Friday, June 24, 2005

Shari'ah - A lifestyle
(Post 3)

Previously we mentioned that Islam has five branches, equally important and weighty in the sight of Allah Ta'ala.

  • Aqaaid (Belief)
  • A'maal (actions)
  • Mu'aamalaat (transactions)
  • Akhlaaq (moral character)
  • Husn-e-Mu'aashirat (social conduct)

    From Amongst these five branches of Islam, the first two have already been mentioned.

    The four branches of Islam are linked in one way or another; Mu'aamalaat (transactions), Akhlaaq (moral character) and Husn-e-Mu'aashirat (social conduct) are all classed as A'maal (actions). We can also say that Akhlaaq (moral character) is present in our Mu'aamalaat (transactions) and Husn-e-Mu'aashirat (social conduct), or that a part of Husn-e-Mu'aashirat (social conduct) is the way we carry out our Mu'aamalaat (transactions).

    Simply put, Islam in order for us to discharge the duties and responsibilities of each of the above branch we have to ensure that we take into account the other mentioned branches.

    Mu'aamalaat (transactions)

    It is a widespread rumour and accusation that Islam was spread through the sword. However, if one studies that lives of the Prophets and the Sahaaba, then it will be apparent that the message of Islam is contrary to that. In reality, it is the teachings of Islam and the moral character of the followers of this religion that brought people to accept Islam, even if it meant leaving their families. One such incident occurred with the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam himself:

    It is mentioned by Hadhrat Ali Radhi Allahu Anhu told that:

    Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam owed some dinars to so-and-so, a Jewish doctor, who demanded payment from the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. When he Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam told him, "I have nothing to give you, O Jew," the Jew replied by saying, "I will not leave you, Muhammad, till you pay me."

    Allah's Messenger said, "I shall sit with you then" and did so. Allah's Messenger Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam prayed the noon, afternoon, sunset, night and morning prayers, and his Companions Radhi Allahu Anhumwere threatening and menacing the man, Allah's Messenger Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam being aware of what they were doing. Then they said, " Messenger of Allah, is a Jew keeping you in restraint?" To which he replied, "My Lord has prevented me from practising injustice with one whom a covenant has been made, or anyone else."

    Then when the day was advanced, the Jew said, "I testify that there is no diety but Allah; I testify that you are Allah's Messenger; and half of my property will be devoted to Allah's path. I swear by Allah that my only purpose in treating you as I have done was that I might consider the description of you given in the Taurah : Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, whose birth place is in Makkah, whose place of migration is in Taiba, and whose kingdom is in Syria; he is not harsh or rough, or loud voiced in the streets, and he is not characterised by coarseness or lewd speech.

    I testify that there is no diety but Allah, and I testify that you are Allah's Messenger. Give a decision about this property of mine according to what Allah has shown you."

    This Hadeeth shows the patience and justice of the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. If he Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam wished, he could have refused to pay the Jew, and his doing so would be correct, this is because the Jew had demanded the money before the due date. Nevertheless, our beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam attended to him and treated him in the highest of manners.

    The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam was sent to guide mankind as a whole, he was not sent to guide one nation or one group of people and therefore it was vital for him to undertake methods in which he could spread this religion of Islam with the means available at that time.

    This is one reason why we see in the books of History and Ahadeeth that the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam used to encourage trade within one's land and other lands. When the Sahaaba Radhi Allahu Anhum would travel they would take their goods and necessities of travels, but along with these materialistic objects would travel their faith, teachings and the religion of Islam. Their method of trading was honest and fair, they would disclose any defect in the objects they were selling and they would price the products with justice. The method of trade practiced by the Sahaaba became famous and well known, they were praised and respected within the lands they travelled to and the Sahaaba would never let a chance pass by without spreading the word of Islam, be it through words or mere actions.

    There are numerous Ahadeeth which encourage trade and truthful tradesman:

    It is reported that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has stated:

    "No one has ever eaten better food than he who eats as a result of the labour of his hands..."
    [Saheeh al-Bukahri]

    "The truthful and trusty merchant is associated with the Prophets, the truthful and the martyrs."
    [Sunan Tirmidhi]

    "God shows mercy to a man who is kind when he sells, when he buys and when he makes a claim."
    [Saheeh al-Bukhari]

    "The merchants will be raised up on the day of Resurrection as evildoers, except those who fear Allah, are honest and speak the truth."
    [Sunan Tirmidhi & Sunan Ibn Maajah]

    The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam himself was a tradesman and he travelled to Syria under the employment of Hadhrat Khadijah Radhi Allahu Anha. It was for his honesty and principles in trade that she marriage with him. He was truthful and honest in all his actions, and thus he received the titles "Al- Sadiq" (truthful) and "Al- Amin" (faithful) by the people of Makkah Mukarramah even before Prophethood.

