Justice in Islam

February 24, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“His Throne is upon the waters, and in His other hand is the balance (Justice), and He raises and lowers (whomever He will).” – a hadith of the Prophet (pbuh)

One of the Names of God is Al-Adl, the Just, and in Islam, Justice demands a balance, a fairness that is clearly seen and felt. And the best example may be the ‘best of creation’ himself:

When the Prophet (peace be unto him) was drawing near death, he availed himself of one last chance to practice justice:

He came to the mosque wrapped in a blanket, and there were those who saw signs of death in his face. “If there is any among you,” he said, “whom I have caused to be flogged unjustly, here is my back. Strike in your turn. If I have damaged the reputation of any among you, may he do likewise to mine. To any I have injured, here is my purse… It is better to blush in this world than in the hereafter.” A man claimed a debt of three dinars and was paid.

In Islam and on the Sufi path as well, the highest level of Justice is to do Justice without demanding it, recognizing that our own demands may be the cause of the imbalance itself. Thus, a story is told of Dhu’l Nun al Misri, the great Egyptian Sufi saint. There was a drought in Egypt, and the people implored him to pray to God for rain. He did so, and during his prayer, God informed him that he himself was the source of the drought. So he left Egypt, and the rains came.

And for the dictators in the world,  a reminder:

Beware of oppressing someone with no defense against you except God. – Hazrat Ali

- Edited from The Virtues of the Prophet, (Chapter IX) by Charles Upton.

Ya Haqq!


The Blessed Month of Sha’ban

July 19, 2010

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

The Sha‘bān Letter

- compiled and translated by Sidi Amjad Tarsin

All praises are due to Allah the Exalted who has blessed us to be on the doorstep of Ramadan. Many of the pious predecessors used to spend months preparing for the efforts they were going to exert in the holy month of Ramadān. These are excerpts from the book, “Kanz An-Najāḥ wa As-Surūr” (The Treasuries of Success and Happiness) regarding the greatness of Sha‘bān and some of the recommended things to do during this month.

Repentance & Fasting:

It is highly recommended to repent frequently (tawbah) and increase in acts of worship, especially fasting. Whosoever prepares themselves with acts of worship and repentance in Sha‘bān will reap the benefits of those acts in Ramadān.

Usama ibn Zayd, may Allah be pleased with him, asked the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, “I have never seen you offer fast in a month as you do in Sha‘bān.” The Prophet said, “It is a month people disregard that is between Rajab and Ramadān. In that month deeds are presented to the Lord of the Worlds, so I like my deeds to be presented while I am fasting.” [Nasa'i].

Salutations Upon the Prophet (peace be upon him):

Sha‘bān is the month of the Prophet peace and mercy of Allah be upon him, for he said, “Sha‘bān is my month.”

It was in this month that the famous verse regarding sending blessing and peace on the Prophet was revealed:
{ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَمَلاَئِكَـتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى ٱلنَّبِيِّ يٰأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً}
{ Allah and His Angels send their blessings upon the Prophet, O you who believe send blessings upon him and salutations of peace} (33:56)

Therefore, it is highly encouraged to increase in sending one’s salutations upon the Prophet, peace and mercy of Allah be upon him. Scholars have said, “Rajab is the month of repentance, Sha‘bān is the month of sending salutations upon the Prophet, peace and mercy of Allah be upon him, and Ramadān is the month of the Qur’an.”

The 15th Night of Sha‘bān:

On the relation of ‘Atā’ ibn Yasār, may Allah be well pleased with him, who said, “On the 15th night of Sha‘bān the Angel of Death, peace be upon him, copies down the names of all those who will die from that Sha‘bān to the next Sha‘bān…and there is no night after Laylat Al-Qadr better than the 15th night of Sha‘bān.”

Other hadiths also describe the 15th night as being the night in which Allah decrees everyone’s provisions, even after-worldly provisions (Paradise, Hell), therefore it is important to bring that night to life through Prayer, reading Qur’an, and repentance.

Related by Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be well pleased with him and his father, that the Prophet, peace and mercy of Allah be upon him, said, “There are five nights on which du‘ā’ is not turned back: Friday eve, on the eve of Rajab, the 15th night of Sha‘bān, Laylat Al-Qadr, and on the eve of the two ‘Eids.”

It is also recommended to say the du‘ā’:

اللّهُمَ إنَّكَ عفوٌ كريمٌ تُحِبَّ العَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَني، اللّهُمَّ إنّي أسْألُكَ العَفْوَ والعَافية والمُعَافَاةَ الدَّائِمة في الدِّين والدُّنيا والأخِرَة

Allahumma innaka ‘Afūwun Karīmun tuḥib ul ‘afwa fa‘afu ‘annī, Allahumma innī as’aluka al-‘afū, wa al-‘āfīyah wa al-mu‘āfāt ad-da’imah fī ad-dīni wa ad-dunyā wa al-ākhirah.

