slave: The first is that he carry out his obligatory duties (e.g. prayer) and the second, is the abandonment of all Allah has forbidden and held him back from. As for the one who claims that closeness to Allah entails a life of suffering or limitations then such a person without doubt has erred greatly in how he perceives Allah

For, by Allah, if you do not purify and make good your life by closeness to your Lord, you will never be able to do so by way of anything else, and if you do not purify and adorn your life by carrying out your obligatory duties to Him, and abandoning all that He has forbidden, then by Allah, you will never be able to so by way of anything else.  A person may experience every single pleasure life has to offer,  but by Allah, he will never experience anything more pleasurable, more beautiful than servitude to Allah by carrying out his obligations to Him and leaving all that He has forbid him from

In life you are subjected to two choices, whenever you are faced with a matter,  you have the choice to either do it or not do it, If you decide to go forth and do anything in this life, ask yourself, “Has Allah permitted you to do this thing, or not?” Since the human being himself is owned by Allah, the hearts are all owned by Allah, and the souls are all owned by Allah.  Thus a person should, whenever he wants to do something or hold back from it, ask himself, will Allah be pleased with you (by this action)?If so, then let him proceed.  Or, will Allah not be pleased by this action? If not then he should hold himself back

For, by Allah, a person does not proceed with an action nor hold back from it, requesting Allah’s Mercy (and counsel in the decision), except that he pleases his Lord in the process.  Therefore true happiness and a goodly life are only to be found in closeness to Allah. Closeness to who? To the King of Kings, the Controller of the Heavens & the Earth, To whom belongs the Ultimate Command, all creation, and the perfect arrangement and measure of all that exists.

Thus you may find that man is always in a state of anxiety and weariness, You may find an individual who has everything he desires, But by Allah, you will find most of those who have all they desire suffer from mental or psychological problems, from anxiety and depression, most of them are extremely unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives. Go and look for the wealthiest person, and you’ll most likely find him to be from the most miserable people in life. Allah has made the sweetness and savour of life to be found in being close to Him And has placed the key to a pleasurable, amiable life, in a pleasurable, amiable relationship with Him

If we look at just one prayer that a person performs from the 5 obligatory daily prayers;  at the moment of completing his bowing and prostrating and completing his servitude to his Lord, then at leaving the place of prayer, he feels a great sense of ease and peace within himself! By Allah, even if you were to spend all the wealth on earth in an attempt to buy this feeling, you would be unable to seek a way to it

Thus the goodly life is found only in closeness to Allah.  A pleasant, comfortable life will only be found by a closeness to Allah, If a person does not purify and make good his life through this close relationship, then by what will he….?

[by Sheikh Muhammad Mukhtar Ash-Shinqitee]

http://youtu.be/-fugf1DcNyc?t=35s

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“…in this moment, in this moment”

 

‘Abdullaah Ibnul-Mubaarak رحمه الله said:

“I came to Makkah while it had been stricken by drought and the people were praying Istisqaa (prayer for rain) in Masjid Al-Haraam. I was by the gate of Banee Shaybah, when I saw a young black boy who was wearing two pieces of burlap (a thick cloth usually used to make sacks), one piece wrapped around his waist and the other tossed over his shoulder. He stood at a secluded place next to me and I heard him say, “My Lord, the faces are worn due to their sins and the evil of their deeds, and you have prevented us from rain to discipline the creation, I ask you O patient and forbearing One, You who His slaves know nothing of Him except that which is beautiful, give them rain, in this moment, in this moment.””

Ibnul-Mubaarak said, “He continued to say, “In this moment” until the sky became filled with clouds, and the rain descended from every direction, and he sat in his place making tasbeeh, and I began to cry.

When he left I followed him to find out where he lives. After that, I went to Fudhayl Ibn ‘Iyaadh who said to me, “Why do you look so depressed?”

I said to him, “Someone beat us to Allaah, and so He took him as an intimate companion other than us.”

He said, “How so?”

So I told him the story, and he cried out “Woe be to you, O Ibnul-Mubaarak! Take me to him!”

I said, “There’s no time at the moment, I’ll find out more about him.”

So the next morning I prayed Fajr and I went to his residence and there was an old man sitting at the door. When he saw me he recognized me and said, “Welcome, O Aboo ‘Abdir-Rahmaan. What do you need?”

I said, “I am in need of a black boy.”

He said, “I have many”, and so he cried out “Boy!” and a strong young man emerged, and he said, “You’ll have a good result with this one. He would be good for you.”

I said, “I have no need for him”.

So he continued to bring out boy after boy, until I saw the boy that I recognized, so when I saw him my eyes teared. He said, “Is this the one?”

I said, “Yes”.

He said, “There’s no way I can sell him.”

I asked, “Why not?”

He said, “Because I see his presence in this house as a blessing, and he does not cost me anything!”

I asked, “Where does he eat from?”

He said, “He earns from some food that he sells and that is his sustenance, and if he does not sell, he eats it and that is sufficient. The other boys tell me that he does not sleep these long nights, and he does not mix with them, but is busy with himself, and my heart has loved him.”

I said, “Do I go back to Fudhayl Ibn ‘Iyaadh and Sufyaan Ath-Thawree without having fulfilled their need?”

He said, “Your coming to me is a great occasion for me, you may have him for whatever price you wish.”

So I purchased him and took him towards Fudhayl. We walked for a moment before he said, “O my master.”

I replied, “At your service.”

He said, “Please don’t say ‘At your service’ to me, for the slave is the one who should be at the service of his master.”

I said, “What do you need, my beloved?”

He said, “I am physically weak, and don’t have the strength to serve, and you had options other than me. Others were brought out who were stronger than me.”

I said, “May Allaah never see you serving me, rather I will purchase for you a house and marry you off, and I will serve you myself.”

He cried in that moment, so I asked him, “What makes you cry?”

He said, “You didn’t do that except that you saw one of my communications with Allaah, otherwise why would you choose me over the others?”