    Many Ahadeeth have come from which the benevolence and strength of our Beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam's word is prominently learnt, one such Hadeeth is as follows:

    Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Abi Hamza Radhi Allahu Anhu has reported that he entered into a transaction with Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam but, without finalizing the details, suddenly had to leave for urgent work, promising that he would soon return to settle the terms. Hadhrat Abdullah Radhi Allahu Anhu forgot the unfinished transaction, remembering after three days he returned to the original place of transaction to find the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam still awaiting his return. No sign of annoyance could be learnt from the blessed Prophet's Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam face. The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said softly, "You have caused me much pain. I have been waiting for you since three days."

    Islam is a complete religion, it teaches us how to trade, whom we should trade with and the manners that should be adopted in trade. Such an honour is extended towards a truthful merchant that he will be with the Prophets and the truthful people on the Day of Judgement. On the contrary, a person who does not abide by the teachings of the Shari'ah is classed as an evil doer and sinner. Hadhrat Aisha Radhi Allahu Anha reported Allah's Messenger Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam as saying:

    "The most desirable of things you eat come from what you earn, and your children come from what you earn."
    [Sunan Tirmidhi]

    If we eat Halaal the up bringing of our children will be Halaal and we can then expect them to tread on the path of Islam and follow the teachings of Islam, but if we nurture our children on Haraam income, then can we expect them to follow the straight path? Who is to blame?

    Just as how the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam told us to trade and taught us the etiquettes of trading, in the same way he forbade business in many things which themselves are unlawful and also in many forms of business because of the presence of unlawful elements.

    Accordingly, to Abu Dhar Radhi Allahu Anhu, the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said:

    "There are three to whom Allah will not speak on the Day of Resurrection, at whom He will not look and whom He will not purify, and they will have a punishment." Abu Dhar Radhi Allahu Anhu said, "They are the losers and disappointed... who are they, Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam?" He Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam replied that one of them would be "he who produces a ready sale of a commodity by false swearing of Allah's name."
    [Saheeh Muslim]

    In the same manner, all connection with interest has been forbidden by the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam.

    Hadhrat Jabir Radhi Allahu Anhu said:

    "Allah's Messenger cursed the one who accepted interest, the one who paid it, the one who recorded it, and the two witnesses to it, saying they were all alike."
    [Saheeh Muslim]

    It is necessary that we look into our lives and assess our monetary dealings. Can we say that we know the rulings and teachings of Islam regarding trade and tradesmen? Can we, without doubt, say that our transactions are valid in the Islamic Law?

    If not then we too should start studying the teachings of Islam regarding business. It is necessary and obligatory for us to acquire the knowledge that applies upon us.

    May Allah accept all our dealings and safeguard us from the blameworthy transactions. May He ensure that all our dealings are lawful and give us Barakah in our trade. Aameen.
  • Monday, June 13, 2005

    As Salaamu Alaykum,

    As many of the readers will be aware, Masha-Allah, with the help and will of Allah the posts relating to Aqeedah have come to an end.

    The Aqeedah (Beliefs) was of the Ahl as-Sunnah Wal Jama'ah, according to the school of the jusrist of this Religion, Imaam Abu Haneefah an-Nu'man ibn Thabit al-Kufi.

    Following are the links to all six posts:

    Post 1

    Post 2

    Post 3

    Post 4

    Post 5

    It should be noted that the bold text is the extract from the book "al Aqeedatut-Tahaawiyyah" of Imam Abu Ja'far Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Salamah bin Salmah bin 'Abd al Malik bin Salmah bin Sulaim bin Sulaiman bin Jawab Azdi, popularly known as Imam Tahawi.

    Furthermore, The Tahaawiyyah itself is a simple statement of Sunni belief. It is so simple that it is consistent with both Maturidi and Ashari Aqeedah. Imam Subki Rahimahullah mentioned that it differs with the Ashari school only on three very minor, subtle points. It is closer yet to the Maturidi school, for it is very much a Hanafi-influenced theological school, and Imam Tahawi was transmitting the Sunni beliefs of Imam Abu Hanifa Rahimahullah and his companions Rahimahumullah.

    May Allah give us the strength and ability to understand and accept the correct beliefs of Islam and to hold steadfast upon them in a time where each and every person's belief is questioned and tested. Aameen.


    Wednesday, June 08, 2005

    91. There is benefit for dead people in the supplication and alms-giving of the living.

    When a person dies his entire good actions stop, he personally cannot commit any good deeds that will earn him any reward. However, he may perform such a deed which continues to derive benefit to the people even after he is deceased. Such deeds will continue to reap rewards for the deceased and will be given to him. A few deeds that have been mentioned in the Hadeeth are:

    A pious son, who may pray for him or benefit other; A mosque that he built or help build, in which people will worship Allah Ta'ala; A Qur'an that he left behind for the use of people, they shall pray this and he shall receive its reward; Alms that are given on his behalf, when a good act is done and its rewards are sent to the deceased he receives them.

