Category Archives: Sunnah of the Prophet

ON THE LAWFULNESS OF MARTIAL ARTS

[By Shaykh Sharif ibn Farid]

The Roots of African Martial Arts in the `Amal of Medina

In his Sawq al-Umma Ila Ittiba` as-Sunna, Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio narrated two prophetic traditions which establish the lawfulness of practicing martial arts; combining it with the drums, poetry and entertainment; similar to the Caporeira system the Africans developed in Brazil; but in addition to the formation of a system of martial arts the two prophetic traditions establish that this martial tradition was connected with the `amal of Medina among the Africans of the city.

The first narration by the Shehu cited with his chain to the Saheeh of al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Hurayra who stated:

“We were present when some Abyssinians were making entertainment in the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with their lances when Umar entered. He (Umar) then reached for some pebbles and began to stone them with them. He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “Let them alone O Umar!”

The meaning of the words of Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him: “We were present when some Abyssinians”; it is said that this cognomen is a reference to the descendants of Habash ibn Kush ibn Haam ibn Nuuh, who are the traditional neighbors to the people of Yemen, and are only cut off from them by the Red Sea.

Historically, the Abyssinians conquered Yemen before the time of Islam and took sovereignty over its land. Also Abraha made the well-known military engagement from their kingdom against the Ka`aba and its people accompanied with his elephants, and were known as ‘the Companions of the Elephant’.

This event occurred in the year in which our master Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace was born. Allah ta`ala says about them:

“Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with the Companions of the Elephants? Did He not bring their stratagem to nil; and sent against them swarms of flying creatures, which pelted them with stones of baked clay; and made them like green crops devoured.”

This is evidence that the lands of Yemen and parts of the lands south of the Hijaz were under the sovereignty of Abyssinia until the event of the Elephant.

Ibn Hajr al-`Asqalani said: “The kingdom of Abyssinia lay in the direction of the west of the land of Yemen, and its distance is extremely vast, and they are divided into many ethnic types. All of the divisions of the Blacks fall under the sovereignty of the ruler of Abyssinia.”

This statement is proof that any mention of the name Abyssinia in the prophetic traditions is a designation for all Blacks in general. The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “…were making entertainment”; is that the entertainment of the Abyssinians with their lances, was actually their convention and custom by which they trained in the art of war; and this should not be assumed that they were performing some kind of dancing for amusement.

It was called ‘entertainment’ (la`b) although it was primarily a form of practice in martial arts, and it was performed with gravity although it resembled entertainment, because of what was in it of mock jabbing and stabbing, even though this was not actually done. And those participating would give the false impression that the fighting was real, even when they were fathers and sons; and Allah knows best. In this is evidence for it being highly recommended to train and practice boxing, swordsmanship and other than these from the sciences of martial arts.
The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “…in the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with their lances”; is intrinsically connected to the reality that this practice was their custom during every `Eid celebration. It also indicates that this was an authorization that they were accustomed to with the advent of the `Eid.

There was no contradiction between their actions and the religion in that their arrival to perform coincided with the day of the `Eid. This is because it was among their custom prior to Islam to entertain themselves in this fashion during all their holiday festivals. Thus, they did that as a convention, and then eventually they made this form of entertainment on the day of every `Eid.
This was corroborated by what was related by Abu Dawud on the authority of Anas who said:

“When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace arrived in al-Medina the Abyssinians made entertainment out of joy for that by making amusement with their lances.”

The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “…when Umar entered”; is based upon what Ibn at-Teen said: “It is conceivable that Umar did not actually see the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and was not aware that he was actually observing them. Or perhaps he assumed that he saw them but was too modest to prevent them from doing it.”

The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “He (Umar) then reached”; is that he made the obvious objective with his hands for reaching for the stones.

The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “…for some pebbles”; is that the expression ‘hasaa’ (pebbles) is the plural of ‘hisaat’, and are pebbles small enough not to cause injury if thrown at someone. It was not Umar’s intention to punish them, but to deter them.

The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “and began to stone them with them”; is that he threw the pebbles at them as an objection to what they were doing. Umar did this based upon his own ‘ijtihaad’ (independent judgment) considering that their behavior was not appropriate for the masjid, because it resembled the behavior of the words of Allah ta`ala: “…and their prayer in the House is nothing but shouting and the clapping of hands.”

Thus, Umar objected to their making entertainment based upon the apparent meaning of the words of Allah ta`ala: “The life of this world in nothing but entertainment and amusement, while the Abode of the Hereafter is better for those who are fearfully aware”; assuming that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace was unaware of what they were doing.

Umar held the view that making amusement and entertainment in any way was not appropriate for the masaajid, because Allah ta`ala says: “And the masaajid are solely for Allah.” And Allah knows best.

The meaning of his words, upon him be blessings and peace: “Let them alone O Umar!”; is leave them alone because their behavior is permitted or highly recommended, and consistent with the Sunna. That is to say, that demonstrating adroitness and dexterity with weapons in mark combat is not reprehensible, especially when it is done to entertain the Muslims during their holidays.

It is clear that Umar did know this ruling when he was throwing the pebbles at them until it was said to him: ‘Let them alone.’ That is to say, let them alone because they are not doing something which is displeasing to Allah and His messenger.

If Umar knew of the presence of the Messenger of Allah and yet he made his decision to deter the Abyssinians from making entertainment in the masaajid, is evidence for the permissibility of the Companions making independent judgment in the presence of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

What the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said to Umar was not an objection to his independent judgment, or his duty to command the good and forbid evil. On the contrary, the Messenger of Allah commended the ijtihaad of a mujtahid even when he errs, by his words, upon him be peace:

“When a jurist gives a judgment based upon his independent judgment and he gets it correct, then he will have two rewards. And if he gives a judgment based upon his independent judgment and he makes an error, then he will have a single reward.”

Thus, with respect to giving ijtihaad, every single mujtahid is correct in his judgment. Thus, Umar was correct from one perspective and incorrect from another. The silence of the Prophet, upon him be peace during the entertainment of the Abyssinians in the masjid is evidence for its permissibility according to the shari`a, since the sunnan were established by his words and actions and sometimes by his silent approval of what he saw from the Companions.

The silence of the Messenger of Allah, of the Abyssinians and his censure of the actions of Umar, corroborates the lawfulness of martial games or demonstrations the Africans were doing. For this reason it states in the at-Tawdeeh:

“The playing at martial arts games is a Sunnah because it is a preparation for encountering the enemies, and disciplining of the people for that.” It should be noted that no mention was made in the prophetic tradition of singing and dancing.

However, there are many of those who are associated with the Sufis who utilize this prophetic tradition and the one regarding the two Abyssinian girls singing as evidence for the permissibility for singing and dancing as a form of worship. It is sufficient to refute them with the fact that the entertainment of the Abyssinians was a form of exercise and training with shields and lances, and this was a custom of theirs for recreation, and not a type of worship.

