Friday, 15 December 2017

Prophets and Warfare

A discussion with al-Hajj Abu Ja'far al-Hanbali



Talking Points:

1. Can a Prophet be a warlord? What does the Messiah say according to the New Testament? What about the Prophets before?
2. The Western and Eastern Christian understanding of warfare
3. Was Islam spread by the sword?
4. Where does the expression “religion of peace” come from?
5. The separation between religion and politics (“church and state”)
6. Is there a “civil war” between Sunnis and Shias?
7. Were the Crusades an act of self-defense?

Al-Hajj Abu Ja'far al-Hanbali has translated several Arabic works into English and has been teaching Islamic sciences, including theology ('itiqaad), law (fiqh), commentary on the Qur'an (tafseer), and recitation and memorisation of the Qur'an (tajweed and hifdh), for approximately two decades:

Jurjis's Blog
Meerath 
YouTube (TheReasons4Faith)  
Amazon

Further Reading:
Authority in Islam

"Religion of Peace"
Ben Carson is Right
Civilisation: A Preliminary Discussion

Related Podcast:
Episode 1

Friday, 1 December 2017

"Diversity" is Racist

The leftist call for "diversity" is not just wrong, but downright racist

Jordan Peterson explains:



And Thomas Sowell:



In short, the differences between groups are not as great as the differences within groups. The belief that diversity in any context can be achieved merely by selecting people from different racial backgrounds, for example, can only stem from the assumption that all members of any given racial background are inevitably the same and are wholly distinct from the people of every other racial background.

Is this not a shamelessly racist assumption?

Sunday, 12 November 2017

The Importance of Understanding Arabic

A translation of this video



The importance of understanding the Arabic language in order to obtain the other sciences, by Sheikh Fathi Hijazi al-Azhari, may Allah preserve him

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Updates: The Greatest Universal Sureties



Assalaam alaykum wa Rahmatullah,

Alhamdulilah, the translation of The Greatest Universal Sureties, by the late authority Imam Muhammad Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, has now been published. This is by far, to date, the most detailed and exhaustive text on orthodox (Sunni) Islamic theology in English, written by one of this age's greatest theologians. In addition to covering foundational matters, such as the Lord's attributes, salvation and eschatology, the book also deals with modern issues, such as religious relativism and the theory of evolution. It is an absolute must for any English speaker seeking a deeper understanding of Islam and its core doctrines.

UPDATE: It has also been brought to my attention (via emails and social media) that the book is not available to order via the Dar al-Fikr website, or something goes awry when trying to order from that website. I am on the case. In addition to trying to solve that problem, I am also trying to find out who Dar al-Fikr's distributors are in the UK, US and other parts of the Anglosphere. Insha'Allah, the book will be available soon, either via the website or a bookshop near you. I will post updates here whenever I receive news, i.e. in this post or in the comments below.

And with Allah is every success.

Wassalaam,

Mahdi

p.s. I'm still waiting for my copy.

UPDATE: Please see the 8th comment below, dated 11 November 2017 at 18:30.

UPDATE: Please see my comment dated 21 November, 2017.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Mental Illness

What has Allah revealed regarding this matter and what do the authorities say?

http://www.maureenmurdock.com/category/mental-illness/


What is the position of the Revealed Law regarding mental[1] illnesses in general and especially depression, whisperings and anxiety?

Answer (Imam Muḥammad Saʿīd Ramaḍān al-Būṭī):

To treat any illness, whether physical or psychical (nafsī), is permissible and preferable. However, due to the situation that we now find ourselves in, I believe that psychiatry (at-ṭibb an-nafsī) cannot yet be deemed successful. Rather, in most cases, its point of departure is hypotheses that are not supported by any sound science. Therefore, it is rare to see the treatment of mental illnesses produce any positive, beneficial effect. What is often imagined to be a cure is nothing more than a covering and a temporary alleviation of the illness.

The secret behind this failure is that the nafs[2] (as scholars of the West conceive of it today, along with their students in our Muslim, Arab East) is a physical, material phenomenon. Therefore, treating any illness therein can only be – as they imagine – by going back to its presumed source, which is the body, because it is the only thing they can see in front of them.

However, the truth is that psychical phenomena in a person’s life are not connected to the body and its effects, as they imagine to be the case, but rather to the spirit (rūḥ) and its effects. The spirit, in turn, is completely independent of the body, although it does pervade all its parts and cells just as water flows through a plant or a moist stem.


Thus, what is called depression or long-term mental anxiety is from the effects of the spirit, and is the consequence of some of its states. Therefore, treating illnesses like these must start from a point of view that comprises the spirit.

