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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

TAFSIR -L-QUR'AN 018 - Towards understanding your Creator

Tafsir Ibn Kathir In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. ﴿سُبْحَانَ الَّذِى أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلاً مّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الاْقْصَى الَّذِى بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ ءايَـتِنَآ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ البَصِيرُ-﴾ (1. Glorified be He Who took His servant for a Journey by Night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa, the neighborhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him of Our Ayat. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.) Allah glorifies Himself, for His ability to do that which none but He can do, for there is no God but He and no Lord besides Him. ﴿الَّذِى أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ﴾ (Who took His servant for a Journey) refers to Muhammad ﴿لَيْلاً﴾ (by Night) means, in the depths of the night. ﴿مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ﴾ (from Al-Masjid Al-Haram) means the Masjid in Makkah. ﴿إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الاٌّقْصَى﴾ (to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa,) means the Sacred House which is in Jerusalem, the origin of the Prophets from the time of Ibrahim Al-Khalil. The Prophets all gathered there, and he (Muhammad ) led them in prayer in their own homeland. This indicates that he is the greatest leader of all, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and upon them. ﴿الَّذِى بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ﴾ (the neighborhood whereof We have blessed) means, its agricultural produce and fruits are blessed ﴿لِنُرِيَهُ﴾ (in order that We might show him), i.e., Muhammad ﴿مِنْ ءَايَـتِنَا﴾ (of Our Ayat.) i.e., great signs. As Allah says: ﴿لَقَدْ رَأَى مِنْ ءَايَـتِ رَبِّهِ الْكُبْرَى ﴾ (Indeed he did see of the greatest signs, of his Lord (Allah).) (53:18) We will mention below what was narrated in the Sunnah concerning this. ﴿إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ البَصِيرُ﴾ (Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.) means, He hears all the words of His servants, believers and disbelievers, faithful and infidel, and He sees them and gives each of them what he deserves in this world and the Hereafter. Hadiths about Al-Isra' Imam Ahmad reported from Anas bin Malik that the Messenger of Allah said: (Al-Buraq was brought to me, and it was a white animal bigger than a donkey and smaller than a mule. One stride of this creature covered a distance as far as it could see. I rode on it and it took me to Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem), where I tethered it at the hitching post of the Prophets. Then I entered and prayed two Rak`ahs there, and came out. Jibril brought me a vessel of wine and a vessel of milk, and I chose the milk. Jibril said: `You have chosen the Fitrah (natural instinct).' Then I was taken up to the first heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who are you' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was asked, `Has his Mission started' He said, `His Mission has started.' So it was opened for us, and there I saw Adam, who welcomed me and prayed for good for me. Then I was taken up to the second heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who are you' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was asked, `Has his Mission started' He said, `His Mission has started.' So it was opened for us, and there I saw the two maternal cousins, Yahya and `Isa, who welcomed me and prayed for good for me. Then I was taken up to the third heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who are you' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was asked, `Has his Mission started' He said, `His Mission has started.' So it was opened for us, and there I saw Yusuf, who had been given the beautiful half. He welcomed me and prayed for good for me. Then I was taken up to the fourth heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who are you' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was asked, `Has his Mission started' He said, `His Mission has started.' So it was opened for us, and there I saw Idris, who welcomed me and prayed for good for me. - then (the Prophet ) said: Allah says: ﴿وَرَفَعْنَاهُ مَكَاناً عَلِيّاً ﴾ (And We raised him to a high station) (19:57).: «لَقَدْ رَجَعْتُ إِلى رَبِّي حَتَّى اسْتَحْيَيْت» ﴿Then he resumed his narrative:﴾ (Then I was taken up to the fifth heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who are you' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was asked, `Has his Mission started' He said, `His Mission has started.' So it was opened for us, and there I saw Harun, who welcomed me and prayed for good for me. Then I was taken up to the sixth heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who are you' He said, `Jibril. It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was asked, `Has his Mission started' He said, `His Mission has started.' So it was opened for us, and there I saw Musa, who welcomed me and prayed for good for me. Then I was taken up to the seventh heaven and Jibril asked for it to be opened. It was said, `Who are you' He said, `Jibril.' It was said, `Who is with you' He said, `Muhammad.' It was asked, `Has his Mission started' He said, `His Mission has started.' So it was opened for us, and there I saw Ibrahim, who was leaning back against the Much-Frequented House (Al-Bayt Al-Ma`mur). Every day seventy thousand angels enter it, then they never come back to it again. Then I was taken to Sidrat Al-Muntaha (the Lote tree beyond which none may pass), and its leaves were like the leaves ﴿ears﴾ of elephants and its fruits were like jugs, and when it was veiled with whatever it was veiled with by the command of Allah, it changed, and none of the creatures of Allah can describe it because it is so beautiful. Then Allah revealed that which He revealed to me. He enjoined on me fifty prayers every day and night. I came down until I reached Musa, and he said, `What did your Lord enjoin on your Ummah' I said, `Fifty prayers everyday and night.' He said, `Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce (the burden) for your Ummah, for your Ummah will not be able to do that. I tested the Children of Israel and found out how they were.' So I went back to my Lord and said, `O Lord, reduce (the burden) for my Ummah for they will never be able to do that.' So He reduced it by five. I came back down until I met Musa and he asked me, `What did you do' I said, `(My Lord) reduced (my burden) by five.' He said, `Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce (the burden) for your Ummah.' I kept going back between my Lord and Musa, and (my Lord) reduced it by five each time, until He said, `O Muhammad, these are five prayers every day and night, and for every prayer there is (the reward of) ten, so they are (like) fifty prayers. Whoever wants to do something good then does not do it, one good deed will be recorded for him, and if he does it, ten good deeds will be recorded for him. Whoever wants to do something evil and does not do it, no evil deed will be recorded for him, and if he does it, one evil deed will be recorded for him.' I came down until I reached Musa, and told him about this. He said: `Go back to your Lord and ask him to reduce (the burden) for your Ummah, for they will never be able to do that.' I had kept going back to my Lord until I felt too shy.) This version was also recorded by Muslim. Imam Ahmad recorded Anas saying that Al-Buraq was brought to the Prophet on the Night of the Isra' with his saddle and reins ready for riding. The animal shied, and Jibril said to him: "Why are you doing this By Allah, no one has ever ridden you who is more honored by Allah than him.'' At this, Al-Buraq started to sweat. This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who said it is Gharib. Ahmad also recorded that Anas said: "The Messenger of Allah said: (When I was taken up to my Lord (during Al-Mi'raj), I passed by people who had nails of copper with which they were scratching their faces and chests. I asked, `Who are these, O Jibril' He said, `These are those who ate the flesh of the people ﴿i.e., backbiting﴾ and slandered their honor.') This was also recorded by Abu Dawud. Anas also said that the Messenger of Allah said: Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said that he heard the Messenger of Allah say: (When Quraysh did not believe that I had been taken on the Night Journey to Bayt Al-Maqdis, I stood up in Al-Hijr and Allah displayed Bayt Al-Maqdis before me, so I told them about its features while I was looking at it.) This was also reported in the Two Sahihs with different chains of narration. According to Al-Bayhaqi, Ibn Shihab said: Abu Salamah bin `Abdur-Rahman said: Some people from Quraish went to Abu Bakr and said, "Have you heard what your companion is saying He is claiming that he went to Bayt Al-Maqdis and came back to Makkah in one night!'' Abu Bakr said, "Did he say that'' They said, "Yes.'' Abu Bakr said, "Then I bear witness that if he said that, he is speaking the truth.'' They said, "You believe that he went to Ash-Sham ﴿Greater Syria﴾ in one night and came back to Makkah before morning'' He said, "Yes, I believe him with regard to something even more than that. I believe him with regard to the revelation that comes to him from heaven.'' Abu Salamah said, from