Thursday, 31 August 2017

Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) in the US Supreme Court

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Not many people know, but there is a marble image of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) perched above the press seating area inside the U.S. Supreme Court chamber.  The statue is sculpted in a frieze.  It depicts the Prophet (s.a.w.) carrying a sword and the Qur’an and stands in the company of more than a dozen other great lawgivers of history.  They range from Moses (a.s.) to Confucius to Napoleon to John Marshall.

At one time, it was a controversy among Muslim groups, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other Muslim groups writing to the court to urge that the statue’s face be sandblasted.  Fortunately, then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist refused, issuing a letter that said it would be “unlawful to remove or in any way injure an architectural feature in the Supreme Court building.”

Shaykh Thaha ibn Jabir al-Alwani (r.a.), the noted Shafi'i jurist and exegete of the Qur’an, and founder of the Fiqh Council of North America, issued a fatwa and concluded, “What I have seen in the Supreme Courtroom deserves nothing but appreciation and gratitude from American Muslims.  This is a positive gesture toward Islam made by the architect and other architectural decision-makers of the highest Court in America.  God willing, it will help ameliorate some of the unfortunate misinformation that has surrounded Islam and Muslims in this country.”

The Nikah is Not a Transfer of Responsibilities between Men

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The irony here is where Nouman Ali Khan said, “Islam empowers women with honour and dignity” after talking about nikah like a transfer of livestock.  The nikah is not a transfer of responsibilities.  We are not buying cattle, and women are not owned.  The nikah is a contract before God between two equal parties.

Rev. John Shelby Spong on the Nature of Organised Religion

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The retired bishop of the American Episcopal Church, Rev. John Shelby Spong, said, “All religion seems to need to prove that it is the only truth.  And that is where it turns demonic.  Because that is when you get religious wars and persecutions and burning heretics at the stake.”

It was said anonymously, “The worst thing you can do to a dogma is give it an empire.”  And that has been much of our experience with every faith.

Speaking in the Name of Jesus (a.s.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Jesus (a.s.) said, as recorded in the Gospel according to Matthew:

Matthew 15:7-9
7 “You hypocrites, it was a true prophecy Isaiah made of you, when he said, 8 ‘These people do me honour with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  9 Their worship of me is vain, for the doctrines they teach are the commandments of men.’”

The Reformed Cannibal

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

General Butt Naked is a former commander of forces under the wider control of Liberian warlord Roosevelt Johnson.  His real name is Joshua Milton Blahyi.  He was known for his violence and atrocities during the First Liberian Civil War in the early 1990s.

Blahyi is a member of the Sarpo tribe in Liberia, and claims to have been initiated as a tribal priest at age 11.  He said he participated in his first human sacrifice then, part of a three-day Krahn ritual.  Blahyi said that he had a vision in which he was told by Satan that he would become a great warrior, and to continue to practice human sacrifice and cannibalism to increase his power.  He was later appointed a high priest, and the spiritual advisor to Liberian President Samuel Doe.  The Krahn system of beliefs is a syncretic faith of Christianity, and various African remnant religions and spiritual beliefs.  Blahyi’s personal idol was Nyanbe-a-weh, and he believed he was an aspect of Satan.  Blahyi led his troops naked except for shoes and a gun.  He believed that his nudity was a source of protection from bullets.  Blahyi said he would regularly sacrifice a victim before battle, “Usually it was a small child, someone whose fresh blood would satisfy the devil.”

He said, “Sometimes I would enter under the water where children were playing.  I would dive under the water, grab one, carry him under and break his neck.  Sometimes I would cause accidents.  Sometimes, I would just slaughter them.”  In January 2008, Blahyi confessed to taking part in human sacrifices which “included the killing of a child and plucking out the heart, which was divided into pieces for us to eat.”  Blahyi claimed he “met Satan regularly and talked to him,” and that from age of 11 to 25, he partook in monthly human sacrifices.

