The Origins of Idolatry

[Majlisul Ulama]

“And they (the leaders of the mushrikoon) said (to their  followers): ‘Don’t ever abandon (worshipping) your gods, and don’t ever abandon (worshipping) Wadd, nor Suwaa’,  nor Yagooth, Ya’ooq and Nasr.” [Surah Nooh, Aayat 23]

These  five, viz., Wadd, Suwaa’,  Yagooth, Ya’ooq and Nasr, were  the first idols made on earth. These were the names of  righteous men – Auliya  – who  lived from the time of Nabi  Aadam (alayhis salaam) until the  age of Nabi Nooh (alayhissalaam).
They were renowned for their  worship and piety, and the people followed their teachings which they had inherited from Nabi Aadam (alayhissalaam) and  Nabi Sheeth (alayhissalaam), the  eldest son of Hadhrat Aadam  (alayhissalaam) who had become  the Nabi after Hadhrat Aadam  (alayhissalaam). 

While these Auliya were alive, all  the people were following the  one true path of the Deen. There  was no shirk, kufr or any other  religion or ideology. The people  had profound love for these  Auliya and they followed their  teachings. After they died, their  followers were grief-stricken.  There was much crying and mourning.

Shaitaan appeared in human form to the people and  presented his plot to deceive  them from Siraatul Mustaqeem  (the Straight Path). He took  advantage of their love and yearning for these Auliya, and he  prepared perfect pictures which  closely resembled these Auliya.  He convinced the people to keep  the pictures solely to refresh  their memories of their noble    Guides and to derive greater  inspiration. This would enhance  the quality of their ibaadat.

The simple folk readily fell into  this satanic trap. Initially the  pictures were not worshipped.  They were only kept and viewed  to create greater enthusiasm for    worshipping Allah Ta’ala in the  way in which these Auliya had  taught them. When the next  generation arrived, Shaitaan 
convinced the people that their predecessors used to actually worship these pictures. The arguments and interpretations of  shaitaan convinced the people  that their predecessors had actually worshipped these  pictures of the Auliya. Thus they   resorted to actually worshipping the pictures. This was the origin of idolatry.

The pictures ultimately led to the  making of stone idols. Shaitaan  again arrived and convinced the  people that a better way of  worshipping these Auliya was to  erect their likenesses in stone.  Thus, came into origin the  worship of stone images.

According to one tafseer, Wadd  was actually the title of Nabi  Sheeth (alayhissalaam). This  word means ‘love’. It was the  profound love which people had  for him that he was given this title.

Nabi Nooh (alayhissalaam) according to the Qur’aan Majeed  lived for 950 years. This was not  the average age of the people.    Allah Ta’ala had granted him this  long age. During his lifespan  several generations came and  departed from the world. Allah  Ta’ala had granted him this long  age. During his lifespan several  generations came and departed  from the world. Despite his tableegh, every successive  generation obstinately clung to  the worship of these five idols.

The Mushrikeen of Makkah had  adopted these five idols for their  worship. The tribe of Kalb had  taken to the worship of the idol  named Wadd. The tribe of Huzail  worshipped the idol Suwaa’.  The tribes of Muraad and Banu  Ghateef had adopted for their  worship the idol Yagooth while  Ya-ooq was the idol of the tribe Hamdaan. Nasr was worshipped  by the Zil Qalaa’, an offshoot of  the tribe of Humayr.

More corrupt beliefs developed  with the passage of time. Wadd  was believed to be the god of  male virility and became the god  of love. Suwaa’ was made the  god of beauty, hence the idol  was erected in the form of a  woman. Yagooth was their god  of strength and power. This idol  was therefore moulded in the  forms of a lion and a bull. The  god of speed was Ya-ooq which  was made in the form of a horse  (perhaps a horse with wings).  Nasr was believed to be the god  of powerful vision hence the  form of this idol was an eagle.  Today in India, these idols are  also worshipped generally  symbolizing the same issues. 

The original idols did not have  these forms nor were these  beliefs attached to them. These  doctrines of shirk were later  accretions which developed    among the Arab mushrikeen after  the idols were retrieved.

During the Great Deluge of Athaab (Divine Punishment)   which destroyed the people in Nabi Nooh’s time, these idols were buried under the earth, and  the Arabs of Makkah had discovered them. After unearthing them, they were set up by the  different tribes as their special deities.

After steadfastly with the greatest toleration and  perseverance engaging in  tableegh for more than nine  centuries, Allah Ta’ala informed  Hadhrat Nooh (alayhissalaam): “Never will your people accept Imaan accept those who have already believed.”, Hadhrat Nooh  (alayhissalaam) supplicated to  Allah Ta’ala invoking curses on  his mushrik nation since all hope of their reformation had now  receded into oblivion. Thus he  supplicated: 

“O My Rabb! Do not leave on earth even a single house of the kaafireen. Verily, if You should leave them, they will only mislead  your servants and give birth to  only immoral unbelievers.”     [Surah Nooh, Verses 26 and 27]

Then came the mighty and tumultuous Athaab of the Great Flood which utterly wiped out the mushrikeen. Islam’s  uncompromising stance against all forms of picture-making of animate objects and its severe prohibition are therefore readily  comprehensible. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:  “The worst-punished people on  the Day of Qiyaamah will be the picture-makers.”

