Sunday, 29 August 2010

The Scholars' Consensus on Making Up Missed Prayers

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is the answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani: Making-Up Missed Prayers - A Point of Scholarly Consensus on whether making up missed prayers necessary.

The position of all four Sunni schools is that it is obligatory, fardh, to make up all missed prayers, regardless of why they were missed.  Prayer is the first thing we will be questioned about on the Day of Judgement, as the Prophet (s.a.w.) informed us in sound narrations.

Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) stated in Majmu` Sharh al-Muhadzdzab, “There is consensus (ijma`) of the scholars whose opinion counts that whoever leaves a prayer intentionally must make it up.  Abu Muhammad ‘Ali ibn Hazm (r.a.) differed with them on this, saying that such an individual cannot ever make them up and it is not at all valid to make them up.  Rather, he said, one must do much good works and voluntary prayer in order that one s scales be heavy on the Day of Judgement and one must seek Allah’s Forgiveness and repent.  This position of his, along with being in opposition to scholarly consensus (ijma`), is invalid in terms of the proof.  Among the proofs for the obligation to makeup is: that if make-up prayers are obligatory for the one who left the prayer forgetfully, then doing so for the one who left the prayer deliberately is more obviously incumbent.”

Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) is referring here to the hadits related by Anas (r.a.) that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said: “Whoever forgets a prayer must perform it when they remember it.”  This is recorded in Swahih al-Bukhari and Swahih Muslim.  After Imam an-Nawawi’s (r.a.) time, the aberrant position of ibn Hazm (r.a.) was embraced by certain individuals and soundly rejected by the scholars in their time and after.

Imam Abu al-Hasan 'Ali Zayn al-'Abidin (q.s.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) was born on a Thursday the 5th of Sha’ban, 38 AH in Madina al-Munawwarah according to Masalik as-Salikin.  He was one of the greatest of the ‘arifin of his era.  Imam Zuhri (r.a.) said, “I have not seen any Quraysh more excellent than Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin.”  ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) used to look at Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (q.s.) and refer to him as the Beloved of the Beloved.

Husayn (r.a.) kept most of his children’s names attached to the name “‘Ali”.  This was due to his love for his father, ‘Ali (k.w.).  Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) was thus also named “‘Ali”.  He was also known as Abu Muhammad, Abu al-Hasan, Abu al-Qasim and Abu Bakr.  His titles included Sajjad, Zayn al-‘Abidin and Sayyid al-‘Abidin.

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) spent two years with his grandfather, ‘Ali (k.w.), ten years with his uncle, Hasan (r.a.) and eleven years with his father, Husayn (r.a.).  His mother was Umm al-Wulad (r.a.).  He was the image of his grandfather, ‘Ali (k.w.).  He had a tan complexion and was not very tall.  He possessed a full beard on which he used henna.

Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah (r.a.) said, “I was in the Blessed court of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and Husayn was in the blessed arms of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘O Jabir!  A son shall be born to him, whose name shall be ‘Ali.  Then he will have a child, whose name shall be Muhammad.  O Jabir!  If you meet with him, then you should pass my salaam to him.’”

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) was blessed with beautiful character inherited from his illustrious forefathers.  He was eloquent and very respectful.  He was always willing to assist those in need.  Shaykh ‘Umar Abu Naswr (r.a.) wrote that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) purchased slaves and then freed them.  He was kind even to those who were his personal enemies.  Once he heard that there was a certain person who always spoke ill of him.  Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) went to him and treated him with such respect and kindness that he repented from his bad behaviour and affiliated himself with the great Imam.  Many great poets wrote numerous qaswa’id in praise of his kindness and generosity.

Imam Abu Hazim (r.a.) said, “I have not seen any jurist more exalted than him.”

Imam Malik (r.a.) said, “He is from the men of excellence.”

Imam ibn Abi Shaybah (r.a.) said, “In ahadits, the most exalted chain of transmission is that which is narrated from Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin where he narrates from his father, Husayn.”

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) was always prepared to sacrifice everything he had for Islam.  He sacrificed all his wealth twice for Islam.  He was a generous person.  It is written in Tarikh al-Khulafah that he used to discreetly send money to the poor people living in Madina and none of them knew that the money was coming from him.  The only time this became known to them, was after his passing.

He was a person of great patience.  It is written in Khazinat al-Aswfiyah that after the Battle of Karbala, he was marched to Damascus in chains and in the time of ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, he was arrested and chained.  He was then forced to walk from Madina to Syria in chains.  With all this, he never complained or said one word about his condition in the Court of Allah (s.w.t.).  He instead remained patient and made shukr, thanking Allah (s.w.t.) on every step.  Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s (q.s.) most loyal student, Imam Zuhri (r.a.) could not bear to see the Imam in this condition, so he went to ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, and had him released.  He then took him back to Madina.

