Lamya's Corner

"There was for Saba, aforetime, a sign in their homeland [Yemen] two gardens to the right and to the left . . . be grateful to Him[Allah] . . .But they turned away, and We sent against them the flood released from the Dams [Maarib dam]" (Qur'an. Saba:15-16)

3rd Day of Light of Guidance with Sh. Yasir Qadhi February 24, 2011

Filed under: Seminar Notes — lamyaalmas @ 7:56 pm

Prayer - In Sajadah (Sujud)Is Rububiyyah alone sufficient for a person to be Muslim?

No! Christians say they believe in one God as do Jews, and believe it or not even Hindus. In other words, they all claim that there is one ultimate God in the end. The Greek had many gods, but Zeus was the ultimate and supreme god (the rest were/are subservient); and the Hindus are polytheistic, but they believe in the God of gods who is Brahma. So, even Hindus have some concept of monotheism. The truth of the matter is that there is really no religion that actually says that there are mutliple supreme gods.

Islam requires more than the belief in one God:

Take for instance the case  of the people of Quraysh as an example, they believed in one God as well yet they are criticized in the Qur’an. Why would Allah (SWT) send a messenger to the people who already believed in one God? Because it is not sufficient, for they used to go through channels, mediators etc. to get through to God. They believed that they needed  a guide,  not to teach them, but who has powers that they attribute to them [such as magic, knowledge of the unseen] whom they can take as a middle-man/mediator/channel to God. As Muslims, we believe that turning to any individual to ask them for ones needs, even if you believe it/he is asking Allah on your behalf–is shirk. So, in summary believing in your Lord as Allah is not sufficient to be Muslim, that is just a prerequisite.So, Quraysh weren’t Muslim.

Why does the Qur’an call them ‘Kufar’ and ‘Mushrikeen’ [Pagan]?

Because they directed their acts of worship to other than to Allah (SWT). So, when modern Muslims say we are going through saints to get to Allah (barakah,  shafa’a and waseela),  the are confused to know that they aren’t Muslim. They say, “We are just going through the sheikh to get to Allah.” We say to them, “If this is the way you think, then your mindset is the exact same as that of Abu jahl.”

If you are engaging in a dialog, don’t quote a teacher or institute, but quote Allah (SWT) and memorize the evidences. Your opponent can’t respond unless he has another verse. So this is how you respond:

1. With clear and explicit verses from the Qur’an: The first series of verses confirms that Quraysh affirms Allah as their Lord, for instance,  Allah (SWT) quotes the Jahili Arabs in Surat Al Ankaboo1 ayahs 61-63, “And if you were to ask them who created the heavens and the earth and who subjugated the heavens and the earth  and how were they deluded?”

In Surat Al Zukhruf, 87, “And if you were to ask them, who created them, they would say Allah”

In Surat Al Mu’minoon 84-89, ” Ask them in whose dominion, control is everything. and who is the one whom you need to turn to in protection and no one can protect you against them. ” “Say, who is the lord of the seven heavens adn the great throne. . . “

2. Verses that affirm that Quraysh does believe in Allah, yet their faith is useless. It is not accepted: these are the verses that show that the Jahiliyyah Arabs believed in Allah (SWT) yet committed Shirk.Consider for instance in Surat Yusuf ayah 106, “And most of them believe not in Allah without associating (other as partners) with Him!”  Believing in Allah (SWT) means that you do not commit shirk; it means that your Tawheed has to be 100%, it cannot be 99%. Allah (SWT) is affirming an Eman for Quraysh, but a useless one at that because they committed shirk.

4.This point is crucial. So, if Abu jahl believed in Allah as a Rab, as did Abu Sufyan and Abu Talib, why did they turn to  rocks and stones to get to Him? What was their  excuse? Qur’an tells us their exact mindset. They said that Allah (SWT) was too Holy, Magnificent, and Grandiose to approach Him directly, so we needed a go-between to get to the ultimate goal–Allah (SWT). So realize that back then, when Abu jahl or a Hindu today bows down to the idol he does not believe that it created him. Rather their ideology or philosophy is that it is an intermediary. They believe they are too sinful, too insignificant to stand before Allah. So, to get to the absolute God they have to go through a person/idol that has a high rank with God. [A classic example is that of a president. He seems unattainable, so people get to him through their local congressman to petition to them. Similarly, a king is too holy  you need to get to him through his ministers].

The Qur’an came to tell us no, do it directly in  Surat Yunus ayah 18 “They serve, besides Allah, things that hurt them not nor profit them, and they say: ‘These are our intercessors with Allah.’ Say: ‘Do ye indeed inform Allah of something He knows not, in the heavens or on earth?- Glory to Him! and far is He above the partners they ascribe (to Him)!'”So in the light of what we have said, Quraysh does not  want to worship Al Laat and Al Uzza, and Mystical groups do nor worship their dead or their shuyookh, they are just using them to get to Allah. In Surat Al Zumur ayah verse 3 Allah (SWT) says,”Is it not to Allah that sincere devotion is due? But those who take for protectors other than Allah (say): ‘We only serve them in order that they may bring us nearer to Allah.’ Truly Allah will judge between them in that wherein they differ. But Allah guides not such as are false and ungrateful.” So, the ultimate goal is not the middle man–but it is to get through the middle man to the final destination– Allah (SWT).

4. The fact that the Qur’an mentions that Quraysh would turn to Allah (SWT) in times of distress: There are many verses in the Qur’a that affirm this. Consider Surat Luqman ayah 32:

“When a wave covers them like the canopy (of clouds), they call to Allah, offering Him sincere devotion. But when He has delivered them safely to land, there are among them those that halt between (right and wrong). But none reject Our Signs except only a perfidious ungrateful (wretch)! “

And in Surat Al Ankaboot ayah 65: “Now, if they embark on a boat, they call on Allah, making their devotion sincerely (and exclusively) to Him; but when He has delivered them safely to (dry) land, behold, they give a share (of their worship to others)! “

When in distress, or helplessness they call out to Allah sincerely and when they are relieved of their distress they go back to their old ways. There is a beautiful story in the history of Islam of Ikrima ibn Abi Jahl, one of the worst enemies of Islam and his father was nicknamed the Pharaoh of this Ummah. If anything, this story teaches us to never lose hope of anyone being guided to Islam. For full story of his Islam click here. But in brief, when the Prophet (saw) entered Makkah, he gave general amnesty except for a handful who deserved execution for transgressing all limits. Ikrimah was included among the handful. As a result he fled because as it was he could not live under the new administration. He sails off but the ship is about to drown, the captain of the ship says that there only hope is to call to Allah (SWT). The statement lit the light bulb in Ikrimah’s head. If Allah was the only one who could benefit him and his shipmates now, then why should they  worship an idol on earth. So he promised Allah that if he was saved  he would accept islam and go to the Prophet. He also added a dua in which he asked Allah (SWT) that the Prophet (saw) be merciful in his reception of Ikrima.  Still in fear, he wore a turban to disguise himself, and went into the camp of the Muslim and was received by the Prophet (saw). Later on, two decades to be exact,  he died a martyr in the battle with the Romans. Consider also, the Islam of Umar Ibn Al Khattab. See entry Verses of Change.

5. Allah (SWT) tells us the reason why Quraysh rejected Islam: It was not because the Prophet was coming with a new god, a new deity. Rather they rejected unifying Allah (SWT) in worship. Rejection worshiping Allah alone . As already been discussed, he was not coming to them with a new god, but rather to tell them to stop worshiping other gods besides Allah. In Surat Al Safaat verse 35-37, “For they, when they were told that there is no god except Allah, would puff themselves up with Pride, And say: ‘What! shall we give up our gods for the sake of a Poet possessed? ‘Nay! he has come with the (very) Truth, and he confirms (the Message of) the messengers (before him).”

They were asked to lose their prized connections to Allah (SWT). They understood what it meant to say La Illah Ila Allah. In Surat Saad ayahs 3-6 “How many generations before them did We destroy? In the end they cried (for mercy)- when there was no longer time for being saved!So they wonder that a Warner has come to them from among themselves! and the Unbelievers say, “This is a sorcerer telling lies! ‘Has he made the gods (all) into one Allah? Truly this is a wonderful thing!’ And the leader among them go away (impatiently), (saying), “Walk ye away, and remain constant to your gods! For this is truly a thing designed (against you)!”

6. The Jahiliyyah Arabs had a Talbiyyah during Hajj: They performed Hajj? Yes, they did. They took it from Ibrhim (as) but it was slightly modified.  They had a different version of the Talbiyyah as we have it now. They added to our Talibiyyah, ” Ila Shareekan Huwa Lak Tamlikahu Wa Ma Malak.” [You have no partner except one that belongs to you, and you control him and you control what he owns]

Note: that when you are in  dialog with people who worship saints, or are in mystical groups realize that their psychology is exactly the same as Quraysh.

Now another question arises: why does the Qur’an affirm the Rububiyyah of Quraysh? Or in other words, why is it important for the Qur’an to affirm that Quraysh believe in a Rabb?

So as to tell them that the logical consequence of belief in Rububiiyyah necessitates Uluhiyyah. It is only logical that if you affirm that there is one god, then he is the one that you should turn to directly for all your needs. Thatt is what the kalimah directly says, ” La Illaha Ila Allah.”

The Kalimah (La Illaha Ila Allah)

What does mean? What does it imply? What are its blessings?

It is the essence of Tawheed. t is the gist and basis of our religion. It is the reason why the creation was created; why messengers were sent and books were revealed. for this reason mankind has been divided into Muslim and Kafer; that there is heaven and hell-fire. It is what is needed to be  publicly proclaimed by a person  to accept Islam.That is why when a Muslim child is born, we call the Adhan in his right ear. It is also the goal of every Muslim that it be the last phrase that he utters as the hadith in Abu Dawud says, “Whoever breathes his last with the words: La ilaha illallah, enters Paradise.”

It is so powerful, that is heavier than any other phrase in the scale (hadith of the card mentioned in 2nd day of notes). It is the best phrase that all the prophets have ever uttered “The very best phrase that I have ever said and all the prophets before  is ‘Ashhadu  an La Illah Ila Allah wahdahu  la Shreek lah,  Lahu al Mulk wa Lahu al Hamd wa Huwa ala Kulee Shay’en Qadeer.'” And another hadith in which the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “There are over 70 branches of faith. The highest is to bear witness that There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (la ilaha illallahu muhammadur rasulullah). The lowest is the removal of harm from the road. Modesty is also of faith.”

The question arises: what is exactly the meaning of this kalimah [la illah ila Allah] and how do we understand it?

First, how many words are in the Kalimah? 4 words.

How many letters? Three different letters: Ali,  Laam and Ha.  Clearly by looking at the Kalimah, the term “Illah” is the key term. Ibn Abbas said, “An Illah is one whom everyone turns to for help and worships. It is an object that is worshipped”

Al Asfahani says, “It is a name given to every object that is worshipped.”

Ibn Mandhoor, “Any object taken to be worshipped, is an Illah”

So, by consensus ‘Illah’ is one who is worshipped.

So if we look at the Kalimah now in the light of the definitions provided is it complete?

So,

La [meaning ‘no’]

Illaha  [being who is to be worshipped]

Ila [except]

Allah [God].

Is the kalimah  complete as “There is no being who is be worshipped except Allah”?

The word “la” in Arabic requires two actors– so, the noun of the “la” needs a subject also to derive the concept to negate. So, in English [not in Arabic there is a missing phrase, which in Arabic is already implied/assumed and understood from the context] there is a missing PHRASE in the Kailmah–there is no need to mention something that is already understood. Missing description– it is assumed from the context. The missing “khabar” [subject] is “Bihaq” which means “worthy of.”

[This called in in Arabic grammar La Al Nafiyyah Laljins–sorry the source is in Arabic, if you find one in English to explain the concept please provide it in a comment to the entry]

So the “Kalimah” in English is:

There is no deity worthy of worship except for [or other than] Allah.

How many parts can the Kalimah be divided into?

The Kalimah can be divided into two halves, in other words it is composed of two halves:

1) The first part is a negation “La Illaha.”

2) The second is “Ila Allah” is an affirmation.

So, it consists of both a negation and affirmation; you wipe out with the negation, you start a clean slate [isn’t that what the “Shahadha” does to a person when they first take it]

Another example is when we say in Arabic: No one is smart in this room except for . . . [this is unconditional negation in which we have completely given exclusively given the trait/characteristic to one person] It is the highest form of praise–because we have given exclusivity and the height/highest praise.

Saying the “Kalimah” is the crux of our religion; it is the basis; the foundation; key to  Jannah.

What does saying the “Kalimah” mean? If we ask someone to repeat it after us, does that make them automatically a Muslim?

There is more to the “Kalimah” than verbalizing it. There are conditions of the “Kalimah.” Someone asked Wahab ibn Munnabih (d. 110) “‘Is not La Illaha Illa Allah the key to Jannah?’ ‘Yes, but every key has ridges, so if you come with the key that has the right ridges, the door will be opened for you, otherwise it will not.'” So, the” Kalimah” has to meet the conditions [understanding what it implies and acting upon it]:

[Please see article by Sh Jamal Zarabozo  “Conditions of La Illaha Ila Allah.” ]

1) Knowledge of the “Kalimah” (vs. Ignorance): If you do not have knowledge [‘ ilm] of the “Kalimah”, in other words they are just words to you with no meaning. So, one of the requirements is that you have knowledge of what the “Kalimah” means.

2) Is certain about the “Kalimah”: That he knows the meaning of the :Kalimah” but he is not certain about it. Certainty [Yaqeen] is another requirement.