The story of the origin of idolatry  also illustrates the deception of  Iblees. He approaches sincere  and pious men to swerve from  Siraatul Mustaqeem with  ‘pious’  and ‘logical’ arguments. May  Allah Ta’ala save us from such  talbees of Iblees.

The Sunnah Prayer of Fajr

[Mufti Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Yusuf]

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) laid great emphasis on the sunnah prayer of Fajr, saying, “it is more superior than the world and everything within it” (Sahih Muslim 1:251). Likewise there are a number of narrations from which the importance of this Sunnah prayer can be understood. This means that a person should ensure that it is performed prior to the fardh prayer, since no sunnah prayer is permissible until after sunrise, once the fardh prayer of Fajr is performed.

So what is one to do if he arrives late to the masjid for Fajr, and finds the congregational salaat about to begin or already in progress? On the one hand, he remembers the emphasis regarding the sunnah prayer of Fajr, yet on the other, he knows the Hadith of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) stating that once the call to commence (Iqamah) has been made, only the fardh prayer  should be performed. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said:

Once the call to commence (Iqamah) is made for the prayer, there is no prayer except the fardh prayer (maktuba) [Sahih Muslim 1: 247]

The worshipper (musalli) is unsure of what to do in this situation. Should he hurry and perform the sunnah prayer, then catch up with the imam for the fardh prayer, or should he abandon the sunnah prayer altogether and join in the congregation? There is a difference of opinion among the scholars on this issue.

THE VARIOUS OPINIONS

One opinion is that it is necessary for this person to immediately join the congregation for the fardh prayer, and that it is no longer permissible for him to perform the sunnah prayer during the congregational fardh prayer, just as in the ruling for other prayers.

Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik are of the opinion that the person should attempt to perform his sunnah prayer, as long as he think he can complete it quickly and join in the fardh prayer before it ends, i.e. even if he catches only the last sitting. This means that he must be confident of not missing the congregation completely, otherwise ge should leave performing the sunnah and join the congregation; because, technically speaking, the congregational fardh prayer is more important.

One point to remember, however, is that once the congregational prayer begins, the sunnah prayer should not be performed where the main congregation is in progress. It should not be performed outside the main prayer-hall (masjid) area.

Another view of some Hanafi scholars is that a person should only attempt to perform the Sunnah prayer if he feels confident of acquiring atleast one rak’ah behind the imam. This means that he must be certain of catching up with the imam before he stands up from the bowing (ruku’) of the second rak’ah of the fardh.

This difference of opinion is only concerning the two rak’ats sunnah of Fajr, and there is no controversy regarding the sunnah in other prayers. All the scholars are unanimous that once the congregation for those prayers commences, no other sunnah prayer is permissible, because although the sunnah prayers in them are important, they are not as emphasized as the sunnah of Fajr. Also, if a person happens to miss the sunnah prayer of Zuhr for instance, he can make it up after the fardh, since it is not a prohibited time for it.

IMPORTANCE OF THE SUNNAH PRAYER OF FAJR

1. Aa’isha (radhiyallahu anha)  said,

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was not as regular in any supererogatory prayers (nafl) as he was in the two rak’ats before Fajr. [Sahih Muslim 1:251]

2. Aa’isha (radhiyallahu anha) said,

I did not observe the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) hasten towards any supererogatory (nafl) prayers as fast as he would to perform the two rak’ats before Fajr. [Sahih Muslim 1:251]

3. Aa’isha (radhiyallahu anha) reports that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said,

The two (sunnah) rak’ats of Fajr are more superior than the entire world [Sahih Muslim 1:251]

4. Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu anha) reports that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said regarding the two (sunnah) rak’ats at the break of dawn:

They are more beloved to me than the entire world. [Sahih Muslim 2:251]

5. Abu Hurayra (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said,

Do not abandon the sunnah rak’ats of Fajr, even if horses trample over you. [Sunan Abi Dawud 1:186, Athar al-Sunan 1:224]

All the above hadiths explain the significance of and emphasis placed on the sunnah prayer of Fajr. Since the Sunnah rak’ats of other prayers are not as greatly emphasized as the sunnah of Fajr, they are treated differently.

THE COMPANIONS AND FOLLOWERS ON THIS ISSUE

There are also many other rigorously authenticated hadiths which confirm that the Companions of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) attempt to complete their sunnah prayer prior to joining the congregational fardh prayer of Fajr if it had already commenced.

