Jerusalem: words from a Christian pilgrim, a Jewish academic, a Muslim leader and a patriarch

By Brother Hamza Tzortzis

Bernard the Wise, a pilgrim monk, visited Egypt and Palestine in the reign of Al-Mu’tazz (866-9 CE), and he had the following to say:

“… the Christians and the Pagans [i.e. Muslims] have this kind of peace between them there that if I was going on a journey, and on the way the camel or donkey which bore my poor luggage were to die, and I was to abandon all my goods without any guardian, and go to the city for another pack animal, when I came back I would find all my property uninjured: such is the peace there.” [Cited in Walker, C. J. (2005) Islam and the West: A Dissonant Harmony of Civilisations, p. 17.]

The Jewish academic historian Amnon Cohen illustrates how the Jews of Ottoman Jerusalem were free and contributed to society:

“No one interfered with their internal organisation or their external cultural and economic activities… The Jews of Ottoman Jerusalem enjoyed religious and administrative autonomy within an Islamic state, and as a constructive, dynamic element of the local economy and society they could—and actually did—contribute to its functioning.” [Cohen, A. (1994) A World Within: Jewish Life as Reflected in Muslim Court Documents from the Sijill of Jerusalem (XVIth Century). Part One. Philadelphia: The Center for Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, pp. 22-23.]

‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, the companion and student of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), granted the Christians of Palestine religious freedom, security and peace. His treaty with the Palestinian Christians stated:

“This is the protection which the servant of God, the Leader of the faithful, grants to the people of Palestine. Thus, protection is for their lives, property, church, cross, for the healthy and sick and for all their co-religionists. In this way their churches shall not be turned into dwelling houses, nor will they be pulled down, nor any injury will be done to them or to their enclosures, nor to their cross, and nor will anything be deducted from their wealth. No restrictions shall be made regarding their religious ceremonies.” [Tabari, M, S. (1967) Tarikh Tabari: Tarikh ar-Rusul wal- Muluk. Edited by Muhammad Ibrahim. Vol 3. 3rd Edition. Cairo, Dar al-Ma’aarif, p. 609.]

In 869 CE, patriarch Theodosius of Jerusalem confirmed the Muslims’ adherence to the values of their beloved Prophet (peace and blessing he upon him):

“The Saracens [i.e. the Muslims] show us great goodwill. They allow us own customs without hindrance.” [Cited in Walker, C. J. (2005). Islam and the West: A Dissonant Harmony of Civilisations. Gloucester: Sutton Publishing, p. 17.]

History is full of evil, tragedy and suffering. However, it contains abundant good. Let’s learn from it. ‪This is why we shouldn’t over glorify our history. It’s a sign of a defeated mind. Rather, we should learn lessons from it; continuing the good, removing the bad.‬

I pray for tolerance, peace, coexistence and the removal of all types of oppression and injustice—for all.

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RECIPE FOR A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE

[By Jamiatul Ulama Gauteng]

“Our Lord! Grant that our spouses and our offspring be a comfort to our eyes, and give us the grace to lead those who are conscious of You.” [Surah Furqaan, Verse 74]

Question: Every human being by nature has an instinct to dispute. This instinct becomes more manifest between the husband and wife, thus leading to marital disputes. How can this instinct be controlled??

Answer: Consider the following ten points to control the instinct of dispute and maintain a happy marriage.

1. Fear Allah: It was the noble practice of Nabi Sallallahu alayhi wasallam to conscientize the spouses about the fear for Allah before performing a Nikah by reciting the verses (Nisa verse 14, Ahzab verse 69, Aali-Imraan verse 101) from the Quraan Shareef. All the verses are common in the message of Taqwa (fear of Allah). The spouses will be first committed to Allah before being committed to their partner. There can be no doubt in the success of a marriage governed by the fear of Allah.

2. Never be angry at the same time: Anger is the root cause for all marital disputes. One Sahabi came to Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and sought some advice. Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied, control your anger. The same advice was rendered three times. [Mishkaat pg.433; HM Saeed]

3. If one has to win an argument, let it be the other: Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever discards an argument despite being correct shall earn a palace in the centre of Jannah. [Ibid pg.412]

4. Never shout at each other unless the house is on fire: Luqman (Alaihis Salaam) while offering advice to his son said: ”And lower your voice for verily the most disliked voice is that of a donkey”. [Surah Luqman :19]

5. If you have to criticize, do it lovingly: Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, ‘A Mu’ min is a mirror for a Mu’min.’ [Abu Dawud vol.2 pg.325; Imdadiyah] Advise with dignity and advise silently.

6. Never bring up mistakes of the past: Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever conceals the faults of others, Allah shall conceal his faults on the day of Qiyaamah.” [Mishkaat pg.429; HM Saeed]

7. Neglect the whole world rather than your marriage partner: Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) confirmed the advice of Salman to Abu-Darda (Radiayallaahu Anhu) for neglecting his wife. “Verily there is a right of your wife over you.”   [Nasai Hadith 2391]

8. Never sleep with an argument unsettled: Abu Bakr (Radiallahu anhu) resolved his dispute with his wife over-feeding the guests before going to bed. [Bukhari Hadith 602]

9. At least, once a day, express your gratitude to your partner: Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Whoever does not show gratitude to the people has not shown gratitude to Allah.’ [Abu Dawud pg.662; Karachi]

10. When you have done something wrong, be ready to admit it and ask for forgiveness: Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘All the sons of Aadam commit error, and the best of those who err are those who seek forgiveness.’ [Tirmidhi  Hadith 2499]

Such Were Our Fuqaha

By Mujlisul Ulama

THE ILLUSTRIOUS IMAAM SARAKHSI (Rahmatullah alayh)

IMAAM MUHAMMAD AHMAD Bin Abu Sahl Abu Bakr Shamsul  Aimmah As-Sarakhsi (Rahmatullah alayh) – died 482 Hijri – was imprisoned by the tyrannical ruler for his (the Imaam’s) Amr Bil Ma’roof Nahy Anil Munkar. The illustrious Imaam was imprisoned in a deep well.

However, students would assemble at the mouth of the well, and Imaam Sarakhsi would conduct his dars (class) from within the well. His students would commit to writing the discourses on Fiqh delivered by the great Imaam. In this manner 16 volumes were compiled. The Imaam did not teach from kitaabs. Whatever he imparted was from his mind and heart. Ilm is a Noor from Allah. It resides in the purified heart of the Mu’min.

His Taqwa
Once when the Imaam from inside the well did not hear the voice of one student, he enquired about his whereabouts. A student responded saying that he has gone to make wudhu. At the same time this student informed the Imaam that due to the extreme cold he had not made wudhu. Imaam Sarakhsi (Rahmatullah alayh) reprimandingly commented:

“Do you not have any shame for not being able to make wudhu in this degree of cold? (In other words, the Imaam did not accept the cold to be a valid justification for a student in dars being without wudhu). Once during my student days I was afflicted with a severe fever which caused me diarrhoea. I was constrained to relieve myself 40 times. Each time I would make wudhu at the  water-channel. On reaching home, the ink in the inkpot had frozen due to the intensity of the cold. I would clasp the inkpot to my breast for the ink to melt with the warmth of my (feverish) body. When the ink melted, I would commence writing.”

His Karaamat
When Imaam Sarakhsi (Rahmatullah alayh) was arrested, he was transported in chains to Oozjand for imprisonment in the well. Along the journey when it was time for Salaat, the fetters would miraculously fall from his hands and feet. He would make wudhu or tayammum, then proclaim the Athaan and commence the Salaat.

When the Salaat commenced, the dumbfounded guards observed a jamaa’t of musallis dressed in green performing Salaat behind the Imaam. These were Malaaikah. After completion of the Salaat, he said to the guards: ‘Now tie me.’ The guards responded: ‘O Khwaajah! We have seen your miracle. We cannot fetter you.’ Imaam Sarakhsi said: “I am under the command of Allah’s laws. I have fulfilled His command so that I may not be put to shame on the Day of Qiyaamah. On the other hand, you are the subordinates of the oppressor. Therefore, obey his order (and tie me) to escape his oppression.”

