Bedouins & Tall Buildings

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

This is an age where Muslim nations are racing each other in building tall buildings, when the Saudi government put up a monstrosity of a clock tower overshadowing the Blessed Ka’bah, a vulgar phallic symbol at that.  Dubai is proud of the Burj Khalifa, and Malaysia is so proud of its Petronas Towers.  If the Prophet (s.a.w.) and the pious predecessors were here, what would they say?

It is recorded in Swahih Muslim, on the authority of ‘Umar (r.a.), the Hadits of Jibril (a.s.).  In the last part of hadits, Jibril (a.s.) asked the Prophet (s.a.w.), “Inform me about the Hour.”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, “About that the one questioned knows no more than the questioner.”

So he said, “Well, inform me about the signs thereof.”

Said the Prophet (s.a.w.), “They are that the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress, that you will see the barefooted ones, the naked, the destitute, the herdsmen of the sheep in raising lofty buildings.”

Imam ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (r.a.) commented on the prophecy of on the Bedouins, competing with each other in making tall buildings, “There is proof that it is blameworthy to compete boastfully, particularly in making tall buildings.  Building tall structures was not known in the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and his companions.  On the contrary, their buildings were small according to necessity.  Abu az-Zinad narrated from al-‘Araj that Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, ‘The Hour will not arise until people compete with each in making tall buildings.’’”  This is recorded in Swahih al-Bukhari.

Imam Abu Dawud (r.a.) recorded a hadits of Anas (r.a.) that, “The Prophet (s.a.w.) went out and saw an elevated dome and asked, ‘What is this?’

They said, ‘This is so and so’s,’ naming one of the Answar men.  Its owner came and greeted the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) but he turned away from him repeatedly, and so the man demolished it.”

Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.) narrated this same hadits through a different chain also from Anas (r.a.), and his version has, “So the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘Every building,’ and he gestured with his hand like this above his head, ‘which is more than this, is unwholesome.’”

Shaykh Harits ibn asw-Swa’ib (r.a.) reported from al-Hasan (r.a.), “I used to enter the houses of the wives of the Prophet (s.a.w.) during the caliphate of ‘Utsman (r.a.) and I could reach the ceiling with my hand.”

It is narrated from ‘Umar (r.a.) that he wrote, “Do not make your buildings tall, because it is the worst of your days.”

Shaykh Yazid ibn Abi Ziyad (r.a.) said, “Hudzayfah (r.a.) asked Salman (r.a.), ‘Should we not build you a house, Abu ‘Abdullah?’

He asked, ‘Are you making me a king?’

He replied, ‘No.  We will build you a house of cane, which we will roof with reeds that will almost touch your head when you stand, and will almost touch both of your extremities when you sleep.’

Salman (r.a.) said, ‘It is almost as if you had been within myself.’”

‘Ammar ibn Abi ‘Ammar (r.a.) said, “If a man erects a house taller than seven cubits, he is called, ‘O most deviant of the deviant, where are you going?’”

Imam Ya’qub ibn Abi Shaybah (r.a.) wrote in his Musnad , “It has reached me from ibn ‘Aishah, that he said, ‘ibn Abi Shumaylah told us, ‘The Muslims resided around the mosque,’ meaning in Basra, ‘in hair tents and then theft spread among them.  So they wrote to ‘Umar and he gave them permission to use cane.  They built with cane and then fire spread among them.  So he gave them permission to use clay bricks but he forbade anyone to lift the roof above seven cubits, saying, ‘If you build your houses with it, then build the mosque with it.’’

ibn ‘Aishah said, ‘‘Utbah ibn Ghazwan built the mosque of Basra from cane and he said, ‘Whoever prays in it when it is made of cane is better than whoever prays in it when it is made of adobe.  Whoever prays in it when it is made of adobe is better than whoever prays in it when it is made of baked brick.’’”

Imam ibn Majah (r.a.) narrated the hadits of Anas (r.a.) that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “The Hour will not arise until people boastfully compete with other in building mosques,” and a hadits of ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.), that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “I see that you will exalt your mosques after me just as the Jews exalted their synagogues and the Christians their churches.”

Imam ibn Abi ad-Dunya (r.a.) narrated from Shaykh Isma’il ibn Muslim (r.a.) that al-Hasan (r.a.) said, “When the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) built the mosque he said, ‘Build it as a shelter made of palm-sticks covered with panic grass like the shelter of Musa (a.s.).’”

Someone asked Hasan (r.a.), “What was the shelter of Musa?”

He replied, “When he raised his hand he could reach the shelter,” referring to the ceiling.


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