then on Abu Bakr was known as As-Siddiq (the true believer). Fizilaal Qur’an A Unique Journey The sūrah begins with glorifying God, the most fitting action to confirm the bond between God and His servants in the atmosphere of compassion and friendliness imparted by the mention of the night journey: Limitless in His glory is He who transported His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque [in Makkah] to the Aqşā Mosque [in Jerusalem] — the environs of which We have blessed — so that We might show him some of Our signs. Indeed He alone is the One who hears all and sees all. ( Qur’an 17: 1 ) The sūrah emphasizes the position of man as God’s servant: “He who transported His servant by night...” The emphasis here is needed in the context of the Prophet’s ascension to heaven where no human being had gone before. It is important in this context that the status of man’s servitude to God should always be remembered. There must be no confusion of status similar to that which happened in the case of Jesus on account of his birth, his being raised to heaven at the end of his life on earth, and the powers which were given to him during life. All these caused some people to confuse his status and to claim that he had a divine nature. In its simplicity and purity, Islam insists that no similarity could ever exist between God and any creature. The Arabic text of this opening verse uses the verb, asrā, which denotes‘travelling during the night’. It is sufficient then to use this verb to denote the time of the action. Yet the verse adds the phrase, laylan, or ‘by night’, to give an added sense of the still night and the ease of travel. The journey from the Sacred Mosque to the Aqşā Mosque was one chosen by God, the Compassionate who knows everything. It provided a link between all monotheistic faiths from the time of Abraham and Ishmael to the time of the last Prophet, Muĥammad (peace be upon them all). It also established a link between the holy places in all these religions. It seems that this unusual journey served as an announcement that the last Messenger was the heir to the heritage of all former messengers. His message staked a claim to all these holy places. Thus it becomes a journey that goes beyond the scope of time and place.The opening verse describes the Aqşā Mosque as one with blessed environs. This description shows the blessings surrounding the mosque and flowing in abundance. This impression could not have been given with a direct description such as ‘the mosque which we have blessed.’ This is another example of the refined use of language characteristic of the Qur’ān. The Prophet’s night journey was a telling sign, and it was accompanied by others, as the opening verse says in stating its purpose, “so that We might show him some ofOur signs.” Covering the distance between the Sacred Mosque in Makkah and the Aqşā Mosque in Jerusalem, in a very short period that did not allow the Prophet’s bed to become cold, is a sign of God’s power, whatever the means used to accomplish it. It opens our minds to new horizons in the universe and reveals latent potentials within mankind. It shows that those human beings chosen by God to be the bearers of His message have the latent ability to receive whatever greater powers God wishes to give them. It is God who has honoured man, giving him a favoured position among His creation, and endowed him with such potentials. “He alone is the One who hears all and sees all.” (Verse 1) He indeed hears and sees all that is beyond the reach of our hearing and seeing faculties. It is especially impressive that the opening verse of this sūrah starts with glorifying God, “Limitless in His glory is He who transported His servant by night”. After defining the purpose of this journey, it finishes with highlighting two of God’s attributes, perfect hearing and seeing that encompass all things. This quick movement across purposes reflects the finest points of the expression used. The glorification is addressed to God Himself, and the statement about the purpose of the night journey comes from Him, while the description of God’s powers is made in the form of an indisputable statement. All these forms are combined in one verse so as to give their different imports. TAFHIM L QUR’AN سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آَيَاتِنَا إِنَّه هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ ﴿1﴾17:1) (17:1) Glory be to Him, Who transported His Servant one night from the Masjid-i-Haram to the distant Temple, whose surroundings We have blessed, so that we might show him some of Our Sings: *1 the fact is that He alone is All-Hearing and All-Seeing. In this verse, the Qur'an mentions only a part of the Journey, i.e., from Masjid-i-Haram to the Temple at Jerusalem. The object of this journey as stated here was that Allah willed to show His servant some of His signs. The Qur'an does not give any details other than this but we find further details in the traditions, which are to this effect: One night the Angel Jibril transported the Holy Prophet on al-Buraq from Masjid-i-Haram to Masjid-i-Aqsa (the Temple). There the Holy Prophet offered his prayers along with the other Prophets. Then he took him towards the higher spheres, where he met some of the great Prophets in different spheres. At last he reached the Highest Place in the Heavens, and was received in audience by AIlah. It was there that besides other important instructions five daily Prayers were prescribed. Then he returned to the Temple and from there came back to Masjid-I Haram. During this Journey, according to many traditions, Paradise and Hell were shown to him. We also learn from authentic traditions that on the following day when he mentioned this event, the disbelievers of Makkah scoffed at him, and some of the Muslims also were sceptical about this. There are different versions of this Journey. Some say that this happened in a dream, while others are of the opinion that the Holy Prophet was fully awake and went on the Journey with his own physical body; some others say that it was merely a mystic vision which was shown to him. The opening words of this verse: "Glory be to Him, who transported His Servant. . . . .... " however, clearly show that it was a super-natural event which was brought about by the unlimited power of Allah. It is quite obvious that if the event had been merely a mystic vision, it would not have been introduced by the words which imply that the Being Who brought about this event is free from each and every kind of weakness and defect. Again the words "transported His servant one night" also show that this was not a dream or a vision but a physical journey in which Allah arranged that the Holy Prophet should make observation of His Signs with his physical eyes. Therefore, one is bound to admit that this was not a mere spiritual experience but a physical journey and visual observation which AIIah arranged for His Prophet. It is strange that some people are of the opinion that this extraordinary journey could not be possible, but now when man with his limited-very limited power has been able to reach the moon, it is absurd to deny that Allah with His limitless powers could enable His Messenger to make this journey in the extraordinary short time it took. Above all, the question whether a thing is possible or not, can arise only in the `case of human beings whose powers are after all limited, but such questions cannot be raised where the All-Powerful Allah is concerned. Only such a person who does not believe that Allah is able to do everything can raise objections against this wonderful Journey about which Allah Himself says that He transported His Servant one night from Masjid-i-Haram to Masjid-i-Aqsa. Likewise all the objections raised against the various details which are given in the traditions are frivolous. In regard to the Mi `raj it should be kept in view that all the Prophets were enabled by Allah to see His Signs in the heavens and the earth according to their ranks. And for this purpose all the material curtains were lifted so that they could see with their naked eyes the unseen realities, to which they were required to invite the people. This was done so that the Prophets could say with full conviction what they had seen with their own eyes. For this experience would distinguish there from a philosopher who bases all his theories on guess-work and cannot say that he bears witness to what he claims. In contrast to philosophers, Prophets could say that they bore witness to the things which they presented because they had seen them with their own eyes. Tanwīr al-Miqbās min Tafsīr Ibn 'Abbās [17:1] And from his own narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said regarding the interpretation of Allah's saying (Glorified be): '(Glorified be) He says: He is far exalted above and exonerated from having a son or partner (He Who carried His servant) He Who took His servant Muhammad, peace be on him, (by night) at the beginning of the night (from the Inviolable Place of Worship) from the Sacred Precinct, from the house of Umm Hani' the daughter of Abu Talib (to the Far Distant Place of Worship) far in distance, but close to heaven, i.e. the Mosque of Jerusalem (the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed) with water, trees and fruits, (that We might show him) that We might show Muhammad (pbuh) (of Our tokens!) of Our marvels, for all the things He saw that night were marvels of Allah. (Lo! He, only He, is the Nearer) of what the Quraysh say, (the Seer) He sees them just as He sees His servant Muhammad (pbuh).

