Category Archives: Aqeeda

The fundamentals of belief according to Ahlil Sunnah wal Jamaah (Sunni Muslims)

Experiencing Jahannam

Hell – the punishment of Allah – has been mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah many times. It is the eternal abode of those who commit shirk with Allah, and the temporary abode of the sinning Muslims whom Allah chose to purify through the fire of Hell. We all read about it from time to time, but how often do we say to ourselves: “What if I was in Jahannam?” Let’s take a look at what experiencing jahannam would be like, may Allah protect us from ever experiencing it.

The root word for Jahannam (جهنم) is jeem haa meem, and its meaning is to frown, glower, scowl, to regard with displeasure. The word Jahm (from the same root) means sullen, glum, morose, gloomy. From these meanings, we can see that Jahannam is an extremely depressing place, full of darkness. It just doesn’t burn and torture, it frowns at its inhabitants while doing so!

Entry into Jahannam

We are told about the entry of the disbelievers into Jahannam in Surah Zumar:

And those who disbelieved will be driven to Hell in groups, till, when they reach it, the gates thereof will be opened (suddenly like a prison at the arrival of the prisoners). And its keepers will say, “Did not the Messengers come to you from yourselves, reciting to you the Verses of your Lord, and warning you of the Meeting of this Day of yours?” They will say: “Yes, but the Word of torment has been justified against the disbelievers!

It will be said (to them): “Enter you the gates of Hell, to abide therein. And (indeed) what an evil abode of the arrogant!”

[39:71-72]

Regarding حَتَّى إِذَا جَآءُوهَا فُتِحَتْ أَبْوَبُهَا “when they reach it the gates thereof will be opened (suddenly)”, Al Hafidh ibn Kathir [RA] explains in his tafsir, “this means, as soon as they arrive, the gates will be opened quickly, in order to hasten on their punishment”. So, the entry into Jahannam will be a shock entry for the disbelievers. They are quickly and humiliatingly pushed into the Fire.

This misery is further compounded by the presence of the angels at the gate who will mock those who are entering Jahannam and remind them of the Messengers that Allah sent to them and the numerous ayaat (proofs, signs) that Allah sent their way while they were in the dunya. Thus, the physical pain and torment of Jahannam is increased by psychological pain and torment by the mockery of the angels at the inhabitants of Jahannam.

Feeling Jahannam

Some of the things a person in Jahannam will feel are:

  • Taste a boiling fluid (hameem) and dirty wound discharges (gassaq) [38:57]
  • Eat poisonous thorny plant (daree’), which will be given as food [88:6]
  • Pain (at the non-stop torture), regret and sorrow. The regret and sorrow stems from their desire to leave the Fire, “They will long to leave the Fire, but never will they leave there from; and theirs will be a lasting torment.” [5:37]

Hearing Jahannam

Some of the things a person in Jahannam will hear are:

  • Arguments and pleas from the inhabitants of the Fire. The inhabitants of Jahannam will plea and plead with the angels who are guardians over the Fire. Two of these encounters are mentioned in the Quran:
    • “And those in the Fire will say to the Guards of Hell, ‘Call upon your Lord to lighten for us the torment for a day!’” [40:49]
    • “And they will cry: ‘O Malik! Let your Lord make an end of us’ He will say: ‘Surely, you shall abide forever.’ Indeed We have brought the truth to you, but most of you have a hatred for the truth” [43:74-78]
  • The furious and raging flames of Jahannam, “It almost bursts up with fury.” [67:8]

Seeing Jahannam

The size of Jahannam is massive. It’s beyond human comprehension. A hadith of the Prophet [SAWS] states,

If a stone as big as seven pregnant camels was thrown from the edge of Hell, it would fly through it for seventy years, and yet it would not reach the bottom.

[Sahih Al-Jami]

This massive place – frowning and torturing those who live in it non-stop – will be witnessed by the inhabitants of Jahannam.

Of the things that the people of Jahannam will see are their clothes. Not just any clothes, but clothes of fire! They are given food that is thorny and does not satisfy the hunger, and they are given a boiling fluid and blood discharges to drink. By clothing them with clothes of fire – clothes that torment the person, instead of protecting him/her! – Allah increases their punishment and humiliation.

The shuddering description of these garments and their effect on its wearer is given in Surah Hajj:

Then as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them, boiling water will be poured down over their heads.

With it will melt or vanish away what is within their bellies, as well as (their) skins.