His Observance of the Sunnah
On reaching the city of Oozjhand where he would be imprisoned in a well, Imaam Sarakhsi (Rahmatullah alayh) went into a Musjid for Salaat (i.e. prior to his confinement inside the well). The Imaam of the Musjid recited Tak-beer Tahrimah with his hands tucked inside his sleeves due to the cold. From the back saff (row) where Imaam Sarakhsi was, he called out loudly: “Repeat the Takbeer”.

The Imaam repeated the Takbeer again with his hands inside his sleeves. Imaam Sarakhsi again   called out loudly for the Takbeer to be repeated. The Imaam repeated the Takbeer. After the third occasion, when Imaam Sarakshi repeated his in-struction, the Imaam turned around and said:

“Perhaps you are the illustrious Imaam Sarakhsi”. When Imaam Sarakhsi confirmed his identity, the Imaam asked: “Was there any deficiency in my recitation of the Takbeer?” Imaam Sarakhsi said: “No! But it is Sunnat for men to keep their hands outside their sleeves when reciting the Takbeer. I find it disgraceful to follow a man who enters the Salaat with the Sunnat of females.”

COMMENT: FIQHI TECHNICALITIES 
News of the illustrious Imaam’s arrival for im prisonment in the city had reached all the people. The Imaam was famous for his Amr Bil Ma’roof and for his fearless and uncompromising style of acquittal, hence the Imaam of the Musjid was convinced that it can only be Imaam Sarakhsi who was the person to repeatedly draw his attention to the discrepancy in this manner.   

The meticulous observance of the Sunnah by Imaam Sarakhsi is note-worthy. In fact, this was the attitude of all the Fuqaha, the staunchest in this observance being Imaam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah alayh). Despite all the Fiqhi technicalities on which many masaa-il are based, by the Fuqaha, they were Sufiya of the loftiest calibre, never resorting to the loopholes and latitude percolating from the technicalities. Thus, we find Imaam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah alayh) on an extremely hot day, standing in the blazing sun despite the presence of a big house providing shade. He abstained from standing in the shade of the wall because the owner of the house was his debtor. He justified his stance with the Hadith: “A benefit from every qardh (loan given) is riba.”   

Imaam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah alayh) did not seek the latitude of the Fiqhi definition of riba. He adopted for his personal practice the spiritual meaning of ‘benefit’. Every zaahir word of the Qur’aan and Hadith has a baatini meaning as well.

We therefore find Imaam Sarakhsi adopting a stern method of Amr Bil Ma’roof bereft of the kind of ‘hikmat’ (diplomacy) which the ulama-e-soo’ of our era promote in terms of their convoluted con-cept of ‘hikmat’. A faqeeh who is not a Sufi is a jaahil who belongs to the fraternity of the ulama-e-soo’. 

Shah Waliullah (Rahmatullah Alayh)’s View on Shirk

Shah Waliyullah’s words on the Shirk of the Mushrik of Makkah and their similarity with grave worshippers

Below one can see that Shah Waliullah clearly explains the reality of the Shirk of the Mushriks of Makkah, their belief that Allah was their creator, yet they would dedicate some forms of worship to idols made from saints to get close to Allah. Also  Shah Waliyullah clearly said that many people do the same kind of  Shirk at graves, and they have turned the graves of saints into places of worship:

Shah Waliullah explained the different kinds of Shirk (polytheism) in his “Hujjatullah  Al-Balighah” (English translation done by Marcia K. Hermansen):

“CHAPTER 39

The Categories of Associationism (Shirk)

The true nature of associationism (shirk) is that a person should think that the amazing effects emanating from a revered personage only emerge due to his being characterized by an attribute of perfection which is unknown among humans, but which rather is restricted to the Necessary Being, may His magnificence be exalted. Rather he believes that this is not found in anyone else unless God bestows the mantle of divinity upon another, or annihilates this other in His essence, and makes him subsist through His essence, or something of this sort which the believer in these varieties of superstitions holds. An example is what was reported in the hadith, “THE POLYTHEISTS USED TO  UTTER THE FOLLOWING FORMULA OF `TALBIYYA’: `WE ARE AT YOUR SERVICE (LABBAIK), WE ARE AT YOUR SERVICE, YOU HAVE NO PARTNER EXCEPT AN ASSOCIATE OVER WHOM YOU POSSESS  SOVEREIGNTY WHILE HE DOES  NOT.” [Muslim, chapter of Hajj]” 

Thus they humbled themselves to the furthest extent before this  other, and they behaved toward this person in the way people  behave with respect to God, may He be Exalted.

This concept has various embodiments and forms, and the  divine law only discusses embodiments and forms of it  which people practice with the intention of associationism, so that they become anticipated  sources of shirk and customarily inseparable from it. This is similar to the practice of the divine law in establishing the causes that  entail good or evil actions as  being tantamount to those acts themselves. We want to alert you to those things which God, may He be Exalted, has made anticipated sources (mazinnat) of  associationism in the divine law brought by Muhammad, may there  be peace and blessings  upon the one who brought it, so that he forbade them.

1) Among them is their former custom of prostrating before idols and stars, so that prostration before other than God was forbidden. God said, may He be exalted, “Prostrate not to  the sun nor to the moon; but prostrate to Allah Who created them.”‘ [Qur’an 41:37]

Association (of others with God) in prostration necessarily entailed associationism with regard to the divine management, as we have alluded to. The matter is not as certain Theologians think, i.e., that being exclusively worshipped is one of the commands of God,  may He be Exalted, which may vary with the variation in religions and which cannot be pursued  through demonstrated proof. How could it be, for if it were thus, God, may He be Exalted, would not have required them (the associators) to consider Him unique in creation and management. As He, the Greatest  Speaker said, “Say: Praise be to Allah, and peace be on His servants whom He has chosen! Is  Allah better (or those others that  they  associate with Him)” [Quran 27:59] and so on for five verses.’ RATHER THE TRUTH IS THAT THEY HAD ACKNOWLEDGED HIS  EXCLUSIVE CLAIM TO CREATION  AND DIVINE MANAGEMENT IN IMPORTANT MATTERS and they agreed that worship is attendant on these two things, according to what we have indicated in the discussion of the meaning of belief in the unity of God.’ Therefore God held them responsible for what He enjoined  on them,’ and “God has the convincing argument.” [Qur’an 6:149]

2)  Among them (the types of  shirk) is that they used to request assistance with their needs such as in curing the sick and meeting the needs of the poor, from other than God. They would make vows to them, expecting the accomplishment of their purposes through these vows, and they would recite their names, hoping for their blessing. Therefore,  God, may He be Exalted, made incumbent upon them that they say during their prayers: “Thee alone do we worship, Thee alone do we ask for help.” [Qur’an 1:4] And He  said, may He be Exalted, “Call upon no one except God.” [Qur’an 72:18] The meaning of “calling upon”  (du’a) is not “worship” (‘ibada) as certain of the interpreters of the Qur’an said, it rather means “seeking help,” according to the saying of God, may He be Exalted, “No, but you call (tad’una) upon Him and He removes the thing because of which you call upon Him.”” [Qur’an 6:41]

3)  Among them are that they used to call some of the ones whom they associated with Him,  “daughters of God” and “sons of God.” They were then forbidden  this most strongly, and we have explained the secret behind this previously.

4)  Among them is that they used to think that “their rabbis and monks were lords besides God,”” may He be Exalted, in the sense that they used to believe that whatever things they declared permissible were permitted, and that there was nothing wrong with them in themselves; and they believed that whatever they declared forbidden was prohibited and that they Would be blamed for doing it. Then when His, may He be Exalted,  saying was revealed: “They have taken their rabbis and monks,”  [Qur’an 9: 31] ‘Adi ibn Hatim asked the  Prophet of God about  it.  He answered, “They used to  say that things were permitted for them, so that they regarded  them  as  lawful;  and  they  used  to  forbid  them  some  things  so  that  they considered them forbidden.”” The secret behind this is that  making something permitted or forbidden is an expression for a creative process (takwin) that is operative at the level of Malakut whereby one  will or will not be held accountable for a certain thing. Thus this creative process  (takwin) is the reason for a person being or not being held accountable for a thing, and this is part of the Attributes of God, may He be Exalted.” 

