Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Greatness of the 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah

Alhamdulillah, the blessed days of the Hijri month of "Dhul Hijjah" are upon us.
وَلَيَالٍ عَشْرٍ
"By the ten nights." [TMQ Al-Fajr 89:2]
The "ten nights" which Allah [subhana wa ta'ala] is swearing by here, are the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah. [1] Allah [subhana wa ta'ala] swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit.
Ibn ‘Abbas [radi Allahu ‘anhu] narrated that Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] said: "There is no deed more precious in the sight of Allah, or greater in reward, than a good deed done during the ten days of Sacrifice." He was asked: "Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?" He said: "Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing." [2]
It is a great chance to collect uncountable hasanat . It is a great chance to renew your relation with Allah [subhana wa ta'ala]. Prepare now so you can start from the first night/day of the month [i.e. as soon as Dhul-Hijjah is announced]. You don't want to miss a moment of the best days in the sight of Allah [subhana wa ta'ala].
Since the Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] referred to the 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah as: " days better than these days in the sight of Allah." [3], the scholars have said that these are better than Ramadan. [4] Therefore, be very vigilant and don't waste these precious moments. Ask Allah to help you to benefit from this period of His special Grace.
Ask yourself these questions [non-rhetorical]:
Did you intend to benefit from these days?
What have you done to prepare for these 10 days?
Did you prepare a program?
What is your plan of action?
Here is a brief guide to help you to prepare for the best days of the year:
Read the Qur'an:
Plan to complete the reading of the Qur'an within this period.
If you read three juz a day, it can be accomplished. It is not difficult. Ask Allah to make it easy for you. We know reciting one letter is equal to ten hasanat . If you read three juz everyday, it translates to thousands of millions of hasanat.
Subhana'Allah! And this calculation is just based on the 1=10 ratio. These are special days of His Grace. Therefore, don't even think about how much Allah can/will increase & add it for you. You cannot fathom it. He is Kareem. He knows that you have ikhlas ; He will not count it as 1=10. He could raise it to 1=700 or even more. And this is what you can earn every day of these special days. Keep in mind that reciting the Qur'an is a good deed and Allah specially loves the good deeds done in these days: "And if He [subhana wa ta'ala] loves the good deeds, He will love the doer of those good deeds." [5] If Allah loves someone, He will not punish them. Remember this concept so that the deeds you do come from your heart [don't be like a machine]. Honour the rights of the Qur'an when reciting it.
Increase in Nawafil Prayers:
Increase your supererogatory prayers.
Ask yourself these questions and make sure that your heart gives you sincere answers:
Do you have an aim?
Do you really want to be closer to Allah?
Do you live with this craving?
Do you really love Allah and seek His closeness?
If, you want this, then know that Allah teaches you the means to gaining His qurb.
Allah says:
كَلَّا لَا تُطِعْهُ وَاسْجُدْ وَاقْتَرِبْ
"Fall prostrate and draw near to Allah!" [TMQ Al-Alaq 96:19]
This is the way! Prostrate in sujud to Him [subhana wa ta'ala] and you will be closer to Him. The Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] said: "The closest that a person is to his Lord is when he is prostrating, so say a great deal of du'a then." [6] He [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] is commanding us to make a lot of du'a while in sujud. Are we obeying his order? Yes? We need to do more. For he [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] said to: "...make lots of du'a." Remember, the Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] loved us and he knew that we have a lot of needs from Allah. This is why he taught us the way to get those needs fulfilled. Therefore, if you have needs, then you cannot leave sujud. Any sajdah without khushu' & without du'a is a big khasara . Let us not be losers from now on bi-idhnillah.
When the Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] instructed us to do a lot of sujud, it means to perform a lot of salah . "With each sajdah for Allah, He will raise you a level with it. And cancel a sin with it." So, the more you increase in your sujud, the closer you are to being a winner.
Examples for increasing nawafil salah :
a] Salat Dhuha: Also known as al-Awwabeen, may be offered as 2, 4, 6 or 8 rak'at, prayed after the sun has risen and before the time for Dhuhr approaches. [7] "Al-Awwab' means one who is obedient, or one who turns to obedience. Bi-idhnillah, we want to show Allah that we are of those who are obedient.
b] 4 rak'at before and 4 after Dhuhr: "Whoever regularly performs four rak'at before Dhuhr and four after it, Allah will forbid him to the Fire." [8]
c] 4 rak'at before ‘Asr - The Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] said: "May Allah have mercy on those who pray four rak'at before ‘Asr prayer." [9] Bi-idhnillah, you stand to gain the mercy of Allah because of the du'a of Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam]. Do you want the mercy of Allah to reach you? Don't leave these 4 rak'at.
d] Tahhiyatul masjid: Greet the masjid with two rak'at: "If any one of you enters a mosque, he should pray two rak'at before sitting." [10]
e] Salat at-Tawbah: It could be any bad deed, any sin, you hear something bad , you see something bad, you feel your heart constricted because of something you have done and you didn't mean it, etc, you can erase it immediately with your prayer of repentance. Make a good wudhu' and offer two sincere rak'at of repentance. Ask Allah to forgive you. If it's from your heart, then know that Allah will cancel your sin.
f] Qiyam al-Layl: With this prayer, we hope that Allah will illuminate our graves; will bestow nur on our faces; will cancel our bad deeds, bi-idhnillah. Pray at least 2 rak'at. If you are able to follow the Sunnah, then pray all 11 rak'at.
Remember that in these special days and nights, Allah is sending His special mercy. Do you think that this special mercy will reach everybody? Do you think that it will reach the one who is in front of the TV watching a movie? Or listening to music? Or do you think it will reach the one who is making sujud, ruku', tilawah, making istighfar, etc.?
We have to show Allah that we want this special mercy. We need to make ourselves eligible for it.
Allah [subhana wa ta'ala] swears by the night [Surah Fajr]. Therefore, take care of the nights. Don't be among the losers. Write this in bold and make it your motivational factor for the special days: "We won't be among the losers!" Remember: "Our Lord, may He be blessed and exalted, comes down to the lowest heaven every night when the last third of the night is left, and He says: ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will ask Me for forgiveness, that I may forgive him?'." [11] And, now that it is winter, we get really long nights. So it's a good chance to maximise our hasanat. Don't forget while you are praying qiyam that Allah [subhana wa ta'ala] Loves this deed. Therefore, He [subhana wa ta'ala] loves the doer of this deed also.
If we were lazy before, we will be active and good from now on bi-idhnillah. We will not be among the losers. If these days and nights are a king who is distributing gifts of gold while announcing: "Come take these gold nuggets", wAllahi, you will find people standing in long queues and hordes to collect them. Subhana'Allah, Allah is spreading mercy during these days. He [subhana wa ta'ala] is accepting supplications. He [subhana wa ta'ala] is offering unimaginably wonderful blessings that we don't even know of. So will we not work to get in those lines to gather Allah's gifts?
Makes lots of Dhikr:
Do a lot of dhikr, especially in these days.
"There are no days greater in the sight of Allah..." [12]
So what did the Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] tell us to do in these days? That, we need to make the dhikr of tahlil, tahmid & takbir. [13] As soon as the announcement of Dhul-Hijjah is made, start your dhikr:
"Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, la ilaha ill-Allah, Wallahu Akbar. Walilahilhamd."
Many people mistakenly believe that you chant this only on the day of ‘id. But, it is meant to be recited from the beginning of Dhul-Hijjah. Bukhari related that Ibn ‘Umar & Abu Hurayrah said that they used to go out in the streets making loud takbir. They did not think that this was riya. They were busy with declaring the signs of Allah. This practice has now become a forgotten Sunnah. Why do people feel shy to follow this Sunnah? These are the days of takbir, tahlil & tahmid with raised voices.
Therefore revive this Sunnah by doing audible tasbih during all of the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.
For women, when you are in your homes, raise your voices. You will remind your children, husbands, brothers, etc. Make it like a habit so that you will find yourself doing dhikr automatically. While walking, reclining, working, eating, just keep doing dhikr.
Send a lot of blessings and salam upon the Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] consistently. Just one hadith should be enough for the believer who loves Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam]. It is enough honour that when you send your salam to Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam], Allah returns his soul to him in order to answer you: "There is no one who sends salam upon me but Allah will restore to me my soul so that I may return his salam." [14] Therefore, send your darud & salam from your heart. Feel that special honour in doing that deed.
All kinds of dhikr will make your relation with Allah stronger and stronger. How many Muslim's are there today? 1.5 billion? In one minute it is possible to gain 1.5 billion hasanat. Allahu Akbar! How generous is Allah [subhana wa ta'ala]. No one will give you like Allah [subhana wa ta'ala] gives. So how can you gain 1.5 million hasanat? By making istighfar for all Muslim's. The Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] is reported to have said that when a person seeks forgiveness for all believers, Allah will write for him a hasanat for every one of those believers. [15] Just say ‘Astaghfirullah' for yourself and for all the believers, from your heart. Allah [subhana wa ta'ala] is forgiving & generous.
On the Day of Judgement, when you will see your book, you will find the record of your sins in it & you will feel regret. But, Subhana'Allah, you will find between these sins, Astaghfirullah, Astaghfirullah, Astaghfirullah. Bi-idhnillah, Allah, the Karim will cancel those sins that have istighfar beside them, around them, after them.
Luqman taught his sons to make istighfar. He said: "Oh my sons, istighfirullaha qaidun, istighfirullah qaimum, istghfirullaha raqibun [make istighfar when you are standing, sitting, reclining]. For the mercy of Allah is descending."
Indeed, rahamat are falling down like rain. So try to be under those rahamat. Look at it this way - there are seasons of mercy during which Allah sends down abundant mercy [like during Ramadan, like the days of Dhul-Hijjah, etc.]. Allah is always generous because that is one of His [subhana wa ta'ala] Attributes, but He says that He gives more during certain periods. Allah is Rahim always, but He says He has more mercy during a certain period. These days are like those special-rate promotions or sale season. Therefore, don't leave or ignore this sale. Go and ask for more. Keep saying ‘astaghfirullah', ‘astaghfirullah', astaghfirullah', keep insisting on it till Allah forgives you. Start from the beginning of Dhul-Hijjah.
وَمَا كَانَ اللّهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ
"...nor will He punish them while they seek (Allah's) forgiveness." [TMQ Al-Anfal 8:33]
We are informed that there is no punishment from Allah [subhana wa ta'ala a] on the yastaghfirun. Allah relieves all problems with istighfar. Those who are persistent in istighfar in their lives, disasters and calamities will be repelled from them. Mercy is like a cloud on the head of the mustaghfirin . How do we know this?
لَوْلَا تَسْتَغْفِرُونَ اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
"Why seek you not the forgiveness of Allah, that you may receive mercy?" [TMQ An-Naml 27:46]
Allah is telling us to make istighfar to gain His mercy. Let your istighfar ascend to Him and His mercy will descend upon you.
Fast as much as you can during these blessed days. If you can fast all of these days, then do so. Even in any regular day, Allah has promised a great reward for the one who fasts: "Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allah, Allah will keep his face seventy years distance away from the Fire because of it." [16] So what about these special days for which it is said: "There is no deed more precious in the sight of Allah, or greater in reward, than a good deed done during the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah." Allah loves the good deeds in these days. Allah loves siyam. Put these two beloved things together. You are the doer of the things Allah loves. He [subhana wa ta'ala] will Love you, bi-idhnillah.
Any ‘ibadah, be it salah, dhikr, Qur'an, that is done during some periods of time and with them, are also periods of non action. Can you do any of them from Fajr till Maghrib continuously? Which ‘ibadah will you be able to do non-stop? Siyam! From Fajr till Maghrib during the best days, you will be able to be in a continuous state of worship. So please my sisters [& brothers], grab this chance eagerly. Also don't forget you have if Allah wills, at least one du'a guaranteed with each siyam - at the time of breaking the fast. So that is nine opportune moments during this period.
Regarding fasting on the day of ‘Arafah, the Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] said: "Fasting the day of ‘Arafah, I hope, will expiate the sins of the year before it and the year to come..." [17] So how does this happen? Does this mean that we can fast on that day and for the rest of the year we can do whatever we want of bad deeds? No! It implies that Allah [subhana wa ta'ala] will help us to abstain from sins. And, if you commit a sin by mistake, He [subhana wa ta'ala] will cancel it due to His promise.
Spending for the sake of Allah!
Only Allah knows how many trials & calamities have been pushed away from us, our family and loved ones as a result of our sadaqah. Allah knows how many times relief and ease has come to us due to the sadaqah we gave. Therefore, give in the way of Allah, as much as you can. Don't leave any raised hands return empty. Show Allah that you love Him by spending from that which you love. Show Allah [subhana wa ta'ala] that all these things mean nothing besides gaining His ridha .
Don't look and remind yourself of what you have already spent in the past. If Allah wills, He [subhana wa ta'ala] has accepted and written it for you. Now, think of how you can outdo that sadaqah during these days. Spend from what you love and Allah will love you.
Preserve the Ties of Kinship:
Preserve the ties of kinship for: "No one who severs the ties of kinship will enter Paradise." [18] If it is difficult for you to call or meet every relative, then send them a message. But write with your heart and with the right intention. There is a man who connects with all of his near and far relatives. It is almost like a mission for him for the sake of Allah. He [subhana wa ta'ala] loves this ‘ibadah. Even those who are far away, he calls and connects them to the rest of the family and brings them all together. And subhana'Allaah, Allah has given him a lot of wealth and with such ease and has made his life easy, and as a result of his deeds. The Prophet [sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] promised this reward for the one who connects and maintains kinship: "Whoever would like his rizq to be increased and his life to be extended, should uphold the ties of kinship." [19]
These were just a few of the wonderful things we can do during the forthcoming best days of Dhul-Hijjah. Therefore, if we want Allah's help with these deeds and our schedule for them, we need to do a lot of tawbah. The Salaf as-Salih used to say that they would feel prevented from qiyam al-layl due to their sins. They knew that when they want to do ‘ibadah and they are unable to do it, it is due sins. So, what do we need to do? A lot of istighfar with tawbah, real Tawbah! Ask Allah for help.
Make the du'a:
"O Allah, help me to remember You, to give You thanks, and to perform Your worship in the best manner." [20]