3) Accepting the “Kalimah”: The Pharaoh, Hercules, Abu Jahl and Abu Talib  knew it to be true. Pharoah knew he was not god, he knew Musa (as) came with the truth, but he was too arrogant; same thing with Hercules who knew it was the truth but he was greedy etc. So, “Qubool” [accepting]  is another requirement as opposed to rejecting it.

4) Not only must you accept it, you must OBEY the implications of the “Kalimah”: Submitting is done by the body (accepting is done wtih the heart)– “inquiyaad”. That we  have a firm belief in Sunni Islam; that we say the “Kalimah” but does none of the forms of worship, person is not a Muslim–he is a “Faseq.” Such as never once praying, or fasting. The body has to conform to the heart.

5) Be truthful to the “Kalimah” ( Al-Sidq): you are not lying.

6) To say it for the sake of Allah with Ikhlas [sincerity], without any shirk involved: i.e not for the people or for “Nifaaq”–so sincerity,  Al Ikhlas.

7) Loving it, and its people, and hating those who oppsote it (vs. hating its people): Loving and hating for the sake of the “Kalimah” — Al Mahabah.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Concept of Ibadah [worship]:

We have said that the Kalimah translates as: “There is no deity that is worthy of being worshipped other than Allah.” So, we now have to clarify what worship means? Why? Because once we have defined it, then can we only give it to Allah. Worship is a psychological state and a  set/series of actions/rituals. Two perspectives:

1) Psychological frame of mind: Ibn Katheer defines worship, or ‘ibada’ as: ” . . . a state which combines, the perfection of love, submission and fear.”  Think of these three emotions:

Think of love, who do you love? Your spouse, children etc. The other emotions–in this case, submission and fear– are not applicable. If you think of something that you fear, the law for instance. You fear it and submit to it but you don’t necessarily love it. So, in these examples as in many other examples, these three emotions are independent of one another But as for ‘Ibahdah,’ these three emotions are combined; all three are simultaneously combined and perfected to the maximum. Ibadah humbles you, you love the being you worship and you submit to the being and you fear the being as well.

2) Rituals of ‘Ibadah’: Referes to the things you need to do, in order to worship Allah (SWT). Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Ibahad is a comprehensive term that encompasses all apparent and hidden acts and statatments thaqt are beloved to Allah.” So for instance, to say the ‘adhan’ [call to prayer], to say the ‘Kalimah,’ to pray, fast, show mercy to the poor etc. That actions that we do as people can be divided into two categories:

i) Rituals: something you do to follow a particular reilgion, so it’s religion specific (for instance, Christians sing hyms, Jews light candles etc. ).  For Allah (SWT) to accept them there are two conditions that must be met:

a) Sincerity [IKHALAS]: The opposite of it is Shirk (major and minor), i.e which means that  if you do something insincerely then the action will not be accepted. If it was directed to other than Allah (SWT), such as a human being etc. Narrated ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khtaab: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) saying, “Deeds [their correctness and rewards) depend upon intentions, and every person gets but what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits, or for a woman to marry, his emigration is for what he emigrated for.” (Sahih-ul-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 1). Similary, if you do an action for the people and also for Allah (it is considered minor shirk, which is a type of ‘Shirk’) Allah does not want you to taint your intention [Niyah]. Another form of insincerity in intentions is doing it to show off in front of others.

b) Conformity to the Sunnah: You are not allowed to invent rituals, or ways to come closer to Allah (SWT). You take them from the Sunnah, such as changing the number of Rakaa’s’ for instance.  If you do so then you have fallen into bid’a (innovation). You are deforming the Shariah!

Note!!! Bida’a can only occur in rituals, i.e. how you pray, how you fast, how you come closer to Allah (SWT), and they have to  conform to the Shariah and Sunnah. Hadith of A’isha (raa) who said that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e. Islam] which is not a part of it, will have it rejected.”   That is exactly what our ‘Kalimah’ is, first part  is sincerity and the second is conformity.

ii) Natural Actions: These are actions we do because we are human, such as eating, drinking, marrying, procreating,. They are independent of religion. The general rule is, natural actions require neither sincerity nor conformity. If you eat because you are are hungry,going to sleep because you are tired you have not committed Shirk. To direct  a natural action to other than Allah (SWT) is not Shirk. It is not necessary to be conscious of Allah (SWT)), to do it for the sake of Allah (SWT). The beauty of our faith [deen] is that you can convert a natural action into a religious one, and to do only one condition is required and that is sincerity [ikhlas].

The Messenger of Allah (saw.) said: “To smile in the company of your brother is charity. To command to do good deeds and to prevent others from doing evil is charity. To guide a person in a place where he can not get astray is charity. To remove troublesome things like thorns and bones from the road is charity. To pour water from your jug into the jug of your brother is charity. To guide a person with defective vision is charity for you.” (Bukhari)

All of these are natural, but can be converted into religious acts. Take for instance, going shopping to serve your wife’s  needs, everyone does it. But to go with the intention [Niyah] to please Allah (SWT) it becomes a religion act even though you have done it with a natural inclination. Another example is going to work starting with Bismillah. At this level every action  becomes one of worship, you have reached the level of Ihsan [meaning that you have reached that level that even if you do not see Alalh (SWT) you are aware that Allah (SWT) sees you]. Muhsin, is a true Muslim who has perfected his faith.

It is related that Salman(raa) once visited Abu Darda’ (raa), and he found his wife in a miserable state. So he asked her, “What is the matter with you?” She replied, “Your brother has not need of anything in this world.” When Abu Darda’ (raa)came, he welcome Salamn (raa) and gave him food. Salman (raa) told him to eat but Abu Darda’ said, “I am fasting.” To which Salman said, “I swear to you that I shall not eat until you eat also.” Salman (raa) spent the night there as well. During the night, Abu Darda’ (raa) got up but Salman (raa) got hold of him and said, “O Abu Darda’, your Lord has a right over you. Your family has a right over you and your body has the right over you. Give to each its due.” In the morning, they prayed together and then went to the meet the Prophet (raa. The Prophet (saw) supported Salman (raa) in what he had said. “


Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 9.58 Narrated by Abu Burda: 

Abu Musa said, “. . .  Abu Musa added, then we discussed the night prayers and one of us said, ‘I pray and sleep, and I hope that Allah will reward me for my sleep as well as for my prayers.'” For a related lecture please see Sh. Yasir Qadhi’s The Journey of Worshipt Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

Ibadah has three pillars [ 3 motivational factors to worship Allah (SWT)]:

We worship Allah (SWT) because we love Him, we are afraid/scared of His anger, and we hope for His mercy and pleasure. These are the three emotional pillars our Ibadah is based on. We will dicuss each and every one of them, and include the evidences and conditions for them:

1) Al Baqara ayah 165, “Yet there are men who take (for worship) others besides Allah, as equal (with Allah): They love them as they should love Allah. But those of Faith are overflowing in their love for Allah. If only the unrighteous could see, behold, they would see the penalty: that to Allah belongs all power, and Allah will strongly enforce the penalty.”

Loving Allah (SWT) is the sign of believing in Him. Remember the famous hadith by Anas bin Malik (raa) reported: The Prophet (saw) said,“There are three qualities whoever has them, will taste the sweetness of Iman: To love Allah and His Messenger (saw) more than anyone else; to love a slave (of Allah) only for (the sake of) Allah; and to abhor returning to infidelity after Allah has saved him from it as he would abhor to be thrown into the fire (of Hell)” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Love is of many types:

a) Love of the Divine [Hubb Illah]: We love sthing like a god, the divinity. This love must be exclusively for Allah (SWT) and hence servitude must be unique to Allah (SWT). It is not shared by anyone or anything.

b) Love for the sake of the Divine: We love some being because Allah (swt) asked us to, because it brings us closer to the Divine. The highest is the Prophet/s, angels, pious people, the Qur’an, good deeds. The first two are religious loves that we are required to love. Note that we have put the love for the Prophet (saw) i a different category than Allah (SWT), unlike Christians.

3) Natural love [hubb]: Is love that we humans naturally have and is of many types. As a human we love many things: money, spouse, parents, children, etc. But those who have ‘Ihsan’ can convert natural love into love for the Divine. Eg. it is human nature to love parents, but the Muslim, Mu’mins, Muhsin uses his love for the Divine to dedicate service to parents. That magnifies  love for the Divine.

What if a natural love conflicts wtih love for the Divine?

Like love for money for instance can cause a person to embezzle, cheat, lie, deceive, even kill. Love for the opposite sex, crush, can turn into a passionate embrace and even further than that. In these two examples we have taken natural love and used it to disobey the divine, this is not love for the Divine. This is not Shirk, but rather sin. It’s that type of love, that has caused a person to be blinded to Allah’s message.

When is love Shirk, let’s call it Shirki Love?

It would be if you have:

a) Love for other than Allah (SWT): Such as love for Brahma, Krishni, Jesus  Christ, in that manner as if they were gods, or sons of god, or whatever trinitarian mysterious love.

b) Love that causes you to reject category one: Reject love of the divine, such as Hercules who rejected loved his power and wealth , Abu Talib loved his culture and ancestry, Qaroon his wealth and privilege. So, it is valuing something over the love of the divine.

Note!!! A drunkard for instance acknowledges Allah (SWT) and his drinking problem does not negate  his love for Him. No doubt he is sinning but it does not negate it all together.

2) Fear of incurring Allah’s wrath and anger (Khawf): In Surat Al Imran 175, “It is only the Evil One that suggests to you the fear of his votaries: Be ye not afraid of them, but fear Me, if ye have Faith.” Also in Surat Al Ahzab ayah 39, “(It is the practice of those) who preach the Messages of Allah, and fear Him, and fear none but Allah. And enough is Allah to call (men) to account.” Once again fear is of types and categories:

a) Religious fear: Fear of a supreme deity that has control over you, that can cause you distress. This is only for Allah (SWT). A woman from Thaqeef was asked, “Are you not afraid of Al Laat?” She said, “I only fear Allah.” It is the belief that only Allah (SWT) who can protect you . It’s a fear of the real supernatural.

b) Natural fear: Fear that people have of things that are part of this world, they are not supernatural. Such as for instance a snake in a house. Yes, it is natural to be scared, indeed healthy for an adrenalin rush which makes a person more acute and aware to get out of the situation. Natural fear varies from person to person and gender to gender. If people are afraid of certain things, you can accuse them of being cowardly but not Shirk.  So, if a strong person is scared of small minuscule person, then we say he is a coward. It does not seem natural. But if someone at gun point wants to steal from you–then it is natural.

What does a believer do with this fear? Convert the natural fear to the religious. The more eman you have the stronger your ability to overcome the natural fear like the companions. It is said that a companion came across a lion, and without skipping  a heartbeat said to the lion, “You are under the command of Allah as I am.” The lion left. Fear of Jinn starts bordering on the religious fear, this paranoia and giving them powerful characteristics is not a good sign of Eman.

3) Hope (Rajaa): Is the third emotion hope is another sign of eman. It is to think the best of Allah (SWT) and to hope in Allah (SWT) . In Al Imran ayah  135  Allah (SWT) says, “And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, earnestly bring Allah to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins,- and who can forgive sins except Allah?- and are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done.” And in Al  Baqara ayah 218, “Those who believed and those who suffered exile and fought (and strove and struggled) in the path of Allah,- they have the hope of the Mercy of Allah: And Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” So, a believer is always optimistic. A believer desires two things, and  both are religion:

a) Religious: This is regarding the acceptance of good and forgiveness of evil, which both should be hopes directed to no one other than Allah (SWT). So, when you perform a ritual the reward should be hoped from Allah (SWT). You should not want another deity to accept it from you.

b) Natural: To hope for some good of a person for a natural reason. Such as a a raise from your boss, a cure from the doctor. You are not ascribing divinity to your boss, or doctor but hoping  that the doctor has the knowledge to help you out, and your boss has the privilege to give you a raise.

Caution !!! Unchecked natural hope can lead to Shirk. Hope must be controlled more than the other two emotions. Remember a boss or doctor cannot give you anything without the will of Allah (SWT). the true beleiver is able to convert all natural hope to religious. So the person stops expecting and yearning from any human being other than Allah (SWT).

What is the percentage that you think you should have of each of the three emotion?

Ibn Al Qayyim answered the question for us, ““The heart is like a bird: love at its head and its two wings are hope and fear.” (Ibn Al-Qayyim, Madarij al-Salikin)

So, the primary emotion is indeed love. Why? Love of Allah and for Allah should be the motivational factor. The other two emotions stem from love of and for Allah, it brings about a fear–element of fear in love.Love is the base emotion that overrides the other that are subsidiary/secondary. “ “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” (William Congreve, The Mourning Bride 1697).

Love is like the  heart of a bird , and fear and hope are its wings. The percentage of fear and hope, depends on the circumstance, whatever will propel you forward takes precedence . In Surat Al Fatiha these three emotions are evident.

What happens if one of these emotions is missing?

Using Ibn Al Qayyim’s analogy, the bird will not fly straight. Historically speaking all of these  emotions are either over-emphasized or under-emphasized. Some have emphasized love and side-lined fear and hope, so love becomes exclusively important. Others have under-emphasized love to such a degree that fear and hope become idolatrous [so a person is doing them only for Jannah]. Another group over-emphasized fear, like being obsessed wtih the fire of hell. Extremist and/or militant groups have Khawarejite mentality, see themselves as vanguards of Islam. If you listen to their forums, their obsession is not falling into sin. There is no talk about mercy at all. They just love to speak of deviant group–pass a ruling and verdict on  this group as correct and that group as not. Then there are other groups, like the Christians for instance, who over-emphasize hope, without fear. So, it become not big of a deal to drink, Allah (SWT) is forgiving. This results in a flippant attitude, there is lack of Eman. Another extreme is just to dismiss love and fear, a arrogantly so, and the focus is on hope. To emphasise one over the other leads to deviance.