Friday, July 26, 2013

THE RULES OF ‘ITIKAAF

Praise be to Allah Who made Ramadan shield from punishment and the reward immeasurable. He favours Ramadan in which the Holy Qur’an was revealed over other months. He has also chosen the Muslim Ummah for increased reward and credence. I praise Him in the ways of those who frequently repent and turn unto Him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone; forgiver of sins, severe in punishment. And I bear witness that Muhammad is his slave and Messenger; sent with wisdom and clear elucidation. May Allah bestow peace and blessings on him, his families, his companions and those who follow them, and those who follow those after them, till the day of return. Thereafter, Servants of Allah, I enjoin you and myself to fear Allah, therein lies the pleasure of Allah- the most merciful, and attainment of paradise and safety from fire. The good news on this is related in the Qur’an thus: { تِلْكَ الْجَنَّةُ الَّتِي نُورِثُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا مَن كَانَ تَقِيّاً } [مريم :63] Such is the Garden which We give as an inheritance to those of Our servants who guard against Evil. (19:63) Brothers in Islam, Allah made some days and night higher in honour to some others. In addition, each of these seasons or periods has designated practices of obedience to God, as it equally comes with gracious bounties. A fortunate person is the one who takes the advantage of such periods to get closer to his creator by the way of the designated responsibilities for the period. Perhaps he might get some of the gifts and gain success which could guarantee his safety from fire and the torment. (Latooiful Ma’aarif, Ibn Rajab) Awakening Of Desire Towards ‘Itikaaf Brothers in Islam, staying in the mosque and observing ‘Itikaaf therein days and nights elevates a believer to a lofty station of success. The prophet said in a hadith-though with some degree of weakness in the chain :- (Whoever secludes in the mosque for a day seeking the pleasure of Allah- with that, Allah create between him and the fire three trenches, each trench is farther than what is between the east and the west ) Observing ‘Itikaaf in the mosque with honest commitment to acts of obedience elevate man to the status of the Angels- who never get weary of serving Allah. As the Mu’takif observe the praises of Allah in his itikaaf, he moves closer to God and gains success and favours. From Abu Hurairah, the prophet (pbuh) said: “Allah the Exalted says: I am as My servant expects Me and I am with him as he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, then I will remember him in Myself; and if he mentions Me in a gathering, then I will mention him in a greater gathering. When he draws near Me by the span of his hand, I draw near him by the length of a cubit; and when he draws near Me by the length of a cubit, I draw near him by the length of a fathom; and when he comes to Me walking, I will come to him running.” (Muslim; 2675) With respect to closeness to the creator, Allah is happy on the closeness of His servant to Him and He showers him His pleasure. The practice of staying in the mosque with complete focus and dedication to acts of obedience and worship at times of abundant graces and blessings as we are about to witness in the coming days presents a great opportunity which value might not be realized or comprehended. Allah says: “while ye are in retreat in the mosques.” (2:187) ({وَأَنْتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِد} (البقرة : 187)) Owing to this abundant gain situated in this period, the prophet (pbuh) was very keen on enlivening the nights of Ramadan with worship and seclusion in the mosque, particularly in the last ten days. The dedication of the prophet (pbuh) and diligence was beyond expression. ‘Aisha (R.A)- the mother of the believers described it thus: (With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet (pbuh) used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard and withdraw from his wives) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers.) (Al-bukhari: 2024). Rules of ‘Itikaaf The linguistic meaning: To observe ‘I'tikaaf is derived from the word- Al-‘Ukuuf, which means persisting on a thing. The Arabs use the word: “ ’Akafa” for instance in this sentence: “He stick to this place” meaning he lingers on or remain therein. It was also used to describe the persistence of the Idolaters on their idolatry stand: “They said: { نَعْبُدُ أَصْنَامًا فَنَظَلُّ لَهَا عَاكِفِينَ }( الشّعراء : 71) "We worship idols, and we remain constantly in attendance on them." (26:71) Meaning; we will remain committed to them (idols) all day round. Likewise in the words of prophet Ibrahim (A.S): ({ مَا هَذِهِ التَّمَاثِيلُ الَّتِي أَنْتُمْ لَهَا عَاكِفُونَ } (الأنبياء : 52 )) Behold! he said to his father and his people, "What are these images, to which ye are (so assiduously) devoted?" (21: 52) The idolaters elongated their stay with the idols, which they described as the devotion. Technical meaning of ‘Itikaaf: In the Islamic laws, it means devotion to worship in the mosque in obedience to Allah. The conditions attached include being a Muslim, sensible and being free from post intercourse state or the menstrual blood. Legality: I’tikaaf is legislated in the Qur’an, the sunnah and the consensus. Allah says: {أَنْ طَهِّرَا بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْعَاكِفِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ} (البقرة: 125) “… that they should sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or use it as a seclusion, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer). (2:125) “A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace he upon him) used to observe i'tikif in the last ten days of Ramadan till Allah called him back (to his heavenly home). Then his wives observed i'tikaf after him.” (Agreed upon) The Pillars of I’tikaaf The pillars include: (1-) The Mu’takif- a Muslim who has reached the age of obligation and puberty, sensible, even if he is a slave, or a married woman with the respective details. (2) Mu’takaf Feehi- meaning the venue of I’tikaaf: This is the mosque, it is not permissible to observe it elsewhere except in the mosque where a congregational prayer is held, with preference for central mosques. Likewise I’tikaaf in the two holy mosques and the Aqsa mosque are more honorable and meritorious. (3) The Intention: refers to the intention to worship Allah and be devoted to His obedience. Conditions of I’tikaaf: this refers to the necessary things before starting I’tikaaf . it includes purification from major impurities e.g Janaba- post sex state, menstruation and post-natal bleeding, and to intend serving God and obedience to Him, he must not leave the place of his seclusion except for essential matters. The extent of I’tikaaf- Seclusion There is no minimum or maximum prescription. The truth is that it cannot be lesser than a day or a night as reported in the hadith of Umar (R.A), he said: “O messenger of Allah, I vowed to do I’tikaaf for a night” in another narration: “I vowed to do I’tikaaf for a day in the holy mosque.” He replied: “discharge your vow”. Most scholars permit doing I’tikaaf for even a part of a day, and some others added a condition that it has to be done by a person fasting. In most fiqh books, it is said that whoever intends entry to the mosque, should come up with the intention of observing I’tikaaf for the period of his stay in the mosque. The time of Entry into I’tikaaf- Seclusion. It begins before sunset on the twenty first night of Ramadan. The Mu’takif enters the mosque probably in five or two minutes before sunset, because the starting period is the first night in this period, such that he would have chance to secure all the ten days for I’tikaaf. It is recommended to start just before the night of the 21st day of the month- that is; before the sunset of the twentieth day. (Please note that the night precedes the day) Recommended Acts in I’tikaaf The Mu’takif should spend his time on various acts of worship such as remembrance, pondering, supplication, recitation of the Qur’an, supererogatory solat, and taking some sleeps to relief the body when it needs it. There is no distinction between male and female on this matter. In the state of I’tikaaf, it is not allowed to get involved in backbiting or slander against any male or female person, regardless of them being among the Mu’takifs or not. Allah (swt) forbade this: {وَلاَ يَغْتَبْ بَعْضُكُمْ بَعْضًا } (الحجرات: 12) (And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead?) Allah compares the person involved in backbiting with the one who eats the flesh of his brother when dead, and that clearly