Category Archives: Sahaba

Entries that pertain to the lives and time-period of the sahaba, the companions of the Prophet Muhammad.

Respect: A Lesson from Al-Abbas

rasulullah

Someone asked Al-Abbas (radiallahu anhu), the uncle of rasulullah, a question: are you akbar than rasulullah?

In Arabic, literally, this means “are you greater than rasulullah.” But the obvious connotation is that the questioner asks about age: are you older than him?

Al-Abbas said:

رسول الله أكبر مني و لكن ولدت قبله
Rasulullah is greater than me, but I was born before him.

He wanted to set the record set, and give a clear message to all of us. The respect the sahaba had for rasulullah was amazing. Uthman ibn Affan, in Hudaybiyyah, refused to make umrah before rasulullah. One of the messengers of Quraysh said “I have seen kings and ceasers, but I never saw people who loved their leader as much as him.” The sahaba even tried to catch his wudoo water! So can we learn to respect him as he deserve?

The tabi’een used to cry. When asked why, they said “the sahaba beat us on fast race-horses, and we follow them on crippled mules.” Meaning, the sahaba did the best, and reached the best rank.

But, they also said something interesting, which we should all write in gold:

من سار على الدرب، وصل
Whoever follows the path, will reach them

Meaning, whoever follows in the footsteps of the sahaba (and by extension, rasulullah) will reach them in jannah, inshaAllah, even though we will never reach them in rank.

This is also why we never call rasulullah simply “Muhammad,” but rasulullah. And we always append “salallahu alayhi wa sallam” to his name. Why? Why not simply “alayhi salaam” as for other prophets?

Because Allah says:

Surah Ahzab verse 56

Translation: Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [ Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [ Allah to grant him] peace. (Surah Ahzab, verse 56)

Allah even says, in this verse, sallimuw tasleema. Tasleema which is a beautiful, comprehensive, and complete term. It includes forgiveness in its meanings.

Beyond this, from humanity, Allah chose the righteous. From the righteous, he chose the prophets. From the prophets, he chose ulil azam — five, according to the stronger opinion — Ibrahim, Musa, Esa, Nuh, and Rasulullah (alayhum as-salaam). From these five, he chose the two khaleelaan (the two closest companions to Allah) — Ibrahim and rasulullah.

And from those, he chose rasulullah as the best human to ever walk on the face of the earth; the best of the best of the best of the best.

These are only a few lessons from the seerah. We can never reach the sahaba in rank and greatness, but as the tabi’een (the next generation) said, “whoever follows them will be with them.” May Allah allow us to be with them and with rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) in the highest levels of Al-Firdaus!


Source: Alkauther: The Victorious One. Taught by Shaykh Alaa Syed. University of Toronto, Toronto, May 2012.

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Don’t Hesitate: Lessons from the Battle of Mu’tah

opportunity

One of the unique characteristics of the battle of Mu’tah is that rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) appointed not one, but three commanders in the chain of command:

`Abdullah bin ‘Umar said: Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) appointed Zaid bin Haritha as the commander of the army during the Ghazwa of Mu’tah and said, “If Zaid is martyred, Ja’far should take over his position, and if Ja’far is martyred, Abdullah bin Rawaha should take over his position.” (Saheeh Bukhari)

The Muslims fought 300 against 1000 in Badr, and won by the will of Allah. In Uhud, similarly outnumbered 3:1, they won again. In Mu’tah, the Muslim army of 3000 faced 100,000 mushrikeen Arabs, and with them, another 100,000 professional Roman soldiers under the banner of Hiraqal (Heracules). They were outnumbered almost 70:1.

The battle started. Rasulullah narrated as if he could see the events unfold:

“Zayd bin Haritha took the banner and fought with it until he was martyred. Ja’far then took it and fought, bearing it until he was martyred,” after that Rasulallah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) became silent and the faces of the Ansar changed as they wondered whether there was anything terrible about Abdullah bin Rawahah. Then he said, “Abdullah bin Rawahah has taken it now and fought until martyrdom. They have been raised up to heaven – I saw in a vision – upon couches of gold. I noticed that the couch of Abdullah bin Rawahah was slanting away from those of his companions and I asked ‘Why is this?’ I was told, ‘They went straight ahead, whereas Abdullah bin Rawahah hesitated somewhat before proceeding.'” (Source)

We see an important lesson here: even though Abdullah ibn Rawaha, radiallahu anhu, hesitated for only a few moments, that resulted in a slightly less reward for him.