Surah Al Israa Ayah 57 combines all three pillars, “Those whom they call upon do desire (for themselves) means of access to their Lord, – even those who are nearest: they hope for His Mercy and fear His Wrath: for the Wrath of thy Lord is something to take heed of.” This ayah really helps to correct the shirk of another Muslim, or Non-Muslim group. A classic example is that Jesus (as) was trying to come closer to Allah (SWT), and he wants Allah’s mercy, and hopes to please Allah. How can you worship a being who has these three pillars? As do the angels or righteous men? The true believer combines all of these three pillars.

To re-iterate: Rububiyyah necessitates Uluhiyyah. It is in fact the primary message of the entire quran–1000 verses are aboout this simple understanding starting with Surat Al Fatiha. Shaytan manages to convince people through perverted arguments to prevent people from Ulihiyyah. If you acknowledge that Allah is the Rab, then the natural result is that you worship Him (SWT).

How about believing in the concept of Al-Asmaa and Al-Sifaat [Allah’s perfect names and attributes]?

If you believe in the them then you are acknoledging a perfect Rab. most of mankind falls short of this, for instance the Christians and Jews say what is not befitting of Allah (SWT). If you use your common sense and your rationality He has to be all perfect, and has to have divine attributes and names. If you affirm this, then you have to worship Him alone. If you know that only Allah can hear you wherever you are, then why call to anyone but Him. Therefore, our Kalimah which consists  of Uluhiyyah  automically implies Rububiyyah and Asma wa Al-Sifaat. You cannot get to the top except by taking these two ladders.

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Now we come to the opposite of Tawheed which is the concept of Shirk that needs to be studied in detail. Only through studying it can we be prevented from falling into it. You do not study evil for its sake, but rather to save yourself from it. What is the definition of Shirk?

Both the Qur’an and Sunnah have defined it. The Qur’an defines it as: “So do not make, along with Allah partners, while you know [that He is the true Creator.”(Surat Al-Baqarah, ayah 22)

Ibn Mas’ood (raa) asked the Prophet (saw), “What is the greatest sin?” He replied (saw), “to take alongside Allah a partner [nidd] even though it He that created you.”

What does a partner [nidd] mean?

In a law firm, a partner is one who shares privileges, rights and ranks as those of the other partner. So in that sense, Shirk means giving the rights of Allah (SWT) to other than Allah. So, anything that belongs to Allah if given to other than Allah is Shirk–we understand Shirk then as broader than just prostration to an idol.

The Qur’an tells us the dangers of Shirk:

1) Allah says, Shirk is never forgiven if you die on it: Surat Al-Nisa ayah 48, “Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed. “

2) Person who commits shirk will never enter Jannah : Al -Maeda ayah 72, “They do blaspheme who say: “Allah is Christ the son of Mary.” But said Christ: “O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help.”

3) Shirk is so evil that it destroy’s all of a person’s deeds: In Surat Al-Zumar Ayah 65 addresses the Prophet (saw), “But it has already been revealed to thee,- as it was to those before thee,- “But it has already been revealed to thee,- as it was to those before thee,- “If thou wert to join (gods with Allah), truly fruitless will be thy work (in life), and thou wilt surely be in the ranks of those who lose (all spiritual good)”. ” Can you compare the good deeds of anyone with those of Rasool Allah (saw)? No. Can the prophet (saw)commit major sins, or Shirk? No, Allah has protected them. Yet, Allah is so  severe in this ayah. Why? The message is for us. Allah (SWT) is saying, that even if theoretically or hypothetically if he had his position would not protect him from the punishment.

4) If a person dies in a state of Shirk, it is prohibited for his muslim friends and relatives to seek forgiveness for him: When the Prophet’s uncle died Allah (SWT) said in Surat Al Tawbah ayah 113, ” It is not fitting, for the Prophet and those who believe, that they should pray for forgiveness for Pagans, even though they be of kin, after it is clear to them that they are companions of the Fire.” How about those who died not receiving the message of Islam, or knowing the prophet (saw)? We should not worry about hypothetical scenarios, worry about practical scenarios. There are many opinons on this but the strongest is that they will be tested, meaning they will be given a second chance. Hopefully they did not hear about it through Fox news because they will surely fail.

5) Allah has described those who commit shirk as being spiritually filthy [Najas]: In Surat Al Tawbah ayah 28, “O ye who believe! Truly the Pagans are unclean; so let them not, after this year of theirs, approach the Sacred Mosque. And if ye fear poverty, soon will Allah enrich you, if He wills, out of His bounty, for Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.”Spiritual filth can only be purified through the leaving of Shirk. Isn’t it unfortunate, in the true sense of the word, that Allah (SWT) has Created you and then you turn to another being who has no favor on you whatsoever and leave Allah  (SWT) who has all the favors on you, for him. If that is what you do then you deserve to be spiritually filthy.

Which existed first ‘Tawheed’ or ‘Shirk’?

Tawheed existed before Shirk, but most believe in the opposite. They believe that Monotheism developed, but the pinnacle is atheism. They base this on what they know/speculate on about primitive societies. They assume from what they know about primitive societies is that all of them are polytheistic, such as local tribles of Brazil, the Aborigines of Australia. But as Muslims we believe that Tawheed came first. What are our evidences:

1) Fitrah and Mithaq: Fitrah is the inner compass, and the second is the convenant Allah (SWT) took from Adam and his children.

2) First shirk to occur was during the time of prophet Nuh (as): Prophet Muhammad (saw) told us as did the Qur’an. Allah (SWT) says, “”And they have said (to each other), Abandon not your gods: Abandon neither Wadd nor Suwa´, neither Yaguth nor Ya´uq, nor Nasr”(Surat Nuh, 23)

Ibn Abbas said  “Between Nooh (Noah) and Adam were ten generations [1000 yrs], all of them were upon Sharee’ah (law) of the truth, then they differed. So Allah sent prophets as bringers of good news and as warners.” This indeed modern science that says that the Christian speculation of how old the earth is inaccurate. Shaytan then suggested to them to carve images out of the five men, so as to remind them of their worship of Allah (SWT). It is said that he even volunteered to do it for them and place them in the direction of the Quiblah. They said,” Go and build them somewhere else.”So, he did with his own hands. These were the first five icons [images] that were carved. Later on, generations later, he came back  in the form of an old man, and told that their forefathers used to pray to these images. They used to ask them for rain in times of drought etc. So, later on they took them on as idols. So, they wanted to use them as steps to Allah (SWT).

Based on what has been mentioned above, how did Shirk start? What are the origins of Shirk? It started to exalt the status of holy men–when a righteous being is raised above the level they deserve. Look around you, the man most worshipped in the world today is Jesus Christ.

3) Adam (as)  was the first man and the father of all people. He was a Prophet of Allah. This is not scientifically proven, but we know from the Qur’an that this is true.

Categories of Shirk: Since Tawheed has three categories, it makes sense that Shirk will as well [since it is the opposite of them].

1) Rububiyyah: Unity of Allah (SWT) in his actions. What you can do then is one of two things:

a. Either affirmation of other entities having characteristics like Allah (SWT): can be total or partial. Examples of total like: Brahma, Buddha, Zeus, Jupiter all of which are considered/affirmed as ultimate and complete Lords [Rabb other than Allah] to their followers. Affimration of a complete Rab other than Allah. Even Quraysh did not do this, rather they affirmed partially. Quraysh, as Jesus is viewed by Christians, gave their idols some of the characteristics of the Rabb. They believed that another being could heal/cure, nourish, sustain them. The latter is more common than the former, especially in deviant Muslim groups.

b.Or deny Allah’s characteristics all together: can be total or partial. Total denial is atheism. Who are atheists giving the rights of Allah to? To the creation itself, such as Mother nature for instance. It is interesting that they have to use some noun. So, they say, “Nature has decreed. We find that in Nature” with a capital ‘N.’ They have to use a proper noun, so they invent something.

Partial denial is a little advanced. But to summarize there are some people who claim to be Muslims, whom we don’t view Muslim, but rather they are Islamic philosophers from Mulsim Spain, such as Avicenna, Farabi etc. They called Allah (SWT) the first cause, the unmoved mover as he was called by Aristotle. They believe that Allah (SWT) is not aware fo the creation’ that He (SWT) created and let the creation be;he has nothing to do with his creation. It is called “deism.” Believe that there is god that ought to just let be and let his creation. The belif that there is a Creator but not a nourisher and sustainer, so just a partial Rabb. These groups are pseudo Islamic and they don’t exist as much.

2) shirk of Uluhiyyah: To direct an act of worship to other than Allah (SWT), such as dua [invoke for help, to save] prostration, sacraficing animals, prayer etc. to please another god. This is major shirk in the Uluhiyyah. Note, that calling 911 is not Shirk in Uluhiyyah. This is divided into two categories:

a) Major Shirk which is further divided into 2:

i. Theoretical: Is to  consider the worship of other than Alalh to be acceptable and permissible even if you don’t worship other than Allah. In other words to consider it to be morally permissible to worship other than Allah. So the attitude, “If I want to worship my god and you your god we are all on the right path” is on moral grounds rejected. This kind of ideology or thought which is called Perennialism is morally unacceptable. It is not morally acceptable to worship other than Allah. Interfaith dialog has this kind of ideology, that we are all belong to the Abrahmic tradition. This contradicts the Kalimah, it is as is one is saying Someone else is worthy of worship other than Allah (swt).

Note: the people have the right to what they want, but from a moral perspective we don’t agree with it.

ii. Practical [actions]: Praying and giving charity to show off in front of people. To gain popularity, fame and privilege.

b)Minor Shirk: Shirk in Asmaa wa As Sifaat and is divided into 2 categories:

[Please comment on this entry  with the URL for the video Sh. Yasir Qadhi referred to called the Explanation on the Hadith of the 73 sects on YouTube]

i. Deification: Such as saying my sheikh knows everything; he can hear everything; he knows what is in my heart. This is what  mystical groups believe. In doing so they  give the attribute that only belong to Allah alone to another being.  Raising a human being into a divine.

ii. Anthropomorphism: Is making God human like; giving God human characteristics such as for instance painting Him as a big old man in the sky [imagining god in human form]. Also giving them characteristics that are demeaning to God such as that he forgets,  gets tired, can’t find Adam in the garden. Consider the following lecture Toward Formulating a Vision for Muslims in America in Light of the Seerah.

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Manifestations of Ibadah

We are going to discuss the common concepts of Ibadah and explain each one of them:

1) Tawakul: Is putting your trust in Allah (SWT); resigning your fate to Allah (SWT). It is essential that we put our trust in Allah, and have hope in Him alone, indeed that is the perfection of our deen. In Surat Al Maeda ayah 23 Allah (SWT) says, “(But) among (their) Allah-fearing men were two on whom Allah had bestowed His grace: They said: “Assault them at the (proper) Gate: when once ye are in, victory will be yours; But on Allah put your trust if ye have faith.” and in Surat Yunus ayah 84, ” Moses said: “O my people! If ye do (really) believe in Allah, then in Him put your trust if ye submit (your will to His).” In Surat At Talaq ayah 3, ” And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.” So, the heart should be attached to Allah (SWT)

Misconception of Tawakul: People think that Tawakul means that they do not need to do anything. This is not Tawakul, it is foolishness. Truly Tawakul means striving towards something. So for instance,  a farmer who wants a harvest has to  plant, irrigate, cultivate, get rid of pests, uproot weeds etc. In doing so his heart is not attached to his effort, but places hope in Allah. Take the necessary precautions, and then leave the rest to Allah (SWT). Remember tat the Prophet  (saw) did not tell the enemy where he was going, and used to wear double protection.

One day Allah’s Messenger, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?”
The Bedouin answered, “I placed my trust in Allah.”  At that, the Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said, “Tie your camel and place your trust in Allah” (Tirmidhi)

Another hadith, Imam Ahmad narrated that Usamah bin Shuraik said, “I was with Prophet Muhammad (saw) when the Bedouins came to him and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, should we seek medicine?’ He said, ;Yes, O slaves of Alalh, seek medicine, for Allah has not created a disease except that He has created its cure, except for one illness.’ They said, ‘And what’s that?’ He said, ‘Old age.'”

2) Patience: Is the manifestiation of worship. We must be patient for the sake of Allah, there are over 70 verse in the Qur’an that talk about patience. In Surat Al Imran ayah 200, “O ye who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy; vie in such perseverance; strengthen each other; and fear Allah; that ye may prosper.” In Surat Al Ra’ad ayah 22, ” Those who patiently persevere, seeking the countenance of their Lord; Establish regular prayers; spend, out of (the gifts) We have bestowed for their sustenance, secretly and openly; and turn off Evil with good: for such there is the final attainment of the (eternal) home. . .” In Surat Al Nahl in ayah 128, “For Allah is with those who restrain themselves, and those who do good.”And in Surat Al Mudather ayah 7, “But, for thy Lord´s (Cause), be patient and constant!”.

“Sabr” in Arabic means to hold yourself back. The reason it means that, is because the opposite of that is when you let yourself go; when you do not keep your body in check.

Categories of Patience:

a. Patience in response to a situation that Allah has decreed: Ranges from something simple as being stuck in traffic to more traumatic examples as the death of a loved one. It is to control your body and tongue from doing what is haram [the impermissible according to Qur’an and Sunnah] and this is indeed the lowest.

b. Patience in restraining one’s self from committing sins: It is sometihng that you can control and is a higher category the the first.

c. Patience in constantly  worshipping Allah: It is  a higher form, such as waking up for fajr, fasting in the month of Ramadhan etc. It’s patience is not just in the heart, but manifested in the tongue and the limbs.