declares the prohibition of the act. Allah also described one of the idolaters thus: {هَمَّازٍ مَشَّاءٍ بِنَمِيمٍ} (القلم:11 ) (A slanderer, going about with calumnies) (68:11) Allah (swt) informs that he walks about with slanders and calumnies, a character that forms one of the causes of the torment in grave. Therefore a Muslim must avoid this lowly character and safeguard his religion and protect his good deeds. Without doubt, backbiting in I'tikaaf will be a more grievous sin because it is an act of disobedience where a Mu’takif is ordered to obey, thus, contravention of the instruction is not acceptable. The Mu’takif must also pray with the congregation; if Jumu’ah is observed at the mosque where he is, he should observe it there, however if not, then he is permitted to go out to observe the Jumu’ah at the closest Jumu’ah mosque to his station. What Nullifies the I’tikaaf In order to safeguard the abundant rewards in I’tikaaf and to sustain the bounties for the Mu’takif, the Islamic Shariah establishes some laws that will guide the mu’takif from damage and protect him from falling off the track. Aisha (R.A) reported that: “The sunnah for one who is observing i'tikaf (in a mosque) is not to visit a patient, or to attend a funeral, or touch or embrace one's wife, or go out for anything but necessary purposes.” (Abu Dawud, 2427) I’tikaaf is nullified on the event of an apostasy, taking intoxicants, taking alcohol, and on having intercourse with one’s wife, because obedience and disobedience can never co-exist. Allah says: { وَلاَ تُبَاشِرُوهُنَّ وَأَنْتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِدِ} (البقرة،: 187 ) “but do not have intercourse with your wives while you are in seclusion in the mosques.” (2:187) Anytime intercourse occurs, the I’tikaaf is nullified. Causing the release of sperm through masturbation or through mating nullifies the I’tikaaf and necessitates a payback. It is permissible for the Mu’takif to go out for needs such as urination and such other needs. It is equally permissible for him, if he cannot find who to prepare his food, to go out and purchase food himself, or he states as a condition, at the point of his intention for I’tikaaf within his mind, the going out for any of the recommended acts of obedience such as visiting the sick, going to funeral etc. (Dialogue on I'tikaaf by ' Abdullah ibn ' Abd al-Rahmaan Ibn Jibreen 1/44) The women and I’tikaaf I’tikaaf for women is permissible and even more desirable if it is not linked to any prohibitive act or neglect of an obligation or waste of family rights, wealth and children etc. This is because it is an act of worship which women too can partake in as do the men. However, if it leads to prohibited act such as taking it as an opportunity to retire to cohabiting with foreign persons secretly, or causing display of nudity before men, or free mixing between the opposite sexes, or desecrating your partner’s right, or negligence in child upkeep, then, to leave I’tikaaf is better in that case, as a caution from neglecting the obligatory acts for the desirable acts. Dear servants of Allah, be mindful of Allah, seize the opportunity of these days, be persistent in praying with all honesty, Allah is most honorable, most compassionate, He gives a lot but takes only a little, surely the loser is he deprived of these immeasurable goods. Oh Allah grant us Ramadan, assist us to fast and stand in its night for prayers, in faith and anticipation for Your rewards, and make us not among those who only gain hunger and thirst from their fasts, or earns no other reward from their tahajud except fatigue and sleeplessness, grant us good words and works, save us from the fire and all in it including the shackles and horrors. THE SECOND SERMON All praises are due to Allah, Who has perfected the religion and favour on us. We praise and thank Him and seek His forgiveness. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and that prophet Muhammad is His servant and messenger. May the peace and blessings be showered upon him, his household, and all his companions. Dear Muslims, the security and economic and psychological deprivation faced in the realities of the world today has been described by Allah in the Holy Qur'an using the word- “Dhonk” meaning; a narrowed down life or life of hardship. It is absolute hardship in every sense of the word: { وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَنْ ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا } (طه:124). “But whosoever turns away from My Message, verily for him is a life narrowed down” (20:124) Human life with all its civilizations and modern technological means and power, will eventually turn out to be useless, truncated goal and having no benefit, if it fail to be linked with Allah, the foremost guide. The return to Allah is inevitable and non-negotiable at this hour. The world will continue to wander and stray, groping through anxiety, stress, difficulty and panic unless it returns to the divine approach. Oh Allah grant us Ramadan, assist us to fast and stand in its night for prayers, in faith and anticipation for Your rewards, and make us not among those who only gain hunger and thirst from their fasts, or earns no other reward from their tahajud except fatigue and sleeplessness, grant us good words and works, save us from the fire and all in it including the shackles and horrors

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Prophet’s tradition (pbuh) in Ramadan

Praise be to Allah Who made Ramadan shield from punishment and the reward immeasurable. He favours Ramadan in which the Holy Qur’an was revealed over other months. He has also chosen the Muslim Ummah for increased reward and credence. I praise Him in the ways of those who frequently repent and turn unto Him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone; forgiver of sins, severe in punishment. And I bear witness that Muhammad is his slave and Messenger; sent with wisdom and clear elucidation. May Allah bestow peace and blessings on him, his families, his companions and those who follow them, and those who follow those after them, till the day of return. Thereafter, Servants of Allah, I enjoin you and myself to fear Allah, therein lies the pleasure of Allah- the most merciful, and attainment of paradise and safety from fire. The good news on this is related in the Qur’an thus: { تِلْكَ الْجَنَّةُ الَّتِي نُورِثُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا مَن كَانَ تَقِيّاً } [مريم :63] Such is the Garden which We give as an inheritance to those of Our servants who guard against Evil. (19:63) The prophet (pbuh) was made infallible and as the standard by which others’ speeches and actions is measured. His disposition became the scale for weighing others. Allah (swt) made him (pbuh) model for mankind having perfected his nature internally and externally regardless of whether it is in the open or secret. { لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ اْلآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيراً } (الأحزاب:21) “Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.” (33: 21) He does not talk out of his own desire rather, “It is no less than inspiration sent down to him:”(53:4) (إِنْ هُوَ إِلاَّ وَحْيٌ يُوحَى) The prophet’s mind is pleasant, his speech is kind, his action is magnificent, he graciously radiates blessing anytime anywhere, God purified his nature internally and externally and favoured him with lofty character. Allah says: { وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ } (القلم:4) (And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character.) (68:4) { فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظّاً غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ َلانْفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ } (آل عمران:159) “It is part of the Mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them Wert thou severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about thee” (10:159) { لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَؤُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ } (التوبة:128) ” Now hath come unto you a Messenger from amongst yourselves: it grieves him that ye should perish: ardently anxious is he over you: to the Believers is he most kind and merciful.” (9:128) With this background, it is expected of a believer in the course of reforming himself, to take the prophet (pbuh) as his model as reported in the well established proofs. The prophet (pbuh) is the leader of every monotheist and believer to the paradise, therefore, whoever seeks for guidance from other than what he brought; Allah will not accept it, and for him is a painful chastisement. THE PROPHET’S GENEROUSITY