O Allah, You are Pardoning and Generous and You love to pardon, so pardon me. O Allah, I ask You for pardoning, good health [in body], and to be [spiritually] health always in my religion, and in this life, and in the hereafter.

It is also highly recommended to read Surah Yā-Sīn 3 times that night, each time with a specific intention:

1. The first time with the intention of Allah increasing the length of your life in worship and good deeds.

2. The second time with the intention of Allah protecting you from tribulations.

3. Lastly, with the intention of Allah not making you reliant on other people.

Clarification: “Giving life to the night” is said to be staying up most of the night in worship, although other scholars have said just one hour. Others have said just be determined to pray ‘Ishā in congregation and Fajr in congregation and that will fulfill “giving life to the night.”

May Allah bless us and the entire Ummah throughout this month, and bless us even more in Ramadan. Amin.

Ya Haqq!

Note: Reposted from the most excellent Interpreter’s Path blog of AbdulKarim Yahya


Discourse on the Prophet (pbuh)

June 25, 2010

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Discourse on the Prophet (blessings of Allah and peace be upon him):

Head of the state as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without the Pope’s pretensions, Caesar without the legions of Caesar: without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue; if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by the right divine, it was Mohammed, for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports. He cared not for the dressings of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life.

In Mohammadanism everything is different here. Instead of the shadowy and the mysterious, we have history… We know of the external history of Muhammad… while for his internal history after his mission had been proclaimed, we have a book absolutely unique in its origin, in its preservation… on the Substantial authority of which no one has ever been able to cast a serious doubt.

- Reverend Bosworth Smith, MOHAMMAD AND MOHAMMADANISM, London, 1874

Note: Although the sentiment is admirably correct, it is worth noting that the colonial and scholarly Oriental mindset was everywhere prevalent in the late 19th Century, which esteemed Islam less than its Prophet in naming the religion (thus Mohammadanism), as if Islam were founded entirely through the efforts of one inspired individual and not decreed by the will of God.

Ya Haqq!




Acquire Knowledge!

March 4, 2010

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

To acquire knowledge is binding upon all Muslims, whether male or female.

He who travels in the search of knowledge, to him God shows the way of Paradise.

Acquire knowledge, because he who acquires it in the way of the Lord performs an act of piety; who speaks of it praises the Lord; who seeks it, adores God, who dispenses instruction in it, bestows alms; and who imparts it to its fitting objects performs an act of devotion to God.

Knowledge enables its possessor to distinguish what is forbidden from what is not; lights the way to Heaven; it is our friend in the desert, our companion in solitude, our companion when bereft of friends; it guides us to happiness; it sustains us in misery; it is our ornament in the company of friends; it serves as an armor against our enemies. With knowledge the creatures of Allah rises to the heights of goodness and to noble position, associates with the sovereigns in this world and attains the perfection of happiness in the next.

- Sayings (hadiths) of the Prophet (pbuh)

Note:  See also this older post, Benefits of Acquiring Knowledge.

Ya Haqq!


The Prophet (pbuh) Speaks to Satan!

December 3, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

This is related by Anas ibn Malik [May Allah bless him]:

“One day, in the house of Abu Ayyub, we were sitting together in the company of our Master, the blessed Messenger of Allah ( pbuh). Suddenly, we heard a very ugly voice calling from outside. “O Messenger of Allah, have I your permission to enter?” Our Master (pbuh) asked us: “Do you recognize that voice? When we replied: “Allah and His Messenger know best,” our Master (pbuh) said: “That is the voice of Satan.”

“Umar got up and said: “O Messenger of Allah, by your leave, let me go and smash the deceiver’s skull. Let me deliver the people from his mischief.” But our Master (pbuh) told him: “It is not within your power to do so, Umar, for he has been given respite till the Resurrection. Nobody can touch him.”

“We all fell silent, waiting to see what might happen. Our Master (pbuh) said: “There is always an underlying reason for things. Otherwise he would not have come here.” He then gave permission for the devil to enter his presence. In he came, his face very ugly, blind in one eye and with a few hairs on his chin. He explained that he had come at Allah’s command saying: “Had I not come, the Exalted Lord would have tormented me as long as I was on earth. You are to question me, and I am to answer your queries.”

“Our Master (pbuh) then asked Satan: “Who are your enemies?” To this he replied: “My enemies are fifteen groups of people. First of all, my chief foes are you and all the Prophets.”

