The Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith – Imam al-Bayhaqi [d. 458 A.H]

The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said

“There are some 60 or 70 branches of faith. The highest is to bear witness that ‘There is no god but Allāh and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh’ (lā ilāha illallāhu muhammadur rasūlullāh). The lowest is the removal of harm from the road. Modesty is also of faith.” [1]

The “Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith” [2] is a collection of Qur’anic verses and Prophetic narrations compiled by Imām al-Bayhaqī [d. 458 A.H], Allāh be well pleased with him. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true faith [imān]. These seventy-seven branches are some of the essential attributes and characteristics that a true believer should have or strive towards having.

Complete Iman in reality consists of three components:

  1. Confirmation by heart of all the essentials of Iman
  2. Confirmation by tongue of all the essentials of Iman
  3. Confirmation by actions of all the essentials of Iman

Thus, the ”77 Branches of Faith” are divided into three categories:

  1. the first of which concern the intention, belief and action of the heart,
  2. the second concern the use of the tongue,
  3. and the third concern all the remaining parts of the body.

Abdul Hakim Murad, professor of Divinity at Cambridge University, was the first to translate this work into the English vernacular.[3] As the book is no longer in print, here then are theSeventy-Seven Branches of Faith:

30 Qualities are Connected to the Heart

  1. To belief in Allāh Most High.
  2. To believe that everything other than Allāh was non-existent. Thereafter, Allāh Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence.
  3. To believe in the existence of angels.
  4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Qur’an, all other books are not valid anymore.
  5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ alone.
  6. To believe that Allāh Most High has knowledge of everything from before-hand and that only that which He sanctions or wishes will occur.
  7. To believe that Resurrection will definitely occur.
  8. To believe in the existence of Heaven.
  9. To believe in the existence of Hell.
  10. To have love for Allāh Most High.
  11. To have love for the Messenger of Allāh, ﷺ.
  12. To love or hate someone solely because of Allāh.
  13. To execute all actions with the intention of religion alone.
  14. To regret and express remorse when a sin is committed.
  15. To fear Allāh Most High.
  16. To hope for the mercy of Allāh Most High.
  17. To be modest.
  18. To express gratitude over a bounty or favour.
  19. To fulfill promises.
  20. To exercise patience.
  21. To consider yourself lower than others.
  22. To have mercy on the creation.
  23. To be pleased with whatever you experience from Allāh Most High.
  24. To place your trust in Allāh Most High.
  25. Not to boast or brag over any quality that you posses.
  26. Not to have malice or hatred towards anybody.
  27. Not to be envious of anyone.
  28. Not to become angry.
  29. Not to wish harm for anyone.
  30. Not to have love for the world.

7 Qualities are Connected to the Tongue

  1. To recite the Testimony of Faith [Kalimatu-sh Shahādah] with the tongue.
  2. To recite the Qur’ān.
  3. To acquire knowledge.
  4. To pass on knowledge.
  5. To make supplications [du’a] to Allāh Most High.
  6. To make invocations [dhikr] of Allāh Most High.
  7. To abstain from the following:
    • lies,
    • backbiting,
    • vulgar words,
    • cursing, and
    • singing that is contrary to the Sharī’ah.

40 Qualities are Connected to the Entire Body

  1. To make ablution [wudū], take bath [ghusl], and keep one’s clothing clean.
  2. To be steadfast in offering the prayer [salāt].
  3. To pay the tithe [zakāt] and Sadaqatu-l Fitr.
  4. To fast.
  5. To perform the Hajj.
  6. To make i’tikāf.
  7. To move away or migrate from that place which is harmful for one’s religion [din].
  8. To fulfill the vows that have been made to Allāh Most High.
  9. To fulfill the oaths that are not sinful.
  10. To pay the expiation [kaffārah]for unfulfilled oaths.
  11. To cover those parts of the body that are obligatory [fard] to cover.
  12. To perform the ritual slaughter [Udhiya/Qurbani].
  13. To enshroud and bury the deceased.
  14. To fulfill your debts.
  15. To abstain from prohibited things when undertaking monetary transactions.
  16. To NOT conceal something true which you may have witnessed.
  17. To get married when the nafs desires to do so.
  18. To fulfill the rights of those who are under you.
  19. To provide comfort to one’s parents.
  20. To rear children in the proper manner.
  21. To NOT sever relations with one’s friends and relatives.
  22. To obey one’s master.
  23. To be just.
  24. To NOT initiate any way that is contrary to that of the generality of the Muslims.
  25. To obey the ruler, provided what he orders is not contrary to the Sharī’ah.
  26. To make peace between two warring groups or individuals.
  27. To assist in noble tasks.
  28. To command the good and forbid the evil.
  29. To mete out punishments according to the Shari’ah, IF it is the government.
  30. To fight the enemies of religion [din] whenever such an occasion presents itself.
  31. To fulfill one’s trusts (amana).
  32. To give loans to those who are in need.
  33. To see to the needs of one’s neighbour.
  34. To ensure that one’s income is pure.
  35. To spend according to the Sharī’ah.
  36. To reply to one who has greeted you.
  37. To say yarhamuka-Llāh [Allāh have mercy on you!] when anyone says alhamduliLlāh [all praise is for Allāh] after sneezing.
  38. To NOT cause harm to anyone unjustly.
  39. To abstain from games and amusements contrary to the Shariah.
  40. To remove pebbles, stones, thorns, sticks, and the like from the road.