IN RAMADAN Ibn Abbas (R.A)- the interpreter of the Qur’an, a great scholar of Islam who lived by the Qur’an, the Hadith and entirely by Islam and radiated the light of the religion, he said: (The Prophet was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel visited him, and he used to teach him the Holy Qur'an) The prophet used to be the most generous person during the visit of his teacher and master- Jibril, who then taught him the book of Allah and the admonition in the verses of Allah- the exalted. The prophet used to be more generous than a fast wind (which causes rain and welfare). The fast wind is the rainfall flowing from the highland with cool taste. When the Arab poet wishes to describe a generous man, he said: “He is more generous that the rain” or “He is more generous than the rain laden wind.” The greatest feature of the prophet’s tradition in Ramadan is generosity and giving, spending, sacrifices and offering. He does not harbor anything, even the tattered clothes he wore, when he was asked for it, he gave it out. It was reported in a Saheeh hadeeth from Sahl Ibn Sa'd he said: (a woman wove a dress for the Prophet (pbuh), he wore it out of the need for it, the a man came to him and said: “O Messenger of Allah! Give me this dress”. The companions said to this man: What God caused to happen to you happened to the prophet (pbuh), the messenger of Allah (pbuh) wore it out of the need for it, and you came to ask him for it, and he does not turn down anyone”. The man said: “I hope that this dress be my shroud” God gave him what he wished, he asked, it became his shroud, and he was shrouded in it. His study of the Qur'an in Ramadan Another of his features is the companionship with the Qur’an, living with it and studying its verses with Jibril. Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an, Allah says: { شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدىً لِلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ } (البقرة:185) Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong) (2:185) When Ramadan sets in, the prophet felicitate and congratulate himself, he reduces his task in order to live with the Qur’an, ponder over the meaning and uphold the recitation. The Qur’an took the most precious time of the prophet’s life, because the Qur’an is the only book and greatest miracle sent to him. It is not matched by any other miracle, because other miracles ended by the demise of the prophets. Such as the staff of Musa (AS); it seized when prophet Musa (AS) died. Likewise the miracle of sight for the blind and freeing the leper and life for the dead in the era of prophet Isa ended with his demise. But the Quran marches on in strength and power, addressing generations and nations till the end of time, when Allah shall inherit the Earth and all on it. Therefore, the prophet dedicated the most of his time to the Qur’an in Ramadan. STANDING AT NIGHT IN RAMADAN. In the nights of Ramadan, the prophet rose up to full worship, perfecting the standing for prayers, the prostrations, the ablution, the supplication and the shedding of tears out of piety. However, the late night prayer is today neglected by the ummah due to weak faith and depreciated certainty, except a few saved by Allah’s grace. Generations of the Muslims lived in frigidity, carelessness and laziness, not resembling the generation that existed during the prophet era, except whom Allah grant mercy. Allah says: but few of My servants are grateful! (34:13) ({ وَقَلِيلٌ مِنْ عِبَادِيَ الشَّكُورُ } (سبأ:13)) The prophet lived the nights of Ramadan with Tahajud having known the importance. Allah says: { وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِ نَافِلَةً لَكَ عَسَى أَنْ يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَاماً مَحْمُوداً } (الإسراء:79). And pray in the small watches of the morning: (it would be) an additional prayer (or spiritual profit) for thee: soon will thy Lord raise thee to a Station of Praise and Glory! (17:79) And the wonderful night, especially during Ramadan, for the Muslim who wants to reform himself, he should increase recitation of the Quran and the prayer of the night- tahajud. This month is for the renewal of spirit and determination, and a precious opportunity which can never be replaced. The month of repentance and emancipation from hell, but in contrast, it is of disappointment, regret, loss and destruction for the one who meet Ramadan but fail to repent from sins becoming a loser and deprived of manumission from fire. HASTENING TO BREAK FAST AND DELAYING THE SAHUR- (PRE DAWN MEAL): The prophet hastened to break the fast saying: (the most beloved servant to Allah is the most early among them to break the fast). The time of breaking the fast is the sunset, as said in the hadith of Umar, (When the night sets in from this direction and the daylight depart from that direction, the fasting person has break the fast). The Jews were delaying the break of their fast, therefore the prophet hastened the breaking of fast, provided the sun set and daylight disappeared. He also uses wet or fresh food for breaking the fast. In the hadeeth of Anas reported by Abu Dawood and Al-tirmidhi, he said: (The Prophet breaks fast with wet or fresh, but if did not find, then he use the dates, and if he did not find, then he sips of water). In the hadeeth of Salman bn ‘Amir reported by Abu Dawood and Al-tirmidhi, he said: The Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said: (Each one of you should break with dates, and if he cannot find, he should drink water, it (water) is purification). Wonderfully, in the wet or fresh food and dates are wondrous mystery for the fasting person as said by Ibn Al-qayyim; when the abdomen goes hungry, dates is the sweetest thing that agrees with the stomach. The sweet date agrees with the stomach. Glory be to Allah, Who taught and guided the prophet to this secret, he is a doctor for the body and the hearts, leading man to Allah- the Exalted. The prophet also delayed the Sahur, provided it does not become the morning. He said (pbuh): “Eat sahur (pre-dawn meal) there is blessing in it.” The blessing in sahur is of three things: 1- It is reviving the tradition of the prophet (pbuh). 2- The time of the sahur is when Allah descends to the closest heaven to the world waiting for people’s request. 3- The strengthens you to withstand the rigours of fast during the day. MUCH OF DHIKR- REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH The prophet engaged himself in lots of dhikr, supplications, seeking forgiveness, etc in Ramadan to give life to the souls. ‘ITIKAAF IN RAMADAN. It among the tradition of the prophet (pbuh) to engage in seclusion in the mosque in the last ten days in Ramadan. May God bless us with the Holy Qur'aan, and benefit us all from the lessons there in. Having said all you heard, I seek forgiveness from Allah for my sins and for you all, Muslims, engage in seeking forgiveness from Him, He is All-forgiving, Most- merciful. THE SECOND SERMON All praises are due to Allah, Who has perfected the religion and favour on us. We praise and thank Him and seek His forgiveness. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and that prophet Muhammad is His servant and messenger. May the peace and blessings be showered upon him, his household, and all his companions. Know that prayer is a weapon to ward off scourge and evil, and there is nothing more honourable before Allah as prayer. God loves that trait in His servants who prostrate before Him and pour out their requests and complains. Infact, He ordered them to do so and promised them it will be answered. Allah says: { وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ } (غافر:60). { And your Lord says: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer): but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell - in humiliation!"} (ghafir: 60). Supplication to God is an expression of need towards Him and the recognition of one’s lack. Umar said: “I don’t get worried over getting answers for prayer, however, I get worried over supplication, for whenever I get inspired to supplicate, I surely know that the answer is with it.” Anas bn Malik said: “Never get incapacitated from supplication, verily none fortified with supplication will be destroyed” Oh Allah grant us Ramadan, assist us to fast and stand in its night for prayers, in faith and anticipation for Your rewards, and make us not among those who only gain hunger and thirst from their fasts, or earns no other reward from their tahajud except fatigue and sleeplessness, grant us good words and works, save us from the fire and all in it including the shackles and horrors.

Friday, July 5, 2013

THE PREPARATION OF MEN.