And for them are hooked rods of iron (to punish them).

Every time they seek to get away therefrom, from anguish, they will be driven back therein, and (it will be) said to them: “Taste the torment of burning!”

[22:19-22]

Truly, Jahannam is the worst abode. It’s miseries, shuddering. It’s sufferings, relentless.

In the dunya, even the worst-off human being finds pleasures: the pleasure of the meal whenever they get one, the pleasure of sleeping and rest. In Jahannam, there is NO pleasure! No food, no rest.

May Allah protect us all, ameen!

References:
1. Wehr, Hans. The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. Spoken Language Services; 4th edition.

  1. ibn Kathir. Tafsir ibn Kathir. <http://www.tafsir.com.>

  2. Muhammad Alshareef. Lecture. AlMaghrib. Breach of Covenant. Ryerson University, Toronto. Nov. 2007.

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Fear Allah’s Punishment but Hope for His Mercy

Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawzi (in Madarij As-Salikeen) said:

The heart in its journey towards Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) is like a bird; its head is love, and its two wings are hope and fear. When the head and the two wings are sound and healthy, then the bird will fly well. If the head of the bird is cut off, it immediately dies, and when either or both wings are deficient, the bird cannot fly properly and it may become the victim of a hunter that passes by.

From this analogy we learn that without love of Allah we cannot successfully “journey towards Him,” and without hope in Allah’s mercy or fear from His punishment, we may be easy victims for Shaytaan (أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم).

So the Muslim, then, with resolute love for Allah [1] (سبحانه وتعالى), lives between hope and fear. He “call[s] upon Allah out of fear and hope,” [2] and he “forsake[s] [his] bed, to invoke [his] Lord in fear and hope, and [he] spend[s] (charity in Allah’s Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them.” [3]

Fear

Imam Ahmad recorded from ‘A’ishah (رضي الله عنها‏): I said: “O Messenger of Allah, ‘And those who give that which they give with their hearts full of fear, because they are sure to return to their Lord,’ [4] are these the ones who steal and commit zina and drink alcohol while fearing Allah?” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said: “No, O daughter of As-Siddiq, they are the ones who pray and fast and give in charity, while fearing that it will not be accepted from them,” (i.e. it is these who hasten in the good deeds.) At-Tirmidhi recorded something similar.

‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه‏) said: If an angel had come down and announced that everyone would enter paradise except one person, I would fear that I would be that person. This is ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the second khalifa, and one of the ten promised paradise! Subhanallah!

And how do we increase our fear of Allah’s punishment?

Ibn Mas’ood (رضي الله عنه‏) said: “If a person has knowledge, he will fear Allah.” So we should increase our knowledge. And The Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said, as narrated by Anas (رضي الله عنه‏): “I swear by The One in Whose Hand my soul is, if you saw what I saw you would laugh little, and cry excessively.” The people said, “O Prophet of Allah! What did you see?” He (صلي الله عليه وسلم) replied, “I saw Paradise and Hell.” [Saheeh Muslim]. So we should reflect on the punishment of “him who ‘tagha’ (transgressed all bounds, in disbelief, oppression and evil deeds of disobedience to Allah), and preferred the life of this world. Verily, his abode will be Hellfire,” [5], the “Fire whose fuel is men and stones.” [6]

Hope

Anas reported that the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) entered upon a young boy who was dying. The Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) asked: “How are you?” The boy replied: “O Messenger of Allah, I am in-between hoping in Allah and fearing for my sins.” The Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said: “The like of these two qualities do not unite in the heart of a servant except that Allah gives him what he hopes for and protects him from what he feared.” [a hasan hadith – Collected by at-Tirmidhee and Ibn Maajah, and authenticated by Al-Albaanee in Ahkaamul-Janaa’iz (no. 2).]

‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه‏) also said: and if the angel had come down and announced that everyone will enter Hellfire except for one person, I would hope to be that person.

And Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) says:

وَلاَ تَيْأَسُواْ مِن رَّوْحِ اللّهِ إِنَّهُ لاَ يَيْأَسُ مِن رَّوْحِ اللّهِ إِلاَّ الْقَوْمُ الْكَافِرُونَ

Translation: and never give up hope of Allah’s Mercy. Certainly, no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.” [Surah Yusuf, verse 87]

And so “to your Lord (Alone) turn (all your intentions and hopes and) your invocations.” [7] And ask yourself:

مَّا لَكُمْ لَا تَرْجُونَ لِلَّهِ وَقَارًا

Translation: What is the matter with you, [that you don’t fear Allah (His punishment), and] you don’t hope for reward (from Allah, or you believe not in His Oneness)? [8]


[قُل لاَّ يَسْتَوِي الْخَبِيثُ وَالطَّيِّبُ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكَ كَثْرَةُ الْخَبِيثِ فَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ يَا أُوْلِي الأَلْبَابِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُون [1
Translation: Say (O Muhammad): “Not equal are the filthy things with the wholesome, even though the abundance of evil filth may please you.” So fear Allah much [(abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)], O men of understanding in order that you may be successful. [Suratul Ma’idah, verse 100]
[2] وَادْعُوهُ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا [Suratul-A’raaf, verse 56]
[3] تَتَجَافَى جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ [Suratus-Sajdah, verse 16]
[4] وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْتُونَ مَا آتَوا وَّقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَى رَبِّهِمْ رَاجِعُونَ [Suratul-Mu’minuun, verse 60]
[5] فَأَمَّا مَن طَغَى وَآثَرَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا فَإِنَّ الْجَحِيمَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَى [Suratun-Nazi’at, verses 37-39]
[6] فَاتَّقُواْ النَّارَ الَّتِي وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ [Suratul-Baqarah, verse 24]
[7] وَإِلَى رَبِّكَ فَارْغَبْ [Surat-Ash-Sharh, verse 8]
[8] مَّا لَكُمْ لَا تَرْجُونَ لِلَّهِ وَقَارًا [Surat-Nuh, verse 13]

References

Abdul-Bary Yahya. Lecture. AlMaghrib. Purification of the Heart: Love, Fear & Tears. Part 2: The Two Wings of the Believer.

Abu Iyaad As-Salafi. Salafipublications.com. On Eeman, Ibaadah and Tawheed: Their Link and Interrelation. Lesson 3: Love, Hope and Fear.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

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Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem Together

Allah introduces himself in Surah Fatiha as Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem, both. Both of these names derive their meaning from the word mercy (rahmah).

In classical Arabic, rahmah represents the mercy of a mother for her child. As the child grows, it causes the mother to be sick and weak; it eats nutrition from the mother; in the later trimesters, the child even stretches, punches, or kicks the mother’s ribs! But still, the mother cares for, takes care of, and protects the child.

Similarly, both of these names mean something merciful. They have a difference through.

The name Ar-Rahman means:
– Allah is extremely merciful
– Allah is not just merciful, but is being very merciful right now.
– Allah’s mercy is not permanent; it can leave you if you do wrong.

In contrast, the name Ar-Raheem means:
– Allah’s mercy is permanent
– Allah’s mercy is not necessarily happening right now
– Allah’s mercy is not the same level of extremely merciful

Ibn Abbas used to say that Ar-Raheem is only for believers, while Ar-Rahman is for all the creatures and everything on earth — because permanent mercy is what you need for Jannah, and that’s only for believers.

By combining these two names together, we get the total meaning of Allah being extremely and permanently merciful, both immediately (right now) and in the future!

And this is why we start with “Bismillahi Ar-Rahmaani Ar-Raheem” when we do something good; because we want Allah’s mercy and blessings (barakah) both immediately and in the future.

And this is how Allah introduces himself in Surah Fatiha, as Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem. (But too much mercy can also lead people astray — they’ll do whatever they want — so Allah adds “Maalik al-yawm ad-deen” to keep us balanced between hope and fear.)

As a corollary of this, whenever Allah mentions only one of these names (eg. Ar-Rahman), He’s intentionally highlighting a very specific type of mercy — such as in Surat Ar-Rahmaan (Allah revealed the Qur’an right now to us).

May Allah allow us to understand and actualize His great names (ameen).

Source: Bayyinah – Qur’an: Cover to Cover, by ustadh Nouman Ali Khan. Videos for Surah Fatiha, parts 1d and 2. Retrieved February 18, 2016.

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Tafseer Surah Naba’, Part 2

This is post #40 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma (click the link to see all posts in this series).

In the previous post, we discussed the first 16 verses of Surah Naba’. The remaining 24 verses discuss the Day of Judgment, Paradise, and Hellfire; you should read them to extract the details. Insha’Allah we’re going to touch on a few points that are interesting.