 

References:

[1] Sahīh Bukhārī
[2] Al-Bayhaqī, Shu’ab al-Īmān.
[3] al-Qazwīnī, 1300. Mukhtasar Shu’ab al-Imān. Translated from Arabic by TJ Winter, 1990. India: The Quilliam Press.
[4] AA al-Tahanawi. The 77 Branches of Faith. F. Rabbani on Sunni Path website [Online] Available from: http://spa.qibla.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=103&CATE=24.  [Accessed 30 Dec 2013].
[5] Jalali. The 77 Branches of Faith. [Online] Available from: http://taqwa.sg/v/articles/77-branches-of-faith/. [Accessed 30 Dec 2013]

 

Serving Others

This was delivered by Habīb Muhammad ‘Abdur Rahmān as-Saqqāf in Bradford on 1st December 2012.

In the Name of Allāh, Most Merciful and Compassionate
All praise to Allāh, Lord of the Worlds. And salutations and greetings upon our Master Muhammad and upon his family and companions.

I intend to study and teach, take and give a reminder, take and give benefit, take and give advantage, to encourage the holding fast to the book of Allah and the way of his messenger, and calling to guidance and directing towards good hoping for the countenance of Allah and His pleasure, proximity and reward, transcendent is He.

All praise be to Allāh for the prayers that will cause His gifts to shower upon us and by which the hearts can be prepared for His gaze so that they can turn towards His Exaltedness. We thank Him for His immense gifts that have come to us in succession because of His Beloved Mustafa. Blessings and peace be upon him and his family and those who follow them in excellence.

Allāh brought us together from morning to day until the evening. We reminded each other of things pertaining to our relationship to Allāh. We learnt certain rulings from the laws of Allāh, Glory be to Him. And the truth Glory be to Him during all of this was watching what was going on in your hearts. You have to know that there is an immense wisdom as to why these gatherings are organised. These wisdoms are also coupled with the intentions of people who are truthful to Allāh and these intentions benefit people in this world and the next. There are networks and connections that are due to that, that whoever connects to them will be connected back to the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ. In this gathering there are lifelines that are hanging above you. Whoever grabs on and holds onto them will be lifted by them to the higher worlds. So they are tied to a link, the lowest from it which is down here and the highest is with the Prophet of Allah ﷺ. Whoever connects to that link is like a bead on a string of prayer beads. If you move one bead, all the beads begin to revolve together. If you shake the highest bead, the bead at the bottom of the bead will also move. So all the movements that are going on here are connected by the links of the chain of movement all the way back to the Messenger of Allāh. And in the higher worlds and angelic worlds and spiritual worlds there are movements going on because of our movements. There are angels that hover over your heads here and there are rows and rows of angels all the way to the first heaven. You can’t see them because your intellects can’t cope with that. But they are here, they are present. These circles revolve from above you all the way to the heavens like a column of light, an immense column of light. All because you’re gathered for the sake of Allāh, Glory be to Him. And what we want to come out of this is that we leave these gatherings and we are among the hosts of Allāh.

We carry this faith of Allāh and we make a firm resolve to carry out our covenant with Allāh. The purpose of these gatherings isn’t that we just say that we were in itikaf (retreat) and went back home but rather it is that you take it upon yourself to carry this trust. And this trust is transferred from breast to breast. You see these phones and these other technological gadgets in your hand; do you see how you can transfer images and information from one gadget to another?  It’s because all these devices are connected to the internet and because they’re all connected in this immense way they can transfer information from one to the other. Do you think these devices are greater than the spirits of Allāh’s righteous servants? The hearts of the righteous people, their hearts are connected to the network of Allāh’s people and it’s connected to the highest angelic circle but some devices are not connected. Some devices are switched off so they need to be put back on and some just need to seek a password key. To do this, let your hearts gather together with us. Don’t think the one speaking in front of you is just another human being there in front you but rather connect to an immense great lineage and an immense bloodline that connects you all the way back to the Prophet of Allāh ﷺ. This is deputisation on behalf of the master of those who call to Allāh. Were it not for his concern, were it not for his solicitude towards you, I would not be here with you. Were it not for the fire in his heart, we would never have believed. We didn’t leave our families, loved ones and companions except that we wanted his light to reach you and to pass onto you the lifelines of connecting to him so the ones that can become felicitous through you can become felicitous. So those of you, who can become qualified, become qualified to carry this trust. I see hearts among the men and the women who have began to become prepared and there are lights flickering in them and I see lights racing to reach them. They will not leave this itikaf (retreat) except their hearts have connected to this lineage and I wish it was all of us, that none of us leave here except for that they are qualified to be deputies of the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ.