As for the attribution of permitting or prohibiting to the Prophet, it is in the  sense of his speech being a decisive  sign (imara) of God’s permitting or forbidding. As for the attribution of them (permitting and forbidding) to the legal interpreters (mujtahidun) of his community, this is in the sense of their transmitting this element of the divine legislation based on the revealed text of the lawgiver, or their inferring the meaning of his words.

You should know that when God, may He be Exalted, sends a Prophet and confirms his message by miracles, and  through him permits some things which had been forbidden to them, some people find in themselves a resistance to this, so that there remains in their hearts an inclination to forbid it due to the prohibition which had existed in their community. This (vacillation) may occur in two ways. If it is due to a hesitation in confirming this divine law, then the person who hesitates is a disbeliever in the Prophet. If it is due to a belief that the first ban took place in such a way as to render abrogation impossible because God, may He be Exalted, had bestowed on some human being a robe of divinity, or because this person was annihilated in God and subsisted through Him, so that his forbidding or disliking an act required that it would produce a loss in a person’s wealth and his family; then this one is a polytheist (mushrik) who affirms that there is a sacred wrath, displeasure, forbidding and permitting on the part of someone other than God.

5) Among them is that people used to seek to gain favor from idols and the stars by sacrificing to them, either through invoking their names during the sacrifice, or by sacrificing to idols designating them, which they were forbidden to do.

6) Among them are that in order to draw closer to those whom they associated with God, they would set free a Sa’iba and a Bahira. Thus God, may He be Exalted, said, “Allah has not made (any rule in the nature of) a Bahira or a Sa’iba.”” [Qur’an 5:103]

7) Among them was their belief that the names of certain people were blessed and exalted, and that to tell a lie while swearing by their name would incur a loss of wealth or an injury to family, so they refrained from doing this. They therefore used to make their opponents swear oaths by the names of those alleged “partners,” then this was forbidden to them. The Prophet said, “Whoever makes an oath by  other than God, commits shirk.”” Some of the scholars have interpreted this as being rigorous and a threat, but I do not hold this position. What is meant, in my opinion, is the oath made in the name of other than God that  one will do or will abstain from  doing something in the future, and an oath in which no exception is made by saying, “If God wills,”” according to the belief which we have mentioned.

8)  Among them is the  performance of a pilgrimage in honor of anyone other than God, may He be Exalted. This occurs when people go to visit spots sacred to those whom they worship other than God, and believe that by alighting in those places they will draw closer to these ones. This the divine law forbade. The Prophet said, “Do not saddle your camel except (to  travel) to three mosques. (Mecca, medina and Jeruslaem”, [Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi,  Nasai, darimi, ibn Hambal]

9)  Also among them was their practice of naming their sons “‘Abd al-‘Uzza … … Abd Shams,”  (Such names refer to being the slave of the pre-Islamic God al-`Uzza or the sun (al-shams)) and so forth. God said, “He it is who created you from a single soul,  and made from it its spouse that he might take rest in her, (then when he covered her, she bore a light burden, and she passed [unnoticed] with it, but when it became heavy they cried unto Allah, their Lord, saying: If thou givest unto  us a righteous son we shall be of the thankful.  But when He  gave unto them  a righteous  son,  they  ascribed  unto Him partners in respect of  that which He had given  them. But God is  high exalted  above all that  they  associate with him).”   [Qur’an 7:189-190]

It is reported in the hadith that Eve called her son ‘Abd al Harith’ (Tirmidhi) and that this was due to an inspiration from devil.  It  is confirmed  in  innumerable hadith reports that  the Prophet changed the names of  his companions ‘Abd al-‘Uzza and ‘Abd Shams and such like to `Abd Allah and ‘Abd al-Rahman and other similar names. (Ibn Hambal)
These are embodiments and forms of associationism, which the law giver forbade due to their being forms of it, and God knows better.”

Shah Waliyullah further wrote about the people of Jahiliyah p 361 and after:

“Chapter 74: 

The explanation of what had been the condition of the people of the Jahiliyya which the Prophet reformed

The Children of Ishmael had inherited the codes of their father Ishmael, and remained following that divine law until the time of ‘Amr ibn Luhayy, for he interpolated things into it according to his worthless opinion and thus was led astray, and led others astray. Part of his legislation was the worshipping of idols, allowing a bull to wander at will, and setting free a  she-camel, so religion was thereby falsified, and the sound was mixed with the corrupt, and ignorance, polytheism and unbelief overcame them. Therefore, God sent our master Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him, to straighten their deviations and to reform their corruptions. Therefore he, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him, examined their divine law and whatever in it agreed with the codes of Ishmael, may peace be upon him, or was from the rituals of God, he retained. Whatever in it was distorted or corrupted or adopted the emblems of polytheism and unbelief he nullified and recorded its nullification. When a thing fell under the topic of customary behaviors, and so on, he explained its proper manners and reprehensible aspects in such a way as to avoid the disasters of conventions, and he forbade the corrupt customs and commanded the sound ones. Whatever issue of principle or practice had been abandoned during the interval, he reinstated as fresh and as lush as it had been before, so that through this the blessing of God was fulfilled and His religion was made straight. The people of the Jahiliyya at the time of the Prophet, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him, used to accept the possibility of the mission of the prophets, belief in requital, believed in the principles of the types of piety, and put into practice the second and third stages of the supports of civilization. 

AMONG THE PRINCIPLES AGREED UPON AMONG THEM (THE PEOPLE  OF THE IGNORANT AGE) WAS THE  BELIEF THAT GOD, MAY HE BE EXALTED, HAD NO PARTNER IN THE CREATION OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH AND THE SUBSTANCES IN THEM, AND THAT HE HAD NO PARTNER IN MANAGING THE GREAT AFFAIRS AND THAT NO  ONE COULD REJECT HIS ORDER NOR FRUSTRATE HIS DECREE ONCE IT HAD BECOME SETTLED AND DECIDED, and this is His saying, may He be exalted, “If you asked them who created the heavens and the earth they would answer Allah,”‘ and His saying, “No; upon Him you will call,”‘ and His saying, “All upon whom you call for help lose their way except Allah.”‘ But it was due to their deviance in religion that they held that there were personages among the angels and the spirits who could manage (the affairs of) the people of the earth except for the most major matters, by improving the status of a person who worshipped them in matters which involved his personal affairs, his children, and his wealth. They compared them to the situation of the kings in relation to the king of kings and to the situation of the intercessors and courtiers in relation to the Sultan administering the power. What gave rise to this were the pronouncements of the divine laws concerning the entrusting of affairs to the angels, and the answering of the prayers of those people who are closest (to God), so they supposed that this was an administration (of power) on their part like the administration of kings, by analogy of the unseen to the visible world, and this was false. 

Among (the accepted principles of the pre-Islamic world) was  God’s transcendence of what is not appropriate for His exalted state and the forbidding of heresy concerning His names, but among their heresies was their claim that God took the angels as daughters, and that the angels were made intermediaries so that God could acquire from them knowledge which He did not have, in analogy to the king and his spies.