The scholars differ regarding the permissibility of singing. A large group from the people of the Hijaz allowed it, based upon a narration on the authority of Malik, however, Abu Hanifa and the people of `Iraq said that it was prohibited. The view of as-Shafi` considered it reprehensible, which is also the most famous view of Malik.
Those who consider singing permissible take reliance upon the above cited prophetic tradition, while others refute them by citing that the kind of singing that the Abyssinians performed was that regarding bravery, fighting, adroitness in fighting and the like, which has no corruption in it. This is in contrast to the kind of singing which comprises provoking the lower souls towards evil and inducing them to that which is false and obscene.

Whatever the case, the above cited prophetic tradition establishes the fact that it was a sunnan for the Africans, the Blacks (Sudaniyuun), the Abyssinians, etc of the city of Medina, to train in martial arts, and to give entertainment in the form of weapons demonstrations in the presence of the Prophet inside the masaajid. We can see that is far easier for a Sufi Zawiyya to be a place for the purification of the soul accompanied with martial training; than let’s say a zawiyya where the Sufis sing and dance.

The second prophetic tradition which Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio cites with his chain of authority going back to the Saheeh of al-Bukhari which establish the fact that the Africans of the city of Medina formally practiced a form of martial arts and gave regular demonstrations before the people of Medina during their Eids; is what was related on the authority of A`isha, may Allah be pleased with her who said:

“On the day of the `Eid, the Blacks were playing with leather shields and lances.”
The meaning of the words, of A`isha may Allah be pleased with her: “On the day of the `Eid, the Blacks were playing”; is a reference to the Abyssinians. This is proof that the names Abyssinian and Blacks were interchangeable, and that the name Abyssinian is a cognomen designating all Blacks, as we mentioned previously.
They were playing in the masjid as it was stated explicitly in the narration of az-Zuhri: “…and the Abyssinians were playing in the masjid.” In the narration of Mu`aliqa it added: “…with their lances.”

Muslim related from the narration of Hisham on the authority of his father: “The Abyssinians came and began to play in the masjid”; in that it was their custom to do so during every `Eid, as we mentioned.

In the narration of Ibn Hibban it stated: “When he arrived, the Abyssinians assembled and stood and played in the masjid.”

The meaning of her words, may Allah be pleased with her: “…with leather shields”; is that ‘the leather shield’ is among the instruments of war which are necessary for the people of this art to take up as a defensive implement against the weapons of the enemies.
It is said that the leather shield is a type of shield made from leather and contains wood without a stump at its end. It is well known that the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace used to utilize them for defensive purposes.
The meaning of her words, may Allah be pleased with her: “…and lances” is that the expression ‘hiraab’ is the plural of ‘harba’, which is weapon shorter than a spear, as Ibn al-`Arabi said: “The lance is not to be included among the types of spears.” This means that the lance was categorized as a close quarter combat weapon; while the spear is for long distance and keeping the enemies at a distance.

This prophetic tradition gives evidence of the permissibility of playing with weapons by way of exuberant movements for the purpose of practicing for war and vitalizing oneself for it. It is what the people of China call ‘chuan’ (organized martial movement) and the people of Japan call ‘kaataa’ (a martial arts form).

Further, what can be extracted from it is the permissibility of fencing and swordsmanship and what it comprises of training the hands in the art of war. These kinds of exercises also invigorate the metabolism and make the body healthy in order to worship Allah.
The fact that A`isha, may Allah be pleased with her was the one who transmitted this prophetic tradition through eye witnessing indicates the permissibility for women observing the actions of men, even though it is reprehensible for them to gaze upon their attractiveness with the objective of taking pleasure from that, as Qadi `Iyad mentioned in his as-Shifa.

In these times when Muslim national minorities all around the globe are the targets of summary attacks by bullies, thugs and xenophobes; it is time that we revive the dead Sunnah of martial training for our men women and children.

The Sunnat Method of Licking Fingers after the Meal

Ka’b bin Malik (Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu) says: “It was the noble habit of Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) to use three fingers whilst eating and he also licked them”.

Commentary: It has been mentioned in some narrations that he first licked the middle finger, then the Shahaadah (index) finger, then the thumb. It was the noble habit of the master to use these three fingers. The Ulama have mentioned many benefits in this method (sequence). The first is that the licking of the fingers will run in a manner where it goes to the right. The Sha-haadah finger will be on the right of the middle finger. The second is that the middle finger is long, therefore it will be more greasy. For this reason it is oppropriate to begin with this finger.

Khattaabi says: ‘Some foolish people do not like to lick the fingers, and think it disgraceful, but they do not reason that the food that is on the finger is the same that they have been eating, there is nothing new on it’.

Ibn Hajar says: ‘If someone thinks of his own deed as disgraceful, it could be discussed. But to think of any act of Sayyidina Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) as disgraceful, could be  dangerous and may even lead to kufr (disbelief). -Jam’ul Wasaa-il.

In  reality these things have alot to do with habit. If one has a habit of something, it does not matter, and one will not even take notice of it. This is why if one naturally feels these deeds to be disgraceful, then too one should try to form a habit of it, (and should remind one’s self that it is the Sunnah of Sayyidina Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam).

Anas Radiyallahu ‘Anhu says: “Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam used to lick his three fingers after having eaten”.

Commentary: It was the noble habbit of Sayydina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam to eat with three fingers only. Although we find in a few narrations that he used five fingers also. In most narrations the three fingers; thumb, and middle fingers are mentioned. The benefit of eating with three fingers is that the amount taken (rnorsel) will be less, and one will not eat more. Imaam Nawawi says: ‘We gather from these ahaadith that it is mustahab to eat with three fingers’. For this reason the fourth and fifth fingers should not be used unnecessarily. But if such food is eaten, where it is difficult to use only the three fingers, then there is no harm in using more. Mulla ‘Ali Qari has written that to eat with five fingers is a sign of greediness. Many a time due to the morsel being big, it results in the stomach being unnecessarily strained, it is also the reason for food getting stuck in the throat.

Dress-Style & the Misleading Fatwa of a Deviant “Shaykh”

Question: According to one Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, it is permissible to wear any type of clothes. The dress styles of kuffaar are permissible. He also rejects Hijaab. He says that we should not be worrying if girls walk about without scarves. He presents some Hadith narrations in which is mentioned that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) donned a variety of garments. Please comment.

Answer (By Mujlisul Ulama):

A person who rejects Hijaab and denies the compulsion of hair-covering for women is not a Muslim. If he was a Muslim once upon a time, then his beliefs of kufr eliminate his Imaan. He is a deviate and a mudhil. He deviates the ignorant from the Deen.

The permanent dress of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as well as that of all the Ambiya, was the qamees (kurtah) and izaar (lungi). The confounded murtad ‘shaykh’ is guilty of confounded lies. It was a rare occasion that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) donned for a couple of minutes a gift of a foreign garment. It was not his dress style nor the style of the Sahaabah.

The momentary donning of a foreign garment only served the purpose of permissibility should such a garment in future become a style of the Muslim community. If a style which Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not wear, but is the style of a Muslim community, then it will be permissible provided that it is within the confines of essential Islamic guidelines.