[1] Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn az-Zubayr, Mujahid and others of the earlier and later generations said that this refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Ibn Kathir said: "This is the correct opinion." [Tafsir ibn Kathir, 8/413]
[2] Al-Bukhari, 2/457
[3] Ahmad, 7/224 - Ahmad Shakir stated that it is sahih
[4] The verses [Al-Fajr 89:1-2] and various hadith indicate that these 10 days are better than all the other days of the year, with no exceptions, not even the last ten days of Ramadan. But the last ten nights of Ramadan are better, because they include Layl al-Qadr ["the Night of Power"], which is better than a thousand months. Thus the various reports may be reconciled. [See: Tafsir ibn Kathir, 5/412]
[5] Shaykh Muhammad bin Salih al-‘Uthaymin
[6] Muslim, 482
[7] Muslim, 1238
[8] At-Tirmidhi, 428 - classed as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih al-Nasa'i
[9] At-Tirmidhi, 395 - classed as hasan by al-Albani in Sahih al-Jami 3493
[10] Al-Bukhari & Muslim
[11] Al-Bukhari, 1094 and Muslim, 758
[12] Ahmad, 7/224
[13] Tahlil ["La ilaha ill-Allah"], Tahmid ["Alhamdulillah"] and Takbir ["Allahu Akbar"]. See: Ahmad, 7/224
[14] Abu Dawud, 2041 - classed as hasan by al-Albani
[15] Classed as hasan by al Albani
[16] Muslim, 2/808
[17] Muslim, 1976
[18] Sahih Muslim
[19] Al-Bukhari, 5986 and Muslim, 2557
[20] Sahih Abu Dawud, 1/284

