Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Salafi Tampering of Riyadh asw-Swalihin

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

It is important for a Muslim seeking to learn about Islam to have the proper teachers.  It is also important for them to ensure that any books they have are by verified scholars.  If it is a translation, of a classical work the translator and the publisher have to be verified.  The same applies if it is a commentary.

The following is adapted from Salafi Tampering of Riyadh asw-Swalihin by Shaykh Gibril Haddad and Moin Shaheed, President, Ahlus Sunnah Muslim Association of Sri Lanka.  This is a review of the translation of Imam an-Nawawi's (r.a.) Riyadh asw-Swalihin published in 1999 by Darussalam Publishing House, Riyadh.

A team of unprincipled editors and translators out of a Riyadh publishing house by the name of Darussalam was commissioned to produce a glossy 2-volume English edition of Imam an-Nawawi's (r.a.) Riyadh asw-Swalihin to be distributed for free to Islamic schools around the world.  This exercise is designed to propagate Salafi ideology to unwary English-speaking Muslim students of Islamic knowledge.  This ideology is couched within a thoroughly unscrupulous commentary inserted into the book chapters and authored by an unknown or spurious 'Hafiz Salahuddin Yusuf of Pakistan,’ ‘revised and edited by Mahmud Rida Murad’ (1:7).  The following are some examples of what is contained in this brand new Salafi product:

(a)       The work is laced with an unabashed eulogy of Naswir Albani whom it calls "the leading authority in the science of hadith" (1:88).  The fact is that the only agreed-upon title Albani has been able to earn from the verifying ‘ulama of the Ummah from East to West, is that of an erratic innovator.

(b)       Declaring that "in case of breach of ablution, the wiping over the socks is sufficient, and there is no need for washing the feet" (1:31).  This ruling invalidates one of the conditions of wudhu spelled out in the Qur'an and the sunnah, making swalah prayed with such a wiping null and void according to the Four Schools, which prohibit wiping over non-waterproof footwear.

(c)       Declaring that "ours should not be the belief that the dead do hear and reply [to our greeting]" (1:515). The Jumhur differ.

(d)       Declaring that expressing the intention, niyyah, verbally before swalah "is a bid`ah (innovation in religion) because no proof of it is found in Shar'`ah" (1:14).  This is not only a wanton attack on the Shafi`i School but an ignorant violation of the criteria of calling something an innovation in the religion.

(e)       "Prohibition [of kissing] is only effective if the kissing of hands is also involved."  (2:721).  Note that Imam Sufyan ats-Tsawri (r.a.) called the kissing of the hands of the ‘ulama a sunnah and that the majority of the scholars concur on its permissibility.

(f)        Saying "unapproved hadith" - an invented classification - for the swahih hadits of the two Jews who kissed the Prophet's (s.a.w.) hands and feet as narrated by Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) and others.

(g)       The weakening of the hasan hadits whereby the Prophet (s.a.w.) kissed Zayd ibn Haritsa (r.a.) as narrated by Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) as hasan.

(h)       Declaring "the hadiths about the kissing of hands are weak and deficient from the viewpoint of authenticity," an outright lie.

(i)        Declaring after the hadits stating: "I suffer like two men of you": "This hadith... throws light on the fact that the Prophet (s.a.w.) was merely a human being." (2:737)  This discourse is that of the disbelievers mentioned in many places of the Qur'an:

…They said: "Ah!  Ye are no more than human like ourselves!..."  (Surah Ibrahim:10)

They said: "Shall we believe in two men like ourselves?..." (Surah al-Mu’minun:47)

The (people) said: "Ye are only men like ourselves..." (Surah YaSin:15)

… but they said: "Shall (mere) human beings direct us?"... (Surah at-Taghabun 6)

(j)        Claiming: "We are uncertain that after saying a funeral prayer, the Prophet (s.a.w.) and his Companions ever stood around the bier and supplicated for the dead body.  It is an innovation and must be abolished." (2:755).  This is flatly contradicted by the sound narrations ordering the swahabah to make ud’iyyah for the deceased directly after burial.  The commentor(s) go on to say: "It looks strange that believers should persist in reciting supplications in their own self-styled way after the funeral prayer, but desist from them during the funeral prayer to which they have relevance.  It implies that prayer is not the object of their pursuit, otherwise they would have prayed in accordance with the Sunna.  In fact, they cherish their self-fabricated line of action and seem determined to pursue it."  Yet the commentator(s) a few pages later (2:760) state: "The Prophet (s.a.w.) has instructed his followers that after a Muslim's burial, they should keep standing beside his grave for some time and pray for his firmness."

(k)       Omitting (2:760) to translate the words of Imam ash-Shafi`i (r.a.) related by Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) in Chapter 161 ("Supplication for the Deceased after his Burial"): ""It is desirable (yustahabb) that they recite something of the Qur'an at the graveside, and if they recite the entire Qur'an it would be fine."  Omitting to translate these words which are in the original text of Riyadh asw-Swalihin is deceit and a grave betrayal of the trust, amanah, of the translation of one the mother books of knowledge in Islam.

