Thursday, 3 December 2015

The Cocoon of a Butterfly

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.  One day a small opening appeared; he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.  Then it seemed to stop making any progress.  It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther.

Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the Cocoon.  The butterfly then emerged easily.  But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.  The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.  Neither happened.  In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.  It never was able to fly.

What this man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life.  If nature allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us.  We would not be as strong as what we could have been.  And we could never fly.  Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle.

How Lucifer in the Bible Became Satan

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In Christianity, it is taught in many places that Satan was originally an angel named Lucifer who turned on God and was cast down after the War in Heaven.  However, this story is found nowhere in the Bible.  The one time Lucifer is mentioned is from a relatively new translation.

Isaiah 14:12
12 What, fallen from Heaven, thou Lucifer, that once didst herald the dawn?  Prostrate on the earth, that didst once bring nations to their knees?

In reality, this verse is a result of misinterpretation and mistranslation.  In the original Hebrew text, the actual story is not about a fallen angel, but about an unnamed Babylonian king who figuratively fell from his throne when he began persecuting the Israelites.

By the time the book was translated by Christian writers, the king became an angel.  The Babylonian king was referred to as “Helal”, which means “day star” or “son of the dawn.”  Interestingly, in Aramaic and Arabic, “hilal” refers to the first sliver of the new moon.  The Romans substituted a Latin word close in meaning.  “Lucifer” is actually the Roman name for Venus, which is often the first visible celestial body to appear near dawn.  It is also called “the Morning Star.”  The name “Lucifer” had nothing to do with the appearance of a Satanic figure until much later, in the fourth-century because of a translation of the text by Jerome of Stridon.  And that is how “Helal” the Babylonian king became “Lucifer”, the “Angel of the Morning Star.”

A Battle Always has Two Sides

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Habib ‘Ali al-Jifri said, a battle always has two sides: a side that thinks they have a right to might, a right to exert power; and a side that sees that their right is truth itself.  Those from the first side see that as long as power is in their hands they possess all the rights, while the other side sees that their strength and their power lies in their standing with the truth.  The world which we occupy is a stage for this battle, and it is the Custom of God that those who side with the truth and see their right as truth itself, it is them upon whom God will Confer custodianship of this Earth.  If a Muslim thinks like the one who has aggressed upon him, what is then the difference between them?  How can he await Success from God?  God’s Success is Bestowed upon those who side with the truth, uphold it and remain steadfast with it.  His Way is not given success through violating His law.  Remaining in adherence to these principles in our day and age is a jihad.

Once the companion, ‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.), was fighting against someone who transgressed against him.  At the moment when he overcame his opponent and was about to strike him, the man spat in his face.  ‘Ali (k.w.) paused momentarily and then walked away from the situation; he did not do anything to his opponent.  When he was asked why, he said, “Up until the point he spat in my face I was fighting him for the sake of God.  When he spat, I feared that I would kill him out of anger and selfishness for what he had done to me.”  Every action that is performed to help the oppressed and rectify injustice should proceed from this principle: walk on the part of truth by the truth itself.  We should observe ourselves with deep insight and check ourselves and see if we are doing this for the sake of making the truth a victor or whether we are doing this for the fervour of ignorance, jahiliyyah.

A Glass of Milk

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Once there was a king who told some of his workers to dig a pond.  Once the pond was dug, the king made an announcement to his people saying that one person from each household has to bring a glass of milk during the night and pour it into the pond.  So, the pond should be full of milk by the morning.  After receiving the order, everyone went home.

One man prepared to take the milk during the night.  He thought that since everyone will bring milk, he could just hide a glass of water and pour inside the pond.  Because it will be dark at night, no one will notice.  So he quickly went and poured the water in the pond and came back.

In the morning, the king came to visit the pond and to his surprise the pond was only filled with water.  What has happened was that everyone was thinking like the other man: “I don’t have to put the milk, someone else will do it.”

When it comes to helping the Religion of Allah (s.w.t.), do not think that others will take care of it.  Rather, it starts from each of us.  If we do not do it, no one else will do it.  So we must change ourselves to the way of Allah (s.w.t.) to serve Him and that will make the difference.