Reflections from occupied Kashmir

Srinagar is located in Kashmir Valley and it is known it for its gardens, lakes and houseboats. It is also known for traditional Kashmiri handicrafts and dry fruits. It is also known for the oft happening protests that happen after the Friday prayers every week. It is also the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir.

Recently I had an opportunity to visit Srinagar, with all what I had heard about the scenic beauty and the weather I prepared myself well for the visit. Srinagar is accessible via road and by flight, train services do not yet exist for the region due to rough mountainous terrain it is located in.

Once we landed in Srinagar, I pulled out my mobile to call my friend who I was visiting and only then I realized that my mobile sim which I had purchased in New Delhi would not work in Srinagar rather I would have to get hold of another Sim card. The reason upon enquiry was informed to be security measures.

There were no telephone booths inside the airport and I had to resort to requesting a taxi driver to allow me to make a call. As the ahadith inform us there is goodness in this Ummah, the young man allowed me to make a call to my friend who was on his way to pick me up at the airport.

Once on the road I realized that all the roads were dotted with uniformed men, some behind barricades and dark coloured bunkers formed the most prominent scene in the city. The houseboats and the rose gardens they said were located on the other end of the city.

The city centre was a bustling place with lots of handicraft and shawl shops.
Due to the extreme winters the region experiences the shops generally remain closed during the peak winter seasons. The main source of income for many of the households in the Kashmir valley is either in the handicraft business or the Shawl business.

Many of the popular hotels in the city had been taken over by the military and transformed into military camps, the picture I had been developing in my mind for the past few days about Kashmir and its beauty all shattered as soon as I had come down on the road. Indeed the natural beauty existed and I still could feel the cool breeze on my face and my hands but it came attached with a strong resent.

The resent was to the occupying forces which had destroyed the lands beauty, its people and its livelihood.

On the day of my return we left for the airport 4 hours prior to our scheduled flight. The airport was not far away but there were check posts at the airport from a long distance before the airport. It took us almost an hour to traverse this short distance before we could enter the airport boundary. My host and another friend had accompanied me to the airport but as soon as we entered the airport boundary they got down informing us that only the passenger and the driver were allowed beyond this point till the airport.

Once inside the airport boundaries our car was stopped and it was checked by the security officers and they asked me to go with my luggage to a room adjacent to where our car has stopped. Here my luggage was screened and I walked through a metal detector. Once we were done with this security check we proceeded to the airport. At the airport I realized there was long queue which was due to another security check at the airport building entry.

Once through this queue there was another X-ray screening at the gate where my luggage was once again screened. After walking through another metal detector I finally was inside the airport. It had taken me almost 2 hours from my friend’s house which is a mere 10 kms from the airport.

I realized that at the Srinagar airport there was rule that you could not carry anything other than your electronic items and 
jewellery in your hand baggage, everything else was to go into the luggage. After some insisting I was able to convince them to issue me a boarding pass without having to put my only bag in which I had my laptop and some clothes.

After this I was to go through another metal detector and X-ray screening, this would be the third one since we had started.  Laptop bags were subject to addition security check so my bag was manually checked and then only was I issued clearance.

I later on realized that those who had luggage were supposed to re-identify their luggage behind the airport building where the luggage is sorted out. If somebody did not identify his luggage his luggage would not be put on the plane.

After this long ordeal I moved into the waiting lounge. After a good 30 minutes of wait we were informed that boarding had started. To my bewilderment there was another security check, this time it was manual with security personnel manually checking the people and their hand baggage.

After 5 security checks which were humiliating at the same time tiring I moved into the flight to take my seat. Such kind of security measures were not even employed in Tel Aviv which has experienced hijackings and attacks in the past. Even after the 911 the US stepped up its security measures and they could be tiring and humiliating but not to this degree.

The demeaning security measures employed by the Indian government in Kashmir were a symbol of its occupation on a people. What I experienced firsthand in Kashmir was an ordeal that its population faced every day. They were the subject of the disgrace by the military every day, the constant feeling of being guilty and the fear of being kidnapped or arrested never to return home always remained. The military in Kashmir had been given unbridled power under the AFSPA which gave them the right to arrest & the right to shoot any body and they would not be questioned for this.

