Wednesday, 23 December 2020

The Mass Society vs. The Network Society

 A new discussion with Brother Imran Iskander Gani

Brother Imran and I discuss the difference between the mass society and the network society and how it affects Muslims, based on Chapter 6 of The Big Step. Please click here if the video does not show on your phone or tablet.

Further reading and podcasts:

Western Mass Education (Podcast: Anglosphere Schooling, based on Dumbing us Down by John Taylor Gatto) 
An Utter Waste of Time and Money (a review of How to Watch TV News by Neil Postman and Steve Powers)

Friday, 13 November 2020

Book Release: The Opening of the Hearts

Alhmadulilah, The Opening of the Hearts in Explaining the State of the Deceased and of the Graves, a translation of Sharḥ as-Ṣudūr bi Sharḥ Ḥāl al-Mawtā wa al-Qubūr (شرح الصدور بشرح حال الموتى والقبور) by Imam Jalāl ad-Dīn as-Suyūṭī, has been published and is now available from Lulu.
Lulu delivers to the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, the United States and Australia. Insha'Allah, the book will be available in South East Asia soon.
If you are in the UK, you can also get a copy from Madani Propagation in Preston
 And with Allah alone is every success.
UPDATE: The book is now available in Asia!

UPDATE: The interview with Brother Iskander Gani is now available on YouTube:

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Can the Deceased Hear the Speech of the Living?

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


Alhamdulilah, the issue is discussed by Imam as-Suyuti in his book The Opening of the Hearts in Explaining the State of the Deceased and of the Graves (شرح الصدور بشرح حال الموتى والقبور), the translation of which is now available

The original video is found here.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Al-Ḥāfiẓ Nūruddīn ʿItr

A translation of this biography from Naseem al-Sham

Prof Dr Nūruddīn ʿItr

He is the imam, the great scholar, the mufassir, the muḥaddith, the ḥāfiẓ, the faqīh, Prof, Dr Nūruddīn ʿItr, Ḥasanī of lineage,[1]Ḥanafī in madhhab, born in Aleppo and resident of Damascus. He achieved precedence in the sciences of the noble, Prophetic ḥadīth, in both narration and knowledge, in the fields of teaching, editing, and authoring. He was the scion of a knowledgeable family, deeply rooted in piety and righteousness and firmly established in the sciences of the Revealed Law, both inwardly and outwardly.

Prof Dr Nūruddīn ʿItr was born in Aleppo in the year 1356 AH (1937 CE)[2]. His father, al-Ḥājj Muḥammad ʿItr, was one of the top students of the great scholar, the sheikh, the knower of Allah, Muḥammad Najīb Sirājuddīn, may Allah have mercy on him and be pleased with him.[3] Al-Ḥājj Muḥammad was a scholar who acted according to his knowledge, and a nurturer and a guide for others. He vowed to dedicate his son to the service of Allah the Exalted’s religion, and prepared the necessary means for him. Then Allah, through His kindness and generosity, brought the matter about. He studied at a high school for the study of the Revealed Law (al-Khasrawiyyah) and was distinguished by his excellent academic performance and precedence in both knowledge and action in that time. He received his high school diploma in 1954 and was the top of his class. Immediately after that, he joined al-Azhar University in Egypt[4] and got his degree in 1958, graduating at the top of his class. He caught the attention of his noble professors, the shuyūkh and scholars of al-Azhar, because of the characteristics of nobility, diligence, and piety that they saw in him. The Lord willed that He would benefit from the righteous scholars that were there, such as ash-Sheikh Muṣṭafā Mujāhid, ash-Sheikh Muḥammad Muḥammad as-Samāḥī, ash-Sheikh ʿAbdul Wahhāb al-Buhayrī, ash-Sheikh Muḥammad Muḥyī ad-Dīn ʿAbdul Ḥamīd, may Allah have mercy on all of them and raise their rank. However, the one who the most influence on him in his formative years, both spiritually and in knowledge, was the lamp of the Ummah in its recent decades, the Sheikh of Islam, the great scholar, ash-Sheikh Sirājuddīn al-Ḥusaynī, the ḥāfiẓ, the mufassir, the knower and verifier, and Dr Nūruddīn, may Allah have mercy on him, is his maternal nephew and his son-in-law, his daughter’s husband.

In 1964, he received his ʿĀlamiyyah diploma with a doctorate from the department of Tafsīr and Ḥadīth, earning a distinction with honours, the title of his dissertation being ‘At-Tirmidhī’s Method in his Jāmiʿ and How it Compares to the Two Ṣaḥīḥ Collections’, which is considered an unrivalled work in terms of both its content and its methodology. The unique way in which he laid out his chapters has come to be relied upon by many researchers in the field of the methodologies employed by the compilers of ḥadīth.