Among their beliefs was that God decreed all events before they take place, and this is the saying of Hasan al-Basri, that the people of the Jahiliyya continued to mention pre-destination in their speeches and poetry and the divine law only added a confirmation to this…

(They also knew) that among the divisions of worship is purity, and taking a full bath after a major ritual impurity continued to be a usual practice among them and likewise circumcision and the other natural virtues. It is said in the Torah that God, may He be exalted, made circumcision a brand of Abraham and his descendants. The ablution (wudu’) was performed by the Magians, the Jews, and others, and the wise men among the Arabs used to do it. Prayer was also found among them. Abu Dharr, may God be pleased with him, prayed for three years before he became acquainted with the Prophet, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him, and Quss ibn Saida al-Iyadi used to pray.” What was preserved of the prayer among the religions of the Jews and the Magians and what was left among the Arabs were the respectful acts, especially the prostration, and saying petitionary prayers and litanies; and the alms tax was also found among them. A customary practice among them was the entertainment of the guest and the traveler, supporting the whole family, giving alms to the poor, keeping the bonds of kinship, and helping those struck by the calamities of God; they were praised for these things;  and they recognized that these constituted human fulfillment and happiness. Khadija said (to Muhammad), “By God, God will never debase you, since you honor the bonds of kinship, entertain the guest, support the family, and aid those struck by God’s calamities,”” and Ibn al-Daghina said something like this to Abu Bakr al-Siddiq.’ They also used to practice fasting from dawn to dusk and the Quraish used to fast in ‘Ashura’ during the Jahiliyya and retreat for devotions to the mosque, and `Umar once made a vow to do a night of devotions during the Jahiliyya and he asked the Prophet for advice about that,” and ‘Aas ibn Wa’il left a will that a certain slave should be freed. 

In summary, the people of the Jahiliyya used to perform various acts of religious piety. As for the pilgrimage to the house of God and respecting its rites and honoring the sacred months the matter is too obvious to be obscure. They had among themselves types of incantations and talismans and they had interpolated polytheism into this. Their method of slaughtering continued to be cutting the neck and piercing the throat, and they didn’t strangle the animal nor did they cut open its stomach. They preserved a remnant of the religion of Abraham, may peace be upon him, in abandoning astrology and the discussion of the intricacies of natural phenomena, except those things to which natural insight spontaneously forced them. The foundation of knowing about the future was the art of dream interpretation, and the good tidings of the prophets before them; then soothsaying entered amongst them and casting lots with divining arrows, and augury from the flight of  birds, although they recognized that this was not part of the original religion. This  is the saying of the Prophet, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him, when he saw (in the  Ka`ba) a picture of Abraham and Ishmael, may peace be upon them, with divining arrows in their hands, “Indeed they (the Meccans) knew that the two of them never had recourse to divination.”” The descendants of Ishmael had kept the codes of their father until ‘Amr ibn Luhayy arose among them, and this was about three hundred years before the mission of the Prophet, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him.”

Shah Waliyullah wrote in his “Al-Fauz Al-Kabir Fi Usul Al-tafsir” p 4, as translated by GN Jalbani and published by Kitab Bhavan, India:

“Polytheism

It means proving existence of attributes, as belong to God alone, in others also. For example, people generally held the belief that there did exist other beings besides God who possessed their own will to act freely as if to say “Be, and it happens”. Or they accepted the existence of beings who possessed personal Knowledge not attainable through sense-organs, rationality, a dream, or an inspiration. They had the wrong notion that these beings could heal a sick, hurl a curse on a person, and, by expressing their displeasure, make a person poor, sick and unhappy, or otherwise could bestow mercy on a person which enabled him to lead a healthy, happy and pleasant life. THESE POLYTHEISTS DID NOT ASSOCIATE ANYBODY WITH GOD IN THE CREATION OF SUBSTANCES AND ADMINISTRATION OF IMPORTANT AFFAIRS. THEY DID  NOT BELIEVE THAT THERE EXISTED POWER IN ANY CREATURE BY WHICH HE COULD  PREVENT GOD FROM DOING THE WORK, HE DECIDED TO  DO. THEIR  POLYTHEISM RELATED TO  AFFAIRS PECULIAR TO CERTAIN SERVANTS. They thought that just as a worldly lord could send his chosen officers to various parts of his country, vesting them with full powers to act  freely in specific cases as long as they did not receive fresh instructions from him and their recommendations for those who sought redress were  accepted by the worldly Lord, precisely in the same manner the Supreme Lord (God) conferred on some of His servants the role of divinity, and pleasure or displeasure of these servants of His had an influence on the fate of the people. Thus, they thought it was necessary to seek the nearness of these select so that their prayers become acceptable to the Absolute Ruler (God), also through the recommendations of these selected persons.

In view of this, the Polytheists decided to bow down before these beings, to offer sacrifices for them, to take an oath by their names, to seek help from their extraordinary powers (namely ‘Be and it becomes’). They would carve their images from stone, copper, glass etc, and make the spirits of the dead focus of their deep attention. With the passage of time, these stone images became semblances of Deity for the ignorant. This is how the great confusion took birth.

Anthropomorphism (Tashbih) 

This means to prove the presence of human attributes in God. They would thus say that angels were God’s daughters, and that He accepted intercession of His select servants made on behalf of the people  even though otherwise He might not find’ them acceptable, just as sometimes do the worldly Kings in relation to their responsible officers. When they could not comprehend the true attributes of God such as Knowledge, and power of hearing and seeing, they started judging them also in the context of their own knowledge, and capacity of hearing and seeing. And this was how they went astray, taking God as corporal and boundable. 

Change (Tahrif) 

The story of the Change is that the children of Prophet Ismail followed their grandfather Abrahim’s Shariah (law) till Amr b. Luhayy, may God curse him, appeared. He carved idols and made their worship compulsory for them. He also instituted superstitions, such as ‘Bahira’, ‘Saba’, ‘Wasila’, ‘Ham’, ‘Al-lqtisam lil Azlam’ and many others!’ This change took place three hundred years before the birth of the Holy Prophet. 

In addition to these evil practices, they adhered to the traditions of  their forefathers, and considered it as a decisive argument in their favour. The Prophets who had gone before had spoken about the Resurrection, and the Gathering, but they had given no details, nor stated it as distinctly with all particulars as given in the Qur’an (though rather very summarily). Since the Polytheists were not given detailed account of life after death, they considered the happening of Resurrection as impossible and far remote. 

Even though these people acknowledged the prophethood of Prophets Abrahim, Ismail, and also that of Prophet Musa, they felt confused about the existence of human qualities in these prophets, which constitute a veil on their perfect beauty, and thus entertained doubts about them. The trouble was that they did not recognise the reality behind the Divine Administration which required that prophets should be raised. What they thought — and were familiar with — was that the prophets should be like Him who has sent them. Therefore, they considered prophets in human forms something very remote and unbelievable, and to support their contention they talked of doubts, weak and not worth listening. For example they asked how a man who needed food and drink could be a prophet. Why did not God send an angel for this purpose? Why did He not send revelation to every person individually? If you ponder a little and take true the picture, which has been drawn of the conditions, creeds, and actions of the Polytheists, then  you better take into consideration the conditions of the people of these times, particularly of those living on the borders of the Muslim countries. THEY HAVE BROUGHT MANY CHANGES AND THINK EXCEEDINGLY HIGH OF THE CULT OF SAINTHOOD  (WILAYAT). Inspire of the fact that they recognise this trait in the ancient saints, they consider the existence of such saints an impossibility in the present age. THEY VISIT THEIR GRAVES AND TOMBS, AND INDULGE IN MANY  FORMS OF POLYTHEISM. Are they not considerably given over to Anthropomorphism and Change? It has been stated in a sound Tradition that ‘you will surely follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before you’, and it  appropriately applies to the Muslim community of the present days, involved as it is in various acts of evil and corrupt beliefs. May God, protect us from this.’”

