Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Secret is Restraint

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

When we meet someone, what they say and do speaks much of their inner reality.  It is not so much to judge anyone, but rather it is a tool of reflection to understand the self; that it is insidious, that it is devious and that it is resilient.  A man once came to Rabi’ah al-Adawiyyah (q.s.) and spoke at length of how much he hated dunya and loved Allah (s.w.t.).  Rabi’ah al-Adawiyyah (q.s.) remarked that for someone who hated dunya, he spoke a lot about it, like a jilted lover.

And in the course of seeking the Divine, we will meet many people along the Path, each and every one of them with varying sicknesses of the heart.  However, most of them do not recognise it.  Rather, they seek to guide and teach and cure us.  We must not look down on them and judge them for that in itself is a sickness.  Rather, we must recognise the symptoms of these diseases and search for them within ourselves.  I once asked my shaykh, Shaykh Zakaria Bagharib (q.s.) why were there such terrible people in the thariqa’.  And he replied, in the words of the great teachers that came before, “Where will you find the sick but at the doctor?”

It is often difficult to sit in the majalis anymore.  We see people speak far too much of lessons and associations and religion without understanding.  If dunya is nothing, then do not speak of its elements.  And rizqi is an element of dunya as well.  It is the hidden dust that coats the heart and veils one from the benefits of dependence on the Creator.  Imam Ja’far asw-Swadiq (q.s.) once said, “My Rabb, I do not know in whose hands lie my rizqi and whose rizqi lies in my hand.”

A very basic understanding of the Path is this; that all Creation is in a state of loss.  A salik will always recognise that he is faqir since even his next breath is not his.  And Allah (s.w.t.) is al-Ghany.  There is no ownership since all is Owned by the Possessor of All Attributes.  Since there is no owner, there is no debtor.  Since Allah (s.w.t.) is the Owner, then every single Creation is a debtor.  That is tawhid.  After all, did He not Promise that not a soul would be wronged in the least?  It is impossible for al-Adl to wrong even the dust in the wing of a mosquito.  If any fail to recognise that, there is no Path, only dunya and the finer lessons are of no benefit.  Whatever was meant for us will always be there.  In the chasing of it, a man has committed a sin and a wali has committed shirk.  He has doubted Allah’s (s.w.t.) Justice and he has questioned His Sovereignty.  Do not think to wear any of His Cloaks for He has Promised in a hadits qudsi that He will Destroy such a person.

For those who want to come and sit in the circles of the ‘alim and the ‘arif, they must know what the Path is really about.  This is a plain sharing without fancy terms and bombastic words and pretension because pretension is a disease.  We are forbidden to speak of states we do not understand.  And yet we hear so many speak with authority on what they have no knowledge of.  They pretend to wear the cloak of the ‘arif but are in danger of wearing the cloak of the hypocrite.

Firstly, the Path of the Sufi is the Path of Wilayat.  The recognition of the world is dunya and irrelevant.  If you seek it, you have chased another god.  True wilayat is always hidden simply because Allah (s.w.t.) is jealous of His Beloved.  Even if you recognise them, you have simply glimpsed a broken reflection of the moon upon a raging sea.  It does not mean you have seen the moon, let alone give you any authority to comment on its reflected brilliance.  And if you cannot even know that moon, what authority is there to speak of the brilliance of the sun that is the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.)?  Or even understand the sunnah?

The religion of Islam is restraint.  The shahadah is restraint from the Self.  Otherwise, the Self would proclaim itself a god.  Swalah is restraint from time.  It is the recognition that nothing we do has any importance compared to our service to Allah (s.w.t.).  Fasting is restraint from the carnal pleasures if the world, from the taste of the tongue to the taste of the flesh.  Zakat is the restraint from love of wealth.  Hajj is the restraint of the comforts of life.  And even misery is a restraint from comfort and indulgence.

Thariqa’ is this and more.  It is the restraint of existence.  It is the restraint from being.  Everybody wants to be.  Be a rock star, be a shaykh, be a rich man, be respected, be loved, be admired, be anything.  The key to becoming is not to be.  That is the restraint of the awliya’.  Following the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.) is the ultimate restraint.  And yet it has become a heresy.  Instead if diminishing the Self, it has enhanced it.  They wear the taj and the veil and grow the beard and sit in the majlis and start to believe they are something.  They are on the border of shirk because in claiming to love the Prophet (s.a.w.), they have desecrated him.

The sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.) is not how we dress and what we do and anything of that sort.  The secret lies in what we do not see.  If we do not see ourselves, that is the sunnah.  We see our Prophet (s.a.w.).  But if we see ourselves in anything and feel something in our heart, then throw away the taj and cut the beard and burn the cloak.  It would be safer for us.  If we sit in the majlis and want to be seen to sit in it, then leave.  If we raise the voice to be heard, then be silent.  If we have started to take attendance and judge others, there is no restraint.  We have begun to wear the cloak of His Judgement and we are in danger of the Fire.  In the same vein, if any find yourself in such a majlis, then leave.  This is the end of times where the sick have gathered not to be cured but to cure.  It is better to practice restraint and seek His Guidance.

If we want anything of this world, even the wing of a mosquito, we have denied ourselves the Divine Presence.  Now, people want to own houses and vehicles and people.  They claim something that already has an Owner.  They say it is for Allah (s.w.t.) but in the wanting, they have already failed.  Beware the Self and practice restraint.