Before a typical battle, Blahyi said, “We would get drunk and drugged up, sacrifice a local teenager, drink the blood, then strip down to our shoes and go into battle wearing colourful wigs and carrying imaginary purses we had looted from civilians.  We would slaughter anyone we saw, chop their heads off and use them as soccer balls.  We were nude, fearless, drunk yet strategic.  We killed hundreds of people - so many I lost count.”  He later estimated that he was responsible for 20,000 deaths.

Blahyi claimed that during that period he had “magical powers that made him invisible” and a “special power” to capture a town singlehandedly, then call in his troops afterwards to “clean up,” which as invariably horrific slaughter and cannibalism.  Many of Blahyi’s soldiers were boys in their early teens and younger.  They would enter battle naked; others would wear women’s clothes.  They were known as the Butt Naked Brigade.

Blahyi's rampage ended in 1996, when the civil war in Liberia was coming to a close.  He stated that his conversion was bolstered by a church in Liberia where a Bishop Kun Kun is pastor.  They claimed to have heard from God to fast 54 days for his deliverance.  After the fast, they claim God gave them spiritual powers to infiltrate his coven in the city of Liberia and preach to him.  Shortly after, he said he had a theophany in which Jesus Christ (a.s.) appeared to him as a blinding light, spoke to him as a son, and told him that he would die unless he repented his sins.

In 1997, Blahyi travelled to the Buduburam refugee camp in Ghana.  It was at the camp that he made confession for his sins at a church and “had his life saved”.  When he goes out to preach now, he says he sometimes encounters relatives of his victims.  He absolves himself by saying he was possessed by Satan and was not himself.  Blahyi is now the President of the End Time Train Evangelistic Ministries Inc., with headquarters in Liberia.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Rev. Martin Luther King on Countering Hate with Hate

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

We do not put out fire with fire.

Edward R. Murrow on Prejudice

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The American news networks are hardly impartial.  Edward R. Murrow said, “Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences.  No one can eliminate prejudices - just recognise them.”  He also said, “No one can terrorise a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.”

Dr. Isaac Asimov on American Anti-Intellectualism

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Dr. Isaac Asimov said, “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”

Muslims & Free Speech

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

All this talk of free speech when Muslims and Islam are insulted is disingenuous.  It is a fact that Muslims are easy targets in places like Europe and the United States.  But why are we in this wretched state?  It is because we do not know how to organise, and how to engage with the non-Muslims, which is particularly important when we are the minority.  And it because we have taken upon ourselves the role of the underdog and are unfamiliar with addressing policymaker and stakeholders.

This state of disenfranchisement delegitimises our leaders and feeds the rhetoric of extremists.  We should learn from the experience of the Jews.  Otherwise, we will learn that lesson through our own Holocaust.  The quote below is from Col. Oliver North.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The Hijab is a Recent Phenomenon

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The first photograph is our previous mufti, Habib Syed Esa Semait with his wife.  And on the right, are some of the people from Kampung Radin Mas, including many of our religious luminaries and community leaders.

Until the 1950 and 1960s, the majority of the women did not wear the hijab.  They included the wives of our scholars, and women who were recognised asatidzah themselves.  In the 1950s, the United States experienced an economic boom brought about by the Baby Boomer generation and society changed and became more open and less conservative.  American fashion began to sweep the world, and this as the era that gave us the bikini, named after Bikini Atoll, where atomic and hydrogen bomb tests were held.  Al-Azhar changed the fatwa on the hijab then to what we are familiar with now in response to this.  They panicked.

In the 1970s, Saudi Arabia became a major player in the oil market and a major voice in the cartel, OPEC.  This is the beginning of Wahhabi “da’wah” and the corruption of the ummah.  This was also the decade of the Iranian Revolution and Islamism as a political philosophy proliferated.  The hijab is less about modesty as it is the symbol of Muslim political pushback against the West.

Suddenly, we had people coming back from the University of Madina all covered up; the Malay selendang was no longer enough.  And when their parents asked them about it, these children told them they knew Islam better than their parents, better than the generations of the Muslims and scholars who came before.  And this is where we are now in Singapore.  The hijab is a political symbol and a fashion accessory.  It is not a barometer of piety or religious adherence.