3) Du’aa: It is the greatest action of worship; it is the essence of worship; the crux of worship. Why? Because  no action of worship better illustrates the meaning of worship than the action of dua. one making dua affirms Allah as a Rabb, His names and attributes, and calls on Him as a result for His help. It is Uluhiyyah par excellence. The three emotions love, fear, and hope are perfected as well. You love to turn in dua to Allah,  fear that he won’t accept because you do not deserve it, but hope He accepts it. Other actions of worship do not perfect all three. so, therefore dua is the common act of worship, even shaytan did it. Dua is the most common act of Shirk as well. Why the most common? It is an act of worship that is the most essential for our daily needs.

There are over 500 verses in which Allah says do not do dua to anyone else but Allah (SWT). In Surat Yunus ayah 106, “Nor call on any, other than Allah;- Such will neither profit thee nor hurt thee: if thou dost, behold! thou shalt certainly be of those who do wrong. ” When one makes dua to other than Allah, you are affirming that that object has the power to respond to you. When you prostrate you only commit shirk in Uluhiyyah, but when you direct your dua to someone other then you have committedSshirk in all three categories of Tawheed. The Qur’an came to eliminate Shirk, so how can it be used to justify Shirk.

There are two types of dua:

a. Istiaadha “seeking spiritual refuge’: Qur’an tells us that when an evil thought comes to us we should seek refuge in Allah (SWT), as well as when you recite Qur’an you should do Isti’adha. In Surat Fusulat ayat 36,”And if (at any time) an incitement to discord is made to thee by the Evil One, seek refuge in Allah. He is the One Who hears and knows all things.” And in Surat Al Nahl ayah 98, “When thou dost read the Qur´an, seek Allah´s protection from Satan the rejected one.” Seeking spiritual refuge from another being other than Allah  is major shirk, because in doing so you are giving divine characteristics to a being. Note that seeking natural help, like calling 911 is not a religious action.

b.Isti’anah and Istighathah: Seeking help. Some say, “We are not worshipping but merely asking help.” Such as today when Muslims call out to Abdul Qader Al Jaylani who was a scholar in Baghdad. He wrote books full of Qur’an and Sunnah, but after he died people did to him as they did at the time of Nuh (as). Today, his grave is found in twelve different lands ; lots of stories and legends surroud him. One is allowed to seek help in a physical manner like asking a brother to help you carry something–you are asking them to help you with the physical power they have. What we mean here is supernatural help, like if someone’s son is sick and he asks for a cure.

3) Nadhr [vow]: It is a religious promise that one is allowed to make with Allah (SWT). You say for instance, “If my son is cured I shall fast for ten days.” It’s a religious transaction. Such a vow is one that is not recommended, but if you must do it then it must done with Allah. Why is it not good?

In a hadith the Prophet of Alalh (saw) says, “A vow is only extracted from a miserly person and does not change the decree of Allah.”It is a cheap mentality, because it is like saying, “If you do good to me I will be good to you.” It does not change the decree of Allah. Mystical groups say, “If you cure my son I will make a pilgrimage to the grave of a righteous person.” In that they are linking the the cure to a dead saint.

4) Udhiyyah [sacrificing]: In our religion, an animal imust be taken in the name of Allah (SWT), with the word, “Bismilla.” If you mention other than Allah then you are dedicating it to other that Allah. Hindu offerings to their gods are usually consumed by the priests. In our religion sacrafice done in the name of Allah is in order to:

i. To thank Allah

ii. Purely for the sake of food: But even if it for our own consumption we have to say “Bismillah Arrahman Arraheem.” Remember Surat Al Kawthar. Consider also Surat Al An’aam ayah 162, “Say: “Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds.” Allah’s cuse is on those who sacrafice to other than Allah (SWT). When you sacrifice for your parents who have passed away, you do not do it in the name of your grandmother but do it in the name of Aallah, but make dua that Allah accept the good deed in their name.

5) Tawaf [circumambulation]: We have been asked to do it around one thing only and it is the ancient house, the Ka’aba. To do it around another structure or icon is major Shirk. It is common in India, Somalia, etc. to do Tawaf around the graves of the righteous.

6) Prostration [sajdah]: In Surat Fusilat ayah 37, “Among His Signs are the Night and the Day, and the Sun and the Moon. Do not prostrate to the sun and the moon, but prostrate to Allah, Who created them, if it is Him ye wish to serve.”

It is of two types:

a. Natural: People prostrate as a sign of respect to someone else. Allah allowed it in the previous nations, but religious prostration was always for Allah. Remember, Allah asked the angels to prostrate to Adam (as) out of respect, see Surat Yusuf. Also Abu Hurayrah reports that when Muadh ibn Jabal returned from Sham, he came to the Prophet (saw) and prostrated before him, saying that he had seen the people of Sham prostrating in respect to their monks, and that the Messenger (saw) deserved greater respect than than what Muadh had seen the people of Sham give to their monks. The Prophet (saw) replied, “Were I to have commanded anyone to prostrate to anyone, I would have commanded the wife to prostrate to her husband.” [At-Tirmidhi]

 

To those interested in my Seerah class! February 20, 2011

Filed under: Miscellaneous Announcements — lamyaalmas @ 7:31 pm

Assalaam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu–

For those interested in registering, attending or listening in on my Seerah class please go to the class blog at nabiyunna.wordpress.com Please contact me with questions regarding the class through comments to that blog. You are also welcome to join the discussion in our related Discussion Forum at http://nabiyunna.proboards.com/Jazaakom Allah Khayr.

Sincerely,

Lamya

 

2nd Day of Light of Guidance class with Sh. Yasir Qadhi February 15, 2011

Filed under: Seminar Notes — lamyaalmas @ 1:54 pm

Importance of Aqeedah

Very nice summary of the Light of Guidance weekend lecture.

“Have you not seen how Allah has struck the parable of a beautiful Kalima [La Illaha Ila Allah] like a beautiful tree whose roots are firmly established, and whose branches tower in the sky? It gives fruit at all times by the permission of its Lord and Allah sets forth parables for mankind in order that they may remember.” (Surat Ibraheem, 24-25)

What does the tree symbolize in the above ayah?

A tree symbolizes = growth and prosperty, life itself–for it is the basic fundamental building block of life in that it, among other things, takes our CO2 and gives us O2. Many organizations use it to symbolize life. So in other words, your Eman is what gives spiritual life to your body. Physically, the tree provides:

a) fruit for nourishment,

b) shade to protect us from the elements,

c) aesthetic nature/value,

d) wood to light fires for cooking, warmth, energy, building material for our homes etc.

So, we can neither live without trees nor without the kalimah [La Illaha Ila Allah].

What is the significance of the tree with roots firmly established in relation to the Kalimah?

La illah ila Allah keeps a person grounded, stable, steadfast, strong and anchored in the ground. He knows his purpose in life, and hence is a optimistic forward thinking person,

Indeed, our Islam has an amazing characteristic , it appeals to and is embraced by people of different backgrounds/faith. And the opposite is very rare, even if a Muslim leaves the fold of Islam it is hardly ever a scholar or intellectuals, and if it so happens we question whether they were really Muslim in the first place, or that they probably left it to follow their own desires. Islam today is a growing religion, and Christianity is ever increasingly becoming a cultural phenomena rather than a genuine commitment to it as a faith. Once has to look at the number of church goers in England today, which equals that of Friday-Masjed-goers–and why is this striking? Because Muslims make up 3% of the total population of England.

Even at the time of the Prophet (saw), Christians predicted that the religion of Islam would spread far and wide.The Prophet sent letters of invitation to Kings and Rulers of various countries in the world, propagating and inviting them to embrace Islam. Abu Sufyan a leader of the tribe of Quraish and the arch enemy of the Prophet was in Constantinople on a business trip, when the Prophet’s letter of invitation reached Hercules, the Byzantine emperor of Eastern Roman Empire. After reading Hercules asked the people in his court, to find out if there was someone in the city, who knew the Prophet. Abu Sufyan with his companions was brought into the court.

The emperor asked Abu Sufyan, “What kind of family does Muhammad belong to?” “Noble [Allah (SWT) chooses from the best of families]”, replied Abu Sufyan “Has there been a king in his family [usually those will royal ancestry have agendas to regain their royal inheritance]?” Hercules asked. “Are the people who have accepted his religion poor or rich ?”, Hercules questioned again. They are poor [they are not tied down by the wealth of this world]”, replied Abu Sufyan. Hercules was now becoming more and more interested and he went on asking questions. His next question was, “Are his followers on the increase or decrease?” “Increasing [and this was despite that fact that the Muslims were being persecuted–remember Bilaal, Ammar ibn Yasser and Sumaiyah. And they were on the increase meaning that one eman settled in the heart it was there to stay]”, Abu Sufyan replied shortly. “Have you known him to tell lies [if he never lied or cheated for the wealth of the world–gold and silver–then it is unlikely that he will lie about Allah]”? asked Hercules. “No”, admitted Abu Sufyan.”Does he ever go against his covenants?”, Hercules once again asked. “Does he ever go against his covenants?”, Hercules once again asked. “Does he ever go against his covenants?” “Not so far. But we have to see whether he carries out the new agreement made between us and him”, Abu Sufyan answered lengthily for a change.”Have you ever fought him in wars?” Hercules questioned. “Yes”, answered Abu Sufyan “What has been the result?” Hercules asked, getting more and more interested. “Sometimes we have won, sometimes he”, replied Abu Sufyan. “What does he teach?” asked Hercules “Worship One God, join no partners with Him, carry out your prayers, be chaste, speak the truth and keep union with your relatives”, answered Abu Sufyan, even surprised at his own answer as it sounded like he was preaching Islam.Hercules stood up and said, “If all you said is true, then I am sure that this Prophet’s Kingdom will reach here where I am standing.”  (Bukhari)

What is remarkable about this hadith, is that this is a Kafer telling another Kafer that this is the true religion from Allah (SWT). Within 15 years, the Muslims conquered Jerusalem and 1000 years Constantinople. Unfortunately, Hercules never accepted Islam because he did not want to lose his Empire, and give up being the most power man in the world.

What does “it’s branches tower in the sky” symbolize?

It means it reaches lofty heights; causes us to ascend to Jannah. In our earthly lives, the sky is the limit. People look up to the person of Eman, which is a sign of power, might and excellence.  A person of Eman has refuge in Islam from what goes on below–he is above the filth and Fitan. A person’s Eman stands out is manifested in actions. Large trees are more beneficial–like a believer who benefits society more than anyone else.

What about “it gives its fruits at all times by the permission of its Lord”?

It is of benefit the whole year round–as is the believer in all aspects and facets of his life. It’s benefits vary, hence the fact that ayah says that this single tree bears various fruits which is not possible in our real world. So it’s a never ending source of spiritual inspiration that provides a boost of optimism to all that come in contact with it.

Some fruits of this tree of Eman:

1. Jannah: To be qualified for Jannah one has to have Eman, and those who do not have it are disqualified. In Surat Al Kahf Allah (SWT) says:

“As for those who believed and performed good deeds–We waste not the wage of one righteous in works. to them belong the Gardens of Eden, beneath which rivers flow, and in which they shall be decked with bracelets of gold, and shall wear green raiment of silk and brocade, reclining therein on couches. Happy that reward and happy that place of rest. ” (30-31)

2. Protection from the fire of hell: Narrated by Anas: The Prophet (saw) said, “Whoever said ‘None has the right to be worshiped but Allah’ and has in his heart good (faith) equal to the weight of a barley grain will be taken out of Hell. And whoever said, ‘None has the right to be worshiped but Allah’ and has in heart good (faith) equal to the weight of a wheat grain will be taken out of Hell. And whoever said, ‘None has the right to be worshiped but Allah’ and has in his heart good (faith) equal to the weight of an atom will taken out of Hell.” (Bukhari)

Eman is levels–1st level is Muslim, 2nd is Mu’min, and 3rd is Muhsin–and there is a clear line that divides a person from Kufr, Fusuuq, Eman and Ihsan. Please see Chart for illustration of this concept.

What is meant by “bare minimum required”?

It is what is required to be saved from ever entering the hellfire. It is  Wajib/Obligatory. Below that “bare minimum required” line a person is considered a Fasiq (sinner). He has the “bare minimum”  so his sins will cause him to enter the hellfire, but not abide in it forever.

So, what are the actions that make up the “bare minimum required?

That we practice the five pillars of Islam, avoid major sins (murder, interest, fornication, intoxication etc.), and committing a sin is not a permanent state but a temporary one. This guarantees that we have reachesd the bare minimum.

The best and highest level is “beginning of perfection” [ihsan] and of those Allah (SWT) says in Surat Al  Israa ayah 19:

“And he who desires the hereafter, and pursues it as it should be pursued, being a man of faith, these–their persuit shall be worthy of praise.”

3. The key to have all deeds accepted: It is important to note, that if you do good actions but have no Eman then it will not be accepted from. sometiems people find this problematic–they find it politically incorrect to say. But it is very simple: Why should those who had not faith in Allah (SWT) expect reward from Him whom they never beleived in? Yet Allah is All-Just and hence they receive their reward from the  people of this world, they get the honor they craved. They wanted popularity and the lavishness of this world and they got it.

4. A means for forgiving sins: In Surat Al Furqaan ayah 70 Allah (SWT) says:

“Except one who repents, has faith and does good deeds, These–God shall replace their sins with favors. And God is All-Forgiving, Compassionate to each.”