The garment must be above the ankles. It should not reveal the shape of the body. It should not be bright feminine colours for males. It should not be a specific kuffaar style. The lower part of the body should be covered with the qamees or a shawl. Muslim com-munities of the various countries have their dis-tinctive Islamic dress. As long as the essential guideline requisites are fulfilled, all such dress styles will be permissible. The very dress style is Islamic and only Mus-lims in the country don such a style.

It was never suggested by the Ulama that only the specific style of the Sahaabah is permissible and all other forms are haraam.

But, kuffaar styles and fashions are haraam. Such styles are Tashabbuh bil kuffaar.

The shaykh, if he has any intention of saving his skin in Qiyaamah, he should renew his Imaan, repent and renew his nikah if he happens to have a wife.

 

DRINKING WATER THE SUNNAH WAY

By Jamiatul Ulama Gauteng

Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam guided his Ummat to drink while sitting down. He specifically commanded his Ummat not to drink while standing up, He in addition commanded those who drink while standing to vomit. Yet, he did drink while standing as is correctly reported of him.

Some people said that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam’s drinking while standing overrules his command not to drink while standing. Another group said that his drinking while standing only demonstrates that this practice is only disliked not prohibited. Another group said that there is no contradiction between the two Ahadeeth. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam drank while standing when he needed to do so, as he came to the well of Zam Zam and was given a bucket of water that he drank from while standing (This applies to Zam Zam).

Drinking while standing begets many ailments and does not quench the thirst, nor will the water settle in the stomach so that the liver transfers it to the rest of the body. In this case, the water will descend quickly to the stomach and will aggravate it, and the water will not be digested properly.

Drinking water in three separate breaths

It is narrated in Muslim Shareef that Anas said that the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam used to sip the water in three separate breaths and would say:

“This method quenches the thirst better and is more palatable and sanitary.”

This Hadith indicates that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam used to remove the cup away from his mouth, take a breath and then drink some more.

In another Hadith, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam commanded that one should not breathe in the cup, but should move the cup away from his mouth and breath away from it. This method of drinking is very beneficial for quenching the thirst and more sanitary as Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam has stated.

When the water enters the hot thirsty stomach in intervals, the second sip of water will quench the thirst left by the first, and the third will quench the thirst left by the first two.

In addition, this method is better suited for the temperature of the stomach, so as not to suddenly invade it with cold substances. In addition, when one drinks the water in one breath, it will only partially quench the thirst unlike when he drinks it in separate sips. This method [that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam taught us] gives better results than drinking the water or liquid in one breath, since water might dissipate the instinctive heat or weaken it, thus spoiling the temperament of the stomach and the liver.

Water might in addition beget many other ailments, especially for those who live in warm areas, such as Yemen and Hijaz, and especially during summer. Drinking in one breath is dangerous for such people because their instinctive heat is weak especially during hot weather, as we have stated.

Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam’s statement, “It quenches the thirst better and is more palatable and sanitary,” is similar to what Allah said: “And enjoy it without fear of any harm.” (4:4)

In addition, when one takes the drink in one breath, he might choke on it because of the large amount of the liquid. However, there is no fear from choking when one takes a breath while drinking. Further, when one takes a drink, the hot gases accumulating in his body will ascend from around the liver and the heart because of the cold water or liquid that is descending on the stomach. In this case, the water will come rushing down while the gases are ascending, causing flatulence and sometimes choking the person. One will not enjoy the drink in this case.

In addition, when cold water descends suddenly on the liver it will weaken it and cause a decrease in its temperature. However, when one takes the drink in separate sips, the liver will not lose its warmth and thus will not weaken. Similarly, when one pours water on a boiling pot, it will not decrease its temperature significantly,

At-Tirmidhi Rahmatullahi Alayhi narrated that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said:

“Do not drink in one breath just as the camel does. Rather, drink twice and thrice, and mention (Allah’s) Name before drinking and thank (Him) upon finishing.”

Mentioning Allah’s Name before drinking and thanking Him upon finishing has a significant effect in benefiting from the drink, enjoying it while fending off its harm. Imam Ahmad Rahmatullahi Alayhi said,

“When the food has four qualities, it will have become perfect: when Allah’s Name is mentioned before having it, when Allah is thanked after finishing with it, when there are many hands to eat from it, and when it is from legal, pure sources.”

Source: Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)

SUNAN AND AADAB PERTAINING TO SLEEP

[By Jamiatul Ulama Gauteng]

To perform wudhu before sleeping

To keep the miswak at the head side

To use the miswak upon awakening

To arrange water for wudhu prior to sleeping

To extinguish any fires and switch off unnecessary lights

To secure the house entrance

To apply Kuhl

To dust the bed thoroughly before sleeping

To sleep on the right side

To keep the right hand under the right cheek

To use a pillow

To use a leather pillow

To keep water for drinking readily available

To perform wudhu if one is in the state of major impurity

To have separate garments for sleeping

To sleep immediately after ‘Esha

To sleep for half or two-thirds of the night

To awaken at the first crowing of the cock or after a third of the night lapses

To perform Tahajjud Salah

To engage in Istighfar and zikr during the last-third of the night

To sleep on a bed or on a straw mat

To sleep on a date-palm mat

To sleep on a straw-mat without any mattress or bedding

To read the Sunnah supplications before sleeping

To recite a portion of the Qur’an

To recite Surah Mulk

To recite Surah Sajdah

To recite Tasbiih Fatimi

To engage in Istighfar before sleeping

To convey Salawat upon Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) before sleeping

To remain in zikr till one falls off to sleep

To engage in zikr when changing sides

To read the relevant supplications upon awakening

To visit the toilet immediately upon awakening

To switch places of sleep according to the demands of the season and to do so on a Thursday night [the night between Thursday and Friday].

Actions contradicting the Sunnah as far as sleeping is concerned

To lie or sleep on one’s stomach

To sleep immediately after meals

To wear such garments where there is fear of some part of the body being exposed to others

To sleep on the road or pathway

To sleep on a roof or high surface that has no restraining edge

To sleep with soiled hands

To sleep after Asar Salah

To sleep after Maghrib Salah

To engage in futile activity after Esha Salah

To sleep without having made arrangements for water [if necessary]

To sleep so late that one would feel tired upon awakening

To sleep so late that one misses the Fajr Salah with congregation

To sleep continuously till the time of Fajr without waking up for Tahajjud

To sleep between Fajr and sunrise

To sleep without reciting the relevant supplications or engaging in zikr

To sleep in luxurious beds.

To commence the day without reciting the du’a upon awakening

The Sunnah Style of the Kurtah

QUESTION:
What is the Sunnah style of the kurtah for a man? Which style has a greater resemblance with the Sunnah – the maxi-kurtah which the Arabs wear or the kurtah with side slits worn by the Ulama of India and Pakistan? There appears to be much controversy on this issue.

ANSWER (By Mujlisul Ulama): 

The unnecessary controversy in this regard is the nafsaani machination of such ‘learned’ men and their students whose primary concern is not the Sunnah. They are influenced by the Salafi Arabs who have adopted the long, maxi kurtah. Some of the maxi-kurtahs worn by the present-day Arabs are even below the ankle.