1. Imam Tahawi reports from Nafi’:

I wakened Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) for the Fajr prayer, while the prayer had already commenced. He arose and performed the two rak’ats (sunnah first). [Sharh Ma’ani’l Athar 1:375]

2. Abu Ishaq says,

‘Abdullah Ibn Abi Musa related to me from his father regarding the time Sa’id Ibn al-‘Aas called them. He has called Abu Musa, Hudhayfa and ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud before the Fajr prayer. When they departed from him, the congregation had already begun, so ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) positioned himself behind a pillar in the masjid and performed two rak’ats sunnah first, then joined the congregation.  [Sharh Ma’ani’l Athar: 1:374]

3. Abu ‘Uthman al-Ansari reports:

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) arrived while the imam was leading the Fajr prayer. Since Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) had not yet performed the two rak’ats (sunnah), he performed them behind the imam (i.e. separately), then joined in the congregation. [Sharh Ma’ani’l Athar: 1:375]

4. Imam Tahawi has transmitted a report from Abu’l Darda’ (radhiyallahu anhu):

He would enter the Masjid while everybody would be in rows performing the Fajr prayer. He would first perform his two rak’ats in a corner of the masjid, then join everyone in the (fardh) prayer.  [Sharh Ma’ani’l Athar: 1:375]

5. Abu Uthman al-Nahdi says,

We would arrive at (times to the masjid were) ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) (was the imam), not having performed the two rak’ats (sunnah) of Fajr. ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) would have already started the prayer, so we would first perform our two rak’ats at the rear of the masjid, then join in the congregation. [Sharh Ma’ani’l Athar: 1:376]

6. ‘Abdullah Ibn Abi Musa (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates:

‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) arrived will the imam was leading the Fajr prayer. He performed the two rak’ats (sunnah) behind a pillar, as he had not yet performed them. [Musannaf ‘Abd al Razzaq 1:444]

7. Haritha Ibn Mudrib says,

‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud and Abu Musa (radhiyallahu anhum) left Sa’id Ibn al-‘Aas (after visiting him). The congregation (for Fajr) had just begun. So ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu)  performed two rak’ats (sunnah), then joined in the prayer with everyone else. As for Abu Musa (radhiyallahu anhu), he joined in the row immediately thereafter. [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah: 2:251]

8. Abu Darda’ (radhiyallahu anhu) regarding the Sunnah of Fajr

Yes, By Allah! If I ever enter (the masjid) and find everyone in prayer, I proceed to a pillar of the masjid and perform two rak’ats quickly; then I join the congregation and perform my Fajr with them.  [Musannaf ‘Abd al Razzaq 1:443]

9. Abu Darda’ (radhiyallahu anhu), according to another reports, states,

I (sometimes) approach the people while they are standing in rows performing Fajr. I perform two rak’ats (sunnah) then I join them. [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 2:251]

10. It is reported regarding Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu),

He would sometimes join in the congregation (immediately) and at other times he would first perform his two rak’ats at one side of the masjid. [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 2:251]

11. Sha’bi narrates regarding Masruq:

He entered the masjid to find the people engaged in the Fajr prayer. Since he had not yet performed the two rak’ats (sunnah), he performed them at one side, then joined the congregation in prayer. [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 2:251, Musannaf ‘Abd al Razzaq 2:444]

12. It is reported that Hasan al-Basri (rahimahullah) had instructed,

When you enter the masjid and find the imam in prayer and you have not yet performed the two rak’ats of Fajr, perform them (first); then join the imam (in the fardh prayer). [Musannaf ‘Abd al Razzaq 2:445, Sharh Ma’ani’l Athar 1:376]

These are just some of the many hadiths wgich highlight the practice of the Companions and Followers. A great jurist (faqih) like ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu), as well as many other prominent Companions, such as Abu Darda’ and Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhum), would first the two-rak’ats sunnah of Fajr and then proceed to join the main congregation. Hasan al-Basri (rahimahullah), a prominent follower (tabi’i) who requires no introduction, orders in clear words that the sunnah prayers be performed before joining the congregation.

OTHER REASONS FOR THE HANAFI OPINION

(1) The emphasis regarding the sunnah of Fajr is far greater than that of any other sunnah prayer. It has been ordered that the sunnah of Fajr be performed even if there is a danger of horses trampling over the person. Due to this emphasis, there should remain no doubt as to why the Hanafis excluded the sunnah prayer of Fajr from the command of the Hadith that informs us of only fardh prayers being permissible when the congregation begins.

(2) It is sunnah to make a lengthy recitation of the Qur’an during the fardh of Fajr. Hence, it is possible that one could quickly perform his two rak’ats sunnah first and then join in with the imam during the first rak’a, or the second rak’a, or just before the imam makes the salaam. This is normally difficult in other prayers where a relatively shorter recitation is made and the number of rak’ats recommended before them is four.