On the streets in the evenings and the nights a strange kind of silence would overcome the city as if it waited for something. I never understood its reason when I was in the city but once I had seated myself in the plane I realized much about it. I felt it was a wait for a messiah who would deliver the people from the oppression they had been through. The people in Srinagar had seen lot of oppression, torture, rapes & killing, Thousands of young men had been arbitrarily arrested with many who never returned home, thousands of women raped, thousands of woman widowed, some statistic told that over 14,000 unarmed civilians were killed in from January 2002 to January 2009 alone …only after experiencing a bit of what they experienced every day I felt what they felt.

I couldn’t do much for the people of Kashmir but then I promised to myself that I will work and do whatever is required to send the messiah to deliver them from what they are in. Islam I knew had the solution to provide them deliverance, Islam I knew had the just ruling system with the Khalifah at its top who would stand for the honour of his brothers, mothers, sisters and his sons, I knew he would send in his sincere armies to liberate them from this humiliation much like the Khulafaa of the past did, thinking of this I decided to write these thoughts which I end with the hadith of the prophet (Saw),

انما الامَامُ جُنَّةٌ يُقَاتَلُ مِنْ وَرَائِهِ وَيُتَّقَى بِهِ فَإِنْ أَمَرَ بِتَقْوَى اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَعَدَلَ كَانَ لَهُ بِذَلِكَ أَجْرٌ وَإِنْ يَأْمُرْ بِغَيْرِهِ كَانَ عَلَيْهِ مِنْهُ
Only the Imam is a shield, behind whom you fight and you protect yourself with, so if he orders by taqwa and is just then he has reward for that, and if he orders by other than that then it is against himself

Abu Saara 

Fasting the first 9 days of Dhul Hijjah

This is an extract from the book "Al Jaami'u li Ahkaam is Siyaam" (A complete guide to the rules of fasting) by Sheikh Abu Iyaas Mahmood bin Abdul-Lateef bin Mahmood ('Uwaydhah). Please note this is a draft translation from Arabic. If any confusion arises from the translation then please refer to the original Arabic book.

In relation to fasting the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah then Al-'Amal As-Saalih (the righteous action) of which fasting is included is better in this nine days than Jihaad in the way of Allah except that a Mujaahid expends his body and wealth in it.
Allah سبحانه وتعالى has sworn by the ten nights of Dhul Hijjah in the first four ayaat of Surah Al-Fajr:
وَلَيَالٍ عَشْرٍ
وَالشَّفْعِ وَالْوَتْرِ
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَسْرِ
"By the Dawn,
And ten nights,
And the Even and the Odd,
And the night when it departs"
Imaam Ahmad (14565), An-Nasaa'i, Al-Bazzaar, At-Tabari, Ibn ul-Mundhir, Al-Bayhaqi and Al-Haakim who verified it as Saheeh narrated from Jaabir (ra) that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
"Verily the ten are the ten of Al-Ad'haa (Dhul Hijjah), the Witr (odd) is the day of 'Arafah and the Shaf'i (even) is the day of slaughtering".

The following are a collection of Hadeeth that encourage the increase of good actions in it including As-Sawm:

a) Ibn Abbaas (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
"There are no days in which the righteous acts are more beloved to Allah than in these days, meaning the ten (of Dhul Hijjah). They asked: O Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, not even Jihaad in His سبحانه وتعالى way? He صلى الله عليه وسلم replied: Not even Jihaad in the way of Allah except for the man that goes out with his life and his money and does not return with either of them".
Ibn Maajah (1727), Abu Daawud, Ahmad, Ad-Daarami and Al-Bayhaqi.
At-Tirmidhi said that this hadeeth is: Hasan Ghareeb Saheeh.
At-Tabaraani (1777) in al-Mu'jam Al-Awsat narrated it from Ibn Mas'ood (ra) and (4398) from Abu Qataadah (ra).

b) Hunaidah bin Khaalid narrated from his wife from some of the wives of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم:
"That the Messenger of Allah use to fast nine from Dhul Hijjah, the day of 'Aashoorah and three days from every month: The first Monday and the following two Thursdays".
An-Nasaa'i (2417). Imaam Ahmad (26991) narrated the following Lafzh: That Hafsah (ra) said:
"There are four actions that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم did not leave: the fast of 'Aashoorah, the ten (days of Dhul Hijjah), three days from every month and two Rak'ah before al-Ghadaa".
Abu Daawud (2437) narrated: "The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم would fast the nine days of Dhul Hijjah, the day of 'Aashoorah, three days from every month: the first Monday of the month and Thursday".
In relation to what was narrated from 'Aa'isha (ra) that: "I did not see the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم fasting in the ten (days of Dhul Hijjah) at all" recorded by Muslim (2789), Abu Daawud, An-Nasaa'i, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad.

