Monthly Archives: March 2013
Shaykh ‘Abdul-Aziz bin Baaz rahimahullaah was asked ‘Who are the ones who will be excused for ignorance about ‘aqeedah and matters of fiqh?’, to which he replied:
Claiming that one is ignorant or using this as an excuse is a matter which needs further discussion. Not everyone can be excused for his ignorance. With regard to the things which were brought by Islâm, which the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him) explained and which were made clear in the Book of Allâh and are widely known among the Muslims, no claim of ignorance will be accepted in these cases, especially in matters with have to do with ‘aqeedah and the basics of religion.
Allâh sent His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him) to teach the people their religion and explain it to them, and he conveyed the message clearly and explained to the ummah the truths of their religion. He explained everything and left them with a clear path which is always obvious. In the Book of Allâh there is guidance and light. If some people claim to be ignorant about things which are known to be essential parts of the religion and which are well known among the Muslims, such as claiming to be ignorant about shirk and worshipping anything other than Allâh, or claiming that salaah is not obligatory, or that fasting Ramadaan is not obligatory, or that paying zakaah is not obligatory, or that doing Hajj when one is able to is not obligatory – in these and similar matters, claims of ignorance are unacceptable from those who live among the Muslims, because they are matters which are well known among the Muslims. They are known to be essential parts of the Muslim religion and are widely known among the Muslims, so the claim of ignorance of these matters is unacceptable.
This is the case if a person were to claim that he does not know that what the mushrikeen do at the graves or idols is wrong, when they call upon the dead, seek their help, offer sacrifices to them and make vows to them, or offer sacrifices to the idols, stars, trees or rocks; or seek healing or help against their enemies from the dead or idols or jinn or angels or Prophets. All of these are things which are known essentially in the religion that they are major shirk (al-shirk al-akbar).
Allâh explained this clearly in His Book, and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him) explained it clearly. He remained in Makkah for thirteen years warning the people against this shirk, and he preached the same message in Madeenah for ten years, explaining to them that it is obligatory for their worship to be purely and sincerely for Allâh Alone, and reciting to them the Book of Allâh, such as the verses (interpretation of the meaning):
“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him” [al-Israa’ 17:23]
“You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).” [al-Fâtihah 1:5]
“And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allâh, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him).” [al-Bayyinah 98:5]
“So worship Allâh (Alone) by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allaah’s sake only. Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allâh only.” [al-Zumar 39:2-3]
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘Verily, my Salaah (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allâh, the Lord of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists). He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims.'” [al-An’aam 6:162-163]
And Allâh says, addressing His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him) (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, We have granted you (O Muhammad) Al-Kawthar (a river in Paradise). Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only).” [al-Kawthar 108:1-2]
“And the mosques are for Allâh (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allâh” [al-Jinn 72:18]
“And whoever invokes (or worships), besides Allâh, any other ilaah (god), of whom he has no proof; then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely, Al-Kaafiroon (the disbelievers in Allâh and in the Oneness of Allâh, polytheists, pagans, idolaters) will not be successful” [al-Mu’minoon 23:117]
The same applies in the case of those who make fun of the religion, attack it, mock it and insult it – all of these are forms of major kufr and are things for which none may be excused on the grounds of ignorance, because it is well known in the religion that insulting the religion or insulting the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him) are forms of major kufr, as is making fun of the religion or mocking it. Allâh says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Say: ‘Was it at Allâh, and His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and His Messenger that you were mocking?’ Make no excuse; you disbelieved after you had believed” [al-Tawbah 9:65-66]
It is obligatory for the scholars in every place to spread this knowledge among the people and to make it known so that the common folk will have no excuse and so that this important knowledge will become widespread among them; and so that they will give up their attachment to the dead and seeking help from them whether that is in Egypt, Syria, Iraq or in Madeenah at the grave of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him), or in Makkah or anywhere else; and so that the pilgrims and the people will be aware, and will know the laws and religion of Allâh. The silence of the scholars is one of the reasons for the loss and ignorance of the common folk. The scholars, wherever they are, must convey to the people the religion of Allâh and teach them about the unity of Allâh (Tawheed) and the kinds of shirk, so that they will give up shirk out of understanding and so that they will worship Allâh Alone with understanding. Similarly, they must speak out against the things that happen at the grave of al-Badawi, the grave of al-Husayn (may Allâh be pleased with him), or at the grave of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qaadir al-Jeelani or at the grave of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him) in Madeenah and at other graves. The people must know that worship is due to Allâh alone, and no one else has any right to it, as Allâh says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allâh, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him).” [al-Bayyinah 98:5]