After attaining his doctorate, he went straight back to Syria and taught at the high school level for a short period of time. He was then appointed to teach Prophetic Ḥadīth at the Islamic University in al-Madīnah al-Munawarrah from 1965 to 1967, may the best prayers and peace be upon its resident.

In 1967, he returned to Damascus to be appointed a lecturer and then professor in the Faculty of the Revealed Law at Damascus University. He taught the two subjects of Ḥadīth and Tafsīr in the humanities faculties at the universities of Damascus and Aleppo. Likewise, he taught at several other Arab and Islamic universities for brief periods of time, in addition to numerous masjids. He continued – by Allah’s grace, Mighty and Majestic is He – to teach at the Faculty of the Revealed Law until the final months of his life, stopping only because of his illness. Thousands of lecturers graduated under him, including an elite group of distinguished scholars and professors.

He was also a specialist in evaluating both undergraduate and graduate curricula in several universities in the Islamic world.

He supervised dozens of university dissertations, at both the MA and PhD level, and was a referee for development studies of university lecturers. He was known for his strict accuracy in refereeing.

His works number more than fifty, in terms of both editing and authoring, his most prominent book being Minhāj an-Naqd fīʿUlūm al-Ḥadīth, which is considered a new, historical phase in the science of ḥadīth terminology after the phase of Shaikh al-Islam al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī.

His book ʾIʿlām al-Anām, which is considered a unique gift in analysing ḥadīth, is exceptional in clarifying how the fuqahāʾ of the Ummah derived differing rulings from the same text. In general, his books were characterised by their originality in chapter arrangement and condensation of information, but were still clear for the one wanting to specialise in that topic. These qualities are rarely found together. Most of his writings are standard textbooks in curricula at several universities, such as the University of Damascus, al-Azhar, and others.

For his students, he was a compassionate father, a strict teacher, and a rectifying nurturer. He affected their lives in terms of knowledge and calling people to Allah. He was also very experienced in opening many institutes and schools dedicated to the study of the Revealed Law, and he secretly assisted a number of students of knowledge with their material needs.

The sheikh, the great scholar, despite being one of greatest ḥadīth scholars of our age, if not the greatest, was distinguished by his clear spiritual life. His objective was to purify his soul. His goal was to attain the pleasure of Allah and His Messenger. He refrained from holding posts and from this worldly life. He was modest, magnanimous, merciful, as pure-hearted as snow, humble, gentle-hearted, and tearful. The insightful people who attended his gatherings were absolutely certain that the sheikh was living in the world of someone whose heart loves them and is attaching to the noblest master, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as well as his Companions and Followers. Thus, despite his immense achievements, he constantly chose to be unknown, to stay away from the bright lights as much as possible. Indeed, we would not be exaggerating if we said that his way was to swallow one’s ego and be modest, despite the divine gifts of reverence and awe that Allah the Exalted gives to the people of veracity and uprightness.

Dr Nūruddīn was a gift from the Lord, Glorified and Exalted is He, to the land of ash-Shām, and thus we ask Allah, Mighty and Majestic is He, to bless us and to let us benefit from him.

He passed away on Wednesday morning, the 5th of Ṣafar, 1442 (23rd of September 2020) and was buried in Damascus close to the grave of the Knower of Allah, ash-Sheikh Arslān ad-Dimashqī.

We ask Allah to envelop our sheikh in the vastness of His mercy and to place him in the loftiest heights of Paradise, and we ask Him to have mercy on our scholars who have preceded us, to bless the lives of those who remain, and to compensate us well for those who have departed.

[1] He is a descendant of the Master of the Earlier and Later Generations through both of his parents, as the ʿItr family is from the progeny of the grandson al-Ḥasan and the family of Sirāj ad-Dīn is from the progeny of the grandson al-Ḥusayn, may Allah be pleased with both of them.
[2]He was given this name based on what his mother, al-Ḥājjah Duriyyah, may Allah have mercy on her (the only daughter of Sīdī ash-Sheikh Najīb), has stated, which is that ash-Sheikh Najīb Sirājuddīn, may Allah have mercy on him and be pleased with him, the grandfather of Prof Dr Nūruddīn ʿItr, told her to give him that name.
[3]He is one of the peers of the Muḥaddith of ash-Shām, ash-Sheikh Badruddīn al-Ḥasanī, may Allah be pleased with him, with whom he had an unshakable relationship, and they would visit each other often. He affirmed that ash-Sheikh Badruddīn said, ‘Ash-Sheikh Najīb is the most knowledgeable person on earth in his time’.
[4]At that time, there were no universities for the sciences of the Revealed Law in Syria.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Islamic Financing by way of Buying Shares

A translation of this fatwa from Naseem al-Sham



Assalām ʿalaykum,

I would like to finance some real estate in my home country of Jordan. I work in the Gulf and a representative of the Islamic Bank informed me that the bank does not buy real estate outside of its own country. He therefore suggested that he buy some shares on my behalf in some company and then sell them to me. Then I can sell them, get the necessary finance, go back to my country, and buy the real estate myself from the owner. Can you please give me the ruling for such a transaction? May Allah reward you with the best of rewards.