“What you say is true,” said the blessed Messenger (pbuh): “Neither I nor any of the Prophets have any love for you. You are both my greatest enemy and that of all the Prophets.” Satan then proceeded to enumerate his other foes:

“My second enemies are scholars who put their learning into practice. They not only study and teach, but also act on what they learn.”

“My third enemies are the righteous, who recite the Holy Quran and model their character on what they read.”

“My fourth enemies are those who give the Call to Prayer for Allah’s sake.”

“My fifth enemies are the poor who are satisfied with their lot.”

“My sixth enemies are the compassionate.”

“My seventh enemies are the generous.”

“My eighth enemies are those who perform the early morning prayer on time.”

“My ninth enemies are those who advise the people and call them to Allah, those who reform the people.”

“My tenth enemies are those who abstain from unlawful food and avoid fornication and adultery.”

“My eleventh enemies are those who are always in a state of ritual purity, ready for worship.”

“My twelfth enemies are the modest.”

“My thirteenth enemies are those who place all their trust in Allah.”

“My fourteenth enemies are those who give pleasure to the poor and needy.”

“My fifteenth enemies are those called pious and devout, who are always busy in the service of their Exalted Lord.”

Our Master (pbuh) asked: “Have you any friends among my Community” What are the characteristics of your friends?” To this Satan replied: “O Messenger, ten classes of people are my friends:

First, tyrannical rulers and princes who oppress the people. Second, the arrogant. Third, scholars who are the lackeys of tyrants, who cannot tell them the truth, but hide it and confirm their falsehoods. Fourth, dishonest tradesmen who cannot be trusted in business. Fifth, those who take strong drink. Sixth, confidence tricksters and black marketeers. Seventh, backbiters and slanderous gossips. Eighth, usurers, those who take interest. Ninth, liars and blasphemers. Tenth, informers, intriguers who stir up enmity and cause friends to quarrel and fall out with one another.”

Here we have listed all the friends and foes of Satan. Those who worship are his foes, while those who do not worship are his friends. Is it possible to conceive of a spiritual teacher, a saint, who not only fails to worship Allah personally, but even prevents others from doing so? Anyone who keeps people from their five daily prayers, who make them break their fast, is indeed an intimate friend-not of Allah, but of Satan. He is an enemy of the Exalted Lord. We shall see the true condition of such people on the coming Day of Resurrection. They will have a hard time explaining themselves to their deluded and misguided disciples who will say to them, as they are cast into the fire:

“We were only following you, so can you give us some relief from Allah’s punishment?” (14:21)

They will reply: “Had Allah guided us, we would have guided you.” (14:21)

“It makes no difference now, whether we panic or patiently endure.” (14:21)

“For us there is no refuge.” (14:21)

The false teachers will try to blame it all on Satan. But when they start to shower their curses on him, Satan will emerge from the fire upon a throne, addressing them with these words:

Satan will say: “Allah made you a promise true. I also made you promises, but I have left you in the lurch. I had no power over you. I only called you and you answered me. Therefore do not blame me but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I did not believe in the divine partnership you once ascribed to me.” For the evildoers there is indeed a painful punishment. (14:22)

- excerpt adapted from Irshad: Wisdom of a Sufi Master, by Sheikh Muzaffar Ozak al-Jerrahi.

Ya Haqq!


A Month of Blessing

August 30, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every supplicant when he calleth on Me: let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me: that they may walk in the right way.” (Qur’an 2:188)

And the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Ramadan has come to you. (It is) a month of blessing, in which Allah covers you with blessing, for He sends down Mercy, decreases sins and answers prayers. In it, Allah looks at your competition (in good deeds), and boasts about you to His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves, for the unfortunate one is he who is deprived in (this month) of the mercy of Allah, the Mighty, the Exalted.” [Narrated by Tabarani]

Ya Haqq!


Thanks Giving and Forgiveness

November 25, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“Be reconciled with the one who has broken with you, pardon the one who has been unjust to you, and forgive the one who denies you.”

- A saying of the Prophet (pbuh)

How many of us live up to this blessed tradition, instead of carrying around past resentments, slights, hurts, angers, injustices, and injuries, like chains weighing down our lives, and veils over our heart. I know I have been guilty of this, may Allah forgive me. And we still find it hard to let go and forgive, even though we pray and hope and beg and plead for Allah forgiveness for ourselves.

Alhamdulillah! How great is God’s bounty that we will soon celebrate Thanksgiving in the US, and give thanks for all that He has bestowed upon us. But what thanks are accepted by Him when we are thankless to those that grieved us by not also forgiving them?