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Legacy of Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The Hanafi school is one of the four schools of jurisprudence, a madzhab of fiqh.  The Hanafi madzhab is named after Imam Abu Hanifah Nu‘man ibn Tsabit (r.a.) who lived from 767 CE / 80 AH to 699 CE / 148 AH.  He was a tabi‘i, of the generation after the swahabah. His legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Shaykh Yaqub ibn Ibrahim al-Answari, better known as Qadhi Abu Yusuf (r.a.) and Imam Muhammad ash-Shaybani (r.a.).  This is the most prominent among all Sunni Schools and it has the most adherents in the Muslim world.

Among the four established Sunni madzhab, the Hanafi madzhab is one of the oldest and by far, the largest in parts of the world.  It has a reputation for putting greater emphasis on the role of reason, ‘ijtihad and being more liberal than the other three main schools.  The Hanafi madzhab has much influence amongst the four major Sunni schools.  This is largely to its being adopted as the official madzab of the Abbasid Caliphate, the Ottoman Empire and the Mughal Empire.  The influence of the Hanafi madzhab is still widespread in the former lands of these empires.  The Hanafi madzhab is predominant in South Asia, China, the lands of the Indian Ocean, Asia Minor, the Balkans, Central Asia, Southern Russia and Eastern Europe.  It is also practiced in large numbers in many other parts of Muslim world, particularly in parts of the Levant, Egypt, Iran and Iraq.


Basis of Hanafi Jurisprudence

The sources from which the law is derived, in order of importance and preference, are as follows:

1.         Qur'an,
2.         HaditsSunnah
3.         Ijma’ (consensus of the scholars)
4.         ‘Urf (cultural practices)
5.         Qiyas (analogical reasoning)
6.         Ijtihad (deduction)
7.         Istihsan (juristic preference or discretion)
8.         Ra'yy (reasoned opinion)

The Qur’an and hadits are paramount sources of shari’ah in that order of preference.  As Imam 'Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) had transferred the Caliphate capital to Kufa, and many of the swahabah had settled there, the Hanafi madzhab based many of its rulings on hadits transmitted by swahabah residing in Iraq.  It came to be known as the Kufan or Iraqi school in earlier times.  Hadits transmitted by Imam 'Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) and 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (r.a.) formed much of the base of the school.  It was also heavily influenced by other personalities from the household of the Prophet (s.a.w.) with whom Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) had studied such under, such as Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (q.s.), Imam Ja'far asw-Swadiq (q.s.), and Imam Zayd ibn 'Ali (q.s.).  Many jurists and hadits masters had lived in Kufa including one of Imam Abu Hanifah's (r.a.) main teachers, Shaykh Hammad ibn Sulayman (r.a.).

Ijma’ refers to the consensus of the Muslim community.  The hadits which states, "My ummah will never agree upon an error" is cited as support for the validity of ijma'. It is regarded as the third fundamental source of shari’ah after the Qur'an and the hadits.  There are two main types of ijma’: the consensus of the entire ummah, ijma’ al-ummah; or the consensus of the religiously learned, the ‘ulama, ijma’ al-a’immah.  The Hanafi madzhab generally consider ijma’ to only include the swahabah of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), excluding all generations which followed them, even in Madina.

‘Urf is an Arabic term referring to the custom, or 'knowledge', of a given society.  It was first recognised as a source of ruling by Imam Abu Yusuf (r.a.) but as part of sunnah since both he and Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) were tabi’in‘Urf must be compatible with the Qur’an and hadits`Urf is a source of rulings when there are not explicit primary texts of the Qur'an and hadits specifying the ruling.  `Urf may also specify something generally established in the primary texts.  For the application of ‘urf, custom that is accepted into law should be commonly prevalent in the region, not merely in an isolated locality.  If it is in absolute opposition to Islamic texts, ‘urf is disregarded.  However, if it is in opposition to qiyas, ‘urf is given preference.  Jurists also tend to, with caution, give precedence to ‘urf over ijtihad.

Qiyas is only applied if direct material cannot be found in the Qur'an or haditsQiyas is the process of deductive analogy in which the hadits are compared and contrasted with those of the Qur'an, in order to apply a known injunction, nasw to a new circumstance and create a new injunction.  The prior ruling of the Sunnah and the Qur'an may be used as a means to solve or provide a response to a new problem that may arise.  The Hanafi methodology involved examining the Qur’an and all available knowledge of the hadits and Sunnah first and then finding an example in them analogous to the particular case under review that could be properly applied in the new situation.  It entailed the use of reason in the examination of the Qur’an and Sunnah so as to extrapolate the judgments necessary for the implementation of Islam in a new environment.

Ijtihad is the deductive process of making of a decision in shari’ah by personal effort or jihad, independently of any madzhab of fiqh.  It is the opposite of taqlid, which is following a prior decision.  To be valid and accepted, it has to be rooted in the Qur'an and hadits and it is required that no established doctrine has already ruled on the case.  Only a mujtahid is qualified to interpret shari’ah by ijtihad.

Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) developed a new source, istihsan, or juristic preference, as a form of qiyasIstihsan is defined as a means to seek ease and convenience, to adopt tolerance and moderation, and to overrule qiyas, if necessary.  This doctrine was useful in the Islamic world outside the Middle East where the Muslims encountered environments and challenges they had been unfamiliar with in Arabia.  One example of isthisan would be as follows: If a well is contaminated it may not be used for wudhu.  Istihsan suggests that withdrawing a certain number of buckets of water from the well will remove the impurities.  Qiyas would say that despite removing some of the water, a small concentration of contaminants will always remain in the well or the well walls, rendering the well impure.  The application of qiyas means the public may not use the well, and therefore causes hardship.  Thus the principle of istihsan is applied, and the public may use the well for ritual purification.

Rayy is reasoned opinion.  It may only be done in instances where any of the above does not apply or if there is no analogical basis.  It can never contradict the Qur’an and haditsRayy is used with ijtihad and ‘urf.  It is especially important when employed on the basis of the individual.

Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.)

Nu’man ibn Tsabit (r.a.) is better known as Imam Abu Hanifah.  He was born in 699 CE / 80 AH and passed away on 767 CE / 148 AH.  He was the founder of the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, the Hanafi madzhab.  Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) was one of the tabi‘in, the generation after the swahabah.  He transmitted hadits from Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) and other swahabah.  He learnt hadits from other tabi'in including Shaykh Ibrahim an-Nakha'i (r.a.).

Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) was born in Kufa, Iraq, during the reign of the Umayyad caliph, ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan.  Nu’man ibn Tsabit (r.a.) was better known by his kunya, Abu Hanifah (r.a.).  None of his sons or daughters was reported as having the name ‘Hanifah,’ so it was an honorific epithetical name meaning ‘pure in monotheistic belief.’

His father, Tsabit bin Zuta, was a trader from Kabul, Afghanistan.  He was 40 years old at the time of Ima Abu Hanifah's (r.a.) birth.  His ancestry is generally accepted as being of ‘ajami, non-Arab in origin as suggested by the etymology of the names of his grandfather, Zuta and great-grandfather, Marzuban.  The historian, al-Khathib al-Baghdadi, records a statement from Imam Abu Hanifah's (r.a.) grandson, Ismail ibn Hammad, who gave Imam Abu Hanifah's (r.a.) lineage as Tsabit ibn Numan ibn Marzban and claiming to be of Persian origin.  The discrepancy in the names, as given by Ismail of Imam Abu Hanifah's (r.a.) grandfather and great-grandfather are thought to be due to Zuta's adoption of the Arabic name, Nu’man, upon his acceptance of Islam and that ‘Mah’ and ‘Marzban’ were titles or official designations in Persia.  ‘Marzaban’ means a margrave of the Sassanian Persian Empire.   Imam Abu Hanifah's (r.a.) family was likely, originally margraves of Kabul in the Sasanian Empire.

Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) was born 67 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), but during the time of the swahabah, some of whom lived on until Imam Abu Hanifah's (r.a.) youth.  Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) passed away in 93 AH and another swahaba, Abu Tufayl ‘Amir ibn Wathilah, died in 100 AH, when Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) was 20 years old.  However the author of al-Khayrah al-Hisan collected information from books of biographies and cited the names of swahabah whom it is reported that the Imam has transmitted hadits from.  He counted them as sixteen.  They are: Anas ibn Malik (r.a.), ‘Abdullah ibn Anis al-Juhani (r.a.), ‘Abdullah ibn al-Harith ibn Juz’ az-Zabidi (r.a.), Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah (r.a.), ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa (r.a.), Wa’ila ibn al-Asqa` (r.a.), Ma`qal ibn Yasar (r.a.), Abu Tufayl `Amir ibn Wa’ila (r.a.), `Aishah bint Hajrad (r.a.), Sahl ibn Sa`d (r.a.), ath-Tha’ib ibn Khallad ibn Suwaid (r.a.), ath-Tha’ib ibn Yazid ibn Sa`id (r.a.), ‘Abdullah ibn Samra (r.a.), Mahmud ibn ar-Rabi’ (r.a.)`, ‘Abdullah ibn Ja`far (r.a.), and Abu Umama (r.a.).

Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) grew up in a period of oppression during the caliphates of ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan and his son al-Walid ibn ‘Abd al-Malik.  The governorship of Iraq was under the control of the tyrant, Hajjaj ibn Yusuf.  During his governorship leaders in religion and learning were especially targeted by Hajjaj as they proved an obstacle to ‘Abd al-Malik's establishment of his rule across Arabia and Iraq.  Consequently, Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) had neither interest nor opportunity to acquire any education in his early childhood.  He was simply content with following in the footsteps of his father as a silk merchant.

He set up a silk weaving business where he showed scrupulous honesty and fairness.  Once his agent in another country sold some silk cloth on his behalf but forgot to point out a slight defect to the purchasers.  When Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) learned this, he was greatly distressed as he had no means of refunding their money.  He immediately ordered the entire proceeds of the sale of the consignment of silk to be distributed to the poor.

Following the deaths of Hajjaj in 95 AH and Walid in 96 AH, justice and good administration made a comeback with the caliphates of Sulayman bin ‘Abd al-Malik and thereafter the saintly ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-Aziz (r.a.).  ‘Umar (r.a.) encouraged education to such an extent that every home became a madrasah.  Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) began to take an interest in education which was heightened further by the unexpected advice of Shaykh ash-Sha'bi (d. 722), one of Kufa's most well-known scholars.