The Ayat for Protection against Black Magic

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

According to our shuyukh, the following is recited three times as protection from black magic:

Falammaa al-qawa qaala Muusaa maa jintum bihi as-sihru inna Allaha sayubthiluhu.  Inna Allah laa yuswlih ‘amala al-mufsidiin.  Wa yuhiqqu Allahu al-Haqqa bikalimaatihi wa law kariha al-mujrimuun.

When they had their throw, Moses said, “What ye have brought is sorcery: Allah will surely Make it of no effect: for Allah Prospereth not the work of those who make mischief.  And Allah, by His Words, doth Prove and Establish His Truth however much the sinners may hate it!” (Surah Yunus:81-82)

True Generosity

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream.  The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food.  The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him.  She did so without hesitation.

The traveler left, rejoicing his good fortune.  He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.  But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.  “I've been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious: Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”  He was speaking of generosity.

The Source of Love

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is extracted from “The Purification of the Soul”, compiled from the works of Imam ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (r.a.), Imam ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (r.a.) and Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (r.a.).

Loving Allah, the Glorious, the Exalted, is the ultimate aim of all stations, and the summit of all states.  Having attained the state of true love for Allah (s.w.t.), each station that follows it is one of its fruits and a branch from its roots - such as longing, intimacy and contentment.  Each station that precedes it is a step towards it - such as repentance, perseverance and doing without, or zuhd.

The most beneficial, the most sincere, the most elevated and the most exalted kind of love is most certainly the love of the One Whom hearts were Created to love, and for Whom Creation was Brought into existence to adore.  Allah (s.w.t.) is the One to Whom hearts turn in love, exaltation, glorification, humility, submission and worship.  Such worship cannot be directed towards other than Him.  It is the perfection of love accompanied by complete submission and humility.  Allah, the Exalted, is loved for His own sake in every respect.  All except Him are loved for the love they give in return.  All the Revealed Books, and the messages of all the prophets, bear witness to the love that is due towards Him, as does the natural impulse He has Created in all His servants, the intellect He has Given them, and the Blessings He has Poured on them.  Hearts, as they mature, come to love whomever is merciful and kind towards them.  So how much greater is their love for Him from Whom all kindness Springs.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Wahhabi 'Aqidah: ibn Baz Said Allah (s.w.t.) has a Shadow

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is from the words of ibn Baz himself in response to a question on the hadits of the Seven Granted Shade on the Day of Judgement.  ‘Abd al-Aziz ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Baz was the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia from 1993 until his death in 1999.  His opinion on a matter is, therefore, the Wahhabi position, and this highlights the vast difference in the ‘aqidah of the Wahhabi sect and Sunni Islam.

A rough translation of the text above, begins with a question posed: “Regarding the narration of the seven in the shadow of Allah on the Day where there is no shadow save His Shadow, does this mean Allah Ta’ala has a shadow?”

ibn Baz answered, “Yes, as is reported in this narration and in some transmissions, ‘in the shadow of His Throne’.  However, in the Swahihayn, it is, ‘in His shadow’ for He has a shadow that is befitting His Glory, and we do not know its form, just like the rest of His Attributes.”

The fact of the matter is that there is no discrepancy here.  The matn of the hadits in the Shaykhayn and al-Muwathha’ has “in His Shadow”.  The matn of the same hadits in Sunan at-Tirmidzi, Musnad ibn Hanbal and elsewhere is more explicit, saying, “in the shadow of His Throne”.  No authority in Islam has ever said that Allah (s.w.t.) has a shadow.  For Allah (s.w.t.) to give off a literal shadow, He must have a definitive form.  And if Allah (s.w.t.) has a form, then He must be limited to a place, and that place must be larger than His form to contain Him, and that means Allah (s.w.t.) is no longer Omnipresent.  This is clear shirk.  In Islam, we understand these terms metaphorically, never literally.

Earliest Mentions of the Mawlid

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is taken from, from “Earliest Mention of the Mawlid of Rasulullah (s.a.w.).”

In his book, Akhbar Makkah, the 3rd century historian of Makkah, Imam al-Azraqi (r.a.), mentioned as one of the many places in Makkah in which the performance of swalah is desirable, mustahab, the house where the Prophet (s.a.w.) was born, Mawlid an-Nabi.  According to him, the house had previously been turned into a mosque by the mother of the caliphs Musa al-Hadi and Harun ar-Rashid.  The Qur’anic scholar, Shaykh an-Naqqash (r.a.) mentioned the birthplace of the Prophet (s.a.w.) as a place where du’a by noon on Mondays is Answered.  He is quoted in Imam al-Fasi’s (r.a.) Shifa’ al-Haram, and others.