First, a recap–verse 16 talked about (a continuing discussion of) some of the blessings of Allah (‘azza wa jal) in the dunya on the people. Then–WHAM!–verse 17 says:

إِنَّ يَوْمَ الْفَصْلِ كَانَ مِيقَاتًا

Translation: Indeed, the Day of Judgement is an appointed time. [Surah An-Naba’, verse 17]

Suddenly, the topic shifts seamlessly into the Hereafter. Some gems to extract from this verse:

  • Yawm Al-Fasl: The Day of Judgment is called Yawmul Fasli. What’s the meaning of fasl? Arabic students will say “aha! it means class!” But what does it really mean? The root verb is (I believe) fasala, which means to differentiate, to distinguish, to split apart into levels; this, class–students of different levels. And Yawmul-Fasl? The day that the people will be divided into groups and nations and successful and unsuccessful.
  • An Appointment: Meeqat is a word familiar to all the hujjaaj–it means an appointed place (in the context of Hajj), i.e. the points at which Ihram must go on. It can also mean an appointed time; here, Allah (‘azza wa jal) is saying, the Day of Judgment is scheduled at an appointment. It won’t run late. It won’t surprise you early; if anything, it’s already decided when it will happen, down to the nanosecond …

Then Allah (subhannahu wa ta’ala) continues:

يَوْمَ يُنفَخُ فِي الصُّورِ فَتَأْتُونَ أَفْوَاجًا

Translation: The Day the Horn is blown and you will come forth in multitudes. [Surah Naba, verse 18]

The phrase “yunfakhu fis-soor,” might confuse you; yunfakhu is clearly a Baab I word in the passive form (it was done); but with a harf-ul-jarr? In English, we don’t really say things like “the balloon was blown into,” but this is precisely the Arabic construct.

As-Soor means, well, a trumpet; what kind of trumpet is not important. The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said to the meaning of: “How can I enjoy myself anything, when the angel has already put the trumpet (As-Soor) into his mouth and has taken a breath and stands with his eyes fixed on the throne of Ar-Rahman, waiting for the instant that the command will be given, to blow?” So the sahaba said, “What should we say O Messenger of Allah (since the end of the world is so close)?” He said: “Say: hasbunallaha wa ni’ma al-wakeel,” Allah is sufficient for us and he is Al-Wakeel (the one who takes care of all your affairs).” [Source unknown]

After describing more of the horrors of the Day of Judgment, Allah says:

إِنَّ جَهَنَّمَ كَانَتْ مِرْصَادً

Translation: Indeed, Hell has been lying in wait. [Verse 21]

Mirsaad is a word known very well by the Arabs of that time — and by anyone who plays first-person shooter games. If you’re riding down a road, and people spring out of nowhere and ambush you — that’s mirsaad. Ambush. So we see that Hellfire is a creature; it’s not just some passive flames — but rather, it will ambush those who are walking through life, unaware, that it’s just waiting around the corner.

A couple of verses later, describing the fare of the people of Hellfire, Allah says:

لَّابِثِينَ فِيهَا أَحْقَابًا
لَّا يَذُوقُونَ فِيهَا بَرْدًا وَلَا شَرَابًا
إِلَّا حَمِيمًا وَغَسَّاقًا
جَزَاءً وِفَاقًا

Translation: In which they will remain for ages [unending]. They will not taste therein [any] coolness or drink, Except scalding water and [foul] purulence – An appropriate recompense. [Surah An-Naba’, verses 23-26]

We already discussed the food of the people of Hellfire — long, spiky, poisonous fare; and their drink — boiling water, and the juices of the roasting people of Hellfire. And then Allah says: “Jazaa’an wifaaqaa,” an exact and perfect repayment for them.

And this shows that they are the most evil people — that Allah does not wrong them anything or give them more or less than they deserve; and this is what they deserve.

We seek Allah’s refuge in being from among those people.

If you could interview those people now and ask them, “why are you here?” Or, statistically, what trend or trait lead to these people being in Hellfire? Wouldn’t you want to know, so you could avoid that trait?

Allah (‘azza wa jal) explains:

إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا لَا يَرْجُونَ حِسَابًا

Translation: Indeed, they were not expecting an account. [Verse 27]

Hisaab is the taking-to-account that every human being will go through on the Day of Judgment. It’s referred to as “reckoning,” “taking to account,” or similar phrases in translations.