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) had a very soft heart and always thought of the sacrifice that was given by his father, Imam Husayn (r.a.) and all the martyrs on the plains of Karbala.  Once, he was walking in the blessed streets of Madina when he saw a person placing a goat on the ground, and was sharpening the knife before slaughtering the animal.  On seeing this, he became very saddened and thought of the martyrdom of his father.  He then began to weep bitterly and asked the man, “My dear brother, did you give the goat some food and water?”  The man replied that he had fed and given water to the goat for the past three days and had also fed it water just before laying in down.  On hearing this, Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (q.s.) let out a sigh and said, “It is sad that the people of Kufa did not even care for him like the goat.  They starved him for three days and nights and then martyred him in this state.”

He used to perform one thousand raka’at of nafl swalah every night.  One night, whilst he was performing his nawafil, his house caught on fire.  The people rushed around trying to put of the fire but he continued his swalah oblivious to the fire.  After he had completed his swalah, the people told him that his house had caught on fire.  He replied, “You were trying to extinguish this fire, and I was trying to extinguish the fire of the Hereafter.”

A person once swore at Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) and made slanderous remarks to him.  In response, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) said to him, “If the attributes, you accuse me of, are found in me then I repent to Allah Azza wa Jal and ask for Forgiveness.  If the attributes are not found in me then, on your behalf, I ask Allah Azza wa Jal for Forgiveness.”

The person saw Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s (q.s.) ihsan and was overwhelmed by it.  He stood up, kissed Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (q.s.) on the forehead and said, “May my soul be sacrificed for you!  Whatever I accused you of was wrong.  I seek forgiveness from you and I request you to pray to Allah Azza wa Jal for the Acceptance of my repentance.”

After the martyrdom of his Blessed father, Husayn (r.a.), he completely divorced himself from the materialistic world.  He spent all his time in the remembrance of Allah (s.w.t.).  It is written in Aw’arif al-Ma'arif that when Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) performed wudhu, his face used to become pale, and when he stood in swalah, then his complexion would change to such an extent, that it would be difficult to recognise him.  The people would ask, “O Beloved of the Prophet, what has happened to you?”

And he would reply, O People!  Swalah is a time when you are present in the Court of Allah.  Who is so naive as to smile and look happy, when he is standing before his Creator?”

Imam Ja’far asw-Swadiq (q.s.) said, “When my grandfather, Zayn al-‘Abidin recited the Qur’an, the beauty of his recitation attracted the people towards him and all those listening to him would become so overwhelmed with the fear of Allah, that one did not know the condition of the other.”

When Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) was returning to Madina after the Battle of Karbala, he said a few stanzas:

“O Winds!  If someday you pass by the sacred land, then pass my salaam
Before the Rawdhah al-Aqdas where the most exalted Nabi rests.
The sadness of separation from Madina feels
Like a sword stuck deep into my liver
How fortunate are the people of that city in
Which is the Exalted and Beloved Prophet
O Rahmatan lil ‘Aalamin!  Assist Zayn al-‘Abidin,
Who is standing alone and in difficulty amongst the tyrants.”

Once, a person asked Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) about who will be looked upon as pious and good on the Last Day and he said, “That person, who when he is happy, his happiness does not drive him towards wrong and that person, when he is angry, then his anger does not remove him from what is right.”

Once, some people from Iraq came to visit Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.).  During their visit, they began to say disrespectful words concerning Abu Bakr (r.a.), ‘Umar (r.a.) and Utsman (r.a.).  When they had completed saying what they wished to, he said, “Tell me, are you from amongst the first Muhajirin, concerning whom Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

… those who were expelled from their homes and their property while seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good pleasure, and aiding Allah and His Messenger: such are indeed the sincere ones ― (Surah al-Hashr:8)”

They replied in the negative.  Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) then asked if they were from amongst the Answar, concerning whom Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

And those who before them, had homes (in Madina) and had adopted the faith ― show their affection to such as came to them for refuge, and entertain no desire in their hearts for things given to the (latter), but give them preference over themselves even though poverty was their (own lot) ... (Surah al-Hashr:9)

Again, they answered in the negative.  He then said, “I swear, that you are not even worthy of this verse of the Qur’an, wherein Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

And those who came after them say, “Our Lord!  Forgive us, and our brethren who came before us into the faith and leave not in our hearts, rancour (or sense of injury) against those who have believed, Our Lord!  Thou art indeed Full of Kindness, Most Merciful." (Surah al-Hashr:10)”

After saying this, he asked them to leave his presence.