You have heard the words of Shaykh Haroon, we are not concerned about numbers and so and so and so and so. Our concern is for the whole community. That man who is standing there now in the bar holding his glass of beverage. We are concerned about him and we wish for him that the light of guidance reaches his heart and if our spirits were held ransom we would have given them. And also the women who are taking on jobs that are not befitting a woman and the man who is sitting their plotting for the downfall of the Muslim and who fights our faith likewise we wish for them to be guided.

We are working hard to ensure His felicity.  If the cost of His felicity was for us to give our spirit, for us to sacrifice our souls, it would be nothing because to see that happen would bring joy to the Master of Creation because that brings joy to the heart of our Beloved and the joy of my beloved, Muhammad ﷺ, for me is worth this world and the next. And I would love that at that moment that the Prophet in his barzakh is shown that so and so was guided because of me. That he become joyous because of it and his joy cannot be valued in my eye and is priceless. With his joy I forget the palaces of paradise and the ladies of Paradise and I forget the rivers of honey, water and milk. And in his joy I forget the palaces of the highest place in Paradise because his love is beloved to me than any other. It is more beloved to me than this lower world to the higher world because he is the beloved of my Lord. Do you know what it means to be the beloved of the Lord? Allāh did not love anyone like He loved him nor did He bring anyone as close to His presence as He brought him. You will see wonders on the Day of Judgement when he prostrates Himself before Allāh. Allāh will say to him, “My Beloved, Muhammad raise your head. Do not prolong your prostration. Ask what you wish of me. Let those you wish enter the garden. Intercede for whom you wish. Show compassion for those you want to show compassion to. Your door is open, nothing is barred for you.” At that point, you lose your minds. At that point creation will be left in madness. Creation will see things that were not in their minds and in their ability to conceive. They’ll see great compassion. They’ll see an expansive heart which spills out with gifts. He doesn’t forget anyone from his community.  He’ll remember the ones that were rebellious. He’ll remember those that fornicate. He’ll remember the murderers. He’ll remember those who were far away. And he’ll remember even those who had an atom’s weight of faith in their hearts. He’ll continue to prostrate to Allāh, one prostration after the other. And the angels will be left bewildered. And the Prophets will be bewildered. What is this heart? What is this compassion? What is this rank before the Divine Presence? And all of this and what is hidden is even greater. And what’s between him and Allāh, no-one else knows. And what people will see of his station in Paradise is nothing compared to what his Lord gives him as election. He is the Beloved of the Great Lord.

So imagine the felicity of the one who is close to him. Look at the joy of the one who enters the garden shoulder-to-shoulder with him. Look at the joy of the delegations that go to his basin to drink from his blessed hands. If all of creation were to gather together and to tell you the joy and light in the heart of the one who drinks from his hand, they would not be able to describe it because it is the palm of Muhammad ﷺ. A palm about which Allāh said, “Those who swear their oath of allegiance to you, swear their oath of allegiance to Allāh. The hand of Allāh is over their hand. Whoever puts his hand in your hand then My hand is over his hand, O Muhammad.” A palm which the garden will not be open except with this palm.

Imam Suyuti said that the Prophet said, “I will go to the garden and I will knock the rings that are the door-knockers of Paradise. They will say who? And I will say Muhammad.”
This name has a resonance that is immense. This name causes the angels of Allāh to go into ecstasy. They are joyous on the Prophet’s day. They will say we will command the door to open before you. Before your hand touches the door of Paradise it is not going to be worth turning. Before you walk into it, it’ll be barred from all of creation. When they open it and he walks in the garden will expand and the leaves of its trees will begin to clap. The sights will be more splendid and its bright-eyed maidens will become more beautiful and the mansions of Paradise, their doors will begin to open and its scent will become more intense. What of joy for Muhammad!

How will you be with him when you go there? This is an immense joy. This is an immense gift. This night we will save for that night. Are you prepared to be with Muhammad ﷺ in his company? Are you ardent about being near to him? If you’re honest in that, it’ll show in you from now. Turn yourself earnestly and follow him. Don’t let anyone come before him in works. Don’t put anything in this world before his sunnah. We want to make his faith to come to life in our hearts.