(l)        As if the above were not enough, the "commentary" goes on to state: "The reference made to Imam ash-Shafi`i about the recitation of Qur'an beside a Muslim's grave is in disagreement with the Prophet's (s.a.w) practice... the reference made to Imam ash-Shafi`i seems to be of doubtful authenticity."  However, Shaykh az-Za`farani (r.a.) said: "I asked ash-Shafi`i about reciting Qur'an at the graveside and he said: la ba'sa bihi - There is no harm in it."  This is narrated by Imam Ahmad's (r.a.) student Shaykh al-Khallal (r.a.) (d. 311) in his book al-‘Amr bi al-Ma`ruf (p. 123 #243).  Similar fatawa are reported from Shaykh ash-Sha`bi (r.a.), Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.), Shyakh Ishaq ibn Rahuyah (r.a.) and others of the Salaf by no less than Shaykh ibn al-Qayyim (r.a.) and Shaykh ash-Shawkani (r.a.) in their books - the putative authorities of the "Salafi" movement.

(m)      Stating (2:761): "Qur'an reading meant to transmit reward to the dead man's soul is against the Prophet's (s.a.w)example.  All such observances are of no use to the dead."  This is the exact same position as the Mu`tazila on the issue, who went so far as to deny the benefit of the Prophet's (s.a.w.) intercession.  It should be noted that the manipulative editors /commentators of Riyadh asw-Swalihin deliberately omit any mention of the Companions' practice, as it is authentically recorded from ibn `Umar (r.a.) that he ordered that Qur'an be read over his grave, which has the status of the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.) as this particular Companion was known to be the staunchest of all people in his adherence to the Prophet's (s.a.w.) example.

(n)       Stating (2:761): "For further detail, one can refer to Shaykh al-Albani's Ahkam al-Jana'iz."  This is the book in which this man lists among the innovations of misguidance the fact that the Prophet's (s.a.w.) grave is inside his Mosque in Madina and the fact that it has a dome built over it, and he asks for both of them to be removed.

(o)       Stating (2:791-792): "If a woman has no husband or mahram, hajj is not obligatory on her.  Neither can she go for hajj with a group of women, whether for hajj or any other purposes....  Under no circumstances a woman may travel alone."  This contradicts the fatwa of the majority of the ‘ulama as well as the principle that when there is scholarly disagreement over an issue, it becomes automatically impermissible to declare it prohibited.

(p)       Rephrasing a hadits (2:810-811) by omitting key words which invalidate their position.  In chapter 184 of Riyadh asw-Swalihin titled "Desirability of Assembling for Qur'an-Recitation," Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) cites the hadits of Imam Muslim (r.a.) whereby the Prophet (s.a.w.) said: "No group of people assemble in one of the Houses of Allah, all of them reciting [plural pronoun] the Book of Allah (yatla’una kitab Allah) and studying  It among themselves except Serenity (as-sakina) shall descend upon them."  The editor/ commentator(s) of Riyadh asw-Swalihin rephrased the hadits thus: "Any group of people that assemble in one of the Houses of Allah to study the Qur'an, tranquility will descend upon them." omitting the key words: "all of them reciting the Book of Allah."  Then the same editor/ commentator(s) had the gall to comment: "This hadith... does not tell us in any way that this group of people recite the Qur'an all at once.  This is bid`ah for this was not the practice of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.)."  This is tampering compounded with a shameless lie.  This misinterpretation and false claim of bid`ah is, of course, directed at the Maghribi style of Qur'anic recitation that relies heavily on collective tilawah in order to strengthen memorization.

(q)       The statement (2:848) concerning the Prophet's (s.a.w) miracle of seeing behind his back: "It must be borne in mind that a miracle happens with the will of Allah only.  It is not at all in the power of the Prophet (s.a.w).  Had he been capable of working a miracle on his own, he would have shown it at his own pleasure.  But no prophet was ever capable of it, nor was the Prophet (s.a.w) an exception to this rule."  In truth this speech comes directly from books such as Isma`il Dehlvi's Taqwayt al-Iman concerning which Abu al-Hasan ats-Tsanwi (r.a.) said: "The words used by Isma`il Dehlvi are, of course, disrespectful and insolent.  These words may never be used." (Imdad ul-Fatawa 4:115)

(r)        The statement (2:861): "The right number of rak`ats in the tarawih prayers is eight because the Prophet (s.a.w.) never offered more than eight rak`ats...  It is not in any case twenty rak`ats.  Authentic ahadith prove this point abundantly."  This is a transgressive innovation, bid`ah mufassiqa, as it rejects the command of the Prophet (s.a.w) to "obey the sunnah of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs after me" and also kufr as it violates the passive consensus, ijma` sukuth, of the Companions over twenty raka`at.

(s)        The statement (2:905): "Twenty rak`at tarawih is not confirmed from any authentic hadith, nor its ascription to `Umar ( is proved from any muttasil (connected) hadith."  This is a blatant lie, as the number of hadits masters who graded as swahih the connected chains back to `Umar (r.a.) establishing twenty raka`at tarawih are too numerous to count.  They provided the basis on which the ‘ulama concur in declaring that consensus formed on the matter among the Companions as stated by Shaykh al-Qari (r.a.), Shaykh az-Zayla`i (r.a.), Shaykh al-Haytsami (r.a.), Shaykh ibn al-Humam (r.a.), Shaykh ibn Qudama (r.a.), and a number of other major jurists of the Four Schools.