There were many signs of his karamah.  During the hajj, two people were making thawaf of the Ka’bah and came to Hajr al-Aswad.  When they touched the Hajr al-Aswad, both their hands became stuck on it.  People tried very hard to release their hands, but it was not possible.  Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) entered the Haram whilst this was happening.  He said the Basmallah and then placed his hands on the Hajr al-Aswad.  Immediately, the two persons’ hands were released.

Once Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (q.s.) went into the wilds with his companions. As they sat to eat, a deer passed by them.  The Imam called to the deer and asked it to partake in the meal with them.  The deer immediately came and partook in the meal provided.

A deer once came to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) whilst he was in a jungle.  The animal fell to the ground and began to say something.  Those with the Imam asked what had happened.  The Imam said that the deer was complaining about a man who had captured her fawn.  Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) summoned the man.  The man brought with him the fawn.  Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (q.s.) asked him to release the fawn which he did.  The deer took its young, said something and left.  Those present were amazed and asked the Imam what the deer had said.  The Imam said, “She said, ‘Jazakallahu fi Darayn Khayr.’”

Allah (s.w.t.) Blessed Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) with fifteen children.  His sons are Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (q.s.), Zayd, ‘Imran, ‘Abdullah, Hasan, Husayn, Husayn Aswghar, ‘Abd ar-Rahman, Sulayman and ‘Ali.  There is one more son whose name is not known.  His daughters are Khadijah, Fathimah, ‘Aliyah and Umm Kultsum.  Imam Zayn al-'Abidin’s (q.s.) descendants are from Imam al-Baqir (q.s.), Zayd, ‘Abdullah, Husayn Aswhgar, ‘Imran and ‘Ali.  All of them were blessed with numerous children.

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) was poisoned by Walid ibn ‘Abd al-Malik and died a shahid on the 18th Muharram or, according to some narrations, on the 12th or 22nd of Muharram at the age of 57 or 58.  He passed away in Madina and his qabr is in Jannat al-Baqi’.  A few others have said that his qabr is in Egypt and there is a mosque and maqam of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) in Cairo, Egypt as well but the majority have accepted it is in Jannat al-Baqi’, Madina al-Munawwarah.  And Allah (s.w.t.) Knows Best.

After his death, his camel placed its head on his tomb and cried.  Imam Baqir (q.s.) tried to move it away but it refused.  In the end, he said, “She will die in this exact place.”  Eventually, the camel did pass away at the tomb.

The Role of the Shaykh

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is from the teachings of Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.).

Some are called believers because they believed in the unseen.  When the Prophet (s.a.w.) came, he said that he believed in Allah (s.w.t.), and so did Jesus (a.s.) and Moses (a.s.) when they came before him.  Belief, therefore, is in the unseen.  When it is seen, at that time, it is not belief but evidence.  At that time we accept something because we saw is not belief, there is no evidence of faith.

At length, when overwhelmed with the flood, he said, “I believe that there is no god except Him Whom the Children of Israel believe in: I am of those who submit (to Allah in Islam).”  (It was Said to him), “Ah now! - But a little while before, wast thou in rebellion! - And thou didst mischief (and violence)!” (Surah Yunus:90-91)

Whenever our shuyukh say something, we must not just accept with the tongue but with the heart as well.  The way to accept this not to use the mind since the intellect is limited in matters of spirituality.  It can only verify what is evident, not what is true.  And even with evidence, it may be overwhelmed with the ego and be astray.  It is a matter of faith.  If the heart does not accept, then there is no benefit for the murid.

A shaykh of a Sufi Order is someone who is verified and accepted.  He has reached a state of perfection and is kashf.  Therefore, it is important to be with a real shaykh, not pretenders with titles.  We have to show our shaykh, who knows how we sleep even as we sleep, that we truly believe in him. Our shuyukh are not like us.  They are the inheritors of the Prophet (s.a.w.).

Once, Shaykh ‘Abdillah ad-Daghistani (q.s.) said, “If an ant is moving on top of a smooth rock in the west and I am in the east, I can hear her footsteps in my ear as I hear the crack of thunder.”  And he said, “We can hear and feel the movements of our murid no matter what they are doing, as loud as if we heard thunder.”  The murid of a Sufi Order is under the supervision of the shaykh all the time.  He can never move out of the sight of his shaykh.

