Friday, November 4, 2011

Eid al adha: Understanding Abrahamic Sacrifice and Hajj

EID Mubarak!

Inside Kaabah, Muslims worship what it repesents the ONE GOD, the God of Abraham

Malcolm X -"There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blonds to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and non-white." - 

 Malcolm X -"America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem. Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would have been considered white – but the white attitude was removed from their minds by the religion of Islam. I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color." 

Islam regards many of the biblical patriarchs as prophets of God, and hence as Muslims (i.e., monotheists).
According to the Qur'an, Abraham reached the conclusion that anything subject to disappearance could not be worthy of worship, and thus became a monotheist ( Qura'n 6:76–83).
Abraham said : "My Lord is He who giveth life and death.' 
King Nimrod(atheist) replied : "I give life and death.' 
Said Abraham : "But it is God that causeth the sun to rise from the East. Do then(you) cause it to rise from the West.'

Thus was he(king) confounded(confused) who (in arrogance) rejected God.
Abraham said, "Nay, your Lord is the Lord of heavens and the earth, He who created you  (from nothing) : I am a witness to this (truth)."
As usual, when falsehood is defeated on intellectual grounds it resorts to plotting and oppression.
"So naught was the answer of (Abraham's) people except that they said : Slay him(Abraham) or burn him " (29:24)
Abraham could have given up his message and his beliefs to save himself from the fire. Nay he chose martyrdom.He chose to die for Allah's message to live. He chose to step into the fire of ignorance and tyranny in order to save humanity from the fire of ignorance and tyranny. So he was cast into the fire.
 But Allah had a different plan for Abraham and he was unhurt by the grace of Allah :
"But Allah did save him from the fire. Verily in this are signs for people who believe " (29:24). 
"We(Allah) said "O fire ! Be cool and a means of safety for Abraham' " (21:69).

"For Allah did take Abraham for (an intimate) friend " (4:125)

 The Enemies : Slay him or burn him " (29:24)

 "Abraham was indeed a model. Devoutly obedient to Allah, and true in faith, and he joined not gods with Allah " (16:20).
 "Lo ! Abraham said to his father Azar : Do you take idols for God ? For I see you and your people in manifest error ? " (6:74).

And throughout his century of prophethood and service of God, as Abraham grew older, his desire to have a son grew stronger. The Prophet Abraham desperately longed for a son but his wife Hajar was barren.

"O my Lord ! Grant me a righteous son !" (37:100) 

Against every expectation, Allah fullfilled his promise of making Abraham the seed of a great line of Prophets, the root of the great universal religions.

"So we gave him the good news of a forbearing boy" (37:101).
The name Ishmael was also chosen by AlMighty Himself: Genesis 16:11:
"And the Angel of the Lord said unto her [Hager] : 'Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael, because the Lord hath heard thy affliction."' Ishmael means "God hears."
Genesis 17:20 "And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. Twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. "
That covenant was made with Abraham and Ishmael:
Genesis 17:10 This [is] my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

Allah brought mercy to the agedness, loneliness, hopelessness and anguish of his trustworthy Messenger.

Ismael being the promise of future generations was in some sense the whole world for Abraham.
 Abraham(PBUH) was to be tried once more.
 Abraham(PBUH) had a vision in which he was commanded by Allah to slaughter his only son.

It is not possible to convey in words what it must have meant for Abraham to be commanded by Allah (ta'ala) to sacrifice his only son Ismail.How can Abraham take his beloved son, the fruit of his life, the joy of his heart, the meaning of his living and staying, his Ismail, and hold him on the ground, put a knife to his throat and kill him ?

Within him, there must have been a war?

The war between God and Ismail !

The difficulty of choice !

Love of God or Love of self ?
Prophethood or Fatherhood ?
Loyalty to God or loyalty to family ?
Faith or Emotion ?
Consciousness or Instinct ?  
Responsibility or Pleasure ?
Duty or Right ?
Tawheed (Monotheism) or Shirk (Polytheism) ?
And finally, God or Ismail ?
What should Abraham(PBUH) choose ?

He doubted and wavered under the crushing force of pain and anguish.

Only after the third vision did he finally decide to carry out Allah's command.

This is reflected in the hajj ritual of stoning the three idols representing Iblis who tempted Abraham to disobey Allah.

But Abraham chose God and gave up Ismail.

Abraham said to Ismail : "O my Son, I see in a vision that I offer you in sacrifice. Now see what is your view ? " (37:102)

Realising his father's distress, Ismail gave him these comforting words : "O my father ! Do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah so wills, patient and constant " (37:102)

Abraham had consulted his son who willingly offered himself to Allah's command. The choice of Abraham was sacrifice. That of Ismail was self-sacrifice : Martyrdom.

 And so he slaughtered Ismail. But, by Allah's grace, the knife did not cut.

Abraham received a sheep and was called by Allah :
"O Abraham ! You have confirmed the Vision Thus indeed do We reward those who do right This is indeed the manifest trial !" (37:104-105)

Brothers and Sisters, Abraham gained everything and kept Ismail.

This means that the God of Abraham is not thirsty for blood

Mankind has needs but God has no needs. Allah o­nly wants o­ne thing from His slaves.
"And I (Allah) created not the Jinn and mankind except they should worship Me (alone). I seek not any provision from them nor do I ask that they should feed Me. Verily, Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong."  [51:56-58]
"Say He is Allah, the One and Only God, the Eternal, Absolute. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And there is none like unto Him!" Qur'an112:1-4
Allah (ta'ala) promoted Ismail to the highest peak of being the great sacrifice of God without bringing any harm to him. 


The All Knowing and Sublime Creator has declared the rights of each of His creation, and says in his divine revelation(s)

"It is not their meat (of sacrifice) nor their blood that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him: He has thus made them subject to you that ye may glorify Allah for His guidance to you: and proclaim the Good News to all who do right".
-Holy Quran 22:37

-The law book of Hindu Scriptures (Manu [200 BC-AD 200]) also speaks on similar lines

 "the Lord of creatures (Prajapati) created this whole world to be the sustenance of the vital spirit; both the immovable and the movable (creation is) the food of the vital spirit. What is destitute of motion is the food of those endowed with locomotion; (animals) without fangs (are the food) of those with fangs, those without hands of those who possess hands, and the timid of the bold. The eater who daily even devours those destined to be his food, commits no sin; for the creator himself created both the eaters and those who are to be eaten " (V.28-30).