(3) In the above Hadith, the command regarding the impermissibility of any non-fardh prayer at the time of congregation cannot be taken as a general command encompassing all prayers. If it was an absolutely general command, then it would also be prohibited for someone to perform the sunnah prayer in his house once he was aware that the congregation had commenced in the masjid. However, many scholars have permitted that the sunnah prayer be performed at home, even though the congregation may have already begun in the masjid. Consequently, this leaves no room to ceiticize the Hanafi school for excluding the sunnah of Fajr from the prohibition. Many other scholars have also not taken the command to be an absolutely general one.

(4) The word ‘maktuba’ has been used in the hadith to describe the fardh prayer. The general meaning of this word includes the missed [qada’] prayers also, which indicates that it would be permissible to perform the missed prayers even after the congregarion has begun. However, some scholars do not allow this. From this, it is understood that the hadith (see beginning of the article) is not taken literally, just as its command is not taken in a general sense.

After mentioning these points, it could be concluded that the Hanafi school has reconciled both types of hadiths by saying that the person should only perform the sunnah prayers first if he feels he can acquire that congregational-fardh prayer before it ends. Otherwise, he should enter immediately into the congregation with the imam. In this way, the person benefits by attaining the reward of the sunnah prayer of Fajr and also the reward of performing the fardh salat in congregation.

ONE MORE POINT TO REMEMBER

At times, some narrations are quoted which explicitly exempt the fardh sunnah from the command of the hadith (which mentions the impermissibility of prayer once the congregational fardh prayer has commenced). However, those narrations are usually weak, and have neither been used  as a basis for the Hanafi position nor as evidence to prove the Hanafi opinion against other opinions.

Likewise, there are some narrations which specifically indicate that the sunnah rak’ats of Fajr are included in the prohibition of the hadith. The narrations mention details of a Companion confirming with the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam): “Are the sunnah rak’ats of Fajr also invalid if they are performed after the congregation has begun?” The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) answers him in the affirmative  saying, “Yes!, they are also invalid.” These narrations, being even weaker than the others, will not stand as evidence  to strengthen the other group’s opinion.

Refuting The Falsehood That ‘Isa Is Not The Real Name Of Jesus

by Ibn Anwar, BHSc (Hons.), MCollT

     In my rather long experience in engaging with Christians, they have often questioned the validity of identifying Jesus with the Qur’anic name that is given to him: ‘Isa (عيسى). They would argue that Arab Christians have long identified this individual that we today generally know as Jesus as Yasu’ (يسوع) and so there is no historical basis for the name ‘Isa. In this brief article we shall examine the validity or lack thereof of the Islamic usage of the term ‘Isa as the historical name of the son of Mary who lived some 2000 years ago in Palestine.

Before we begin looking at the various names that are attributed to the son of Mary, we should have a little grasp of the historical context within which the son of Mary lived, with particular focus on the language that was used, at the time in the son of Mary’s locality and what his own native language would have been. We now know for certain that the language used by Jesus and those around him in Palestine was Aramaic. This fact is attested by the Catholic theologian Lucien Deiss who writes, “Jesus’ mother tongue was Aramaic.” [1]  Similarly, Robert H. Stein writes, “Gustav Dalman at the turn of the century clearly demonstrated that the native tongue of Jesus was Aramaic.” [2] And Sang-ll Lee makes it rather unequivocal that, “…the consensus of modern New Testament scholars…Jesus spoke Aramaic as his matrix language.” [3] We have thus established that the language that was used by Jesus and his local compatriots was in fact Aramaic (or sometimes called Syriac).

A pertinent question that may follow from the above elucidation would thus be, “What was the name of Jesus in Aramaic?” And from this question we may certify whether the Arabic name ‘Isa has any historical validity or not. Before we answer this question however, we may well ask, “Where did the name Jesus come from?” How is this a relevant and valid question? Well for starters, when Jesus lived in Galilee, Palestine the letter ‘J’ that we are so familiar with in our Roman alphabet did not exist. In the time of Jesus, the local dialect that was spoken, that is, the language of the common folk was Aramaic and we cannot stress this enough. Hebrew on the other hand was the language of the learned elite that was used by the Pharisees for learning and liturgical purposes. So in Hebrew, Jesus’ name would have been Yeshua or Yehoshua (ישוע or יהושע) and this was then rendered into Iesus (Ἰησοῦς) in Greek as the New Testament authors, who spoke Greek, started writing about Jesus. This then was borrowed into Latin and much later, when English became the more prominent language that eventually replaced Latin, the term Iesus (or in its genitive form Iesu e.g. initium evangeli Iesu Christi Filii Dei in Mark 1:1) took the form of Jesus. From this short historical account of the formation of the name Jesus, we may say that there is a rather huge gap between the original name of Jesus with the much later invention of his name, that is, Jesus in English.