(t)        The statement (2:1025): "In the present age Shaykh Naswir ad-Din al-Albani has done a very remarkable work in this field [hadith].  He has separated the weak ahadith found in the four famous volumes of ahadith (Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa'i, and ibn Majah) from the authentic and prepared separate volumes of authentic and weak ahadith.  This work of Albani has made it easy for the ordinary ulema to identify the weak ahadith.  Only a man of Shaykh Albani's caliber can do research on it.  The ordinary ulema and religious scholars of the Muslims are heavily indebted to him for this great work and they should keep it in view before mentioning any hadith.  They should mention only the authentic ahadith and refrain from quoting the weak ones.  It is wrong to ignore this work on the ground that Shaykh Albani is not the last word on the subject.... As Muhaddithin have done a great service to the Muslim Umma by collecting and compiling the ahadith, similarly in the style of Muhaddithin, and in keeping with the principles laid down by them, the research carried out to separate the authentic ahadith from the weak is in fact an effort to complete their mission.  In this age, Almighty Allah has bestowed this honor on Shaykh Albani."  All this fawning will not hide the facts that al-Albani has been exposed as the innovator of this age par excellence and that his splitting of the books of Sunan into Swahih at-Tirmidzi and Dha`if at-Tirmidzi and so forth is an unprecedented attack on the mother books of Islam for which, undoubtedly, he shall be brought to account on the Day of Judgment as he was rejected for it by the ‘ulama of the ummah from East to West.

(u)       Another systematic mistranslation for the Chapter-title 338 (2:1294) states: "Prohibition of placing the hands on the sides during Salat" when the Arabic clearly states al-khasira which means "waist" or "hip" rather than "sides."  The same mistranslation is then repeated in the body of the chapter, then a third time in the commentary.  This mistranslation is part of the Salafi campaign against the Maliki form consisting in letting the arms hang down by the sides during the standing part of swalah.  In some places of North Africa today, such as Marrakech, certain people are paid to declare takfir and tadhlil, in the name of the sunnah, of those who pray with their arms hanging by their sides although it is an established sunnah.

All sincere Muslims should consider themselves warned and warn others that this is not a Sunni translation of the great classic of Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) but an innovative, deviant, and inauthentic translation which should never have been allowed.  There are two other English translations of Riyadh asw-Swalihin available in print, any one of which would be preferable to this one.  And from Allah (s.w.t.) comes all success.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Welcome Dzu al-Qa'idah & Remember Death

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from a swuhbah from Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.) on the 07th October 2010.

Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) welcomed the arrival of the first night of the holy month of Dzu al-Qa’idah.  Dzu al-Qa’idah is the first of three holy months that appear one after another as Dzu al-Hijjah and Muharram follow Dzu al-Qa’idah.

The reality of our lives is like a huge ice carving standing outdoors under direct sunlight.  As the minutes tick by, the ice-carving begins to melt, and after many hours, it has disappeared.  In each moment that we live, our clock is ticking, our bodies are growing weaker, our battery is running out of energy and we head closer to our deaths.  Each year, millions of people who go to sleep, pass away while they are sleeping.  They never awaken from their slumber.  Knowing this, how can we be certain that we will awaken the next time we sleep?  And since we have no certainty of ever waking up, why are we not making preparation for death?

Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said, “O ‘Umar, let death be an adviser to you,” which means, let the remembrance of death always be with us.  The one making preparation for death will always be in worship and will always shun sinful acts.  This hadits is not just for ‘Umar (r.a.) alone.  It is directed at the entire ummah.  Death must be a constant reminder of our meeting with our Lord Almighty.  Death follows us like a shadow following our bodies.  When we have reached the end of our appointed term, death takes us without a moments delay.  We must prepare for that day when we part from this physical body.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) used to pray, “Let the last day of my life on earth, be my best one.”  The Qur’an Teaches us to remind one another of death constantly.  Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

Every soul shall have a taste of death: in the end to Us shall ye be Brought Back. (Surah al-‘Ankabut:57)

Today, people are only interested in collecting worldly possessions.  Instead of preparing for the next life by enhancing our spirituality, many of us are thinking of how to enhance our lives.  It is Shaythan’s intention to encourage us to waste our lives in frivolous pursuits.

Daily, as our physical body grows weaker, our souls must get stronger.  As our body prepares to descend into the grave, our soul must prepare to in ascension.  As we reduce our focus on seeking physical pleasure and entertainment, we increase focus on our spirituality, and ascend to the world of Light.  Our physical bodies are too heavy to fly, so when we discard it by ignoring its desires, we become lighter and lighter, until we can float.  But if our life is focused on feeding our carnal needs, we will forever remain heavy and never ascend.  We remain in this dark world and the world will get darker until we might find ourselves in the grave

Shaykh Ibrahim ibn Adham (q.s.) was a ruler.  He was once hunting deer in the forest.  He was in hot pursuit of his prey when he was addressed by a voice in his right ear, “O Ibrahim, do you think you have been Created for this?  You like hunting because your ego likes it.  Do you think that is your mission in this life?”  On his left ear, he heard, “Do you think you have been Created for frivolous pursuits?”  This story applies to us also.  Just as Shaykh Ibrahim (q.s.) was chasing the deer, we are chasing dunya.  And just as Allah (s.w.t.) Spoke to him, He Speaks to us

Shaykh Ibrahim ibn Adham (q.s.) quickly rode back on his horse.  When he reached his palace, he cried to his Lord, “O Allah, I give everything away, for Your Sake. O my Lord, I seek Forgiveness.”  Allah (s.w.t.) Waits for us to do the same, to change our aim from aiming to be with dunya to aiming to be with Allah (s.w.t.).

The Dzikr of the Heart & the Value of Basmallah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

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

Once, daily, we must listen to our dzikr of the heart.  When we listen, we can hear our heart saying, “Allah, Allah, Allah…”  This is an important wird, more important than the dzikr of the tongue.  This gives concentration to the whole body.  The best time to do this is after midnight, at tahajjud.  First pray, two raka’at, then sit and listen to the dzikr of the heart.  Our concentration will grow from this point to where that dzikr, the remembrance of our Lord, will be with us 24 hours a day.

Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) said we must be grateful, we are not in a war, we are healthy, and we have so many things while so many people are suffering.  They asked Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) how he could provide for so many people visiting and staying at the zawiyah in Lefke every day since he is not working.  He said, “With ‘Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim; may Allah (s.w.t.) not Take the Basmallah out of our hearts!  Whoever does not use the Basmallah cannot save himself from bala’, and the biggest bala’ is to forget to say ‘Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim’.  May Allah (s.w.t.) not Make us forget it.”

Shaykh ‘Abdillah ad-Daghistani (q.s.) said, “All ways are closed except one, and that is to say ‘Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim’ with every movement.”  If not, nothing works.  Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim is the only key for all mankind.  It has a special tajalli.  Every locked door opens with Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim.

In the Night of Ascension, the Mi’raj, Jibril (a.s.) accompanied the Prophet (s.a.w.).  There was a place, a maqam, where there was a gate so magnificent that it cannot be measured.  And the Prophet (s.a.w.) was overwhelmed.  From Allah’s (s.w.t.) Wisdom, the tajalli over that gate, its colours and majesty change all the time.  It is a door belonging to the spiritual world.  The tajalli over that door changes constantly up to eternity and its beauties add one over the other.  May Allah (s.w.t.) Open to us such a door.  It is like entering a palace.  There are private doors that belong to the Sulthan; you have to wait in front of that door and maybe it never opens for you.  Only for the Master.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) saw that door had a lock on it.  It is not like any lock we know.  It is a magnificent lock.  Colours enter from it like flashes, like lightning.

He asked the archangel, “To where does it open?”

“It opens to Allah’s (s.w.t.) Tajalli.”

The Prophet asked in his heart to see what was behind that door and he asked Jibril (a.s.), “Can we open that door?”

The angel said “Yes, you may see what is behind because everything was Created for you.”

“I would like to,” said the Prophet (s.a.w.), “but where is the key?”

‘The key has already been Given to you,” said the angel.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) did know but from the adab that a servant of Allah (s.w.t.) has with his Lord, he waited for the answer to come from the angel to him.  A servant does not just enter the Presence of the Sulthan, so even though the Prophet (s.a.w.) knew how to enter, he waited for Divine Permission.  The angel said, “The key is to say, ‘Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim.’”

When the Prophet said these words, the lock was unlocked and the magnificent door was opened and he saw visions that are indescribable, not to be spoken of by any tongue.  Can one count the rays of the sun?  And who could approach the sun itself?  Allah’s (s.w.t.) Greatness is such that no one is able to approach His Majesty.  What did the Prophet (s.a.w.) see behind the door?  He saw four springs of endless beauty.  From where they did they spring?  He saw them spring from a writing: Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim, and no one can see to where they flow.  The Basmallah contains three Holy Names of Allah (s.w.t.) and he who says it will drink from these four fountains.  The people of Paradise drink from them; water, milk, honey and wine flow from them through each single Paradise.  No one will suffer from thirst.  And he who reads Surah al-Fatiha in one breath will drink from those fountains in that maqam.  Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) says he can only speak about some of the blessings that the Basmallah contains.

He who respects the Basmallah will be Honoured, and neither in dunya nor in barzakh nor on the Day of Judgment, will he have problems.  There was one woman who used to say Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim no matter what she did.  Her husband got annoyed and he asked her why she said that all the time.  She answered, “When I say it, Allah (s.w.t.) Looks after me, Provides for me and everything is Made Easy for me.”

He decided to test her and later gave her some money asking her to keep it for him. She took the money with the Basmallah, put it in a box which she hid in a special place.  The man knew the place.  Later on, he took the money out secretly and hid it in a well.  After some time the man said to his wife, “I need the money that I gave you for safekeeping.  Please bring it to me.”

His wife went and opened the box.  And with the Basmallah on her lips, she put her hand inside and took the money out.  It was dripping with water.  She was surprised.  She brought the money to him and he was ashamed.  She asked him “What did you do with the money?  I hid it in that box in that place and it could never get wet.’

He kissed her hand and said, “O my wife, may Allah (s.w.t.) be Pleased with you.  You have made me ashamed.  You have taught me the value of the Basmallah.’

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Why are Muslims So Backward & Powerless?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was penned by Dr. Farrukh Saleem, on Sunday, 16th September 2012.  The writer is the Pakistani Executive Director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies, a think tank established in 2007 and an Islamabad-based freelance columnist.

“We Muslims must wonder why is it that only Muslim States like Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are being attacked by the Christian West.  Why do we get pushed around by them with the former President of the US George Bush calling it a crusade?  Why is it that Muslim States often depend on the West for survival, even Saudi Arabia, the epicentre for Islamic fundamentalism, Wahhabism, is dependent on American largesse for their survival?  While they preach Wahhabi Islam all over the world, they allow American bases within a few hundred kilometres from the Holiest Shrines of Islam.

There are an estimated 1,476,233,470 Muslims on the face of the planet: one billion in Asia, 400 million in Africa, 44 million in Europe and six million in the Americas.  Every fifth human being is a Muslim.  For every single Hindu there are two Muslims; for every Buddhist there are two Muslims and for every Jew there are one hundred Muslims.