One of the things we learn from studying the verses addressing ahlul-kitaab, is that the verses don’t just address them; they address anyone who has the same characteristics that they have. So if you’re Muslim, and you’re not worried about your hisaab … that’s a very dangerous place to be; Allah (‘azza wa jal) says to these people who denied the truth:

فَذُوقُوا فَلَن نَّزِيدَكُمْ إِلَّا عَذَابًا

Translation: “So taste [the penalty], and never will We increase you except in torment.” [Surah An-Naba’, verse 30]

This is a very scary verse. Think about it. Punishment only gets more intense in Hellfire. The easiest part is the beginning; it gets progressively worse and worse and worse. You ask for food? You have to choke down poisonous spikes. You ask for water? You get hameem and ghassaq. You ask for a lighter punishment? You get more punishment.

May Allah protect us all from the punishment of Hellfire.

Insha’Allah we will wrap up Surah Naba’ in our next post, and then on to other suraat in this juz.

References:

  • Touched by an Angel: Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma. By Muhammad Alshareef. 2009.
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His Complete Oneness – Part 4

IT IS ALLAH ALONE WHO IS WORTHY OF WORSHIP
A STATEMENT OF TRUTH REVEALED TO THE MUSHRIKS

Continuing and inshallah the last post in the explanation of the poem, we will now we move into the third aspect of tawheed: maintaining the oneness, uniqueness, and exclusiveness of Allah’s rights to be worshipped (tawheed al-uloohiyyah)

The grand importance of tawheed al-uloohiyyah is evident in the fact that the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam was commissioned to a nation that confirmed many aspects of the first two categories of tawheed but rejected worshipping Allah alone. His mission was to bring people back to the pure worship of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala as He says to the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam:

Say, “Who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? Or who controls hearing and sight and who brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living and who arranges [every] matter?” They will say, “Allah,” so say, “Then will you not fear Him?” [Surah Yunus V. 31]

The idolaters (mushriks) at the time of the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam acknowledged that Allah was their rabb who has the power and ability to cause death and life yet they were considered disbelievers because they denied His oneness and uniqueness to be worshipped alone. Allah says:

 And most of them believe not in Allah except while they associate others with Him. [Surah Yusuf V. 106]

Mujaahid rahimuhallah (the most outstanding student of Ibn Abbas radhiAllah anhu) comments on this verse by stating:

“Their belief in Allah, represented by their statement, ‘Allah created us, provides for us and takes our lives’, did not stop them from worshiping other deities along with Allah”

The grand importance of this type of tawheed is also evident in the fact that Allah has made this the sole purpose of our creation, as He says:

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. [Surah Dhariyat V.56]

This was where the idolaters in the time of the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam fell into error. They failed to understand that indeed the prayers , sacrifices, and supplications they were offering to those idols was worship and worship is only due to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. The people had strayed so far away from the pure tawheed that Allah sent our Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam to bring them back. He subhanahu wa ta’ala sent the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam to bring these people back from the worship of  stones and idols to the worship of Allah alone; to bring them back towards pure tawheed.

Even today, we have Muslims who have failed to understand the concept of worship. They acknowledge Allah as their Lord yet they pray and supplicate to other than Him. They fall into the same error as the mushriks of the time of the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam fell into. When the mushriks were asked why they supplicated and worshipped idols, they would say to come closer to Allah. They would use the idols as intercessors between themselves and Allah and it is this very concept that Allah rebukes the mushriks for in the Qur’an. Allah says:

Unquestionably, for Allah is the pure religion. And those who take protectors besides Him [say], “We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to Allah in position.” Indeed, Allah will judge between them concerning that over which they differ. Indeed, Allah does not guide he who is a liar and [confirmed] disbeliever. [Surah az-Zumar V.3]

He said, “Then do you worship instead of Allah that which does not benefit you at all or harm you? [Surah al-Anbiya V. 66]

It’s clear that those who worship saints and supplicate to dead people are the same as the mushriks in the time of the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam. The saints and the dead, just like the idols, cannot benefit nor harm anyone for verily that power only belongs to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and beyond that, worship is only due to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala accept this work. Anything good that comes out of this is only from Him and anything wrong is from myself and the whispers of the accursed shaytaan.