I said, “Don’t worry about it.”

But he insisted, “I ask you by Allaah to tell me.”

I said, “The response to your supplication.”

He said, “I estimate that you are إن شاء الله a righteous man. Allaah has a chosen group amongst his creation, He does not expose their status except to whom He loves from amongst his slaves.” Then he said, “Is it alright if we stop for a moment? I have some rak’at (units of prayer) that I owe from yesterday.”

I said, “The house of Fudhayl is near.”

He said, “No, here is more beloved to me. The commands of Allaah should not be delayed.” He entered the masjid from the door of the merchants so he continued to pray and when he finished he looked towards me and said, “O Aboo ‘Abdir-Rahmaan, do you need anything?”

I asked, “Why?”

He said, “Because I want to journey on.”

I asked, “To where?”

He said, “The hereafter.”

I said, “Let me enjoy your company!”

He said, “Life was only sweetened when my interaction was only with Allaah. Now if you have been exposed to it, other will as well, and I have no need for that.”

He then collapsed onto his face and said, “O my Lord, take me to You in this moment, in this moment.”

I came near to him and found that he had passed away.

By Allaah, I never remembered him except that a long sadness would envelope me and that the dunya would become insignificant in my eyes.”

 

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The Story of Julaybib

It is narrated in the Books of History that Julaybib (may Allah be pleased with him) was a Sahabi who was short in height, deformed in appearance, his lineage was not known, no one knew who his parents had been, with no clan to protect him, no tribe willing to accept him as their own, he cut a lonely figure even the small children of Madina would tease and mock him, owing to his deformities no one would allow him to sit in their company.

He survived as best he could, many a lonely night in Medina he spent wondering the streets in despair, tears of desperation would run down his cheeks, there was no one willing to offer him love or compassion, he had no family and not a single friend in the world. Life for him was a lonely struggle.

After the arrival of the Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) to Madina, the fortunes of Julaybib changed. He would go and sit in the company of the Prophet and listen intently, rarely speaking, he would out of shyness keep his gaze lowered. He now, had the best of friends in the Prophet of Allah, those days of loneliness and despair were over for the Best of creation had arrived. Julaybib was now part of community of believers.

One day as he was sitting in the Company of the Prophet, The Messenger Of Allah asked him: “O Julaybib ask for something, is there anything you desire.”

He raised his head slowly and said in a shy voice,

“O Messenger of Allah, Allah has blessed me with your companionship, I get to sit at your blessed feet and hear your blessed words, what more could I desire”.

The Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) asked: “How would you like to get married my dear Julaybib,”. He smiled shyly wondering who would want to marry him. “Yes, oh messenger Of Allah I would like that.”

The Prophet Of Allah went to the house of a prominent and Noble Sahabi from amongst the Ansar. He said “I have come to ask for your daughters hand in marriage”. The Sahabi was overjoyed he said: “O Messenger of Allah what could be a greater blessing than this.” The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “I do not ask of her for myself, It is for Julaybib that I am asking.” The Sahabi was left stunned:” For Julaybib he asked in bewilderment.” “Yes for Julaybib” replied The Messenger of Allah. He said: “Let me consult with my wife.” He went and told her. “The Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) has asked for your daughters hand in marriage, for Julaybib.” She started crying and wailing: ” No not Julaybib anyone but Jualybib I will never allow this.”

Upon hearing the commotion the daughter arrived. It is said that she was so beautiful that there was none among the women of the Ansar who could compete with her looks. She was so shy and modest that perhaps the sky itself had never seen her head uncovered. She had so much taqwa that she would spend her days and nights in worship. The daughter asked what was happening; she was told that the Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) wants your hand in marriage for Julaybib. As the Mother continued her crying and Wailing the daughter spoke she said “O my Mother fear Allah think of what you are saying, are you turning away the prophet of Allah? O my Mother it does not suit a believer to make their own decision once Allah and his Messenger have decided on a matter. Do you think that the Prophet of Allah will disgrace us? How blessed is the status of Julaybib, that Allah and his Messenger are asking for your daughters hand on his behalf. Don’t you know that the angels themselves envy the dust on the feet of one who is a beloved of Allah and his Prophet? Ask the Prophet, to send me Julaybib for there is no greater privilege than for me to be blessed by such a husband, Prophet of Allah has arrived with such a wonderful gift yet my Mother you cry and wail.”

The Mothers heart being filled with remorse said: “Stop my daughter don’t say another word indeed I have erred I repent and I repent a thousand times over for as of this moment there is no one who I would prefer for you than Julaybib.”

The following day the Nikaah is made, Uthman and Ali present Julaybib a gift of Money to help arrange the feast of Walimah, and to purchase accomodation.

A short time later on an expedition Julaybib was martyred. On the day of the expedition his Father in law, had pleaded with him: “‘O Julaybib this is just an expedition, it is not a compulsory Jihad, it is a voluntary Jihad, therefore you are newly married spend some time with your wife.”Julaybib, the one who had spent a lifetime in despair had now found a loving wife. But listen to his response to the father in laws request He said ” ‘O my father, you say a strange thing my beloved Prophet is in the battlefield facing the enemies of Islam and you want me to sit at home with my wife, nay I will sacrifice my blood and my soul rather than see my Prophet facing hardship while I sit at home in luxury”.

The diminutive Julaybib was indeed a strange sight carrying a sword almost the same size as him. The Sahaba stared in amazement at him the sweet and gentle Julaybib was transformed in to a Lion. “Who dare wage war upon my prophet”: He said, As he charged into the ranks of the enemy.

After that battle, the Prophet of Allah asked the Sahaba to go and to see if anyone was missing from their family’s and clans. Each one returned accounting for all his family members. Then the Prophet spoke with tears in his eyes, he said “But I have lost my beloved Julaybib go and find him.” They found his diminutive body lying next to seven Kuffar he had slain in the battle.

The Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) asked for a grave to be dug, as the Prophet of Allah held the body of Julaybib(ra) he said. “O’ Allah he is from me and I am From Him”, he repeated this three times. The companions wept profusely “May our Mothers and Fathers be sacrificed for you O’ Julaybib, how great is your status.” Thus a Sahabi who had once lived as an outcast, shunned by the society around him. He loved Allah and his Messenger and reached such a high status. He who was not good looking was blessed with a beautiful wife, he who was poor was blessed by a wealthy wife, he who had no family or status, was blessed by a wife with noble status and lineage he who had lived in loneliness and despair, was loved by Allah and his messenger, He had the Messenger of Allah say: ” O Allah he is from me and I am from him.”

It is said: “That upon his martyrdom, that the sky itself was filled with thousands of angels who had come to participate in his Janazaah.

Julaybib ‘The Lonesome one’ had become a beloved of Allah, and his prophet , he was lonely no more. Such is the status of the lovers of Allah and the Prophet .

As for his wife it is said that there was no widow whose hand was more sought after in marriage than hers.

Sahih Muslim Book 031, Number 6045:

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The Method of Tafseer

The Qur’aan is the last book of divine revelation sent to man, and Allaah has promised to protect it from any distortion or loss. He said in the Qur’aan:

“Verily, I have revealed the Reminder (Qur’aan) and verily I will preserve it.” (Qur’an 15:9)

Its written and recited forms have been preserved without even the slightest change for over fourteen hundred years. This cannot be said about the Gospel of Prophet Jesus, nor the books of the Old Testament attributed to earlier prophets, nor any other scripture revealed by Allaah. However, Allaah’s protection of the Qur’aan did not stop there; He also safeguarded the original meaning. If the protection of the Qur’aan’s meaning had not taken place, deviants would have turned the Book of Allaah into a jumble of symbols, riddles and codes open to a multiplicity of interpretations, and its original meaning would have been lost. Allaah preserved the meaning of the Qur’aan by explaining some of its generalities within the Qur’aan itself and by entrusting the tafseer(explanation) of the remainder to His Messenger, Muhammad ibn Abdillaah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam).

The sahaabah (companions) were taught to seek their understanding of the Qur’aan first from the Qur’aan itself, then from the explanations and applications of the Prophet and from their own intimate understanding of the language of the Qur’aan. After the Prophet’s death, those who entered Islaam as new converts depended first upon the Qur’aan to explain itself, then they depended on the sahaabah to explain the Qur’aan to them. The sahaabah would inform their students(taabi‘oon) of the circumstances in which the verses were revealed, the interpretation given by the Prophet’s statements and his actions, and finally they would explain the meanings of some words which may not have been familiar or which may have had a different meaning to Arabs outside of the Arabian Peninsula. With the passing of the era of the sahaabah, the scholars among the taabi‘oon shouldered the grave responsibility of conveying the original meanings of the Qur’aan to the next generation of Muslims exactly as they had received them. It was the third generation after the Prophet which began the process of gathering and recording the various narrations of tafseer from the taabi‘oon.

From the above-mentioned methodology of the Prophet  and his companions and that of the early generations of Muslim scholars which followed them, the following steps have been deduced by orthodox scholars as being the necessary conditions for making correct tafseer of the Qur’aan:

1. Tafseer of Qur’aan by Qur’aan

There are many places in the Qur’aan where questions are asked in order to catch the mind of the reader and subsequently answered to increase the impact of the concept in question. In other places, general statements are made and then later explained in order to vary the modes of presentation and encourage readers and listeners to reflect more. This self-explanatory process is referred to as tafseer of the Qur’aan by Qur’aan. Allaah chose to clarify what He intended by revealing other explanatory verses. For example, Allaah asks,

“By the heaven, and by at-Taariq and what will make you understand what at-Taariq is?” (Qur’an 86:1-2)

He then answers His question in the next verse:

“It is the piercing star.” (Qur’an 86:3

Therefore, before seeking an explanation or interpretation elsewhere, the Qur’aan must be relied upon to explain itself, for Allaah knows best what He intended.

2. Tafseer of Qur’aan by the Sunnah

On many occasions, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) added further clarification to various verses of the Qur’aan. Allaah had entrusted the job of explaining the Qur’aan to the Prophet. This trust was expressed in the Qur’aan in no uncertain terms,

“We have revealed the Reminder (Qur’aan) to you (O Muhammad) so that you may explain to the people what has been revealed to them.” (Qur’an 16:44)

“We have only revealed the Book to you (O Muhammad) in order that you clarify for them the things about which they differ.” (Qur’an 16:64)

The sahaabah understood this clearly and always turned to the Prophet  for clarification whenever they were in doubt about the meaning of any of the Qur’aanic passages. In fact, most of the fine details of salaah, zakaah, sawm,hajj, inheritance laws, etc. were explained either by the Prophet’s statements or practical demonstrations and applications (the Sunnah). Thus, the Prophet’s explanations of Qur’aanic passages are referred to as the tafseer of the Qur’aan by the Sunnah, because the Sunnah was based on guidance from Allaah, it represents the second part of God’s promise to explain the Qur’aan, consequently no other human interpretation can be given precedence over that of the Prophet (r).

3. Tafseer of Qur’aan by Aathaar

Whenever the sahaabah could not find the tafseer of a passage in the Qur’aan itself or in the Sunnah, they would use their own reasoning based on their knowledge of the contexts of the verses and the intricacies of the Arabic language in which the Qur’aan was revealed. Consequently, one of the greatest commentators of the Qur’aan, Ibn Katheer, wrote in the preface of his tafseer, “If we are unable to find a suitable tafseer in the Qur’aan or in the Sunnah, we go to the opinions of the sahaabah. For verily, they knew the Qur’aan better than anyone else due to their knowledge of the circumstances of its revelation, their complete and accurate understanding of it, and their righteous deeds.” These explanations of the sahaabah are known as tafseer by aathaar (the sayings of the sahaabah).