While running an errand for his mother, he happened to pass the home of Shaykh ash-Sha'bi (r.a.).  Shaykh ash-Sha'bi (r.a.), mistaking him for a student, asked him whose classes he attended.  When Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) responded that he did not attend any classes, Shaykh ash-Sha'bi (r.a.) said, "I see signs of intelligence in you.  You should sit in the company of learned men."  Taking Shaykh ash-Sha'bi’s (r.a.) advice, Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) embarked on a prolific quest for knowledge that would in due course have a profound impact on the Ummah.  His early education was achieved through madaris and it is here that he learned the Qur'an and hadits, doing exceptionally well in his studies.  He spent a great deal of time in the tutelage of Shaykh Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman (q.s.), the great jurist of Kufa.

Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) had a dream.  He dreamt that he went to the grave of the Blessed Prophet (s.a.w.) with the intention of pillaging it.  He woke up greatly disturbed and told his shaykh about it.

His shaykh, Shaykh Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman (q.s.) said to him, “My boy, if your dream is true, you will follow the tracks of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), and you will ‘pillage’ his Revealed Shari’ah.”

Khathib al-Baghdadi (r.a.) narrated in his Tarikh (15:456-7): al-Khallal informed them; al-Hariri (r.a.) reported to them that an-Nakha‘i (r.a.) narrated to them; Ja‘far ibn Muhammad ibn Hazim (r.a.) narrated to him; al-Walid ibn Hammad (r.a.) narrated to them from al-Hasan ibn Ziyad (r.a.) from Zufar ibn al-Hudzayl (r.a.): He said; I heard Abu Hanifah say, “I would examine kalam until I reached therein a degree in which I could be pointed to with the fingers.  We would sit close to the circle of Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman and a woman came to me one day and said to me; ‘A man has a slave-girl as a wife whom he wishes to divorce by the Sunnah.  How many times does he pronounce divorce on her?’

I did not know what to say so I instructed her to ask Hammad and then return and inform me.  She asked Hammad and he said; ‘He issues one divorce to her when she is pure from menstruation and [in a period in which there was no] intercourse, and then leaves her until she experiences two periods of menstruation.  When she bathes, she is lawful for potential husbands.’  Then she returned and informed me.  Thereupon, I realised I have no need for dialectical theology.

I took my shoes and sat next to Hammad and I would listen to his juristic opinions and memorise his speech.  Then he repeated it the next day and I had it memorised, while his other companions erred.  So he said; ‘None is to sit at the head of the circle next to me besides Abu Hanifah.’  Thereafter, I accompanied him for ten years.  Then my soul incited me to seek leadership, so I wished to separate from him and sit in my own circle.  I left one day in the evening with resolve to do this and then when I went to the mosque and saw him, my soul did not find it pleasing to separate from him so I came and sat with him.  There came to him that night the news of the death of a relative of his who died in Basra who left behind some wealth and had no heir besides him.  He ordered me to sit in his place.  As soon as he left, questions came to me, the answers to which I had not heard from him, so I would answer and write my answers.  He was away for two months.  When he returned, I showed him the answers and they were around sixty verdicts.  He agreed with me in forty and disagreed with me in twenty.  Then I insisted to my soul that I will not part from him until he dies, so I did not part from him until he died.”

The Imam went to Madina in 102 AH in pursuit of knowledge and attended the lessons of seven top theologians.  The celebrated Imam Musa al-Kazhim (q.s.) and his illustrious father, Imam Ja’far asw-Swadiq (q.s.) the descendants of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), were the greatest authorities in Islamic learning of their time and Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) took full advantage of their association in Madina.  He was highly impressed with the erudition of Imam Ja'far asw-Swadiq (q.s.) whom he acknowledged as the most learned man in the world of Islam.  Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) also attended the classes of Imam Malik ibn Anas (r.a.) who was thirteen years younger than he.  It was his good fortune that ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-Aziz (r.a.) had organised the study and recording of hadits on a sounder footing.  Before the Caliphate of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-Aziz (r.a.), the record of hadits was confined to the memory of the people.  In a letter addressed to the learned men of Madina in 101 AH, he requested them to preserve in writing the record of hadits. Imam az-Zuhri (r.a.) furnished the first collection of hadits.  The teaching of hadits, too, had undergone a revolutionary change.  From his pulpit, the shaykh discoursed on the subject and the students assembled around him with pen and paper and carefully took down the notes.  Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) learnt ahadits from more than four thousand persons.

In 763 CE, al-Manswur, the Abbasid caliph offered Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) the post of Chief Qadhi of the State, but he declined to accept the offer, choosing to remain independent. His student Yaqub ibn Ibrahim al-Ansari (r.a.), better known as Abu Yusuf (r.a.) was appointed Qadhi al-Qadhat instead of himself.

In his reply to al-Manswur, Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) excused himself by saying that he did not regard himself fit for the post.  al-Manswur, lost his temper and accused Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) of lying.  "If I am lying," Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) replied, "then my statement is doubly correct.  How can you appoint a liar to the exalted post of a Chief Qadhi?"

Incensed by this reply, the ruler had Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) arrested, locked in prison and tortured.  He was never fed nor cared for.  But even there, the indomitable jurist continued to teach those who were permitted to come to him.  In 767 CE, Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) passed away in prison.  The reason of his death is unclear.  It was said that so many people attended his janazah that the funeral service was repeated six times for the more than 50,000 people who had amassed before he was actually buried.  On the authority of al-Khathib al-Baghdadi, it was said that for full twenty days people went on performing janazah for him.  Later, after many years, a mosque, the Abu Hanifah Mosque was built in the Adhamiyah neighbourhood of Baghdad.