In every person’s heart there are five levels.  This is the knowledge of Latha’if.  The first level is Maqam al-Qalb, the Station of the Heart.  Shaythan can enter through that level and understand what we are doing.  That is why we sometimes have bad thoughts, why we are distracted in prayer, you cheat at work or feel suspicion and insecurity.

The next level is the Station of Secrets, Maqam as-Sirr.  This is the distinction between the conscious and the subconscious.  It is the place in our inner mind where we bury things.  It is a scientific expression for the second level in the heart; it knows information, and Allah (s.w.t.) has Given every human being a secret.  We are Created and Honoured by our Lord Who has Created us from His Light and the Light of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and the light of Adam (a.s.).

Human beings are Honoured beings.  They are Created in perfection.  Allah (s.w.t.) has said in the Qur’an:

We have Honoured the sons of Adam ... (Surah al-Isra’:70)

The Honour is perfection in Creation.  No one knows the secrets He has Endowed the Light He put into our heart.  Shari‘ah teaches the rudiments of how to fight Shaythan and throw him out of the heart.  Thariqa’ keeps the shari‘ah and continues to a higher level to extract the secret which Allah (s.w.t.) has Given to your heart.  This extraction is the duty of the shaykh.  This cannot be given to us except through seclusion, and the shaykh can hear and know what is going on at the second level.

The third level is the Secret of the Secret, Maqam Sirr as-Sirr, then comes the fourth level, the Hidden, Maqam al-Khafa’ and the fifth level, the Most Hidden, Maqam al-Akhfa’.  No one may enter the third level except the masters of the thariqa’.  No one but the Prophet (s.a.w.) can enter the fourth level, and the fifth level is Known to Allah (s.w.t.) Alone.  Human beings are honoured beings.  There is no discrimination in Allah’s (s.w.t.) Sight.  At that level, there is no Muslim; there is no Christian; there is no Jew; there is no Buddhist; there is no Hindu.  There is only this:

We Sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures. (Surah al-Anbiya’:107)

There is no differentiation at that level.  Discrimination is from us.  It is we who label ourselves and each other: Jews, Christians, Muslims, atheist, polytheist, Sunni, Shi’ah, Sufi, Wahhabi, Naqshbandi, Tijani, Qadri and so forth.  But there are no such things in Allah’s (s.w.t.) Sight.  There are only human beings.

Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to (Allah) Most Gracious as a servant. (Surah Maryam:93)

We are not allowed to speak ill of our brothers and sisters as all of us are sons and daughters of Adam (a.s.) and Eve (a.s.).  We would be interfering in Allah’s (s.w.t.) Judgment.  But we are not the judge.  Allah (s.w.t.) is the Judge.  We should not interfere, therefore, in Allah’s (s.w.t.) Ways by giving our opinion.  Allah (s.w.t.) will not ask for our opinion on the Day of Judgment.  If Allah (s.w.t.) were to put everyone who has faith and love of Him in Paradise, who can question Him, “What are You Doing?” and if He Wanted to punish everyone, who can gainsay Him?  No one.

He cannot be questioned for His acts, but they will be Questioned (for theirs). (Surah al-Anbiya’:23)

And do we think Allah (s.w.t.) Created us to Punish us?  Is He vengeful?  Do we accept this view?  It is impossible.  Allah (s.w.t.) is Merciful, and He Keeps His Mercy for His servants.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “The loveliest time in my life is when Allah Calls me 'abd ...”  Our shuyukh teach us how to be good servants.  Everything we want to get depends on servanthood.  We are weak.  We cannot do anything.  That is why Allah (s.w.t.) has Given the Prophet (s.a.w.) intercession, and the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “My intercession is for the sinners of my ummah.”  And this hadits has been recorded by Imam Ahmad (r.a.), Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.), Imam Abu Dawud (r.a.), Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.), Hafizh al-Khathib (r.a.), Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.), Imam Hakim (r.a.) and Imam as-Suyuthi (r.a.).

The Praiseworthiness of Visiting the Prophet's (s.a.w.) Grave

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.) wrote in his Ihya’ ‘Ulum ad-Din after mentioning the hadits, “Do not travel except to three mosques,” “The gist of the matter is that some ‘ulama use it as evidence for prohibiting travel to places of religious visitation and pilgrimage.  It is clear that this is not the case.  On the contrary, visitation to graves is commanded by the hadits, ‘I have forbidden you in the past to visit graves, but now I tell you to visit them.’  The hadits only mentions the prohibition of frequent visitation to other than the three mosques because of the likeness of one mosque to another.  Furthermore, there is no city in which there is no mosque.  Hence, there is no need to travel to another mosque.  As for places of religious visitation, the blessing of visiting them varies to the measure of their rank with Allah.”