Since Allah, Mighty and Majestic is He, has decreed that the spirit remain one of His secrets and that its reality be beyond the knowledge of any human being, the only refuge from mental illnesses – including depression and anxiety – is to nourish the spirit with more remembrance (dhikr) of Allah, Mighty and Majestic is He, to turn to Him in worship and supplication, to strengthen one’s faith in Allah, and to trust His wisdom and be pleased with His decision. Allah, Mighty and Majestic is He, described this treatment clearly in His Book when He said, “Only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace.” [ar-Raʿd 13:28] 

In fact, true faith in Allah, Mighty and Majestic is He, is the best fortification for the soul against every evil that may lie in wait for it.

And the proof for everything we are saying is the various mental illnesses that are wreaking havoc on the western world today. Despite the best efforts of psychiatry and its practitioners, through experiments and treatments, they have failed to get rid of these illnesses.

[Translated from Maʿ an-Nās: Mashūrāt wa Fatāwa (Damascus: Dār al-Fikr, 1423/2002), v.1, p.184-185]

Related Posts:
The Whole Creation Is Alive...Scientists Are Yet To Confirm (Jurjis)

[1] (tn): A few terms needs to be explained. The words nafsī translates as ‘spiritual’, ‘mental’ or ‘psychical’, the latter being the opposite of ‘physical’. The term ʿilm an-nafs, literally ‘the science of the nafs’, translates as ‘psychology’ while at-ibb an-nafsī, or ‘the medicine of the nafs’, translates as ‘psychiatry’. The major difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that the latter is a medical doctor and can thus prescribe medications, while the former stays within the realm of therapy, i.e.counseling and behavioral intervention.
[2] (tn): i.e. ‘psyche’ or ‘soul’





Friday, 13 October 2017

Are the Nafs (soul) and the Rūḥ (spirit) the Same or Not?

From the translation of the book Sharḥ as-Ṣudūr bi Sharḥ Ḥāl al-Mawtā wa al-Qubūr by Imam Jalāl ad-Dīn as-Suyūṭī, may Allah have mercy on him, 



Al-Isra' 17:85

The Fourth:
 
What is correct is that the spirit (rūḥ) and the soul (nafs) are one entity. Allah the Exalted has said, “O soul at rest and at peace, return to your Lord” [al-Fajr 89:27-28] and there is his statement: “and forbade the soul its appetites” [an-Nāziʿāt 79:40]. And it is said that the soul emanates, i.e. it dies and comes out.


1360) Some of Muslim Orthodoxy (Ahl as-Sunnah) have stated that it is the spirit that is held (qabḍ) and not the soul.  This is supported by what has been narrated by Ibn Abī Ḥātim on the authority of Ibn ʿAbbās regarding the Exalted’ statement: “Allah takes back people’s souls when their death arrives…” [az-Zumar 39:42] and the rest of the āyah; he said, ‘A soul and a spirit; between them is like the rays of the sun. Allah takes back the soul when someone is sleeping and He leaves the spirit inside, turning over and living. If Allah wants to take hold of it (qabḍ), He takes hold of the spirit and the person dies. If a person’s death has been written for a later time, He returns the soul to its place inside.


1361) Al-Muqātil has said, ‘Man has life, a spirit and a soul. When he sleeps, his soul, with which he comprehends things, comes out but does not separate itself from the body. Rather, it comes out like an extended rope that has beams. Thus, he sees dreams with the soul that has come out of him, while life and the spirit remain in the body. It is with these two that he turns over and breathes. If he is awoken, the soul returns to the body quicker than the blink of an eye. When Allah wants to make him die in his sleep, He holds onto that soul that has come out.’


He also said, ‘When he sleeps, his soul comes out and ascends. When it sees a dream, it goes back and informs the spirit, and the spirit informs the heart. Thus, he wakes up and he knows that he saw such-and-such and such-and-such.


1362) Abū ash-Sheikh has narrated in the book al-ʿUẓmah, as well as Ibn ʿAbdul Barr in at-Tamhīd from Wahb ibn Munabbih, who said, ‘Indeed man’s soul has been created like the souls of beasts, which are covetous and call to evil. Its abode is in the stomach. Man has been given preference through the spirit, which resides in the brain. With it man has shame, and he calls to goodness and commands it.’


Then Wahb blew on his hand and said, ‘You see this spirit’, and he rubbed his palms together. Then he said, ‘This is hot, and it is from the soul. The two of them are like a man and his wife. If the spirit runs to the soul and they meet, the person sleeps. When he wakes up, the spirit goes back to its place. You, when you’re sleeping and then wake up, it’s as if there is something rising to your head. The heart is like the king and the limbs are his assistants. If the soul commands to evil, it is covetous, and the limbs move. The spirit forbids them and calls them to goodness. If the heart is a believer, it obeys the spirit, and if it is insolent it obeys the soul and disobeys the spirit, and the limbs spring into action.’