George Carlin on Arguing with Idiots

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

George Carlin said, “Never argue with an idiot.  They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

Pat Robertson: "Prophet" of Our Time

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Marion Gordon “Pat” Robertson is a former Southern Baptist minister, the son of U.S. Senator A. Willis Robertson.  His father's influence ensured he never saw combat during the Korean War.  He did claim to have seen combat, but was exposed.  He is the quintessential Christian false prophet, making outlandish claims throughout the years and being proven wrong constantly.  Rather than bring a caller to Christ (a.s.), he is a caller to hatred and falsehood.  That never stopped him from amassing tremendous wealth and influence.

Deuteronomy 18:20
20 If anyone is so presumptuous as to prophesy in My Name when I have Given him no message to deliver, or prophesy in the name of alien gods, his life must pay for it.

Pope Alexander VI: The Most Corrupt Pope

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The Catholic Church has an excellent pope, a man of God, in Pope Francis.  It has not always been so, particularly in the era of the Papal States.  Pope Alexander VI was born Roderic Borgia, on the 1st January.  He was Pope from the 11th August 1492 until his death.  He is one of the most controversial of the Renaissance popes, partly because he acknowledged fathering several children by his many mistresses, themselves the wives of other men.  Therefore, his Italianised Valencian surname, Borgia, became a byword for libertinism and nepotism, characterising his pontificate.  This was in the periods when the Catholic Church was corrupted as an institution.

Contemporary accounts suggest that Rodrigo was a handsome, intelligent man with an appreciation for the arts and sciences.  He was a “political priest”.  He was a gifted speaker, extremely eloquent, and “so familiar with Holy Writ, that his speeches were fairly sparkling with well-chosen texts of the Sacred Books”.

There was change in the constitution of the College of Cardinals during the course of the fifteenth century.  Of the twenty-seven cardinals alive in the closing months of the reign of Innocent VIII, no fewer than ten were Cardinal-nephews, eight were crown nominees, four were Roman nobles and one other had been given the cardinalate in recompense for his family’s service to the Holy See; only four were able career churchmen.  The Holy See was holy in name alone.

Upon the death of Pope Innocent VIII, on the 25th July 1492, the three likely candidates for the Papacy were the sixty-one-year-old Borgia, seen as an independent candidate, Ascanio Sforza for the Milanese, and Giuliano Della Rovere seen as a pro-French candidate.  Borgia succeeded in buying the largest number of votes and Sforza, in particular, was bribed with four mule-loads of silver.  Johann Burchard, the conclave’s master of ceremonies and a leading figure of the papal household under several popes, recorded in his diary that the 1492 conclave was a particularly expensive campaign.  Della Rovere was bankrolled to the cost of 200,000 gold ducats by King Charles VIII of France, with another 100,000 supplied by the Republic of Genoa.  Borgia was elected on the 11th August 1492, assuming the name of Alexander VI.

Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici, who later became Pope Leo X, warned, after the election, “Now we are in the power of a wolf, the most rapacious perhaps that this world has ever seen.  And if we do not flee, he will inevitably devour us all.”

Before long, though, Pope Alexander VI began endowing his relatives at the church’s and at his neighbours’ expense.  Cesare Borgia, his son, while a youth of seventeen and a student at Pisa, was made Archbishop of Valencia, and Giovanni Borgia inherited the Spanish Dukedom of Gandia, the Borgias’ ancestral home in Spain.  For the Duke of Gandia and for Gioffre, also known as Goffredo, the Pope proposed to carve fiefs out of the Papal States and the Kingdom of Naples.  Among the fiefs destined for the duke of Gandia, were Cerveteri and Anguillara, lately acquired by Virginio Orsini, head of that powerful house.  This policy brought Ferdinand I, King of Naples, into conflict with Alexander, who was also opposed by Cardinal Della Rovere, whose candidature for the papacy had been backed by Ferdinand.  Della Rovere fortified himself in his bishopric of Ostia at the Tiber’s mouth as Alexander formed a league against Naples on the 25th April 1493, and prepared for war.  It is in this background that Niccolo Machiavelli wrote his “Prince”.  Cesare Borgia grew into the rapacious, cruel warlord we know of under the patronage of his father, now the Pope.