The Universal Lessons of Haj
Nearly three million(30 Lakhs) Muslims from around the world, chanting "Here I am at Thy service O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Thy service and Thou hast no partners. Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Thine alone is The Sovereignty. Thou hast no partners." " and raising their hands to heaven, marched through a desert valley outside Mecca in Saudi Arabia today on the first day of the annual hajj pilgrimage.
Dressed in seamless white robes symbolising the equality of mankind under God, the pilgrims hiked through the eight-mile valley to Mina, starting a series of rituals in which they cleanse themselves of sin.
"For us it is a vacation away from work and daily life to renew yourself spiritually, " said Ahmed Karkoutly, an American doctor from Brownsville, Texas. "You feel you part of a universe fulfilling God's will. It's a cosmic motion, orbiting the Kaaba."
As Dale Eickelman and James Piscatori explain in Muslim Travellers: Pilgrimage, Migration, and the Religious Imagination, "Faith is accepted and sustained through symbol and metaphor, the very stuff of imagination which not only enlarges adherents' perceptions but reorders them so that the validity and rationality of religious faith and practice seem only natural." Pilgrims are to contemplate on the inner meaning of the rites and, using their abilities to imagine and innovate, apply the significance of those rites beyond the Hajj to their everyday lives.  
Ebrahim Moosa notes in Pilgrims at Heart: "After paying homage to the two women Eve and Hagar in the rites of pilgrimage, how can some Muslims still violate the rights and dignity of women in the name of Islam? Is this not a contradiction?" Indeed, God's commentary on women's dignity is nestled within the Hajj rituals honoring Eve and Hagar ."  

Indeed, the Qur'an teaches:  "I shall not lose sight of the labor of any of you who labors in my way, be it man or woman; each of you is equal to the other." (3:195)

Clearly, the white sea of men and women side by side performing tawaf (circling) around the Kaaba (the stone building Muslims believe was originally built by Adam and rebuilt by Abraham and his son Ishmael) should lay to rest any claim that Islam -- as opposed to some Muslims – degrades women. 

Hagar asked Abraham(pbuh)   "Oh Abraham, where are you going, leaving us here without any people or sustenance?"
He gave no reply. When she asked again and found he would not reply,
she asked, "Is this ordained by God?"
After Abraham replied yes,
Hagar faithfully answered, "God will not let us die then."  
As the pilgrims in Mecca complete the annual ritual of pilgrimage today, Muslims across the globe will begin the Id al-Adha(Eid - Ul- Zuha), the three-day Feast of Sacrifice, in solidarity with them.
For Muslims seeking to make sense of the annual pilgrimage, a question arises: "is the hajj only an elaborate ritual?"
Hajj literally means"to continuously strive to reach one's goal."
Exile, sacrifice and atonement underscore the commandment of pilgrimage in Muslim religious life. The faithful re-enact the pilgrimage rituals in imitation of their spiritual forbears. They relive exile by treading in the footsteps of Abraham. But the hajj also recalls the temporary exile of Adam and Eve, who wandered the earth after their expulsion from paradise. According to Muslim tradition, Adam and Eve reconciled with God in the desert of Arabia . The spot where they met each other again and atoned - an obligatory destination for pilgrims - is called Arafat, from the Arabic word 'arafa, "to know."
The theme of knowing and imagining the divine is embroidered through the trials of Abraham and his family. After Abraham's first child, Ishmael, was born to his slave wife Hagar, he was confronted by the jealousy of his other wife, Sarah, who was then childless. God upgraded this domestic squabble into a legacy issue for the Patriarch and his admirers. But he ordered the dutiful Abraham to banish Hagar and Ishmael to Arabia .
Years later, Muslim tradition holds, Abraham reconciled with Hagar and Ishmael. But more trials awaited. This time Abraham had to do the unthinkable: Sacrifice his Son 
. Mainstream Muslim tradition believes that the son in question was Ishmael, while Jews/Chrisitans view holds that it was Isaac, Sarah's son. However after a miraculous substitution of Ishmael  by a ram, Abraham's reputation was sealed as the "friend of God."
"For Allah did take Abraham for (an intimate) friend " (4:125)
 Abraham (pbuh), is an important prophet in Islam, and the father of the Prophet Ismail (Ishmael), his firstborn son, who is considered the Father of the Arabs. Ibrahim(Abraham) is commonly termed Khalil Allah, Friend of God .

To express their loathing of evil, the pilgrims will participate in that ancient drama of Abraham and Ishmael. They will first stone three pillars, each symbolizing Satan's failed attempts to mislead Abraham's family . Then, in a place called Mina, meaning "desires," each pilgrim will sacrifice an animal. With this act they seek to replace their destructive desires with productive ones. Away from Mecca, non-pilgrims with means will also slaughter animals as a show of hospitality to friends, family and the indigent. As a performance, the pilgrimage links people to a past shared by several Abrahamic traditions, just as, by bringing together Muslims from a great multiplicity of cultures, it celebrates the diversity of our common humanity.

The Hajj is essentially a re-enactment of the rituals of the great prophets and teachers of faith.  Pilgrims symbolically relive the experience of exile and atonement undergone by Adam and Eve . They also retrace the frantic footsteps of the wife of Abraham, Hagar, as she ran between the hills of Safa and Marva searching for water for her thirsty baby (which according to Muslim tradition, God answered with the well of Zam Zam).  Lastly, the pilgrims also commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son for the sake of God.  God later substituted a ram in place of his son.
The faithful hope after Hajj is that it will bring about a deep spiritual transformation, one that will make him/her a better person.  If such a change within does not occur, then the Hajj was merely a physical and material exercise devoid of any spiritual significance.  
The fact that millions of Muslims transcending geographical, linguistic, level of practice, cultural, ethnic, color, economic and social barriers converge in unison on Mecca , attests to the universality of the Hajj. 
One of the most celebrated Western Hajjis (one who has completed the Hajj) is none other than African-American civil rights leader El-Hajj Malik El Shabbaz, more commonly known as Malcolm X.  The man who was renowned for preaching that whites were "devils" -- especially the blond, blue-eyed ones -- profoundly reassessed these views during the Hajj.  This transformation, of course, sealed his break with the Black nationalist movement of the Nation of Islam.
Contrary to the teachings of the Nation, he concluded that Islam encompassed all of humanity and transcended race and culture. Malcolm X later said, " In my 39 years on this Earth, the holy city of Mecca had been the first time I had ever stood before the Creator of all and felt like a complete human."
In Mecca , he discovered himself mixing with, "fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was whitest of white ."  Malcolm X was so inspired by what he witnessed, that, in letters to friends and relatives, he wrote, " America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem ."
Upon returning to America , he embarked on a mission to enlighten both blacks and whites with his new views. 
Indeed, the Qur'an teaches:  "We created you from a single pair of a male and female (Adam and Eve), and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other and not that you might despise each other. The most honored of you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you" (Al Hujurat: 13) .  This is a great celebration of the differences and at the same time unity of all of humanity.
Another essential spiritual message of the Hajj is one of humility to God and His supremacy and control over all that we know.  The multitude of people and their inner beliefs and practices are all to be judged by God and God alone in His infinite wisdom and full knowledge.  Indeed, as the Qur'an insists, "Let there be no compulsion in matters of faith, truth stands out clear from error." (2: 256)
The result of a successful Hajj is a rich inner peace, which is manifested outwardly in the values of justice, honesty, respect, generosity, kindness, forgiveness, mercy and empathy. And it is these values – all attributes of God almighty -- that are indispensable to us all if we are just to get along in this world.