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His Complete Oneness – Part 3

HE IS ALLAH, THE MOST HIGH WHO DOES NOT SLEEP
NOR DOES HIS CREATION TAKE PART IN HIS MAJESTY

Continuing in our explanation of the poem and our discussion of the five points relating to tawheed al-asma was-sifat:

4) We do not Ascribe the Qualities of Creation to the Creator

It is not befitting the majesty of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala that we ascribe to Him characteristics and weaknesses of creation. To Allah belongs the quality of Highness; Highness in His Essence, in His Attributes and esteem, and in His Strength and Power. He is far above His creation and there is no likeness to be made because Allah says:

[He is] Creator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you from yourselves, mates, and among the cattle, mates; He multiplies you thereby. There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing [Surah ash-Shura V. 11]

The Jews and the Christians claim that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala spent the first six days creating the universe and then slept on the seventh . This claim is absurd and it is not befitting the majesty of Allah because to Him belongs the most beautiful Names and Attributes that are of perfection. Sleep is a weakness that is a characteristic of creation and it is not befitting to ascribe this weakness to the Lord of the heavens and the earth.

Also, the attributes of hearing and seeing are among the human attributes, however when they are ascribed to Allah they are without comparison. Allah hears and sees in a manner that befits His Majesty and we do not compare that to the hearing and seeing of his creation.

5) We do not Ascribe the Qualities of the Creator to His Creation

In the same manner that we do not lower the majesty of Allah by describing Him with qualities of creation, we do not exalt the status of creation by giving them qualities of Allah. By doing so we deify these objects of creation and seek from them that which we should be seeking only from Allah. For example, to turn to an idol or a saint, thinking that they have the ability to grant you what you want, or answer your supplication, or grant you forgiveness is incorrect. It is only Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala who has the ability to answer your supplication, it is only Allah who has the power to grant you what want, and it is only Allah who has the ability to grant you forgiveness. Therefore, no creation can claim to have a share in Allah’s Names and Attributes. If one were to do so then indeed they have committed a crime against Allah, they have ascribed partners to Him, they have made themselves equal to Him, they have gone astray in establishing His rights to be worshipped Alone, and if they die upon it they will be the companions of the eternal Fire.

Also, it is important to note that it is not permissible to give creation the definite forms of Allah’s names unless it is preceded with the prefix ‘abd meaning “slave of”. However, some divine names in their indefinite forms can be used for man because Allah has used them to describe the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam as He says:

There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind (ra’uf) and merciful (raheem) [Surah at-Tawba V. 128]

Stay tuned for part 4…

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His Complete Oneness – Part 2

ALLAH IS AS HE DESCRIBES HIMSELF WITH NO ADDITIONS
BEYOND WHICH WE DO NOT PONDER NOR PUT CONDITIONS

Continuing in our explanation of the poem and our discussion of the branches tawheed, we now move into the second branch which is the oneness, uniqueness, and exclusiveness of Allah’s Names and Attributes (tawheed al-asma was-sifat). There are five points we will discuss; three points in this post and the remaining two in the next post.

1) All of Allah’s Names are taken from the Sacred Texts

The beautiful names and attributes of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala are those that have been revealed to us in the Qur’an or through the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam. It is not correct for anyone to make additions and call Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala by a Name that He has not named Himself with.

2) The Names and Attributes are Understood according to their Apparent Meaning

We do not re-interpret the names of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to give them a meaning that goes beyond that which is obvious and apparent. For example, Allah says:

 And [that] He may punish the hypocrite men and hypocrite women, and the polytheist men and polytheist women – those who assume about Allah an assumption of evil nature. Upon them is a misfortune of evil nature; and Allah has become angry with them and has cursed them and prepared for them Hell, and evil it is as a destination. [Surah Fath V. 6]

It is not correct to use our intellects and assume that anger in the above verse means punishment since anger is a sign of weakness in man. Allah uses different words for ‘punishment’ (‘adzaab) and ‘anger’ (ghadab) and thus they cannot be the same. Rather, we accept that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has an attribute of anger, which is perfect and majestic, without asking the how of it and without making it similar to anger of creation.

3) We do not create New Names for Allah

It is clear that Allah has an attribute of anger however we cannot give him a name such as: ‘The Angry One’ (al-ghadib) because to do so would not be befitting His Majesty and neither is it found in the sacred texts. An important principle to keep in mind is that every name of Allah denotes an attribute. For example, Allah is the Most Merciful (ar-rahman) and thus He has the attribute of mercy (rahma). However, as we already saw above, not every attribute denotes a name of Allah.