In August 1503, when, after Cesare and his father had dined with Cardinal Adriano Castellesi on the 6th August, they were taken ill with fever a few days later.  Cesare eventually recovered; but the aged Pontiff passed away.  The Pope was 72 years old.

The interregnum witnessed again the “tradition” of violence and rioting.  The next day, the body of Alexander VI was exhibited to the people and clergy of Rome, but was covered by a thick cloth, having become greatly disfigured by rapid decomposition.  According to Raphael Volterrano, “It was a revolting scene to look at that deformed, blackened corpse, prodigiously swelled, and exhaling an infectious smell; his lips and nose were covered with brown drivel, his mouth was opened very widely, and his tongue, inflated by poison, fell out upon his chin; therefore, no fanatic or devotee dared to kiss his feet or hands, as custom would have required.”

The Venetian ambassador stated that the body was “the ugliest, most monstrous and horrible dead body that was ever seen, without any form or likeness of humanity.”

And this was the state of his body within a day.  What was the state of his soul?

Friday, 18 August 2017

The Hard Fight for What is Right

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Rev. John Watson once wrote, “This man beside us also has a hard fight with an unfavouring world, with strong temptations, with doubts and fears, with wounds of the past which have skinned over, but which smart when they are touched.  It is a fact, however surprising.  And when this occurs to us we are moved to deal kindly with him, to bid him be of good cheer, to let him understand that we are also fighting a battle; we are bound not to irritate him, nor press hardly upon him nor help his lower self.”

And this somewhat, is echoed in Rev. Martin Luther King’s quote here, with the addition of justice for all.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Dwight D. Eisenhower on the Chance for Peace

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, on the 16th April 1953, now called “The Chance for Peace,”.  He said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.  This world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.  The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.  It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.  It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.  It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement.  We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.  We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.  This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.  This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.  Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. Is there no other way the world may live?”

Commentary on the Hadits of the Blind Man's Intercession through the Prophet (s.a.w.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

There is a direct and explicit order of the Prophet (s.a.w.), recorded in Sunan ibn Majah, to make tawaswswul upon the Prophet (s.a.w.).  It was narrated from ‘Utsman ibn Hunayf (r.a.) that a blind man came to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and said, “Pray to Allah to Heal me.”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, “If you wish to store your Reward for the Hereafter, that is better, or if you wish, I will supplicate for you.”

He said, “Supplicate.”  So, the Prophet (s.a.w.) told him to perform ablution and do it well, to pray two raka’at and to say this supplication: “Allahumma innii as’aluka wa atawajjahu ilayka bi nabiyyika Muhammad, nabiyyi rahmati.  Ya Muhammad inni atawajjahu bika ilaa rabbii fii haajati hadzihi li tuqdhaa lii Allahumma fashaffi’hu fiyya,” meaning, “O Allah, I ask of You and I turn my face towards You by virtue of the intercession of Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy.  O Muhammad, I have turned to my Lord by virtue of your intercession concerning this need of mine so that it may be met.  O Allah, Accept his intercession concerning me.”

Imam Abu Ishaq (r.a.) said this hadits is swahih.  Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.), in al-Jami asw-Swahih, declared it hasan swahih gharib.  It is also found in Imam an-Nasa’i’s (r.a.) ‘Amal al-Yawm wa al-Laylah; Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s (r.a.) Musnad; Imam Hakim’s (r.a.) al-Mustadrak asw-Swahihayn, where he declared it swahih; Imam an-Nawawi’s (r.a.) al-Adzkar; Hafizh ibn Katsir’s (r.a.) al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah; and Imam ibn Hajr al-Haytsami’s (r.a.) al-Jawhar al-Munazhzham.  Besides them all, Imam ibn Majah (r.a.), and Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.) declared the narration to be swahih.

Similarly, there is another hadits recorded by Imam Hakim (r.a.), but in different words.  Like the previous hadits, ‘Utsman ibn Hunayf (r.a.) said he was present in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) company when a blind man called on the Prophet (s.a.w.) and complained about the loss of his eyesight.  He added, “O Messenger of Allah, there is no one to guide me and I am in great trouble.”