We want his character to come back to life in his community. How many Non-Muslims are stopped from entering Islam because of the bad character of Muslims? How many people if they were to see noble character they would come to Islam? We want to be sound doors through which creation can come through to Allāh’s presence. Take your souls and lay them out on the floor and discipline them. Lower yourself in front of all of Allāh’s creatures. Smile to them. Speak to them about Allāh. Be callers to Allāh.

I don’t want to see you again except that many people have been guided at your hands. I want to come again and I want to see this place full of people who have been guided at your hands. Make intense resolutions, firm resolve in your hearts right now. Make intentions right now that you’re going to be of service to the faith of Muhammad ﷺ. This is a blessed hour and maybe it won’t be repeated again because the winds of Lordly Grace are coming to us right now. Every heart that is prepared right now will feel a wind come and take it. This is an opportunity to cleanse your hearts. Be prepared. Turn your gaze towards Allāh. He’s now looking at your hearts. Now ask that He chooses you and we turn to Him, imploring to Him to take you by the hand. And our hope in Allāh is that none of you will walk out of this place except as callers. That each of you will become ranks and the hosts of Allāh. Let’s be honest. Men. Women. This is a door that’s open for you this night and you remember what I’ve said to you. A door that has been opened and I hope that Allāh lets you all go through it so in this night we can become felicitous. I see eyes that are going to become anointed with seeing the Prophet and they are being prepared by being cleansed. Be prepared by being purified so they can behold the face of Muhammad ﷺ. How felicitous are those eyes? May Allāh ennoble us and you with seeing him and let our hope and place in this gathering be to him a pleasure. Let us be sincere in serving his Sacred Law and faith. Emulate him in his call, earnestly and sincerely.

O Allāh allow us to realise! O Allāh allow us to realise! O Allāh allow us to realise! You say that You are at your slave’s opinion of You let Him think of You what he wishes. My opinion is that each one of these people will have their names inscribed in the book of Your servants and we do not know of You my Lord that you would turn back on the hope of the one who hopes in You or You turn away the prayer of the one who calls You. We ask You Allāh to let rays of light come out of this gathering tonight to this whole country so that thousands of your servants can be guided by that light so that they can come out of the circle of denial to the circle of faith and from the circle of immorality to the circle of righteousness.

O Lord let that be realised!  O Lord ennoble us like that! O Lord gather me to them in the abode of ennoblement! O Lord let me see their faces in the seat of earnestness! O Lord gather me to them at the basin of your beloved, Muhammad! O Lord let us remember this gathering when we sit on the couches of paradise! O Most Generous of the Generous! O Most Compassionate of the Compassionate! I ask Allāh to bless those who are the facilitators of this gathering and whoever served this gathering and everyone presented in it. I ask You to give them blessing and total acceptance. And our brothers from Sa-adah, let them be felicitous and everyone doing good work in this country let them be felicitous, O my Lord! And everyone doing good work around the globe let them be felicitous, O Lord! O Most Noble of the Noble! O Most Merciful of the Merciful!

May Allāh make us felicitous in serving the faith of Muhammad, endless peace and blessings be upon him.
Allāhumma Āmīn

Any mistakes, errors or misinterpretations of words are from me. Please correct me when you spot any mistakes.

Taken from: http://zaranargis.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/serving-others-habib-muhammad-as-saqqaf/

Argumentation without Knowledge

“Realise brothers that argumentation without knowledge causes the loss of much good and leads the ones arguing to invalidate a path from one of the paths of the sharī`ah. . . We have taken an oath that we would not open the door of argumentation without knowledge with anyone. Acting in that by the words of the Prophet, ‘No one argues about the religion except an infidel or an apostate in the religion.’

We qualified the blameworthiness of argumentation by our words, ‘without knowledge’ in order to exclude those who argue with knowledge about the religion of Allāh `azza wa jalla. For that type of argumentation is obligatory.

However, no servant attains the rank of knowledge and is called someone who can argue with knowledge except if he knows all of the paths of the sharī`ah. It says in the prophetic tradition, ‘Verily the sharī`ah came in three-hundred and thirteen paths. There is not a single path from among them which a servants takes except that by means of it his Lord will enter him into Paradise.’ this has been related by at-Tabrānī and others. For if a person knows all of these paths and he sees a path which contradicts these paths, then he has the right to argue concerning it. However, if he is ignorant of even a single path, then it is not possible for him to enter into dispute or perhaps he will invalidate by his arguments one of the paths of the sharī`ah; or perhaps he refuses to act by it and loses much good. As a result he becomes counted among those who reject the sharī`ah.”