His Works & Legacy

1.         Kitab al-Atsar narrated by Imam Muhammad ash-Shaybani (r.a.), compiled from a total of 70,000 hadits.
2.         Kitab al-Atsar narrated by Imam Abu Yusuf (r.a.)
3.         ‘Alim wa al-Muta‘allim
4.         Fiqh al-Akbar
5.         Musnad Imam al-A‘azham
6.         Kitab ar-Radd ‘ala al-Qayriyyah
  
It testifies to the greatness of Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) that he left behind so many muridun who went on to become great ‘ulama in their own right, including Qadhi Abu Yusuf (r.a.) who rose to be the Grand Qadhi of the Abbasid Caliphate during the reign of Caliph Harun ar-Rashid, Imam Muhammad ash-Shaybani (r.a.), Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Razzaq, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak (r.a.), Abu Na’im Faza (r.a.), and Abu ‘Asim (r.a.) who all acquired great fame in their day.

Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) had a council of 40 students who lived and studied in his academy.  He has reportedly spoken on 83,000 juristic issues.  Whenever an issue came to the attention of Imam Abu Hanifah’s (r.a.) council they used to discuss the matter for months and reach a conclusion based on the consensus.  The council used to resolve the problems of the community.  They used to speculate and imagine scenarios and then passed fatawa on them.

The fiqh of Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) is compatible and applicable to modern times.  28 of Imam Abu Hanifah’s (r.a.) students became judges in different towns, cities and provinces and 8 became mujtahid, capable of passing legal rulings according to the Qur’an and Sunnah.

The 40 Students of Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.); the ‘Ulama of the Hanafi Madzhab

1.         Imam Zufar (r.a.) (Passed away 158 AH)
2.         Imam Malik ibn Mughawwal (r.a.) (Passed away 159 AH)
3.         Imam Dawud ath-Tha'i (r.a.) (Passed away 160 AH)
4.         Imam Mandil ibn ‘Ali (r.a.) (Passed away 168 AH)
5.         Imam Nadzar ibn ‘Abd al-Karim (r.a.) (Passed away 169 AH)
6.         Imam ‘Amr ibn Maymun (r.a.) (Passed away 171 AH)
7.         Imam Hiban ibn ‘Ali (r.a.) (Passed away 173 AH)
8.         Imam Abu ‘Ismah (r.a.) (Passed away 173 AH)
9.         Imam Zuhayr ibn Mu'awiyyah (r.a.) (Passed away 173 AH)
10.       Imam Qasim ibn Ma'n (r.a.) (Passed away 175 AH)
11.       Imam Hammad ibn Abu Hanifah (r.a.) (Passed away 176 AH)
12.       Imam Hayyaj ibn Bistam (r.a.) (Passed away 177 AH)
13.       Imam Sharik ibn ‘Abdullah (r.a.) (Passed away 178 AH)
14.       Imam ‘Afiyyah ibn Yazid (r.a.) (Passed away 180 AH)
15.       Imam ‘Abdullah ibn Mubarak (r.a.) (Passed away 181 AH)
16.       Imam Abu Yusuf (r.a.) (Passed way 182 AH)
17.       Imam Muhammad ibn Nuh (r.a.) (Passed away 182 AH)
18.       Imam Hushaym ibn Bashir Sulami (r.a.) (Passed away 183 AH)
19.       Imam Abu Sa'id Yahya ibn Zakariyyah (r.a.) (Passed away 184 AH)
20.       Imam Fadhl ibn Ayyadh (r.a.) (Passed away 187 AH)
21.       Imam Asad ibn ‘Amr (r.a.) (Passed away 188 AH)
22.       Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan ash-Shaybani (r.a.) (Passed away 189 AH)
23.       Imam ‘Ali ibn Mis'ar (r.a.) (Passed away 189 AH)
24.       Imam Yusuf ibn Khalid (r.a.) (Passed away 189 AH)
25.       Imam ‘Abdullah ibn Idris (r.a.) (Passed away 192 AH)
26.       Imam Fadhl ibn Musa (r.a.) (Passed away 192 AH)
27.       Imam ‘Ali ibn Tibyaan (r.a.) (Passed away 192 AH)
28.       Imam Hafs ibn Ghayyath (r.a.) (Passed away 194 AH)
29.       Imam Wakii ibn Jarrah (r.a.) (Passed away 197 AH)
30.       Imam Hisham ibn Yusuf (r.a.) (Passed away 197 AH)
31.       Imam Yahya ibn Sa'id al-Qattan (r.a.) (Passed away 198 AH)
32.       Imam Shu'ayb ibn Ishaq (r.a.) (Passed away 198 AH)
33.       Imam Abu Muthi’ Balkhi (r.a.) (Passed away 199 AH)
34.       Imam Abu Hafs ibn ‘Abd ar-Rahman (r.a.) (Passed away 199 AH)
35.       Imam Khalid ibn Sulayman (r.a.) (Passed away 199 AH)
36.       Imam ‘Abd al-Hamid (r.a.) (PAssed away 203 AH)
37.       Imam Hasan ibn Ziyad (r.a.) (Passed away 204 AH)
38.       Imam Abu ‘Asim Nabil (r.a.) (Passed away 212 AH)
39.       Imam Makki ibn Ibrahim (r.a.) (Passed away 215 AH)
40.       Imam Hammad ibn Dalil (r.a.) (Passed away 215 AH)

Silsilah of Knowledge

Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) learned from both Imam Ja’far asw-Swadiq (q.s.) and Imam Malik ibn Anas (r.a.).  Imam Ja’far asw-Swadiq (q.s.) taught both Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) and Imam Malik ibn Anas (r.a.).  Each of them was a mujtahid who founded his own madzhab.

Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) taught Imam Sufyan ibn Said ats-Tsawri (r.a.), who founded the Tsawri madzhab.  Imam Sufyan ibn Said ats-Tsawri (r.a.) was one of the teachers of Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi‘i (r.a.) who founded the Shafi’i madzhab.  Imam ash-Shafi‘i (r.a.) was the teacher of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.) who founded the Hanbali madzhab.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Naqshbandi Haqqani Adab for Laylat al-Bara'ah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The night of mid-Sha’ban is known as Laylat al-Bara’ah or Laylat an-Niswfu Sha’banLaylat al-Bara’ah is “The Night of Freedom from the Fire.”  This is the night occurring between 14th and 15th of Sha’ban.  It is a meritorious night in which the people of the earth are attended by special Divine Mercy.  It is the night where the records are written.  It is the night of assignment and the night of deliverance, and the observance involves a nightlong vigil with prayers.  It is this night where the deeds are Reckoned, sins Forgiven and sustenance Assigned.  It is also the night where the rolls of the dead are Revealed and those whose souls are to be taken is known to the Angel of Death.

Although the majority of commentators of the Qur’an consider the Blessed Night on the verses of Surah al-Qadr to refer to Laylat al-Qadr, The Night of Decree, in the month of Ramadhan, it is acknowledged that it may also refer to Laylat al-Bara’ah.  Consequently, the scholars have recommended the observance of the night.  Imam as-Suyuthi (r.a.) said, “As for the night of mid-Sha’ban, it has great merit and it is desirable to spend part of it in supererogatory worship.”

We may observe it by making an invitation to feed people on that night, to remember Allah (s.w.t.) and to remember His Prophet (s.a.w.), and to fast its day and pray its night.  In order to observe Laylat al-Bara’ah, one should remain awake on this night as much as possible.  If someone has the opportunity, he or she should spend the whole night in worship and prayer.  However, if one cannot do so for one reason or another, he can select a considerable portion of the night, preferably of the second half of it for this purpose, and should perform the following acts of worship listed below.

In a swahih hadits as reported by Imam ibn Hibban (r.a.), “Allah Looks at His Creation in the night of mid-Sha`ban and He Forgives all His Creation except for a mushrik or a mushahin,” meaning an idolater or a man of hatred.  This was also reported by Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.) in al-Mu’jam al-Kabir and Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) in Shub al-Iman.

It was reported by ‘Aishah (r.a.) that the Prophet (s.a.w.) stood in swalah for part of the night and made his prostration so lengthy that she though his soul had been taken back.  When she saw this, she got up and moved his big toe and he moved so she drew back.  When he raised his head from prostration and finished his swalah, he said, “O ‘Aishah, O fair little one!  Did you think the Prophet had broken his agreement with you?”

She replied, “No, by Allah, O Messenger of Allah, but I thought that your soul had been taken back because you stayed in prostration so long.”

He asked, “Do you know what night this is?”

She said, “Allah and His Prophet Know best.”

He replied, “This is the night of mid-Sha’ban.  Verily Allah the Glorious and Majestic Looks at His servants on the night of mid-Sha’ban, and He Forgives those who ask for Forgiveness, and He Bestows Mercy on those who ask for Mercy, and He Gives Delay to the people of envy and spite to their state.”

The following is the Naqshbandi Haqqani adab for Laylat al-Bara’ah.  This is to be done in addition to the daily adab and the adab of Sha’ban.  On the day immediately following the Laylat al-Bara’ah, it is mustahabb, advisable, to fast.  Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is reported to have recommended this fast emphatically. It is advisable to fast the 15th of Sha`ban as an optional, nafl, fast.  One can also keep a fast of qadha’, on this day.  For those can fast, there is great merit in fasting the entire month, especially for those who are fasting the month of Rajab.

It would be preferable for the murid to make ghusl prior to the fast.  If not, at least make ghusl during the course of the day.  The murid should perform two raka’at sunnah after the ghusl.  The ni’at is for sunnah wudhu.

Between maghrib and isha’, the murid shall recite Surah YaSin three times.  For those who are fasting, break the fast first, pray maghrib and all the necessary sunnah swalah first, then read Surah YaSin.  Eat a proper meal after the completion of the above. . Each Surah YaSin is read with a different ni’at as follows; for rizq, for protection from bala', and for long life with iman and amal.  Like the rest of the amal of the holy months, the three Surah YaSin are better read in a group where one reads for all.  The du’a for Niswfu Sha’ban and the Grand Transmitted Supplication of Sulthan al-Awliya’ is found in the Naqshbandi Haqqani Book of Adab.  It is recited after each Surah YaSin.  Below is the du’a for Niswfu Sha’ban.