1363) Ibn Saʿd has narrated in his Ṭabaqāt from Wahb ibn Munabbih, who said, ‘Allah created the son of Adam from earth (turāb) and water and then the soul was put therein. With it he stands and sits, hears and sees, knows what beasts know and is wary of what they are wary of. Then He placed the spirit therein, and with it he knows truth from falsehood and guidance from misguidance. With it he is cautious, he progresses and he conceals himself, and he learns and reflects on all matters.’


1364) Ibn ʿAbdul Barr has said in at-Tamhīd, ‘Abū Isḥāq Muammad ibn al-Qāsim ibn Shaʿbān has mentioned that ʿAbdur Ramān ibn al-Qāsim ibn Khālid, the companion of Mālik, said, “The soul is an embodied mass, like the creation of man, while the spirit is like flowing water.” He used as proof the Exalted’s statement: “Allah takes back people’s souls…” [az-Zumar 39:42] and the rest of the āyah, and he said, “Do you not see that Allah takes back the sleeping person’s soul, while the spirit ascends and descends, and he is still breathing, and the soul roams freely in every valley and you see the dreams that it sees? If Allah allows for it to be returned to the body, it returns, and with its return all the parts of the body wake up.” He said, “The soul is not the spirit. The spirit is like water flowing in gardens. If Allah wants to destroy that garden, He prevents water from flowing into it, and thus its life dies. The same goes for man.”


Abū Isḥāq said, “ʿUbayd Allah ibn Abī Jaʿfar said, ‘When the deceased is being carried on the bier, his soul is in the angel’s hand, travelling with it alongside him. When he has been laid down in order to be prayed over, it[1] stops. When he is being carried to his grave, it goes with him. When he has been put in his grave and the earth has been put over him, Allah returns the soul so that the two angels can address him. When the two of them have turned away from him, he removes the soul and throws it wherever he is commanded. This angel is one of the Angel of Death’s assistants.’”’


1365) Ash-Sheikh ʿIzz ad-Dīn ibn ʿAbdissalām has said, ‘In every body there are two spirits, one of them is the spirit of the wakefulness, which Allah has made it the norm to be that if it is in the body the person is awake. If it leaves the body, the person sleeps. It is this spirit that sees dreams. The other is the spirit of life, and Allah has made it the norm that if it is in the body, the person is asleep. If it separates from the body, the person dies. When it is returned to the person, he comes back to life. These two spirits are inside man, and no one knows their exact dwelling except whomever Allah discloses it to. Thus, they are like two embryos in the womb of one woman. One of the theologians has said, “What is clear is that the spirit is close to the heart.”’


Ibn ʿAbdissalām said, ‘It is not remote, in my view, that the spirit be inside the heart.’ He said, ‘And it is possible that all the spirits are luminous, delicate and diaphanous, and it is possible that this applies exclusively to the spirits of the believers and the angels and not the spirits of the disbelievers and devils. The proof for the spirit of life is the Exalted’s statement, “Say: ‘The Angel of Death, who has been given charge of you, will take you back…” [as-Sajdah 32:11] and the rest of the āyah, while the proof for the two spirits of life and wakefulness is the Exalted’s statement, “Allah takes back people’s souls…” [az-Zumar 39:42] and the rest of the āyah. The implication is that He takes back the souls of those whose bodies have not died in their sleep, and He holds onto the souls whose death has been decreed at that point. He doesn’t send them back to their bodies. He sends the other souls, which are the souls of wakefulness, back to their bodies until their appointed time has come, which is the appointed time of death, at which point both the spirits of life and the spirits of wakefulness are taken from the bodies and held onto. The spirits of life do not die. Rather, they are made to ascend into the sky alive. The spirits of the disbelievers are rejected and the doors of the sky are not opened for them. The doors of the skies are opened for the spirits of the believers until they are shown to the Lord of all Creation, and what an honourable showing it is for them!’ This is the end of ash-Sheikh ʿIzz ad-Dīn’s speech.


I say: What he has mentioned about the spirit being in the heart has been decisively affirmed by al-Ghazālī in his book al-Intiṣār, and I have a adīth that supports this: Ibn ʿAsākir has narrated in his Tārīkh from az-Zuhrī that Khuzaymah ibn akīm as-Sulamī, then al-Bahzī, approached the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on the day of the Opening of Makkah and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, tell me about the darkness of the night and the light of the day, the heat of water in the winter and its coldness in winter, and the outlet of the clouds, and about the dwelling of the man’s water[2] and the woman’s water, and about the place of the soul in the body…’ and he quoted the rest of the adīth up until where he said, ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, {As for the place of the soul, it is in the heart, and the heart is attached to the aorta, and the aorta feeds the veins. If the heart dies, the veins are cut off…}’, and the rest of the adīth, and this is mursal. It has other paths that are both mursal and connected (mawṣūl) in al-Muʿjam al-Wasī by at-Ṭabarānī, Tafsīr Ibn Mardawayh, the book as-Ṣaḥābah by Abū Mūsā al-Madīnī, and Ibn Shāhīn. Al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn ajar said in al-Iṣābah: ‘The adīth therein is very much uncommon (gharīb)[3] and its chain of transmission is very weak.’