The Purpose of Hajj: Allah says: "[And (remember) when We prepared for Abraham the place of the (holy) House, saying: Ascribe thou no thing as partner unto Me, and purify My House for those who make the round (thereof) and those who stand and those who bow and make prostration. And proclaim unto mankind the pilgrimage. They will come unto thee on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every deep ravine.] (Al-Hajj 22: 26-27) ]

    "Your Lord  hath chosen you and hath not laid upon you in religion any hardship; the faith of your father Abraham (is yours)..So establish worship, pay the poor due, and hold fast to Allah." (Qur'an 22:78  

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Loving/Helping Relatives/Neighbours/Colleagues and their Rights

Peace and blessings of Almighty be upon you!
This article has lot of knowledgeble stuffs, however as rightly said Knowledge without understanding/examples can be impractical or very dangerous sometimes.
so would request to read some examples here I cite certain examples, which we all have experienced as 1st or 2nd person or 3rd person.
We need to understand, that Allah tests us in unique ways, and more often in those fields, where we have lesser knowledge or a tendency to fail, becoz we fail to meditate on it. e.g.
  • One test could be, a needy begging your assistance ( your time or money) again n again, when a time comes, you say "Enough, I can't give you anymore".Here one needs to understand, that Allah Tries a rich/healthy man by granting continual wealth or/and continual health to him, at the same time
    Allah also tries a poor / sick man, by continually disallowing him wealth or/and health to him, So when the Rich and Poor interact or Healthy and Sick interact each other,
    Allah tests how they handle each other.
  • Another test could be, during a heated debate, a non-muslim friend accidentally says bad about your faith, and you chose to end friendship, and seek revenge ( instead of forgiving or ignoring that person)
  • Another test could be, one have perceptions of someone like, ( e.g. he always quarrels with everyone, he always have opposing views, or he is not a practising muslim), and that perception actually causes one to speak something, which hurts that person.
  • Another test could be, one make assumptions of others (e.g. my relative's wife sits in the shop, and since men have a tendency to stare at women, so she is certainly doing haram). Although this assumption may be quite correct, but we need to understand that sometimes there may be really pressing problems for a family, like one is highly debted or one's husband is ill for months etc. In such a circumstance, if we as a Relative or neighbour, could come forward to assist that person in relieving of their debts or illness, then it would help create a balance in society, and remember a balanced society can only create a practical Islamic society, and balance is created by Helping and assisting each other to get rid of each other's problems.
Indeed Noble Qur'an says that: "Who is it that will offer of Allah a goodly gift, so He will multiply it to him manifold, and Allah straitens and amplifies, and you shall be returned to Him." (2:245)
Prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Whoever likes that his sustenance becomes abundant and his age be longer, let him keep good relations with his relatives."
"Giving charity to the poor is (rewarded as) a charity (only), but giving it to a relative is (rewarded as) a charity and keeping ties with kinship." [An-Nasaa'ee, At-Tirmithi, and Ibn Maajah]
Prophet Muhammad (S) said, "The food of two is enough for three, and the food of three is enough for four." The beauty of Charity
It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one's neighbor/ relative.

It's a recession when your neighbour loses his job; it's a depression when you lose your own. ~ Harry S. Truman
Assumptions are the termites of relationships.  ~Henry Winkler
When our relatives are at home, we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them.  ~George Bernard Shaw
The reporter asked a farmer "How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?"

the farmer replied, "Didn't you know? The wind picks up pollen grains from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior, sub-standard & poor quality corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I have  to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors to grow good corns."
The farmer gave a superb insight into the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbors' corn also improves. Those who choose to be in harmony must help their Relatives/Neighbours/Colleagues to be at peace. Those who choose to live well must help others live well. The value of a life is measured by the lives it touches...

Success does not happen in isolation; it is most often a participatory and collective process. So share the good practices, ideas and new knowledge with your family, Relatives, friends, team members and neighbors & all. As they say: "Success breeds Success."
Allah, the Exalted, says:
"Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess.'' (4:36)
It is obligatory upon everyone to treat their relatives in the best possible manner, and to support them in accordance with their needs, and what they seek of help and support. And this is what is necessitated by the Sharee'ah (Prescribed Islaamic law), the 'aql (sound reasoning) and the fitrah (natural state).:
One of the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) asks, “O! Prophet, who is the best of the people?”
The prophet answers that short question;
It is the person who is afraid of God the most, who is the closest to his relations and who advise goodness and try to take people away from the wickedness.”
For the reason of alms and having relations with relatives, God blesses the life, saves him from dying like wicked people and keep him away from all kinds of badness and things which a man must be away from.” - Hadith
Abu Hurairah relates, a man came to the Prophet and asked,” O! Prophet I have some relations, I visit them but they do not come to me. I am being good to them but they are being bad to me. I am being kind to them; they are being rude to me.”

The Prophet Muhammad said to him “if you do what you say, you make them eat red hot ashes. What they do is harmful to them. As long as you behave like that, God will help you and protect you from them.”
The rights of Relatives and Neighbours
By Farida Khanam

A Muslim is required to maintain a good relationship with his relatives. According to a saying of the Prophet, we should visit our relatives, inquire about their circumstance, spend on them and give them sadaqa (voluntary charity) if they are poor.
According to another hadith, if any one of our relatives does not treat us well, even then we have to treat him well. As we know, Islam enjoins us not only to be good to those who are good to us, but also to be good to those who are not good to us. This shows exemplary moral character according to the standard of Islam.
Here are some relevant verses of the Qur'an:

   "Give your relatives their due…" (17:26)

   "Allah commands justice, kindness and giving to near relatives…." (16:90)

   "…And show kindness to your parents and to near relatives…" (4:36)