However, the tafseer transmitted from the Prophet  and the sahaabah did not cover all of the verses of the Qur’aan. The Prophet explained only what was unclear to the sahaabah, and they, in turn, only explained what was unclear to the taabi‘oon. But with each succeeding generation, more areas became unclear due to the evolution of the language. Hence, the taabi‘oon had to make further explanations after the passing of the sahaabah’s era. These explanations are considered a part of tafseer by aathaar and should be given precedence over personal opinions where there is unanimity among them. Where they differed, none of their opinions are given preference over the others unless it is supported by the language.

4. Tafseer of Qur’aan by Language

With the passage of time, words took on new meanings and old meanings became lost, foreign words entered into the language, and vast sections of vocabulary fell into disuse. This natural process necessitated the explanation of some of the Qur’aanic words according to their literal and grammatical meanings. Consequently, this period witnessed the appearance of dictionaries written specifically to deal with Qur’aanic Arabic vocabulary and philology. In cases where words had more than one meaning, this step created differences of opinion which could only be solved by finding some support in the Sunnah. For example, “lams” literally means to touch, but figuratively it means sexual intercourse. Thus, the later scholars were of two basic opinions concerning the following verse,

 “…or you have been in contact with (laamastum) women and cannot find water, then make tayammum (ritual purification with dust).” (Qur’an 4:43)

Imaams ash-Shaafi‘ee and Maalik held that it meant the touch of the hand, though each imaam added certain stipulations to it. On the other hand, Imaam Aboo Haneefah ruled that it meant sexual intercourse. However, the Prophet’s wives reported that he kissed them before performing salaah, which indicated that touching was not intended by this verse.

The four above-mentioned methods come under the general title of tafseer bir-riwaayah or tafseer bil-ma’thoor (tafseer based on narration) and, as such, leave little room for argument. Although the fourth step is often times based on narrations from earlier generations, at other times it can be highly opinionated and controversial. For example, Yusuf Ali translates the word “burooj” used in the 85th soorah as “the Zodiacal signs,” while Pickthall translates it as “Mansions of the Stars,” but says in his introduction to the soorah that it “is applied to the signs of the zodiac.” Thus, according to them, Allaah is making an oath by the zodiacal signs.

Some English-speaking Muslims have taken this to be an indirect support for astrology. However, “burooj” originally only meant “star configuration,” and it was not until later times that it was used to refer to the imaginary figures of the zodiac that pagan Babylonians and Greeks superimposed on them. Astrology has been forbidden by the Prophet in no uncertain terms, as it falls under the general prohibition of visiting fortune-tellers. The Prophet said:  “Whoever…visits a fortune-teller [and believes in what he says] has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad.”

5. Tafseer of Qur’aan by Opinion

Opinions based on a careful study of the first four steps can be considered valid as long as they do not contradict any of those steps. Likewise, the application of obvious meanings of the Qur’aan to existing situations and the formation of conclusions based on their similarities are also allowed, as long as such interpretations do not clash with authentic classical explanations. But, free interpretation based on philosophical, scientific, or sectarian ideas is totally forbidden. The Prophet was reported to have said:

Opinion-based argument about the Qur’aan is kufr.” He repeated it three times, then said, “What you know of it, act upon; and what you are ignorant of, refer it to one who knows.”

We can see from the above-mentioned hadeeth that the Prophet sternly warned his companions and later generations of Muslims about interpretations of the Qur’aan based on speculation and unsubstantiated opinions. The reason is that the Qur’aan is the foundation of Islaam and, as such, it had to remain pure and un-tampered with. If free rein was given to any and everyone to interpret the Qur’aan as they wished, its value would be totally destroyed, and Islaam would be undermined from its base. Thus, the only acceptable tafseer is that which adheres to the following sequence: tafseer of Qur’aan by the Qur’aan, then by the Sunnah, then by the sayings of the sahaabah, then by language, and finally by opinion, as long as it is based on the preceding four methods and does not contradict any of them.

From the book Usool at-Tafseer of Abu Ameenah Bilal Phillips

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Virtue of the Sahabah

Belief in the good character and virtue of the Sahabah is the belief of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah. That is because Allah has praised them in His Book and they were also praised by the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) as is narrated in the books of Sunnah. Allah gave them special virtues and noble characteristics, by means of which they attained that great honour and high status with Him. As Allah chose for His message the most pure-hearted of His slaves (i.e., the Prophets), so too He chose as the heirs of the Prophets those who would be grateful for this blessing and who were fit for this honour (of conveying the message), as He says:

“Allah knows best with whom to place His Message” [al-An’aam 6:124] 

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Allah knows best where to place His Message, both with regard to the original recipient and those who inherit it from him. He knows best who is fit to receive His Message and convey it to His slaves in a trustworthy and sincere manner, respecting the Sender and fulfilling his duties towards Him, patiently following His commands and showing gratitude for His blessings and drawing close to Him, and He knows who is not fit for that. Similarly, He knows best who among the nations is fit to be the heirs of His Messengers and to succeed them and convey the Message that they received from their Lord. Tareeq al-Hijratayn,p. 171 

Allah says;

“Thus We have tried some of them with others, that they might say: ‘Is it these (poor believers) whom Allah has favoured from amongst us?’ Does not Allah know best those who are grateful?” [al-An’aam 6:53] 

Shaykh al-Sa’di (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Those who acknowledge the blessing and affirm it, and who do what it requires of righteous deeds, are the ones on whom Allah bestows His blessing, to the exclusion of those who are not grateful, for Allah is wise and He does not place His bounty with one who is not qualified to receive it.  Just as there are many verses and ahadith which speak of their virtue and high status, so too there are texts which state the reasons why they deserved this high status, such as the verse in which Allah says;

“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate, seeking Bounty from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. The mark of them is on their faces from the traces of prostration. This is their description in the Tawraat. But their description in the Injeel is like a (sown) seed which sends forth its shoot, then makes it strong, and becomes thick and it stands straight on its stem, delighting the sowers, that He may enrage the disbelievers with them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous good deeds, forgiveness and a mighty reward “[al-Fath 48:29] 

Among the greatest reasons for the high status of the Sahabah is that to which Allah bore witness of their purity of heart and sincere faith. That, by Allah, is a mighty testimony from the Lord of mankind, which no human being can attain after the cessation of the Revelation.  Listen to the words of Allah;

“Indeed, Allah was pleased with the believers when they gave the pledge to you (O Muhammad) under the tree, He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down calmness and tranquillity upon them, and He rewarded them with a near victory” [al-Fath 48:18] 
Ibn Katheer (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his tafseer: “He knew what was in their hearts” i.e., of sincerity and loyalty, and the willingness to hear and obey.” 