You have seen in the previous talk that The Muslim Brotherhood organization had been in the lead of dynamic organizations in the area of public oriented projects and establishments that carry out social and beneficial services, such as building of mosques and schools, social and relief services committees, clubs, organising seminars, lectures, speeches, and admonitions that are done from time to time in theory that motivates practice. Having said that, the struggling nations that seek to bring about a new order, to shoulder the great responsibility and build its future on the strong footing that guarantees for its upcoming generation a good and honourable life; these nations that also seek to take back its confiscated rights and stolen honour, without doubt, need to build some other stronger assets beside all these. No doubt, it is in a dire need of human resources trained on noble character and sound manly qualities that would make them withstand any persecutions or trials on their path. Verily, human resource is the secret of life of nations and source of its reawakening. In the history of nations, it has been the heroes among men who possessed strong minds and determination that made these nations great. Therefore, for a nation to be powerful or weak, it is a factor of its effectiveness at producing men who possessed qualities of sound manliness. I believe- and history can bear me witness- that definitely one man with all his inherent capabilities can build a nation if his manliness is sound, and in like manner, he can destroy it if he directs these capabilities towards destruction and not construction. Nations, like the individuals, in the same manners go through the circle of activities of life. An individual can be so fortunate to be borne and nurtured by affluent parents; he would not be bothered by any suffering or go after any burden or difficult task. On the other hand, another individual might grow up in a harsh condition and from weak and poor parents. From the outset of his life, his head has been full of demands and obligations from different directions. May He be praised, who had apportioned the lots of everyone; no blame and no complain! No qualms, it has been willed that we would live in this generation which is being attacked by nations with all sorts of catastrophe and greatest of all struggles. And in most cases it is the powerful and leading that triumph. Again, time has imposed on us that we face and taste the bitter consequences of the mistakes of the past. We are also to rectify the cracks and mend the fracture; as well as saving ourselves and our children. Not only that we are obliged to restore our lost honour and greatness and revive our civilization and the teachings of our religion. It is also wished that we would live in this time of turbulent waves, wherein ideological storms, emotional trends and personal views and opinions direct individuals, nations, governments, organisations and even the world at large. It is a time of ideological clashes and psychological and emotional disturbance that forced the captain to stand still amidst such turbulent water trying to find a way forward for he cannot read the compass, as it appears in his front different confusing directions. More so, there is a caller at the opening of each direction inviting to it in this turbid situation wherein darkness thickens. In fact, there is no more proper expression to describe the situation than “anarchism”. Also we are obliged to face all that and work doggedly and persistently to save the ummah from this looming danger gathering from all directions. Invariably, any nation that is in the situations as we find ourselves, or to discharge the responsibility and obligations that weigh heavily on our shoulders cannot afford to be complacent or resort to day-dreaming or shadow-chasing. Rather, the reasonable thing for it to do is to prepare itself for a long strenuous struggle and a fierce battle between the truth and falsehood, between the good and the bad, between the proponents of the truth and its opponents, between the workers on the path and those who criticize it, between the sincere, enthusiastic workers and the false ones. It should know that Jihad is a word derived from continuous effort; and effort (juhd) means burden and task. There is no rest from Jihad until the battle ends. And in the morning the people who have been traveling through the night would have cause to thank and praise Allah. There is no option for this nation in this difficult path than to be populated with true, strong, determined and believing soul; the soul that is ready to endure and sacrifice in the face of trials. Definitely without that the nation would suffer defeat and failure shall be the lot of its citizens. Now that you have known our precarious situations, yet our souls are still very much reveling in complacence, comfort and opulence that suggest that our body can hardly go through or endure for long any slight trial or persecutions. Our youth, male and female, who are the tools of change and hope of tomorrow, are themselves mainly concerned about elegant appearance or sumptuous meals or choosy attire or flashy cars or high and proud positions. Unfortunately, he careless about how he acquires that: even if he has to drag his honour into the mud, or negligent of the obligations to himself and to his ummah. Or haven’t you seen those youth that every look on them reveals all the qualities of a youth and are bubbling with life activities but unfortunately go cap in hand parading the doors of the managers of government offices and institutions with their credentials looking for jobs? Didn’t you see them using all means of lobbying and people from the young and old, the low and the high, even the messenger and the watch man. They are desperately concerned to be employed at all cost. My dear reader, do you think that after this desperation at getting this official job and realization of the dream by this youth, he would ever think of leaving or be relieved of this dream career in the cause of protecting the honour and dignity of his ummah whatever be the degree of the persecutions and trials? In these conditions therefore, our souls are greatly in need of treatment, comprehensive change, and a reformation that must remove feeling of inferiority, moral degeneration and persistent stinginess. The great hopes that occupy the heads of the reformers among men of this ummah and the precarious situations envelope it demand earnestly that we renew our souls and develop our spirits to move away from the present condition of inertia to return to the past when were formidable and unsurpassable. Without this soul renewal and spiritual power, it is practically impossible that we take any step forward. If you know all this and you agree with me that these issues raised are the most basic and fundamental in reawakening the ummah and people, then you should know that the primary aim that pushes the Muslim Brotherhood is “sound training”(terbiyyah sahihah): training and orientation of the ummah on noble soul, highly dignified character and revival of the feelings that will be alive to driving the ummah to recall its honour and seriousness to win back its glory and to endure any hardship and difficulty in the cause of realizing the goal. Perhaps you would want to ask after all these that: what are the means the Muslim Brotherhood would use to renew the souls and reform the characters? Has the Muslim brotherhood experienced or tested these means? And what degree of success has it been able to achieve? In shaa Allah we promise you of answers in the following statement of ours; IDENTIFICATION OF THE MEANS AND FORMULATING THE PRINCIPLES: You indeed have known my dear reader that the Muslim Brotherhood’s basic aims is to train the souls on renewal of spirits, strengthening of good characters and development of manliness in the mind of the ummah; and the belief that that is the basic foundation on which the awakening of the ummah and nations should be built. The muslim brotherhood has examined the means to that end and the methods to get there but has not found any one closer and more effective than the religious ideology and adherence to the religion. The religion that enlivens the soul, arouses the feelings and alerts the mind. By that it leaves with the soul a reminder so that it would not be heedless, and a guard that it would not be negligent, and a witness that it would not go extreme or be complacent or stray from the path or forget; it is with it all the time watching over it in private and in public. Moreover, it strongly directs the soul to good acts and dutifully places it away from sins, as well as moving it far from errors and illuminating its to recognise the good and the bad. أَمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّا لَا نَسْمَعُ سِرَّهُمْ وَنَجْوَاهُم بَلَى وَرُسُلُنَا لَدَيْهِمْ يَكْتُبُونَ “Or deem they that We cannot hear their secret thoughts and private confidences? Nay, but Our envoys, present with them, do record.” {}43:80 The religion that gathers for us all means of acquiring virtues and all sides of praise-worthy characters, and as well as earmarking rewards for every virtue and for every good character and also calls to purification and development of the soul and to be in high sense of spiritual state. قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّاهَا {9} وَقَدْ خَابَ مَن دَسَّاهَا {10} “He is indeed successful he who purifies it, And he is indeed a failure who stunteth it.” (shams 9-10) The religion calls to sacrifice in the cause of the truth and to die in the path of leading men to salvation. For those who do that they are guaranteed of abundant compensation and those who tread this path, they would have good recompense. The religion gives value to goodness even if it is a bit and it measures the evil even if it is disregarded. Religion changes death in the cause of the truth to eternal life and death in jihad earns the status of life of everlasting bliss. وَلاَ تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ أَمْوَاتاً بَلْ أَحْيَاء عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ “Think not of those, who are slain in the way of Allah, as dead. Nay, they are living. With their Lord they have provision”. {3:169} وَنَضَعُ الْمَوَازِينَ الْقِسْطَ لِيَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ فَلَا تُظْلَمُ نَفْسٌ شَيْئاً وَإِن كَانَ مِثْقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِّنْ خَرْدَلٍ أَتَيْنَا بِهَا وَكَفَى بِنَا حَاسِبِينَ “And We set a just balance for the Day of Resurrection so that no soul is wronged in aught. Though it be of the weight of a grain of mustard seed, We bring it. And We suffice for reckoners.” 