“So worship Allâh (Alone) by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allaah’s sake only. Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allâh only.” [al-Zumar 39:2-3]
“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him.” [al-Israa’ 17:23]
i.e., your Lord has commanded. So the duty of the scholars throughout the Muslim world and in the areas where there are Muslim minorities and in every place is to teach the people about the unity of Allâh (Tawheed) and to educate them about the meaning of worshipping Allâh, and to warn them against associating anything with Allâh (shirk), which is the greatest of sins. Allâh has created the two races (of mankind and the jinn) to worship Him, and He has commanded them to do that, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And I (Allâh) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone)” [al-Dhaariyaat 51:56]
Worship means obeying Him and obeying His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him), devoting worship sincerely and purely to Him, and focusing one’s heart on Him. Allâh says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allâh), Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become Al-Muttaqûn (the pious)” [al-Baqarah 2:21]
With regard to matters which may be unclear, such as some transactions and some matters of prayer and fasting, the one who is ignorant of them may be excused, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him) excused the man who entered ihraam dressed in a cloak and wearing perfume. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allâh be upon him) said to him, “Take off the cloak and wash off the perfume, and do in your ‘umrah what you do in your Hajj.” He did not tell him to pay a penalty (fidyah) for his ignorance. By the same token, some matters which may be unclear should be taught to the one who is ignorant so that he will come to understand them. But as far as the basics of ‘aqeedah, the pillars of Islâm, and things which are clearly haraam are concerned, claims of ignorance cannot be accepted from anyone who lives among the Muslims. If anyone who lives among the Muslims were to say, “I did not know that zinaa is haraam”, this is no excuse. If he were to say, “I did not know that disobeying my parents is haraam,” this is no excuse; rather he should be beaten and disciplined. Or if he were to say, “I did not know that homosexuality is haraam,” this is no excuse. These are matters which are clear and are well known among the Muslims and in Islâm.
But if he lived in a land far away from the Muslim world or in a remote part of Africa where there are no Muslims around him, then the claim of ignorance may be accepted from him, and if he dies in that state his case will rest with Allâh; he will come under the same ruling as those who lived during the fatrah (time between two Prophets). The correct view is that they will be tested on the Day of Resurrection: if they respond and obey they will enter Paradise, and if they disobey they will enter Hell. But the one who lived among the Muslims but did actions of kufr and neglected the well known obligations, has no excuse, because the matter is clear and there are Muslims around him, who fast and perform Hajj. All of this is well known and widespread among the Muslims, so the claim of ignorance in this case is a false claim. And Allâh is the One Whose help we seek.
Five Reasons Why No One Cares About the Rohingya
If you paid especially close attention to the news these past few weeks, you might have caught some fleeting mention of the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar.
Considering how little the American media, and to only a slightly lesser extent their international counterparts, have covered this latest outbreak of violence between Buddhist nationalists and minority Rohingya Muslims, you are squarely in the majority if you have no idea that dozens have been butchered and hundreds have attempted (unsuccessfully) to flee their homeland.
All while the world remains silent.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The days of mass expulsion and unchecked, government backed aggression was assumed to be a relic of a bygone era. With citizen journalism filling the few gaps overlooked by a 24-hour news cycle, how has the plight of the Rohingya Muslims been largely ignored?
1) Location, Location, Location
For better or worse, the Middle East is an area of the world that garners, even during “normal” times, plenty of coverage and commentary. When extraordinary events occur in the region, they innately draw the world’s eyes and ears – and news cameras. The same can hardly be said for Southeast Asia. Even with China’s ascendancy on the world stage, Americans simply don’t care about Asia. In fact, the vast majority of Americans probably couldn’t spot Myanmar on a map, given the trouble they have even pointing out nations they’re at war with.