The following is an excerpt from the booklet by Shaykh ‘Isa ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Mani` al-Humayri, Director of the Da’irat al-Awqaf in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, entitled, al-I’ilam bi Istihbab Shadd ar-Rihal li Ziyarati Qabr Khayr al-Anam ‘Alayhi asw-Swalat wa as-Salam, “The Notification Concerning the Recommendation of Travelling to Visit the Grave of the Best of Creation Blessings and Peace be upon Him.”

There are many ahadits to that effect which have reached the grade of tawatur, the highest authenticity.  One of the common mutawatir narrations is, “I had forbidden you from visiting graves, but now I tell you to visit them for they remind you of the Hereafter.”  This is from in Imam Muslim (r.a.), Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.) and Imam ath-Thahawi (r.a.) from Buraydah ibn al-Hasib (r.a.).

Another narration according to Imam an-Nisa’i (r.a.), also from Buraydah (r.a.) is, “Whoever wants to visit the graves, let him do so, and do not prohibit it.”  This is a general narration which makes visiting permitted whether a journey was intended for it or not.  This hadits is definitely not restricted to one person or one circumstance but is a general order in nature.  This general order is evidence that the Prophet (s.a.w.) is recommending movement by the word, “ziyarat” which, in Arabic. implies travelling from one place to another by undertaking a journey.

If people claim that Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), in his answer in Radd ‘ala al-Akhna’i, said, “The order to visit graves does not entail travel,” we answer, the hadits is general, without any condition.  If ziyarat implies a journey, there is no way for us legally to prohibit that journey.  Further, the higher reference in case of difference of opinion, is the shari’ah, and the Legislator (s.a.w.) called the journeying, “ziyarat,” as in this hadits, “A man visited a close brother of him in another village, so Allah Ordered an angel to meet him on the way and ask him, ‘Where are you going?’

He answered, ‘I intend to visit a brother of mine in the next village.’

He asked him, ‘Is there any business between him and you?’

He replied, ‘None except the love of Allah.’

He said, ‘Know that I am a messenger from your Lord to tell you that Allah Loves you both as you both love each other for His Sake.’”  This was narrated by Imam Muslim (r.a.) in his Swahih.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) here made ziyarat entail both travel and non-travel.  To limit the ziyarat to something not entailing travel is an abuse of the meaning of the word and a deviation from the fundamentals of the shari’ah, and Allah (s.w.t.) Knows best.

Imam ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (r.a.), a disciple of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), once told Imam al-Hafizh al-‘Iraqi (r.a.) on a trip, “I am intending to pray in the mosque of Ibrahim.”

Imam al-`Iraqi (r.a.) said, “As for myself I am intending to visit the grave of Ibrahim.”

Imam ibn Rajab (r.a.) asked, “Why your difference in intention?”

Imam al-‘Iraqi (r.a.) said, “You have contradicted the sunnah of the Prophet, who said, ‘Do not intend to journey except to three mosques,’ and you have intended to visit a fourth.  As for me, I am following his sunnah according to the hadits: ‘Visit the graves.’”  This refers to all of the graves, not excluding those of the prophets.

On travelling to visit the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) grave, Imam ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (r.a.) said, “It is allowed among people to visit graves in general, and it is obligatory to travel to the grave of the Prophet (s.a.w.).”

Shaykh Abu al-Hasanat al-Lucknawi (r.a.) wrote, in his Ibraz al-Ghayy fi Shifa' al-`Ayy, “The Exposure of Deviation for the Healing of the Sick,” “Until ibn Taymiyyah, not a single scholar ever questioned even in the slightest the permissibility of visiting the Prophet’s grave.  Rather, all scholars unanimously supported the ruling that it was one of the best acts of worship and highest acts of obedience.  The only difference was whether it was wajib or near the wajib or merely recommended.  The first who broke the unanimity is ibn Taymiyyah.”  The Malikis consider it wajib; the Hanafis consider it a sunnah al-mu’akkadah, and the Shafi’i’s and Hanbalis consider it mustahabb.

Ijma’ in shadd ar-rihal, travelling, to visit the noble grave is of the highest grades of ijma’ among the ‘ulama.  Level after level of both the ‘ulama and the commonality, century after century, across the disciplines, all agree on this.  This is for both the grave and the masjid.  To make a difference between the grave and the masjid of the Prophet (s.a.w.) is decisively null and void.