    92. Allah responds to people's supplications and gives them what they ask for.

    Our belief is that Allah Ta'ala answers our calls and accepts our prayers. However, this acceptance of prayers is not necessarily how we see it. At times when we ask for something, Allah Ta'ala gives us exactly what we want. At other times when we ask for something, he does not give us that thing, but instead gives us something better. But sometimes when we ask for something we don't get it at all, but this is only in this world, for Allah Ta'ala will take that into account and give us the reward for that in the hereafter. The reward of such a Du'aa will be so immense that people will start wishing that non of their Du'aas were accepted in this world.

    It should also be remembered, that the acceptance of Du'aa is based on every individual. Once a Sahaabi asked our Beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam to make Du'aa for him. In reply to this, the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam told him that he should eat Halal, for if he did then his own Du'aas would be accepted, and if he did not, then it would be of no use of even the Prophet making Du'aa for him.

    This does not mean that the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam's Du'aa would not have been accepted by Allah Ta'ala, but instead the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam is showing the people the importance of Halaal food and earnings and how it affects one's Du'aas.

    93. Allah has absolute control over everything and nothing has any control over Him. Nothing can be independent of Allah even for the blinking of an eye, and whoever considers himself independent of Allah for the blinking of an eye is guilty of unbelief and becomes one of the people of perdition.

    Allah Ta'ala has absolute control over everything that exists. He neither sleeps nor does He get tired of this control. Nothing in existence can be independent of Allah Ta'ala for even a split second. One who believes that Allah Ta'ala is not in control of him, even for split second, leaves the fold of belief and Imaan.

    94. Allah is angered and He is pleased but not in the same way as any creature.

    Allah Ta'ala is in no need of our actions, good or bad. Our good actions do not increment Him in any way nor do our sins decrease Him or His attributes. If the entire mankind was to worship Allah Ta'ala flawlessly it would not create even a minute increase in His kingdom, and neither would the rejection entire mankind cause a minute decrease in His kingdom.

    Nevertheless, Allah Ta'ala is appreciates the acts that we commit. Our obedience pleases Him and our disobedience angers Him. It is He who has given us everything and it is He who we should worship flawlessly.

    The manor in which we show happiness and anger is not the same as the way Allah Ta'ala expresses His pleasure and anger. We cannot conceive the physical manner in which he expresses His happiness and anger. However, His anger brings His wrath and punishment whilst His pleasure brings His gifts and blessings.

    95. We love the Companions of the Messenger of Allah but we do not go to excess in our love for any one individual among them; nor do we disown any one of them. We hate anyone who hates them or does not speak well of them and we only speak well of them. Love of them is a part of Islam, part of belief and part of excellent behaviour, while hatred of them is unbelief, hypocrisy and rebellion.

    96. We confirm that, after the death of Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, the caliphate went first to Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, thus proving his excellence and superiority over the rest of the Muslims; then to 'Umar ibn al-Khattab; then to 'Uthman; and then to 'Ali ibn Abi Talib; may Allah be well pleased with all of them. These are the Rightly-Guided Caliphs and upright leaders.

    97. We bear witness that the ten who were named by the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and who were promised the Garden by him, will be in the Garden, as the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, whose word is truth, bore witness that they would be.

    The ten are: Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman, 'Ali, Talha, Zubayr, Sa'd, Sa'id, 'Abd al-Rahman ibn 'Awf, and Abu 'Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah whose title was the Trustee of this Community, may Allah be pleased with all of them.

    98. Anyone who speaks well of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and his wives and offspring, who are all pure and untainted by any impurity, is free from the accusation of hypocrisy.

    Part of our belief is connected to the Sahaaba Radhi Allahu Anhum, the companions of the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. We believe that they were not free from sin but they were pardoned and forgiven. From the followers of every Prophet, the Sahaaba Radhi Allahu Anhum are the highest ranked, yet their rank cannot exceed the rank of the Prophet Alayhimus Salaam.

    We do not belittle any Companion nor do we exceed in the love of the Companions. We place then in rank as shown to us by our Beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. The four Khalifa (successors) being the highest ranked respectively.

    We acknowledge the supremacy of some Companions over others due to the narrations that have come in regards to them, from amongst these are the ten Companions who were given the glad tidings of paradise.

    To love, honour and respect the Companions is part of our Imaan, one cannot claim to be a believer whilst belittling or speaking ill of any Companion. We accept them to be rightly guided and follow their ways and methods. He who has no love and respect for the Companions and does not take them as being rightly guided is committing an act of disbelief and hypocrisy.