Shah Waliyullah wrote in “Al-Budur Al-Bazighah” p 151, as translated by GN Jalbani and published by Kitab Bhavan, India: 
“There may be some who believe that God is most noble, He is the master and is effective in the universe but that He has put on one of His servants the robe of honour and deification and has made him effective, enabling him to act freely in a part of the world it is just as the chief king at times puts on some one of his slaves a robe of the king and appoints him as a ruler in some part of his country while he himself remains as the chief of kings and they remain as the kings. Similarly Allah is the God of gods, and they  are simply the gods, but they have a great rank before God and have free hand in His kingdom and can intercede for people with Him. Their tongues hesitate to name them the servants of God and make them equal to the people in general. Thus, they turned away from the reality and named them as the sons of God, His dear ones and His beloveds; and named the rest of the people as their servants. They accordingly named themselves the worshippers of Jesus, the  servants of such and such and of Isfandiyar (the Divine power, goodness) etc. This is the religion  of the Jews, the Christians, the Polytheists, and the extremists among the hypocrites in the religion of  the Holy Prophet in these days of ours. 

THERE ARE PERSONS WHO HOLD THE BELIEF THAT GOD IS ACTUALLY EFFECTIVE IN HIS CREATION BUT THERE ARE HIS SERVANTS WHO HAVE ANNIHILATED THEMSELVES IN HIM. THUS, GOD IS PLEASED IF THEY ARE PLEASED AND IF THEY  ARE PLEASED GOD IS ALSO PLEASED. THUS ACCORDING TO THEM , THEY DO NOT DO AN ACTION BUT THAT THE ACTION OF GOD IS ENTERED INTO THEIR  ACTION. HAD THESE PEOPLE KNOWN THAT THIS BELIEF IS POLYTHEISM and that God is not pleased with that, they would not have entertained such a belief but God blinded them, so they could not see.”

He further wrote in “Al-Budur Al-Bazighah” p 151 

“The Holy Prophet had spoken the truth when he had said “you will surely follow in the foot-steps of those before you span by span, arm by arm, to an extent that if they had ever entered in the hole of a lizard You will follow them in that as well” The Companions asked “O, Prophet  of  God,  you mean the Jews and the Christians”. Thereupon, he said, “May I not tell you what the hypocrites of the prophet’s community had invented namely, rigus of polytheism, and had aroused thereby his trustee to anger and had disquieted the heart of the bearer of his knowledge and his revelation”? VERILY WE HAVE SEEN PERSONS AMONG THE MUSLIMS WHO ARE SO WEAK IN THEIR FAITH, THAT THEY HAVE TAKEN THE RELIGIOUS CHIEFS AND HEADS AS THEIR LORDS AGAINST GOD, HAVE MADE THEIR TOMBS AS MOSQUES, ARE MAKING PILGRIMAGE TO THESE TOMBS, VESTIGES AND TRACES, JUST AS THE JEWS AND THE CHRISTIANS WERE DOING IT. We have seen  persons among them who change the words from their proper places saying “Good is for God and the bad is for us”. It is just as the Jews used to say, “The fire will not touch us but for a few days”, and used intercession and belovedness at the improper places, as it was done by those who went before them. They had picked up some things from the Hindu religion and some from the religion of the Magians. They continue to stick to them tenaciously with the result that they broke up into parties and consequently began to judge the text analogically. This is how they went astray and led others astray.

Have you searched out the truth as to why God had declared the Jews and the Christians as infidels for taking their bishops and monks as Lords against God? Have you not seen that they believed in the eternity of a person while they had acknowledged that such a one was his father and such a one was his mother or believed in the necessity of a person while they had acknowledged that yesterday he was not anything to  be mentioned, or the end of the series of the Being to a man while they had acknowledged, that many generations had passed away before him? Nay, but all these are contradictions and the worst is he who believes in them. Have you not seen them believing in the incarnation of God namely that the eternal one had entered into the temporal one, Then why do they say that God sent such and such and made such and such revelation to him nor such a one died or such and such will intercede before his Lord and that his intercession would be accepted and similar words? The truth is, that they had taken the tombs of their prophets as mosques. The devil had a sway over them and had made them forget the memory of God. Their tongues hesitate to certify that he is the master of something against God.  

The fact is, that if God was to intend to destroy Jesus Christ, son of Mary and his mother and all who are on the  earth, there is none to prevent Him. The belief in the nobility and deification of holy persons had entered into their hearts and impressed them deeply. But a holy person is a human being from among those He has created. His excellence lies in this, that the revelation was made to him and under God’s order he has commanded the people to follow what He has commanded him to do and refrain from what He has prohibited, telling them all this from the side of his Lord. Every nobility is derived from these things and from nothing else. Indeed, we  have brought before you clear proofs and after that no excuse is left for a person, even if he were to bring many an excuse. You, therefore, ponder over this.

Have you not seen the polytheists of Mecca that they acknowledged the termination of the series of Being with God, as God has said, “If you were to ask them who created the heavens and the earth, they will certainly say, Allah”. But it did not prevent them from associating others with God. You must have heard about the Tradition that “knowledge will be removed away before the Resurrection”. Two persons were quarrelling, one saying beware, sixty years and the other saying that beware, seventy years. They then referred the matter to one who was more learned than them. He told them beware, ninety years, and took an oath of Him in whose hand was his life that it had actually happened in the other verses. I do not find anyone but that there was polytheism in him, as God has said “Many of them will not believe but that they are the polytheists”. GOD HAS DECLARED THE POLYTHEISTS OF MECCA AS INFIDELS BY THEIR SAYING ABOUT A GENEROUS MAN WHO USED TO BRAY THE GRUEL OF PARCHED BARLEY FOR THE PILGRIMS THAT HE HAS BEEN PUT IN THE POSITION OF DEIFICATION. THEY, THEREFORE,  BEGAN  TO  CALL HIM FOR HELP AT A TIME OF HARDSHIPS.”

Comment: So for Shah Waliyullah, Al-Lat was a pious man, who used to make Sawiq, and people started to invoke him for help and this is how they put him in the level of deification and started to worship him. Also Shah Waliyullah repeated many times that Mushrik of Makkah did not make any equal to Allah in His creation of powers, rather they sought intercession of His close ones, the  saints. And nowadays people who build mosques on graves of saints and do pilgrimage to their graves (Urs) are similar to the Mushrik of Makkah. 

How Islām and Ḥadīth Entered Bangladesh

This article was first published in Maulana Shahin-ur Rahman’s blog Al-Rahma.

Second only to the Arabs, the Bengali-speaking Muslims make one of the largest linguistic groups in the Muslim world.[1] A significant number of the British Muslims are also of Bangladeshi origin.[2] It is a shame, therefore, that the majority of those who grew up in Europe, America and Canada know very little of their family history, culture and heritage. This includes the profound legacy of ḥadīth.

Contrary to popular belief, Islām as a religion was well-established in present-day Bangladesh long before the advent of Shāh Jalāl of Sylhet (d. 815 AH). As a matter of fact, Arab and Persian tradesmen had entered Chittagong as early as the 7th century CE. According to M. M. Khan, ancient coins dating back to the Abbasid caliphate confirm the presence of early Muslim traders in Bangladesh.[3] These coins were discovered in Rajshahi and also Comilla; the latter being the birthplace of arguably one of today’s leading authorities in ḥadīth, Shaykh Muḥammad ‘Abd al-Mālik.[4]

Shaykh Imdād al-Ḥaqq Hobigonji, who now resides in Walsall, England, seems to be of the opinion that the science of ḥadīth  had been introduced to West Bengal by Shaykh Jalāl al-Dīn al-Tabrīzī, who died in 642 AH – long before the birth of Shāh Jalāl. As for entering Bangladesh itself, Shaykh Sharaf al-Dīn Abū Taw’ama (d. 700 AH), who himself taught ḥadīth, had founded a centre of learning in Sunargaon.[5]

Among the notable muḥaddiths  of the 8thcentury AH was Shaykh Akhī Sirāj al-Bengali, who had memorised the renowned book Mashāriq al-Anwār by heart. Sent by his Shaykh, Niẓām al-Dīn al-Awliyā, he settled in Bangladesh, where he taught the famous work.

Soon after, Bangladesh was honoured with the arrival of two great sages, albeit not known for the dissemination of ḥadīth: Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jīlānī’s grandson, Sayyid Aḥmad al-Tannūrī, and his contemporary, Shaykh Shāh Jalāl of Sylhet. It was through the latter’s efforts that a huge number of Hindus and Buddhists embraced Islām,[6] which explains why many of the laity have assumed he was the first man to bring the religion to the region of Bengal.