How beautiful are the words of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him): “…The companions of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) were the best of this ummah, the most righteous of heart and the deepest in knowledge and the most straightforward, the people whom Allah chose to accompany His Prophet and establish His religion. So acknowledge their virtue and follow in their footsteps, and adhere as much as you can to their morals and religion, for they were following right guidance. Narrated by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr in al-Jaami’, no. 1810. 

Allah promised Paradise and eternal bliss to the Muhaajireen and Ansaar, and He stated that He is pleased with them in verses that will be recited until the Day of Resurrection. Can anyone think that this would be given to one who does not deserve that bounty? 

Allah, may He be glorified and exalted says: 

“And the foremost to embrace Islam of the Muhaajiroon and the Ansaar and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success” [al-Tawbah 9:100]

The leader of mankind, the foremost among the Messengers and Prophets, also testified to their virtue. He was a witness over them during his lifetime; he saw their sacrifices and their sincere resolve, and he spoke immortal words of the honour of his companions and his love for them.  It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah said: “Do not revile my companions, for by the One in Whose hand is my soul, if one of you were to spend the equivalent of Uhud in gold, it would not amount to a mudd of one of them, or half of that.” [Al-Bukhaari (3673) and Muslim (2540)] 

It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The best of the people are my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them.” [Al-Bukhaari (2652) and Muslim (2533)]

Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Kifaayah (49): Even if there was nothing narrated from Allah or His Messenger about them, the things that they did such as migrating, engaging in jihad, supporting the Prophet and Islam, expending their lives and their wealth, killing their fathers and sons (in jihad), sincerely following the deen, believing strongly and with certainty, is definitive proof of their good character and sincerity, and shows that they are superior to all those sincere people of good character who come after them, for all time. This is the view of all the scholars, and of the fuqaha’ whose opinion counts.

If we were to list the attitudes with which they supported the deen and the righteous deeds by means of which they deserved that high status, we would fill volumes. Their whole lives were spent for the sake of Allah and what book is big enough to contain the lives of hundreds of the Sahabah who filled the world with goodness and righteousness? 

Ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) said: `Allah looked into the hearts of His slaves, and He saw that the heart of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the best of people’s hearts, so He chose him for Himself and sent him with His message. Then He looked into the hearts of His slaves after the heart of Muhammad, and He found that the hearts of his companions were the best of people’s hearts, so He made them the supporters of His Prophet, who fought for His religion. So whatever the Muslims think is good, is good before Allah, and whatever they think is bad, is bad before Allah.” Narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad (1/379).

It is essential to understand that the Sahabah were not infallible. This is the view of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah. Rather they were human beings like any others.  Whatever sins or mistakes any of them may have made maybe overlooked in comparison to the honour of accompanying the Prophet and they were forgiven and pardoned. Good deeds take away bad deeds. The support that the Sahabah gave to the Prophet at any given moment for the sake of this religion cannot be matched. 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:  
Ahl al-Sunnah speak well of them, and pray for mercy and forgiveness for them, but they do not believe that anyone is infallible or that anyone is protected from making mistakes in their ijtihaad except the Messenger of Allah; it is possible for anyone else to commit sins or make mistakes, but they are as Allah says: “They are those from whom We shall accept the best of their deeds and overlook their evil deeds. (They shall be) among the dwellers of Paradise a promise of truth, which they have been promised” [al-Ahqaaf 46:16]. Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 4/434. 

This is confirmed in the Qur’an and Sunnah, in more than one place. Allah forgave those of the Sahabah who turned back on the day of Uhud, as He says: “Those of you who turned back on the day the two hosts met (i.e. the battle of Uhud), it was Shaytaan who caused them to backslide (run away from the battlefield) because of some (sins) they had earned. But Allah, indeed, has forgiven them. Surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:155] 

When one of the Sahabah sinned by telling Quraysh that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was coming with the army during the year of the Conquest, and ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab wanted to execute him, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “He was present at Badr, and you do not know, perhaps Allah looked upon the people of Badr and said: ‘Do what you wish, for I have forgiven you.'”  [Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim (2494)] 

And there are other cases in which some of the Sahabah committed sins, then Allah, may He be exalted, pardoned them and forgave them, which is indicative of their virtue and honour and that cannot be undermined by any mistake that they made during the time of the Prophet or after he died. The verses quoted above, which speak of their virtue and give them the glad tidings of Paradise, cannot be abrogated by anything.

From Islamqa

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Conditions of a Saheeh Hadith

A hadith must meet the five criteria in order to be accepted according to Islaamic law as a source of legal ordinance.  Ibn as-Salaah defined the Hadith Saheeh as follows:

“A Hadith Saheeh is one which has a continuous isnaad(chain), made up of trustworthy narrators narrating from trustworthy narrators, which is found to be free from any irregularities or defects.”

1. Ittisaal as-Sanad (Continuity of the chain of transmitters)

The chain of narrators or transmitters, who are relating the Matn (text), has to be unbroken for the hadith to be considered. That is none of the transmitters must be missing from the chain and each narrator, Raawee, has to have met the transmitter directly preceding him as well as the one directly following him. Each Raawee has to be a known individual, otherwise he is classified as majhool (unknown) and the sanad is classified as broken.