The essence of Islam is thus to serve Allah and do good to our fellow creatures, including the animals. The worship of Allah is linked up with kindness to parents, kindred, and those in want. It is not a matter of verbal kindness. They have certain rights which must be fulfilled.
From the Qur'an and traditions we find that the institution of the family can only be maintained by feelings of well-wishing and kindness. So the Islamic laws of morality and decency must be observed. If we want to earn Allah's pleasure and blessings we must abide by the Qur'anic injunctions, and extend our full support to our relatives.
 Rights of Neighbours
"Do you know what the rights of neighbours are?" asked the Prophet. And then he went on to give a list:
"Help him if he asks for your help." "Give him relief if he seeks relief from you." Give him a loan if he needs one. Show him concern if he is distressed. Nurse him when he is ill. Attend his funeral if he dies. Congratulate him if he meets with any good. Sympathise with him if any calamity befalls him."
This tradition shows that we are not only supposed to have good will towards our neighbours but we should also offer practical help whenever they are in need. Nobody can be a believer, said the Prophet, if his neighbours pass the night hungry, while he has his stomach full.
This hadith tells us that nobody can be a true believer unless his neighbours feel secure from his hands and tongue. We are urged to be good and helpful to our neighbours in particular for they, being near, have more right to our goodness and assistance.
Such great emphasis laid by the Prophet on our good treatment of our neighbours shows that the aim of Islam is to awaken the springs of goodness in the human heart. If we can become good to our immediate neighbours, then that will be a guarantee of our being good to other people. For constant good conduct will surely develop a good moral character in us and that will surely reflect in our dealings with whoever we come in contact with.
If we observe the injunction of the Prophet in this matter, then without doubt we shall contribute to strengthening society with the bonds of love, affection and brotherhood.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Cutting off Relations with Relatives is a Major Sin
(Friday speech delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, NC on November 28, 1997)
Last Friday we learned about a number of major sins that we should avoid, and if we already fell in one or more of these major sins, we should repent with sincerity now and ask Allah (S.W.T.), the all-forgiving, all-merciful for forgiveness.
Today, I will talk about one of the major sins which is spread widely among Muslims today and which has lasted so very long till it became one of the habits which people do not realize and object it; that is cutting of the relations with relatives. This is a major sin with the consensus of all scholars because its prohibition and its warning are very emphatic, that is barring from entering Paradise on the Day of Judgment. This is clear from the hadith of the prophet (S.A.W.), which is reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim, "One will not enter paradise if he/she cuts off relations with relatives."
Which relatives whom it is not allowed to cut off relations with?
They are the relatives whom you have the kith and kin relations with, whether they are the immediate relatives like the parents, brothers, sisters, uncles from the mother and the father sides, or the non-immediate relatives like cousins. This applies to both a Muslim or non-Muslim relative.
How is cutting off relations with them prohibited?
Cutting off relations with relatives is of various degrees of severity; the worst kind is to cut off relations with them completely (not even greetings or a single word with them). And a less severe degree is when you have less complete relations with them, the kind of relations where greetings are exchanged but there are no mutual visits on the appropriate occasions like Eid, weddings, and no support like financial support and no mutual help to stay well guided. All this is haram (prohibited), but some are worse than others.
What is mentioned in this subject?
Allah (S.W.T.) says in Surah Mohammed, (Verse 22 & 23), what can be translated as, "Would you then, if you were given the authority,
Do mischief in the land, and cut off your ties of kinship." Imam Ibn Katheer says, in his explanations of these two verses, "these verses mean that you go back to the period of ignorance (period before Islam); you spread mischief and transgress on earth, and cut relations off with relatives.... This is an emphatic, general prohibition from transgressing on earth and a special, emphatic prohibition from cuttings off relations with relatives.
Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Allah created His creation, and when He finished it, the womb got up and caught hold of Allah whereupon Allah said, "What is the matter?" On that, it said, "I seek refuge with you from Al-Qati’ah (those who cut the ties of kith and kin)." On that Allah said, "Will you accept (be satisfied) if I bestow My Favors on him who keeps your ties, and withld My Favors from him who cuts your ties?" On that it said, "Yes, O my Lord!" Then Allah said, "That is for you." Then the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), said recite if you wish "(The two verses 21 and 23 in surat Muhammad)"
In a Qudsi hadith reported by Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmithi, "Allah, the exalted, says: I am the Most Merciful, I created Ar-rahim and I cut out a name for it from my name, so whoever keeps good ties with it, I will keep good ties with him, and whoever cuts it off, I will cut him and finish him off."
The prophet (S.A.W.) also said reported by Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmithi, and Ibn Majah, "There is no sin that Allah (S.W.T.) more readily inflicts the punishment for in this life, in addition to what Allah (S.W.T.) keeps as punishment for the sinner in the Hereafter, than the sin of transgression and cutting off relations with relatives."
What do you do if you have relatives with whom you keep good relations, but they cut off all relations with you? Would you cut them of?
No, listen to the hadith of the prophet (S.A.W.) that was reported by Imams Ahmad and (Muslim in similar words.) when a man came to him and said, O messenger of Allah, I have relatives with whom I keep good relations, but they cut off relations with me, I forgive them, but they
oppress me, I do good to them, but they treat me badly, should I get even with them (treat them as bad as they treat me)? The prophet replied: "No, If you do so all the relations will be cut off this way. On the contrary, be generous and keep in touch with them, you will always have support from Allah as long as you stay this way."
Allah (S.W.T.) commands us to have good relations with our relatives, so He said in surat Ar-Ra’d, (Verse 21), what can be translated as, "Those who join that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e. they are good to their relatives and do not cut the bond of kinship)," and also mentioned to us that this is from the duties of a Muslim toward his relatives and also He (S.W.T.) said in surat Al-Isra’, (Verse 26), what can be translated as, "And give to the kindred his due…"
Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Whoever likes that his sustenance becomes abundant and his age be longer, let him keep good relations with his relatives." Which means Allah (S.W.T.) will bless them.
Imams Bukhari and Muslim also reported that a Bedouin asked the prophet (S.A.W.), " O messenger of Allah tell me something that gets me closer to Paradise and gets me further away from Hell Fire. The prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Submit to Allah only and do not take partners with Him, establish prayers, and pay zakah, and establish good relations with your relatives." When the Bedouin left, the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "If he holds onto what I told him, he will enter Paradise."
Imams Bukhari and Muslim also reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Al-rahim is hung to the throne of Allah (Al-A’rsh) saying: Whoever connects me, Allah will connect him, and whoever cuts me off, Allah will cut him off."
After we heard all these verses, and many ahadith, we ought to take a serious look into our lives; if we find ourselves in this major sin of cutting off relations with our relatives, then we should repent sincerely. This repentance should stop us from falling into this sin, and regret for what we have done, and be determined not to fall in this sin again. We should repent now without delay, before it is too late because we do not know when death will come.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Umar ibn al Khattab(RA) among the most influential people in history

ZECHARIAH 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy Leader cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass."
The Bible had clearly prophesied the Conquest of Jerusalem at the time of the Caliph, Umar Ibn Al-Khattab. In the year 637 AD, The people of Jerusalem, mostly Christians & Jews, refused to give up Jerusalem without a personal pledge from Omar that he will spare their lives and let them practice their religion freely and without restraints. Omar traveled from Medina to Jerusalem on an Ass, when the people of Jerusalem saw him, they ran outside welcoming him since Omar had fulfilled a prophecy in the Bible!!
When the pope saw Omer bin Khattab (RaziAllaho Anhoo) he said:"He is exactly the person as described in our Holy Scriptures. I will hand over the keys to him"
Next the Caliph signed the treaty of peace. It ran as follows:"From the servant of Allah and the Commander of the Faithful, Omar: The inhabitants of Jerusalem are granted security of life and property. Their churches and crosses shall be secure. This treaty applies to all people of the city. Their places of worship shall remain intact. These shall neither be taken over nor pulled down. People shall be quite free to follow their religion. They shall not be put to any trouble..."