21:47}{ The religion that purchases from man the worldly materials and the physical goods in exchange for success that soul rejoices on and for the blessing, favour, mercy, pleasure and love from Allah for which the soul is satisfied. مَا عِندَكُمْ يَنفَدُ وَمَا عِندَ اللّهِ بَاقٍ وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ أَجْرَهُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ {16:96} “That which ye have wasteth away, and that which Allah hath remaineth. And verily We shall pay those who are steadfast a recompense in proportion to the best of what they used to do.” The religion encompasses all that and in addition it aligns with nature and unites with the souls and minds and together they form a synergy. It penetrates the innermost spirits and it is consistent with reasons: it would not desert it or ignore it. The farmer is always happy with religion in his farm and so the worker in the factory. The little boy understands it in his library, while scientist finds succor and heartfelt desires in researches on it; the philosophers grow up in its thoughts in their expectations. Can you find any power that so obsessed the minds of men as religion? Or can you find in the history of man anything that has greater impact on the life of people and nations? Or can you find anyone who has such high influence even on the philosophers and the scientists than the messengers and the prophets? Your father can bear witness that indeed religion is a live coal from the spirit of Allah residing in the innermost part of these souls and its nature. It illuminates it and drives away darkness that it lives with its light and rejoices in it. And when it properly settled with it, every other thing becomes a ransom for it. قُلْ إِن كَانَ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَآؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَانُكُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَالٌ اقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَارَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَاكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُم مِّنَ اللّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَجِهَادٍ فِي سَبِيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصُواْ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ اللّهُ بِأَمْرِهِ وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِين{9:24} “Say: If your fathers, and your sons, and your brethren, and your wives, and your tribe, and the wealth ye have acquired, and merchandise for which ye fear that there will be no sale, and dwellings ye desire are dearer to you than Allah and His messenger and striving in His way: then wait till Allah bringeth His command to pass. Allah guideth not wrong doing folk” The religion elevates anyone that accepts its holiness and glory above every soul, to be distant from every falsehood, imitation and copy-cat syndrome. And by that it joins the souls and unites the minds, thereby uprooting all form of disputes and conflicts. Hence the souls are further strengthened to focus its minds on Allah alone and redirected from all mundane purpose, desires, lust and enjoyments. It would then achieve growth with intention and actions to the level of the sincere and true servants who desires the pleasure of Allah with their deeds: they do not want to earn any reward or appreciation from the beneficiaries. شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّى بِهِ نُوحاً وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَى وَعِيسَى أَنْ أَقِيمُوا الدِّينَ وَلَا تَتَفَرَّقُوا فِيهِ كَبُرَ عَلَى الْمُشْرِكِينَ مَا تَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَيْهِ اللَّهُ يَجْتَبِي إِلَيْهِ مَن يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي إِلَيْهِ مَن يُنِيبُ {42:13} “He hath ordained for you that religion which He commended unto Noah, and that which We inspire in thee (Muhammad), and that which We commended unto Abraham and Moses and Jesus, saying: Establish the religion, and be not divided therein. Dreadful for the idolaters is that unto which thou callest them. Allah chooseth for Himself whom He will, and guideth unto Himself him who turneth (toward Him).” The religion elevates whoever keeps to the covenant to the position of martyrdom (shahadah) and removes from him the task of questioning before Allah and grants him the virtue of closeness to Allah for displaying the virtue of complete manliness and sincere determination. مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوا مَا عَاهَدُوا اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ فَمِنْهُم مَّن قَضَى نَحْبَهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَنتَظِرُ وَمَا بَدَّلُوا تَبْدِيلاً {23} لِيَجْزِيَ اللَّهُ الصَّادِقِينَ بِصِدْقِهِمْ وَيُعَذِّبَ الْمُنَافِقِينَ إِن شَاء أَوْ يَتُوبَ عَلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً {33:2324} “Of the believers are men who are true to that which they covenanted with Allah. Some of them have paid their vow by death (in battle), and some of them still are waiting; and they have not altered in the least; That Allah may reward the true men for their truth, and punish the hypocrites if He will, or relent toward them (if He will). Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” The religion is a meeting of true ideas, a point of harmony for diverse hopes and sign for individual, community, national and universal aspirations and wishes. This is well expressed. الْعِزَّةُ وَلِرَسُولِهِ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلَكِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ {63:8} “………………….But honor belongs to Allah and His Apostle and to the Believers; but the Hypocrites know not” In the view of some people, they want to reform the morals of the ummah through knowledge and civilization; and some other people think reformation is through literature and art, and another people opined that it is better to adopt political approaches and yet another set of people believe reformation could be achieved through sports. In stating the meaning of these words, these people could be said to be either right or wrong, or hit the target or far from it. But this is not a place for criticism and definition. Rather I wish to say that: the Muslim brother sees in religion a veritable means to reform the soul of the ummah. In this sense the religion of Islam encompasses all the good aspects of all the earlier mentioned means and raises them all to the same level of importance; so the brotherhood members are well satisfied with it and contented with it in their souls. Therefore their first practical means of purifying the souls and renewal of the spirits is;(identication of the means and choosing the principles). It on this that I based the (Aqidah of the muslim brotherhood) which is taken from the book of Allah and the sunnah of His messenger; it doesn’t deviate from these two sources by an hair’s span. The brothers then made it an obligation to commit it to memory, they uphold its rulings and implement its contents and discharge its obligations. I believe that it is a practical means in training the souls and strengthening moral values. In relation to this I remind every muslim brother that it is part of his obligation to memorise his Aqidah, and to work to implement that which it makes obligatory on him as covenants: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ وَكُونُواْ مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ {9:119} “O ye who believe! Be careful of your duty to Allah, and be with the truthful”

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ramadan Fasting: Virtues and History of Legislation