We need to seize opportunities for good when we see them. Not only do these opportunities pass us by (and we get no reward), but those who are the forerunners and the sabiqoon, the first ones and those who do not hesitate, beat us in reward.

Action item: Be cognizant of the opportunities around you. Budget some time, some money, some effort, to spend when these opportunities arise.


Source: Alkauther: The Victorious One. Taught by Shaykh Alaa Syed. University of Toronto, Toronto, May 2012.

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You Choose the Path

forked-path

Note: This is post #10 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma.

In Surah Layl, Allah says:

وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَى
وَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا تَجَلَّى
وَمَا خَلَقَ الذَّكَرَ وَالْأُنثَى
إِنَّ سَعْيَكُمْ لَشَتَّى

Translation: By the night when it covers, and [by] the day when it appears, and [by] He who created the male and female: Indeed, your paths are diverse. [Surah Layl, verses 1-4]

In Arabic (and in English), people talk. And when you want to really draw attention to something, you make an oath. Compare:

Child 1: I didn’t break the cookie jar.
Child 2: I swear by my mother’s grave, that I didn’t break the cookie jar.

Which would you pay more attention to? Obviously, the second child (by the way, don’t swear by other than Allah, it’s shirk).

Now imagine two people talking–your brother or sister, who you’ve known forever, and the President of America. Who would you pay more attention to?

Lillahi mathalu al-‘alaa. This is Allah talking to you. And He’s making an oath–not just one, but three things! We should really pay attention here!

And what does He testify to?

Verse 4–that your paths are different.

Continue reading

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What Made the Companions Special

In a report by Abdullah bin `Amr bin `Aas (radiallahu ‘anhu), he related that a woman came to the Messenger of Allah with her daughter. On the daughter’s wrist were two heavy gold bracelets. The Messenger asked her, “Do you pay Zakaat on this?” She replied, “No.” The Messenger said: “Would it please you that Allah will encircle you with two bracelets of fire?” The reporter commented that she took them off and threw them down in front of the Messenger, and said: “They are for Allah and his Messenger.” [Recorded in Ahmed, Tirmidhi]

Think about this for a second–fiqh of zakah aside. Imagine, if you will, yourself in this place. The Messenger of Allah comes to you, and says, “you need to pay zakah on those two gold bracelets.”

What would you do? Probably hum and haw, then get them weighed, calculate the value, and leave your zakah with the masjid to distribute.

But what did this sahabi (in similar narrations, Asma the daughter of Abu Bakr) do? She gave the ENTIRE bracelets, both of them, as charity! Not just paid zakah–2.5% of of the value–she actually donated the whole thing feasabilillah!

And this is what makes companions so special! (And so much better than us!) We do the bare minimum, enough to just scrape by; but they go for the MAXIMUM reward.

And that’s the lesson of this hadith–and what a valuable lesson it is!

Action Items:

  1. Read about Ihsaan. Learn about it. Ask yourself frequently: “What would it mean to do ihsaan in this thing I’m doing right now?”
  2. Aim for the gold medal. Don’t be satisfied with memorizing only half of Juz Amma. Memorize the entire Qur’an! (Step by step, of course.) Or if you’ve studied one area of fiqh (like the fiqh of salah), learn what the different scholarly opinions are (like study fiqh from a different madhab).
  3. Give a Little Extra. If someone asks you for help–with some project, essay, exam, task, chore around the house (parents?), don’t just do the bit they ask! Throw in a little extra, do a little extra. As Allah says, “Is there any reward for ihsaan other than ihsaan?” [55:60].

We ask Allah to help us learn the lessons from these great companions and to help us implement them in our lives (ameen)!

What examples come to your mind that you can personalize with? Post them in the comments insha’Allah! If other people benefit, you get the ajr too!