What’s more, we can’t even decide what to call the country. Among the few news reports that have acknowledged the crisis, “Burma” and “Myanmar” were used interchangeably. Given all the media items vying for our scarce time, this added bit of confusion likely undercut whatever traction the story might have otherwise had.
2) No Rohingya Mona Eltahawy
As the ongoing – though, hopefully, close to concluding – crisis in Syria evidences, social media cannot in itself solve all the world’s ills. Facebook is not in the business of feeding the hungry and Twitter does not topple dictators. In an age of ever decreasing attention spans, however, these tools expand a story’s global mindshare. The more people “like” and “retweet” news of a tragedy, the higher the chances that something will be done about it.
In the case of the Rohingya, there hasn’t been anything near the critical mass that the Arab Spring garnered. Part of the reason, as mentioned, is a general dearth of interest in this part of the globe. Just as important, perhaps, is the lack of a Rohingya representative, a Western media darling that, like Mona Eltahawy did with Egypt, presents the crisis in terms that an American audience can understand and sympathize with. In essence, if your not seeing it in your Facebook newsfeed or Twitter stream, don’t expect to see it on your nightly news.
3) No Land to Call Their Own
One’s mobility, identity and, more importantly, access to rights is fundamentally linked to their national affiliation. As there is hardly a patch of land or water on the globe not claimed by some sovereign nation, the notion of a landless people seems like it should be an anachronism in the modern world. If only that was the case.
The issue of statelessness is all too familiar to Muslims who have for generations witnessed the suffering of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Yet, in some ways, the Rohingya do not even enjoy the modicum of civil rights afforded to the Palestinians. Since the approximately 800,000 Rohingya living in Myanmar are denied citizenship status by the military government, their land is routinely confiscated, their children are denied any education beyond what they internally receive within the community, adults are denied the opportunity to look for work outside their village, and they can’t even marry without getting authorization to do so. As David Camroux, a top commentator on Islam in Asia, succinctly put it: “The Rohingya are the Roma of Asia, nobody respects their human rights.”
4) Getting in the way of “Democracy”
Oftentimes – though, certainly, not always – the West will rally to the aid of oppressed peoples if their oppressor fits the “bad guy” mold. The interventions in Rwanda, Bosnia and Somalia, for example, allowed Western powers to construct a narrative of “good” versus “evil.” When the roles are not so neat, when, for instance, the oppressor is a “necessary evil,” then NATO, the UN, et al. get far more gun shy – witness the past half century of Middle East policy. Just imagine the inertia, then, when the “bad guy” is being billed as the “good guy.”
Prior to this recent outbreak of violence, Myanmar was drawing positive headlines for its “democratic transition.” Over the past year, President Thein Sein has made strides towards greater openness and representation in his country, garnering praise from the international community and audiences with top dignitaries from America and Europe. Within this new democratic paradigm, however, it seems there’s no room for the Rohingya.
Top officials and activists in Myanmar have either tacitly or explicitly – more often, the later – shown their disdain for the Rohingya. No less a figure than the president himself openly said the Rohingya are not welcome in his country. Following this declaration, exiled Burmese democracy activists in Japan voiced their support of the president’s stance. Perhaps most appalling, however, is the cowardly silence of Myanmar’s celebrated Nobel Peace laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, as her country continues its policy of ethnic cleansing.
5) Follow the Money
Shockingly, the world’s economic superpowers don’t appear to be supportive of Myanmar’s “democratic transition” out of reverence for the ideals of freedom and liberty. They would likely be much less enthusiastic about the country’s newfound openness if it wasn’t for its vast, largely untapped natural resources. Multi-national and sovereign backed corporations are jockeying left and right for a piece of what could be the next big growth story in Asia (the Economist Intelligence Unit estimates an 85% chance for growth to rise 75-100% in the next eight years).
With such heady prospects, it is no surprise that Hilary Clinton’s recent visit with Thein Sein, which came two days after the US eased sanctions on Myanmar, was centered on business and long-term investment opportunities rather than ongoing human rights abuses. To be fair, Clinton did bring up the plight of the Rohingya, calling them “internally displaced persons” in an affront to President Sein’s call for the UN to resettle the Rohingya outside Myanmar’s borders, but the issue was dropped just as quickly at it was raised. We can’t have a few thousand ill-treated Asians get in the way of Corporate America’s potential windfall, after all.