There is no resemblance whatsoever between the current maxi Arab-style kurtah and the kurtah which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) wore. The maxi-kurtah which is on or below the ankles is haraam. The question of Sunnah simply cannot be directed towards it. It is also a clumsy garment in emulation of female dresses. It hampers free movement. It thus is a garment which is unbefitting for a Muslim male.

The kurtah worn by the Ulama of India and Pakistan has a very close resemblance to the (Kurtah) original of Qamees Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah. Firstly, its length is the Sunnah length stated in the Hadith. According to the Hadith, the length of Rasulullah’s kurtah was midway between the knees and ankles. This attribute exists in the kurtah of our Akaabir Ulama. 

As for the side slits – although we have not been able to find an explicit reference to it in the Hadith, the presumption that the Sunnah kurtah did have slits is based on two factors:

(1) The Akaabir Ulama and Auliya of India and Pakistan did not forge this style. They did not call a conference to decide on a kurtah style. They inherited it from the seniors above them who in turn inherited it from the seniors above, and so on until the Chain of inheritance links up with the Sahaabah. From the life-style and ideology of our Akaabir Ulama, it is clear that there exists Ta-aamul (unbroken practice on which there is continuity from one generation to the other).

Our senior Ulama and Auliya were meticulous in their observance of inherited practices. Furthermore, they had a natural aversion for new and innovated practices. It should be remembered that the Silsilah of our Akaabireen who were all top-ranking Auliya who meticulously practised every detail of the Sunnah, is an unbroken Chain linking directly to the Sahaabah. There is no missing link anywhere in this golden Silsilah.

It has always been the practice to adopt the ways and styles of the senior Shaikh above. In this manner, the practices were transmitted and transferred from one generation to the next. For example, our Shaikh Hadhrat Maulana Masihullah (rahmatullah alayh) did not invent the kurtah which he used to wear. He simply wore the style which his Asaatizah and Mashaaikh wore. His Shaikh, Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayh), did not introduce the kurtah style we are wearing. He simply adopted the style of his seniors who in turn had adopted the style of their seniors, and so on until the Chain ends with the Sahaabah. Thus, it is safe to presume that the Masnoon kurtah did have side-slits.

(2) Everyone is well aware that the Sahaabah were the greatest of fighters. They were expert horseman. Horse-riding was not a hobby or a part-time activity for them. It was a way of life. It is quite obvious that the clumsy, womanish maxi-kurtah which extends below the ankles, as well as the Salafi maxi-kurtah without slits but above the ankles and not in conformity with the Masnoon length, do not permit free and fast movement. Running, jumping and leaping with the womanish kurtah is most difficult. Unrestricted movement is hampered. The maxi-kurtah is a most unbefitting garment for a horseman and a Mujaahid in the battlefield.

Giving naseehat to an army of the Sahaabah setting out to conquer the lands of the kuffaar and to settle there, Ameerul Mu’mineen, Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) stressed two acts: (a) Do not shy away from the sun. Sunshine is our bath. Sun-bathing was a way of life for the Sahaabah. They were robust and courageous. Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) instructed them to beware of the luxury and comfort of the Ajam (non-Arabs). (b) Do not mount your horses like the Ajam. While non-Arabs would climb onto their horses, the Sahaabah would leap on to their horses. They would sprint and leap into the saddle. We are certain that this act is not possible with the maxi-womanish kurtah which the flabby and obese Arabs of this age have adopted, and which some molvis in our circles are advocating. There is a nafsaani agenda for this advocacy.

It should now be clear that the kurtah of our Akaabir Ulama and Auliya has the greatest resemblance with the kurtah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), and perhaps it is identical. Ta-aamul of the Akaabireen is the strongest argument to bolster this claim.

Related Reading: Islamic Dress Code According To The Sunnah

چاول ہاتھ سے کھانا سنت نہیں؟؟؟

من جانب: مفتی ابو ھاجرۃ

بات کا کانوں کو اچھی معلوم ہونا بات کے حق ہونے کی علامت نہیں۔ پچھلے کچھ سال بھر سے چاول کو چمچہ سے کھانے کی بات مولانا طارق جمیل صاحب دامت برکاتہم کی طرف سے طلباء کو تجویز کی جا رہی ہے ۔اور ان کے واسطے سے اب تو بہت سے دیگر حضرات بھی یہی تجویز پیش کرنے لگے ہیں –

بات اصل یہ ہے کہ ہاتھ سے کھانا سنت ہے اور چاول کھانا سنت نہیں ۔
اب اس سے یہ استدلال کرنا کہ چاول ہاتھ سے کھانا مسنون نہیں، قیاس مع الفارق ہے۔

اگر کھانا ہاتھ سے کھانا سنت ہے اور چاول بھی کھانے کے ہی جنس میں سے ہے تو چاول کو بھی ہاتھ ہی سے کھانا سنت ثابت ہوا۔

اب رہی بات چاول کو ایسے طریقے پر کھانا جس سے لوگ متنفر ہو جائیں تو یہ تو ہر کھانے کے کے ساتھ یکساں ہے۔ اس میں چاول کی کوئ تخصیص نہیں۔اس طور پر کھانا جو کہ خلاف مروت ہو اور دیکھنے والے کو اس سے گھن اور کراہیت محسوس ہوتی ہو تو یہ بھی تو سنت کے خلاف ہے ۔

اگر لوگوں کی رعایت کرنا ہی اصل منشا ہے تب تو آج عام رواج یہ ہے کہ ہر کھانے کے ساتھ چمچہ کا استعمال کیا جاتا ہے، خواہ وہ چاول ہو یا غیر چاول۔ ہاتھ کے استعمال کو خلاف ادب سمجھا جانے لگا ہے۔ تو کیا اب لوگوں کے خاطر چاول کے ما سوا کھانوں میں بھی ہاتھ کے استعمال سے پرہیز کیا جائے؟

کون کہتا ہے کہ روٹی کو سالن کے ساتھ اس بے ہودگی کے ساتھ کھائیں کہ سالن انگلیوں سے نیچے ٹپک رہا ہو۔آخر یہ بھی تو سنت کے خلاف ہے۔

نبی ﷺ جب کدو تناول فرماتے تو طشطری میں انگلیاں پھیر کر کدو ڈھونڈتے۔اس سے معلوم ہوتا ہے کہ وہ کھانا سیال ہوتا لیکن اس کے باوجود طشطری میں انگلیاں پھیرنا آپ سے ثابت ہے۔ تو اب اس عمل کو کیا نام دیا جائے؟ سنت تو یہی ہونا چاہیے کہ ہم بھی اس طرح کدو کھائیں ۔اور اول تو آپ ﷺ گوشت کھاتے بہت کم لیکن جب کھاتے تو بوٹی کو دانتوں سے چیر کر کھاتے۔ سنت تو اسی کے مطابق ہونا چاہیے  لیکن یہ عمل بھی اگر دور حاضر کے جدت پسند حضرات کو برا معلوم ہو تو اب اور کیا کیا جائے؟

آخر نبی ﷺ نے ہمیں کھانے کا سلیقہ بھی تو سکھایا  ہے۔کون کہتا ہے کہ چاول میں اس قدر سالن بھر کر کھائیں کہ ہیئت بری لگے۔اگر ڈھنگ سے کھایا جائے تو چاول بھی مہذب طریقے پر ہاتھ ہی سے کھایا جا سکتا ہے۔ہاتھ ہی سے کھانے پر ہمیں اصرار نہیں،کوئ چمچہ ہی سے کھانا چاہے تو اس میں حرج بھی نہیں ہے۔ لیکن بغیر کسی عذر کے سنت کو ترک کر کے ایک مباح چیز کو ترجیح دینا حب نبی ﷺ کے خلاف معلوم ہوتا ہے۔ کوئ ہاتھ سے کھانا پسند کریں تو یہ حب نبی ﷺ کی علامت ہے۔

Eating rice with hands is NOT a sunnah???