The hadits, “Mounts are not to be saddled except to go to three (mosques),” does not indicate that it is forbidden to visit the noble grave.  Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah's (r.a.) inference that this kind of trip is a disobedience and swalah must not be shortened during it, is patently incorrect.  Imam ibn Hajr (r.a.) wrote in al-Fath, “This is one of the ugliest matters reported from ibn Taymiyyah.”

Imam al-‘Iraqi (r.a.) wrote, in al-Ajwiba al-Makkiyyah and Tharh al-Tatsrib, “There are several answers to this.  Either he means absolutely no travel except to these three places.  And this is completely false.  The nature of an exception must be the same as that of the things forbidden.  If the exception concerns the masajid, the prohibition must concern the masajid.  This rule is followed by Imam Ahmad as quoted in Sharh al-Kawkab al-Munir by ibn an-Najjar al-Hanbali, al-Kharqi in the Mukhtaswar, ibn Badran, al-Ghazali in al-Mankhul, and Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi in al-Luma`.  Therefore, the proper significance must be, ‘Do not travel to any masjid other than these three masajid.’  This is confirmed by the hadits related by Sharh ibn Hawshab formulating the legal ruling retained by the ‘ulama: ‘The traveller must not saddle the mounts in order to go to pray a certain prayer in a mosque except in the Holy Mosque, or the Farthest Mosque, or my Mosque.’

as-Subki in Shifa' asw-Swiqam said, ‘There are two reasons for travelling: a certain cause, or the place of destination itself.  There is no question about the first one.  As for the limitation on the latter in the hadits, although it has to do with the Prophet’s mosque, the limitation does not rule concerning the grave of the Prophet.  Therefore, even if the mosque of Madina were not mentioned in that hadits, we would still not be concerned by the order in relation to visiting the Prophet's grave.’”

The true meaning of the hadits can be seen in the light of other authentic ahadits praising the travel to the mosque in Quba’: “If they knew what was in Quba’, they would have travelled there at the highest speed,” which is swahih.

And, “If the masjid of Quba’ was at the top of the skies, we would have ridden our camels to death in order to attain it,” through ‘Umar ibn al-Kaththab (r.a.), and is hasan.

Also, Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) used to travel to visit Quba’ masjid.  If he understood the hadits, la tushadd ar-rihal as a categorical tahrim, he would not have gone.

In conclusion, Shaykh al-Khaththabi (r.a.) said, “The position of an-Nawawi and ibn Qudamah and ibn Battal is that there is no prohibition of an act of travel in the hadits; rather it is an emphasis on the importance of travelling to these three masajid in particular, and the emphasis becomes an obligation in case of nadzr which is not the case for a vow to pray in any masjid other than these three.”

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Spiritual Benefits of Fasting

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from a swuhbah by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti, Shaykh of the Jerrahi Halveti thariqa’.

Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

O ye who believe!  Fasting is Prescribed to you as it was Prescribed to those before you that ye may (learn) self-restraint. ― (Surah al-Baqarah:183)

The last phrase of the Lord’s Order to fast reveals the inner meaning of fasting.  A hadits related by ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (r.a.) clearly illustrates this meaning: “Whoever can, should marry, because marriage prevents one from forbidden acts and protects ones honour.  The one who cannot marry should learn to fast, for fasting is the best means to control one’s lust and desires of the flesh, and the temptations of one’s evil commanding ego.”

Our Prophet (s.a.w.) also said, “Every place has a door leading into it; the door into the true servanthood of Allah is fasting.”

Fasting opens the door which can enable us to: be real Muslims; to truly submit to our Lord, to obey, to praise, to worship Him; to be sincere and to abandon hypocrisy; to detest that which is Forbidden, to love and desire to do that which is prescribed; to become the masters of our egos, instead of being its slaves.  Indeed, there are evil influences in the world around us.  But the devil can only penetrate into our beings, attack us, with the cooperation of an ally already in place, the ego.  Fasting will certainly weaken this inner accomplice and keep the gates of our being shut against the devil.  That is why it is said that “fasting is a shield against the Hellfire.”  When the ego is made hungry, our eyes, our tongue, our hands and feet, all our other organs are satiated; their needs are satisfied.  They will not, therefore, respond to the lust and evil desires generated by the ego.  On the other hand, when the ego is satiated, all our being is hungry and will do anything under the command of the evil commanding ego.  Fasting is not only protection against what is decreed harmful for us.  While fasting, we decline even the things which are permitted and lawful for us.  How then could we not abandon that which is unlawful?  It also purges us of the physical and spiritual poison which has accumulated in our beings.  Fasting ultimately cleanses the heart.  It also makes us more vigilant in our obedience to the Lord in the future; it strengthens in us the fear of losing Allah's (s.w.t.) Love.  That is the manifestation of taqwa’, consciousness of Allah (s.w.t.), piety.  And that is the meaning of the last phrase of the verse: “so that you may guard against evil.”