Ever wondered why Muslims are so powerless?  Here is why: There are 57 member-countries of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), and all of them put together have around 500 universities; one university for every three million Muslims.  The United States has 5,758 universities and India has 8,407.  In 2004, Shanghai Jiao Tong University compiled an Academic Ranking of World Universities and intriguingly, not one university from Muslim-majority states was in the top-500.

As per data collected by the UNDP, literacy in the Christian world stands at nearly 90% and 15 Christian-majority states have a literacy rate of 100%.  A Muslim-majority state, as a sharp contrast, has an average literacy rate of around 40% and there is no Muslim-majority state with a literacy rate of 100%.  Some 98% of the literates in the Christian world had completed primary school, while less than 50% of the literates in the Muslim world did the same.  Around 40% of the literates in the Christian world attended university while no more than2 % of the literates in the Muslim world did the same.

Muslim-majority countries have 230 scientists per one million Muslims.  The US has 4,000 scientists per million and Japan has 5,000 per million.  In the entire Arab world, the total number of full-time researchers is 35,000 and there are only 50 technicians per one million Arabs.  In the Christian world, there are up to 1,000 technicians per one million.

Furthermore, the Muslim world spends 0.2% of its GDP on research and development, while the Christian world spends around 5% of its GDP.  Conclusion: The Muslim world lacks the capacity to produce knowledge.

Daily newspapers per 1,000 people and number of book titles per million are two indicators of whether knowledge is being diffused in a society.  In Pakistan, there are 23 daily newspapers per 1,000 Pakistanis while the same ratio in Singapore is 360.  In the UK, the number of book titles per million stands at 2,000 while the same in Egypt is 20.  Conclusion: The Muslim world is failing to diffuse knowledge.

Exports of high technology products as a percentage of total exports are an important indicator of knowledge application.  Pakistan's export of high technology products as a percentage of total exports stands at 1%.  The same for Saudi Arabia is 0.3%; Kuwait, Morocco, and Algeria are all at 0.3 %, while Singapore is at 58%.  Conclusion: The Muslim world is failing to apply knowledge.

Why are Muslims powerless?  Because we are not producing knowledge.  Because we are not diffusing knowledge.  Because we are not applying knowledge.  And, the future belongs to knowledge-based societies.

Interestingly, the combined annual GDP of 57 OIC-countries is under $2 trillion.  America, just by herself, produces goods and services worth $12 trillion; China $8 trillion, Japan $3.8 trillion and Germany $2.4 trillion purchasing power parity basis.  Oil rich Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar collectively produce goods and services, mostly oil, worth $500 billion; Spain alone produces goods and services worth over $1 trillion, Catholic Poland $489 billion and Buddhist Thailand $545 billion.  Muslim GDP as a percentage of world’s GDP is fast declining.  So, why are Muslims so powerless?  Answer: Lack of education.  All we do is shout ‘Allah’ the whole day and blame everyone else for our multiple failures.”

The Need for Tabarruk

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Every year, Muslim holy sites are destroyed at an alarming pace.  What is perhaps more alarming is that some Muslims see no problem with this.  Rather, they may even feel that this is a good thing because an “exaggerated emphasis” is placed on the holiness of such sites.  This overstated emphasis, they fear, could weaken or cloud sound understanding of the Oneness of Allah (s.w.t.) and the reliance solely upon Him.

Mu'alla before the Wahhabis destroyed it
However, Muslims from the earliest generations have sought blessings, tabarruk, of individuals, objects, places and times.  The swahabah of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) vied with each other for his hairs, sweat, leftover water from wudhu, and objects related to him, as established in rigorously authenticated ahadits.

We see this practice in subsequent generations, too.  Imam Shafi’i (r.a.) washed a shirt sent to him by Imam Ahmad and drank the water it was washed in.  This was reported by Imam ibn ‘Asakir (r.a.) in Tarikh Dimashq.

Imam Shafi’i (r.a.) also would visit the grave of Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) and pray there when he had some pressing need and ask Allah (s.w.t.) to Fulfill that need, which would invariably be fulfilled.  This was recorded by Khathib al-Baghdadi (r.a.) in Tarikh al-Baghdadi.

Imam Ahmad (r.a.) made a bequest that he be buried in Bab at-Tibn in the Qati’a cemetery.  When asked about this, he responded, “I have strong proof that there is a prophet buried in Qati’a, and I would rather be buried close to a prophet than to my very own father.”  This was recorded by Imam ibn Abi Ya’la (r.a.) in Thabaqat al-Hanabila.

The question arises, then: why this emphasis on the barakah of buildings, relics and individuals?  The Qur’an talks about the barakah of certain individuals such as Jesus (a.s.), places such as the Levant, things such as the olive tree, texts such the Qur’an, words such as the greeting of salam, peace, and times such as Laylat al-Qadr.  Shaykh Raghib al-Iswfahani (r.a.) explains in Mufradat Alfazh al-Qur’an that barakah is “affirming Divinely-placed good in something.”  Blessed individuals, objects and places are signs of the Divine.  Beautiful in themselves, in meaning or form, they remind us of the Divine; of Divine Beauty, Oneness and of the ways of approaching the Divine.  They are a means of remembering Allah (s.w.t.).  They awaken us to the reality that the forms of created things have a meaning.  They are all, in fact, signs of Allah (s.w.t.).  As the poet said, “In everything there is a sign, indicating that He is the One

Allah (s.w.t.). Tells us in the Qur’an:

Such (is his state): and whoever holds in honour the Symbols of Allah, (in the sacrifice of animals), such (honour) should come truly from piety of heart. (Surah al-Hajj:32)


The sacrificial camels we have made for you as among the Symbols from Allah: in them is (much) good for you... (Surah al-Hajj:36)

Imam al-Qurthubi (r.a.) explains in his al-Jami’ li Ahkam al-Qur’an that the Symbols of Allah, or in another  translation, the Sacred Things of God, sha‘air Allah, are the Distinguishing Signs of His Religion.