By Mufti Abu Hajira

Words pleasing to ears isn’t a sign for its authenticity. Since few years Moulana Tariq Jameel Sahab has been seen prescribing this to the students of madaaris. And then through ascription towards him everyone has started doing the same.

In fact the reality is that having meal with hands is masnoon. While eating rice in itself is not masnoon.

Adding both and proving that eating rice with hands isn’t sunnah is just a false analogy. If having meal with hands is masnoon. Then even if rice is to be eaten, using hands for it would also be considered masnoon.

As for the matter that having rice this way alienates people then this problem exists in all foods. Its not specific with just rice. Having chapati dipped in gravy in such a way that its drops spread over hands and clothes or any such style of eating which turns away people should then also be considered against sunnah.

But the reality is that when Prophet ﷺ would have pumpkin he would search the entire can using his fingers for the remains of it. Thus sunnah must be that we also adopt this way while eating pumpkin. Moreover, very rarely would he have meat to eat but when he would, then he would tear its pieces using his canines/teeth. Hence sunnah must also be accordingly. Now even if this act would alienate sophisticated people, then what would be its solution?

Finally, who says to add so much gravy onto the rice that it looks odd. If eaten properly then even rice can be had with hands in a very sophisticated manner. But, eating with hands only should also not be insisted upon. Rather if someone eats with spoon then that’s also fine, but if he uses his hands in a wise manner then this act must also be appreciated as being the love for the Prophet ﷺ.

Click here for the Urdu Translation of this post   

Hospitality of the People of Madinah Munawwarah

As I and my 6 friends began to head towards Madinah Munawwarah on Thursday last week after performing Umrah in Makkah Mukarramah, there was a sense of excitement and delightedness and why not! It is the city of our Beloved Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and each and every lover of our Prophet would surely feel the same.

We reached the city just at the stroke of Salaat al-‘Asr, quickly we dropped our luggages in the rooms and rushed towards the Prophet’s Mosque (Al-Masjid al-Nabawi) for Ziyarat, at first we offered Fardh Salaat and then we headed towards the Roza-e-Rasool (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), mere words cannot describe the happiness and privilege one feels at being present at the Roza-e-Rasool (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and sending Salaams to him❤.

Soon after, we headed back to our room for a brief rest due to the tiresome journey, then we were back again to Masjid al-Nabawi for Iftaar and Salaat al-Maghrib. The sun was setting as we made our way towards the entrance of the Masjid, when we approached the main entrance of the Masjid, we could see many youngsters looking eagerly as if like they were waiting for some guests.

While we were taking off our shoes, one young boy placed his hand upon my shoulders in a friendly manner and greeted me and requested us all to have iftar with him, we were surprised, at once we all agreed, so we went along with him inside the Masjid, as we went we could see the plastic sheets placed on the saffs and many youngsters waiting to grab your hands and wanting you to sit in his saff for iftari! The youngster accompanied us to his saff and left us there.

This gesture surprised all of us, unlike Makkah where we would head to Masjid al-Haraam and have our iftaar at any saff we would like to, here in Madinah, we had people welcoming us at the entrance for Iftaar and we were treated like their guests!

It didn’t take us long to realize that this gesture was the Sunnah of our Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and the People of Madinah to treat every people like guests with the best hospitable manner they could. These children were imitating this sunnat wallahi! One feels honoured to be treated as guests in the city of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam).

This reminded me of one such article which I came across long ago describing the Hospitality of the People of Madinah, I thought to share that post with our readers once I return, and there I go!:

[By Hazrat Ml Abdul Hamid Ishaq Saheb DB]

HOSPITALITY OF THE PEOPLE OF MADINAH
Indeed, hospitality is a speciality of the people of Madinah. Whilst leaving the Haram on one occasion we met our Ustaad Qari Abdullah Salim Saheb who had taught us Qiraat and Tajweed in Deoband. Qari Saheb is currently running a very successful Darul Uloom in Chicago, U.S.A. He had mentioned a very important point which added to our knowledge greatly which also indicates that a person is learning all the time. One should always regard himself as a student and not one that knows everything. When a person feels that he knows everything and should teach others then one is closing the doors of knowledge upon himself.

Maulana explained that he has a nephew that is a Hafiz-ul-Quraan as well as an engineer by profession. He resides in Madinah Sharif and is a very hospitable person. He goes out of his way to serve the Ulema that visit the holy lands. He then explained the requirement in order to qualify to be a resident of Madinah Munawwarah is that one should be hospitable. It is not necessary to be a great Aalim, nor a great Aabid, nor an Aashiq. Whoever visits Madinah Munawwarah are the guest of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), and Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) went out of his way to host his guest.

DELEGATION THAT CAME TO MADINAH
Once a delegation came to Madinah Munawwarah, it was the habit of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) to ask Sahaaba, “Who would host the guest of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)?” In Madinah Munawwarah, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had a non-Muslim guest. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) enquired from the Sahaaba, “Who is it that will entertain our guest?” The entertaining of these guests was not only to feed them but to teach them Deen. The Sahaaba knew the terrible character of this non-Muslim so they refused to entertain him. Generally, we will not want to entertain people with evil character. However Rasaulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “The guest will stay at my house.” He spent the night at the home of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and messed the bed. He then left the home in the middle of the night fearing his dignity. In that era the most valuable possession of a person is his sword. The sword was extremely valuable as the car of a person in today’s time, or a person is totally paralysed without his cell phone. It holds extreme value to a person. This person forgot his sword. On the other hand Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) noticed that the guest had messed the bed and began cleaning the mess personally. That Nabie of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that was absolutely pure internally and externally began cleansing the bed. When this person returned and seen Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) cleaning the mess, he immediately said, “O Nabie of Allah, cleanse my heart of the filth of Kufr and Shirk.”