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“Things” that Loved the Prophet

Bismillah

عن انس قال النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏لا يؤمن ‏ ‏أحدكم حتى أكون أحب إليه من والده وولده والناس أجمعين ‏

Anas radi Allahu anhu narrated that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “None of you truly believes (has emaan) until I am more beloved to him than his father, his child and all of mankind.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Loving the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is a part of emaan, and Allah ta’ala has made it obligatory for us to love the Messenger alayhi salaam. Why? It is because loving the Prophet shows that you love Allah. It is because Allah sent him sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam that we are Muslims. There should be no one in this world more beloved to us than Allah and His Messenger.

We all claim to love the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam with our tongues, but do our actions show this?

When we love someone, how do we act? We want to be just like them. We think about them a lot. Whenever we remember them, we become happy. Their words comfort us. Their actions teach us. We love to hear about them all the time.

Do you really love the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam? Do you practice his sunnah? Do you read his words? Do you learn from his teachings? Do you read about his life? Do you defend him? Do you spread his message? alayhi Salaatu Rabbuna wa Salaam!

There are so many stories displaying the love of the sahaba for the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam that we can regurgitate them all, because we have memorized them and not internalized them.

Here are some stories of non-human living beings that loved him alayhi salaam based on a lecture by Shaykh AbdulBary Yahya, “things” that loved the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam more than we do!

The Tree Stump

Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah radi Allahu anhu: The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam used to stand by a tree or a date-palm on Friday. Then an Ansari woman or man said. “O Allah’s Apostle! Shall we make a pulpit for you?” He replied, “If you wish.” So they made a pulpit for him and when it was Friday, he proceeded towards the pulpit (for delivering the sermon). The date-palm cried like a child! The Prophet descended (the pulpit) and embraced it while it continued moaning like a child being quietened. The Prophet said, “It was crying for (missing) what it used to hear of religious knowledge given near to it.”
Ibn Umar radi Allahu anhuma narrated: The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam used to deliver his sermons while standing beside a trunk of a datepalm. When he had the pulpit made, he used it instead. The trunk started crying and the Prophet went to it, rubbing his hand over it (to stop its crying).

Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah: The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam used to stand by a stem of a date-palm tree (while delivering a sermon). When the pulpit was placed for him we heard that stem crying like a pregnant she-camel till the Prophet got down from the pulpit and placed his hand over it.

These ahadeeth are classified as mutawaatir, meaning so many sahaba narrated it that it cannot be fabricated. The different narrations show that they all witnessed it in the masjid. This is a miracle of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and the narrations of the sahaba are all authentic, found in Bukhari and Muslim. This tree trunk, which seems like a lifeless being to us, is actually alive and was so affected by the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Allah ta’ala says the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is a “rahmatan lil ‘aalameen”, a Mercy for all that exists, and we see this in how he comforted this stump. Imagine the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam soothing and hugging this tree stump!

Mount Uhud

Narrated Anas radi Allahu anhu: Allah’s Apostle sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam ascended the (mountain) of Uhud with Abu Bakr and ‘Uthman and it shook. Allah’s Apostle said, “Be calm, O Uhud!” I think he stroked it with his foot and added, “There is none on you but a Prophet, a Siddiq and two martyrs.” (Bukhari)

The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was traveling one time: “and when Uhud was within sight, he said: This is the mountain which loves us and we love it.” (Muslim)

This is a mountain, made up of rocks and stones, yet we are made of flesh and have been given hearts that beat…do we love the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam as this mountain? Do we shake like this mountain out of love for him?

A Stone

The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “I know a stone in Makkah that used to salute (give salaams) me before I received the revelation, I still know it now.” (Muslim)

How often do we salute/send salawaat on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam? The Prophet knew this stone, and if we send salawaat on him, especially on Fridays, they will be presented to him from us.

A Tree

Narrated by Ya’la ibn Murrah ath-Thaqafi radi Allahu anhu said, “one time we were walking with the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and he stopped at a place to spend the night. When the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam went to sleep, a tree uprooted itself and came to the Prophet and enveloped him. When the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam woke up, he said: ‘this is a tree that when it saw the Prophet, it asked Allah to give salaams to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and Allah gave it permission.'” (Musnad Ahmad, Tabarani and Bayhaqi: Saheeh)

Do we ask to see the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in our dreams? Yet a tree is asking to send salaams on the Prophet alayhi salaatu wa salaam.