[1] (tn): i.e. the angel
[2] (tn): i.e. semen
[3] (tn): i.e. it only has one narrator at several levels in the chain of transmission


[Translated from p.564 to 567 (Jeddah: Dār al-Minhāj, 1432/2011) as well as p.277-280 (Beirut: Muʾassasah al-Kutub ath-Thaqāfiyyah, n.d., 1st ed.)]
 

Friday, 6 October 2017

How To Obtain Any Blessing That You Want

A translation of this video

 
  
By Imam Muhammad Mutawalli ash-Sha'rawi, may Allah have mercy on him

For the full context, please see Surat al-Kahf 18:32-44

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Talent Stacks

Why a life is better than a career

       

The video above was recorded in July and released ten days ago. The following is from the description:

'The Dilbert comic strip artist and political philosopher Scott Adams sits down with Peter Robinson to discuss his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. He discusses with Peter his theory of “talent stacking,” the idea that rather than being an expert in one particular skill (i.e., Tiger Woods and golf), one can become successful by stacking a variety of complementary nonexpert skills. Adams demonstrates how talent stacking has been beneficial in his life because he has stacked comic artist skills with his MBA and experience in corporate environments to create a wildly successful comic strip that resulted in spin-off books, a television series, a video game, and merchandise. His business skills gave him the tools to create a business satire comic strip and the skill set to manage the business that evolved from that strip.'

Investor James Altucher, who has his own broad talent stack, advises in his book Choose Yourself that the best thing you can do now in order to provide for yourself and your family is to have multiple sources of income. Relying on one talent (yes, exceptions can be made for talents and skills that are always in demand, such as plumbing, electrical engineering etc.) or, even worse, one employer is ridiculously risky. Increased automation combined with companies and governments being forced to cut costs (and there are several factors behind this that cannot be discussed now, but European and Anglosphere countries are drowning in unprecedented debt) means that "reduncancies will have to be made in the human resources department".  In other words, your job is not secure.

Aside from the financial risk, what about the psychological risk, or the emotional risk? Being good at only one thing means that you have to be the best at it, so you have to work extra hard to stay on top of the competition. This means that other aspects of your life will suffer, such as your family and your friends. Tiger Woods, mentioned above, is a brilliant example. On the other hand, if you can be better than most people at five things, you do not have to work as hard and you can devote more of your time to your family, your friends and whatever activities you find meaningful. You will have flexibility, or the ability to adapt, as circumstances change.

To put it differently, do you want one thing in your life to be 150% or would you prefer to have five things at 80%? It should be obvious where a richer life lies:


And with the Lord is every success.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Pilgrims Who Come Back Just As They Left

A translation of this video


By Imam Muhammad Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, may Allah have mercy on him

Please click here for for more on the nafs.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Civilisation: A Preliminary Discussion

Putting some initial ideas into writing


Praise be to Allah, I recently finished translating the book The Qur'anic Approach to Human Civilisation by Imam Muhammad Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, may Allah have mercy on him, and while I do not wish to go into great length here about the contents of the book (insha'Allah, I will in future podcasts and blogs), there are some key points that can be drawn and then compared with certain ideas coming out of the Anglosphere.

For starters, Imam al-Bouti defines civilisation as the fruits of the interaction between man, his lifespan and the universe. To create ideal civilisation, those three components must be understood accurately and correctly:
  1. Man is a slave of Allah, created from a vile fluid, but at the same time an ennobled vicegerent. The balance that this establishes means that man will not deify himself over the creation, like Fir'awn, or accept to be in a state of servility and humiliation under a creation, e.g. the Children of Israel.
  2. The life that we enjoy is a test, very much like a final exam at university: its time is so brief that it is almost insignificant but its consequences are far-reaching and profound.
  3. The universe has been subjugated for our benefit; we were never in a state of struggle with nature. Rather, we seek to use the created things around us in a way that maintains the balance that Allah created them in.
What should be obvious from the above is that Islamic civilisation is rooted in the firm conviction that Allah the Exalted exists and that He is the Creator of the universe.