With regards the earliest mentions of the public Mawlid, the oldest source that mentioned a public commemoration of the Mawlid is in Shaykh ibn Jubayr’s (r.a.) Rihal: “This blessed place,” referring to the house of the Prophet (s.a.w.), “is opened, and all men enter it to derive Blessing from it, on every Monday of the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal; for on that day and in that month, was born the Prophet (s.a.w.).”

The 7th century historians, Shaykh Abu al-‘Abbas al-‘Azafi (r.a.) and his son, Shaykh Abu al-Qasim al-‘Azafi (r.a.), wrote, in their unpublished Kitab ad-Durr al-Munazhzham, “Pious pilgrims and prominent travellers testified that, on the day of the Mawlid in Makkah, no activities are undertaken, and nothing is sold or bought, except by the people who are busy visiting his noble birthplace, and rush to it.  On this day the Ka’bah is opened and visited.”

There are three 10th century accounts of the Mawlid.  The following description consolidated eyewitness accounts by three 10th century authorities: the historian, Shaykh ibn Zhahirah al-Hanafi (r.a.), from his al-Jami’ al-Lathif fi Faswl Makkah wa Ahliha’; Imam ibn Hajr al-Haytsami (r.a.), from his Kitab al-Mawlid ash-Sharif al-Mu’azhzham; and the historian, Shaykh an-Nahrawali (r.a.), from al-I’ilam bi A’alam Baytullah al-Haram: “Each year, on the 12th of Rabi’ al-Awwal, after the swalat al-maghrib, the four qudhat of Makkah, and large groups of people including the fuqaha’ and fudhala’ of Makkah, shuyukh, zawiyah teachers and their students, ru’asa’, and muta’ammamin; leave the mosque and set out collectively for a visit to the birthplace of the Prophet (s.a.w.), shouting out dzikr and tahlil.”  The four qudhat represent each of the four Sunni schools of law.

Shaykh ibn Zhahirah al-Hanafi (r.a.) continued, “The houses on the route are illuminated with numerous lanterns and large candles, and a great many people are out and about.  They all wear special clothes and they take their children with them.  Having reached the birthplace, inside a special sermon for the occasion of the birthday of the Prophet (s.a.w.) is delivered, mentioning the karamat that took place on that occasion.  Hereafter, the du’a for the Caliph, the Amir of Makkah, and the Shafi’i qadhi is performed and all pray humbly.  Shortly before the swalat al-‘isha’, the whole party returns from the birthplace of the Prophet (s.a.w.) to the Great Mosque, which is almost overcrowded, and all sit down in rows at the foot of the Maqam Ibrahim.  In the mosque, a preacher first mentions the tahmid and the tahlil, and once again, the du’a for the Caliph, the Amir, and the Shafi’i qadhi is performed.  After this, the call for the swalat al-‘isha’ is made.  After the swalah, the crowd breaks up.”  A similar description is given by Imam al-Diyarbakri (r.a.), in his Tarikh al-Khamis.

How to Discern between a Scholar of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah & the Wahhabi Sect

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

When it comes to discerning whether a scholar or preacher is from the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, or from the Wahhabi sect, the following guidelines can help.  The first thing we scrutinise is the ijazat and the curriculum vitae.  In Islam, we know our scholars by their teachers.  As such, it is important to know the teachers and the chains of transmission.  A graduate from the University of Madina is likely a Wahhabi.  It is their premier institution set up by the Saudi state to promote their version of Islam.  The following are some of the more famous graduates from this institution: Mishari Rashid, Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi, Bilal Philips, Zakir Naik, Ismail Menk and Feiz Mohammad.  This also includes graduates of derivative programmes by the alumni of the University of Madina such as Bilal Philips’ Islamic Online University.

The Saudi Wahhabi state also has several organisations to spread their doctrine.  This includes the World Assembly of Muslim Youth.  Al-Maghrib Institute and Al-Kauthar are funded through WAMY.  Almost every instructor from these two is from the University of Madina.  Unless one belongs to their sect, it is impossible to be appointed in any position.  Another organisation funded by them is Peace TV.  The most famous presenters on that programme are Zakir Naik, Yusuf Estes, Hussain Yee, Abdullah Hakim Quick and Bilal Philips.  The majority of the presenters are either hard-core Salafi, or sympathetic towards it.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait are dominated by the Wahhabi sect.  It is almost impossible to be appointed to a state position concerning the religion unless one is connected to the Ahl ash-Shaykh, the descendants of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, or shares their ideology.  The a’immah that lead the swalat in Makkah and Madina must be a Wahhabi.  They will accept no other, considering them mushrikun.