    99. The learned men of the Predecessors, both the first community and those who immediately followed: the people of virtue, the narrators of Hadith, the jurists, and the analysts - they must only be spoken of in the best way, and anyone who says anything bad about them is not on the right path.

    100. We do not prefer any of the saintly men among the Community over any of the Prophets but rather we say that any one of the Prophets is better than all the Awliya' put together.

    101. We believe in what we know of the Karamat or marvels of the Awliya' and in the authentic stories about them from trustworthy sources.

    Part of our belief is to speak well of and believe in the Awliyaa (saints) and the pious predecessors. This includes the Jurists, the narrators of and analysts of Hadeeth etc. However, whilst holding these saints in high esteem, we do not rank them to be greater than any Prophet. Our belief is that entire mankind put together, let alone the Awliyaa, cannot compare to the rank of one Prophet.

    Just as the Prophets were able to commit miracles with the order and help of Allah Ta'ala; similarly the Awliyaa are able to commit marvels with the will of Allah Ta'ala.

    102. We believe in the signs of the Hour such as the appearance of the Antichrist (Dajjal) and the descent of 'Isa ibn Maryam Alayhis Salaam from heaven, and we believe in the rising of the sun from where it sets and in the emergence of the Beast from the earth.

    Every Prophet warned their nation about the Day of Judgement and the signs that will come. Similarly, our beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam also warned us, his nation, regarding the signs that would take place before Qiyaamah. In fact, no Prophet had given their nation as much information and details regarding the sign than our Beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam.

    We believe in all the signs that have been told by the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam from the appearance of Dajjal to the sun rising from the West.

    103. We do not accept as true what soothsayers and fortune-tellers say, nor do we accept the claims of those who affirm anything which goes against the Book, the Sunna, and the consensus of the Muslim Community (Umma).

    Islam teaches us that we are not to believe the claims of any fortune-teller nor are we to approach them. We reject the claims of those who affirm anything that goes against the teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah; and we reject anything that opposes the consensus of the Muslim Community.

    104. There is only one religion of Allah in the heavens and the earth and that is the religion of Islam ("submission").

    Allah says:
    "Surely religion in the sight of Allah is Islam."
    [Al `Imran 3:19]

    And He also says:
    "I am pleased with Islam as a religion for you."
    [al-Ma'ida 5:3]

    105. Islam lies between going to excess and falling short, between the likening of Allah's attributes to creation (tashbih) and divesting Allah of attributes (Ta'til), between determinism and freewill, and between sureness and despair.

    106. This is our religion and it is what we believe in, both inwardly and outwardly, and we renounce any connection, before Allah, with anyone who goes against what we have said and made clear.

    Allah Ta'ala has chosen for us the religion of Islam and it is the only religion that will be accepted by Him. The religion of Islam is the midway of extremism on either side. We neither go in excess of any matter, nor do we fall short, but instead we choose to follow the middle path, the path of Islam.

    We believe in this religion of ours both inwardly and outwardly and we reject anything which is against the teachings of Islam.

    We ask Allah to make us firm in our belief and seal our lives with it and to protect us from variant ideas, scattering opinions and evil schools of view such as those of the Mushabbiha, the Mu`tazila, the Jahmiyya, the Jabriyya, the Qadariyya, and others like them who go against the Sunna and Jama'a and have allied themselves with error. We renounce any connection with them and in our opinion they are in error and on the path of destruction. We ask Allah to protect us from all falsehood and we ask His Grace and Favour to do all good.

    Following is a brief description of each sect which we class to be misguided and having beliefs which a wrong.

    Jahmiyya: Followers of Jahm ibn Safwaan (d. 128) who believed that Allah was "the wind and everything else," considered the Qur'an created and upheld the finiteness in time of heaven and hell. The Mu`tazila and Shi'as adopted his denial or over-interpretation of the Divine Attributes and his view that the Qur'ân is created while Ibn Taymiyya adopted his view that Hell would come to an end.

    Jabriyya: Those who held that a human being's acts are all predetermined and that human beings are legally helpless and unaccountable.

    Mushabbiha: Those who liken Allah Ta'ala to creation and to created beings.

    Mu`tazila: "Isolationists" A sect who made reason the ultimate criterion of truth, forged a political alliance with the Shi'a and, like them, held the Qur'an to be created and the Attributes to be null in themselves and to mean none other than the Essence. They also deny intercession (shafâ'ah) and the karâmât of the Awliyaa'.

    Qadariyya: A sect that held - like Christians - that a human being creates his own destiny and that Allah Ta'ala finds out man's acts after enactment. Like the Mu`tazila and Christians, they also believe that Allah only creates good, while evil has other creators.

    May Allah Ta'ala save us all those groups that have gone astray and may He guide us along His path with the correct beliefs. Aameen.