Any other civilisation that emerges and comes to dominate the earth will do so because Muslims are failing to live their lives in accordance with the abovementioned understanding. Furthermore, any civilisation that emerges without this Qur'anic understanding will be bearing the seeds of its own destruction within itself. This means that Muslims not only have the tools to perpetuate their civilisation but those same tools can be used to revive it should it become stagnant, whither and die. In other words, civilisations (or Islamic civilisation in particular) are not organic entities whose "lives" must necessarily mimic the lives of human beings: weakness followed by strength, then weakness again followed by death.

Another thing the Imam mentions is what might best be termed "controlled openness" to new ideas. A favourite refrain of many writers and intellectuals is that the Islamic world is so backward nowadays because it has shut itself off from the rest of the world, but how is this even remotely true? Western civilisation is very much prevalent in the Islamic heartlands: look at the school systems, the movies, the TV shows, social media etc. Furthermore, consider the fact that Muslims regularly travel to North America and Europe, as tourists, students, workers and so on.

The key thing is this: as Muslims are interacting with the outside world and constantly exposing themselves to new ideas and notions, who is acting as a filter? Who is helping them distinguish the beneficial and useful from the false and harmful? Without such a filter, we have nothing but blind imitation and subservience. We have to do it because the Americans (or the French, or the British) do it and that's the end of the discussion.

So, we have to come back to a balance. I have just been reading the book The Art of the Argument by Stefan Molyneux and therein he explains that confirmation bias can be a good thing, because it is a filter that allows you to properly categorise new knowledge and information. It's like a healthy digestive system; your body takes the nutrients that it needs and discards the rest. Without it, you absorb absolutely everything and become full of toxins and disease. Likewise, without confirmation bias, you have no foundation to ground yourself in.

Molyneux expands on this and says:

'Tribal belief systems fall into the category of the Aristotelian mean: too much rigidity breeds stagnation, but too little rigidity breeds chaos and decay - such as Western countries and experiencing right now. Tribes with few stable or foundational belief systems have little in-group preference, little reason to sacrifice for the collective, little pride in the defense of their mindset or culture, and thus tend to be overrun by tribes with more stable and foundational belief systems.'

In the Muslim world, Imam al-Bouti describes the problem as follows:


'The backwardness that the Muslims are suffering from is embodied in them turning away from creativity and instead following others. After producing and exporting, they have now turned to importing and consuming.[1] Thus, in reality, they are dashing forward and not withdrawing within themselves. They are plunging headlong into subservience and imitation, without waiting for someone to look into the matter[2] on their behalf and give them a fatwa.'

[1] I do not mean the production or consumption of commodities. Rather, I mean principles and values in general, and everything that falls under the achievements of civilisation.
[2] (tn): i.e. do ijtihād, or expert personal reasoning

Muslims are blindly consuming the principles and values of the West, or Europe and the Anglosphere. Furthermore, this imitation is not lifting them out of their backwardness. Imam al-Bouti also points out that the Muslim world is full of technical institutes and colleges, and there is an abundance of doctors, engineers and other highly-educated professionals, but there's still the backwardness. Why?

The answer is spiritual, and in lies in having a true understanding of man, the universe and life and acting according to that understanding. Knowledge of physics, biology, chemistry, technology, modern medicine etc. does not automatically, or even necessarily, produce moral, upright, well-rounded human beings. This is also a problem that the West is suffering from right now. They have by and large rejected their religion, but how does morality emerge without religion? Rationality does not necessitate morality. Another way to put it would be to say that proficiency in the material does not necessarily lead to progress in the spiritual.

The balance referred to above is the right balance between order and chaos, and you can think of order as your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is constantly being challenged and threatened, and if you react by retreating further into it, it eventually shrinks into nothing, suffocating you to death. People who commit suicide say they can't find "any place" in life. To have and maintain a comfort zone, you have to keep expanding it, which means you have to dip your toe into the sea of chaos, overcome it and incorporate it into your order. If you plunge into the chaos, i.e. without a maintaining a foothold in order, everything falls apart.

A cursory glance at Islamic civilisation shows that Muslims have been very adept at filtering and then benefiting from new knowledge and information. Examples that spring to mind include Salman al-Farisi, may Allah be pleased with him, proposing to build a trench in order to defend Madinah through to institutions like Bayt al-Hikmah in Baghdad. Yes, in the latter case, mistakes were made, heresies emerged (e.g. the Mu'tazilah) but the foundations of Muslim Orthodoxy held through and the civilisation kept going, and was even able to recover after the Mongol invasions and the sacking of Baghdad.

Who does this? The answer is the authorities, or maraaji' in Arabic. These are the people who have temporal and spiritual authority over the Ummah. They bear the intellectual legacy of this Ummah but also give it life. They study new ideas, filter them through the accumulated knowledge of this Ummah and then give a ruling. For example, refuting evolution theory isn't done by merely quoting one of our classic theology texts. Rather, its argument has to be examined, compared with our knowledge and then given a judgement.