Allahumma yaa Dzaa al-Manni laa yamannu ‘alayhi ahad, yaa Dza al-Jalaali wa al-Ikram, yaa Dza ath-Thuli wa al-An’aam.  Laa ilaha illa Anta.  Zhahara al-Laaji’in wa Jaaru al-Mustajiriin wa Amaanu al-Khaaifin.  Allahumma in kunta katabtanii ‘andaka fii Ummu al-Kitaabi shaqiiyan aw mahruuman aw mathruudan aw muqataran ‘alayya fii ar-rizqi faamhu Allahumma bifadhlika shaqaawatii wa hurmaanii wa thurdii wa iqtaara rizqii wa thabitnii ‘indaka fii Umm al-Kitaabi sa’iidan wa marzuuqan lilkhayraati fainnaka qulta wa qawluka al-Haqq fii Kitaabika al-munzal ‘alaa lisaani nabiyyika al-mursalin yamhu Allahu maa yashaau wa yuthbitu wa ‘indahu Umm al-Kitaab.  Ilahi bi at-Tajallii al-a’azhami fii Laylatii an-Niswfi min shahri Sha’baani al-mu’azhami alatii yufraqu fiihaa kullu amri hakiimin wa yubramu an yakshifa ‘annaa min al-balaai maa ta’lamu wa maa laa ta’lamu wa maa Anta bihi a’alamu innaka Anta al-A’azzu al-Akram.  Wa swalaa Allahu ‘alaa Sayyidinaa Muhammadin wa ‘alaa alihi wa swahbihi wa sallim.

O our God, Tireless Possessor of Bounty without neglect, O Possessor of Majesty and the Greatest Munificence, O Possessor of Blessing and Sublimity.  There is not god but You, the Support of those who seek Refuge, the Neighbour of those who seek Nearness, the Refuge of those in fear.  O God, if you have Written in the Mother of Books that I be abject or deprived or banished or miserly, then Erase, O God through the Benefit of Your Bounty, my misery, deprivation, exile and miserliness from the Mother of Books and Establish me with You as happy and Blessed for indeed You have Said with Truth in Your Book and upon the tongue of your Prophet and Messenger, “God Blots Out or Confirms as He Pleases, and with Him is the Mother of all books,” (Surah ar-Ra’ad:39).  O my God, by the Majestic Manifestation of the Middle Night of the Blessed month of Sha’ban, “by which every affair of wisdom is Made distinct and Authorised,” (ad-Dukhaan:4), Remove from us the calamities that we are aware of and the calamities that we are not aware of, and You Know Best, for You are the Best of Knowers, You are the Mighty and the Generous.  And Salutations of God and Peace and Blessing upon the Noble Muhammad and those with him.

Those who are able should pray 100 raka’at of Swalah al-Khayr.  One may prayer 50 sets of two raka’atan prayers or 25 sets of four raka'at prayers, though the first option is preferable.  One may pray it singly or in congregation.  However, it is preferable to do it in congregation.

In the 1st rak’ah, recite Surah al-Fatihah followed by two Surah al-Ikhlasw.  In the 2nd rak’ah, recite Surah al-Fatihah followed by Surah al-Ikhlasw.  In this way, the murid completes the 100 raka'at and 150 Surah al-Ikhlasw.  For those who are able, may recite three, five, or ten Surah al-Ikhlasw in every rak’ah.  If the murid is reciting less than ten Surah al-Ikhlasw in each rak'ah, the remaining number of Surah al-Ikhlasw should be recited while sitting down, after finishing the 100 raka'at.  The goal is to finish 100 raka'at and 1,000 recitations of Surah al-Ikhlasw in that holy night.

Whoever is able to pray the 100 raka’at, Allah (s.w.t.) will Protect them from problems, sufferings and wars of the coming year.  They will also be protected from poverty.  For them, the Doors of Paradise are open and they will see the holy face of the Beloved Prophet (s.a.w.) while they are in this life.  They will be Granted a good death and they will leave this world with lighted faces and be written as one who leaves this world in faith.  They will see their maqam in akhirah before they die.

Sulthan al-‘Arifin Shaykh Hasan al-Baswri (q.s.) once said, “Thirty of the companions of Rasulullah (s.a.w.) related to me that Allah (s.w.t.) will Look seventy times upon one who performs this prayer on this night, and with each glance He will Fulfill seventy of that person’s needs, the least of them being Forgiveness.”


Merits of Sha'ban

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Sha’ban is one of the meritorious months for which we find particular instructions in the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  It is reported in a hadits that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) used to fast most of the month in Sha’ban.  These fasts are supererogatory, nafl, and well deserving of reward, for Sha’ban is the month immediately preceding the month of Ramadhan.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) mentioned in a hadits, “Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha`ban is my month and Ramadhan is the month of my ummah.”

Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) reported that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was asked, “Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadhan?”

He replied, “Fasts of Sha’ban in honour of Ramadhan.”

Usamah ibn Zayd (r.a.) reported that he asked Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), “Ya Rasulullah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Sha’ban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month.”

Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) replied, “That is a month between Rajab and Ramadhan which is neglected by many people.  And it is a month in which an account of the deeds is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting.”

‘Aishah (r.a.) said, “Rasulullah (s.a.w.) used to fast the whole of Sha’ban.  I said to him, ‘Ya Rasulullah, is Sha’ban your favourite month for fasting?’