Then this reflects the extent of the knowledge of 'Aa'isha (ra) in this issue. Her statement is negating whereas the other Ahaadeeth are affirming and the affirmation (Ithbaat) is always stronger than the negation (Nafy). The one who saw and knew about a thing has a proof over the one who did not see or know about it and therefore this hadeeth cannot abrogate the Ahaadeeth which affirm the fasting in these ten days.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Al-Walaa' wa al-baraa' (Loyalty in Islam)

Where does the loyalty for the Muslim lie today? When the Prophet peace and blessing be upon him mentioned that the Believers are like one body? Can their loyalty be to their family, tribe or nation ahead of other loyalties? Is there any other loyalty than the loyalty to Allah and His Messenger, to al-Islam and the Deen of Allah, to the Believers and the Umma of the Messenger of Allah?
الولاء و البراء
Al-Walaa` wa al-baraa`
Walaa’ (loyalty, allegiance) and baraa’ (innocence from, disowning) are amongst the key concepts of the Islamic aqeedah which every Muslim must understand and hold close to their hearts. In essence it means the loyalty to Allah, to His Messenger and to the believers, and the innocence from and disassociation from disbelief, the disbelievers and all those who aid them in any way.
Anyone who reads the book of Allah will find many verses explaining this point, such as when it is stated in the Qur’an -
يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا تتخذوا اليهود والنصارى أولياء بعضهم أولياء بعض ومن يتولهم منكم فإنه منهم إن الله لا يهدي القوم الظالمين
O you who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians as Auliya (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Auliya of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Auliya) then surely, he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are Zalimuun (oppressors) (Al-Maa’ida 51)
Imam Baidawi commented on this ayat – فلا تعتمدوا عليهم ولا تعاشروهم معاشرة الأحباب – “so do not rely upon them and do not be intimate with them in the same manner as the intimacy of beloved ones”. Let alone to align with them, and help them against the believers as happens all across the Muslim world today from Afghanistan to Palestine.
Another ayat from the Qur’an reads
يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا تتخذوا الكافرين أولياء من دون المؤمنين أتريدون أن تجعلوا لله عليكم سلطانا مبينا
O you who believe! Take not as Auliya disbelievers instead of believers. Do you wish to offer Allah a manifest proof against yourselves? (al-Nisa 144)
And as for baraa’, Allah mentions –
قد كانت لكم أسوة حسنة في إبراهيم والذين معه إذ قالوا لقومهم إنا برآء منكم ومما تعبدون من دون الله كفرنا بكم وبدا بيننا وبينكم العداوة والبغضاء أبدا حتى تؤمنوا بالله وحده
Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrahim and those with him when they said to their people “Verily we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allah; we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you hostility and hatred forever until you believe in Allah Alone” (Al-Mumtahanah 4)
Ibn Katheer in his tafseer explains that the rejection of the disbelievers means rejecting their deen and their path (the way they have chosen to proceed in life).
To give allegiance to Allah and His Messenger , and to the ummah of our Prophet, means that the bond of Islam comes before any other relations a person may have, however close or far. It also means an allegiance to Islam at the expense of any other way of life or deen, and to uphold the laws of Allah at the expense of any other laws from any source other than the Islamic sources. A believer’s own love and hate is moulded and directed by Islam, as our Prophet said
من أحب لله وأبغض لله وأعطى لله ومنع لله فقد استكمل الإيمان
Whoever loves for the sake of Allah, and hates for the sake of Allah, and gives for the sake of Allah, and prevents for the sake of Allah, has completed their Imaan (Abu Dawuud)
This understanding of walaa’ wa al-baraa’ has been exemplified in the Seerah and in the example of the Companions of the Prophet , such as the words Umar bin al-Khattab after the battle of Badr when asked by the Prophet to give his opinion regarding what to do with the prisoners taken from the ranks of the Quraish. Though Abu Bakr had already given his opinion that the prisoners should be exchanged for ransom, Umar disagreed, saying
لا والله ما أرى الذي رأى أبو بكر ولكني أرى أن تمكنني من فلان فأضرب عنقه وتمكن حمزة من أخ له فيضرب عنقه وتمكن عليا من عقيل فيضرب عنقه حتى يعلم الله أن ليس في قلوبنا هوادة للكفار
No, by Allah, I do not see (the situation) as Abu Bakr sees it, but rather I consider that I should be put over such and such a person in order to strike his neck, and Hamza should be put over his brother in order to strike his neck, and Ali should be put over Uqail in order to strike his neck in order that Allah knows that there is no leniency/ love in our hearts for the disbelievers (Tabari)
This was the extent to which Al-Farooq wanted to demonstrate his allegiance and love to Allah ahead of any other tribal or familial considerations. So how can anyone today put loyalty to their nominal nation that Islam does not recognise, in front of their loyalty to the Umma and their brothers and sisters in need around the World?
Another striking example is that of a Roman general, Jaraja, who embraced Islam at the hands of the Sword of Allah, Khalid bin al-Waleed immediately before the onset of the battle of yarmuuk. The two leaders met with each other in the battlefield between the two armies, the Roman army on one side and the army of the khilafah on the other. After a discussion between the two, Jaraja embraced Islam. He then returned with Khalid back to the ranks of the Muslims, made ghusl and prayed two raka’at before joining the battle against the Romans on the side of his brothers in Islam, during which he was killed, inshahAllah a martyr for the sake of Allah.
Upon embracing Islam, his allegiance immediately changed to the Muslim ummah, at the expense of his own homeland, his own soldiers formally under his command, the Romans who he had been born from, raised and lived among. How far is this from the example that is told to Muslims today, to be loyal to their countries which have no loyalty to Islam or the Believers? How can the Muslim soldier sit still in their barracks while their brothers and sisters call out for their help, using the excuse that their role is to protect their “nation”? Do those who follow this path think that they can taste the sweetness of Imaan, without putting their loyalty to Allah and His Deen?
And this is exemplified by the words of ibn Abbas,