Stay tuned for part 3…

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His Complete Oneness: Poem with Explanation – Part 1

ALLAH, THE LORD OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH
THE CREATOR, SUSTAINER, ABOVE GIVING BIRTH
ALLAH IS AS HE DESCRIBES HIMSELF WITH NO ADDITIONS
BEYOND WHICH WE DO NOT PONDER NOR PUT CONDITIONS
HE IS ALLAH, THE MOST HIGH WHO DOES NOT SLEEP
NOR DOES HIS CREATION TAKE PART IN HIS MAJESTY
IT IS ALLAH ALONE WHO IS WORTHY OF WORSHIP
A STATEMENT OF TRUTH REVEALED TO THE MUSHRIKS
“ALLAH, THE LORD OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH. THE CREATOR, SUSTAINER, ABOVE GIVING BIRTH”

The Arabic word ‘Allah’ denotes the meaning of exclusiveness and uniqueness. In its linguistic sense, it means The One and Only deity (al-ilah). ‘Allah’ is also one of the perfect and infinite Names that our beloved Lord has chosen to name Himself with. The greatest name of the Lord of the heavens and the earth is Allah and it is the grand name to which all His other Names and Attributes are attributed to. As He, subhanahu wa ta’ala, says in the Qur’an:

He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity (worthy of worship), Knower of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful [Surah Hashr V. 22]

He is Allah, the One who sent down the Qur’an, to make clear a fundamental concept in Islam known as tawheed, which literally means “making something one”. When we use this word in reference to Allah it means making Allah one, unique, and exclusive in three things:

  1. His Lordship (Ruboobiyyah)
  2. His rights to be worshipped (Uloohiyyah)
  3. His Names and Attributes (Asma was-Sifat)

So grand is this principle that Allah revealed His words to our beloved Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam, created the heavens and the earth, the sun and the moon, life and death, provided fruits and cattle, for no other reason but to make clear His oneness, uniqueness, and exclusiveness amongst all the worlds.

Continuing on with the explanation of the poem, we begin to touch upon the first branch of tawheed by mentioning that Allah is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. He says in the Qur’an:

All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists) [Surah Fatiha V.2]

This quality which belongs to Allah, that of Lordship (Ruboobiyyah), is something we find throughout the Qur’an. We are witness to it as soon as we read the first page, in which Allah refers to Himself as the Rabb of the ‘Alamin.

The word rabb has a multitude of meanings: master, owner, controller, nourisher, and provider . Islamically, rabb

has three precise definitions, which makes clear the concept of tawheed ar-ruboobiyyah:

  • To know and believe that Allah is the True and Complete Owner of the Dominion
  • To know and believe that Allah is the One worthy of fully being obeyed
  • To know and believe that only Allah creates, sustains, and owns the entire creation. He alone is the Master, Controller, and Nourisher

Allah is the only deity that is the rabb of everything because it is only He who has the ability to create, sustain, and nourish all of creation. He is the Creator and Owner, the one who rectifies mankind and nurtures them from His blessings by sending His Messengers and revealing His Books. He is the Self-Sufficient (as-Samad), to whom all creation turns to in need. Shaykh ibn Naasir as-Sa’dee rahimuhallah says in his explanation of this beautiful name of Allah:

[He is] The One who is turned to for all needs. For all those who are in the heavens and Earth are in the uttermost need of Him. They ask Him for all of their needs and they turn to him for their purposes. This is because He is complete in is His attributes, [He is] Al ‘Aleem (The Most Knowledgeable) who is complete in His knowledge. Al Haleem (The Most Forbearing) who is complete in forbearance, Ar Raheem (The Most Merciful who is complete in His Mercy] which encompasses all things. And [He] is likewise in the rest of His attributes.

This name of Allah proves His Majesty over His creation as He is independent of them while they are completely and utterly dependent upon Him.

It is from His completeness that He does not have sons or daughters, as the pagans claimed, because of his complete self-sufficiency. Ascribing Allah with sons and daughters would diminish His quality of oneness, uniqueness, and exclusiveness in Lordship, which would not befit the One who is Perfect and Self-Sufficient. Beyond that, Allah makes clear He is far above having sons and daughters in the Qur’an:

And it is not appropriate for the Most Merciful that He should take a son [Surah Maryam V.92]

Stay tuned part 2…

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Reminder Series: Four Priorities of the Muslim