A name at the tip of every Bengali Muslim’s tongue, Shaykh Shāh Jalāl is better known as a righteous man at whose hands Allāh ﷻ made manifest many miracles. Although some of the accounts might be exaggerated, others have been confirmed by eye-witnesses. The belief of the Ahl al-Sunna wa ’l-Jamā’a is to believe in the sound reports, as Imām al-Ṭaḥāwī writes:

ونؤمن بما جاء من كراماتهم، وصح عن الثقات من رواياتهم

“We believe in the miracles of the saints as conveyed and verified by trustworthy narrators.”[7]

Ibn Baṭṭūṭa of Morocco authored one of the world’s first travel books, Al-Riḥla. In it, he writes about a few miracles of Shaykh Shāh Jalāl that he had witnessed during his visit to Sylhet. An interesting one includes how the Shaykh predicted the Moroccan traveller’s arrival:

ولما قصدت زيارة هذا الشيخ لقيني أربعة من أصحابه على مسيرة يومين من موضع سكناه، فأخبروني أن الشيخ قال للفقراء الذين معه: قد جاءكم سائح المغرب فاستقبلوه، وأنهم أتوا لذلك بأمر الشيخ. ولم يكن عنده علم بشيء من أمري، وإنما كوشف به. وسرت معهم إلى الشيخ فوصلت زاويته خارج الغار ولا عمارة عندها، وأهل تلك البلاد من مسلم وكافر يقصدون زيارته، ويأتون بالهدايا والتّحف فيأكل منها الفقراء والواردون. وأما الشيخ فقد اقتصر على بقرة يفطر على حليبها بعد عشر كما قدمناه، ولمّا دخلت عليه قام إلي وعانقني وسألني عن بلادي وأسفاري، فأخبرته. فقال لي: «أنت مسافر العرب». فقال له من حضر من أصحابه: والعجم يا سيدنا. فقال: «والعجم، فأكرموه». فاحتملوني إلى الزاوية وأضافوني ثلاثة أيام

“When I was on my way to visit this Shaykh, four of his companions met me two days’ journey from the place where he lived. They told me that the Shaykh had said to the faqirs who were with him, ‘The traveller from Morocco has come to you. Go and receive him.’ They had set out accordingly by his order. He had no knowledge whatever of me; this had been divinely inspired to him. I went with them to the Shaykh and came to his hospice outside the cave. When I entered his presence, he rose, embraced me and asked about my country and my travels, about which I informed him. He said to me, ‘You are the traveller of the Arabs.’ One of his companions who was present said, ‘And of the non-Arabs, my master.’ He said, ‘And of the non-Arabs. Treat him with respect.’ They took me to the hospice and gave me hospitality for three days.”[8]

Although a great sage at whose hands a large number of people embraced Islām, Shaykh Shāh Jalāl is not known to have taught ḥadīth, or any other subject for that matter. After his time, Bangladesh saw numerous other influential figures who made significant contributions to both academia and the spiritual well-being of the masses. Al-Ḥājj (or Ḥājī) Sharī’at Allāh (d. 1243 AH) and Mawlānā Karāmat ʿAlī al-Jawnpuri (d. 1260 AH) had dedicated their lives to eradicating the shirk that had entered into the people’s lives and reviving tawḥīd therein. Mawlānā Idrīs al-Sylheti and his son Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir, on the other hand, left behind commentaries on books of ḥadīth  and ‘aqīda, like Jam’ al-Jawāmi, Sharḥ al-Aqā’id al-Nasafiyya and Al-Fiqh al-Akbar.

From 1908 CE, the ‘Azhar of Bengal’ Dār al-Ulūm Mu’īn al-Islām of Hathazari became the first institute of learning to teach the six popular books of ḥadīth as part of its syllabus. This was then followed in 1909 by Al-Madrasa al-‘Āliya of Calcutta, which was founded by the British government.[9]

Shaykh Imdād al-Ḥaqq Hobigonji, in his Hidāyat al-Sārī, dedicates fifteen pages to this very topic and includes sixty one entries of the influential scholars and sages of Bangladesh. Due to his immense humility, he did not add an entry for himself. A student of his, however, filled this gap in a brief six-page biography of the Shaykh.[10] Among the noteworthy anecdotes of his life is the fact that not just one but all of his teachers unanimously and undisputedly appointed him to lecture on Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī  immediately upon graduation – an honour typically not granted to anyone until his beard becomes white. Another interesting one is that Allāh ﷻ had blessed him with the Saudi government’s permission to teach ḥadīth in the Ḥaram of Makkah.

Despite his energetic youth, the Shaykh’s high ambition in his adulthood can be gauged from the following. On 12thShawwāl 1437 AH (17th July 2016), I met the Shaykh and asked him how old he was when he began writing the Arabic commentary to Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī. Now 76, he replied, ‘I was only 45.’[11]

Let this be an inspiration for today’s youth, who have the potential to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Bibliography

‘Abd al-Mālik, Muḥammad, Al-Madkhal ilā ‘Ulūm al-Ḥadīth al-Sharīf, Markaz al-Da’wa al-Islāmiyya (1434/2013), Dhaka.

Al-Sylheti, Imdād al-Ḥaqq, Hidāyat al-Sārī ilā Dirāsat al-Bukhārī: Muqaddima Sharḥ Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, Zam Zam Publishers (1429/2008), Karachi.

Al-Ṭaḥāwī, Abū Ja’far, Al-ʿAqīda al-Ṭaḥāwiyya, Dār al-Salām (1429/2008), Cairo.

Ibn Baṭṭūṭa, Tuḥfat al-Nuẓẓār fī Gharāʾib al-Amṣār wa ‘Ajā’ib al-Asfār, Dār Iḥyā’ al-ʿUlūm (1407/1987), Beirut.

Khan, Muhammad Mojlum, The Muslim Heritage of Bengal: The Lives, Thoughts and Achievements of Great Muslim Scholars, Writers and Reformers of Bangladesh and West Bengal, Kube Publishing (2013), England.

Mackintosh-Smith, Tim, The Travels of Ibn Battutah, Picador (2002), London.

Mohammed, Amjad M., Muslims in Non-Muslim Lands: A Legal Study with Applications, The Islamic Texts Society (2013), Cambridge.

Yusuf, Hamza, The Creed of Imam al-Ṭaḥāwī, Zaytuna Institute (2007), USA.

[1] Khan, Muhammad Mojlum, The Muslim Heritage of Bengal: The Lives, Thoughts and Achievements of Great Muslim Scholars, Writers and Reformers of Bangladesh and West Bengal, Kube Publishing (2013), England, p. 2.

[2] Mohammed, Amjad M., Muslims in Non-Muslim Lands: A Legal Study with Applications, The Islamic Texts Society (2013), Cambridge, p. ix.

[3] Khan, The Muslim Heritage of Bengal, pp. 1-2, 13, 21, 29.

[4] Author of Al-Madkhal ilā ʿUlūm al-Ḥadīth al-Sharīf. For a short biography of the Shaykh, see the following by my good friend, Shaykh Muntasir Zaman of America: https://ahadithnotes.com/2014/07/23/book-review-an-introduction-to-the-disciplines-of-the-noble-hadith-by-mufti-abdel-malik-al-kumillai/.

[5] Al-Sylheti, Imdād al-Ḥaqq, Hidāyat al-Sārī ilā Dirāsat al-Bukhārī: Muqaddima Sharḥ Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, Zam Zam Publishers (1429/2008), Karachi, vol. 2, pp. 176-177.

[6] Ibn Baṭṭūṭa, Tuḥfat al-Nuẓẓār fī Gharā’ib al-Amṣār wa ‘Ajā’ib al-Asfār, Dār Iḥyāʾ al-ʿUlūm (1407/1987), Beirut, vol. 2, p. 625; Mackintosh-Smith, Tim, The Travels of Ibn Battutah, Picador (2002), London, p. 254.