On hearing his complaint, the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Bring an earthen pot for ablution, then perform the ablution and offer two cycles of optional prayer.  Then say, ‘O Allah, I appeal to You, and submit to You through the mediation of Your merciful prophet, Muhammad.  O Muhammad, through your mediation, I submit myself to your Lord that He should Give light to my eyes.  O Allah, Acknowledge his intercession in my favour and Accept my supplication also in my favour.”

‘Utsman ibn Hunayf (r.a.) said, “I swear by Allah that we had neither left the company nor had we carried on a long conversation that the man entered and it seemed as if he had never been blind.”

This hadits is found in Imam an-Nasa’i’s (r.a.) ‘Amal al-Yawm wa al-Laylah; Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s (r.a.) Musnad; Hafizh ibn Katsir’s (r.a.) al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah; Imam as-Suyuthi’s (q.s.) al-Khaswa’isw al-Kubra’; Imam al-Qasthalani’s (r.a.) al-Mawahib al-Laduniyyah; and Imam al-Bayhaqi’s (r.a.) Dala’il an-Nubuwwah.

Imam ash-Shawkani (r.a.), while authenticating tawaswswul, explained the saying of Imam ibn al-Jawzi (r.a.) that one should ask Allah (s.w.t.) through the intermediary of the prophets and the pious servants of Allah (s.w.t.).  He said, “I say that to seek intercession with Allah through the prophets and righteous is proven as is narrated by at-Tirmidzi who called it hasan swahih gharib, and also narrated by an-Nasa’i, ibn Majah and ibn Khuzaymah in his Swahih.  al-Hakim said, ‘It is swahih on the criteria of al-Bukhari and Muslim, the hadits of ‘Utsman ibn Hunayf that a blind man came to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and said, ‘I have been afflicted in my eyesight, so pray to Allah for me.’

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘Go perform ablution, perform two raka’at of swalah and then say, ‘O Allah! I ask You and turn to you through my prophet, Muhammad.’’

This hadits is mentioned in the book of swalat al-hajat.  And regarding tawaswswul through righteous people, it is proven from Swahih,” referring to Swahih al-Bukhari, “that the swahabah used to seek rain through ‘Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  ‘Umar said, ‘O Allah we turn to you through the means of the Prophet's uncle.’”  This is written in Tuhfat adz-Dzakirin.

Imam ash-Shawkani (r.a.) also said, “And in this hadits is the proof on permissibility of seeking intercession to Allah through the Prophet (s.a.w.) but with the belief that Allah is the One Who Grants or Takes; whatever He Wills Happens and whatever He does not Will cannot happen.”

Mark Twain on Entry to Heaven

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Mark Twain aptly said, “Heaven goes by Favour; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”

Dr. Noam Chomsky on Stopping Terrorism

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Dr. Noam Chomsky said, “Everyone is worried about stopping terrorism.  Well, there is really an easy way: Stop participating in it.”

Senate Enquiry on the Saudi Monarchy & Wahhabism

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In a senate enquiry, former American ambassadors to the Middle East struggle to deny that Saudi Wahhabi ideology is the same ideology of Al-Qaeda and ISIS.  In truth, Wahhabism is the underlying foundational doctrine of their “global jihadist movement”, in effect implying correctly that Saudi support of this heretical ideology is the root cause of much of violence and Islamist terrorism.

The Al-Qaida & ISIS Philosophy of Unrestricted Warfare

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Abu Bakr an-Naji might not even be one person, but a committee.  That name is attached to a book, Idarah at-Tawahhush, “Management of Desolation”.  This book sets out the political and military policy of Al-Qaida and its affiliates, such as Jabhat an-Nusrah, and splinter groups such as ISIS.

It states explicitly that the “Salafi Way” is the only and essential way, and expands on what Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab and later, people like Sayyid Quthb, wrote, dividing the post-caliphate ummah into the “colonised” and the “free”.  Only “true Muslims”, people with their Wahhabi ideology, are free.