A lingering question still remains: What was his original name in Aramaic? There are two answers to this question. In Eastern Aramaic, the name used for Jesus was ‘Ishho whilst in Western Aramaic, his name was Yeshu. This fact is attested by the 11th Edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica which states, “One very tangible difference appears in the fact that the name Jesus was by the East Syrians written and pronounced Isho`, by the West Syrians Yeshu.” [4] From a quick inspection of the pronunciation of either ‘Ishho’ or ‘Yeshu’, one may get a good sense of understanding behind the historical background of the Arabic word used for Jesus, ‘Isa. Citing the Qur’anic exegetes al-Baydawi and al-Razi, Geoffrey Parrinder writes, “He said that it was an arabized form of Ishu’, probably meaning the Syriac Yeshu’. Razi said that it was from Yasu’ and this is what the Syrians say.” [5] I should note that Parrinder may have given somewhat faulty information here because al-Baydawi was most probably referring to the Eastern Aramaic, ‘Ishho’ and was not confusing it with the Western Aramaic, ‘Yeshu’. Nevertheless, it would seem that whether we prefer Baydawi’s interpretation or al-Razi’s both concur that the origin of ‘Isa is Aramaic (Syriac), the original language of Jesus. Parrinder goes on further to provide some rather interesting information, that he takes from Arthur Jeffrey’s ‘The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur’an’, about the existence of Nestorian Christians in southern Syria and Arabia, and specifically a monastery in southern Syria, which as early as 571 AD, bore the name ‘Isaniya, ‘of the followers of Jesus’. [6] If we carefully scrutinise the spelling of the Arabic ‘Isa and run a linguistic comparison to its ancestor Ishho, we can see how the former has in fact come out of the latter. Leaving aside linguistic technicalities, a simple glance at the two confirms how similar they are in both appearance and pronunciation. Whilst the Arab Christians have chosen to adopt the Western pronunciation of Jesus’ name, it appears the Qur’an took the liberty to retain the Eastern model. Attesting to this fact, Neal Robinson writes, “The peculiar spelling of ‘Isa still remains something of an enigma but the most plausible explanation is that it is derived from Isho, the Syriac name for Jesus.” [7] Likewise, the scholar Sidney Griffith writes, “Of the many explanations for the form of Jesus’ name as it appears in the Qur’an, the most reasonable one from this writer’s point of view is that it reflects an Arabic speaker’s spelling of what he hears in an Arabic articulation of the common East Syrian form of the name: Isho’.” [8] Similarly,  Honorary Professor of Missiology at Utrecht University, Jan A. B. Jongeneel writes, “The Qur’an refers to Jesus as ‘Isa al-Masih. This Arabic expression appears to have originated from the Nestorian Syriac, Isho Mshiha.” [9] 

From the foregoing discussion, we may establish the following positions: Firstly, the popular name Jesus that is used widely around the world today is thoroughly divorced from the son of Mary’s original name in his original language. In fact, it is derived from the Greek, Iesus, which itself is rather unsemitic. This is rightly pointed out by Parrinder who states, “The final ‘s’ of the Greek and European words for Jesus is quite unsemitic.” [10] Secondly, as we have established that Jesus was not in fact Jesus’ original name, it would be folly for any Christian who uses this name resolutely without any compunction in their Bibles, liturgical practises in church etc. to denounce Muslims from using the Arabic model of his name which is ‘Isa and we have seen above that this has its origins in the original name of Jesus in his original language. We may thus safely conclude that the name ‘Isa in Arabic is indeed a valid name that correctly reflects the original Aramaic name of the historical son of Mary from Galilee, Palestine. And more than that, it also leads us to the interesting fact that the Qur’an that was given to the unlettered Prophet Muhammad, by God above, has an uncanny insight into the historical Jesus. This is yet another miracle of the Qur’an that further proves its divine origin and nullifies claims of its detractors that it is man made.

Notes:

[1] Deiss, L. (1996). Joseph, Mary, Jesus (Medeleine Beaumont, Trans.). Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press. p. 8

[2] Stein, R. H. (1994). The Method and Message of Jesus’ Teachings. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. p. 4

[3] Sang-Il Lee (2012). Jesus and Gospel Traditions in Bilingual Context: A Study in the Interdirectionality of Language. p. 342

[4] The Encyclopaedia Brittanica (1911), 11th Edition. Cambridge, England: University Press.; See also footnote 8, Against Marcion I. in St. Ephraim’s Prose Refutations of Mani, Marcion, and Bardaisan.

[5] Parrinder, G. (1965). Jesus in the Qur’an. Russel Square, London: Faber and Faber. p. 17

[6] Ibid.

[7] Robinson, N. (1991). Christ in Islam and Christianity. London: Macmillan Press LTD. p. 17

[8] Griffith, S. H. (2013). The Bible in Arabic: The Scriptures of “the People of the Book” in the Language of Islam. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 84 Fn. 64

[9] Jongeneel, J. A. B. (1989). Jesus Christ in World History: His Presence and Representation in Cyclical and Linear Settings. Frankfurt: Peter Lang Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften. p. 128

[10] Parrinder, G. Op. Cit.