In a hadits related by Imam an-Nasa’i (r.a.) and Imam ibn Khuzaymah (r.a.), Abu ‘Umamah (r.a.) begged the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) to give him a duty, doing which would benefit him in this world and the hereafter, and lead him to Paradise.  The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) told him, “Fast!  There is no deed which is like it.  There is no deed equal to it.”  When Abu ‘Umamah (r.a.) asked him what other deed he recommended, the Prophet (s.a.w.) repeated the same answer thrice.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) himself fasted many days other than the obligatory fast during the month of Ramadhan, especially during the two prior months of Rajab and Sha’ban.  As related in a hadits, he used to fast many days without breaking the fast, called sawm al-wiswal.  Some of the blessed companions also began to attempt this kind of fast, but were unsuccessful.  When the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) heard of this, he forbade them to do it.  They said, “We wished to do as you did.”

He replied, “I am not like you.  I am offered food and drink in the Sight of my Lord without eating and drinking.”  Perhaps if we are able to become more conscious of and a bit more attentive to the ten following benefits of fasting, we might also be Fed by our Lord without actually eating.

When our bellies are full we become dull, lazy, and careless.  Our hearts are heavy, incapable of penetrating to the meaning of things, deciphering secrets, or conforming with things for our own benefit.  When we are fasting, our hearts are light and at peace; we are anxious to obey the Ordinances of our Lord and we are better able to see and understand reality.

When the body is hungry, the heart is soft and compassionate, and relates to Allah (s.w.t.) the Most Compassionate.  This should make us relish the taste of our prayers, feel the effects of our remembrance of the Lord, and it should strengthen our faith.

Through fasting, most of the feeling of being spoiled by the good life, and the conceit created by our illusions of ourselves, disappear.  The proud and arrogant feel an overwhelming sadness, which is proof of the weakening of the ego.  In a hadits al-qudsi, Allah (s.w.t.) Says, “I am With those who are made to feel sad for My Sake.”

When we are hungry we are reminded of the tribulations and sufferings in our lives; we remember other people who, not by choice, are hungry and homeless, and we wish to help them.

Hunger weakens our egos and prevents us from revolting against Allah’s (s.w.t.) Orders, and from hurting ourselves and others.

A full belly makes us sleepy.  Even if our eyes are open we are dull and heedless.  The one who is heedless is not aware of what he does or what is happening to him.  He is defenseless and is apt to be hurt physically and spiritually.  Hunger makes us agile, heedful, and aware of the world and our Lord.

In hunger, we find comfort in prayer.  Worship with a full stomach is at best a fulfillment of duty

Most sicknesses are caused by or aggravated by being fat, by overeating.  Fasting cleanses our bodies, cures many sicknesses, and brings health.

The one who eats less and fasts leads a humble life by choice.  He learns to be satisfied with less.  The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, “Whoever lives humbly and economically will never suffer poverty.”

When we diminish our own needs, we will be happy to share what is left of our possessions with others, and we will become generous.  Generosity is a Divine Attribute which will lead us to Paradise in this world and in the hereafter.

All praise and thankfulness to Allah (s.w.t.), and peace and blessings upon the soul of His Beloved, our Master and Guide, the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), his family, and his companions (r.a.), that we are able to once again celebrate the holy month of Ramadhan together.  May They and the month of Ramadhan be pleased with our ikhwan and be our intercessors on the Day of Last Judgment.  May our humble efforts in worship, obedience, and service for Allah's (s.w.t.) Sake be Accepted.  May we be Cleansed and Beautified with the adab, the good morals ordered by the Holy Qur'an, and the imitation of the character of our Master (s.a.w.), the Beloved of Allah (s.w.t.).  May our love for our Lord and His Beloved, the ones whom they love, and the ones who love them, as well as our love for each other for Their sake, increase abundantly.  May we be Given the strength and the means to serve in Their names for Their sakes, and be successful in our tasks.  May we not be tested beyond our endurance.  May our faith be Protected and Perfected.  May our teachers be blessed and our shuyukh who have met their Lord enter His Paradise.  And may our wrongs be righted in honour of the blessed month of Ramadhan.

Monks by Night, Knights by Day

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In the decisive battles against the Romans during the time of the Caliph ‘Umar (r.a.), the Muslim warriors, although always out-numbered by the enemy, proved mysteriously indomitable and strong-willed opponents.  The Roman commanders were baffled as to how the once barbaric and irregular desert army could display such vigour and chivalry against a battle-hardened regular Roman army.  The sent some informers to see how the Muslim soldiers spent their time in the leisure periods, especially at night.  This is what they were informed.