Besides indicting foreign powers, extra-national agencies and corrupt civil administrations throughout the Muslim world, blame is given to the Muslims, and especially the scholars of Islam, who “lead people astray”.  It is written, “Notice we say that the masses are the difficult factor.  We know that they are not generally dependable on account of the situation; there no improvement for the general public until there is victory.  We are to gain their sympathy, or at the very least neutralise them.”  And “neutralising” here means acts of terror to cow the population into acquiescence.  The only strategy is violence, so that they can cleanse Islamic society.

They misuse Revelation to justify this kufr: “Since war is thus justified, it must be carefully planned and executed. It has several stages.  The first stage is vexation of the enemy aimed at creating chaos in which the forces of the foreign powers and their local proxies are distracted and exhausted and the Muslims learn that they have power and learn how to use it.  Operations are of diverse kinds but should be dramatic.  Thus, they should be on a small scale, carried out independently by autonomous groups - not like the elaborate attack on the World Trade Center, which was premature.  What needs to take place at this stage is advancement of groups made capable of vexation through drilling and operational practice so that they will be prepared psychologically and practically for the stage of the management of savagery.

The second stage is the spread of savagery.  Note here that we said that the goal is to dislodge these regions from the control of the regimes of apostasy.  It is the goal we are publicly proclaiming and are determined to carry out, not the outbreak of chaos.”

The third stage is the administration of savagery.  And that is what ISIS had done.  They took a step that even Al-Qaida were not able to.  It notes that neither the great powers nor the rest of the Muslims would allow this, so the goal would be to spread attacks of terror beyond the theatre of conflict by sending militants home to start new cells, and to encourage lone wolf attacks by influencing vulnerable people through social media and other platforms.  This is that devil we are facing, the true epitome of Wahhabism.

Dabiq: Operations in Bangladesh

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The May 2016 edition of ISIS’ Dabiq magazine devoted a significant portion to discussing its operations in Bangladesh, and how they hoped to expand operations to Burma.

Page 50 of this included a profile of a young Bangladeshi named Abu Jandal al-Bangali.  Abu Jandal was killed during a battle in Ayn Issa, northern Syria.  Just like the perpetrators of the Dhaka attacks, Abu Jandal came from an affluent family in the capital city of Dhaka and his family had military connections.

He was an avid reader of the works of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) and significantly, books of ‘aqidah authored by Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, the arch-heretic and founder of the Wahhabi sect.  Dabiq also published a short letter by Abu Jandal himself, addressed to “brothers in Islam,” whom he encouraged to be prepared to join ISIS.

Dabiq: Takfir upon All Muslims

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

ISIS are very transparent on where they get their religion from.  In the May 2016 issue of their magazine, Dabiq, page 15, they quote one of the earlier, discredited fatwa of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), totally divorced from context, declaring Muslims who refuse to embrace their ideology are kafirun.  And on page 16 of the same issue, they quote the heretic, Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, declaring takfir on Muslims.

It should be pointed out that the material ISIS use is the same as that used by the Saudi state and its clerics.  This is not a coincidence.  It is also not a coincidence that a large proportion of ISIS fighters are Saudi nationals.  The underlying ideology is the same.

An Overview of the Wives of the Prophet (s.a.w.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

There is a lot said about the marriages of the Prophet (s.a.w.), and much of it is outright slander.  The following is a summary, and an attempt to address some of the contentions raised.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) was monogamous for the first 25 years of his married life.  He was married to Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (r.a.), the first person to convert to Islam, and 15 years his senior.  He was 25 and she was 40 when they got married.  She was the one who proposed to him.

The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) second wife was Sawdah bint Zam’ah (r.a.).  She was a large-sized, black woman.  She was also one of the first Muslims to hijrah to Abyssinia.  Her husband then passed away, and she was left impoverished.  This marriage is proof that there is no consideration for skin colour, wealth or beauty, which was not what Sawdah (r.a.) was known for.  Rather, she was known for her humour, her piety, her compassion and her overall excellence of character.

There are claims that the Prophet (s.a.w.) wanted to divorce Sawdah (r.a.) because she was old.  However, these ahadits, narrations, are mursal, meaning the narration cannot be linked to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and, thus, dubious.  Also, this is not in character of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  He was married to an older woman previously, and loved her dearly.  Sawdah (r.a.) was a decade and a half younger than he was, at least.  Other sources put her around 20 years younger.  This argument made no sense since Sawdah (r.a.) was nowhere close to menopause anyway.