2. ‘Adaalah (integrity)

The integrity of the narrators is the second key condition for a hadith to be considered valid. By integrity we mean that the narrator was a practicing Muslim and was not known to have done any of the major (forbidden things) if he was a known liar he is classified as kaththaab and the hadith that he has transmitted is classified as da‘eef. These are the conditions verified through the references of the biographical science of hadith known as Kutub ar-Rijaal.

3. Dabt (accuracy)

The accuracy of the text is determined by two factors either of which is sufficient by itself. 

(a) Dabt as-Sadr (Soundness of memory) Each narrator must be known for his ability to memorize and repeat with a high degree of accuracy. If a narrator had a tendency to repeat hadith in a number of different ways such a hadith is classified as Mudtarib (confused) and any other hadith that he narrates will be classified as Da‘eef.  When the narrator’s level of accuracy is mediocre but the other conditions for authenticity are fulfilled, the hadith is classified as hasan.

(b) Dabt al-Kitaabah (Written accuracy) Each narrator who does not fulfil precondition “a”, must be known for recording his hadith in books accurately and his narrations only be from his books, these two preconditions (a,b) are also verified by Kutub ar-Rijaal (books on Biographies of narrators).

4. Ghayr Shaathth (conformity)

It is critical that the hadith conform to similar hadiths narrated on the same topic whose chains are stronger. If the text of a hadith contradicts that of another well-known text whose chain of narration is stronger, or it is in conflict with a group of other narrators of a similar status, it is classified as shaathth (errant), which is one of the categories of hadith da‘eef(weak).

5. Laa ‘Illah (absence of hidden defect) 

The hidden defect is one that causes the hadith to appear to be sound and only become evident after deep investigation. For a hadith to be considered sound (saheeh) it has to be free of hidden defects. A hadith with hidden defects is called ma‘lool or mu‘allal. Ibn al-Madeenee (d. 324AH) said that a defect can only be revealed if all the isnaads of the hadith are collated. In his book, al-Ilal, he listed 34 Successors and the names of the Companions they heard hadiths directly from. For example, he said that al-Hasan al-Basree (d. 110AH) did not meet ‘Alee (d. 40AH), although there is a slight possibility that he may have seen him during his childhood in Madeenah. Such information is very important as it disproves the many Sufi traditions in which they claim that al-Hasan heard from ‘Alee. Only a few hadith scholars compiled books on this topic, among them, Ibn Abee Haatim ar-Raazee (d. 327), al-Khallaal (d. 311) and ad-Daaraqutnee (d. 385) 

Ruling of Hadith Saheeh 

A hadith that fulfils all the five conditions of sihhah(authenticity) is referred to as a hadith Saheeh. Such a hadith can be used to establish points of Islamic law and, if it isn’t abrogated, it must be accepted and applied. The ruling of a hadith saheeh can only be superceded by that of another hadith saheeh stronger than it. 

Taken from the book Usool Al-Hadith by Abu Ameenah Bilal Phillips

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The Art of Happiness

Among the greatest of blessings is to have a calm, stable, and happy heart.  For in happiness the mind is clear, enabling one to be a productive person.  It has been said that happiness is an art that needs to be learned.  And if you learn it, you will be blessed in this life.  But how does one learn it? A basic principle of achieving happiness is having the ability to endure and to cope with any situation.  Therefore you should neither be swayed nor governed by difficult circumstances, nor should you be annoyed by insignificant trifles.  Based on the purity of the heart and its ability to endure, a person will shine. 

When you train yourself to be patient and forebearing, then hardship and calamity will be easy for you to bear.  The opposite of being content is being short-sighted, being concerned for no one but one’s own self and forgetting about the world and all that is in it.  Allah described his enemies as follows:

“Thinking about themselves” [as how to save their own selves, ignoring the others and the prophets][Surah Aal Imran: 154]

It is as if such people see themselves as being the whole universe, or at least at the centre of it.  They think not of others, nor do they live for anyone but themselves. It is incumbent upon you and I to take time out to be pre-occupied with more than just us, and to sometimes distance ourselves from our own problems in order to forget our wounds and hurts. By doing this we gain two things; we make ourselves happy, and we bring joy to others.

Basic to the art of happiness is to bridle our thoughts and to restrain them, not allowing them to wander, stray, escape, or go wild.  For if you were to leave your thoughts to wander as they wish, then they will run wild and control you.  They will open the catalogue of your past woes. They will remind you of the history of your misfortunes, beginning from the day that your mother gave you birth.  If your thoughts are left to roam, then they will bring to you images of past difficulties and images of a future that is frightening.  These thoughts will shake your very being and will cause your feelings to flare.  Therefore bridle them, and restrain them by directing them to the concentrated application of the kind of serious thought that begets fruitful and beneficial work.

“And put your trust in the Ever-Living One who dies not” [Surah Furqan: 58]

Also among the principles of the art of happiness is to value life on this earth according to its true merit and worth.  This life is frivolous and does not warrant anything from you except that you turn away from it. This life is filled with calamities, aches, and wounds.  If that is the description of this life, then how can one be unduly affected by its minor calamities, and how can one grieve over such material things that have passed by him? The best moments of life are tainted, its future promises are mere mirages, the successful ones in it are envied, the one who is blessed is constantly threatened, and lovers are struck down by some unexpected misfortune.  And in a hadith reported from the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, he said;

“Verily, knowledge is only acquired by the practice of learning, and tolerance is acquired by the practice of tolerating.”

If one were to attempt to apply the meaning of this hadith to the topic under discussion, then he could go one step further and say that happiness is acquired by assuming it.  It is acquired by constantly smiling, by hunting for the reasons that make one happy, and even by forcing it onto one’s own self, however awkward that may seem.  One does all of these things until happiness becomes second nature.