Amongst Muslims, stagnation is found in the cults, political movements and many Sufi tariqahs, and such organisations never produce individuals. Rather, they produce braying jackasses, i.e. they all think and speak the same way. Critical faculties went missing a long time ago. I say braying jackasses because this is the metaphor used in the story of Pinocchio, as explained by Jordan Peterson in this lecture. People who allow themselves to be manipulated and lack the courage to think and act for themselves end up in this state, whether Muslim or not. As Orthodox Muslims, we do follow schools of law and theology, but we also think. We have enquiring minds. Our schools have thousands of scholars, not just one at the top that pontificates for all and sundry. Those same schools have authorities, and they emerge in every age and deal with the issues of that age. From their ranks, the renewers of the faith emerge in every century. Regarding the laity, I wrote the following in my book review of Eric Hoffer's The True Believer:

'Orthodox Muslims carry the characteristics of being sagacious and thoughtful believers, always prepared to investigate and cross-reference. Putting all our eggs in one basket, i.e. by joining a cult or ‘ṣūfī’ ṭarīqah and letting those in charge make all our decisions is not our way
.'

In other words, and to use Hoffer's own words, we do not fear an autonomous existence, and fearing an autonomous existence is very normal if one is raised and schooled to depend on experts all the time.

What this means is that when you follow a school of law, i.e. one of the four, you do not stick to one teacher or one organisation and that's it, or stick to one book. Rather, you seek to enhance your knowledge and experience by going to different teachers, within your school and without, and reading a wide array of literature. You investigate, you cross-reference, you ask questions, and as long as you stay within the broad parameters laid down by the maraaji', you are safe. This is how you establish a balance between order and chaos, and how you maintain a healthy, sustainable comfort zone; it can only be sustainable if it keeps expanding. There is none of this horrible, baseless notion that there is only one way of doing things.

Travelling is also crucial. If, for example, you grow up in a Pakistani community in the United Kingdom and that is the only kind of Islam you are ever exposed to, you might be quite shocked upon visiting places like Morocco, Egypt and others parts of the Muslim heartlands. In such a situation, you have to embrace it, expand your horizons and grow as a believer. Don't run back home in horror. This is exactly how stagnation happens; when you retreat into your comfort zone.

This is a preliminary discussion. There is a lot to say on this topic, and I intend to do more blog posts and especially podcasts. The conclusion that can be drawn so far is that the revival of Islamic civilisation lies in Muslims becoming and being well-rounded, inquisitive, pensive, upright, Orthodox believers, and we have to be constantly striving to better ourselves.

Allah knows best and with Him alone is every success.  

Please feel free to add your thoughts below. 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The Specialness of Du'a in Sanctified Places

A translation of this video


By Imam Muhammad Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, may Allah have mercy on him

The hadith at the end is the 10th hadith in the Forty Nawawiyyah.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Explanation of the Rituals of Hajj and Umrah

The first three parts with English subtitles






Main points: •Recommended acts of Tawaf • Explanation of hastening between as-Safaa and al-Marwah(sa'iee) •The story of lady Hajar • The benefits of Zamzam water • Recommended acts of sai'ee



In this episode:
- What is the difference between the two states of ihram (Ifraad and Qiran)?
-  What are the rituals to be done on the day of Tarwiyah?
-  How to spend the day of 'Arafah?
-  Dr. Tawfiq narrates his memories on the day of 'Arafah
-  Going to Muzdalifah


p.s. The translation is from the brothers and sisters at Naseem al-Sham.

Related Post:
Visiting the Grave of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace  

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Salvation Is By Faith Alone, Not Deeds (Part 2)

The second part of this podcast


Can your deeds make you worthy of Paradise, or do we rely on Allah's mercy and pardon? Why should we do good deeds and avoid sin? On the Last Day, what will say when you stand before your Lord? What will you present to Him?


Further Reading: 
The First Wisdom

Related Videos: 
Seeking Forgiveness
Salvation and Deeds
 

Monday, 7 August 2017

Salvation Is By Faith Alone, Not Deeds (Part 1)

An audio expansion of The First Wisdom


What is salvation? How is it attained? Can you make yourself worthy of Paradise? Does the Lord owe you anything for your righteous deeds?

Further Reading:
The First Wisdom

Related Videos:
Salvation and Deeds
Actions Are Only By Intentions

Friday, 4 August 2017

Make Your Room Beautiful

It starts with your little part of the cosmos



This is a nice, short piece of advice about how making a difference starts with you and the spaces you inhabit. Organise and beautify your room so that it becomes a space that makes you happy and at ease. You don't need money or lots of resources. You just need some taste and some effort.