5. Achieving the protection of Allah (SWT):

Surat Yunus ayah 62, “Surely the friends of God–no fear shall fall upon them, nor shall they grieve.”

6. Allah will fight on your behalf: Surat Al Haj ayah 38 in which Allah (SWT) promises constant support–past, present and future–“God safeguards the believers.”

7. Allah (SWT) will guide a person with Eman:

“They were youths who believed in their Lord, and whom We increased in guidance.” (Surat Al Kahf, 13)

8. Protection and comfort for the believers:

“Whoever does good, male or female , while having faith, We shall make him live a decent life, and We shall recompense the with their wages, in accordance with the bet of their deed.” (Surat Al Nahl, 97)

9. Good always occurs to him: “Whoso has done an atom’s worth of good shall see it.” (Surat Al Zalzala, 7)

10. Exit and escape from all sorrows and problems:

“Surely the friends of God–no fear shall fall upon them, nor shall they grieve. They who  believed and were pious–to them glad tidings in this present world, And in the hereafter.” (Surat Yunus, 62)

11.Raised in this world and the hereafter: “And those among you who believe, and who are granted knowledge, God elevates by several degrees” (Surat Al Mujadala, 11)

12. Protected from falling into evil:

Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah observed: “The fornicator who fornicates is not a believer so long as he commits it and no thief who steals is a believer as long as he commits theft, and no drunkard who drinks wine is a believer as long as he drinks it.” (Muslim)

Which means that if the person truly had the bare minimum Eman required, then he would not have committed the sin. So, a person who commits these atrocious sins, do have the bare minimum required.

13. Allah provides a good life for the believer: A person has two choices: 1) to “enjoy” this world according to the definition that his desire provides for “enjoyment” and suffer the punishment or 2) or trust in Allah’s (SWT) definition of enjoyment, and truly enjoy it. This is what a believer does.

“Whoever does good, male or female , while having faith, We shall make him live a decent life [does not mean one becomes a multi-millionaire, but has more to do with the quality of your life. So quality rather than quantity. If we look closely those on Wall Street, celebrities in Hollywood, and world  famous elites are not truly happy–their suicide and divorce rates run with the law], and We shall recompense the with their wages, in accordance with the bet of their deed.” (Surat Al Nahl, 97)

14. Angels give the person with Eman glad tidings: In other words, Eman brings about a sweet death,and the angels calm the person down as the soul is extracted from the body as expressed in Surat Fusilat:

“As for those who say ‘Our Lord is God’ and are upright in deed, angels shall be made to descend upon them: ‘Fear not, and do not grieve. Here are glad tidings of the Garden which you were promised. We are your guardians in tis life and the next. In it you shall have all that your souls desire, all that you pray for, hospitably received by One All-Forgiving, Compassionate to each.” (30-32)

15. Khalifah [power/political establishment on this earth]:

“God has promised those among you who believed and did righteous deeds to make them inherit the earth, as he caused those before them to inherit, and to establish their religion on firm foundations–the religion He sanctioned for them–and to instill peace of mind following their fear.” (Surat Al Nur, 55)

Remember, that in order to bring about change it has to begin from the bottom up–so from within first by perfecting ones Eman. This is a promise by Allah (SWT) and He does not have to promise for us to believe Him.

16. Brotherhood and Sisterhood: Eman brings about an international fraternity and sorority of people.

“The believers are indeed brothers, so make peace among your brothers, and fear God–perhaps you will be shown mercy.” (Surat Al Hujuraat, 10)

17. Love is written for him on this earth:

“But those who believed and did good deeds, the all Merficul shall show them affection.” (Surat Maryam, 96) So, basically Allah (SWT) says that those who have Eman and translate their faith into good deeds, Allah (SWT) shall write for them love–the love of Allah, the angles, and people. Where ever they are there will always be a genuine love for them.

18. A believer will benefit from advice: A sinner is too arrogant to accept advice, but the believer benefits from it, ” And remind–reminding is good for the believers.” (Al Dhariyaat, 55)

19. Light on the day of judgment: Allah (SWT) will destroy all sources of light and humanity will be immersed in utter darkness. After being handed their results, they are told to find their way to Jannah to which they come to a bridge called the Sirat that is thinner than a hair and sharper than a sword. Allah (SWT) will bless everyone with a personal flashlight [your body will begin to emanate light] in proportion to a person’s Eman–the stronger your Eman in this life the stronger the light and vice versa. Whole bodies will light up, and some only their toes will flicker.

” A Day shall come when you shall observe believing men and believing women, with their light shimmering before them upon their right hands: ‘The good news to you today is Gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein forever, And this is the greatest of triumphs. That Day, the Hypocrites, men and women, shall say to those who believed: ‘Please allow us to obtain a ray from your light,’ and it shall be said to them: ‘Turn back, and search for a light!'” (Al Hadeed, 12-13)

20. Every blessing in this world and the next can only be obtained through Eman: this is the only pure means, any other way is tainted. One blessing in particular outshines others, and that is:

In Surat Al-Qiyaama, ayah 23 Allah (SWT) says, “On that Day, some faces will be resplendent, To their Lord their eyes are lifted.”

And in Surat Yunus ayah 26 the righteous will be given Jannah and some more. What can possibly be more than Jannah? Gazing continuously at Allah (SWT): “To those who do good belongs the fairest reward–and then some more.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

What is the term for ‘theology’ in our Deen?

In Latin ‘theo-‘ means god; and ‘-ology’ means science. The most popular term is Aqeedah in Islam, and it comes  it comes from the root word ‘aqad’ which means ‘to tie down, to knot.’

Why this word in particular?

It is appropriately called ‘aqeedah’ because is is what ties us down to our faith; it solidifies and fortifies it; it’s what you firmly stick to. It is important to note that term does not appear in the Qur’an  but presented no problem since the Prophet (saw) did not have session called “Tafseer (Exegesis/Interpretation of the Qur’an)” “Ilm Al Hadith (Science of Hadith)” of “Tajweed (Science of Qur’anic recitation.”

Others tried to come up with different terms, among which are the following:

1) Al Shariah: which literally means in Arabic ‘path to the waterway’; 2) As-Sunnah; 3) Al-Fiqh al-Akbar: Abu Hanifah said this is the greatest fiqh, and Al fiqh al-asghar is law; 4) Sharh as-Sunnah–explanation of the Sunnah; 5) Aqidah, or I’tiqad; 6) Usool as-Sunnah–fundamentals of Sunnah; 7) Al-Mahajjah–means the shining path, the clear evidence. The Prophet (saw) said, “I have left you upon the shining path, its night is like its day. No one will deviate from it except that he wishes to be destroyed.” So, the path of Islam is crystal clear and if you follow it, you will be saved and if you choose not to follow it then you begging for destruction.

Note: What you believe and what you do are both important, but in instances, what you believe is more important.

What is ‘Tawheed’?

‘Tawheed’ is one branch of Aqeedah, and comes from the root word “Wahad’ from which are derived ‘Wahed’  and ‘Ahada” (the one; the unique). ‘Wahada’ [with shaddah] means to make something one. So linguistically speaking, ‘Tawheed is’ the concept of making something one. As a concept it means ascribing unity to something. More definitively in Aqeedah it means:

To believe in the untiy of Allah (SWT) but not any kind of unity but “Believing that Allah is One and Unique in His Lordship, His Names and Attributes, and His Right to be worshiped. These are three distinct and separate issues that we unify Allah (SWT) in. We need to learn the three terms in  both English and Arabic:

1) Tawheed Al Rububiyyah: This is making Allah (SWT) one in the concept of Lordship (Al Fatiha starts with: “Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds” [1])

2) Tawheed al-Asmaa wa al-Sifaat: This is to unifiy Allah (SWT) in the perfection of His Names and Attributes (“Lord of the Day of Judgment” [3])

3) Tawheed Al-Uluhiyyah: Is to unify Allah (SWT) in the concept of deity, and the right to be worshipped (“It is You we worship, and upon You we call for help” [4])

Note: These three categories, are mentioned implicitly and not explicitly  in the Qur’an. Surat Al Ikhlas is another good example for these three essential categories of Tawheed.

Some early scholars of Islam, divided Tawhid into 2 categories (bipartite as opposed to tripartite):

1) Knowledge [Al-Ilm]: This is further divided into: 1) Al Rububiyyah; and 2) Asmaa wa Sifaat.

2) Action [Amalee]: which includes Al Uluhiyyah.

What are the blessings of Tawheed?

Please see Al Bukhari’s Book of Tawheed.

Why should we study Tawheed?

1. Purpose of Creation: because of Tawheed Allah (SWT) created the creation and if it were not for that we would not have been here. Every human being questions the wisdom of being here and Allah (SWT) explicitly said in Surat Al Dhariyaat 56, “I created the Jinn and humans but to worship Me.” If anyone should ever ask you for the purpose of life, this should be your immeidate response. It is one of the most explicit verses in the Qur’an, and hence we  should never be in doubt about why we are here. Allah (SWT) created us for Tawheed, and since that is the case the rest of the points we will discuss will explain this point further Insha Allah.

2. Reason for sending Prophets: to tell us to worship him. We believe that every single prophet’s message was exactly the same. We firmly believe that Essa [Jesus} came to ask people to worship Allah (alone). “To every nation We sent a messenger: ‘Worship God and keep away from idol worship.” (Surat Al Nahl, 36)

Reason for revealing books: “He sends down the angels with the Spirit, by His command, upon whomever He wishes of His worshipers: ‘Be warned! There is no god but I, so fear Me.'” (Al Nahl, 2)

Side Note!  What is the difference between a Messenger and a Prophet?

There are a number of opinions about this, but the strongest position is that a Messenger is someone who is sent to a nation that does not believe and who do not accept him, so he has to establish the law in the land. But a Prophet is sent to a nation that is expecting him. Adam (as) is a prophet for that reason. A messenger changes an existing Shariah through Wahiy [revelation].

How many Messengers and Prophets were sent?

Narrated by Abu Dhar Al Ghifari “‘O Messenger of Allah how many Anbiyaa [Prophets] are there?’ The Prophet said, ‘ 124,000.’ ‘And how many Rusul [Messengers]? The Prophet responded, ‘310 and something [bid’i and Jamun Ghafeer].'” (Musnad Ahmed)

Every Nabee and Rasool received Wahiy [inspiration; revelation] so they all technically received written revelation. Some revelation was meant to be recited and dictated to the people. How many books were revealed? Allah knows the quantity but five have been mentioned to us: Papers [Suhuf] of Ibrahim; The Psalms of David; The Torah  of Moses; The Gospel  of Jesus; and The Qur’an revealed to Muhammad.

3. It is Tawheed that differentiates between a Muslim and Non Muslim: The term ‘Kafer’ is not a curse word, it is in actuality a factual word. Islam prohibits us to differentiate based upon ethnicity, color, color passport etc. But we do differentiate based in belief, and we have in the Qur’an clearly  two standards–  Either Muslim or Non-Muslim. (Please Click here to listen  to Sh. Yasir Qadhi’s lecture ‘Ummah Vs the Nation State’) The world has to discriminate, but not in a childish way in which they discriminate based on what one has no control over–you do not choose where you are born, or what color your skin is, or what ethnicity you belong to. But you can choose to be a Muslim or a Kafer. Islamic State depends on whether you choose or reject Islam, and if you you refuse you suffer the consequences thereof. Allah (SWT) discriminates in the Qur’an between those who reject and those who accept.

4. Following Tawheed brings about peace and contentment in this life and the hereafter.

5. Taweed is the first call that we have been commanded to respond to: In our Dawah we should always begin by talking about Tawheed.  The Prophet (saw) sent Mu’adh bin Jabal to Yemen, “Avoid harsh treatment with the people, and inform them of Divine blessings which are meant for the true believers. When you face the people of the Scriptures in Yemen, and they inquire from you about the key to Paradise, you should tell them that it is the acknowledgment of the Oneness and Uniqueness of Allah.” We should not delve in tertiary issues, but rather take them to Tawheed–this is the logical, irrefutable method of doing Dawah (Please click here to listen to Sh. Yasir Qadhi’s “Debunking the Male Bias Myth”) Don’t tell them about the existence of a leaf, if they do not believe in the existence of a tree first. Surat Al Baqara ayah, 21, “O people! Worship your Lord Who created you as well as those who came before you. Perhaps you will fear Him. It is He Who made the earth as bed for you, the sky a canopy. . . ” (21)

7. Tawheed is the right that Allah has over us: It is narrated on the authority of Mu’adh bin Jabal that he observed: “I was riding behind the Messenger of Allah (saw) on an ass known as ‘Ufair. He (Mu’adh) observed: He (the Holy Prophet) said: ‘Mu’adh, do you know what right has Allah over His bondsmen and what right have His bondsmen over Him?’ Mu’adh added: ‘I replied: Allah and his Messenger know best.’ Upon this he (the Holy Prophet remarked: ‘The right of Allah over His bondsmen is that they should worship Allah and should not associate anything with Him, and the right of His bondsmen over Allah, Glorious and Sublime, is that He does not punish him who associates not anything with Him.’ He (Mu’adh) added: ‘I said to the Messenger of Allah: Should I then give the tidings to the people?’ He (the Holy Prophet) said: ‘Do not tell them this good news, for they would trust in it alone.'” (Sahih Muslim)

8. Is a cause for entering Jannah: Whoever says la illaha ilah enters jannah. and otherwise if also true. it is the only way to jannah.