أحب في الله وأبغض في الله و وال في الله و عاد في الله فإنما تنال ولاية الله بذالك
و لن يجد عبد طعم الإيمان و إن كثرت صلاته و صومه حتى يكون كذالك

Love for (the sake of) Allah, and hate for Allah, and give loyalty for Allah, and have enmity for Allah, the Walayat of Allah is only bestowed with that, and a slave of Allah would not find the taste of Iman, even if his prayers and fasts were plentiful, until he becomes like that.
Al-Walaa` to the Law of Allah
wa al-Baraa’ from Secular rule
When the Prophet sent Mu’ath to Yemen, he asked him –
“كيف تقضي إذا عرض لك قضاء؟” قال أقضي بكتاب الله قال ” فإن لم تجد في كتاب الله؟” قال فبسنة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال “فإن لم تجد في سنة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ولا في كتاب الله؟” قال أجتهد رأيي
“How will you judge if a case is brought to you?” Mu’ath replied “I would judge by the Book of Allah” to which the Prophet asked “And if you do not find (an answer) in the book of Allah?” Mu’ath said “Then by the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah”. The Prophet  then asked “and if you do not find (an answer) in the sunnah or the Book of Allah” to which Mu’ath replied he would exert his own opinion (meaning ijtihad based upon the Qur’an and Sunnah), abu dawud/ Ahmad
This hadith, and a similar narration regarding the sending of Abu Musa and Mu’ath to Yemen in which they replied they would make analogy from one issue to another if they could not find a direct answer in the Qur’an and Sunnah, demonstrate the basis for ruling in Islam. As mentioned in the book Awn al-Ma’bood by Shams al-Haqq Azimabadi, the reply of Mu’ath that he would -أجتهد رأيي  (exert his opinion) – means accordingly -بذل الوسع في طلب الأمر بالقياس على كتاب أو سنة – a full effort in finding the issue by qiyaas (analogy) upon the Qur’an or Sunnah (therefore not meaning using best judgement depending on personal experience and intellect).
A Muslim is obligated to live their life in all its aspects according to Islam, with all rules being derived ultimately from the Qur’an and Sunnah. This is in direct contradiction to secular law based upon legislation with no reference to the laws of Allah, so a Muslim is obligated to declare his freedom from and enmity against secularism whilst his allegiance is to the Shari’ah.
The (il)Logic of Secular Law
By looking at secular law from a rational perspective, with no reference back to Islamic sources, the average person is able to quickly recognise the inherent problems in secularism based loosely upon the maxim “leave to God what is due to God, and leave to Caesar what is due to Caesar”.  The basis of all secular law, whether derived from a democratic system or a dictatorial one, is that man legislates according to what he believes is best, or his desires. The only difference between the democratic and dictatorial system is that in a democratic system the legislation is theoretically more representative of the popular masses opinions and desires than that of a dictatorial system in which the interests represented may be narrower.
Without discussing the theory behind popular democracy, and whether it is ever realistically attainable or essentially a mirage utopia, rule by majority opinion can only ever ultimately lead to contradictions and despair for the populations subjected to it. Since people have varying opinions, desires, wants and needs, even by implementing (an illusory) majority rule, there will always be an oppressed minority (recognised by the existence of so-called “minority rights” within democratic systems). Evidence enough is the history of the plight of the black man in America, the indigenous peoples of Australia, apart from the plight of other “minorities” across the World.
Aside from the obvious prejudice, abuse and oppression that has occurred in modern democracies against minority populations with the assent and agreement of the majority, the variance of opinions with the variance of time also demonstrates the invalidity of rule by man-made law. What is considered legal today was illegal yesterday, and what is illegal today can easily be made legal tomorrow and vice versa, since legislation by man makes the rules and laws effectively subordinate to the whim of the present. The change of opinion in issues covering areas such as abortion, sexuality, race, the status of women, crime and punishment, has led to many corresponding changes in legislation, with no foundation for determining what is essentially right and wrong.
Such an arbitrary way of ruling and running life affairs cannot be considered ideal by any means, and almost all serious proponents of secular democracy claim that the system is, in their view, merely better than other choices rather than being the ultimate form of government as understood by modern end of history acolytes.  Islam is the real alternative to not just secular democracy, but all types of man-made systems which by their inherent nature cannot deal with all of man’s needs in an equitable and just manner.
Islam and Secular Law
The basis of legislation in Islam is not man; whether that is an individual representing a set of narrow interests or a legislating body that theoretically represents “majority opinion”. Rather, Allah is the only One with the right of legislation, as mentioned in the Qur’an
إن الحكم إلا لله
Indeed, the Judgement is only for Allah (Yusuf, 67)
And also –