Michael H. Hart wrote a book entitled "THE 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History" in 1978. Several other authors have written similar books but this still remains a distinguished book in it's category. The book is thought provoking and encourages the reader to see history from different perspectives.
He chose Prophet Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons which was surprising to many people. He said he chose Muhammad because he was the only person in the history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. Michael Hart went on to count the traits and qualities of Prophet Muhammad and his overall impact on human history and arrived at the conclusion that Prophet Muhammad should be the number one person in the filed of 100 influential persons in human history.

Another surprise to many people was Michael Hart's choice of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab among the 100 influential persons, whom he not only included among these 100 persons but also put him as number two on the second half (51 to 100) of his choice. Umar Ibn Al-Khattab is 52nd on the list. He ranked him higher than such famous men as Charlemagne and Julius Caesar. He further says that Umar's brilliant leadership was responsible for the expansion of the Islamic territory and the enormous extent that it did occur under him. He further says that Umar Ibn Al-Khattab ordered the Muslim armies to leave the natives of the conquered land in peace and ordered the military personnel not to force the natives to convert to Islam. 

In the parenthesis Michael put his note, "From the above, it is clear that the Arab conquest was more a nationalist war of conquest rather than a holy war, although the religious aspect was not lacking". Michael Hart further says that Umar ibn Al-Khattab's achievements are impressive and it would be a grave mistake to ignore his contributions to humanity. It should be noted that Umar Ibn Al-Khattab's brilliant leadership was responsible for permanence of the territories that came under the Islamic role at that time and are still part of the Islamic world today.

Umar Ibn Al-Khattab is a pioneering figure in the Islamic world. He was a leader, a statesman, a pious and God conscious Muslim who showed respect for all individuals including non-Muslims and he ordered the Muslims to treat non-Muslims with respect. He showed us how to apply the Quranic injunction "there is no compulsion in religion."
Under the leadership of Umar ibn Al-Khattab Islam spread widely not by the sword but by virtue of its beauty, simplicity, transparency, openness and the leadership provided by him. Another reason for the rapid growth of Muslim community was the conversion of some high-placed religious personalities from among the Jewish and the Christian communities. These religious personalities saw Islam as a continuation and affirmation of the Abrahamic faith. Ardkun, the Bishop of Damascus, accepted Islam after the Islamic armies entered the city under Khalid bin Walid. The followers of Ardkun became attracted towards the new faith and became Muslim. The chief administrator of the city of Shata in Egypt, famous for its textiles manufacturing, left his town with two thousand men and went to city of Damietta where the Muslim army was camped and embraced Islam with his followers.

During the time of Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the non-Muslims enjoyed freedom of religion. They were free to perform their religious rites, ring bells to start their religious ceremonies, take out the Cross in procession and hold religious fairs. Even treaties were signed during the time of Umar ibn Al-Khattab with non-Muslims that guaranteed freedom of religion. The writ of Hudhaifa bin al-Yaman to people of the region of Mahdinar says, "They shall not be required to change their religion, nor shall any interference be made in their religious practices."

Umar ibn Al-Khattab followed the principle of equality very strictly and would not tolerate any kind of distinction. Once, Umar ibn Al-Khattab had a difference of opinion with Ubayy bin Ka'b. The matter was referred and brought in the court of Qazi Zaid bin Thabit. When Umar ibn Al-Khattab arrived at the court the Qazi, Zaid bin Thabit, vacated his seat out of respect for the Khalifah. Umar ibn Al-Khattab, after observing the situation, said that this was the first injustice Zaid has done to the suit. Then he sat down next to Ubayy, his opponent.

Umar ibn Al-Khattab always favored individual freedom and self-respect. By word of mouth and through his writings he made it very clear that every human being was born free and no one should have to abase himself in front of others. Once, the son of Amr bin As abused and beat up a Copt Christian; on hearing this Umar ibn Al-Khattab had son of Amr punished publicly by the hand of the victim Copt Christian. Then Umar ibn Al-Khattab addressed both father and son and said, "Since when have you turned men into slaves, whereas they are born free of their mothers?"

The people of many cultures who accepted Islam faced new challenges. More complex questions regarding the Islamic way of life cropped up at the same time. Many of the questions could not be answered because clear rulings of the Holy Prophet or the Holy Qur'an were not available. The Qadis and Muftis appointed in towns and cities were Companions of the Prophet, yet they referred complicated questions to the Khalifah. The famous Sahabis who referred the question to Umar Ibn Al-Khattab are Abdullah bin Ma'sud, Ammar bin Yasar, Abu Musa Ash'ari, Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah, Mughira bin Shuba and others. Umar ibn Al-Khattab gave his judgment after discussing these questions in the assembly of the companions. The discussions were conducted with the greatest freedom and acumen. Shah Wali-Ullah writes in Hujjatullah al-Baligha, "It was Umar's practice to consult the companions and hold discussions with them, until the veils were lifted and conviction was attained. For this reason Umar's dicta were accepted throughout the East and the West."

It is said that his writings, his letters and official instructions were as powerful as his speeches. In a letter to Abu Musa Ash'ari he wrote, "People generally hate their ruler, and I seek protection of Allah, if my people should entertain similar feelings about me. Avoid vain suspicions and keep away from malice, and don not encourage people of cherish vain hopes, and be careful of Allah's property, and guard yourself against evil men. If you find any people who are vindictively inclined towards the Muslim state, it is devilish inclination and must be put down by the sword, until they bow to Allah's decision and turn to better ways"

In another letter to Abu Musa Ash'ari he said, "The thing that strengthens one in execution of work and that one should not procrastinate; for if you do so, your affairs will heap up and overwhelm you and you will not then be able to decide what to do and what not to do, and you will fail in your work."

Umr Ibn Al-Khattab appointed Amr bin Al-As as the Governor of Egypt. Amr bin Al-As delayed remitting the revenue to the treasury. Umar ibn Al-Khattab wrote to him and reminded about the delay. Amr bin Al-As procrastinated. Umar ibn Al-Khattab sent him a strong letter, he wrote, "I understand that the thing that has kept you from replying is the fact that your subordinates are not good. They have made you a shield, and it is a disease for which I possess an effective remedy. I am surprised that I have written to you often and at length, but you neglected sending the revenue and have avoided giving straight answers. So Abu, Abdullah, don't worry. Due shall be taken from you and you shall pay them, for as the river yields pearls, so will you have to render the dues."

Umar ibn Al-Khattab used to end his speeches with following statement: "O God, let me not fall into an error, nor let me be called to account on unawares, nor let me fall into neglect."