It has been a few weeks now since the violence in Myanmar reached its peak. Nonetheless, Amnesty International reports that Rohingya Muslims continue to be targeted by the majority Buddhist population in the region. The Rohingya’s status is becoming much more precarious with each passing day. How to resolve this matter is debatable, but the first step is for the global community to acknowledge there is a problem. What we certainly cannot do is sit idly by and expect the Burmese government to handle this matter “internally.” If you think that such acquiescence would bring about anything short of genocide, you simply haven’t been paying attention.
Sadly, you’re not alone.
Teenage victim describes how at least 13 women were raped overnight in Arakan state, which has been focus of ethnic riots
Women all belong to the Muslim Rohingya minority
Over 90,000 Rohingya refugees have been displaced due to violence between Muslim Rohingya and Rakhine Buddhists in Burma, and many are seeking help in Bangladesh. Video from June 2012. Link to video: Rohingya refugees leave Burma to seek help in Bangladesh
At least 13 women, including teenagers, have been subjected to prolonged rape by Burmese security forces in a remote village in the western state of Arakan. Human rights groups have warned that the incident threatens to trigger further violence in a region where several waves of ethno-religious rioting since June last year have killed more than 1,000 people.
The women all belong to the Muslim Rohingya minority, which has borne the brunt of fighting between Muslim and Buddhist communities. One victim, an 18-year-old girl who cannot be named for security reasons, described how a group of uniformed soldiers from Burma‘s border security unit, known locally as NaSaKa, entered her house in northern Maungdaw township shortly after midnight on 20 February.
“They took us separately to different places and tortured and raped us,” she said, referring also to her mother and younger sister, 15. The ordeal lasted until dawn, she said. “They came in and out of the house at least 15 times. They also beat my mother with a gun and dragged her outside to the road and beat her to the ground.”
According to the victim, 13 people in the village were assaulted. Chris Lewa, head of the Arakan Project, which has monitoring teams in Maungdaw township, said she had separately confirmed that at least 11 people were raped that night.
“Sexual violence by Nasaka against Rohingya women has been documented for many years,” says Matthew Smith, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, adding that prosecutions are rare for rapes committed by security forces.
Khin Ohmar, founder of the Women’s League of Burma, said that such ordeals terrorise the community. “I’ve heard of cases where rape survivors are kicked out of their village because the village head is so scared of retribution if they complain to the Burma army.”
She said that incidents like these happen “every time the army moves into remote areas”, and that punishment is normally just transferral to another area “where rape continues but with different women”. She thinks that the 20 February incident probably had its roots in “ethno-centric chauvinism and hatred” of the Rohingya.
Following the attacks, villagers fled into nearby forests and across the border into Bangladesh, said Lewa. The victim told the Guardian that she and the other women had received treatment at a local clinic. The extent of their injuries is unclear, although one 19-year-old woman is believed to be in a critical condition.
The protracted violence in Arakan state has left deep scars for communities on both sides. The UN estimates the number of people displaced since June to be around 120,000, the majority Rohingya.
There are fears however that the violence, which initially pitted Rohingya against Arakanese, is increasingly being demarcated along religious lines. Rioting broke out in Rangoon this week after a row over what local Buddhists claimed was the illegal construction of a mosque. The Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma news organisation also reported last week that the government had placed a ban on all Muslims leaving the Arakanese town of Thandwe, although no official statement has been made.
Buddhist and Muslim communities in Arakan state have now been segregated. In the state capital of Sittwe, all but one Muslim district was razed and emptied last year; the last remaining quarter, Aung Mingalar, whose population swelled from 5,000 to 8,000 residents after fighting broke out, is now guarded by soldiers.
Following a visit to several camps for the displaced this month, UN envoy Tomas Quintana spoke of his concern about aid distribution and freedom of movement. Despite government assurances that displaced Rohingya could eventually return to their homes, Quintana said that stakeholders in Arakan state believed “the current settlements will become permanent”.
The medical charity Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) has warned that its staff have received threats from local Arakanese when attempting to get aid to the Rohingya. “It’s just awful intimidation and threats of violence from a small but vocal group, through phone calls and on social media,” said Peter Paul de Groote, Head of Mission for MSF in Burma.