Also, bear in mind that once you start making this effort, other people will not understand what you're doing and may even feel threatened by it, because your hard work and improved state will only make their wreteched state look worse. Thus, after taste and effort, you will need patience and perseverance.

There will be setbacks. The point is that you keep striving towards a better state.

And with Allah alone is every success.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Another Fatwa on ‘Fiqh of Minorities’

Another authoritiy speaks on this matter

Is this where #ِAnglosphereIslam is headed?

Question:
What do you say about ‘Fiqh of Minorities’?

Answer: (
Imam Wahbah az-Zuaylī, may Allah have mercy on him)


It has no basis, because whatever is lawful in Dar al-Islam is lawful in Dar al-Ḥarb, and whatever is unlawful is Dar al-Islam is unlawful in Dar al-Ḥarb. It is because of ‘fiqh of minorities’ that some people in recent times have tried to facilitate matters, and thus declare usury[1] and other matters lawful.

Translated from the book Fatāwā al-ʿAṣr (Beirut: Dār al-Khayr, 1426/2005), p.227
 

Related Posts:
The Abodes of the Earth
Fatwa on Mortgages


[1] For more on this matter please Imam Muhammad at-Taʾwīl’s book on usury and bank interest, which has been translated into English and will be published in the near future, if Allah so wills.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Seeking Forgiveness

A translation of this video


By Imam Muhammad Mutawalli ash-Sha'rawi, may Allah have mercy on him.

Who besides Allah can you seek forgiveness from?

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Clarification Regarding the Foreword to the book The Etiquettes of the Scholar

A disappointment regarding the translation of Imam an-Nawawi's book 




We praise Allah, the book has now been published in Malaysia and I have received my complimentary copies.

For the most part, the publication looks excellent and meets expectations. However, a foreword has been added that I was never informed of let alone consulted on. I do not know who the author is and I cannot fathom why he was asked to write it. The problems can be summarised as follows:

1) The foreword has just about nothing to do with the subject matter of the book. The subject matter of the book is authority in Islam: where do we take our knowledge from, whom do we ask when we have a question, how do we identify an authority, and so forth. However, this foreword dicusses a cacophony of unrelated subjects (e.g. identity politics) and does not even hint at the topic of authority.

2) The foreword is littered with erroneous ideas and statements. From what I can tell, the author seems to be heavily influenced by the liberal/cultural Marxist/postmodernist worldview, and this has in turn infected and soiled his presentation of Islam as well as European/Anglosphere culture and civililisation. This means that the foreword is not only irrelevant, incoherent and useless, it is also highly misleading and fallacious. 

I therefore have to emphatically disavow this foreword and clearly state, for the record, that I bear absolutely no responsibility for it in any way, shape or form. I would never consent to a foreword like this being added to any of my publications.

And with Allah is every success.

Book Release: The Etiquettes of the Scholar and the Learner

The translation of Imam an-Nawawi's introduction to al-Majmu'





All praise be to Allah, the book is now available. Please click here for further details.

And with Allah is every success.

Related Posts:
Authority in Islam
Chapter 5: The Etiquettes of the Mufti
Clarification 

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Has Allah created us in order to punish us?

A translation of this video



By Imam Muhammad Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, may Allah have mercy on him.
The subtitles are not clear at times, so the full translated text is available below:

Has Allah created us in order to punish us?

Allah, Mighty and Majestic is He, knows that amongst His slaves are those who do not obey Him.

And therefore, their outcome will be what it is.

Allah knows that amongst His slaves are those who are atheists, or who hold similar beliefs.

Would it not be best if creations like this were not created?

What is the answer?

Here, dear brothers, before answering the question, I would like to turn your attention towards something.

Those people who ask this question are actually concealing an endless series of questions.

They ask about the reason behind creation, and the reason behind that reason, and then the reason behind that reason, and so on and so forth.

The starting point for their question is a very strange type of foolishness, which is that they are comparing the Creator, who is Allah, Mighty and Majestic is He, to the creation, i.e. human beings.

We, human beings, when we want to actualise a goal for ourselves, we are not able to actualise it except through a series of means, and this is a manifestation of man’s weakness and incapacity.

This is man’s affair, and thus, whenever he applies himself to an action, there must be a reason that pushes him to do that action. I will give you an example.

You pass by a friend of yours. You see him digging a hole in the ground. Naturally, you would say, ‘Why are you doing that? What is the reason for this action?’ He replies, ‘By Allah, I want to dig a well in order to extract water so that I can irrigate my garden.’

Clear, no?

However, if this person were to say to you, ‘By Allah, nothing has prompted me to do what you’re seeing me do’, there is no doubt that you would attribute stupidity to him.