9. It forgives all sins: The hadith of al-Bitaaqah from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas who said, the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said:

“Allaah will separate a man belonging to my ummah in the presence of all creatures and will spread ninety-nine scrolls for him, each scroll extending as far as the eye can see. Then He will say, ‘Do you object to anything in this? Have my scribes who keep note wronged you?’ He will say, ‘No, my Lord.’ He will ask him, ‘Do you have any excuse?’ He will say, ‘No my Lord.’ Allaah will say, ‘On the contrary, you have with Us a good deed, and you will not be wronged this Day.’ A slip of paper will then be brought out, on which are the words ‘Ashhadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluhu (I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger).’ Allaah will say, ‘Bring your weight (i.e., the scrolls).’ The man will say, ‘O Lord, what is this slip of paper in comparison to these scrolls?’ And He will reply, ‘You will not be wronged.’ The scrolls will then be put in one side of the Balance and the slip of paper in the other, and the scrolls will become light and the slip of paper heavy, for nothing could compare in weight to the name of Allaah.” (Al-Tirmidhi, 2127)

10. Dangers of it’s opposite: We don’t appreciate light if we haven’t seen the dark, so similarly without studying shirk we cannot understand Tawheed. The two exist in the vacuum of the other; they do not in any way exist at the same time. Allah (SWT) says in Surat Al Nisa ayah 48: “God forgives not that He be the associate of anyone, but fogives what is less than this to whomsoever He pleases.”

Every word in the Qur’an calls to and is directly linked to Tawheed. We can divide Tawheed as expressed in the Qur’an as falling into one of five categories:

1. Regarding Allah: Names and attributes that describe Him (SWT), as in  Surat Al Ikhalas

2. Command to worship Allah: calls for the action to worship Allah (SWT)–Uluhiyyah– as expressed in Sura Al Kafiroon, and in Surat Al Baqara in which Allah (SWT) says:

“Alif Lam Mim. Behold the Book! No trace of doubt in it. A guide to the pious. To those who believe in the Unseen, who perform prayer, and who spend of Our bounty; those who believe in what has been revealed to you, and what has been revealed before you.” (1-4)

3. Prohibitions or commandments from Allah: Shariah and Fiqh–knowledge of the halal and haram– tell us how to worship Allah and perfect our Tawheed. There are 500 verses that deal with Shariah laws, the majority of the Qur’an is not law.

4. Narrating the rewards of the people of Tawheed: through the stories of the Prophets [those of the past] or what the  righteous expect to be rewarded/ Jannah [future].

5. Narrating the punishments of the people who rejected Tawheed: Person’s such as: Nimrod in the Qur’an:

Have you not thought about him who disputed with Abraham about his Lord (Allah), because Allah had given him the kingdom? When Abraham said (to him). ‘My Lord (Allah) is He Who gives life and causes death.” He said: “I give life and cause death.” Abraham said: “Verily! Allah causes the sun to rise from the east; then cause it you to rise from the west.” So the disbeliever was utterly defeated. And Allah guides not the wrongdoers.” 2: 258

And of course, the infamous Pharaoh who said, “O council, I know no other god for you than me. O Haman, fire some clay for me, and built me a tower that I may climb up to the god of Moses. I consider him a liar. And he and his troops grew arrogant in the land, unjustly, imagining they would not be restored to Us. So, we seized him and his troops and flung them into the sea–behold what end they met, those evildoers.” (28:38-42)

In addition, punishment of past nations and the lamentations of those in the hellfire [futuristic yet certain lamentations of those of the hellfire] narrate the grave punishments of the rejection of Tawheed.

What is the first of the three pillars of Tawheed?

Tawheed Al Rububiyyah

Definition of Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyyah

What is the meaning of Rabb?

The great lexicographer Ibn Mandhoor in his Lisaan al-Arab [a standard reference of classical Arabic] dedicated five pages to the word “Rabb.”But to summarize, Rabb linguistically denotes the complete owner [Rabb Al Bayt–the owner of the house. Rabb Al Jamal–the owner of the camel); the king; the one who is obeyed; is in charge of; nourishes; sustains and provides.

1. So, we affirm that it is only Allah (SWT) who has true, complete and ultimate ownership, which implies that He is also the Creator of the Universe and everything in it and beyond it. This is an attribute that no created being has, for whatever a person own makes him a partial owner since it was acquired, purchased or a blessing form Allah (SWT) . That includes any genius who has invented something, since the material was created by Allah (SWT) and was not invented from nothing.  Allah has ultimate ownership  means that Allah is not in favor of anybody, He created it from nothing therefore; He is the ultimate owner and master of the universe which is His creation from nothing.

2. Allah is also Al Sayed, so He is the one who must be obeyed. In Arabic the word al Sayed means “slave owner.” Allah (SWT) has the ultimate right to be obeyed. Not a condition of obedience like parents for instance. He (SWT) has to be obeyed unconditionally.

3. The third meaning of Rabb is the Care Taker of the universe, the Nourisher, Master, Sustainer, and Nourisher [al-Murabiyy, al Qayyum, and Al Razaaq]

Tawheed  [unifying] of Allah in His actions is called Tawheed Al Rububiyyah, and it involves the belief in the following:

Allah’s  actions are unique, in that only He can perform it. If he sustains then He is the only one who sustains. If He creates then he is the only one who creates. So, it is Allah and only Allah who can do it.

The entire creation is under the Rububiyyah of Allah, which means that as created beings we are dependent on our creator for our needs. We do not intrinsically have the ability to take care of ourselves; we don’t have the ability to control our matters either [there are those we are not in control of, and those we are in control of with Allah’s will]. So, when in distress we call out to Allah. All of Allah’s creations–animate or inanimate– are under the Rububiyah of Allah.

The term Rabb implies at times a specific meaning and at others a general meaning:

1) General: Allah is the Rabb of the alameen [universe]–Rabb of all the species. Rabb of the creation. Every single human being, animal and object is dependent on Allah. No being can exist/work/function outside the Lordship of Allah. So it is an inclusive state, i.e for the Muslim and non Muslim– including Shaytan of course.

2) Specific: Allah is the Rabb of only  those willingly to acknowledge and submit to Him as their Rabb, and when they do  they form a special relationship with Allah (SWT). Allah as a Rabb will take care, nourish and sustain their needs but in a special way. The most common name used to call out in dua to Allah, is Rabb because the believer feels a special bond between himself and Allah. The servant genuinely feels he is calling the master, owner, the one who cares about him, one who has the power to nourish and sustain him. He understands that he brought him from non-existence to existence.

This leads us to a very profound question, that has challenged philosophers since the beginning of time: What is the proof that there is a god out there?

It is imperative for us in our time to know how to respond to this question since we are living at a time when it is being asked too often. But how?

First, we turn to the Qur’an and extract all evidences that Allah (SWT) provides as evidence/proof  of His existence–in other words, Islamic Proofs for Rububiyyah. We realize that that there are many verses that refute  Jews, Christians, and idol worshipers, but there are only a few verses that respond to atheists, and we wonder why there isn’t much emphasis on this concept. Why is paganism refuted in 1/6th of the verses, but atheism hardly gets the time of day [why is it short changed] in the Qur’an?

First evidence is Creaton: Allah provides  the creation itself as evidence; Allah challenges humankind to look around and marvel at the creation. Consider Surat Luqman ayah 11,” He raised up the heavens without pillars that you can see, and cast upon the earth towering mountains, lest it should shake you violently, and He set loose in it every sort of animal. From the heavens We send down water and caused to grow therein of every noble species. This is God’s creation–now show Me what they created, those other than Him! Indeed, the wicked are in manifest error.”

Consider also in al-Tur ayah 35, “Or is it that they were created from nothing? Or could it be that they are the creators? Or was it them who created the heavens and the earth? Rather, they possess no certainty.” [only 3 options]

Atheism is a new/contemporary/modern human foolishness, because we humans we do not entertain the possibility that something happens out of nothing. Indeed, we live our lives with the basic assumption that every cause has an action that resulted in it and to claim otherwise for our whole creation is heightened foolishness. A simple Bedouin was asked, “How do you know that your god exists? He said, ” A camel dung tells me a camel was here. And footsteps in the sand tell me a traveler has passed by. And a sky full of stars, and lands full of  mountains indicate to me that Allah created them.” Ibn Taymiyyah said, “How do they expect to look for signs of Allah’s existence when every single sign is already [on its own] screaming that Allah exists.”

Second Evidence is the Concept of Fitrah: The word Fitrah comes from the word “fatarh,” which means to carve open and embed something. So it was put into us when we were created it. Allah and His Messenger, reference Al Fitrah in both Quran and Sunnah. Consider Surat Al Rum: “So set your face to the true religion, in pristine faith. This is the primordial nature that God implanted in mankind–there can be no changed in God’s creation. This is the religion unswerving, but most people know it not.” (30) And the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Each child is born in a state of ‘Fitrah’, then his parents make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian.” (Collected by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim). So, every human being has ingrained subconscious knowledge–not taught or acquired–but born with and this knowledge of the existence of Allah (SWT) [Fitrah] is exactly compatible with Islam.

So, let us suppose that a child ends up in a deserted island and as a result is cut off from all of humanity, what would this young adult know?

The Fitrah will tell him the following:

a. that there is a God

b. That that God is one, and not more than one.That there is a Creator and He is One.

c. That this Creator has the perfect Names and Attributes. Indeed, no cult says that their god is imperfect, that their gods are deaf, dumb etc.

d. That this God is worthy of being praised and worshipped. And hence every single person will have some form of servitude to this god.

e. They will have the broad essentials of morality. One does not need to be told that lying, stealing etc is wrong or that helping the poor is a virtue. It does not matter what society we are talking about, there are certain virutes that are ingrained.

This Fitrah was manifested, from the beginning of creation. The Qur’an mentions an incident that happend at the beginning of time, called  Al Mithaq [covenant] in Surat Al Araaf ayah 172,

“When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): ‘Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)'”- They said: ‘Yea! We do testify!’ (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: ‘Of this we were never mindful.’

And the Prophet (saw) said, “Allah took the covenant from the offspring of Adam in Na’maan, i.e. Arafah. He brought forth all his offspring and spread them before Him. Then He addressed them, and said: ‘Am I not your Lord? [rhetorical for affirmation, to drive the point home; not a question they need to think about or provide an answer–it is affirmation of their ‘factory setting’]’ They said, ‘Yes, we testify,’ lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Verily, we have been unaware of this.’ Or lest you should say: ‘It was only our fathers afore time who took others as partners in worship along with Allah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practiced Al-Baatil (i.e., polytheism, sins, invoking and worshiping others besides Allah)?'” [Ahmad]

[An analogy I used to explain the concept of Fitrah to a student was like a still in it’s box computer, fresh from the factory/manufacturer. This computer once it hits the store  has it’s ‘factory setting’  but later on customized through downloading, upgrading, updating of software etc. and this is like the family. Once the computer is taken home,  during its life , more changes are made for the duration of the computer’s life–through family, individuals, companies, etc . Such are we, we are created with “the Creator’s settings” and through family, and then through the choices we make, and our lifestyles either alter or preserve the ‘original’ settings we were created with–and the best and only way to preserve it is Islam]

Third evidence is the manifestations of the Fitrah during times of distress/helplessness: When in distress all humans [Muslim and non-Muslim] find themselves invoking Allah (SWT). And this is not always a conscious decision, but comes out despite themselves, even if they don’t believe in it. 12 verses in the Quran. With utmost sincerity, they do that.  (yunus, 12)  See the conversion story of Lawrence Brown aka Abdullah Brown–part 1, part 2, part 3. Winston Churchill is thought to have said, “There are no athesit in trenches [foxholes in America]” but who this quote is originally attributed to, is up for grabs. But the idea dates back in some minds to World War I but for us Muslims dates back way further than that.

Fourth evidence is the history of the prophets: It is no coincidence that the largest civilizations, movers and shakers of the world have come from the three major religions. And many of them and their revelations are still popular, while those of other civilization have not been as widely propagated.  All the miracles of the Prophets such as: the flood, the Qu’ran, miracles of Prophet Sulaiman etc. are widely known in every culture. It is a phenomenal fact, that never in the the history of religion, did backward, uneducated,and  ignorant Bedouins  expand their religion to such an extent. It is completely unprecedented. To add to that, where ever Islam went it gained foothold, stayed and remained. Not only that, but wherever it went people became proud followers of it–see for instance Egypt, where the most popular name is “Amr” because it was Amr ibn Al Aas who brought Islam to them. Alexander the Great achieved huge success but after he died in a short period his ideology was forgotten and gone.

So, then why does the Qur’an not have a lot of refutations against atheism?

Belief in a Creator is so powerful, prevalent, and so embedded in every human that the fact of the matter is that there is no need to offer exhaustive refutations–it is sheer, utter and complete waste of time. It is the excuse of all excuses so to speak. Atheists have chosen to shut off all reason. How should we deal with them? Use the five-minute-rule–quote the five verses in the Qur’an and them move on to something more pragmatic and productive.

What is your take on Interfaith Dialogs?

As a term, it is vague; sometimes even theologically incorrect. There is nothing wrong about going to a church or synagogue to tell them about our religion. But to come together, to say that you are okay, I am okay and we are all okay is problematic.

Western Proofs for Existence of God

We have talked about Eastern Islamic proof of the existence of God, but now we are going to talk about Western proof.

Pre-Socrates there was no need for proof that there is a God, but since then up until now theories to prove the existence or non-existence of God have surfaced–so maxims, premises, theorems have been developed for the purpose, and some are considered philosophical.

