Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in Ramaḍān (Part 1)

A translation of this article from Naseem al-Sham

In the Name of Allah, the All Merciful, the Most Merciful

العلق 96:1

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in Ramaḍān (Part 1)

By Asmāʾ Ramaḍān

Translated by Mahdi Lock


The Exalted has said, “You have an excellent model in the Messenger of Allah.” [Al-Aḥzāb 33:21]

Praise be to Allah, Lord of all Creation, Who has honoured us with the blessing of Islam and sent to us the best of mankind and made him the most excellent model in all of his statements, states and actions; may the best blessings and peace be upon him.

He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was the practical illustration of the Qurʾān, the precise and honest translation of its āyāt, and he is the one who called us to follow his example in his acts of worship. He has drawn the practical and applied illustration for us so that it can contain clear guidelines for whoever wants to follow it.

What this Ummah must realise, in a very deep sense, is that taking the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as a model and imitating him in all aspects of his life is the only way to wake it up from its slumber and return it to the heights of glory, which it lost by turning away from diligence and veracity and faithfully implementing this doctrine. This is to be done by sincerely going back to the Book of its Lord, Mighty and Majestic, and the Sunnah of its Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. He left us on the clear path; its night is like its day and no one deviates from it except that they are ruined. He was the exemplar for his Companions in his lifetime and for the Followers after his passing, as well as those who come after them and follow them with excellence until Allah inherits the earth and those upon it.

His personality, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was not restricted to one nation or to one generation. Rather, it is an exemplar for every Muslim and a model for every believer whose heart has been opened to receive light. A righteous model for this Ummah is like a head for a body, or a spirit for a body; can a body be guided without a head? Can a body live without a spirit?

Any discussion on the obligation of fasting cannot be detached from his life and his guidance, peace and blessings be upon him, for it is from him that the Ummah has received Allah’s obligations upon His slaves, and these include fasting in Ramaḍān. What made me choose to write about this topic in particular is the desire to talk about the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and how he performed his worship.

However, this is a very lengthy discussion, so I thought I would single out one aspect of his worship, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

Also, my attention is constantly drawn towards the ḥadīth qudsī which states, {Allah, Mighty and Majestic, has said, ‘Every action of the child of Adam is for him except for fasting, for indeed it is for Me and I reward it.’} (Narrated by Muslim) and towards the various meanings that it contains regarding fasting: that the fasting person and his ego (nafs) get nothing out of it. It is the Most Generous (al-Karīm), Glorified and Exalted, who exclusively rewards it, which indicates the sublimity of its reward and vastness of His gifts, Majestic and Exalted is He.

All of this has pushed me to write about this noble month and this worship that is connected to it in the context of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, the master of those who fast, the imam of those who have taqwā.

We ask Allah, Mighty and Majestic, to accept this, and may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon our master Muḥammad and upon his Family and Companions.

And our final supplication is that all praise be to Allah, Lord of all creation.

The connection between the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the blessed month of Ramaḍān

Our Master, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prepared for Ramaḍān before the Revelation came down

The fasting of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was not some new obligation that was exclusively for this Ummah, as fasting was an obligation for the previous nations, and it was Allah’s decree, Mighty and Majestic, that the month of Ramaḍān be the month of fasting for this Ummah as well. This is why Allah prepared and readied His Messenger to receive the Revelation in the blessed month of Ramaḍān, for he would supply himself with some provisions and then go out to the cave of Ḥirāʾ, where he would remain in solitude, spending days and nights pondering on the creation of the heavens and the earth. When his provisions ran out, he would go back to his family to get some more and then return to Ḥirāʾ, far removed from people and their hubbub.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Ramadan is Innocent

This is a very informative and inspirational video regarding the benefits of fasting, i.e. the wisdom behind Allah commanding it, as well as the benefits of eating less in general. In addition to being worship of our Lord and Creator, we should also view Ramadan as an opportunity to heal and repair our bodies. We should give our digestive systems a rest and allow our bodies to cleanse themselves. As you will see in the video, it's not so much the fasting that we need to focus on but how we break our fast. After some dates and some water or milk, what are we going to eat and how much? Sumo wrestlers actually fast for several hours and then eat a huge meal all at once in order to gain weight, so we should bear that in mind.

The information in the video also dovetails nicely with what Imam al-Ghazali has said on protecting the stomach as well as contemporary fitness trainers like Steve Maxwell, who says that eating less is the fountain of youth. Please check out his excellent interview on undereating, intermittent fasting, fasting in order to cure yourself and other beneficial information. Please note that the man is in his early sixties and is in fantastic shape. Ma sha Allah.

The episode is called 'Ramadan is Innocent' because Ramadan, i.e. fasting, is not to blame for the fatigue and exhaustion that a lot of us feel in this month. Rather, we should look at what we're eating, how we're breaking our fasts and how much sleep we're getting. So many majors battles of Islamic history took place in Ramadan and the Muslims were victorious. We should actually be feeling more energetic in this time.

Last but not least, we have to address the power of suggestion. We need to be wary of telling ourselves that we're going to feel weak and tired because we're not eating and drinking. We should remind ourselves that this month is for our benefit, spiritually and physically, and therefore we should be both spiritually and physically uplifted. Allah would never legislate something that would harm us.

And with Allah alone is every success. May Allah grant us all a beneficial, uplifting and healthy Ramadan, ameen! 