“Formal permission for access is not the main problem. A big obstacle for MSF is not having enough staff – doctors and other essential personnel are scared to work in Rakhine [Arakan] state.” He added that with monsoon season approaching, “we can expect a real humanitarian problem”.
An OpEd by Amina Begum, a British Bangladeshi. There are multiple perspectives on this topic and these are the writer’s views, MuslimMatters does not necessarily endorse them.
Protests broke out across Bangladesh in recent weeks following the conviction of Allama Delwar Hossain Sayedee, deputy Amir of the opposition Bangladesh Jamaat-i-Islami (Jamaat) party and a hugely popular scholar of Qurʾān among Bangladeshis. Allama Sayedee was convicted by the deeply flawed Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal (ICT). He is one of several elderly religious scholars and political leaders of the Jamaat standing trial at the ICT. This includes the party’s 90-year-old retired leader, Prof Ghulam Azam, whose case follows Allama Sayedee’s.
Allama Sayedee’s supporters took to the streets following the announcement of what they felt to be the political conviction of an innocent man. While the tribunal was set up by the government proclaiming to seek justice for crimes committed during the 1971 War of Independence from present day Pakistan, none of the key perpetrators of attacks against the Bengalis from the Pakistan Army are in the dock. Instead the entire senior leadership of the Jamaat as well as key leaders of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the largest opposition party, are being tried, sparking accusations that the tribunal is in fact a political show trial to weaken the opposition. Jamaat is a political party that participates in democratic processes and draws its ideology from Islamic principles. During the 1971 war they were opposed to the partition of then East Pakistan and West Pakistan. However, they maintain their opposition was political and that they did not participate in military crimes against their fellow men. Jamaat supports trials and justice for victims of the 1971 war, but insists it must be fair.
The current proceedings are anything but fair. International bodies from the UN to Human Rights Watch, have criticized the tribunal’s failure to ensure due process, impartiality, fairness and observance of standards of international law. The Economist exposed a leaked cache of correspondence that showed improper collusion between the presiding judge, government officials, prosecution and a Brussels based lawyer who is a known campaigner against the accused. This exposé led to the resignation of the chief judge, yet the tribunal merely appointed a new judge and continued undeterred. In Allama Sayedee’s case none of the three presiding judges had heard all the evidence, while a key prosecution-witness-turned-defense-witness was allegedly abducted by police at the court gates on the day he arrived to testify and has not been seen since. These are just a few examples of the extraordinary irregularities of this marred trial.
The protesters against Allama Sayedee’s conviction have been met with a violent state crackdown that has left well over a hundred dead. February 28th alone saw at least 66 people killed from live fire by security forces. Rights group, Odhikar, has since called on the Home Minister to resign, holding him responsible for what they have called “one of the most heinous killing sprees in the history of Bangladesh since independence.” Eight policemen have also been killed amidst the unrest since Feb 28.
These protests, while the bloodiest, are not the first and are an element of wider unrest that has gripped the nation. Allama Sayedee’s verdict was the third following that of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who was tried, convicted and sentenced to death in absentia, provoking concern from both the US and UK. The second verdict was against Jamaat Assistant Secretary General, Abdul Quader Molla, who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Molla’s case, like that of the others, was rife with irregularities, and drew protesters to the street, yet this was given little attention.
Attention was instead given to a protest that sprang in Dhaka’s Shahbag crossing, supported by the ruling Awami League government, which demanded the execution of not only Molla but all those accused, even as trials are ongoing. The government took the opportunity to swiftly alter the law, post-trial, to allow prosecutors to appeal verdicts, a move decried by Amnesty and Human Rights Watch. The Prime Minister made the unprecedented improper call to the ICT judges to pay heed to people’s sentiments when issuing verdicts. Meanwhile, defense witnesses have been too intimidated by the protests and government to appear at court, a case particularly true for defendant Prof Ghulam Azam.
Soon the Shahbag demands extended to calls for banning Jamaat-i-Islami itself, and all its institutions including banks, hospitals and media. They also began a call for secular politics, decrying the ‘threat’ of Jamaat’s Islamism, despite the fact that the Islamists garner a mere 5% at the ballot and a secular government currently sits in power.