These are not the only stories mentioned in the sunnah and witnessed by the Companions. Let us strive more to love the Prophet alayhi salaatu wa salaam: learn about his life, read about his companions, act upon his authentic statements and teachings, send salawaat upon him and defend him, alayhi salaatu wa salaam.

May Allah ta’ala shower His peace and blessings upon our Messenger, and fill our hearts with love for Him and his messenger, bless us to see him in our dreams and to grant us his companionship in Jannatul Firdaws, Ameen.

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What is Hamd?

Bismillah.

As Muslims, the phrase “alhamdulillah” الحمد لله (all praise and thanks is for Allah) is an integral part of our deen; we are taught to say it from both the Qur’an and Sunnah. Linguistically, Hamd is from ha-meem-daal ( حمد or ح م د) and it is to mention the good attribute of a person, such an attribute that is the at the level of perfection. Hamd is based on mahabbah (love) and ta’dheem (greatness). Hamd is not a fake praise, meaning it is not done to please the person or with no significance, Hamd is always true. Hamd implies admiration, love and magnifying the praise of mahmood (one who is praised). Hamd is a sincere and true praise, that the mahmood (one who is praised) deserves. The one doing hamd is doing submission to the one being praise–out of humility. Hamd also includes sincere gratitude and mentioning the kamaal (best) traits of someone.When we say alhamdulillah, it implies exclusivity and entirety, meaning that praise is entirely and only for Allah. The ‘al’ (ال) before ‘hamd’ is called “istighraaq” in Arabic, and when “al” comes before this phrase its means that entire praise, all kinds of praise and all the time, hamd is due to Allah. The “li” (in lillah, meaning for Allah) implies limitation which is known as “ikhtisaas” in Arabic and it means that Allah is the only One who deserves the hamd.

Now with this concrete definition in mind, what exactly does ‘Alhamdulillah’ mean? It means: The perfect, most Beautiful praise is only for Allah.

Alhamdulillah appears 38 times in the Qur’an, five of them at the beginning of surahs. (Look up which surahs start with hamd if you are not aware of them)

When a surah begins with hamd, it implies three interpretations:

  • Firstly, to tell and to make it known that: alhamdulillah, all praise and thanks is for Allah. As if to announce it.
  • Secondly, when we open something we begin with hamd. (like a khutbah)
  • Thirdly, it teaches us how we should praise Allah, by saying: alhamdulillah and we also learn that we must praise Him.

A Name of Allah that coincides with Hamd is, Al-Hameed, Allah ta’ala is Al-Hameed, The Praiseworthy. How is this different from mahmood (one who is praised)? Mahmood is one who is praised only when they are praised by someone. Hameed is One who is ALWAYS deserving of praise, NO MATTER if He is praised or not. So Allah ta’ala is The Most Praiseworthy, if we do hamd of Him or not.

Alhamdulillah. Such a short phrase with a heavy meaning. Let us remember this meaning the next time we say Alhamdulillah.

wa lillahil hamd!

Reference

Al-Huda Institute Canada: Ta’leem Al Qur’an English course for women.

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The Reading Light: Importance of Tafseer

Bismillah

Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) says in the Qur’an,

كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ

“(This is) a Book which We have sent down to you, full of blessings, so that they may ponder over its verses, and that men of understanding may remember.” Surah Saad: verse 29.
(linguistic explanation of the word yaddabaroo is in the comments)

It is the science of tafseer which is the fruit of ‘pondering over its verses’. Tafseer comes from the root letters fa seen ra, or fassara and means to explain, to discover, elucidate, to disclose (a hidden thing), and to interpret. In Uloom al-Qur’an (the sciences of the Qur’an), tafseer is defined to be, “the science by which the Qur’an is understood, its meanings explained, and its rulings derived.” It is the crux of Uloom al-Qur’an, even though Uloom al-Qur’an comprises many other branches.

Many Muslims assume that learning the science of tafseer is not part of learning the Qur’an, when in fact tafseer is crucial to properly understanding the Qur’an itself. Without knowledge of tafseer, we can easily misunderstand the Qur’an. The science of tafseer is meant to explain to mankind the Book that has been revealed to them from Allah.

Imam as-Suyooti gives three simple reasons on why tafseer is important:

1) Allah uses the most clear, eloquent and concise language, and in doing so the meaning is clear to those who are well-grounded in the Arabic language, but not so clear to those who are not.