He replied, ‘In this month, Allah Prescribes the list of the persons dying this year.  Therefore, I like that my death comes when I am in a state of fasting.’”

In another hadits, she said, “Rasulullah (s.a.w.) would sometimes begin to fast continuously until we thought he would not stop fasting, and sometimes he used to stop fasting until we thought he would never fast.  I never saw the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) fasting a complete month, except the month of Ramadhan, and I have never seen him fasting in a month more frequently than he did in Sha`ban.”

In another report, she said, “I never saw the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) fasting in a month so profusely as he did in the month of Sha’ban.  He used to fast in that month leaving only a few days, rather, he used to fast almost the whole of the month.”

Umm Salamah (r.a.), said, “I have never seen Rasulullah (s.a.w.) fasting for two months continuously except in the months of Sha`ban and Ramadhan.”

These reports indicate that fasting in the month of Sha’ban, though not obligatory, is so meritorious that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) did not like to miss it.


What is the Hijab?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The original article appeared in “Tudung: Beyond Face Value,” printed on 18th July, 2002 by Bridges Books.  The article has been rewritten.

The root word for “hijab” literally means ‘to cover.’  It originally referred to the curtains in the apartments that separated the women from men who were not her relatives.  Over time, it developed linguistically to refer to the clothing of the women.  The hijab may have been an ubiquitous feature of Muslim women but it is not unique to them.  The various types of head coverings have a long history in the Judeo-Christian tradition.  It is not at all surprising that the iconography of the Virgin Mary, Maryam (a.s.), all show her with her headscarf.

Until the 1960s, it was obligatory for women going to church to cover the head.  It still is in many conservative churches around the world.  The same applies for the Orthodox Jewish women going to the synagogue.  Today, the nuns and much of the laity of the more traditional Catholic Orders still wear austere habits that for the most part conform to shari’ah requirements.  In the Middle East and North Africa, we still find similar practices amongst Muslims and members of the various old Churches: the Nestorians, the Copts, the Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Catholics amongst others.  Orthodox Jews are also very strict in their observance of modesty as dictated by the Law.

In Islam, the parts of the body that have to be covered constitute the ‘awrah.  The root word in Arabic may have the connotation of defectiveness, blemish, vulnerability, nakedness, weakness or imperfection.  The ‘awrah of a woman varies slightly according to the different schools of jurisprudence.  It also varies according to the situation.

In ritual prayer, a woman must cover her entire body excluding her face and her hands.  She must also cover her hair to the hairline on the head and the area under the chin.  The basis of this is as a requirement for the worship and thus it does not change whether she is praying alone or in congregation.

There is no restriction as to the body parts a woman may show to her husband in private.  The husband and wife can see any part of each other’s body.  It is recommended that she cover her sexual organs even when alone in private for spiritual reasons.  The ‘awrah of a woman amongst other women is the same as the ‘awrah of men.  It is from her navel to her knees.  In front of a mahram, close male relative, a woman may show her entire head including the neck, her hands up to the forearms and her feet up to the calves.  The rest must remain covered.

In front of other men, the prevailing general opinion is that a woman should cover her entire body except her face and hands.  There is a difference of opinion with regards the feet with Hanafi madzhab saying it is permissible whilst the Shafi’i madzhab stating that it is not.  It is also permissible for her to show some hair according to some.  In addition to the extent of the covering, the clothing must not be too tight and too revealing.  Wearing adornments that draw unnecessary attention is also not encouraged.  This may include ostentatious jewellery and heavy make-up.  None of the schools of jurisprudence make the niqab, the veil across the face, compulsory.  According to Imam ash-Shafi’i (r.a.), it is a sunnah, a recommended practice.

It is important to note that the Qur’an itself does not state that women should be veiled.  The rulings and guidelines for female dress are ruling of the scholars based on the hadits and the consensus of scholars.  Except for what is compulsory, there is much leeway and the female dress has evolved considerably.  Much of what Muslim women wear such as the burqa, the jilbab and the tudung are very much cultural interpretations of a religious injunction.  Some are more conservative than others.

What the Qur’an does Say is this:


Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is Well Acquainted with all that they do.  And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments ... (Surah an-Nur:30-31)

It starts with the behaviour of the men.  It is incumbent upon men to lower the gaze for modesty and restraint begins in the heart of the faithful.  Far too much has been said about how women should dress and behave by men who look far more than they should.

With regards to women, the verse begins by telling them to lower their gaze.  Again, it begins with the spiritual and the internal.  Impropriety begins in the heart.  It then gives a general instruction to guard the modest and a specific one to cover the bosom.  It was the practice of women in some strata of pre-Islamic Makkan society to be topless.  It does not mention the hijab in the sense we are acquainted with now.  Neither does it mention the veil.

In an environment where it has been politicised, the hijab is neither the resurgence of Islamic extremism nor a rebellion against modernism.  It is neither a fashion statement nor a symbol of oppression.  It is merely an attempt to submit to the Divine Law.  It is a concept of modesty more than a piece of cloth.  Appreciating the Wisdom of a Divine Injunction entails understanding the concept of preserving modesty and maintaining the social order.  That being said, the mere covering of the head or the mere uncovering of the head does not give an indication of piety, but a preference of ikhtilaf.  I do not subscribe to the view that the hijab is compulsory since it is an issue of fiqh, and fiqh has a zaman and a makan, a time and place.