This is why Muslims throughout the ages have loved, venerated and sought the blessings of righteous individuals and places of significance, such as mosques, historical sites and the graves of the righteous.  It is an expression of the love of Allah (s.w.t.) to see and celebrate His Signs and to love those things Beloved to Him.  As the poet said, “We see this in the very practice of the Beloved of God, for ibn ‘Umar relates that, ‘The Messenger of God (s.a.w.) used to ask for water to be brought from purification pools.  He would drink from this water, seeking the blessing of the hands of Muslims.”  This is related by Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.) in al-Awsath and Shaykh Abu Nu’aym (r.a.) in al-Hilya.  Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.) said in his Majma ‘ al-Zawa ‘id that its chain of transmitters is reliable.  In an age of increasing meaninglessness, the loss of these persons and places that remind us of Allah (s.w.t.), and of the ways to approach Him, is unfortunate indeed.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Engraved in the Heart of the Saints

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Someone asked Shaykh Tayfur Abu Yazid al-Bistami (q.s.), “Show me a deed by which I will be able approach my Lord.”

He replied, “Love the friends of Allah in order that they will love you.  Love His saints until they love you because Allah Looks into their hearts and He will See that your name is engraved within the hearts of His friends and He will Favour you.”

Shaykh Tayfur Abu Yazid Al Bistami (q.s.) was the sixth inheritor of the Naqshbandiyya Sufi Order.  Originally called the Path of asw-Swiddiq among the early Muslims, it became known as the Khwajagan Order before it became famous as the Naqshbandiyyah Order in the 14th century.

The word, “Naqsh” means “engraving” and the word, “Band” means, “enclosed”.  The name, “Naqshbandi” is mostly translated as “engravings on the heart” like a seal on heart of the lover, a permanent bonding between a seeker with his Lord and His Most Beloved.  The Imam of the Order, Shah Baha’ ad-Din an-Naqshbandi (q.s.) used to write the name of Allah (s.w.t.) on the chest of a new murid, putting his fingers and he will recite the Name in a way that the murid will experience that the Shaykh had just engraved the Name of Allah (s.w.t.) upon his heart, enclosing the Name within the heart with his spiritual power and authority.

Allah (s.w.t.) has Put Power in the pledge of allegiance, bay’ah, that a seeker gives to a true inheritor of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  Khwaja Fazal ‘Ali Qurayshi (q.s.) used to say, “That heart upon which the finger has been placed cannot die without reciting the affirmation of faith.”

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Do Women Take Unequal Shares of Inheritance?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is taken from Do Women take Unequal Shares of Inheritance in Islam? by Shaykh ‘Ali Juma’ah.

It is commonly stated in contemporary times that Islam oppresses women by making their inheritance half that of men.  As Muslims, we have firm conviction in Allah’s (s.w.t.) Immutable Attributes and this conviction keeps such claims from affecting our hearts.  We believe that Allah (s.w.t.) is a Fair Judge and that His Justice is Absolute: no injustice towards humans or any other creature is found in His Sacred Law.  The Qur’an Says:

… and not one will thy Lord treat with injustice. (Surah al-Kahf:49)

… for verily Allah is not unjust to His servants. (Surah al-Hajj:10)

… it was not Allah Who injured (or oppressed) them: they injured (and oppressed) their own souls. (Surah al-‘Ankabut:40)

Therefore, such a statement does not shake our conviction, but rather calls for an in-depth analysis of the inheritance law stipulated by the Qur'an.  The difference in inheritance is not based on the gender of the heir, but on three primary conditions:

1.         The degree of kinship to the deceased: Regardless of whether the heir is male or female, the closer the relationship to the deceased, the more an individual will inherit.  For example, a deceased woman’s daughter is entitled to half the inheritance while the husband of the deceased only receives one fourth.  This is because the daughter, as an immediate blood relative, is closer in relation than the husband.  Therefore the amount of inheritance she receives is greater.

2.         The generation to which the heir belongs: Grandchildren usually receive more inheritance than grandparents because they will confront future financial responsibilities, whereas others usually maintain the financial upkeep of grandparents.  The system functions this way regardless of gender: despite the fact that they are both women, the daughter of the deceased inherits more than the deceased’s mother because they belong to different generations.  Likewise, the daughter of the deceased inherits more than the deceased’s father.  This is so even if she has a living brother who inherits with her.

3.         Financial Responsibility: It is in this category alone that shares of inheritance differ according to gender.  However, this disparity causes no injustice to the female.  When a group of inheritors, such as the children of the deceased, are equal in the first two aforementioned factors, then their shares are affected by the third.  In this specific scenario the misunderstood Qur’anic verses alluded to in the original question come into play.  The Quran has not made the disparity between men and women a general condition, but rather has confined it to this specific situation.  When the individuals in a group of heirs are equal in both their relation to the deceased and their age, the male son of the deceased receives twice as much as the female daughter of the deceased.  The wisdom behind this arrangement is as follows: the male is responsible for the financial upkeep of his wife and children, whereas his sister’s financial upkeep is the responsibility of an individual other than herself, such as her husband or father.  Thus, for all practical purposes, the disparity favours the woman because the wealth she inherits is not applicable to the household expenses and is hers to dispense with as she pleases.  This financial advantage also protects her from any circumstances that would place her in financial difficulty.  Unfortunately, few today understand this finer point of the Muslim inheritance system.