Why?

It is because when we know that man is incapable of actualising his long-term goals, that he cannot arrive at them except via a combination of means, it is rare to see someone say, ‘I’m digging a hole in the ground for no reason.’

‘I’m reading a book for no purpose or goal.’

‘I attend the lectures of so-and-so and I have no goal behind doing so.’

This is a type of foolishness. Why?

Because it is known that man does not do anything unless it is for a goal, and this is because of his incapacity.

Therefore, these people who ask this foolish question do so because they are comparing Allah to themselves.

‘When man applies himself to an action, does he not have to have a reason for doing so? Therefore, our Lord is the same. When He created man, He must have had a reason that prompted Him to do so. When He created the skies, there must have been a reason that pushed Him to create the stars, the sun and the moon.’

They are comparing Allah to man. Is this a valid comparison? No.

Our Lord, Mighty and Majestic is He, does not need means in order to arrive at what He wants. When He wants something, His affair is to say, ‘Be!’ and it is.

Yes. Therefore, this question is nowhere to be found: ‘Why did Allah create man?’ It’s as if the questioner is imagining that our Lord, Mighty and Majestic is He, has an ultimate objective, and that objective cannot be actualised except via His creation of man.

Thus, after He had created man, we can ask Him, just as we ask the person digging a hole in the ground, we can ask Him by saying, ‘O Lord, why did you create man? What is your goal behind creating him?’

Yes. This is an erroneous question. There is no ultimate objective with regards to Allah, Glorified and Exalted is He.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Fatawa on Menstruation

A translation of this fatwa from Naseem al-Sham and one from the book Maʿ an-Nās: Mashūrāt wa Fatāwa

https://ps2unic.wordpress.com/tag/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%8A%D8%B6/


Question:

In the beginning of my menstruation, a brown fluid comes out for a period of four days and after that normal blood comes out for a period of eight days. I don’t know what to do about the first days: are they considered menstruation (ḥayḍ) or not? May Allah reward you with goodness.

Answer: (Sheikh Muḥammad Shuqeir)

The entire period of time is menstruation, because the maximum time for menstruation is fifteen days.


Question:

What is the ruling when a girl has constant bleeding, and does it nullify her fast?

Answer (Imam Muḥammad Saʿīd Ramaḍān al-Būṭī):

If a woman or girl suffers from bleeding that causes confusion regarding the start and finish of her monthly cycle and other days of bleeding then she must rely on whatever her normal habit was, what she knows from herself, before she was afflicted with this illness. For example, if her monthly cycle at that time was the first ten days of every month, now she must consider the first ten days of every month to be days of menstruation (ḥayḍ), and therefore in those days she is not allowed to pray, fast, recite the Qurʾān etc. Once those days have passed, she washes and resumes her praying and her other acts of worship and the blood that she sees after that is considered abnormal bleeding (istiḥāḍah) due to illness.

[Translated from Maʿ an-Nās: Mashūrāt wa Fatāwa (Damascus: Dār al-Fikr, 1427/2006), p.25]


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Swearing on the Muṣḥaf

A translation of this fatwa from Naseem al-Sham


http://myoccupation.blogspot.co.uk/2007/01/keith-ellison-responds-swears-on.html

Question:

I want to ask about going to court in order to testify when I am not pure (i.e. I am not praying) and the judge will ask me to swear on the muṣḥaf. What should I do in such a situation? Can I swear upon it without touching it and place my hand above it with my sincere intention, or what?

Answer: (Sheikh Muḥammad Tawfīq Ramaḍān)

Swearing an oath does not require placing one’s hand on the muṣḥaf, and placing the hand on the muṣḥaf has no foundation in the Revealed Law. Rather, it is a judicial procedure that some judges follow.

 

Friday, 30 June 2017

Does the person who is unable to fast because of a long-term illness enter from this gate?

A translation of this fatwa from Naseem ash-Sham

http://www.startimes.com/f.aspx?t=34357121

Question: 
 
Assalām ʿalaykum wa Raḥmatullāhī wa Barakātuh,

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, says {There is a gate in Paradise called ar-Rayyān from which the people who fast enter on the Day of Standing. No one else shall enter from it. It will be said, ‘Where are the people who fast?’ They will thus stand and when they have entered it will be closed.} [Agreed upon] Does the person who is unable to fast because of a long-term illness enter from this gate? May Allah reward you with goodness.

Answer: (Sheikh Muḥammad Tawfīq Ramaḍān) 

 
The person who is unable to fast, who wishes he were able to do so, and he pays the fidyah and there is agony in his heart because of his incapacity, I expect that he is better than some people who do fast, and the believer’s intention is better than his action.