Answer (Imam Muḥammad Tawfīq Ramaḍān):

Wa ʿalaykum Assalām wa Raḥmatullāhi wa Barakātuh,

This transaction is called al-murābaḥah lil-āmir bi shirāʾ.[1] If the company whose shares he is buying is a company that adheres to the rulings of the Revealed Law, does not deal in usury and does not partake in unlawful transactions, then it is legitimate. The shares then represent portions of legitimate property, and thus it is valid to buy them and sell them, and Allah knows best.

[1] (tn): i.e. an individual known as the āmir (i.e. the one commanding) asks someone else, the maʾmūr (i.e. the one commanded), to buy some merchandise for him with the promise that if he buys that merchandise, he will then buy it from him and allow him to make a specified profit from it.

Monday, 31 August 2020

What Is True Knowledge?

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

The book is available from the following online retailers:

Wondrous Islam (Canada)

Nawa Books (Singapore)

Madani Propagation (United Kingdom)

More details can be found here, and with Allah alone is every success.

Friday, 31 July 2020

Introduction to the book The Approach to Human Civilization In The Qur'an

Al-Hajj Abu Ja'far al-Hanbali joins me to talk about Imam al-Bouti, his life, his rank, and his works. Alhamdulilah, the book is now available in North America.

More details can be found here.

And with Allah alone is every success.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Communists Are Not Believers

Another ruling on communism

The Fatwa of the Previous Muftī
The Distinguished Sheikh, Muḥammad Bakhīt[1]
الإمام العلامة محمد بخيت المطيعي

The oldest fatwā regarding communism in its current form was written by the distinguished former Muftī, Sheikh Muḥammad Bakhīt. Sheikh Bakhīt – may Allah have mercy on him – is a well-known figure, for his knowledge, his writings, and his taqwā. His books are a light that guide those who are moving through mazes. Regardless of what people might say about his fatwā in terms of its form or its substance, it affirms ‘that communists renounce religions and they renounce the morals that religions have inspired. They renounce Islam’s financial system and they unlawfully seize people’s money and property. This is why they have left Islam from its very root. They are heretics and they are disbelievers…’ This part of the fatwā has become self-evident and it has become a matter of certainty, such that no educated person has any doubt about it.

On this occasion, we can mention the words of al-Ustādh Jalāl Kishk, and they are established fact:

‘Marxism is an anti-religious call.’

‘The Marxist who claims that he is not against religion is a liar.’

‘The communist who praises religion is a hypocrite.’

‘Marxism is a materialist theory, and materialism renounces religions.’

‘Materialism believes that matter came before thinking, and therefore religion is an idea that was made by matter.’

The fatwā of Sheikh Muḥammad Bakhīt, may Allah the Exalted have mercy on him, is long and exhaustive, joining between modern communism and ancient Mazdakism, which declared women and property lawful. He mentioned some of the history of Mazdakism, which he saw as the foundation of communism, and then said,

‘Islam came and put an end to that corrupt way. He sent His Book down to His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and therein He commanded all people to every good and forbade them from every evil. He commanded them to have correct theological doctrines about Him the Exalted, that He be described with every perfection that befits His Divinity and that He is transcendent above every deficiency, which His attribute of Lordship is exalted above. The same goes for doctrines about the noble Messengers, peace and blessings be upon them. He has commanded us to hold that they are protected from committing disobedience, and removed from any deficiency that would detract from their position of Messengership. He has legislated contracts that transfer ownership, such as selling, giving gifts, bequests and so forth.

He has clarified inheritance, and the portion that every heir is to inherit from his testator. He has made clear in His Mighty Book that He the Glorified is the One who is in charge of distributing livelihood amongst His creation. The Exalted One has said:

“Do they not see that Allah expands provision for whomever He wills and also restricts it? There are certainly signs in that for people who believe.” [ar-Rūm 30:37]

“Say: ‘My Lord expands the provision of any of His slaves He wills or restricts it.’” [Sabaʾ 34:39]

Hurrah ar-Riqāshī has related from his uncle, who said,

‘I was holding the halter of the Messenger of Allah’s she-camel, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in the middle of the days of Tashrīq, keeping people away from it. He said, {O people! Do you know what month you are in, what day you are in, and what land you are in?}

They replied, ‘We are in a sacred day, a sacred month, and a sacred land.’