The financial responsibilities of men include the payment of a dowry, ongoing financial maintenance and support with no expectation of reciprocation, and financial support of their extended family if circumstances demand this.

These scenarios, and others, force us to conduct a more objective examination of property and wealth.  Wealth is a broader concept than income. Income becomes part of wealth but is not wealth itself, since wealth is that which remains after all expenditure.  In the scenarios where a woman receives half of the man’s inheritance, the woman’s new income is protected by the Shari‘ah and is hers to dispense with as she wishes.  The man’s new income, on the other hand, is to aid him in supporting family members that have now come under his care.  This is why we are able to say that Islamic inheritance laws protect the wealth of women and grant preference to them over men.

In other scenarios, men and women inherit the same amount.  For example, the children of a deceased women inherit the same amount; as Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

…If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question, has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two, gets a sixth; but if more than two they share in a third... (Surah an-Nisa':12)

This equality of males and females in this case owes to the fact that they sprung from the same womb but do not share the same father.  Sharing the same father would cause the male child to inherit the father’s financial responsibilities, to the exclusion of the female child.  In the situation explained above, the son does not have those financial burdens so therefore his sister is equally entitled.

For these reasons, in special cases, Islam fixes the share of a woman as half that of a man.  Moreover, it ensures that her share is hers to keep, except for paying zakat. Allah (s.w.t.) Gives men a greater share but Commands them to spend on their wife, children and parents once they attain the age of maturity and are financially responsible.  By knowing this, we can appreciate that Islam biases women over men in terms of wealth, and assures that they keep their wealth without obliging them to spend it.

Therefore, when the issue of financial burdens does not exist, as in the case of inheritance for uterine brothers and sisters, we find that the Law-Giver Makes the share of inheritance of the male equal to that of the female.  Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

…If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question, has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two, gets a sixth; but if more than two they share in a third... (Surah an-Nisa':12)

The reason why males and females receive an equal share of inheritance here is their maternal kinship, and they are not residuary for the deceased.  The man falls under the category of his lineage while the woman does not, for he does not bear any burden or responsibility in this respect.

Many facts are revealed by reviewing the following cases and issues of inheritance:

1.         There are only four cases where a male inherits double the share of a female.

2.         There are many cases where a female inherits a share equal to that of a male.

3.         There are more than ten cases where a woman inherits more than that of a male.

4.         There are cases where a woman inherits a share, but the man inherits nothing.

These cases are detailed as follows:

Cases Where a Woman is Entitled to Half the Share of a Man

1.         If the deceased leaves a daughter and a son, or a son’s son or a son’s daughter.

2.         If the deceased only leaves a father and mother and does not leave any children, a husband or a wife.

3.         If the deceased leaves full sisters and brothers.

4.         If the deceased leaves paternal half sisters and brothers.

Cases Where Women have a Share Equal to Men

1.         If the deceased leaves a father, a mother, and a son’s son.

2.         If the deceased leaves a uterine brother and sister.

3.         If the deceased leaves full sisters, and uterine brothers and sisters.

4.         If the deceased leaves a daughter, brother or the nearest residuary to the father with no one to exclude anyone from inheritance.

5.         If the deceased leaves a father, a maternal grandmother and a son’s son.

6.         If the deceased leaves a husband, a mother, two uterine sisters and a full brother. According to ‘Umar (r.a.), two uterine sisters and full brothers share one third equally.

7.         A man or a woman is entitled to the whole estate in cases where he or she is the sole heir. For example, the son inherits the whole estate as a residuary, while the daughter inherits half as a sharer and the remainder by the method of return.  In another example, if the deceased leaves only a father, the father will inherit the estate as a residuary, and if the deceased leaves only a mother, then she inherits a third as a sharer and the remainder goes to her by the method of return.

8.         If the deceased leaves her husband and a full sister, her sister inherits the same as the male.  If the deceased leaves a husband and full brother, the husband is entitled to half, while the remainder goes to her brother as a residuary.  If she leaves a husband and a sister, then the husband has half and the sister receives the remaining half as well.

9.         If the deceased leaves a uterine sister and a full brother.  If there is a husband, mother, uterine sister, and a full brother, then the husband is entitled to half, the mother is entitled to a sixth, the uterine sister is entitled to a sixth, and the remainder [one sixth] is given to the full brother as residuary.

10.       Dzaw ul-Arham, distant relatives, which is applied under Egyptian Law in Article 31 of Law no. 77 in 1943.  If there are no sharers or residuaries, then the distant relatives are the heirs. In this case, the estate is divided among them equally.  For instance, if the deceased leaves a daughter’s daughter, a daughter’s son, a maternal uncle and a maternal aunt, everyone will receive an equal share.

11.       There are six people who are never fully excluded from inheritance: three men and three women.  The three men are the husband, the son, and the father, and the three women are the wife, the daughter, and the mother.

Cases Where Women Inherit More Than Men

1.         If the deceased leaves a husband and one daughter.

2.         If the deceased leaves a husband and two daughters.

3.         If the deceased leaves a daughter and maternal uncles.

4.         If a woman dies leaving $60,000, and the heirs are her husband, father, mother and two daughters, the share of the two daughters is $32,000, where each inherits $16,000.  If the deceased leaves two sons instead of two daughters, then each son inherits $12,500, because the two daughters inherit two-thirds as sharers, while the two sons inherit the rest as residuaries.