[7] Al-Ṭaḥāwī, Abū Ja’far, Al-ʿAqīda al-Ṭaḥāwiyya, Dār al-Salām (1429/2008), Cairo, p. 30; translation taken from Yusuf, Hamza, The Creed of Imam al-Ṭaḥāwī, Zaytuna Institute (2007), USA, p. 78.

[8] Ibn Baṭṭūṭa, Tuḥfat al-Nuẓẓār, vol. 2, p. 625. Translation edited from Tim Mackintosh-Smith’s summarised edition,The Travels of Ibn Battutah, p. 254.

[9] Al-Sylheti, Hidāyat al-Sārī, vol. 2, p. 176.

[10] Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 20-25.

[11] Bangla: Fach-challish aslam matro.

Ruling on Writing Abbreviations like S.A.W, R.A, PBUH, A.S, RAH, etc

WRITING ABBREVIATIONS FOR DUROOD SHAREEF IS NOT PERMISSIBLE

Many people today have the habit of writing S.A.W, PBUH, A.S, RA, RAH etc. instead of writing the entire Durood Shareef and praise.
This has been declared as disallowed and impermissible by the scholars of Islam.

Imam an-Nawawi ash-Shafi’i al-Ash’ari ﺭﺣﻤﻪ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ, Imam Jalal ud-Din as-Suyuti ash-Shafi’i al-
Ash’ari ﺭﺣﻤﻪ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ, Allama Sayyid at-Tahtawi al- Hanafi al-Maturidi and many other scholars of Ahlus Sunnah have mentioned that Durood such as (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) should not be written in short but rather in full, as to write it in short is impermissible.

‘’The first person who did this, (in other words) wrote the Durood as abbreviation, had his hands cut off.” [Imam Jalal ud-Din as-Suyuti ash-Shafi’i al- Ash’ari ﺭﺣﻤﻪ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ]

ﻣﻦ ﻛﺘﺐ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﺍﻟﺲ ﻡ ﺑﺎﻟﮭﻤﺰﺓ ﻭﺍﻟﻤﻴﻢ ﻳﻜﻔﺮ ﻧﻪ ﺗﺨﻔﻴﻒ ﻭ ﺗﺨﻔﻴﻒ ﺍﻧﺒﻴﺎﺀ ﻛﻔﺮ

‘’One who writes Durood and Salaam in such an abbreviated way for any Nabi is an infidel as it
is to make small (shorten) and to do so for the Ambiya is Kufr.’’
[Allama Sayyid Tahtawi ﺭﺣﻤﻪ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ in the Haashia Durr al-Mukhtar that it is from Fatawa Tatar
Khania]

It is mentioned in Fatawa al-Africa that this law of Kufr only applies to those who intentionally do this with the intent of belittling the Ambiya ﻋﻠﻴﻬﻢ ﺍﻟﺴﻼﻡ and it is mentioned that those who write abbreviations today generally do this out of laziness or just to abbreviate and thus the law of Kufr does not apply to them but it is an action that causes one to lose great blessings and is a sign of deprivation.

It is also mentioned in Fatawa Africa;

ﺍﻟﻘﻠﻢﺍﺣﺪٮﺎﻟﻠﺴﺎﻧﻴﻦ

The Pen (writing) is also a dialect

Allama Tahtawi says;

ﻳﻜﺮﻩ ﺍﻟﺮﻣﺰ ﺑﺎﻟﺘﺮﺿﻰ ﺑﺎﻟﻜﺘﺎﺏ ﺫﻟﻚﻛﻠﻪ ﺑﻜﻤﺎﻟﻪ

‘’In writing, to write the abbreviation of it is Makruh, rather it should be written completely with its splendour.’’

It is thus of utmost importance that we refrain from writing abbreviations for Durood Shareef
and make the effort to write the Durood Shareef in full. Why should we deprive ourselves from
the Mercy of Allah and earn the wrath of Allah?

It is recommended (Mustahabb) for the person who writes out Hadith, that he writes Sallallahu Alayhi wasallam when there is the mentioning of the Messenger of
Allah. He must write it out fully, not merely using abbreviations, (like S.A.W, PBUH etc) and
neither sufficing on one of the two, (meaning you have to say the Salawat and Salaam.)
[Imam an-Nawawi ash-Shafi’i al-Ash’ari ﺭﺣﻤﻪ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ Sharh Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, p. 39]

What is Preferred to say after writing the names of Allah ﻋﺰﻭﺟﻞ or the Prophet ﺻﻠﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ or scholars.

Allah ﻋﺰﻭﺟﻞ
It is preferred/recommended for a person who writes out a Hadith, that at the time he comes
across the mentioning of the Name of Allah to
add after it:
ﻋﺰﻭﺟﻞ A’zza wa Jal
ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽ Ta’ala
ﺳﺒﺤﺎﻧﻪ ﻭ ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala

Tabarak Wa Ta’Ala Jalla Dhikruh or
Tabarak Asmuh or other similar statements.

It is also recommended to add after mentioning the name of the Prophet Muhammad the
following: ﺻﻠﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ. This should be written out as it is, without using any abbreviation and using both the “Salah”
and “Taslim” on the Prophet ﺻﻠﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ not just the Salah or Taslim.

The Companions ﺭﺿﻲ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻨﻬﻢ Radhiyallahu Anhum
If a Companion is mentioned then it should be used after Him ﺭﺿﻲ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻨﻪ Radhiyallahu Anhu and for Her ﺭﺿﻲ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻨﻬﺎ Radhiyallahu Anha and if he was a companion that his father (When Ibn is
being used) is a companion as well then it should be written ﺭﺿﻲ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻨﻬﻤﺎ Radhiyallahu Anhuma.

The Scholars
The same respect should be used in regard to the scholars by writing and asking Allah ﻋﺰﻭﺟﻞ to be pleased with them and shower them with his Mercy. ﺭﺣﻤﺔ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ or ﺭﺣﻤﻪ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ

All these additions should be written even if they were not mentioned in the original text the
writer quotes or writes from because this is not a narration but a Dua’ (supplication). They should not be bored from repeating doing so because whoever does not pay attention to it will surely miss a great reward and a great blessing.”
[Imam an-Nawawi ash-Shafi’i al-Ash’ari ﺭﺣﻤﻪﺍﻟﻠﻪ in Muqaddimah Sharh al-Sahih Muslim]

May Allah protect us from all our shortcomings and allow us the Taufeeq to accept our weaknesses and shortcomings. May we be
blessed with hearts that accept the truth and may we be blessed with the gift of sincere
repentance. Aameen

Why a visit to Masjid al-Aqsa has to be on your bucket list

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Written By Ebrahim Moosa

It should hardly take much convincing to get one packing for a voyage to al-Quds. The first qiblah, second mosque to be established and third holiest site in Islam is a haven of history and a sanctuary replete with spiritual blessings.

For starters, Masjid al-Aqsa is one of the select trio of masaajid one is permitted to head off towards solely for the purpose of prayer, as per the Ahadeeth of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

Sayyidina Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu anhu) narrates: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ‘Do not deliberately set out on a journey [for the purpose of worship] but to three mosques: the Masjid al Haram [in Makkah], al Masjid al Aqsa[in Jerusalem], and my Masjid [in Madinah]’” (Bukhari)

The rewards of worship here are multiplied manifold – up to 5000 times, according to some narrations. Its association with the Prophets, Sahabah and saintly persons throughout history, too, is unmistakeable.

Al-Aqsa marks the only spot on earth where all the Prophets performed Salaah together, at the same time, in congregation. It was here that the epithet of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, of Imaamul Ambiyaa (Leader of the Prophets), was manifested. Such is its pedigree that the companion Sayyidina Ibn Abbas (Radhiyallahu anhu) commented: “There is not a single inch in al-Quds where a Prophet has not prayed or an angel not stood” [Tirmidhi and Imam Ahmad].