The truth of the matter is that you cannot remove from yourself all remnants of grief, and the reasons for this is that life was created as a test.  As Allah says in the Qur’an; 

“Verily, We have created man in toil”[Surah Al Balad: 4]

“That He might try you, which of you is the best in deeds” [Surah Hud: 7]

But the message i wish to convey to you is that you should, as much is possible, reduce the amount and intensity of your grief.  As for being completely free from grief, this is for the inhabitants of paradise in the hereafter.  This is why the dwellers of paradise will say;

“All the praise and thanks be to Allah, who has removed from us [all] grief” [Surah Faatir: 34]

This is considered to be a proof that grief will not be removed from them except in paradise.  Likewise, grudges and bitterness will not be completely removed except in paradise.

So when a person knows the nature of this world and its qualities, he comes to realise that it is dry, deceitful, and unworthy; and he comes to fully understand that, that is its nature and its description.  If the description of this world is as I have described it to be, then it is worthy of the intelligent person not to help it in its onslaught, nor to surrender to depression and anxiety.  What should we do is defend ourselves from all feelings that may spoil our lives, in a war that we must wage with all the strength that we have endowed with.

“But they never lost heart for that which did befall them in Allah’s way, nor did they weaken nor degrade themselves” [Surah Aal Imran:146] 

Pause to reflect…

Do not be sad. If you are poor, then someone else is immersed in debt.  If you do not own your own means of transportation, then someone else has been deprived of his legs.  If you have reasons to complain concerning the pains of sickness, then someone else has been bed ridden for years.  And if you have lost a child, then someone else has lost many children.

Do not be sad. You are a Muslim who believes in Allah, his Messengers, His Angels, the Hereafter, and Preordainment – both the good and the bad of it.  While you are blessed with this faith, which is the greatest of blessing, others disbelieve in Allah, discredit the Messengers, differ among themselves concerning the book, deny the hereafter, and deviate in their understanding of divine preordainment.  Do not be sad, because if you are, you disturb your soul and heart, you prevent yourself from sleeping and living a happy life.

 Taken from the book Don’t Be Sad by A’id al Qarni

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Ways of Strengthening Patience

 

The Patience of noble people and the patience of ignoble people

Every person has to exercise patience in order to face difficulties, whether he does so willingly or unwillingly. The noble person exercises patience willingly, because he realizes the benefits of patience, and he knows that he will be rewarded for his patience and will be criticized if he panics. He is aware that if he does not have patience, panicking and impatience will not help him to regain missed opportunities, and will not take away things he dislikes. Whatever is decreed and is qada’ wa qadr cannot be prevented from happening, and whatever is decreed not to happen cannot be made to happen. So an attitude of impatience and panic actually causes harm.

A wise man said: “A man with wisdom as soon as adversity appears does that which a foolish man does after a month (i.e. he resorts to patience).”

The ignoble man exercises patience only when he realizes he has no choice. After wasting a lot of time and energy and panicking and struggling, he realizes that his impatience will not help him. Then he exercises patience in the same way that a person who has been tied up to be whipped exercises patience.

The noble person practices patience in obeying Allah, whilst the ignoble person exercises patience in obeying the Shaytân. So ignoble people have the greatest patience in following their own whims and desires, and have patience in spending in the way of Shaytân and no patience when it comes to spending even a few pennies in the way of Allah. They will endure many difficulties in order to follow their own whims and desires, but cannot bear even the least difficulties in order to please their Lord. They will endure slander for the sake of committing wrong actions, but cannot exercise patience in putting up with slander for the sake of Allah. Such people will avoid enjoining the good and forbidding the evil for fear of what people will say about them for doing so, but they will expose their honour to slander and bear it most patiently for the sake of following their own whims and desires. Similarly, they are not prepared to practise patience in devoting themselves to Allah, but when it comes to devoting themselves to Shaytân and their own whims and desires, they will exercise remarkable patience. Such people will never be noble in the sight of Allah, and on the Day of Resurrection they will not be raised with the people of nobility and decency.

Ways of strengthening patience

As patience is fard (obligatory), Allah has provided us with ways and means of obtaining and strengthening the quality of patience, for He has never instructed us to do something without providing us with help and support to do it, and ways and means of achieving it. He has never created a disease without creating a cure for it, and He has guaranteed cure when medicine is used. Even so, patience is difficult, but it is not impossible to attain. Patience consists of two elements: knowledge and action, and from these two elements are derived the remedies for all spiritual and physical troubles. Knowledge and action, combined, are always essential.

Knowledge

The element of knowledge is necessary in order to realize the benefits of following the commands of Allah and the sense of happiness and fulfilment that one may attain by following them; and to understand what it is in the forbidden things that causes harm, imperfection and evil. When a person realizes that, and adds strong willpower, the desire for spiritual achievement and the wish to live as a complete human being (as opposed to as animal-like existence), then it will become easy for him to attain the quality of patience. The bitterness of patience will become sweet and the pain of patience will become joy.

Action

Patience is a constant battle between the motives of reason and religion on the one hand, and the motive of whims and desires on the other. If a person wants reason and religion to overcome whims and desires, then he has to strengthen the former and weaken the latter, just like promoting good health and reducing the risk of illness.

For example, a person who has a strong desire to commit adultery can take steps to combat it. He may have such a strong sexual urge that he cannot stop committing adultery; or he may not commit the act itself, but is unable to stop looking at women; or he may be able to stop looking at women but he cannot stop thinking of sex, to the extent that all his thoughts are devoted to this subject, and he never gives any thought to things which could benefit him in this life and in the hereafter. If he is really serious about finding a cure for this disease, then he has to follow these steps:

1. He can find out what types of food increase sexual desire, and then he can reduce his intake of them, or avoid them altogether. If this does not work, then he can fast, as fasting reduces sexual desire, especially if the food eaten when he breaks his fast is moderate.