أم لهم شركاء شرعوا لهم من الدين ما لم يأذن به الله
Or have they partners with Allah, who have instituted for them a deen which Allah has not ordained (al-Shura, 21)
Consequently, it is obligatory for all Muslims to follow the commandments of Allah and His Messenger in all spheres of life, whether they are in the position of ruling or being ruled.
وأن احكم بينهم بما أنزل الله ولا تتبع أهواءهم
And so judge between them by what Allah has revealed and follow not their vain desires (al-Ma’idah, 49)
And also -
فلا وربك لا يؤمنون حتى يحكموك فيما شجر بينهم ثم لا يجدوا في أنفسهم حرجا مما قضيت ويسلموا تسليما
But no by your Lord they can have no faith until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions and accept them with full submission (al-Nisa, 65)
The explanation of the beginning of this ayat as mentioned in Tafseer al-Wajeez interprets that the use of the oath فلا as being explained by – ليس الأمر كما يزعمون أنهم آمنوا وهم يخالفون حكمك – the issue is not as they claim (when they say that) they believe and while they go against his  judgement (meaning they have cannot have that belief that they claim).
It is also mentioned in the Qur’an
ومن لم يحكم بما أنزل الله فأولئك هم الكافرون
And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed such are the kafiroon i.e. disbelievers (al-Ma’idah, 44)
This part of the ayat comes after narrating about the prior revelation of the Torah for Bani Israa’il, and Ismael Qadi in his book Ahkam al-Qur’an stated that –
و من فعل مثل ما فعلوا و اخترع حكما يخالف به حكم الله و جعله دينا يعمل به فقد لزمه من الوعيد المذكور حاكما كان أو غيره
“And whoever did like what they (the Jews) did and devised a law, and by it contradicted the law of Allah and made it a deen and acted according to it, then they are a part of the mentioned threat (that is, that they are from the disbelievers), whether they were Rulers or other than the Rulers (meaning those who were ruled and agreed with their rulers even though they devised laws contrary to Allah’s law)
Imam Qurtubi mentioned that ibn Abbas said in relation to this ayat
ومن لم يحكم بما أنزل الله فقد فعل فعلا يضاهي أفعال الكفار
That whoever does not rule by whatever Allah has revealed then he as done an action that is the same as the actions of the disbelievers.
If one reads over these ayaat of the Qur’an and those similar to them, and their explanations as understood by the companions of the Prophet, those who came after from the salaf and the classical books of tafsir, it is clear that there has never been any discussion over the principle that it is necessary to rule by Allah’s law in entirity. This is because the concept of the shari’ah being the basis for law has always among those accepted fundamentals that do not require any argument. Rather, the discussion between the scholars has always been around the status of the rule who governs and judges by other than the law of Allah – does he remain a Muslim or has he removed himself from the deen of Islam by his actions (this particular discussion is not relevant here, but the point is to understand around what points the classical debates were revolving and the scope of discussion they encompassed).
Belief in Secularism, and the Separation of deen and dowla
It is clear that any believing Muslim cannot adopt any way of life, or code of law, other than that derived from Islam according to the principles of ijtihad. Secular law, whether brought into being via democratic or dictatorial, authoritarian regimes, contradicts the fundamentals of our aqeedah and the command of Allah and His Messenger to obey only Allah, to the extent that it is narrated that the Prophet said
ألا أيها الناس لا يقبل الله صلاة إمام حكم بغير ما أنزل الله
O people, Allah does not accept the prayer of an Imam who rules by other what Allah has revealed (al-Hakim)
Many contemporary scholars from all schools of thought have made clear statements that separating the deen from the state is completely haraam, and it is sufficient to mention the words of just four, Mohammed al-Ameen al-Shinqiiti the Mauritanian scholar and mufassir of the Qur’an, Mustapha Sabri who was formally Sheikh al-Islam in the Uthmani Khilafah,  Imam Kawthari who was a staunch hanafi sufi scholar, and Ahmed Shaker the Egyptian muhaddith, May Allah have mercy upon them all.
أما النظام الشرعى المخالف لتشريع خالق السموات و الأرض فتحكيمه كفر بخالق السموات و الأرض
As for the system of law which contradicts the legislation of the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, the appointment/ ruling by it is kufr in the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth – meaning it is an act of clear disbelief (Shinqiiti)
فصل الدين عن الدولة ارتداد عن الإسلام
The separation of deen from the dowla is apostasy from Islam (Mustapha Sabry)
محاولة فصل الدين عن الدولة كفرا صريحا
The attempt to separate the deen from the dawla is clear disbelief
إن الأمر في هذه القوانين الوضعية واضح وضوح الشمس، هى كفر بواح لا خفاء فيه
The issue with respect to the man-made laws is clear as the clarity of the sun, it is obviously kufr buwah (Ahmed Shaker)
In conclusion, it is clear that the believer must have walaa’ to the laws and rules of Islam, to believe in them and wish for their implementation and execution, and to have baraa’ from secularism, to disbelieve in and disassociate from the laws and rules of other than Islam, and to hate the idea and call for the separation of deen from dawla.