Similarly, the guests that come to the Khanqah are the guest of the Sheikh. It is physically impossible for the Sheikh to host every one of them. Whoever is chosen to entertain the guests are actually acting on behalf of the Sheikh. When this delegation arrived, then Sahaaba took the guests to their home. Similarly, we are also regarded as the host of Rasulullah g in this day and age. Who would have visited Madinah Munawwarah if Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was not resting there. The value of the Masjid is because of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) . The value of the Rowdah is because of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

HOSPITALITY IN THE LIVES OF THE AMBIYA
Hospitality was a quality that was dominant in the lives of all the Ambiyaa (alayhimussalaam). Similarly, hospitality was found in the life of all the Sahaaba and the Awliya. In our country, there was a time where the guest would be taken home if they are seen outside the Masjid. Unfortunately we avoid the guests that come nowadays. The hospitality of the people of Madinah is outstanding to such an extent that no other city in the world has hospitality like the residents of Madinah Munawwarah. People will bear witness that Dastarkhaans are laid out in Madinah on a daily basis. The host serve dates in punnets, cups, etc. Many people eat the dates even before the Maghrib Azaan but the host will never refuse them. The host who is generally a wealthy Arab breaks the bread and distributes the dates personally. This type of hospitality is not found anywhere in the world.

RAMADAAN IN MADINAH MUNAWWARAH
We were once in Madinah Sharif during the month of Ramdaan with our Sheikh rahimahullah. The host had appointed certain people to bring guests to their Dastarkhaans. They then take a promise that you will only come to this specific Dastarkhaan for the remainder of your stay. The people fight with each other to host the guests. We had also experienced that whenever we visited the poorest people of the poorest country, then too they will host in such a manner that one will think that these people are extremely wealthy. This is a quality that is leaving us and we should strive to revive this quality. It is not necessary that one should only be hospitable to a Muslim but even one is permitted to be hospitable to a non-Muslim. Fortunate is the person that makes an intention of inviting people to meals when going for his Salaah to the Masjid. The Sahaaba were such that they didn’t even eat if they didn’t have a guest.

The people of Madinah Sharif exceed all others in the quality of hospitality as the people that go to Madinah are the guest of Rasulullah g. The host has to host his guest. Whilst Rasulullah g was alive he would ask the Sahaaba, “Who is it that will entertain the guest (i.e. guest of Rasulullah g)?” We should also learn that this is what the Khanqah and Tasawwuf is all about. The guests that come to the Khanqah are actually the guests of the Sheikh but he is unable to host all of them. Those that host the guests of the Sheikh are indeed very fortunate as these guests have come to learn the love of Allah c. The Sahaaba of Rasulullah g involved themself in two Khidmat, one was to serve them by feeding them and secondly to teach them the Deen. This is exactly what the Khanqah is about.

Every Nabie, Rasool, Sahaabi, Wali of Allah possessed the quality of hospitality. They were extremely hospitable. Any person that wants to be pulled to Madinah Munawwarah doesn’t have to worry about having his Iqaamah documents but just inculcate the quality of hospitality and Allah will sort out the remainder.

It is absolutely easy to speak of this character and to listen to these talks are even easier. However, if a person adopts this character of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), then the life of a person will be absolutely enjoyable in this world as though he is enjoying the bounties of Jannat. When a person learns to forgive others then Allah will keep you happy. When a person cannot forgive then the heart and mind of a person will be totally tightened. He has no enjoyment in life and he is a totally unhappy person. When a person learns to share and forgive then a person enjoys tremendous happiness. Nowadays we enjoy eating plates of Biryani. The happiness is even greater if we get the Taufeeq of feeding a poor and hungry person. A person with good character enjoys to the maximum. A person that has a light at home gets the maximum benefit from it. On a cold night you have the heater switched on, you will get the maximum benefit from it. In short, the person that possesses good character benefits the most. The Ulema have written volumes on the character of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), but sufficient is the verse of the Quraan Sharif which indicates that the character of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is sublime. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had complete control of his character.

THE CHARACTER OF HADRAT MADANI (Rahimahullah)

The Khanqah of Hadrat Maulana Hussein Ahmad Madani rahimahullah was very famous. Sheikh-ul-Islam Hadhrat Moulana Sayyid Hoosein Ahmad Madani rahimahullah was once travelling by train, a Hindu gets up to relieve himself and returns shortly thereafter. Hadhrat understood immediately that the toilet is not in a clean condition, the spiritual son of Nabi g quietly gets up and with his own hands, cleans the toilet, returns and tells the Hindu the toilet is now in a usable condition! He says first cleanse my heart of Kufr before I even relieve my body of its dirt. Subhanallah! This was the character of our elders, whose name we take and boast about – but where are we?

A GUEST AT THE KHANQAH

In the Khanqah of Sayyid Hadrat Maulana Madni rahimahullah, a person never used to perform Salaah but used to be first on the Dastarkhaan. The remainder of his time would be spent walking in the market place. The Naazim (person responsible for the Khanqah) expelled him from the Khanqah. When Hadrat found out, he reprimanded the Naazim. He said, “He is my guest not your guest. Your duty is to take care of the guest and not make Tarbiyat of the guest.”

HOTELS

Hadrat Maulana Saeed Khan Saheb rahimahullah used to say, “The hotels have removed the quality of hospitality.” Muslims no longer give loans to others but you are now directed to the bank for a loan. Previously, people used to go for Salaah to the Masjid and one specific intention they would make was that of bringing home a guest for meals.

HADRAT SHEIKH (Rahimahullah)

Hadrat Sheikh rahimahullah was a very hospitable person. On one occasion some guest arrived at Zuhr time. Hadrat told his family to make Kitchri which is similar to the Kitchri that we make. He then bought the sour milk and left it at home before Zuhr Salaah and then proceeded for the Zuhr Salaah. After the Zuhr Salaah, when he returned the food was freshly prepared for the guest. All our Buzurgs were always hospitable.

Today, we pretend as though we didn’t see anyone at the Masjid. May Allah kindle the quality of hospitality in us which is a great Ibaadat. Ameen!

What’s in a Beard??

[COMPILED BY: MAULANA AASIM RASHID (CANADA)]

[A brief article on the importance of keeping a beard with answers to some common misconceptions in the light of Qur’aan and Hadith]

The position that Islam has, or will have, in the world has a great deal to do with how the Muslims look at it, and to what extent they practice on its teachings. There was a time when Islam was running through every vein in a Muslim’s body, and his actions were a living portrait of the glory and beauty of Islam, so the flag of Islam fluttering proudly in the sky, lifted by the winds of success. The non-Muslims could not dare to question Islamic concepts, because living examples of Islamic perfection were in front of them. When the spirit of Islam started drifting away from the hearts of the Muslims, their bodies were no longer inclined to take all measures, undergo all hardships to practice their flawless religion. The new place for Islam was not a strong firm heart, but a dark, dusty corner in the human mind. It would no longer be nurtured and cared for, upheld and protected by the warmth of love and devotion, but would now be probed and dissected by the cold, merciless and unfeeling instruments of intellect, theory and logic. It was no longer a deep feeling, a faith or way of life, but had become a set of rules, a doctrine or constitution like the ones made by man, to be amended and abridged at will.