2. He should lower his gaze and avoid looking at women, as looking at women may provoke sexual desire. The Prophet (SAAS) warned us, “Looking (at women) is one of the arrows of the Shaytân.” Shaytân aims his arrows from reaching its target unless one lowers one’s gaze. But if a person keeps looking, he is exposing his heart to these arrows, any one of which may be fatal.

3. He should enjoy permissible sex (i.e. within marriage), because any desire that Allah created in us has a permissible outlet. This is the best cure, as the Prophet (SAAS) has indicated.

4. He should think of the harm and damage that may befall him in this world as a consequence of his fulfilling his sexual desire in a prohibited way. Even if there were no Paradise or Hell, the harm that could be caused in this world by such an action should be enough to stop him from doing it. The damage caused by such actions is so great that it can barely be quantified, but sexual desire makes some people blind.

5. He should think of the ugliness of the person who is tempting him to commit adultery with her, especially if she is known to have other partners. He should feel too proud to drink from the same place as dogs and wolves! 

Strengthening the motive of reason and religion

In the battle between reason/religion and whims/desires, we have the following “weapons” at our disposal:

1. We should remember the glory and greatness of Allah, and feel that He is too great to be sinned against as He is all-seeing and all-hearing. Whoever thinks of the greatness of Allah will never be at ease in committing wrong actions.

2. If we claim to love Allah, then we should not disobey Him, because of that love. A person should be obedient to the One he claims to love. Those who refrain from committing wrong actions out of their love for Allah are of the highest status in His sight, as are those who worship Him out of love for Him. There is great difference between the one who obeys Allah and abstains from wrong action out of love, and the one who does so out of fear of punishment.

3. We should think of the blessings and favours of Allah, as a decent and noble person would never act against the one who has been treating him kindly. Only base and ignoble people do such a thing. If we think of the blessings and favours of Allah, we will realize that we should not respond by doing against His commands and committing wrong action.

4. We should think of the wrath and punishment of Allah, as He will be angry with the person who persists in committing wrong action. Nothing can stand in the way of the consequences of His anger, least of all this weak slave of His.

5. We should think of what the person who commits wrong action has to lose, in this world and the next. It should be sufficient to think of the loss of îmân (faith), of which the smallest amount is worth much more than everything in this world. How can anyone be willing to lose his îmân in return for some brief moment of pleasure the consequences of which might last forever? In a sahîh hadîth, the Prophet (SAAS) said: “No adulterer is a believer at the time of when he is committing adultery.” Commenting on this hadîth, one of the Sahâbah said: “His îmân will be dragged out of him until it goes over his head like a cloud. If he repents, then his îmân will return to him.”

6. We should relish the idea of defeating the Shaytân and being victorious over him, because of overcoming him, and our whims and desires, is a thing of joy and carries a great reward. It is like taking medicine and being rewarded with restoration to good health.

7. We should bear in mind the reward and compensation which Allah has promised to those who control their whims and desires, and abstain from that which is haram.

8. We should think of the special companionship of Allah, as He has told us: “Allah is with those who patiently persevere” (al-Baqarah 2:153) “For Allah is with those who restrain themselves and those who do good” (an-Nahl 16:128) “For verily Allah is with those who do right.” (al-‘Ankabût 29:69)

9. We should be ever mindful of death, which could come upon us at any time, suddenly and without warning.

10. We should stop thinking of falsehood and bad ideas. Even if bad thoughts cross our minds, we should not let them stay, otherwise they may become hopes and wishes which we may act upon, and harm ourselves and others in the process.

11. We should gradually strengthen our religious motive in fighting whims and desires. Once we have tasted the joy of defeating those whims and desires, then our determination and willpower will grow stronger.

12. We should direct our thoughts towards contemplation of the signs of Allah which He has encouraged us to think about, whether they are in the Qur’an or in the universe around us. If such thoughts are constantly in our hearts and minds, this will help us to shun the whisperings of the Shaytân. There is no greater loser than the one who, instead of thinking of Allah, His Book, His Prophet and his Sahâbah, dwells on Shaytân and the ideas of Shaytân.

13. We should remember how short is our stay on this earth. No-one would want to feel that all he has achieved in this life is the worst kind of deeds, except a person who has no spiritual ambition, whose heart is dead and who is careless. Such a person will ultimately regret his deeds when he realizes that, far from benefiting him, they will lead to punishment. Even the person who has many good deeds to his credit will feel that sense of regret when he realizes that he could have done even more.

14. We should know that Allah has created us to live an eternal life with no death, a life of pride and ease with no humiliation, a life of security with no fear, a life of richness with no poverty, a life of joy with no pain, a life of perfection with no flaws. Allah is testing us in this world with a life that will end with death, a life of pride which is accompanied by humiliation and degradation, a life that is tainted by fear, where joy and ease are mixed with sorrow and pain. So many people are mistakenly seeking an easy life of power and pleasure in this world, but most of them never manage to achieve it, and those who do, enjoy it only for a brief time before it vanishes. The Prophets called people to an eternal life of plenty, and whoever answers their call will have the best life in this world, better than the life of kings and their followers, for zuhd in this life is true richness. This is something which the Shaytân greatly envies the believers.

Merely knowing the facts that we have outlined above is not enough. We have to strive and do our utmost to achieve our aim and attain perfection. The best way to do so is to put a stop to the habits that are controlling our lives, as these are the main obstacles which prevent us from succeeding. We should avoid places of fitnah and temptation, as the Prophet (SAAS) told us, “Whoever hears of the Dajjâl should keep away from him.” The best way to protect ourselves from wrong is to keep away from anything that could lead to it. One of the favourite tricks of the Shaytân, which deceives everyone except those who are clever enough to see it, is to show a person some goodness in a wrong thing, and call him to go towards what is good; when the person gets close to it, he falls into the trap.

‘uddat as-saabireen wa dhakhiraat ash-shaakireen’ of  Ibn Al-Qayyim rahimahullah

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