The Significance & Merits Of Jumu’ah

[Majlisul Ulama]

FRIDAY (Jumu’ah) is the most auspicious Day in the Islamic calendar. The fadhaail (virtues) and thawaab (reward) for Ibaadat on Fridays are numerous and great. Muslims should acquire maximum benefit from this auspicious Day.

Friday is called Jumu’ah which means ‘conglomeration’ because on this Day Allah Ta’ala created the Arsh (His Throne), the Kursi, the heaven, the earth, Jannat, the sun, the moon, the stars and Hadhrat Aadam (alayhis salaam).

SIGNIFICANCE OF JUMU’AH

* The Hour of Qiyaamah will be on a Friday on 10th Muharram.

* Jumu’ah is the ‘Hajj’ of the Masaakeen (the poor and des-titute who cannot afford to go for Hajj).

* He who makes ghusl, goes early to the Musjid and abstains from non-sensical talk along the way, receives for every step to the Musjid the thawaab of a year’s fasting and Salaat.

* Tilaawat of Surah Kahf on Fridays cultivates Noor for the reciter, and will save one from the fitnah of Dajjaal.

* On Fridays, Durood Shareef should be recited in abundance.

* According to Imaam Ahmad Bin Hambal (rahmatullah alayh), Jumuah is superior to even the Day of Arafaat.

* According to some Sahaabah, the Night of Jumu’ah is superior to even Lailatul Qadr.

MAUT ON JUMU’AH

There is considerable excellence and hopes for a person who dies on Friday. The questioning in the Grave is waived for one who dies on Friday. Along with this wonderful favour, the punishment and torments of the Grave will also be cancelled, Insha’Allah.  Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhuma) narrated: “Allah Ta’ala will save three persons from the punishment of the Grave – the Muath-thin, the Shaheed and the one who dies on a Friday.”

FOUR RAKA’TS

At the time of sakraat (death throes) Allah Ta’ala will protect the Imaan of a person who performs on Fridays four raka’ts as follows: After Surah Faatihah, recite in every raka’t 11 times Surah Ikhlaas. After Salaam, recite 100 times Wala houla wala quw wata il laa billaahil azeem.

HAIR AND NAILS

It is Makrooh to cut nails and hair on Fridays before Jumu’ah Salaat. The one who cuts his nails and trims his moustache after Jumu’ah Salaat will receive the reward of a Hajj and Umrah.

FASTING ON JUMU’AH

The permanent practice of Hadhrat Nabi Daawood was to fast every alternate day. If the alternate day which happened to be his day of Iftaar, i.e. the day of not fasting, was a Friday, then he would fast. He would say to himself: “Why should I not fast on a Day whose fast is the equivalent of fasting 50,000 (fifty thousand) years?” This immense increase in reward applies to all good deeds on a Friday. There is absolutely no dearth of reward (thawaab) in the Divine Treasury.

HUSBAND AND WIFE

On a Friday the wife who welcomes cheerfully her husband when he comes home and speaks affectionately to him, Allah Ta’ala will grant her the reward of 200 years of righteous deeds, and the same amount of thawaab will be allocated for the husband as well.

MOMENTS OF ACCEPTANCE

It is highly meritorious on Fridays to be engrossed in Thikr, Tasbeeh, Tahleel and charitable acts from after Asr Salaat until sunset. Hadhrat Faatimah (radhiyallahu anha) said: “It is such a significant hour in which Allah Ta’ala will grant the Mu’min whatever he supplicates for.”  Al-Muqaddisi (rahmatullah alayh) said: “I met Hadhrat Khidr (alayhis salaam). He said: ‘Allah Ta’ala will fulfil the need of a person who says after ‘Asr Salaat on Friday: ‘Ya Rahmaan, Ya Allaah, Ya Rahmaan, until sunset.

The Stupendous Memory of the Muhadditheen

[Majlisul Ulama]

ONCE, Abdul Malik, the Khalifah, wondered at the in-numerable Ahaadith which Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated. He conjectured that perhaps Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) para-phrased the Ahaadith which he had heard from Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and presented it in his own words, not exactly as stated by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

In order to test Abu Hurairah’s (radhiyallahu anhu) memory, the Khalifah, invited him and many other Sahaabah. The Khalifah had concealed two persons behind a screen to record in writing every Hadith which Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) would be narrating. At that session Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated a hundred Ahaadith. The scribes wrote every word exactly as was stated by Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu).

After one year, Abdul Malik, again invited Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu). The two scribes who had recorded the 100 Ahaadith were again present behind the screen with their written notes. The Khalifah, addressing Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu), said: ‘Hadhrat the last time I derived immense pleasure from the 100 Ahaadith you had narrated. I shall appreciate it if you will again narrate the same 100 Ahaadith.”

Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) commenced the narration of the Ahaadith. After he had completed, the two writers were amazed at the prodigious memory of Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu). There was not a change of even a single word. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) had repeated the 100 Ahaadith exactly as he had narrated them a year ago. This was the wonderful bounty of memory which Allah Ta’ala had bestowed to the Muhadditheen.