Note: Most scholars agree that the average Muslim should not study philosophy. They had a wise reason for this–although we have been exposed to it–they viewed philosphy as the science of misusing and abusing intellectual powers. The premise of philosophy is opposed to the premise of Islam. We believe that without Islam, you cannot know or reach the truth; you will reach general truths but not the absolute truth. Allah (swt) said to Prophet Muhammad (saw) in the Qur’an in Surat Ad-Duha, “And He found thee wandering [not upon guidance], and He gave thee guidance.” (7) Do you think that if Muhammad (saw) did not find guidance except through Allah and through revelation, do you think the Philosophers will find guidance trough their own intellect? Philosophers says we do not need guidance, our minds can take us to the truth. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “No two philosophers have agreed on a fundamental truth.” And none come to the absolute truth. So for that reason, many scholars view that philosophy puts ones mind in such a state of vacuum and expect it to operate and function to come to a truth. Click here for the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes. Also, the fact of the matter is that everything positive in philosophy is in Islam. Fatwa by scholars agrees that philosophers are to be avoided to the best of our ability in order to strengthen our Eman [faith]. Decartes became famous when he came to the conclusion: “I think therefore I am.” Regardless of the that fact, that Descartes originally published this thought in French, not English [“Je pense donc je suis.”]  So, he is wondering whether or not they exist, that is in and of itself proof that they do exist because, at the very least, they are thinking about it.

Ontological Proof:

St Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) writes in Chapter III of the Proslogium ” . . . we believe that thou art a being than which nothing greater than be conceived.” So, in other words, one cannot imagine something greater than God. What is greater? Something that only exists in your mind [conceptual god], or actual living god [or existing god]? Therefore, the notion of the greatest conceivable being cannot be conceived of as existing. Otherwise, the ‘concept’ of god would actually be contradictory since an existing god would be more perfect than a conceptual god. In other words, God must exist by definition.  See also Karl Barth’s argument (Swiss Reformed Theologian)

Cosmological Proof:

Non-Sunni groups adopted this mechanism/theory to prove the existence of God  (such as the Mu’tazilah for instance), as well as many other non-Muslim groups. It has three primary forms:

1. Argument from Motion

2. Argument from Cause

3. Argument from Contingency (existence)

This theory divides the words into bodies and accident [please see entry]:

What is a body? That which exists by itself, such as a pen, rock, and table etc. I am a body. It is the vessel that holds the accident. We need a Creator to create this body.

What is an accident? Something that must exist in a body and cannot exist on its own such as: temperature, color, texture, motion etc. Every body must have multiple accidents simultaneously–motion and rest (Aristotle). Accidents are created, so in other words, every single accident could not be eternal–it must have been planted there. So, for instance a ball must have been put it in motion . So there’s a chain reaction, but it is impossible to have an infinite regression of causes. If the ball is Q  then before it P, then O but you are bound to come back to A (that is not “caused”) there is a finite distance between Q and A. There was a beginning cause, which in itself was not moving, did not have an accident behind it. In Aristotles terms God is the “unmoved MOVER”. It so follows, according to Aristotle that if all accidents are created, and the body is composed of multiple accidents and all accidents are created then it must follow that the body must be created and it has a Creator. So complicated to an obvious conclusion–so basic to be ludicrous. See Yasir Qadi’s article “The Role of Atomism in the Groups of Kalam.”

Teleological Proof:

This is from or conforms to the the Islamic proof from creation, which is that everything that is created has a Creator.

Paley’s Watch This is an argument for the existence of God. It goes as follows:

1. Human objects (e.g. a watch) are products of intelligent design.

2. The universe resembles human objects sufficiently to make an analogy and inferences between the two.

3. Therefore, the universe is also product of intelligent design like the watch.

4. But the universe is complex and gigantic, in comparison to human objects.

5. Therefore, there probably is a powerful and vastly intelligent designer who created the universe.

It is a long standing argument and seems powerful, however it is now rejected as an argument for the existence of God by most people. They cite that the seeming analogy between a watch and the universe actually does not bear up once thought about in more than passing detail. From an Islamic point of view this is right. But  in philosophy this is the most backward proof.


 

 

Brief History of Atheism

1. Atheism has hardly ever existed in the history of humanity. In fact, there has never been a society of Atheists since the beginning of time. If we were to look at the last 150 years, we find that atheism has been ever increasing  (Scandinavian areas 60% and over have been reported as atheists, see) . It is becoming more and more popular across the world, although once upon a time they would have been ostracized. But today it is the opposite-reverse discrimination exists in which if one doesn’t believe in Darwinism etc. See the documentary Unholy War “Dispatches investigates the violence and intimidation facing Muslims who convert to Christianity in Britain. Dispatches reporter Antony Barnett meets former Muslims who now live under the threat of reprisals from their former communities. Many are still living in fear. He interviews a family who have been driven out of their home and a convert whose brother was beaten close to death..”

Why has atheism spread so recently [there were none before the 19th C–it’s a modern invention]?

The first self-proclaimed atheist is thought to be the English Romantic Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (self-proclaimed d. 1892). When he died The Courier wrote, “Shelley, the writer of some infidel poetry, has been drowned, now he knows whether there is God or no.” See Edmund Blunden, Shelley, A Life Story, Oxford University Press, 1965.

It was a human attempt to try to understand how we came here in the first place; what was the purpose of religion. Karl Marx believed that religion was “The opium of the people.” He believed religion consisted of plainly false fantasies being used to exercise power over the people by deceiving them. That was a popular belief during the age of enlightenment, a lot of other enlightenment philosophers held that same belief, which was instrumental in bringing about the modern, secular state. To him man created god; man created religion and not vice versa.

Another famous atheist is Friedrich Nietzsche, see his Nietzsche: The Gay Science or just read Friedrich Nietzsche’s “The Parable of the Madman” (1882) after which he literally lost his mind. When you you think of this passage in the “Parable of the Madman” it shows you how denying God is dangerous. When you deny God, then you have denied the human soul, and as a result humans have nothing  to center themselves around.

Without religion there was no way to explain to the masses of how we came along, but then Darwin’s theory emerged. It was a whimsical, scientific jargon-istic theory of how we came along. Hence, the birth of the theory of natural selection. Or in other words  a theory in which: “People go back to their family tree to when they were swinging from it” [Sh. Yasir Qadhi called Darwinism just that].

In all of this, the preconceived notion was:  how can I figure out how I came without acknowledging the existence of God?

They have a basic supposition that god does not exist–so they try to scientifically prove it and it will all remain theories. True that we cannot scientifically prove that we are descendants of Adam and Eve,  but we can prove that Allah (SWT) exists and then deduce that the Qur’an tells us we are descendants of them.

Note: we need to understand that when we affirm the Adam and Eve story, they view us as they do Fundamental Christians. We always have to  say in public, “We have a modified version.” We do not have a timeline as in the Bible that says that the earth is “6000 years old.” The fact that we do not have a defined timeline, so we do have issues with affirming the existence of dinosaurs or  Neanderthals. We also do not have a problem affirming adaptation of species–indeed evolution and development of species shows us the beauty of Allah . But we do not believe in, that that one species develops into another species.

Why is atheism spreading?

One of the main reasons is the failure of Christianity, which is not viable. Plus, churches did much harm by operating  in such an evil manner. The notion is that because Christianity has failed, then there cannot be any other correct religion.

Another major reason, is science in that it had tried to explain the unexplainable, the mysterious. Science can only explain how but not why.

Atheism is spreading in developed nations not in Third World countries because it is so rich; they develop a sense of arrogance. They no longer need to beg for rain for their crops, their food is available in the Supermarket. They are dissociated from nature, which brings a person close to the Creator . Atheism is clearly a disease of the heart. It is the toot cause of rise of evil, wars etc.

Click here for Activity given out during the Light of Guidance Seminar (coming soon)

 

The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson

Filed under: Seminar Notes — lamyaalmas @ 11:41 am


Once upon a time there lived a vain emperor whose only worry in life was to dress in elegant clothes. He changed clothes almost every hour and loved to show them off to his people.

Word of the Emperor’s refined habits spread over his kingdom and beyond. Two scoundrels who had heard of the Emperor’s vanity decided to take advantage of it. They introduced themselves at the gates of the palace with a scheme in mind.

“We are two very good tailors and after many years of research we have invented an extraordinary method to weave a cloth so light and fine that it looks invisible. As a matter of fact it is invisible to anyone who is too stupid and incompetent to appreciate its quality.”

The chief of the guards heard the scoundrel’s strange story and sent for the court chamberlain. The chamberlain notified the prime minister, who ran to the Emperor and disclosed the incredible news. The Emperor’s curiosity got the better of him and he decided to see the two scoundrels.

“Besides being invisible, your Highness, this cloth will be woven in colors and patterns created especially for you.” The emperor gave the two men a bag of gold coins in exchange for their promise to begin working on the fabric immediately.

“Just tell us what you need to get started and we’ll give it to you.” The two scoundrels asked for a loom, silk, gold thread and then pretended to begin working. The Emperor thought he had spent his money quite well; in addition to getting a new extraordinary suit, he would discover which of his subjects were ignorant and incompetent. A few days later, he called the old and wise prime minister, who was considered by everyone as a man with common sense.

“Go and see how the work is proceeding,” the Emperor told him, “and come back to let me know.”

The prime minister was welcomed by the two scoundrels.

“We’re almost finished, but we need a lot more gold thread. Here, Excellency! Admire the colors, feel the softness!” The old man bent over the loom and tried to see the fabric that was not there. He felt cold sweat on his forehead.

“I can’t see anything,” he thought. “If I see nothing, that means I’m stupid! Or, worse, incompetent!” If the prime minister admitted that he didn’t see anything, he would be discharged from his office.

“What a marvelous fabric, he said then. “I’ll certainly tell the Emperor.” The two scoundrels rubbed their hands gleefully. They had almost made it. More thread was requested to finish the work.

Finally, the Emperor received the announcement that the two tailors had come to take all the measurements needed to sew his new suit.

“Come in,” the Emperor ordered. Even as they bowed, the two scoundrels pretended to be holding a large roll of fabric.

“Here it is your Highness, the result of our labor,” the scoundrels said. “We have worked night and day but, at last, the most beautiful fabric in the world is ready for you. Look at the colors and feel how fine it is.” Of course the Emperor did not see any colors and could not feel any cloth between his fingers. He panicked and felt like fainting. But luckily the throne was right behind him and he sat down. But when he realized that no one could know that he did not see the fabric, he felt better. Nobody could find out he was stupid and incompetent. And the Emperor didn’t know that everybody else around him thought and did the very same thing.

The farce continued as the two scoundrels had foreseen it. Once they had taken the measurements, the two began cutting the air with scissors while sewing with their needles an invisible cloth.

“Your Highness, you’ll have to take off your clothes to try on your new ones.” The two scoundrels draped the new clothes on him and then held up a mirror. The Emperor was embarrassed but since none of his bystanders were, he felt relieved.

“Yes, this is a beautiful suit and it looks very good on me,” the Emperor said trying to look comfortable. “You’ve done a fine job.”

“Your Majesty,” the prime minister said, “we have a request for you. The people have found out about this extraordinary fabric and they are anxious to see you in your new suit.” The Emperor was doubtful about showing himself naked to the people, but then he abandoned his fears. After all, no one would know about it except the ignorant and the incompetent.

“All right,” he said. “I will grant the people this privilege.” He summoned his carriage and the ceremonial parade was formed. A group of dignitaries walked at the very front of the procession and anxiously scrutinized the faces of the people in the street. All the people had gathered in the main square, pushing and shoving to get a better look. An applause welcomed the regal procession. Everyone wanted to know how stupid or incompetent his or her neighbor was but, as the Emperor passed, a strange murmur rose from the crowd.

Everyone said, loud enough for the others to hear: “Look at the Emperor’s new clothes. They’re beautiful!”

“What a marvelous train!”

“And the colors! The colors of that beautiful fabric! I have never seen anything like it in my life.” They all tried to conceal their disappointment at not being able to see the clothes, and since nobody was willing to admit his own stupidity and incompetence, they all behaved as the two scoundrels had predicted.

A child, however, who had no important job and could only see things as his eyes showed them to him, went up to the carriage.

“The Emperor is naked,” he said.

“Fool!” his father reprimanded, running after him. “Don’t talk nonsense!” He grabbed his child and took him away. But the boy’s remark, which had been heard by the bystanders, was repeated over and over again until everyone cried:

“The boy is right! The Emperor is naked! It’s true!”

The Emperor realized that the people were right but could not admit to that. He thought it better to continue the procession under the illusion that anyone who couldn’t see his clothes was either stupid or incompetent. And he stood stiffly on his carriage, while behind him a page held his imaginary mantle.

If you would like to know why I included this on my blog, please visit the following link and read about “philosophy” towards the end of the entry.


 

Notes: Light of Guidance by Sh. Yasir Qadhi (Free Friday) February 8, 2011

Filed under: Seminar Notes — lamyaalmas @ 4:17 pm

Significance of the Quest for Islamic Knowedge

Why should we seek Islamic knowledge in particular? In other words, what is the incentive or motivation for the quest for Islamic knowledge?

1) Allah (SWT)  has praised Islamic knowledge as well as the people who seek it. In Surat Al Mujadila for instance in ayah 10, Allah (SWT) says, “Allah will raise the status of those amongst you who have knowledge.”

2) Knowledge is the distinguishing factor that raises us humans above all of Allah’s (SWT) creations–even the angels. If you remember, Allah (SWT) in Surat Al Baqara showed the distinctive superiority of Adam (as) over the angels as that of knowledge.  When Allah (swt) created Adam (as)  the angels question Allah’s choice, and Allah (SWT) justified  this new creation by teaching him the names of all things–in other words knowledge. If you were to think of it, who is created of light, bigger[in size], more powerful [in strength]l, and not susceptible to death [until the trumpet is blown]? The angels of course! Yet, Adam (as) is better than the angels, and the only determining factor was that Adam (as) had knowledge that the angels did not have. Knowledge trumped all of these factors.