Umar ibn Al-Khattab's actions speak louder about his character, his integrity and his love for the people in the Muslim state. He made rounds at night to gauge and evaluate the condition of the people. His achievements are reflection of his life.
Sayings of Umar ibn Al-Khattab:
Umar ibn Al-Khattab always had a sound opinion, which made him a very powerful leader who expected higher degree of integrity from the people working with him during his Khilafate. Some of his wise sayings are quoted here:
  • One who keeps his own counsel keeps his affairs in his own hand. 
  • Fear him whom you hate. 
  • The wisest man is he who can account for his actions. 
  • Do not put off today's work till tomorrow. 
  • What regresses never progresses?
  • He who does not know evil will fall into it. 
  • When a man asks me a question, I know his intelligence.
  • Don't forget your own self while preaching to others. 
  • The less of the world, the freer you live. 
  • Avoidance of sin is lighter than the pain of remorse. 
  • If patience and gratitude had been two she camels, it would have mattered little on which I rode. May God have mercy on him who sends me my faults for a present!
  • During his Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah, Umar ibn Al-Khattab heard one of the camel drivers singing. People asked Umar ibn Al-Khattab as to why he did not stop the camel driver from singing. Umar ibn Al-Khattab replied, "Music was the camel driver's provision for a journey."

Some of the Achievements of Umar ibn Al-Khattab:
Umar ibn Al-Khattab established many institutions in the Islamic state's administration. Historians have called his reforms as innovations. The achievements of Umar ibn Al-Khattab are numerous. The most important achievements are listed below:
  • Umar ibn Al-Khattab established the public treasury: Bait-ul-Mal
  • Established courts of justice and appointed judges.
  • Proposed and enforced use of the era of Hijra.
  • Assumed the title of Amir-ul-Mu'minin.
  • To engage the anti-Islamic forces he organized and established the War Department.
  • Placed army reserves on the pay-roll. In addition to this, Umar Ibn Al-Khattab improved the army administration by providing every army corps with an officer of the treasury, an accountant, and number of interpreters, physicians and surgeons. He instructed the army commanders to submit accounts of war expenditures and list of the spoils of war. Historical records show that in 16 Hijri Ziyad bin Abi Sufyan came from city of Jalula Ð after its conquest - and brought with him the records of the accounts to Madinah and submitted them for Umar ibn Al-Khattab's perusal and review.
  • Established Land Revenue Department, ordered survey and assessment of lands and also ordered conducting census. This required maintenance of the land revenue records in Persian, Syriac and Coptic languages. The accounts were kept on long rolled-up sheets.
  • Founded cities: Kufah, Basrah, Jazirah, Fustat and Musal and undertook construction and building of canals.
  • Divided conquered countries into provinces.
  • Ordered collecting customs duties. 
  • Appointed officials for the collection of tax on the produce of sea.
  • Gave permission to traders from foreign countries to conduct business in the Islamic territory.
  • Organized jails and enforced use of the whip.
  • Made rounds at night to gauge and evaluate the condition of the people. For relaxations he enjoyed lighter pursuits including poetry. Once he asked Abdullah bin Abbas to recite him poetry the whole night. At the time when dawn was breaking, he said, "Now recite the Holy Qur'an." During one of his night rounds around the city he heard the sound of music. He stopped and listened to the music and then moved on. 
  • Established military cantonments and had them located at strategic points. 
  • Organized Police Department.
  • Set up a system to classify pedigree and non-pedigree horses.
  • Built houses on the road from Makkah to Madinah for the comfort of the travelers and also established guest-houses in different cities. At that time a system was established for the clearance of land, construction of roads, building of bridges and other operations which are carried out by sappers and miner in present day armies. The local people of the lands were recruited to perform these duties. 
  • Provided stipends for the poor Jewish and Christian people.
  • Established schools and provided salaries for school teachers and public lecturers. 
  • Proposed the principle of Qiyas and its formulation.
  • Proposed exact division of inheritance.
  • Proposed and inserted additional statement "Prayer is better than sleep" in the call for Fajr prayers.
  • Ordained performing taraweeh prayers in congregation.
  • Established law for the punishment of alcohol drinkers with eighty lashes.
  • Proposed a method for preparing trusts.
  • Obtained consensus of opinion for saying four takbirs in funeral prayer.
  • Made arrangements for providing lights in mosques at night. It is stated that until the Khilafate of Umar ibn Al-Khattab there were no arrangements for lights in the mosques. A person by name Tamim Dari made the arrangements and supplied lamps for the mosques with Umar ibn Al-Khattab's permission.
  • Established a procedure to giving salaries from the public treasury to Imams and Muazzins.
Yacoob is an Industrial Engineer & an Engineering Proposal Analyst working at an Aerospace Company in Los Angeles, California

Friday, April 8, 2011

Wisdom in Correcting others - Avoiding Hurting Others

Assalaamu Alaykum (Peace be upon you)

When a child can be brought to tears, and not from fear of punishment, but from repentance he needs no chastisement (punishment). When the tears begin to flow from the grief of their conduct you can be sure there is an angel nestling in their heart. - Horace Mann (1796-1859)
"I don't have nothing to regret at all in the past, except that I might've unintentionally hurt somebody else or something." - Jimi Hendrix
"Character is higher than intellect."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
"You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him."  ~James D. Miles
"Strength of character means the ability to overcome resentment against others, to hide hurt feelings, and to forgive quickly."
"Gentle and soft approach has won hearts where the sledge-hammer approach failed"
"Private reproof (picking fault) is the best grave for private faults. 
"Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions, but those who kindly reprove (pick) thy faults.  Socrates (BC 469-BC 399) Greek philosopher of Athens
When Friends Hurt Each Other - Written by Muhammad Alshareef
The Khalifah said, By Allaah, Fir’uwn was more eviler than me. And by Allaah, Musa (pbuh) was more pious than you."
Yet, Allaah commanded Musa (pbuh) 'And speak to him with gentle speech, perhaps he may remember or fear (Allaah).'"

'And speak to him with gentle speech, perhaps he may remember or fear (Allaah).'"

Once a person attended the lecture of Molana Shah Abdul Qaadir Rahimahullah. Unfortunately, his trouser was beneath his ankles. After the talk was over Molana asked the person to remain behind. The person was afraid that he would be taken to task. Instead Molana adressed him saying : "There is a weakness in me. My trouser sometimes hangs below my ankels. In the hadith it is mentioned that that person whose trouser is beneath his ankles, will burn in the fire of Jahnnam. I fear that I should be punished in this way. Please check if my trouser is beneath my ankles."

The person replied : "How can this weakness ever be in you. Rather, it is a weakness within me. Today I sincerely make tobah that I will not do this again." (2)

Molana Shah Abdul Qaadir Rahimahullah used to teach hadith. Once a student attended his class in an impure state, without performing ghusal. Molana came to know that he was in need of ghusal and instructed : "Today we will not have any lessons. I feel the desire to swim in the Jamna River." All the students joined their teacher and proceeded for a swim. They all performed ghusal in the river, including the student who was in need of ghusal. Thereafter, he said: "Let us now return to our lessons. Why should we allow any time to go to waste."

Imam Malik ra'hmatullaah alayhi one day entered the Masjid after Asr. Towards the front of Masjid An-Nabawee he drew closer and sat down. Rasul Allah       had commanded that anyone who enters the Masjid should not sit until he first prays 2 rakas as a salutation of the Masjid. Imam Malik was of the opinion however that Rasul Allah's forbiddance of praying after Asr took precedence and so he would teach his students to not pray the tahiyyatul Masjid if they entered between the Asr and Maghrib time.