Imam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatullah Alayh) on Imaan (Faith)

By: Muhammad Abu Zahra

There are different transmissions  about what Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) says about faith. The one we can be most  sure about is: “Faith is affirmation and confirmation.” He said that Islam is submission and obedience to Allah’s command.  Linguistically, there is a difference between faith and Islam, but there is no faith  without Islam and no Islam  without faith. They are like the outward is to the inward. The  deen is the name given to faith,  Islam and the laws of the Shari‘ah. [al-Fiqh al-Akbar, p.11]

So we see that Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) did not  consider faith to be pure  affirmation by the heart alone. He thought that its reality was  confirmation by the heart and  affirmation by the tongue. He  made his views on that clear in a debate between himself and Jahm ibn Safwan. Al-Makki states in The Virtues:

“Jahm ibn Safwan went to Imam Abu Hanifa to debate with him about kalam. When he met him, he said, ‘Abu Hanifa, I have come to discuss with you some questions which I have prepared.’ Imam Abu Hanifa said, ‘Speaking with you is shame and delving into what you are in is a blazing  fire.’ 

He (Safwan) asked, ‘How can you  judge me as you do when you  have not heard what I say nor  learned it from me?’
Imam Abu Hanifa replied, ‘Words have been transmitted to me from you which the people of prayer do not utter.’ 

Safwan said, ‘Then you judge me  in absentia!’ 
He (Imam Abu Hanifa) replied, ‘You are well-known for that. It is known among both the common and elite and so I am permitted to  assert that about you.’

He (Safwan) said, ‘Abu Hanifa!, I will not ask you about anything except faith.’ Safwan asked him, ‘Do you  not recognise faith until the Final Hour so that you have to ask me about it?’
‘Yes,’ the Imam replied, ‘but I am uncertain about it in one  area.’ Imam Abu Hanifa retorted, ‘Doubt  in faith is disbelief.’
He (Safwan) said, ‘It is only lawful for you to clarify how you attach disbelief to me.’ He (Imam Abu Hanifa) said, ‘Ask.’

Jahm said, ‘Tell me about someone who recognises Allah in his heart and knows that He is One with no partner or like and  acknowledges Allah with His  attributes and that there is nothing like Him and then dies  before articulating it on his  tongue: does he die a believer or unbeliever?’ 
Imam Abu Hanifa replied, ‘An  unbeliever and one of the people  of the Fire unless he articulates it  with his tongue along with what  he knows in his heart.’

Jahm asked, ‘How can he not be a  believer when he acknowledges  Allah with His attributes?’
Imam Abu Hanifa said, ‘If you believe in  the Qur’an and accept it as  evidence, I will speak to you using it. If you believe in it and but do  not accept it as evidence, I will speak to you as one speaks to  someone who opposes the  religion of Islam.’ 

Jahm replied, ‘As someone who  believes in the Qur’an and acceptsit as evidence.’ 
Imam Abu Hanifa said, ‘In His Book, Allah Almighty makes belief involve two limbs: the heart and the tongue.  
“The Almighty says: ‘When they listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger, you see  their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they recognise of the truth. They say, “Our Lord, we believe! So write us down with the witnesses. How could we not believe in Allah, and the truth that has come to us, when we long for our Lord to include us among the people of righteousness?” Allah will reward them for what they say with Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, forever. That is the recompense of all good-doers.’ [5:83-85] So He connected the Garden to both recognition and word and made the believer someone with two limbs: the heart and tongue. 

“Allah also says: ‘Say, “We believe in Allah and what has been sent down to us and what was sent down to Ibrahim and  Isma‘il and Ishaq and Ya‘qub and the Tribes, and what Musa and ‘Isa were given, and what all the Prophets were given by their  Lord. We do not differentiate between any of them. We are Muslims submitting to Him.” If they believe the same as you believe then they are guided.’ [2:136-137]

“Imam Abu Hanifa continued to quote ayats and hadiths to this effect. Then he stated, ‘If words had not been necessary and mere  recognition adequate, Allah would not have mentioned verbal articulation. Iblees would have been a believer because he recognised his Lord and knew that he disobeyed Him.’”

Al-Makki added to what Imam Abu Hanifa said, regarding someone who dies with faith butwithout affirming it dying an unbeliever, that it means that when he is suspect since he has neither affirmed or openly declared his faith, then he dies an unbeliever. When there is no suspicion, as when he is on an island or in a desert, then he is not an unbeliever. So Imam Abu Hanifa affirms that faith has two parts: firm belief and outward  verbal acknowledgement of it. The verbal declaration is necessary.