In a Hadith, the Prophet ﷺ narrates how, among the three supplications the Prophet Sulaymaan (Alayhisalaam) made whilst reconstructing al-Aqsa, was a duaa for the person who came to Masjid al-Aqsa solely for the purpose of praying therein to be delivered from all his sins as the day his mother gave birth to him.

Adding weight to this duaa, the Prophet ﷺ remarked, “the [first] two prayers were granted, and I hope the third was granted as well.”

Hence – though obviously not equivalent in status – the spiritual journey to Masjid al Aqsa can be considered to share one of the rewards that in fact has been narrated for the pillar of Hajj.

Additional impetus

As indicated earlier, such spiritual incentives should be compelling enough to stir one to undertake the journey, as ibadah anyway should constitute the primary motivation for visiting the Masjid.

However, as enlightened global citizens, we are not ambivalent to the current suffering of Masjid al-Aqsa and its people, and, as such, this pitiful status quo can only provide us an additional impetus for the trip.

It is noteworthy that, unlike his directives regarding the other most esteemed mosques, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ singled out Masjid al-Aqsa as a financial responsibility for the wider Ummah, when he issued guidelines to those who cannot manage to undertake the physical journey there. “Send oil for its lamps,” he said, “for whoever does so, it is as if they went there.”

The plight of Masjid al Aqsa today can be captured in two concurrent trends: A drive towards exclusion, and another of inclusion.

For the former, this is manifested through the perennial restrictions Israel places on Palestinian entry into al-Aqsa, from policing the age groups, genders, residency status and geographical regions of origin of entrants.

This is aided by an architecture of exclusion in place around Jerusalem and the Masjid itself comprising the Apartheid Wall, expanding Jewish settlements, house demolitions, banning orders, different tiers of permits, surveillance, brute force and bureaucracy.

The metal detectors Israel sought to impose on the Masjid in July were meant to entrench this exclusion, and although thwarted by a spirited popular resistance, Israel has not relented in its pursuits, of late setting up a dedicated police unit to assert control at Aqsa and installing new cameras overlooking its entrances.

These latest moves, said Sheikh Omar al Kiswani, Imam of the Masjid, were intended to tighten the supervision of worshippers and to send them a message that they were being watched from the moment they entered the site.

On the flip side, the inclusionary trend can best be captured in the meteoric rise of the Temple Movement in Israel and its constant stream of visits and provocations regarding the mosque.

Twenty years ago, says Betty Herschman of the Israeli NGO Ir Amim, these organizations were seen to be on the radical fringes of the political and religious map, but since 2000 they have attained a respectable position within the mainstream of the political and religious right and have benefited from close ties with the authorities of the State of Israel.

In the past, when settlers sought to visit Masjid al-Aqsa, restrictions on group size and other criteria were enforced.

Before 2000, mentions the Ir Amim report, Dangerous Liaison – Dynamics of the Temple Movements, Jewish visitors entered al-Aqsa in pairs or groups of three and until the first group left, the next was not permitted to enter. Today those restrictions no longer apply.

Soldiers freely visit in uniform, religious rituals are performed discreetly, and “ascending the Mount” – as the Temple Movement dubs it – in large groups, is a near daily affair. Whilst previously discouraged by senior rabbinical authorities – borne from a religious fear of “treading on the Holy of Holies,” visitation is now sanctioned by an increasing lot of rabbinic figures in the national-religious community, who have argued that the prohibited areas can simply be avoided during walkabouts.

2015 Israeli Police statistics showed that Jewish visitation to al-Aqsa increased some 92 percent since 2009. A record number of Jews visited over Passover this year, and that record was quickly surpassed in August when 1043 Jews visited the holy site from 7:30-11 a.m. in a single day.

Temple zealots wax lyrical about these advances, often citing them as harbingers for the physical establishment of the Temple.

When considered carefully, a picture emerges wherein these drives of exclusion and inclusion merge, resulting only in an increased sense of vulnerability and isolation for Masjid al Aqsa and her people.

At present, a rapid rail link between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem is in its advanced stages; a controversial cable car project that will further assert Israeli sovereignty on Jerusalem has been approved, and the settler-run City of David complex, close to Al-Aqsa, has taken over a large area of Silwan, damaged surrounding Palestinian homes with underground excavations, and encouraged large numbers of settlers to move into the area, backed by armed guards.

Furthermore, Israeli master plans for Jerusalem effectively airbrush any significant Palestinian future role in the city.

For many observers, these ongoing schemes point to an all-out effort to change the historically diverse character of Jerusalem irreversibly.

“The fight for Jerusalem has begun in earnest,” a spokesperson for a new right-wing Zionist think-tank operating from the Holy City said recently, “and we have to be there.”

Physical Presence

In light of these shifting sands, it is imperative that those who are troubled by the plight of the Palestinians and the siege of Masjid al-Aqsa are there too, to assert a physical presence and become observers, so as to impede plans to create new facts on the ground, and ensure that full-blown domination of al-Quds does not become fait accompli.

During a visit to the holy compound in Ramadan, I witnessed first-hand the travails and deep yearning of Palestinians simply to reach the Masjid. For some elderly persons from the West Bank, this was the first time ever they got to pray there. Many intuitively fell into prostration immediately on entering the Holy Sanctuary. Others could be seen making emotional phone-calls to family members indicating that they “finally made it,” whilst yet others, totally overwhelmed, even fainted.

What was deeply humbling (and troubling) about the experience was, as a 30-year-old from faraway South Africa, I was been asked questions about the Masjid and being requested to give directions to sites in its compound by individuals double my age – indigenous Palestinians, who lived at its doorstep, but were largely barred from visiting due to the architecture of exclusion that the occupier had effected, to the extent that Masjid had grown unfamiliar to them.

Masjid al-Aqsa and Jerusalem occupies a central role in the identity of all Palestinians, with phrases such as ‘Next Year in al-Quds’ or ‘Next Year in Al-Aqsa’ being popular slogans shared at happy occasions and religious celebrations. However, personal interactions with Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza and the diaspora reveal just how far Occupation has impeded them from perceiving al-Aqsa as a tangible reality.

The same could be said to be the case with a vast majority of residents of the Arab World, who due to (perfectly acceptable) efforts to prevent normalization with the occupier, cannot imagine visits to al-Aqsa for the foreseeable future.

This leaves alone Muslims in the West, who, due to the relative ease of travel their status permits, come to shoulder a massive responsibility towards Masjid al-Aqsa. It is in fact unfathomable, noting the mammoth struggles others endure to get to Masjid al-Aqsa, for Muslims in this category to squander this ease and the golden opportunities to visit – thereby leaving unfulfilled a spiritual calling, and betraying a weighty obligation owed to the Ummah.

Visiting Masjid al-Aqsa, as Dr Wasfi Kailani writes, serves a number of purposes. It is first: a religious duty; second: a way of cementing our connection to our holy sites and third: a way of keeping us aware of the plots to destroy and remove our holy sites from existence. Visiting Jerusalem is also a way of supporting the steadfast Jerusalemites as they withstand the harm they face at the hands of the occupation; and a way for them to know that they are not alone in the struggle to maintain the Holy City’s authentic identity.

Adds the UK’s Friends of Al-Aqsa, by visiting Jerusalem and Masjid al-Aqsa, Muslims from around the world empower the Palestinians and provide them with the support and strength to continue their struggle. This support is vital, and every visitor to Jerusalem lifts the spirits of each Palestinian they encounter. For Palestinians, the simple fact that they have not been forgotten gives them the incentive to continue in their struggle.

And it inspires the visitor to continue the struggle too.

Having bathed in al-Aqsa’s blessings, one leaves better equipped for taking on the spiritual struggles of everyday life. And having encountered the realities of dispossession in the Holy Land, one is spurred on to take up the cudgels and make our world a better and more just place for all those who live in it.

Ebrahim Moosa is a researcher at the Palestine Information Network(PIN). Follow PIN on Twitter @learnpalestine and @firstqiblah

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