Where did we go wrong? The answer is simple. We left the pattern of life of our dear Prophet ﷺ who spent his days and nights, his sweat and blood, trying to teach us, and turned to what others had to offer. If we want our respect, dignity and position of honor back, we must revert to that same pattern. This is why the subject of the noble practices of Rasulullah’s ﷺ Sunnah, holds so much weight. This article has been compiled as a reminder of one of the very important Sunnahs – the beard. We hope that the readers will not only read it carefully, but will make a concerned effort to convey the information to others.

SOME COMMON EXCUSES
Allah Ta’ala prefers people who sin and admit their mistakes, over those who do good deeds and behave in a conceited manner. Its unfortunate that today we disobey Allah and instead of admitting it, find some sort of excuse to justify our misdeeds, even if it means criticizing the Shariah or inventing our own guidelines for what is important in Islam and what isn’t. Below are some common excuses and reasons people use to explain why they don’t keep a beard. If you examine these with an objective, Islamic mind you will see how weak and baseless they really are.  The purpose of this article is not to condemn anyone or label anyone under a certain category but, when we say ‘Islamic awareness’ it means Islamic awareness in its entirety, not just what seems appealing. And that is what we are trying to do, so that  each Muslim can at least know what is expected from him. The ability to practice comes from Allah.

1. One argument that is commonly heard is that the Qur’an is silent on the issue of the beard. To answer this we ask, “Where in the Qur’an does it say that we are only supposed to act  on what is in the Qur’an, and reject the teachings of Rasulullah ﷺ?”

The Qur’an very clearly states:

‘Obey Allah and the Prophet ﷺ’ (Quraan)

There are many commandments that are necessary for us to fulfill, but are  not mentioned in the Qur’an. Take for example the number of Raka’ts in each Salaat.  They have been explained to us by Rasulullah ﷺ  yet there is no objection on the authenticity and importance of the matter. To  acceptance Rasulullah’s ﷺ  instructions and reject others on the basis that they are not found in the Qur’an amounts to mocking his flawless teachings. 

2. Some people forsake keeping a beard, claiming that the reformation of the heart and purification of the soul is their first priority. They argue that it doesn’t matter if one doesn’t keep a beard, so long as the heart is clean. 

This type of reason is a symptom of one’s misunderstanding (or ignorance) of the basic Islamic fundamentals and concepts. The heart that is actually pure will lead it’s beholder to complete obedience of Allah and his Prophet ﷺ. It defies logic to think that one can have a heart free of all corruptive elements and at the same time sin persistently, not wanting to adopt the noble appearance of the Holy Prophet ﷺ. Everyone will agree that a ‘pure’ heart will definitely contain the love of Allah. Allah says that if you love me, you must follow the Prophet ﷺ. If you do so, your love for Allah will prove true, and only then will Allah love you in return. 

“Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you…” (Quraan)

Therefore, it should be correct to say that love for Allah and the disobedience of his Prophet ﷺ are two opposite things, and can never be in a person’s heart at the same time.  
 
3. There is another claim that shaving is only a minor sin.

First of all, since intentionally omitting an obligatory commandment is a major sin, and growing a beard is obligatory (as you will see ahead), it is wrong to say that shaving is a minor sin. It should be known that repetitively and persistently committing minor sins is itself a major sin. That means that for each minute that this act continues, the sin will keep accumulating and will become more weightier than major acts of disobedience, as these latter sins do not progressively increase after the act is over.

4. Some say that Rasulullah ﷺ kept a beard merely because it was an Arabic custom in those days. Since shaving is now regarded as the norm and the fashionable thing to do, if the Prophet ﷺ was present with us, he would do the same. (May Allah forgive the Muslims who utter such foolish words, and may he give them the opportunity to repent before they die.)

The Arabs, amongst other things, used to bury their daughters alive, answer the call of nature in public , perform Tawaaf naked around Ka’bah and braid their beards,  indulge in gambling and drinking wine. The Prophet ﷺ shunned these acts and strictly prohibited his followers from them. However, amongst his teachings is that keeping a beard is an act of Islam, a sign of Muslims, and he ordered the believers  to grow their beards in opposition to the non-believers who were accustomed to cutting their beards.

“Oppose the pagans! Grow your beards long and trim your mustaches.”  

5. There is yet another group of people who, despite knowing the unlawfulness of shaving their beard, claim that if they were to keep beards would lose esteem in the eyes of the people and no longer be looked at in the same way.

Before we respond, we should explain to these idealists what the true meaning of respect, dignity and honor is. We will mention that if someone only likes a person when they make their appearance in a certain way and despises them otherwise that’s not really liking the person. It’s just getting them to look a certain way that appeals to them, the same goes for respect. Respect is not gained on the material attributes an individual possesses, but is due to the abstract qualities within.

Secondly, Allah Ta’ala has clearly stated that the non-Muslims will never be satisfied with us until we get caught up in trying to please them that we lose our own senses, moral values, and eventually become one of them. If that is what we yearn, then we are opening ourselves up to the wrath and displeasure of Allah. 

Thirdly, if we are looking to earn respect in the eyes of non-Muslims, or expecting to get respect because of them, we are in great deception. How is it possible to get respect from something or someone that Allah has made devoid of?

How true are the words from Hazrat Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu):

‘We were the most degraded people, but Allah gave respect through Islam. If we were to seek respect through a medium other than that which Allah has bestowed us with respect, he would surely hurl us into the pits of disgrace.’  

These were just a few general answers to the questions usually raised regarding this issue.

THE BEARD – AN OBLIGATION
To justify the permissibility of shaving  the beard by saying that it is ‘merely’ a Sunnah and shrug it off with  unimportance is not correct. It should  be clear that when we say “the beard is a Sunnah”, it revolves around the fact that it was one of the many noble  practices of Rasulullah ﷺ. The Prophet ﷺ didn’t just keep a beard, he also  ordered the Muslims to grow them, and showed his anger and displeasure to  those who shaved in his time. All the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum), Tabi’een and the righteous Khulafa  meticulously observed this practice. All these elements serve to prove that it is obligatory (Waajib) for a Muslim to  keep a beard. This fact alone is enough for someone to accept that the  growing of a beard is a commandment  and must be fulfilled. However, for  the benefit of our fellow Muslims and  as a reference, we will list some facts. 

“From among the natural practices of Islam is the trimming of the mustache and fully growing the beard. The fire-worshippers grow their mustaches long and cut their beards. Do the opposite: trim mustaches and let your beards grow long.”

For those individuals who think there may be the proverbial difference of opinion among the scholars’ on this matter, the following facts are noted.

In the Shafi’ee book, Al-Lubab, Imam Ibn Ar-Rifaah says that Imaam Shafi’ee in his book, Kitaab-ul-Umm, has clearly stated that shaving the beard is Haraam.  The Maliki School of thought, as expressed in Kitabul Ibaadah and Al-Lihya-fil Islam, says that to shave the beard is Haraam and to trim it in such a way that it changes ones natural and facial features is also haram. Sheikh-ul Islam Ibn Taimiyyah has also given the verdict of shaving the beard being Haraam, and has further listed all the Ahadith in which we have been commanded to oppose the actions of non-Muslims. He then comments that Shari’ah orders us to oppose them and if we adopt their appearances it will create the kind of love and friendship for them which is prohibited and which we should be trying to avoid.