Thus it is reported from Imam Abu Hanifa that he divided faith  into three, and that someone who believes with his heart, affirming it in himself, is a believer with Allah, even if he is not a believer  with people. Al-Intiqa’ clarifies what Imam Abu Hanifa thought of faith and its categories: “Faith is recognition, affirmation and declaration of Islam. People are in three stages in respect of affirmation: some affirm Allah with heart and tongue; some affirm with the tongue and deny with the heart; and some affirm with the heart and deny with the  tongue. As for the person who affirms Allah and what has come from the Messenger of Allah with his heart and tongue, he is a believer with Allah and with people. If someone affirms with his tongue and denies with his heart, he is an unbeliever with Allah and a believer with people  because people do not know what is in a person’s heart and they call him a believer because of his  public declaration of the shahadah. They do not speak of the heart. The other is a believer with Allah and an unbeliever with  people. This is the one who displays disbelief on his tongue through taqiyya.” [p. 368]

As we see, the school of Imam Abu Hanifa affirms that action is  not part of faith. He was opposed in this by two groups; by the Mu‘tazilites and Kharijites who 
considered action to be part of belief so that someone who does not act is not a believer; and by a group of the fuqaha’ and  hadith scholars who thought  that action was an integral part  of belief and affected it so that it can increase and decrease,  without that affecting its basic existence. In that view someone who does not carry out the rulings of the Shari‘ah is considered a believer if the  principle of affirmation exists, but his faith is not considered complete. Hence faith increases  and decreases.

Faith neither Increases nor
Decreases

Imam Abu Hanifa did not believe  that faith increases and  decreases. He considered the  faith of the people of Heaven and the people of Earth to be the  same. He said, “The faith of the  people of earth and the people of the heavens is the same; and the faith of the first and the last and the Prophets is the same because we all believe in Allah alone and affirm Him, even if there are many different obligations. Disbelief is  one and the attributes of the unbeliever  are many. All of us  believe in what the Messengers  believe, but they have a better reward than we do for faith and all acts of obedience; since they are better in actions, they are better in all matters: reward and  otherwise. This does not wrong us because it does not diminish our due. It increases our esteem for them because they are the models for people and the  trustees of Allah. No one has the  same rank as they do and people  only reach excellence by them; all who enter the Garden enter by their call.” [al-Bazzaziyyah, pt. 2, p.141]. Many later scholars disagreed with Imam Abu Hanifa’s view on this.

Imam Abu Hanifa’s position was  that belief is confirmation and it  does not increase or decrease,  and so he did not consider those  who disobey the Shari‘ah to be  unbelievers since they have their  basis of faith. The disobedient are believers who have a mixture of righteous and evil action. Perhaps Allah will turn to them.

These assertions of Imam Abu Hanifa are based on sound logic in conformity with the principle  of promise and threat contained by the Qur’an. Scholars and fuqaha’ accept it. Imam Malik  agreed with Imam Abu Hanifa on this matter. ‘Umar ibn Hammad ibn Abi Hanifa said, “I met Malik ibn Anas and stayed  with him and listened to his  knowledge. When I had got what  I wanted and desired to depart, I  told him, ‘I fear that you will have hostile and envious people telling you things about Imam Abu Hanifa which do not tally with his  true position. I want to make his  position clear to you. If you are  pleased with it, that is it. If you  have something better, I will learn it.’ ‘Go ahead,’ he replied. I said, ‘He does not consider a believer to be an unbeliever on account of committing a sin.’ He said, ‘He did well,’ or ‘He was correct.’ I said, ‘He said more than that. He  used to say, “Even if he commits  atrocious actions, I do not consider him an unbeliever.”’ He said, ‘He was correct.’ I went on, ‘He says more.’ ‘What is that?’ he asked, ‘He said, “Even if he kills a man deliberately, I do not consider him an unbeliever.”’ He said, ‘He was correct.’ I said, ‘This  is his position. If someone tells you otherwise, do not believe him.’” [al-Makki, pt. 2, p.77]

Some people misconstrued his  position and he explained this in  al-Fiqh al-Akbar: “We do not say  that sins do not harm the  believer nor do we say that he  will not enter the Fire. We do say  that he will not be in it for eternity, even if he is a deviant,  provided he leaves this world a  believer. We do not say that his  good deeds are accepted and his  evil ones forgiven as the  Murji’ites say. He (Allah Ta’ala) is subject to the will of Him who  will punish him in the Fire if He wills and forgive him if He wills.”

We can state that the  disagreement regarding people  who commit major sins has three branches.

One are those groups  who do not consider them believers at all – the Kharijites and the  Mu‘tazilites. 

The second are those who say that disobedience is not harmful when there is beliefand that Allahforgives all sins – the blameworthy Murji’ites. 

The third are the majority of scholars who say that a rebel is  not an unbeliever and that a good action is multiplied ten times and  that an evil deed is only counted  as one, and that the pardon of Allah is not limited or confined.  Imam Abu Hanifa was one of  these; and it is the opinion of the  majority of Muslims, which would make the majority of Muslims  Murji’ites by this definition. The  term Murji’ites, however, is normally confined to the second group.