[Excerpt taken from Shaykh ‘Uthmān ibn Fodio’s, Najm al-Ikhwān]

What and When is Laylatul Qadr (The Night of Power)?

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem – Alhamdu lillāhi rabb-il-‘Ālamīn
Allāhumma Salli ‘alā Muhammadin wa ‘alā Ālihi wa Sahbihi wa Sallim

What is Laylatul Qadr (The Night of Power)?

Allah سبحانه و تعالى says in the Qur’ān, interpretation of which states:

“Verily! We have sent this (Qur’ān) down in the Night of al-Qadr. And what will make you know what Night of Qadr is? The Night of al-Qadr is better than one thousand months. In it the angels and the Spirit (Angel Gabriel) descend, by the Permission of Allah, with all decrees. Peace it is until the appearance of dawn.”
[Sūrah al-Qadr (97): 1-5]

Imam Malik records in his Muwatta:

‟The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was shown the lifetimes of Ummahs. He saw that lifetime of His Ummah was shorter than the others. So He ﷺ was concerned for his Ummah not being able to do as much deeds as the previous nations who had longer lives. Thereupon, Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎  bestowed him Laylat-ul Qadr and made that night betterthan the other Ummahs’ one thousand years. Thus, the short lifetime of the Ummah gets longer by Laylat-ul Qadr.”

Imam Zuhri (d. 125 AH) says

“‘Qadr’ means status. So in comparison to other nights, this night has a greater status and hence it is known as Laylatul Qadr (The Night of Power.”

Abu Bakr al-Warraq (d. 280 AH) upon commenting on ‘Qadr’ says:

“On this night the worshippers are made into owners of Power, even if they  weren’t worthy of such a thing before.”[Tafsir al-Qurtubi]

Mufti Abdur Raheem Limbada says:

‟Laylatul Qadr is of two types;

  1. The night when the Qur’ān was revealed, and
  2. The night when one’s decree for a year is sent down.

The night when the Qur’ān was revealed always falls in Ramadhān and the night when the decree is sent can happen during any night of the year.

Wallāhu A’lam (Allaāh knows best).”

Given the tremendousness of this night, it is recommended to seek this night, and to worship Allah in it, with prayer, supplication (du`a), remembrance (dhikr), and other actions. Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

‟Whoever stays up (in prayer and remembrance of Allah) on the Night of Qadr fully believing (in Allah’s promise of reward for that night) and hoping to seek reward (from Allah alone and not from people), he shall be forgiven for his past sins.”
[Bukhari and Muslim]

When is Laylatul Qadr (Night of Power)?

Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbī says in his al-Qawānīn al-Fiqhiyyah:

“Most of the scholars, from the Salaf (right guided predecessors) and the Khalaf (rightly guided successors) agree that Laylat-ul-Qadr can occur on any night of the year, even outside the month of Ramadhān. However, the conclusion of the erudite scholars is that the exact night changes every year. Most years it is in Ramadhān while on rarer occasions it occurs outside of Ramadhān.

In the years that it is in Ramadhān, most of the time it occurs in its last ten days, On less frequent occasions, it occurs in the middle ten days (11-20). In the years that it occurs in the middle ten days, it occurs more often on the 17th or 19th.

In the years that it occurs in the last ten days, it occurs more often in the odd nights (rather than the even nights). In the years that it occurs in the odd nights, it is more frequent that it occurs on the 27th night of Ramadhān.”

This has been transmitted from many of the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ, including ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him). It is one of the reported positions of Imam Abu Hanifa, and also the opinion of am Malik, ash-Shafi’i, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ibn Arabi (whose position is quoted by Ibn Abidin with support), Abu’l Hasan al-Shadhili, Sha`rani, and many other knowers of Allah. 

Summary:

  1. One thousand months of about thirty days each are About 80 years.
  2. One should recite Qur’an and do many other acts of worship that have extensive rewards e.g. serving parents, making up missed prayers, praying optional prayers, making dhikr, etc. so that this great amount of good deeds may be multiplied 30,000 times over.
  3. Most years you can look in the last twenty days of Ramadan and you will find it for sure.