2) The Qur’an does not always mention the events or references for which each verse was revealed, but these must be known for the verse to be fully understood.

3) Some words may have multiple meanings, and it is the job of the person who does tafseer to explain what is meant by the word.

Many scholars of the past shed light on the importance of tafseer as well. My favorite parable was given by Iyaas ibn Mu’aawiyah who said,

“The example of a people who recite the Qur’an and do not know its explanation is like a group of people who have a written message from their king that comes to them during the night, and they do not have a lamp. Therefore, they do not know what is in the message. The example of one who knows tafseer is like a person who comes to them with a lamp and reads to them what is in the message.”

Sa’eed ibn Jubayr also said, “Whoever recites the Qur’an and does not explain it, is like an ignorant person.” Also Imam Suyooti, author of the monumental work in Uloom al-Quran al-Itqaan says,

(The science of tafseer) is the most honorable of all sciences for three reasons. The first reason is with respect to its topic. It deals with the Speech of Allah, which contains every kind of wisdom and virtue. It contains pronouncements about what has passed, reports of what will happen and judgments concerning what happens between people. Its wonders never cease. The second reason is with respect to its goal. Its goal is to lead mankind to the firm Handhold of Allah, and to the true happiness, one that does not end. The third reason is with respect to the great need for this science. Every aspect of this religion and this world, in the near or distant future, is in need of the sciences of the sharee’ah and knowledge of the religion, and this knowledge can only be obtained through the understanding of the Book of Allah.

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, in his book An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’an, gives a beautiful parable on the relationship between Qur’an and tafseer. He says,

“the Qur’an is like a treasure trapped in a glass receptacle; mankind can view and benefit from this treasure, but they are in need of tafseer, for tafseer acts like the key that unlocks the treasure, so that mankind can benefit from it to the greatest possible extent.”

Reference

Yasir Qadhi. Lecture. AlMaghrib Institute. Route 114.

Yasir Qadhi. An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’an. Hidaya Publishers.

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The Assassination of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab

‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه‏) was the second khalifa, and one of the ten companions promised Jannah in their lifetimes.

‘Umar (رضي الله عنه‏) used to be a soldier–one of the best. But when he became the khalifah, the other companions refused to let him fight–he disagreed with them, but in the end, he stayed back in Medinah while the battles waged. Yet he always made one du’a, publicly and privately, throughout his khilafah: “Allahumma ruziqniy shahaadah,” “O Allah, provide me with martyrdom.”

People told him he was crazy–he was the Khalifah, of all people, and in a city full of Muslims! And, being the Khalifa, they didn’t allow him to fight. But Subhanallah, Allah knew his sincerity, and answered his du’a.

While he was in Medina, there was a Majuwsi (fire-worshiper) who was a slave, a man by the name of Abu Lu’ Lu’. Abu Lu’ Lu’ was an expert blacksmith, and a slave, captured during the conquest of Nahawand. He was in Medina, making things for the Muslims. His slave-master, though–a Muslim–would take a lot of his earnings.

So knowing the reputation of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه‏) for justice, he went to ‘Umar and told him: “Ask my master to reduce what he’s taking from me.”

And ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه‏) told him: “be patient.”

Now, Abu Lu’ Lu’ got mad–furious! And he went away furious.

Meanwhile, ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه‏) went to Abu Lu’ Lu’s master, and told him to reduce what he was taking from Abu Lu’ Lu’, which he agreed.

Unknown, Abu Lu’ Lu’ stewed in his rage. Being a master blacksmith, he crafted a knife–a special knife, made of two curving blades, made out of stone. He bought poison, and soaked his knife in it. He asked the person he bought the poison from, “if I cut someone with this, is there any chance they will survive?” and the person said “no.”

Now, at that time, ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه‏) would lead salaah in the masjid. And this was well-known. So one day, at Fajr, Abu Lu’ Lu’ snuck into the masjid. After salaah started, while ‘Umar was praying, he jumped out and stabbed him.

One companion narrates, that ‘Umar said: “The dog has eaten ‘Umar.”