و الحمد لله رب العالمين و الصلاة و السلام على رسول الله

Monday, 8 June 2015

Imam al-Ghazālī on Protecting the Stomach

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
و صلى الله على سيدنا محمد و سلّم

منهاج العابدين الى جنة رب العالمين

Imam al-Ghazālī on Protecting the Stomach

Translated by Mahdi Lock[1]

Section Five: The Stomach and Its Protection

Then you must – and may Allah grant you success – protect your stomach and rectify it; it is indeed the most difficult of organs for the one who strives (mujtahid) to rectify. It is the most troublesome and the most distracting; it is the most harmful and has the most widespread effect. This is because it is the fountainhead and source; from it all the states of the other limbs come to be: strength and weakness, abstinence (ʿiffah) and willfulness (jimāḥ), and so forth.

Therefore, you must firstly safeguard it against the unlawful and the doubtful and secondly against going to excess with regards to the lawful, if your intention and desire is to worship Allah the Exalted.

As for the unlawful and the doubtful, you are obliged to look into them because of three matters:

The first is being wary of the Fire of Hell; Allah, Glorified and Exalted, has said, “Those who consume the property of orphans wrongfully consume nothing in their bellies except fire. They will roast in a Searing Blaze.” [An-Nisāʾ 4:10]

And the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, {The Fire is more deserving of every piece of flesh that grows out of ill-gotten property.}[2]

The second is that the consumer of the unlawful and the doubtful is repelled and not granted the enabling success (tawfīq) to perform worship, and thus only those who are pure and purified are fit to serve Allah the Exalted.

I have said: has not Allah the Exalted prohibited those in a state of major impurity (junub) from entering His house[3] and the one in a state of minor impurity (mudith) from touching His Book? The Almighty has said, “…nor in a state of major impurity – unless you are travelling – until you have washed yourselves completely” [an-Nisāʾ 4:43] and the Exalted One has also said, “No one may touch it except the purified” [al-Wāqiʿah 56:79], and this is despite the fact that to be in either state of impurity is permissible, so what about someone who is immersed in the squalor of the unlawful and the filth of ill-gotten property and doubtful matters; when will he be summoned to the service of Allah the Almighty and His noble remembrance, Glorified is He? That will absolutely never happen.

Yayā ibn Muʿādh al-Rāzī, may Allah have mercy on him, said, ‘Obedience is stored in Allah’s storehouses; their key is supplication and the teeth of that key is the lawful. If the key doesn’t have any teeth, the door won’t be opened, and if the door to the storehouse can’t be opened, how will one arrive at the obedience that lies therein?!’

The third is that the one who consumes the unlawful and the doubtful is cut off from doing good, even if he is destined to do good…for it is rejected from him and not accepted from him. Therefore, he obtains nothing from it except toil and hardship, and the taking up of his time. He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, {How many people stand in the night to pray and all they obtain from it is sleeplessness? How many people fast and all they obtain from it are hunger and thirst?}[4]
It is on the authority of Ibn ʿAbbās, may Allah be pleased with both of them, that he said, ‘Allah does not accept the prayer of a person who has something unlawful inside of him.’ This is what this is.[5]
As for going to excess with the lawful, indeed it is the plague of the ordinary worshippers and the calamity of the people of ijtihād. I have reflected on the matter and I have found ten evils that are the foundations of this matter:

Monday, 1 June 2015

Islamic State is Destroying the Common Patrimony of the Human Race


Daniel Hannan has written a very pensive article on what is currently happening, or feared will happen, in Palmyra, Syria, now that it has fallen into the hands of the latest manifestation of the Khawarij, i.e. the so-called Islamic State

The author intelligently points out, as evidenced by the fact that this site and so many other historical sites have survived to this day, that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the Muslim rulers and scholars who followed saw no need to destroy such places. Rather, they are a testimony to human history and a sign and a reminder to mankind; nothing lasts forever. Allah has said, "Every nation has an appointed time. When their time comes, they cannot delay it a single hour or bring it forward." [Surat al-A'raaf 7:34] ِAllah has also said, "Have they not travelled in the earth and seen the final outcome of those before them? They were more numerous than them and greater in strength and left more and deeper traces on the earth, but what they earned was of no use to them." [Surat al-Ghaafir 40:82]

They are also a reminder of what happens to nations who reject Allah. In verse 83 of the same chapter above, Allah says, "When their Messengers brought them the clear signs, they exulted in the knowledge they had and were engulfed by the very things they mocked."

As for these sites being maintained and used for tourism, Imam Muhammad Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, may Allah have mercy on him, gave this fatwa a few years ago when he was asked about visiting historical sites in Indonesia, namely those that include Buddhist statues and drawings. The translation of his response is:

"Looking at historical statues and the like, passing by them and sitting by one of their graves is not unlawful. Have you not seen the Pharaonic relics that have remained [i.e. in Egypt] since the days of the Islamic conquest? The Muslims still visit them, pass by them and look at them, and no one has ever declared it unlawful." 

Please click on this link for further details and discussion on this fatwa, especially the comments below.

In conclusion, it should be clearly understood that the Khawarij of the "Islamic State" are not following Allah and His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, or the scholars of Muslim Orthodoxy (Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah). They are following Iblis and their desires, plain and simple.

And with Allah is every success.