In the words of Sa’di from the Gulistan (The Rose Garden):

When you are mistreated, put up with it;
Forgiving purifies you from sin.
As you will turn to dust in the end,
Become dust before you reach that end.

Ya Haqq!

Note: This post is edited and updated from a previous one written two years ago.


Supplication of the Prophet (pbuh)

April 15, 2008

”O Lord I supplicate Thee for

firmness in faith, and inclination

towards the straight path, and for

Your aid in being grateful to You

and in adoring You in every good

way; and I supplicate you for an

innocent heart which shall not

incline to wickedness and for a true

tongue. I supplicate You to guide

me to all You know to be

virtuous and to preserve me from

all which You know to be vicious,

I supplicate You to forgive me my

faults for You know them all”

Ameen.

A supplication attributed to Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), taken from the excellent Siraat-e-Mustaqeem blog.

Ya Haqq!


March 20th, Birthday of the Prophet (pbuh), New Year, Spring

March 19, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“You have indeed in the Messenger of God a beautiful pattern of conduct for anyone whose hope is God and the Final Day.” (Al-Ahzab 33:21).

Alhamdulillah! The moon is full, a reminder that this is Rabi a-Awwal, by the Lunar calendar the month of the blessed birthday (Milad Un-Nabi) of the Prophet Muhammad (the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his family).

According to Sunni scholars, the Prophet’s birthday is observed on 12th Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on March 20, 2008, and 17th Rabi al-Awwal (march 25th this year) according to Shia scholars.

March 20th is also the first day of Spring, and celebrated as Nawrooz, the New Year in Iran and other countries. What a blessing that the birth of the Prophet (pbuh) should fall on the first day of Spring and the New Year, surely a sign of rebirth and love as we contemplate his noble attributes and teachings.

There is a difference of opinion about whether the Milad Un-Nabi should be a time of celebration. There is evidence that the Prophet (pbuh), his Companions, and the early followers after them did not celebrate or otherwise observe his birthday. On the contrary, he was careful to warn his people not to imitate other faiths, whose followers elevated their prophets and added to the religion what was not in the original teachings.

Those who disagree see it as a time to read the Qur’an, fast, pray, and remember the life, teachings, and example of the Prophet (pbuh).

When praising the Prophet (pbuh), we are also warned not to exaggerate in his praise. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Do not overpraise me as Christians overpraised Jesus, son of Mary. Say [when referring to me], ‘Servant of Allah and His messenger.'”

Servant of Allah and His messenger!

Surely that is a title that needs no embellishment. And so, what will you do to celebrate the Prophet’s (pbuh) birthday? Will you be fasting and praying? Having a celebration and giving gifts to family and friends? Giving to charity, visiting the sick, going to the mosque, helping a neighbor?

“Remember Me and I will remember you!” (Qur’an, 2:152)

May Allah bless you all, gentle readers, and guide you on the straight path of love, compassion, mercy, generosity and kindness.

Ameen.

Ya Haqq!


The Prophet (pbuh) and the Blind Man

March 10, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“He frowned and turned away when a blind man came his way. How do you know if (his heart) might be purified or recall (God) and by recollection be rectified? For those who are called wealthy, you attend to them closely and don’t bother if they are purified! Yet from one who comes to you hopeful, fearful and clearly humble, you let your attention be shunted aside.” - (Qur’an 80:1-12)

This Quranic verse, directed toward the Prophet himself (pbuh), is the harshest reminder in the revelation itself of allowing oneself to be distracted by the affairs of the world, and thereby, even momentarily, losing the insight of its true teachings of love and compassion, kindness and guidance in the worship of Allah, the One who has no partners.

It is further related that Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (pbuh), said that if any chapter of the Qur’an could be wiped out, he had wished it would be this short chapter entitled, He Frowned, that addresses him as the one who frowned and chastises him for his treatment of the blind man.

The old and feeble blind man came seeking some knowledge about the new religion of Islam, but his arrival interrupted an important meeting of Arab tribal elders, powerful and rich men, who, if they had embraced the religion, would have greatly strengthened the community, which was under constant threat.

The Prophet (pbuh) had done what almost any other leader would do in looking out for his community through practical means; he ignored the blind man and continued to talk to the powerful tribal elders.

Alhamdulillah! He admonishes even His own Prophet (pbuh) for ignoring the true seeker, for not taking a moment to answer the old blind man. Most certainly this would have been a real lesson to the tribal elders about the new religion of Islam.

Allah knows the truth.

May Allah bless us and grant us all the insight of this lesson and guide us to what is truly important in life.

Ameen.

 

Ya Haqq!


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