Abu Lu’ Lu’ turned to make his escape; but the Muslims prayed so close to each other, he couldn’t escape–so he stabbed his way out. He killed several companions (almost a dozen), until one of them threw a cloth on top of him and tackled him to the floor. He then commited suicide.

Now, imagine: Fajr in the masjid, ,and the Khalifa is lying on the floor in a pool of blood. One narration says that even then, at that time, ‘Umar said “finish the salaah, finish the salaah”–because sunrise was coming. Subhanallah, priorities!

They knew ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه‏) was going to die–he would eat food, and it would come out of his wounds. And when he realized who stabbed him, he said, why did the man stab him? He had gone to ask Abu Lu’ Lu’s slave master to lower his wages.

He sent a messenger to ‘Aishah (رضي الله عنها‏). Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه‏) and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) were buried in the Prophet’s house, and there was space for one more grave. So he sent a messenger to ‘Aisha, and told him to ask her if he could have that spot.

‘Aishah (رضي الله عنها‏) narrates: “I was thinking of saving that spot for myself, but …” and she gave it to him. When the messenger returned, ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه‏) told him “go again, and this time, tell her ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab is asking, not Ameer al-Mu’mineen.” Subhanallah! Even at the time of his death, he was worried that he was using his position to get gains for himself.

So the messenger went back, and ‘Aishah (رضي الله عنها‏) said “yes, give it to him.”

So he died (رضي الله عنه‏), and they buried him with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه‏).

And so, in the most unexpected time and place–the Khalifa praying Fajr in the masjid, surrounded by Muslims–Allah answered ‘Umar’s (رضي الله عنه‏) du’a and made him shaheed.

As for the people who provided Abu Lu’ Lu’ the poison, they resurfaced during the murder of ‘Uthmaan …

References

Muhammad Alshareef. Lecture. AlMaghrib. Conquest: History of the Khulafa. University of Toronto, Toronto. November 2005.

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The Best Teacher

Bismillah.

Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) says in the Qur’an,

هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ

Translation: It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom although they were before in clear error. [Suratul Jumu’ah, verse 2]

Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) sent Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) to do four things:

  1. Recite the verses
  2. Teach the Qur’an
  3. Teach the Wisdom (sunnah)
  4. Purify his followers.

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) nurtured the sahaba and taught them in such a way that the whole of Arabia drastically changed in a matter of 23 years. He had six amazing qualities of teaching that inshaAllah we can implement and follow as teachers, parents, siblings, and any other roles we have in our communities.

Mu’awiyah ibn Al-Hakam said, “I have never seen a teacher before him (Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) or after him better in teaching than he.”

The attributes of a good teacher:

  1. Desire and keen for goodness for students: In surah At-Tawbah, Allah says, in the translation of ayah 128, “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 and merciful.” Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) also advised Abu Dhar (رضي الله عنه‏), “I see that you are weak, and I love for you like I love for myself, so if someone gives you a position of leadership, don’t take it”.
  2. Kindness. Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Allah is Kind (Rafeeq) and He loves kindness, and confers upon kindness which He does not confer upon severity, and does not confer upon any thing besides it (kindness).” [Muslim] We see his kindness throughout his life (صلى الله عليه و سلم), when he would pass by children in the street he would play with them–unlike nowadays, where people think it is righteousness to never smile. Anas ibn Malik (رضي الله عنه‏) narrated that whenever the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) would pass by children he would smile fondly and greet them. [Bukhari and Muslim].
    Anas also narrated, “I served him for ten years, and he never said “uff” (an expression of disgust) to me. He never said, ‘why did you do that?’ for something I had done, nor did he ever say ‘why did you not do such and such’ for something I had not done.” [Bukhari and Muslim].
  3. Hikmah (wisdom). Hikmah is defined as saying the right thing at the right time to the right people in the right manner. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or is oppressed.” A man inquired: “O Messenger of Allah! I help him when he is oppressed, but how can I help him when he is an oppressor?” He (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “You can keep him from committing oppression. That will be your help to him.” [Bukhari]. Another example is the story of the bedoin who urinated in the masjid. SubhanAllah, while all of the sahaba ran to admonition him and beat him, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) simply said, “Leave him alone and pour a bucket of water over it. You have been sent to make things easy and not to make them difficult.” [Bukhari]
  4. Humilty and humbleness. Abu Rifa’a (رضي الله عنه‏) narrated that, “I came towards the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) while he was giving the khutba. I said ‘O Messenger of Allah, an estranged man has come asking about his religion, he does not know what his religion is.’ The Messenger of Allah came towards me and left his khutba until he reached me, and was brought a chair, I thought the legs were made of iron. The Prophet sat on it and started teaching me from what Allah had taught him. Then he returned to his khutba and completed it.” [Bukhari]
  5. Saying “I don’t know” if you don’t know the answer. Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) would only answer a question if Qur’an had been revealed answering it, or he would wait for revelation. Once, Jaabir ibn Abdillah (رضي الله عنه‏) came and asked the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سل) about inheritance, and Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) stayed quiet until Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) revealed the ayah in Surah an-Nisaa.
  6. Speaking slowly. ‘Aishah (رضي الله عنها‏) reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not summarize his speech, and he spoke in such a way that if one were to count his words, they could be counted. [Bukhari] Anas ibn Malik also reported that Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) would repeat his words three times.