He said, {Your blood, your wealth, and your honour are sacred just as this day of yours is sacred, in this month of yours, in this lands of yours, until you meet Him.}

Then he said, {Listen to me carefully, as this is how you should live:

Do not be oppressive. Do not be oppressive. Do not be oppressive. Another Muslim’s property is not lawful without his consent.

All feuds over blood and wealth that started in the days of Jāhiliyyah are under these feet of mine until the Day of Standing. The first blood put down is that of Rabīʿah ibn al-Ḥārith ibn ʿAbdul Muṭṭalib, who was nursed by the Banū Saʿd and Hudhayl killed him. Indeed, every usury from Jāhiliyyah has been put down. Indeed, Allah has decreed that the first usury be put down, the usury of al-ʿAbbās ibn ʿAbdul Muṭṭalib. You have your capital. You do not oppress and you are not oppressed.

Indeed, time has come back full circle, to the way it was the day Allah created the skies and earth.} Then he recited,

“There have been twelve months with Allah in the Book of Allah, from the day He first created the skies and the earth. Four of them are sacred. That is the True Religion. So do not wrong one another during them.” [at-Tawbah 9:36]

{Do not revert to being ungrateful[2] after me, striking each other’s necks. Indeed, Shayṭān has despaired of being worshipped by those who pray, but he wants to sow discord amongst you.

Fear Allah with regards to women; your wives are advisors and helpers and do not have any dominion over themselves. They have a right over you and you have a right over them…that they let no man into the marital chamber besides you and that they let no one into your home whom you dislike. If you fear their disobedience, admonish them, and then refuse to sleep with them, and then use physical force without injuring them. They are entitled to be given food and clothing adequately and courteously…You have only taken them as a trust from Allah, and they have been made permissible for you by Allah’s word…and the one who bears a trust must discharge it on behalf of the One who entrusted him with it.}

He then extended his hands and said, {Have I conveyed the message? Have I conveyed the message?} Then he said,

{Let those who are present convey it those who are not here, for maybe the one who is conveyed to is happier than the one who hears.}

Ḥumayd said, ‘Al-Ḥasan said when he reached that word, “By Allah, they conveyed it to many people and they were happier with it.”’

Then the Muftī spoke about communism and finished by saying,

‘From all of the above, it is known that the Bolshevik way is a way that destroys revealed legislations, and especially the Revealed Law of Islam, turning everything upside down. It commands to that which Allah, Glorified and Exalted is He, has forbidden in His Mighty Book and on the tongue of His Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.’

Then, after some words in which he compared communists to beasts because they know of no religion and no morals, he said,

‘Thus, every sincere Muslim is obligated to be wary of them, and not go anywhere near their misguidance, their corrupt beliefs and their stagnant deeds, for they indeed are, without any doubt or uncertainty, disbelievers. They do not believe in any revealed law, they do not believe in any revealed religion, and they do not know of any system.’

[Translated from the book Fatāwā ʿan ash-Shuyūʿiyyah by Imam ʿAbdul Ḥalīm Maḥmūd (Cairo: Dār al-Maʿārif, n.d), p.62-65]

[1] He is Muḥammad ibn Bakhīt ibn Ḥusayn al-Muṭīʿī, born in the village of al-Muṭīʿah, near Asyūṭ, Egypt in the year 1271 AH (1854 AD). After completing his memorisation of the Qurʾān, he moved to Al-Azhar in 1282, and started busying himself with knowledge and becoming proficient in the fiqh of Imam Abū Ḥanīfah. He remained dedicated to studying and teaching for as long as he lived, while also authoring over forty books, mainly in fiqh and theology. He also held several positions within the Egyptian judiciary, until he assumed the highest position therein and was then appointed Muftī of Egypt, a position he held from 1333 to 1339 (1914- 1921). He returned to his Lord on Friday, the 20th of Rajab, 1354 AH (1935). May Allah have mercy on him, his students, and all those who have conveyed his knowledge to us.
[2] Ar. kuffār, i.e. being like disbelievers, please see Imam an-Nawawī’s commentary on this ḥadīth for further details. (Sharḥ an-Nawawi ʿalā Muslim (Amman: Bayt al-Afkār ad-Dawliyyah, 1421/2000) p.138)