The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) third wife was ‘Aishah bint Abu Bakr (r.a.).  She was the daughter of Abu Bakr (r.a.), the closest companion of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  This marriage strengthened the bond between these two.  ‘Aishah (r.a.) was known for her wit, and she is considered one of the first scholars of Islam.  After the passing of the Prophet (s.a.w.), she taught classes to new Muslims, and was a noted authority on tafsir, exegesis of the Qur’an, shari’ah, and she narrated many ahadits.  She is proof that women could be scholars and teach men.

There are claims that ‘Aishah (r.a.) was six years old when married.  This is based on a hadits found in Swahih al-Bukhari.  This is contestable, and my belief is that she was at least 16 years of age.  This is a view shared my many Muslim scholars over the ages, since based on other details known about her and her sister, it is impossible for her to have been that young.

The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) fourth wife was Hafswah bint ‘Umar (r.a.).  She was the daughter of ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab (r.a.).  Hafswah (r.a.) was widowed at the Battle of Badr, when her husband, Khunays ibn Hudzayfah (r.a.) was killed.  After Hafswah (r.a.) was widowed, her father, ‘Umar (r.a.), offered her in marriage to both Abu Bakr (r.a.) and ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan (r.a.).  However, both of them declined and an aggrieved ‘Umar (r.a.) complained to the Prophet (s.a.w.).  The Prophet (s.a.w.) consoled him, saying that Allah (s.w.t.) Willed something better for her, and proposed marriage.

This strengthened the relationship between the two.  The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) marrying Hafswah (r.a.) also preserved the relationship between ‘Umar (r.a.), Abu Bakr (r.a.) and ‘Utsman (r.a.).  This is an example of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) subtlety and diplomacy.

Hafswah (r.a.) was a hafizhah of the Qur’an, and it was her copy that was used by ‘Utsman (r.a.) when he standardised the muswhaf, the written text, of the Qur’an.

The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) fifth wife was Zaynab bint Khuzaymah (r.a.).  She was also known as Umm al-Masakin, “Mother of the Poor”, due to her extreme generosity and charity.  She was also widowed at the Battle of Badr, when her husband, ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Harits (r.a.), was killed.  ‘Ubaydah (r.a.) was her second husband.

Although Zaynab (r.a.) was described as beautiful, no one was inclined to marry a woman of two previous marriages.  Zaynab (r.a.) was also sickly.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) broke the taboo of marrying “spoiled goods” and someone who was not in good health.  She passed away less than a year after the marriage, still very young.

The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) sixth wife was Umm Salamah Hind bint Abi Umayyah (r.a.).  She was married to Abu Salamah ‘Abdillah ibn ‘Abd al-Asad (r.a.).  They were among the first to convert to Islam.  Abu Salamah (r.a.) died of wounds received in the Battle of Badr.  She was pregnant, and a widow with three children then.  She was poor and had nothing.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) married her and took care of her four children.

Umm Salamah (r.a.) was one of the most influential of the wives of the Prophet (s.a.w.), and a noted scholar and authority of ahadits in her own right.  It is believed that her knowledge of the sunnah exceeded that of ‘Aishah (r.a.).

The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) seventh wife was Zaynab bint Jahsh (r.a.).  She was originally married to Zayd ibn Haritstah (r.a.), but it was a contentious match.  Zaynab (r.a.) was from a noble family, while Zayd (r.a.) was a slave.  The reason for the Prophet (s.a.w.) arranging this match was to show that lineage did not matter as much as piety and character.  However, their backgrounds were too different and they could not get along.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) married her in accordance to Revelation:

Behold!  Thou didst say to one who had Received the Grace of Allah and thy favour, “Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife, and fear Allah.”  But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to Make Manifest: thou didst fear the people but it is more fitting that thou shouldst fear Allah.  Then, when Zayd had dissolved (his marriage) with her, with the necessary (formality), We Joined her in marriage to thee: in order that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in (the matter of) marriage with the wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have dissolved with the necessary (formality) (their marriage) with them: and Allah’s Command must be Fulfilled. (Surah al-Ahzab:37)

The contention that the Prophet (s.a.w.) was suddenly aware of Zaynab’s (r.a.) beauty, and engineered the divorce, is nonsense, since the Prophet (s.a.w.) knew her from childhood.  It was not as if they had recently met.  The purpose of this marriage is to show that it is permissible for someone to marry the former spouse of their adopted children, bit not that of their biological children.