5.         If a woman dies when her estate is worth $48,000, and she leaves a husband, two full sisters, and her mother, then the two sisters inherit two-thirds of the estate, which is $12,000.  If she leaves two brothers instead of two sisters, each brother inherits only $8,000 because they inherit the remainder of the estate after the husband and the mother receive their share.

6.         Similarly, if she leaves two paternal sisters, they inherit more than two paternal brothers.

7.         If a woman dies leaving a husband, a father, a mother, and a daughter and her estate is worth $156,000, then the daughter inherits half of the estate [$72,000], but if she leaves a son instead of a daughter, then he would only inherit $65,000 because she inherits as a sharer while he inherits as a residuary.  Sharers are given their share first and then the residuaries.

8.         If a woman dies leaving her husband, mother, and full sister, and her estate is worth $48,000, then the full sister inherits $18,000.  But if she leaves a full brother instead of a sister, then he inherits $8,000 because he only inherits as a residuary, whereas the sister would inherit as a sharer, like the husband and the mother.  In this case, the full sister inherits more than double the share of a full brother.

9.         If a man dies when his estate is worth $48,000, and he leaves a wife, mother, two uterine sisters, and two full brothers, then the two uterine sisters [who are the furthest relatives of the deceased] inherit $16,000, or $8,000 each, while the two full brothers inherit $12,000, or $6,000 each.

10.       If a woman leaves a husband, uterine sister, and two full brothers and her estate is worth $120,000, then the uterine sister inherits one-third of the estate, or $40,000, while the two full brothers inherit $20,000.  Thus, the uterine sister [who is the furthest relative of the deceased] receives a share which is four times that of the full brother.

11.       If the deceased leaves a father, mother, and husband, according to ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.), the husband inherits half, the mother is entitled to one-third and the remaining one-sixth goes to the father. The father here inherits half of his wife’s share.

12.       If a woman leaves a husband, mother, uterine sister, and two full brothers, and her estate is worth $60,000, the uterine sister inherits $10,000 while each brother inherits $5,000.  This means that the uterine sister’s share is double that of the full brother, even though she is a more distant relative to the deceased than him.

13.       If a man leaves a wife, a father, a mother, a daughter and his son’s daughter when the estate is worth $576,000, then the share of his son’s daughter is $96,000, whereas if he had left a son’s son instead of a son’s daughter, the share of his son’s son would only be $27,000.

14.       If the deceased leaves a mother, maternal grandmother, and paternal grandmother, and the estate is worth $60,000, then the mother inherits one-sixth as a sharer and the remainder by the method of return.  If the deceased leaves a father instead of a mother; meaning a father, a maternal grandmother, and a paternal grandmother, then the maternal grandmother will inherit one-sixth or $10,000 and will not be excluded. $10,000 and the reminder [$50,000] is given to the father.  The mother inherits the whole estate [$60,000] while if the father assumes her position he will only inherit $50,000 which means that she inherits more than him.

Cases Where Women Inherit & Men Do not

1.         If a woman leaves her husband, father, mother, daughter, and son’s daughter and her estate is worth $195,000, then the son’s daughter inherits one-sixth [$26,000].  However, if the woman leaves a son’s son instead of a son’s daughter, then his share will be zero, because he is a residuary who would inherit the remainder but there is no remainder.  This distribution is different from the law of obligatory bequest applied in Egyptian Law No. 71 of 1946, which contradicts the Islamic Schools of Thought.  Here, I mean the authentic schools that maintain that women inherit in some cases, while men do not.

2.         If a woman leaves a husband, full sister, and paternal sister and her estate is worth $84,000, the paternal sister inherits one-sixth, or $12,000, while if there is a paternal brother instead, he will inherit nothing.  The husband will inherit half of her estate and the full sister will inherit half, and the remainder [nothing] goes to the paternal brother.

3.         The grandmother in many cases has a share in the inheritance while the grandfather does not.  By viewing the rules of inheritance for grandparents, I have noticed the following: a grandfather who is related to the deceased from the father’s side, such as the paternal grandfather or the paternal great-grandfather, whoever is closer to the deceased, have no share in inheritance while the maternal grandfather or maternal great-grandfather also have no share in the inheritance.  The grandmother, who is entitled to inheritance, is the one whose relation to the deceased does not include a grandfather, who is not entitled to inheritance, or if she is the grandmother whose relation to the deceased does not include a father between two mothers.  Thus, the mother of the mother’s father is not entitled to inheritance while the mother of the father’s mother is entitled to it.

4.         If the deceased leaves a maternal grandfather and maternal grandmother, then the maternal grandmother inherits the whole estate and takes one-sixth as a sharer, in addition to the residue by the method of return, while the maternal grandfather inherits nothing, since he is a disinherited grandfather.

5.         It is the same when a man dies leaving a maternal great-grandfather and maternal great-grandmother. The maternal great-grandmother inherits the whole estate, because she inherits one-sixth as a sharer and the remainder by the method of return, whereas the maternal great-grandfather inherits nothing since he is not entitled as a grandfather.

Thus, there are more than thirty cases where a woman inherits the same as or more than a man, or where she has a share and he does not.  In contrast, there are only four cases where a woman inherits half the share of a man.  These are the results of examining the cases and issues in the law of inheritance.  I think that this misconception is now clear.