Legitimate Islamic Learning: Being People of Isnad

By Ustadh Abu Aaliyah

One cannot worship God with loving submission, save with sound sacred knowledge or ‘ilm. The Golden Rule in this regard was stated by Imam al-Bukhari in these terms:al-‘ilmu qabla’l-qawli wa’l-‘aml – ‘Knowledge comes before speech and action.’1 If we don’t possess sound knowledge, we may make something a part of the religion which should never be part of it – effectively introducing an innovation or bid‘ah into Islam. One hadith says: ‘Whoever does an act that we haven’t instructed, it shall be rejected.’ [Muslim, no.1718] The Qur’an itself says: Do they have partners who have made lawful for them in religion that which God has given no permission for? [42:21]

What follows are six points that summarise, God-willing, the issue of what constitutes legitimate Islamic learning:

1. The crux of how one seeks sacred knowledge is best expressed by a famous maxim: ‘Indeed this knowledge is religion, so look from whom you take your religion.’2 The upshot is that one avoids learning religion from those who are not Imams; or people not schooled, qualified or authorised in the traditional sciences: be it in theology, law, hadith, Qur’anic recital (tajwid), or any other discipline.

2. This qualification/authorisation (‘ijazah) must be part of an unbroken chain (isnad) of learning extending back to the Prophet, peace be upon him. One hadith says: ‘This knowledge will be carried by the trustworthy ones of every generation: they will expel from it the distortions of the extremists, the fabrications of the liars, and the mistaken interpretations of the ignorant.’ [Bayhaqi, Sunan, 10:209] If one takes knowledge from those outside of this unbroken chain, there is no telling what deviation can be passed-off as “the real deal” – as is all too often the case in these times.

3. To believe that the truths of Islam existed amongst the salaf; the pious predecessors, but then “sahih” or “authentic” Islam was lost or neglected for the next thousand years or so; until recently when it was rediscovered, is nothing but a dangerous myth which flies in the face of what God proclaimed in the Qur’an: Indeed, it was We who sent down the Remembrance, and of a surety We will preserve it. [15:9] Consider also these following hadiths: ‘My ummah shall never unite upon misguidance.’ [Al-Tirmidhi, no.2255] And: ‘There shall never cease to be a group of my ummah unmistakably upon the truth.’ [Al-Tirmidhi, no.2230; Muslim, no.1920] Also the hadith cited earlier: ‘This knowledge will be carried by the trustworthy ones of every generation.’ [Bayhaqi, Sunan, 10:209]

What these proof-texts collectively tell us is that God has promised that knowledge of Islam shall always be kept intact and be transmitted from one generation of scholars to the next, in an unbroken chain. While it is true that individual scholars can and do err; and while it is true that individual scholars can and do espouse aberrant (shadhdh) opinions that are excluded from the umbrella of legitimate scholarly differences; it is utterly preposterous to believe that many truths and sunnahs were unknown, lost or neglected by the entire scholarly community for many centuries (even a millenium), only to be revived or rediscovered by certain scholars in our time! Such a belief could only be held by one whose heart is plagued either with ignorance (jahalah), innovation (bid‘ah), hypocrisy (nifaq), deviation (zandaqah) or disbelief (kufr). And we seek refuge in God from such things.

4. In terms of fiqh (Islamic law and rulings; or to use its modern equivalent, “positive law”) the unbroken chain now only exists in the four remaining Sunni schools of law or madhhabs: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i and Hanbali. To the question as to why a person cannot follow other Imams or schools of fiqh besides these four, Ibn Rajab says: ‘It is said [in reply]: We have already alerted you to the reason for preventing this, which is that the schools of other than these [four] were not widely diffused, nor fully codified. At times views are ascribed to them which they never said, or their pronouncements are understood in ways they never intended. There is no [expert in] these schools to defend them or point out where such slips and errors lie – contrary to the case of the well-known madhhabs.’3 Hence it is from these four madhhabs and their relied-upon (mu‘tamad) manuals and teachers that fiqh must be taken.

5. As to a murajji‘, a “comparatist” (a highly-versed jurist qualified to evaluate the views of the mujtahid Imams and to then select the ruling he deems to be the ‘strongest’), al-Dhahabi wrote: ‘There is no doubt, one who has an intimate familiarity with fiqh, and whose knowledge is copious and intentions are sound, should not rigidly cling to one specific madhhab in all that it states. For maybe another madhhab has stronger proofs in a certain issue, or evidence may emerge by which the proof is established to him. In such a case, he must not follow his Imam, but must act by what the proof necessitates; following another mujtahid Imam whose view agrees with the evidence – doing so not out of pursuing whims and desires. However, he must not to give a fatwa to the public, except in accordance with the madhhab of his Imam.’4

6. Ibn al-Qayyim was asked about someone who possessed Sahih al-Bukhari, or Sahih Muslim, or one of the Sunans, and whether he may act on the hadiths in them, without first consulting a scholar. He replied thus: ‘The correct view in the matter is that there is some detail: If the textual indication in the hadith (dalalat al-hadith) is obvious and clear to whoever hears it, and allows for no other plausable reading, he should act on it and give fatwa according to it: he doesn’t need the approval of any jurist or Imam. The saying of the Prophet, peace be upon him, is proof in itself, no matter who it opposes. But if the indication is vague, or the intent is unclear, then it is unlawful for him to act on it or to give a fatwa based upon what he thinks it means, until he asks a scholar and gets clarity about the meaning of the hadith … This applies to one who is qualified, but has some shortcomings in his knowledge of fiqh, the principles of the legalists, and the Arabic language. If he isn’t of those who are qualified, his duty is simply to act on what God says: So ask the people of knowledge if you do not know. [16:43]‘5