One informer said, “They are knights by day and monks by night.  They pay for what they eat in territories under their occupation.  They are the first to salute when they arrive at a place and are valiant fighters who just wipe out the enemy.”

Another testified, “During the night it seems that they do not belong to this world and have no other business than to pray, and during the day, when one sees them mounted on their horses, one feels that they have been doing nothing else all their lives.  They are great archers and great lancers, yet they are so devoutly religious and they remember Allah so much and so often that one can hardly hear them talking about anything else in their company.”

The third said, “You will find them prayerful; during the day you will find them fasting.  They keep their promises, order good deeds, suppress evil and maintain complete equality among themselves.”

Knowing Laylat al-Qadr

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Laylat al-Qadr or the Night of Power is a special time in the month of Ramadhan.  In truth, it is not just a ‘night’.  It is a state, a hal.  Its secrets are many.  And not all are meant to be opened.  For the one who is Blessed, every night of Ramadhan could be Laylat al-Qadr.  Allah (s.w.t.) is not limited.  No matter the case, there will still be that one night, when the Divine Presence seems overwhelming.  According to my shaykh, there is at least one for the mu’minun and one for the awliya’.  The Night of Power is the most virtuous night of the year.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
We have indeed Revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power: And what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is?  The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.  Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s Permission, on every errand:  Peace!  This until the rise of morn! (Surah al-Qadr:1-5)

Any action therein, for example, reciting the Qur’an, doing dzikr, and so on, is better than acting for one thousand months which do not contain the Night of Qadr.  There are many amalan and practices specific for the night.

One of the Naqshbandiyyah practices for the night is to pray a hundred raka’at of swalah after the Khatmu Khwajangan.  This is done in sets of two raka’at.  In the first raka’at, Surah al-Qadr is recited seven times after Surah al-Fatihah.  In the second raka’at, Surah al-Ikhlasw is recited eleven times after Surah al-Fatihah.  The rest of the swalah is performed as per normal.

Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) and Imam Muslim (r.a.) recorded from Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Whoever prays during the Night of Qadr with faith and hoping for its Reward will have all of his previous sins Forgiven.”

As to the supplication during the Night of Qadr, ‘Aishah (r.a.) said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah, ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the Night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’

He said, ‘Say: O Allah, You are Pardoning and You Love to Pardon, so Pardon me.’”  This is related by Imam Ahmad (r.a.), Imam ibn Majah (r.a.), and by Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.), who called it swahih.

It is a sunnah to seek this night just as our Prophet (s.a.w.) did.  However, if one is negligent in his fasting and his ‘ibadah, no matter if he knew beforehand and planned to stay up that night, it will miss him by.  It is not a Reward to be taken for granted.  It is preferred to seek this night during the last ten nights of Ramadhan, as the Prophet (s.a.w.) strove his best in seeking it during that time.  As already mentioned, the Prophet (s.a.w.) would stay up during the last ten nights, would wake his wives, and then would remain apart from them to worship.

Scholars hold different opinions as to which is the Night of Power.  Some are of the opinion that it is the 21st, some say the 23rd, others say the 25th and still others say it is the 29th.  Some say that it varies from year to year but it is always among the last ten nights of Ramadhan.  Most scholars, though, vouch for the 27th.  According to our shuyukh, the night varies each year.  It might vary for various individuals as well.

Imam Ahmad (r.a.) recorded, with a swahih chain, from ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “He who likes to seek that night should do so on the 27th.”

Ubayy ibn K’ab (r.a.) said, “By Allah, and there is no God but Him, it is during Ramadhan - and He Swore to that - and by Allah, I know what night it is.  It is the night during which the Prophet ordered us to make prayers, the night of the 27th.  Its sign is that the sun rises in the morning white and without any rays.”  This is related by Imam Muslim (r.a.), Abu Dawud (r.a.), Imam Ahmad (r.a.), and by at-Tirmidhi (r.a.) who called it swahih.

One of the signs of the next day besides the sun being whiter and having no rays is that there will be a slight rain.  It may start the moment the adzan for fajr is called.  For those who are aware, there will be that moment in the last third of the night that the air is suddenly different in taste and smell.  It is cooler.  The soul is uplifted and the feeling is like nothing ever felt.  For most of us, this will be closest we can ever come to Knowing the Pleasure of the Divine Presence.  And may Allah (s.w.t.) Grant us that.