3) It was through this distinguished status of knowledge that Allah (SWT) raised the ranks of the prophet (as). Consider Surat Al Anbiyaa ayahs 78-79 , “Remember David and Soloman, as they judged in the matter of the orchards, when a people’s flock pastured therein. We were there to witness their judgment. We instructed Soloman as to that judgment, and upon all bestowed right counsel and knowledge.” Other verses include, Surat Al Nisa 113 in which Allah (SWT) addressed Prophet Muhammad (saw) saying, “Nor will they harm you in any way, for God has revealed to you the Book and the Wisdom and taught you that which you did not know. The bounty of God upon you has been immeasurable.” As well as in Surat Al Imran verse 18, ” God bears witness that there is no god except He, As do the angels and men of knowledge, upholding justice.” Regarding this ayah, Ibn Al Qayyim says it is the highest praise Allah (SWT) has given the people of  knowledge in the Qur’an. Why? Because that people of knowledge are mentioned in a list among which are Allah (SWT) and the angels. It is indeed the greatest testimony because it is Allah (SWT) who is testifying on their behalf–and sufficient is His testimony– as being those who stand up for justice and truth. It is as if Allah (SWT)  Himself  represents them.

4) Only scholars truly understand the words of Allah (SWT), as expressed in Surat Al Ankaboot ayah 43, “These parables we strike for mankind, and only those of knowledge understand them.”

5) Only through knowledge, will you fear Allah (SWT) Surat Al Fater ayah 28, “From among His worshippers, only the learned fear God, God is Almighty, All-Forgiving.”

6) The people of knowledge neither flow with the current nor are taken by it. In Surat Al-Qasas ayah 79 in which Allah (SWT)  narrates the story of Qaroon in which all but those of knowledge saw the graveness and transitory nature of the life that Qaroon had chosen, “Those granted knowledge said, ‘You wretches! God’s reward is better for one who believes and does good deeds. Only the steadfast shall encounter it.'” In our day and age, those on magazine covers are the Qaroons of our time. May have taken as leaders, idols and examples to follow and like sheep they are waiting to be led by a shepherd of either good or evil. People of knowledge  do not follow follow fads like nationalism, prestige, grandeur etc. Today we have people  consumed emotionally by what is going on in the Ummah, and they want to make a melodramatic change, they want to exit with a bang. If only they were willing to open up their hearts to know whether it is the right thing to do. The Khawarej who were the first splinter group in the history of Islam, were described in the hadith of the Prophet (saw) as not understanding the meanings in the Qur’an:

“There would arise a people from the progeny of this (man) who would recite the Qur’an glibly, but it would not go beyond their throats; they would (hurriedly) pass through (the teachings of their) Deen just as the arrow passes through the prey. I conceive that he (the Holy Prophet) also said this: If I find them I would certainly kill them as were killed the (people of) Thamud.” [Sahih Muslim: Book 005, Number 2319]

7)The scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets (as) . Just think of that! You have the opportunity to inherit from the greatest/best man who walked on this earth.

Abud-Dardaa (raa) reported: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah (saw) say: ‘Whoever treads a path due to which he seeks knowledge, Allaah will make him tread one of the paths towards Paradise. And the angels lower their wings out of contentment for the seeker of knowledge. And verily all those in the heavens and in the earth, even the fish in the depths of the sea ask forgiveness for the scholar. And verily, the virtue of the scholar over the worshipper is like the virtue of the moon on the night of Al-Badr over all of the stars. Indeed, the scholars are the inheritors of the prophets, for the prophets do not leave behind a dinar or a dirham [gold of silver] for inheritance, but rather, they leave behind knowledge. So whoever takes hold of it, has acquired a large share (i.e. of inheritance).’” [Reported by Abu Dawood, At-Tirmidhee and Ibn Hibbaan, and this is the wording found in his collection, in abridged form. Al-Bukhaaree mentioned in his Saheeh Collection in his Book of Knowledge, Chapter: Knowledge precedes Speech and Action, the part from it: “The scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.”]

Abu Haatim Ibn Hibbaan (raa) said about this hadith: “There is a clear explanation in this hadith that the scholars, who possess the virtue we mentioned before, are the ones who teach the people the knowledge of the Prophet, apart from all of the other types of knowledge. Did you not see him say: ‘The scholars are the inheritors of the prophets?’ The prophets do not leave behind any inheritance except knowledge, and the knowledge of our Prophet r is his Sunnah. So whoever is deprived of learning it is not from the inheritors of the prophets.” [Al-Ihsaan bi-Taqreeb Saheeh Ibn Hibbaan: (1/295, under no. 88)]

8 ) Knowledge is the sign of Allah’s love for a person:“Whoever Allah wishes well for, He gives deep understanding (fiqh) of religion.” [Bukhari & Muslim] It is important to note that Allah’s [ultimate] blessing is shown not shown by the clothes one wears, or how expensive ones purse is, or how flashy ones watch is. Rather it is shown by the knowledge of this religion. If you have a genuine love for and to study Islamic knowledge; if you dedicate your time, effort, and money to it that is a sign that Allah (SWT) wants good for you. Conversely, if your situation is otherwise then you should be worried for yourself, and it is indeed a situation that you should seek refuge in Allah  (SWT) from.

9) Knowledge will benefit you even when you are dead unlike other forms of worship:

Abu Huraira (raa) reported Allah’s Messenger (saw ) as saying:”When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three: 1) Recurring/ongoing/perpetual charity [built a hospital in which people are still receiving healthcare; supporte an orphan whose good deeds are placed on your scale; built a masjed in which the name of Allah (SWT) is remembered]; 2) Or knowledge (by which people) benefit [wrote a book; taught someone to pray in which a portion of the reward goes to you without taking away any of their rewards. Imagine Al Bukhari for instance who wrote one famous book “Sahih Al Bukhari–every time someone quotes him he is accruing astronomical rewards. It is as if his life is lived over and over]; 3) Or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased) [if you spend your life teaching them the religion, when they practice their religion and grow up and become good Muslims they will be making dua for you, as well as you reaping the rewards of their good deeds].” [Sahih Muslim : Book 13 Kitab Al-Wasiyya, Number 4005]

10) The blessings of knowledge are expressed in a hadith reported in Al Bukhari;

Abud-Dardaa (raa) reported: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah (saw) say: ‘Whoever treads a path due to which he seeks knowledge, Allaah will make him tread one of the paths towards Paradise. And the angels lower their wings out of contentment for the seeker of knowledge. And verily all those in the heavens and in the earth, even the fish in the depths of the sea ask forgiveness for the scholar. And verily, the virtue of the scholar over the worshipper is like the virtue of the moon on the night of Al-Badr over all of the stars. Indeed, the scholars are the inheritors of the prophets, for the prophets do not leave behind a dinar or a dirham for inheritance, but rather, they leave behind knowledge. So whoever takes hold of it, has acquired a large share (i.e. of inheritance).’” [Reported by Abu Dawood, At-Tirmidhee and Ibn Hibbaan, and this is the wording found in his collection, in abridged form. Al-Bukhaaree mentioned in his Saheeh Collection in his Book of Knowledge, Chapter: Knowledge precedes Speech and Action, the part from it: “The scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.”]

The profundity of the hadith is that one scholar [‘alem] eclipses millions and billions of worshipers. A single scholar [ ‘alem] lights up the earth/world. A worshiper worships for himself, his light emanates for him but does not affect/influence others. Indeed, we have seen a single da’ee revolutionize a whole place [be it a community, society, nation etc] by bringing it back to Islam. A scholar benefits both you and the whole of humanity around you. Al Ghazali says, “A sholarly person is more blessed than someone who is praying and fasting.” His presence is blessed because he exhumes lights wherever he goes.

It is important to note that the knowledge that is being referred to as inherently blessed  is Islamic knowledge  (Qur’an, tafseer, hadith, Seerah etc.), But what about secular knowledge?

Having it is better than not having it. A person who is a doctor, or has a PhD in nuclear science and a peasant are equivalent in the eyes of Allah (SWT–and Islamic knowledge indeed encourages us to have secular knowledge  for our worldly life but it does not exclusively bring us closer to Allah and in turn take us to Jannah. It is in other words missing a component–which is Islamic knowledge–which enables us to convert it into knowledge that will inherently lead us to Jannah. If we were to consider for instance, the knowledge that the Prophets (as) came with we realize it is knowledge of the religion. We are not saying it is not worthwhile to study secular knowledge, indeed  it is essential/useful for the Ummah. But the problem is that we have a surplus of secular degrees–but we are running short of people with Islamic knowledge, we are sorely lacking in the quantity and quality of Islamic scholars.

Islamic knowledge deserves just as much time and effort from us as secular knowledge, if not more. If we do a fraction of what we do for secular knowledge, at the least we would be good students of Islamic knowledge. If you aren’t going to become a scholar don’t be a Jahel–an ignorant person.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Knowledge of Deen has facilitated etiquettes of the student of knowledge–in other words, a student of Islamic knowledge ought to learn the mannerisms of being the student of Islamic knowledge. Muhammad ibn Sireen said: “They[the companions/sahabah] used to learn manners just as they used to learn knowledge.” So what are the manners of the student of Islamic knowledge:

1) Sincerity to Allah (SWT) for Islamic knowledge is an act of worship. Once acquiring cannot have the intention to flashing that knowledge to gain people’s respect and honor–flashing ones credentials.

The Prophet (saw) said,”Do not seek knowledge in order to compete with the scholars, to debate with the ignorants, to beautify gatherings.  Whoever does so let him fear the fire of Hell” [Ibn Majah]

We are learning to get closer to Allah (SWT); to  purify our heart from jealousy and hatred of others. Hence, if someone were to have more knowledg than us we  should be happy rather than jealous. Being jealous or doubting the intention of another person’s quest for Islamic knowledge, shows that the problem exists in the sincerity seeker of Islamic knowledge and not that of others.

2) Knowledge should be acted upon; should bring you become closer to Allah (SWT). It won’t result in you becoming an angel, but rather it should affect you positively–uplift you, increase your acts of worship, decrease your sins. Conversely, if knowledge is having the exact adverse affect on you–making you more passive, decreasing your acts of worship, causing you do commit more sins then it is a time to reflect.

Al bin Abi talibi (raa) also said:”Knowledge calls out to action to join it. If action responds all well and good [solidifies it], otherwise knowledge will depart.” [Related in Ali ibn abi Talib by Dr. al Sallabi, 2010]

3) Knowledge brings about seriousness in its seeker. Of course, people of knowledge can be jovial, funny etc. but they are witty and professional  so they offer is always profound and of quality.

4) Acquiring and retaining good studying habits. One is not going to pass with flying colors without good studying habits in secular knowledge and the same applies to Islamic knowledge. Among the best study habits are:

a) Studying early in the morning,

b) Being regular and consistent: it is like body-building–one has to workout regularly]

c) Studying in an environment that is nurturing:  no music in the background; remembering you are not a slave to your cell phone which nowadays calls for the same response as that of the Adhan. You are only a slave to Allah (SWT).

d) Choosing the right material to study: means starting at the apropriate level.

e) Having good companions: it is highly liked that you will immerse yourself in what your fiends do, so if they are obsessed in sport or in the scandals of Hollywood/ Bollywood you will be too to an extent.

Manners  of the student of Islamic knowledge with his/her teacher:

1) Choose the right teacher: How? Through the content being taught, intuitive sense, asking Allah (SWT) for guidance. If a teacher is bringing you close to Allah (SWT) that is a good sign. If the teacher is always quoting  Qur’an and Hadith. But on the other hand if the teacher tells you  not to question and just believe, or  calls you to them rather than to the Qur’an and Sunnah feel free to question despite their long beard or where they graduated from. Always make dua to Allah (SWT)  to bless you with good teachers .

2) Respect and honor your teacher: The Prophet (saw), “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “He is not of us who does not have mercy on young children, nor honor the elderly” (Al-Tirmidhi) Waki’ ibn al-Jarrah said he wold be indebted for life to his teacher for teaching him one hadith.

3) Having proper etiquette in front of him. Al Shafi’i was a student of Anas ibn Malik and he was worried about disturbing him while turning the pages of his book.

4) To make dua, love him with the love of Islam and to bless him for the knowledge that they benefitted from them.

5) To be patient with the faults of the teacher. If it is personal the student should overlook them, but if about content the student should ask for clarification.  Remember, every teacher is human and will have human traits. If something irritates you about the teacher, you can choose to leave that teacher in which case you will lose, but if you choose to stay you will benefit and will overlook their faults.  If you look for perfection in any teacher you will never find it.  The most common fault is that the teacher becomes irritated– and it is understandable only to those who have been in that person’s shoes. A teacher is constantly being bombard with questions wherever and whenever. So, overlook such trivial issues.

Manners with your fellow students:

1) Know that knowledge gained in company is better than knowledge gained alone. Learning from a teacher is better than learning from a book–and the best form of learning is through a teacher directly in a classroom environment. Reading and listening on your own is disadvantegeous, because you can’t ask for clarification .

2) Knowledge is like blood relationship between those who study it–it brings a an entirely different meaning to companionship, a pact to make it to Jannah insha Allah.

3) Not to be jealous of your fellow-students–not to be selfish with them, i.e. unwilling to share your notes for instance. If your intention is for Allah (SWT) then you will lovingly and willingly share and help others to understand. The success of a Muslim is of benefit to the Ummah at large.