Much more can be said about the subject, but what has preceeded should suffice. The sum and substance being that fiqh authority and orthodoxy resides in the four Sunni schools of law. The current ‘do-it-yourself’ fiqh culture which actively encourages the lay people, or those unschooled in fiqh, to dabble in the sacred texts and to ‘weigh-up’ the proofs (or the equally absurd ‘the-hadith-is-clear’ syndrome), are unwitting pawns who only serve to plunge this fragile ummah into even further religious anarchy. Such a methodology is to be seen for what it truly is: dal mudill: ’misguided and misguiding!’ Those holding such mistaken notions must correct them.

1. Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari (Damascus: Dar Ibn Kathir, 2002), 29.

2. Muslim b. al-Hajjaj, Sahih Muslim (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1991), 14.

3. Al-Radd ala man Ittabaah Ghayra’l-Madhahib al-Arbaah (Makkah: Dar al-‘Alam al-Fuwa’id, 1997), 33-4.

4. Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala (Beirut: Mu’assasah al-Risalah, 1998), 8:93-4.

5. I‘lam al-Muwaqqi‘in (Jeddah: Dar Ibn al-Jawzi, 2002) 6:164.

Source: The Humble “I”

Gluttony

Gluttony is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or wealth items to the point of extravagance or waste. A lot of gluttony is born of boredom and feeling emptiness inside. Christians consider it as one of the seven deadly sins and all of the Muslim scholars, those who authored books on Spirituality (Tasawwuf) and those who didn’t, spoke about ‘Gluttony’ as being a spiritual disease.

The way of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and His companions was to minimise food intake to that which keeps one’s back straight; to eat only when necessary. And the ⅓ of food, ⅓ of drink and ⅓ for air, is the upper limit which Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and many of His companions *never* had.

About 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations; that’s about 9 Million people a year.

During this blessed month of Ramadhān we can easily control our diet, cultivate our desires, remember the needy and donate at least £1/day.

gluttony

Returning to the Qur’ān.

By Maryam Amirebrahimi 

After two hours of taraweeh and four hours of tahajjud, the Shaykh was crying to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) in his prostration, pleading with Allah (swt) to forgive him.

This Shaykh would have to stop reciting the Qur’an because he was weeping so much. He would recite verses of the hellfire and you felt that he was witnessing the hellfire; verses of Paradise and it was as if he was in Paradise; he would recite a du`a’(supplication) in the Qur’an and beg with this du`a’ as if he was the only one, amongst thousands of people, making it for his own soul. And then, after losing his voice from hours of recitation and crying, he would go into sujood (prostration), and we could hear him over the microphone weeping, making tawbah (repentance) to Allah (swt).

Why was I not feeling the weight of the Qur’an like he was? Why was I not feeling the weight of my shortcomings like he was? And who could possibly have more shortcomings between the two of us? The most overwhelming feeling that I experienced was that he knew something that I did not. Indeed, Allah `azza wa jal (the Almighty and Majestic) says, “It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah,” (Qur’an, 35:28). And the Shaykh recited this verse over and over.

After Ramadan, I went to his masjid and was blessed to be able to ask him about this.

“Shaykh, I was here in Ramadan— When you recited the Qur’an, I felt that you really understood it. Sometimes you would recite a verse over and over, sometimes you would cry and cry. And even if I understood the meaning of the verse, I would not cry like you would cry. And so I felt you don’t just know the meaning, but you KNOW the meaning. How can I be of those who know?”

He replied, “The means are many:

1. Prepare your heart with the utmost preparation by praying salat al-sunnah (the optional prayer) before the fard salah(the obligatory prayer).

a. Prepare your heart before you enter salah. For example, before Salat al-`Ishaa’ (the night prayer), pray two rak`at (units of prayer) to help your heart feel the Qur’an before the fara`id (obligatory prayer).

 

2. Recite the Qur’an often.
a. When you recite an ayah (verse), recite it over and over—contemplate the ayaat.
b. Interact with the Qur’an, one juz (part) a day, so that you can finish the Qur’an within one month, reciting it plentifully.

3. Read the tafsir (explanation) of the Qur’an.
a. While reciting the Qur’an, if you realize there is a verse that you do not understand, go to the tafsir. Then go back to the verse and read it with knowledge about how it was revealed, why it was revealed, when it was revealed, the situation it was revealed in, and then think: do I understand it now?