All praises are due to Allah, Who has chosen Ramadan over other months, as a pillar of Islam, as a cleanser of sins. We celebrate His praises and gratitude, seek His help and guidance, We seek refuge in Him from the evils of our souls and deeds. He whom Allah, guides is rightly guided; but he whom Allah leaves to stray,- for him will you find no protector to lead him to the Right Way. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, there is no partner for Him, I equally bear witness that prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is His servant and Messenger; the best person that prayed and fasted. May the peace and blessings of Allah be showered upon him, his families, companions and those who follow them in righteousness until the day of recompense. Thereafter, Dear believers, I enjoin you to fear Allah, surely, that is the unbreakable bond, its roots illuminate the hearts and comprehension, it is the provision that leads to paradise- the abode of eternal peace. Almighty Allah says: { يِا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إَن تَتَّقُواْ اللّهَ يَجْعَل لَّكُمْ فُرْقَاناً وَيُكَفِّرْ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ وَاللّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ} (الأنفال 29). { O ye who believe! if ye fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion (to judge between right and wrong), remove from you (all) evil (that may afflict) you, and forgive you: for Allah is the Lord of grace unbounded.} (Mary: 63). Dear brothers, Ramadan is one of the most impeccable act of worship and one of the most pious act. it is one of the pillars of Islam and its well defined structures. May Allah preserve us till Ramadan. History of Legislation Fasting in Ramadan was made obligatory in the month of Sha’baan in the second year of the hijrah. The prophet (pbuh) observed nine years of fasting before his demise in one of the two views of the scholars. The obligatory status of fasting have been described in the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the Consensus of the ummah. In Qur’an: {يَأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ أَمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمْ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ} (البقرة183) {O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint, (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (Should be made up) from days later.} (2: 183- 184), The verses are the establishment of the legislation of the obligation of fasting. Allah calls out to the believers in the tone the believers love: (O ye who believe) Ibn Qayyim said: “Owing to the difficulty and hardship in separating the souls from its inclinations and desires, the obligation of fasting was delayed to the middle years of Islamic existence, when the hearts have been convinced and stable on Tawheed- faith and solat, and got used to the laws of the Qur’an, thus it inclined towards it in gradual manner. The three stages of the legislation of fasting: 1- Fasting was first made mandatory as a matter of choice between observing the fast or feeding an indigent in its place an every day, with much encouragement to fast. Allah says: :{أَيَّامًا مَعْدُودَاتٍ فَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ فَمَنْ تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَهُ وَأَنْ تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ} (البقرة184) (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (Should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (With hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more, of his own free will,- it is better for him. And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew. (2: 184) Imam Bukhari related from Yazeed the bondsman of Salamah bn Al-Akwa’i that Salamah said: “When the verse was revealed: “For those who can do it (With hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent.” A person who wishes would stay without fast but feed an indigent instead, until the verse after it was revealed, which abrogated the former” Ibn Umar also mentioned about the abrogation of the verse as reported by Bukhari. 2- Its being mandatory, but when a faster sleeps before eating then food and drink is forbidden for him till the night of the next day. Allah says: So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting (2:185). Imam Bukhari related from Al-Baraa (R.A): “The companions of the prophet (pbuh) when anyone of the fasts and the time to break it comes but he sleeps off before eating, he will not eat for that night and the day until he reach the next evening. Qays bn Sormah Al-Anbaariy fasted but when the time to break the fast came, he when to his wife and asked her: “Do you have food?” She replied: “No, but I will go and get some for you” He had worked in the day thus (while waitng) sleep overcome him. The wife returned and met him asleep, she said: “You have been disappointed” In the middle of the day, he was overcome by the event thus he reported to the prophet (pbuh), and the verse was revealed thus: Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach to your wives. They are your garments and ye are their garments. Allah knoweth what ye used to do secretly among yourselves; but He turned to you and forgave you; so now associate with them, and seek what Allah Hath ordained for you, (2:187). Upon that, the companions were greatly joyous and this verse was also revealed: and eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread; then complete your fast Till the night appears (2:187) 3- This became the substantive law established in the Shariah till the day of judgement which declares that fasting is mandatory as pointed out in the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the concensus. In the sunah: Ibn Umar (R.A) said: the prophet (pbuh) said: Islam is built on five: testifying that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, establishing of Solat, paying of zakat, the pilgrimage and fasting in Ramadan,” (Bukhari) The Ummah is united that fasting in Ramadan is mandatory. They are also united that whoever rejects its obligation is a Kafir- unbeliever, except if such person is an ignorant one who has newly come into Islam, hence he should be educated. But if he is stubborn on his rejection then he is a Kafir because he has rejected a matter which firmly established in the Qur’an and sunnah and widely known as part of the religion by default. Virtues of the month of Ramadan: The first part of Ramadan is mercy, the middle is forgiveness and the last part is for emancipation from hellfire, in it is a night better than a thousand night, the Qur’an was revealed in it. {شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَان} (البقرة 185) Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). (2:185) The prophet said: “In this month, the nation of Islam is given five benefits which have not been given to any other nation before it: the smell from the mouth a fasting person is more pleasant than the musk perfume, the angels seek forgiveness for them until they break the fasts, Allah beautifies the paradise daily, the stubborn devils are kept under chains and shackles, the fasting ones are forgiven in the last night.” From Abu Hurairah: “Whoever fast in this month out of faith and hope in Allah for reward, his earlier sins will be forgiven, whoever stanf in prayer in it out of faith and hope in Allah for reward, his earlier sins will be forgiven.” Also reported in Bukhari and Muslim, Abu hurairah said, that the prophet said: “ A blessed month have come unto you, Allah made fasting in it obligatory, the gates of paradise are opened, the gates of hell are locked, the devils are chained, in it is a night which is better than a thousanf month, whoever is therefore forbidden the blessings in it have been truly forbidden all goodness” (Ahmad, Nasaai, Bayhaqiy) Whoever fast also is counted as part of the pious and the matyrs: From ‘Amr bn Marrah Al-Juhmiy, that a man came to the prophet (pbuh), he said: O messenger of Allah, among whom am I if I testify that there is no god except Allah, and that you are the messenger of Allah, and I observe the five daily prayers, and I pay zakat, and I fast in Ramadan and stand in prayer there in? He replied: “Among the truthful and the matyrs.” (bayhaqi/ bazaar) Brothers in Islam Ramadan is loaded with praise worthy acts and virtuous deeds and blessings, therefore it is mandatory for every Muslim to maximize the gains in its days and nights with good deeds and lots of worship, solat, quranic recitation, charity, supplications, seeking forgiveness and so on, may Allah preserve our lives till then. May God bless us with the Holy Qur'aan, and benefit us all from the lessons there in. Having said all you heard, I seek forgiveness from Allah for my sins and for you all, Muslims, engage in seeking forgiveness from Him, He is All-forgiving, Most- merciful. THE SECOND SERMON All praises are due to Allah, Who has perfected the religion and favour on us. We praise and thank Him and seek His forgiveness. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and that prophet Muhammad is His servant and messenger. May the peace and blessings be showered upon him, his household, and all his companions. The tribulations and trials faced by Muslims today are a result of our sins and iniquities. Many Muslims are joining partners with Allah in their words and deeds. How many among them are observing solat at the right time? Without doubt they are very very small in number. Most of the Muslims live in frivolities and forgetfulness, they commit evil, engage in fornication and adultery, they consume alcohol wittingly, usury taking becomes a way of life, they legalise bribery, and they see evil and keep quiet without warning against it. These are a little of the sins widely spread among Muslims today. Therefore when evil is widely spread and people keep mute from reforming the status quo, they leave out enjoining good and forbidding evil, then Allah send His punishment to cover them all, and when they call Him, He will not respond to their call, the prophet said: “I swear by the One in whose hand lies my soul, command goodness, forbid evil, or that surely soon, Allah descends His punishment on you, and you will call Him and He will not respond to your call.” He also said: “When people see a transgressor and they fail to prevent him, surely soon Allah will cover them all with punish from Himself.” (Abu Dawu, Tirmidhi and Nasaai) Shunning sins and evil and abiding by the commandment of Allah are some of the greatest means needed today to actualize victory for Muslims. Oh Allah grant us Ramadan, assist us to fast and stand in its night for prayers, in faith and anticipation for Your rewards, and make us not among those who only gain hunger and thirst from their fasts, or earns no other reward from their tahajud except fatigue and sleeplessness, grant us good words and works, save us from the fire and all in it including the shackles and horrors.

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In a Few words, I am a Muslim, a preacher, a traveler, a data base admin (Dip.) SYSTEM MANAGER (TEC). & (UWNT).

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