These are only a few of the qualities of Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) as a teacher, indeed in him we have an excellent pattern–as Allah Himself says:

لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا

Translation: There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often. [Surah Ahzab, verse 21].

References

AbdulBary Yahya. Lecture. AlMaghrib Institute. Chain of Command: Hadeeth Sciences. University of Maryland, Rockville. July 2007.

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“Do You Not Love that Allah Should Forgive You?”

SubhanAllah, we all know the story about the accusations that were forged against ‘Aishah (رضالله عنها), but in addition to that story, the tafsir for Surat An-Nur (Surah 24), ayah 22, reveals another story–a story of forgiveness, a story of compassion, a story demonstrating the superiority of those who act for the sake of Allah (may Allah make us of them).


Mistah was the cousin of As-Siddiq (رضالله عنه). He was the son of Abu Bakr’s maternal aunt, and a poor man with no wealth except whatever Abu Bakr spent on him. He was one of those who had migrated for the sake of Allah, and he invented the lies and the slander against ‘Aishah (رضالله عنها).

As-Siddiq (Abu Bakr) was known for his generosity, and he did favors for his relatives and strangers alike; but when Allah revealed the ayah to confirm ‘Aishah’s innocence (from the slander invented by Mistah), Abu Bakr (رضالله عنه) swore he would not help Mistah. In fact, he said, “By Allah, I will never spend on him,” (and in another version, “By Allah, I will never provide for Mistah anything after what he has said about ‘Aishah.”)

Then Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) revealed:

وَلَا يَأْتَلِ أُوْلُوا الْفَضْلِ مِنكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَن يُؤْتُوا أُوْلِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Translation: And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give to their kinsmen, al-Masaakeen [the poor], and those who left their homes for Allah’s Cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Al-Ghafuwr (the Most-Forgiving), Ar-Raheem (the Most Merciful). [Surah Noor, verse 22]

This is part of the patience, generosity and kindness of Allah towards His creation, despite the fact that they wrong themselves. After Allah revealed the innocence of the Mother of the believers, ‘Aishah, the believers were happy and content with the outcome of the incident. Those believers who had talked about the matter repented, and the prescribed punishment had been carried out upon those on whom it was carried out. Then, Allah softened the heart of As-Siddiq towards his relative Mistah bin Uthathah.

When Allah revealed, “Do you not love that Allah should forgive you,”–which shows that the reward fits the action, and that if you forgive others, you will be forgiven,–then As-Siddiq (Abu Bakr) said, “Of course, by Allah, we love–o our Lord–that You should forgive us.” Then he resumed his spending on Mistah and said, “By Allah I will never stop spending on him.”


SubhanAllah, after everything his family and his daughter went through as a result of the slanderous tale, all it took was one ayah and a reminder about forgiveness and the Forgiveness of Allah. May Allah grant us the wisdom and ability to be stubborn and strong when stubbornness and strength are necessary, and to be gentle and forgiving when gentleness and forgiveness are appropriate. May He grant us the status of those who love for His sake and hate for His sake. Ameen!

Source: Much of this is quoted directly from Tafsir Ibn Katheer, though sections also come from Women Around the Messenger by Muhammad ‘Ali Qutb.

Any error is my own, and all that is good and correct is from Allah.

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