Allama Qurtubi states that shaving the beard, pulling the hair out and shortening it are all not permissible.

Imam Ibn Hazam Zahiri has quoted a consensus of the Ulama that to cut the mustache and lengthen the beard is Fardh.

The author of Manhal, in his commentary of Abu Dawood says:  
“Therefore, to shave the beard is haraam according to the Muslim jurists Abu Hanifa, Maalik, Shafi’ee, Ahmed and others”.

The author of Durr Mukhtar states:

“None of the scholars have declared it (shaving the beard) as permissible. This is sufficient in proving a consensus of all the scholars of Deen, from the time of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) to the present day, on the obligation of keeping a beard. Now that we know it is Waajib What’s in a  Beard?, we should study the details of the length of the beard as determined by the  Shari’ah.

HOW LONG?
Some individuals accept the concept of the beard, but form their own conclusions regarding the length, based on their own research. This is not an appropriate way to look at Shari’ah. Just as it is necessary to consult Ulama in matters pertaining to worship, marital affairs and beliefs, it is also imperative to refer to them for guidance in matters of Sunnah practices. Otherwise we will not be able to practice the Deen as a whole. We will end up taking what seems appropriate to us and discarding whatever we dislike. This will result in a direct breach of Allah’s orders.

“O believers! Enter into Islam completely”.  

There is a common misconception that the requirement for an Islamic beard is that it must be visible from forty feet. If the beard fits this description it is in perfect order and there is no set length for the beard in the Shari’ah. This view is no more than a combination of speculation and presumption based on opinion and has nothing to do with Islamic principles or any reliable source of information. The Shari’ah has determined that the beard is one fist. How one fist? First of all, let us look at the words. The Prophet ﷺ used to tell the Ummah to grow their beards.  Imam Nawawi  states  the  Prophet ﷺ used four  terms, at various occasions for this purpose.

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All of them mean “to fully elongate, lengthen”. The  last word Irkhawa means to  unreservedly expand the length of  something.

Once a disciple of Khabab (radhiyallahu anhu) asked him how the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhu) knew that Rasulullah ﷺ used to be reciting Quran in Zuhr and Asr prayers. He replied “By observing the movement of the blessed beard (not chin) of Rasulullah ﷺ we could tell that he was reciting.” In a Hadith of Tirmizi it is related, “Rasulullah ﷺ had a very thick beard.” Ibn Jawzi has reported from Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah ﷺ had a fully grown beard.

Whenever the Prophet ﷺ ordered us to do something, his own actions defined the method of that act. This is the case in all matters of Deen, and the beard is no exception. For more details we look at how the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) emulated his actions, because they had seen him and had directly learned from him. Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) has relied on the actions of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) as a yardstick to gauge and define the sayings and practices of Rasulullah ﷺ. Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), for example, was known for his care in strictly following the Sunnah. Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) states:

“When Ibn Umar performed Hajj or Umrah, he used to hold his beard with his clasped fist, and cut the hair exceeding it.” 

The same is narrated about Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) and Hazrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu). This narration is also quoted in Imam Mohammed’s Kitabul Athaar. No doubt remains that the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) used to grow their beards quite long during the year, and trim them back to one fist’s length after hajj or Umrah. The beard of the Prophet ﷺ himself was so thick that it covered his upper chest in length and width.

Based on the evidence and facts from Hadith we can determine the real definition of the beard in the Shari’ah. The scholars of Deen have unanimously come to the same conclusions mentioned previously.

Allama ibn Hummam in his famous book Fathul Qadeer states:

“To trim the beard when it is less than one fist in length, like some westerners do, is the way of the hermaphrodites, and none of the scholars have declared it  permissible.”

The decision most accepted by the Shafi’ee scholars is to leave the beard as it is when it exceeds one fist’s length. This is the ruling of the Hanafis as well. With the addition that if it is longer than one fist, it is desirable that it be cut back to the fist length. The  Maaliki scholars also say that if the beard grows exceptionally long, it should be trimmed down to one fist. Although a great deal can be written on this subject, it is the writer’s humble opinion that the information provided is sufficient for anyone desiring some general knowledge on the topic and willing to practice upon it.

Even though cutting the beard is a practice of non-Muslims, you may be surprised to know that there are some distinguished individuals amongst them who disagree with the concept. Below are the excerpts of a thesis written by an American, Dr. Charles Homer.

“A correspondent has asked me to invent some sort of electronically operated needle, to reduce the time wasted daily on shaving. I do not understand why people dread and tremble at the thought of having a beard. People grow hair on their heads, so why do they regard it as incorrect, defective and unacceptable to have hair on their face? When the hair fails to grow on the head, then baldness is regarded as a defect, and a cause of shame. Every effort is made to hide it. Yet, it is surprising that a man will daily remove hair from his face, depriving himself from that which is a most evident sign of manhood, without a bit of shame.
“the beard and mustache give the human being’s face strength of manhood, a stead fast character, individual integrity and exclusive identity. His survival and safety too are tied to this brave appearance. These are the only hair that differentiate the males from the females. The hair in all  the other parts of the body are common between the male and female. Women, deep in their consciences, are more appreciative of men with beards and mustaches. Profoundly, they prefer a male with a beard to the ones without this manly facial feature.

“Outwardly it would appear that they dislike the beard and mustache. The only reason for this is that they have bound themselves to follow unrealistic friends and the latest fashion in dress and, unfortunately, these days the beard and mustache are out of fashion. A little bit of hair before the nostrils and the mouth acts as a filter against harmful dust and germs entering the nose and the mouth. A lengthy and thick beard protect the throat from colds.

“A person with a beard has never forsaken his wife. A person with a beard always upholds the honor of the beard that is demanded from him. It gives him that prestige and position that is befitting only for males.

“How unreal it is, that a full grown adult desires that his face appears like that of a child. God had created the beard and the mustache for the male adult to adorn his face with them. Whoever laughs and mocks at those with beards is in act laughing and mocking Jesus, because Jesus had a beard.” 

Dr Homer’s statement speaks for itself and needs no explanation, but his concluding words are a real eye-opener for us Muslims. After nineteen centuries have passed he still honours his Prophet Hazrat Isa (Alayhis Salaam) so much that he classifies that person who laughs at the beard as having directly insulted Hazrat Isa (Alayhis Salaam), because it was his noble practice to keep a beard. For the Muslims who claim to have true love for Rasulullah ﷺ but fall short of following in his footsteps, it is time to face up to the reality and to accept their responsibilities. We ask Allah to forgive us all our shortcomings in obeying Him and His Prophet ﷺ and to ask Him to grant us the ability to truly repent for our mistakes and live a life that pleases Him. 

Ref: The Beard of A Muslim and its importance, Shaikh Zakaria (rahimahullah)  

The Beard: A Hallmark of Imaan, Mufti Ashiq Ilahi (rahimahullah)