The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) eighth wife was Rayhanah bint Zayd (r.a.).  Rayhanah (r.a.) was a Jew, and her father was one of the leaders of the Banu Nadhir.  She married into another Jewish tribe, Banu Qurayzah.  Banu Qurayzah fought against the Muslims, violating the Compact of Madina.  They were defeated and according to their own law, the men were killed, and the women and children enslaved.  This was not according to shari’ah, but according to their own Jewish law.  Rayhanah (r.a.) eventually chose to convert to Islam, and marry the Prophet (s.a.w.).  This marriage proved that sins of association have no place in Islam, and to prove that the Prophet (s.a.w.) had nothing against the Jews.

The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) ninth wife was Juwayriyyah bint al-Harits (r.a.).  She was the daughter of the chief of Banu Muswthaliq, a hostile Arab tribe.  In a skirmish with the Muslims, her entire tribe was captured.  Juwayriyyah (r.a.) converted and chose to marry the Prophet (s.a.w.), who accepted.  The marriage to the Prophet (s.a.w.) eventually lead to the manumission of her entire tribe since no Muslim wanted to own a slave who was related to a wife of the Prophet (s.a.w.).

The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) tenth wife was Swafiyyah bint Huyayy (r.a.).  She was the daughter of Huyayy ibn Akhthab, chief of the Banu Nadhir, while her mother was from Banu Qurayzah.  Huyayy ibn Akhthab died an enemy of Islam.  The Banu Nadhir fought against the Muslims and were defeated at the Battle of Khaybar.

Swafiyyah (r.a.) was already twice married by age 17.  Her second marriage was to Kinanah ibn ar-Rabi’.  When she was still married to Kinanah, she told him she had a dream where the Moon fell into her lap.  Her husband slapped her in rage and that mark stayed for a long time.  The dream meant she would convert to Islam and marry the Prophet (s.a.w.), which happened after the Battle of Khaybar.

The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) eleventh wife was Umm Habibah Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan (r.a.).  Her father was Abu Sufyan ibn Harb (r.a.), the leader of the Quraysh.  She was one of the earliest people to convert to Islam, in defiance of her family.  Her husband was ‘Ubaydullah ibn Jahsh.  ‘Ubaydullah ibn Jahsh was one of the famous early apostates, and he left Islam for Christianity.  His apostasy dissolved their marriage.  This left Umm Habibah (r.a.) alone and bereft in a foreign land.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) married her while he was still in Madina and she was in Abyssinia.  This proved that marriage by proxy is possible in Islam.

On an aside, when the Prophet (s.a.w.) was informed of ‘Ubaydullah ibn Jahsh’s apostasy, the Prophet (s.a.w.) told the Muslims to leave him be.  This is proof that there is no death penalty for apostasy.

The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) twelfth wife was Maymunah bint al-Harits (r.a.).  She was with the Prophet (s.a.w.) for three years before he passed on.

Lastly, there was Mariyah bint Sham'un (r.a.), better known as Mariyah al-Qibthiyyah.  She was a Christian slave gifted to the Prophet (s.a.w.) by Cyrus, Patriarch of Alexandria.  Although there is disagreement whether she was a wife or concubine, she was treated as a wife.  This proved the permissibility of union with one of the People of Scripture.

Every known marriage of the Prophet (s.a.w.) had a purpose and served as an example for the ummah.  No honest person can say that the Prophet (s.a.w.) married out of lust.  He took in the bereft, the widow, the orphaned, the abused, the broken, the sickly, but each one of them an exemplar of piety.  He was truly Sent as an example.