Abu Barzah al-Aslami radi Allahu anhu reported that Allah’s Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “The two feet of the servant will not cease (from standing before Allah) on the Day of Judgment until he is asked about four things: on his life and how he spent it; on his knowledge and what he did with it; on his wealth and where he earned it and how he spent it; and on his body and in what way he utilized it.” [Saheeh, reported by At-Tirmidhi]

We live in a time where it is difficult to truly imagine ourselves being under anyone else’s control, even though we know our every breath, our every step, our every movement is fully controlled by the Creator of the heavens and the Earth. Nonetheless, we still find it difficult to imagine a day where freedom will be taken away, completely. Today, even under these ‘controlled’ environments, Allah has permitted freedom to mankind; we can speak, eat, see, walk, sit, touch, and listen as we please. However, in the Hereafter on the Day of Judgement, the freedom of mankind will indeed be taken away and the supremacy of Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala will be shown. On that Day, Allah will reign King over all the other so-called kings and humans, and He will control His environment in a matter that He wills. On that Day, we will not cease from standing until certain questions are answered.

How many of us are able to actualize the reality of this event? Just imagine not having the ability to move even the slightest bit on that day. Imagine…feet being stuck to the ground and not having the ability to lift them, even with full attempts to do so. Just imagine, with all the anxiety, stress and fear of that day, you will stand in front of Allah and He will directly ask you about four things: 1) Your life 2) Your knowledge 3) Your wealth 4) Your body

There will be no escaping on that day in front of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We will be asked and we will answer; whether we like it or not, whether the answers are pleasing or not. Let’s push and struggle to be of those whose answers will be pleasing to Him, subhana. Let’s make the sincere intention to make our lives a means to come closer to Allah, let’s use the knowledge we gain to worship Him in a manner that befits His majesty, let’s use our wealth to give zakat and charity, and let’s use our bodies to do all kinds of good deeds for His sake.

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Reasons to Reject Narrators of Ahadith

weakchain

As you know, we cannot just accept a hadith from anyone–this is our deen! If anyone could just say what they wanted, we would have nothing left of the true, pure message of Allah.

The scholars have analyzed the biographies of every narrator of hadith. They compile information on when he was born, and where, his kunya, his tribe, who he met, what his character was, what other people narrated about him … piles and piles of information.

And in the analysis of the chain of narrators–those individuals who transmit a hadith from one to another, from Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) to a collector (like Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, etc.)–there are certain types of narrators that, if they are present in the chain, they automatically make the hadith da’eef.

Because they cannot be trusted.

Who are these people, and what are their characteristics? You might be surprised!

  1. Major Sinners. Anyone who commited a major sin (backbiting? Listening to music? Zina? Cheating? Stealing?) is discounted. Only people known for good, upright, moral character and conduct pass through.
  2. Liars. Anyone who lies is discounted.
  3. Accused Liars. Anyone who was accused of lying is discounted. Why? Throws some doubt on their character–maybe they did it, maybe not. Cannot be trusted.
  4. The Weak. Anyone whom a scholar met and said that he’s weak, or he’s not good, or his memory is not strong, automatically discounts a hadith.
  5. Known Fabricators. Some people are known to fabricate (invent) hadith, either by observation of scholars, or by their own admission (such as Nuh ibn Abi Maryam). They disqualify a hadith.
  6. The Unknown. Anyone whom the scholars do not know for sure if he’s a strong or weak narrator, disqualifies the hadith. Why? Maybe he’s weak! We don’t know! We know he narrated a hadith, and maybe a couple of people met him; but nobody commented to say he’s a strong narrator; so we don’t know!

Subhanallah, if you look at that list–especially the first three items–you will realize that the majority of Muslims today would disqualify ahadith that they narrate. I’m not talking about shuyookh, I mean the people you deal with day-to-day–yourself, your family, your friends.

Subhanallah, that’s how particular and picky the scholars of hadith were to preserve our deen! May Allah accept all their efforts and make us among the righteous people (ameen).

Action Steps:

  • Reflect on these criteria. Ask yourself, seriously: would I be cause for ahadith to be disqualified from being saheeh?
  • Make du’a for the scholars, especially the scholars of hadith. They’ve done a hard, difficult, long, thankless job; only Allah knows how much they did. Ask Him to reward them insha’Allah ameen. (Just raise your hands and do it right now, it just takes a few seconds.)

Wallahu ‘alam.

References

Lecture: Introduction to Mustalah-Hadeeth by shaykh Suhaib Hasan Abdul-Ghaffaar. Available free from http://islamlecture.com/mustalah.htm.

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