At that moment that Imam Malik sat down, a young boy had seen him sit without first praying the 2 raka’s of Tahiyyatul Masjid. The young boy scorned him, “Get up and pray 2 rakas!”

Imam Malik dutifully stood up once again and began praying the 2 rakas. The students sat stunned: What was going on? Had Imam Malik’s opinion changed?

After he had completed the salah, the students swarmed around and questioned his actions. Imam Malik said, “My opinion has not changed, nor have I gone back on what I taught you earlier. I merely feared that had I not prayed the 2 rakas as the young boy commanded, Allaah may include me in the Ayaah…

"And when it is said to them, ‘Bow (in prayer)’, they do not bow." -
[al mursalat 77/48. ]

Imam Ahmad held the opinion that eating camel meat nullifies ones Wudu, an opinion that the majority of scholars differed from.
Some students asked him, “If you find an Imam eating camel meat in front of you and – without first making Wudu - then leads the Salah, would you pray behind him?
 Imam Ahmad replied, “Do you think I would not pray behind the likes of Imam Malik and Sa’eed ibn Al-Musayyab?”

Allaah created humans with differences. It is the law of creation. Different tongues, different colors, different cultures… all that on the outside. On the inside, humans were created with many degrees of knowledge, intellect, and comprehension of concepts. This is all a sign of Allaah’s all encompassing power to do whatever He wills:

"And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors: verily in that are signs for those who know."

Humans shall differ, that is not the issue. The issue is: How as a Muslim should one confront these differences of opinions and what should be our relationship with someone of a different opinion.

Allaah Ta’ala commanded us to call and advise people in this Deen of Al-Islam. Many Muslims set off on this mission blindfolded, not realizing that the map was there in the Qur’an also. In fact, in the very same verse where Allah commanded us to call and advise people in this Deen, Allaah taught us how to do it. Read the following verse carefully:

"Invite (fi’l Amr – Allah is commanding) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction and argue with them in a way that is best! " -
[Surah An-Nahl 16/125.]

There is no need to philosophize. No need to talk in the flower gardens. It is right there, plain and simple for anyone who would take heed.

There in that Ayaah are the three ingredients to apply when we disagree with someone. The same Allah that taught us to debate the truth, taught us how to do it:

1 - With Hikmah
2 - With good instruction, and
3 - To argue in a way that is best.

What does it mean to have Hikmah when differing with someone?

The grandsons of Rasul Allah once set one of the most beautiful examples of Hikmah in advising others. Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn – in their young age - once saw a senior man performing Wudu incorrectly. Together they arranged a plan to teach the man without insulting him, advising him in a manner befitting of his age.

Together they went to the senior and announced, “My brother and I have differed over who amongst us performs Wudu the best. Would you mind being the judge to determine which one of us indeed performs Wudu more correctly.”

The man watched intently as the two grandsons of Rasul Allah performed Wudu in an explicit manner. After they had completed, he thanked them and said, “By Allaah, I did not know how to perform Wudu before this. You have both taught me how to do it correctly.”

We must understand that there are two dimensions to Hikmah. Firstly, there is the Hikmah of knowledge – Hikmah Ilmiyyah. And secondly, there is the Hikmah of Action – Hikmah Amaliyyah.

Some people may have Hikmah of knowledge. But we see that when they try correcting others, advising them, they lack the Hikmah of Action. This causes many a common folk to reject the Hikmah of knowledge.

To illustrate this hikmah of knowledge without Hikmah of action, a brother once completed the Salah in a local Masjid and then proceeded to shake hands with the people on his right and left. The brother to his immediate right slapped his hand and snapped, “That is not part of the Sunnah!
 The man replied most correctly, “Oh, is disrespect and insult part of the Sunnah?”

To show Hikmah when we differ requires the following:

One: If we differ, our intentions should be that we are differing in the sincere hope of coming away with the truth. Our intentions should be sincere to Allah.

We should not differ just to release some hate or envy in our heart. We should not differ to embarrass someone like we may have been embarrassed.

Rasul Allah said, “Whoever learns knowledge – knowledge from that which should be sought for the sake of Allaah – only to receive a commodity of the material world, he shall not find the fragrance of jannah on the day of resurrection.” - An authentic hadith narrated by Abu Dawood in Kitab Al- Ilm.

Kindness and Gentleness
Two: To have Hikmah when differing means we should rarely depart from an atmosphere of kindness and gentleness, we should seldom allow ourselves to become angry and raise our voices.

Fir’uwn was one of the evilest people that lived. Musa was one of the noblest. Look at how Allaah told Musa alayhi wa salaam to advise Fir’uwn…

"Go, both of you, to Fir’own. Indeed, he has transgressed. And speak to him with gentle speech, perhaps he may remember or fear (Allah)."

A man once entered upon the Khalifah and chastised him for some policies he had taken. The Khalifah replied, “By Allaah, Fir’uwn was more eviler than me. And by Allaah, Musa (pbuh) was more pious than you. Yet, Allaah commanded him…'And speak to him with gentle speech, perhaps he may remember or fear (Allaah).'"

Take Your Time and Clarify
Three: To have Hikmah when dealing with others is to be patient and clarify things before snapping to conclusions.

Imam Ahmad narrates with his chain of narrators leading to Ibn Abbas who said, “A man from Bani Saleem passed by a group of the Prophet’s companions. (At that time of war) The man said ‘as salamu alaykum’ to them. The companions concluded that he only said ‘as salamu alaykum’ to them as a deception to save himself from being caught. They surrounded him and Malham ibn Juthaamah killed him. From that event Allaah revealed the verse…

"O you who have believed, when you go forth (to fight) in the cause of Allah, investigate, and do not say to one who gives you (a greeting of peace), “You are not a believer,” Aspiring for the goods of worldly life; for with Allah are many acquisitions. You (yourselves) were like that before; then Allah conferred His favor (i.e. guidance) upon you, so investigate. Indeed, Allah is ever with what you do, acquainted." -
[Surah AnNisa, 4/94. ]From Tafseer Ibn Katheer.

Speak Kindly
Fourthly, never trade in kind words for harshness, especially when dealing with other Muslims.

Look at the power of a sincere and polite word:

Mus’ab ibn Umayr radhian Allaahu anhu was the first of ambassador of Rasul Allah in Madinah. Before Rasul Allah had arrived in Madinah, Mus’ab taught ahl al-Madinah about Islam and they began to enter the Deen.

This enraged Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaadah, one of the chieftains of Madinah. He sheathed his sword and set off for the head of Mus’ab ibn ‘Umayr. When he confronted Mus’ab he threatened, “Stop this nonsense you speak or you shall find yourself dead!”

Mus’ab replied in the way that should be a lesson for us all. This man before him did not stop at rudeness and ignorance, he wanted to slit his throat.

Mus’ab said, “Shall you not sit and listen for a few moments. If you agree with what I say then take it, and if not, we shall desist from this talk.” Sa’d sat down.