This does not mean, however, that every graduate of the University of Madina, or every single person who took a course at the Islamic Online University, or every attendee of an Al-Maghrib programme is a Wahhabi.  The majority of Muslims are ignorant of their religion and unable to tell when something said is incorrect.  We look with the eye of rahmah, and husn azh-zhan.  We must understand that there are two types of people who are Wahhabi.  The first are those who have embraced their ‘aqidah and propagate it, condemning the position of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah and spreading an ‘aqidah that is essentially shirk.  These people are astray and are to be avoided.  And then there are those who have taken position from that doctrine unknowingly, because that was what they were taught and there was no one to tell them otherwise.  They are to be treated with compassion and if there is an opportunity, guided to something that is better.  Addressing them is also da’wah.

Aside from these, there are a multitude of preachers on social media who are known as such by the things they have said, or the positions they adhere to.  We identify them by what they say about certain key issues that depart from the position of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah.  They include denying taqlid, or the need to follow a madzhab, unless one is a mujtahid.  They claim they are following the Qur’an and the sunnah.  In effect, they are denying the Qur’an and the sunnah.  This, in itself, is a huge topic and should be addressed separately.  They deny the Prophet (s.a.w.), the prophets and the saints, and the pious predecessors are alive in the qabr, the realm of the grave.  This is a major deviation since it denies the special Favour of Allah (s.w.t.) upon His friends, and denies by extension, any form of intercession.

The Wahhabi sect and its adherents deny tawaswswul, intercession.  They claim that this wasilah, this means, is shirk.  They use this as a basis to condemn the Muslims as mushrikun, polytheists.  It is on this basis that they make the blood of the Muslims halal in conflict.  The denial of tawaswswul also means that the recitation of swalawat, the congregational dzikr and the Mawlid are extensions of this shirk.  Many of them also deny the shafa’at, the intercession of the Prophet (s.a.w.) on the Day of Judgment.

They claim that the act of visiting the grave to pay homage, including especially, the Rawdhah of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in Madina is shirk.  They further state that it is shirk to perform swalat in any masjid where there is a grave, maqam.  This is why they have agitated and even tried several times to remove the body of the Prophet (s.a.w.) from Masjid an-Nabawi.  And this is the excuse they use to destroy the maqamat, tombs, of the pious predecessors, including previous prophets, the companions and saints, desecrating the bodies.

Finally, the Wahhabis take a literal position regarding the Attributes of God.  This includes believing that Allah (s.w.t.) is in a specific place above the ‘Arsh, believing that He has a physical body, and believing that He is neither Transcendent nor Immanent.  To the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, that is shirk, and clear kufr.  In support of this ideology, the Wahhabis, with exceptions, refuse to condemn these groups or even support groups like ISIS, al-Qaeda, Pakistani Taliban, Boko Haram, Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah Islamiyah and Laskar Jihad.  Some of them have urged their followers to join in the struggle and take up arms.  Preachers and scholars aside from those already named above, who have explicitly taken a Wahhabi position in some or all of the above include Nouman Ali Khan, Musa Cerantonio, Yusha Evans, and Abdur Raheem Greene.

An indication that someone may be influenced by this sect can be found in the way they dialogue.  They will focus a lot on ahadits, but they will ignore any exegesis of it.  They will only accept what they consider ‘authentic’, swahih ahadits.  They have a strange affection for extra vowels, although this does not necessarily mean someone is a Wahhabi.  For example: Islaam, Aboo Yusuf, Imaan, Qur’aan.  And their conversation focuses a lot on the minutiae of externalities to the exclusion of context, diversity in opinion and culture, ‘urf, which is a valid concern in jurisprudence, fiqh.  This includes the emphasis that the beard is wajib in all circumstances, on extreme segregation, and the liberal use of the terms ‘shirk’, ‘kufr’, ‘haram’ and ‘bid’ah’ in all their forms, ignoring the lexical and jurisprudential understanding.