4. Realize Allah `azza wa jal is calling YOU.
a. Imagine how it was when the Qur’an was revealed to the Companions. They witnessed the revelation of Qur’an! They knew the reason for the revelation of different verses; they knew the Qur’an was addressing THEM. Imagine how the Companions radi Allahu `anhum (may Allah be please with them) were then affected, when they knew the Qur’an was revealed to them, that the Qur’an was calling them.
b. Know this: Allah (swt) is calling you! As an example, say you heard a verse from Surat al-Hujurat: “O you who have believed, do not put [yourselves] forward before Allah and His Messenger, but fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing,” (Qur’an, 49:1). You should think, I am from those who believe. What is Allah asking from ME? What does Allah, the Most Loving, request from me?

5. LIVE these ayaat
a. When you read about Jannah, imagine you are SITTING in Jannah, looking at the fruits of Jannah, watching the people of Jannah, smelling the scents of Jannah.
b. When you read about the Naar (Hellfire), think about your kitchen, think about how hot it is when you are by the stove when the fire of the stove is on. Imagine how hot it would be if you were to touch that fire—so hot that you cannot stand the heat of the fire on your face. This is the fire of this life! Imagine the Naar! How hot is the Naar?

6. Very important: du`a’.
a.  Allah ‘aza wa jall is the Only One who will give you this understanding. You will not get it unless Allah (swt) wants you to understand. So when you make sujood, and you are between His Hands subhanah (the Glorious), make a ton of du`a’: “O Allah! You are the Opener! Open this knowledge for me, open the understanding of the Qur’an for me.”

7. Qiyam al-Layl (the night prayer)
a. Read the verse, and think about the verse, and read it many, many times, and ponder over the verse. The Prophet ﷺ would read just one verse, over and over, weeping to Allah (swt).
b. The reading and contemplation of the Qur’an will move the heart.

8. Lessen the sins and the disobedience to Allah (swt).
a. Raan (the stain of sins and evil deeds) are a barrier from feeling and understanding the Qur’an. They create a covering on the heart: “No! Rather, stain has covered their hearts of that which they were earning,” (Qur’an, 83:14).
b. Thus you can hear a verse, such a strong, powerful verse, but you are not affected by it because you have this covering on your heart. You need to decrease the sins you commit so that your heart can be affected by the Qur’an.

9. Listen to the Qur’an plentifully.
a. When you listen to the Qur’an, think – why does this reciter recite this verse over and over? Why is he crying when he recites this verse? Listen and think about why the reciter is reciting the way he is.

10. Have hope with Allah `aza wa jal.
a. Allah (swt) will NEVER leave me to myself.
b. Realize Allah (swt) will not leave you to yourself when you ask Him! Make du`a’ to Him! Have hope that He (swt) will answer you!
c. Make du`a’: “O Allah! Who am I? Who am I except the companion of sin and disobedience? And You subhanah! You are the Companion of forgiveness! O Allah, open the doors of understanding for me! You are the Only One Who can give me understanding!”
d. KNOW that He will answer you and will never leave you.”

Floored, I asked him – “Shaykh, how do you know all this? You answered me with steps, with a plan of how to return to the Qur’an. Is it all just in a book—that I can read and know exactly what to do?”

He replied, “You know, just like if you are in a certain department in college and you want to get the highest grades, what do you do? You read books, you speak to people who learn the material—just like this, I thought, how do I become successful? So I read books and I listened, and when I heard someone reciting and they were weeping, I thought, why are they weeping in this verse? Why are they weeping here?”

And so he searched, with the goal: “Kayf anjah? How do I succeed?”

Perhaps not all of us can jump into implementing all of the above steps overnight. Instead, let us make sure to take care and guard over doing at least two of them until we get them down, and then move on to do more until insha’Allah (God willing) we too are of those who succeed.

Below, please find the I WANT THE QUR’AN! chart. Print it out, put it somewhere you’ll see every day (like the fridge), and mark your progress with the Qur’an.

The Prophet ﷺ taught us that whoever wants this life, for this person is the Qur’an. And whoever wants the akhira (the next life), for this person is the Qur’an. And whoever wants them both, then for this person is the Qur’an.

From knowledge to dough, whatever you want, cling to the Qur’an! In the end, “…whatever of good (deeds that Allah loves) you send forth for yourselves before you, you shall find it with Allah. Certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what you do.” (Qur’an, 2:110)

Download the Qur’an chart now!

I WANT THE QUR’AN Chart (Microsoft Word document)

I WANT THE QUR’AN Chart (PDF document)

Source: Returning to the Qur’an