Mus’ab spoke about Allaah and His messenger until the face of Sa’d ibn Ubaadah’s face shone like a full moon and he said, “What should a person do who wishes to enter into this Deen?” After Mus’ab had told him he said, “There is a man, if he accepts this Deen, there shall be no home in Madinah that will not become Muslim. Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh.”

When Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh heard what was happening, he was infuriated. He left his home to go and kill this man called Mus’ab ibn Umayr for the dissention he had caused. He entered upon Mus’ab and announced, “You shall desist of this religion you speak of or you shall find yourself dead!”

Mus’ab replied, “Shall you not sit and listen for a few moments. If you agree with what I say then take it, and if not, I shall desist from this talk.” Sa’d sat.

Mus’ab spoke about Allaah and His messenger until the face of Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh’s face shone like a full moon and he said, “What should a person do who wishes to enter into this Deen?”

Look at what a kind word did. Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh went home to his Madinan tribe that night and announced to them all, “Everything of yours is Haram upon me until you all enter into Islam.”

That night, every home in Madinah went to bed with Laa ilaaha illa Allah … all because of a kind word.

Part II: Who wins?

Mu’aawiyah ibn al-Hakam al-Salami. When he came to Madeenah from the desert, he did not know that it was forbidden to speak during the salaah. He relates: “Whilst I was praying behind the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), a man sneezed, so I said ‘Yarhamuk Allaah (may Allaah have mercy on you).’ The people glared at
me, so I said, ‘May my mother lose me! What is wrong with you that you are looking at me?’ They began to slap their thighs with their hands, and when I saw that they were indicating that I should be quiet, I stopped talking (i.e., I nearly wanted to answer them back, but I controlled myself and kept quiet).

When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had finished praying – may my father and mother be sacrificed for him, I have never seen a better teacher than him before or since – he did not scold me or hit me or put me to shame. He just said, ‘This prayer should contain nothing of the speech of men; it is only tasbeeh and takbeer and
recitation of the Qur’aan.’” (Saheeh Muslim, ‘Abd al-Baaqi edn., no. 537).

Islam showed us how to differ with one another. Some people think that we should never differ at all and all disagreements should be avoided. Nay, this is an incorrect assumption, for the Qur’an and Sunnah show clearly that when a mistake is made it should be corrected. Indeed helping others do what is right is a requirement of the Deen, sincere Naseeha.

We see when Rasul Allah turned away from AbdAllah ibn Umm Maktoom, the blind man, Allaah corrected him in the Qur’an…

"The Prophet) frowned and turned away, Because there came to him the blind man But what could tell you that perchance he might become pure (from sins)? Or that he might receive admonition, and that the admonition might profit him?" –
[surah Abasa, 1-4 ]

When Haatib ibn Abi Balta’ah (may Allaah be pleased with him) made the mistake of writing to the kuffaar of Quraysh and informing them of the direction in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was headed on a military campaign against them, Allaah revealed the words:

"O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies as friends…" - [Surah Mumtahinah:1 ]

And so on. Thus we learn that when a mistake happens it should be corrected. However, the method of correction is what needs our attention.

Whenever Muslims argue, it is as if each party carries a banner of: ‘I must win and you must lose!’ Careful study of the Sunnah however shows us that this is not always the case with the way Rasul Allah acted. Consider the following examples:

“I lose and you win!”
A Bedouin came to Rasul Allah and told him, “Give me from what Alalah gave you, not from the wealth of your mother nor from the wealth of your father.” The Sahaabah were furious at the man and step forward to discipline him for what he said. Rasul Allaah commanded everyone to leave him.

Then by the hand, Rasul Allaah took him home, opened his door and said, “Take what you wish and leave what you wish.” The man did so and after he completed, Rasul Allaah asked him, “Have I honored you?” “Yes, by Allaah,” said the Bedouin. “Ash hadu an laa ilaaha illa Allaah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadar Rasul Allaah.”

When the Sahabah heard of how the man changed, Rasul Allaah taught them. “Verily the example of myself, you and this Bedouin is that of a man who had his camel run away. The townspeople tried capturing the camel for him by running and shouting after the camel, only driving it further away. The man would shout, ‘Leave me and my camel, I know my camel better.’ Then he took some grass in his hand, ruffled it in front of the camel, until it came willingly.

‘By Allaha, had I left you to this Bedouin, you would have hit him, hurt him, he would have left without Islam and eventually have entered hellfire.”

“I win and you lose!”
A Muslim should not have an apologetic stance to everything he is confronted with. There are times when the truth must be said, when there is no room for flattery.

When the Makhzoomi women – a women from an affluent family – stole, people approached Rasul Allah to have her punishment canceled. Rasul Allah became very angry and stood on the pulpit and announced, “By Allaah, had Fatima the daughter of Muhammad stole I would have cut her hand off.”

No room for flattery, the truth must be stood up for. It is here that the etiquette of disagreement that we talked earlier about should shine.

“I win and you win!”
There doesn’t always have to be a loser. We see in many cases that Rasul Allah gave a way out for the people he differed with.

When he sent the letter to Caesar, he said in it, “Become Muslim and you shall be safe, Allaah shall give you your reward double!”

He did not say surrender or die! Nothing of the sort. Become Muslim and you shall win, rather your victory shall be double.

I shall end with this shining example of how to act with other Muslims from our role model, Abu Bakr radhian Allaahu anhu:

Abu Bakr radhian Allaahu anhu once disputed with another companion about a tree. During the dispute Abu Bakr radhian Allaahu anhu said something that he rather would not have said. He did not curse, he did not attack someone’s honor, he did not poke a fault in anyone, all he said was something that may have hurt the other companion’s feelings.

Immediately, Abu Bakr radhian Allaahu anhu – understanding the mistake - ordered him, “Say it back to me!” The companion said, “I shall not say it back.” “Say it back to me,” said Abu Bakr radhian Allaahu anhu , “Or I shall complain to the Messenger of Allaah .” The companion refused to say it back and went on his way.

Abu Bakr radhian Allaahu anhu went to Rasul Allaah and related what had happened and what he said. Rasul Allaah called that companion and asked him, “Did Abu Bakr say so and so to you?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “What did you reply.” He said, “I did not reply it back to him.” Rasul Allaah said, “Good, do not reply it back to him (do not hurt Abu Bakr radhian Allaahu anhu ). Rather say, ‘May Allaah forgive you O Abu Bakr!’”

The Companion turned to Abu Bakr radhian Allaahu anhu and said, “May Allaah forgive you O Abu Bakr! May Allaah forgive you O Abu Bakr!” Abu Bakr radhian Allaahu anhu turned and cried as he walked away.

Let us leave today with a resolve to revive this air Rasul Allaah and his companions breathed, an air of mercy and love and brotherhood.

And Allah knows best.
Hasbuna^Allaah wa ni'gma[t] wa kiyl

"Do people think
that they will be left alone
because they say:
"We believe,"
and will not be tested. "

[Al-'Ankaboot 29:2-3 ]