With the ICT targeting of some of the nation’s leading Islamic scholars and political leaders, and the government-backed Shahbag calls for banning Islamically inspired politics, many have raised the question as to whether Islam itself is under attack in Bangladesh. Given the facts on the ground, it is not unreasonable to be tempted by that assessment. The current government prides itself on its commitment to secularism, and its application of this philosophy has proven extreme in spite of their pluralistic rhetoric. This regime has overseen the sustained suppression of the Islamist party Jamaat in the form of arrests, custodial torture and harassment.
Women have not been spared either; 20 female Jamaat student activists were arrested without charge and imprisoned for weeks at the end of 2012. Those detained included a five-month pregnant young lady who was denied bail with the rest and imprisoned. These women were forcibly unveiled and faced violence during questioning, including being dragged by the hair. Soon after, 13 more women, including leaders of Jamaat, were arrested at a women’s rights press conference organized in protest of the students’ detention. These events have found muted press coverage in national and international media.
Attack on Islamists aside, there appears to be a wider targeting of Islam. Visible manifestations of the Islamic faith have come under attack with pictures emerging of elderly men being yanked by their beards and accounts of other visible religiosity being a target. Changes in laws also seem to reflect targeting of Islamic principles and practice. In spite of Bangladesh’s Muslim majority, teaching of Islamic Studies, hitherto a central subject of the classroom, has been greatly reduced from state elementary school curricula and relegated to optional in high schools by this government.
The hijab has been a prominent target; the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Showkat Ali, spoke out against the veil, incredibly stating, “only those who have ugly faces use religion to cover it.” In a number of state educational institutions, headscarves have been banned, including at Rajshahi University’s Social Welfare Department, Chittagong Nursing College, and Kushtia Women’s College. The ruling party has also made moves to secularize the nation’s constitution.
More recently, the emergence of hate-speech against Islam, in particular against the Prophet Muḥammad and Allāh, published by numerous lead bloggers of the Shahbag protest provoked national outrage. On February 22nd a 12-member alliance of diverse Islamic groups organized a protest after Friday prayers. The state administered a fierce crackdown leaving at least four dead and a thousand injured. Media reports showed police laying siege to Baitul Mukarram mosque, the national mosque in the capital, firing continuously at it for at least an hour as worshippers and protesters took refuge inside. Follow-up protests left many more casualties; by Feb 26th 22 people had been killed by police.
On Friday, March 8th police conducted mass arrests at Baitul Mukarram of individuals they “suspected of seeking to protest in the mosque area after prayers”. Protesting has now become a crime and Mosques, particularly at Friday prayers, have become the site of state suppression. While criticism of the ruling regime leaders have warranted court summons, arrests and even torture, hate-speech against Islam has been bolstered by a regime willing to shoot those who protested it. Only recently, after much loss of life, has the state given in to public pressure and set up a committee to address this form of hate-speech.
It is not, however, only Islam that has been the target of suppression; it seems the Awami League’s extreme form of secularism extends to a wider religious intolerance. Religious minorities have suffered repeated violence and harassment under this regime. Rights group, Odhikar records numerous attacks against minorities across 2012, mostly by ruling party members, with a few cases by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and none by Jamaat. Cases by ruling party members in particular have gone unchecked, with the police appearing unwilling to prosecute such party members. The Awami League activists seem to display a culture of attacking these more vulnerable religious groups with impunity in a manner not equivalently mirrored by their political opponents.
Amidst the current unrest, minorities have suffered a spate of attacks and the ruling regime has been quick to accuse the opposition Jamaat. That, in spite of their own history of intolerance, suddenly the Awami League is claiming to champion minority rights rings hollow and opportunistic. Furthermore, in a recent well-documented and widely deplored murder of a Hindu tailor by ruling party youth, the government was quick to deny their activists’ involvement, despite photographic and video evidence, and tried to blame the opposition.
In a statement, Jamaat acting leader Moqbul Ahmed condemned the recent attacks and stated, “Jamaat has issued strict orders to its member to protect the lives and properties of minorities in light of the saying of the Prophet Muḥammad , ‘whoever harms a non-Muslim will not enter paradise.’” In response to a call from party leadership, Jamaat activists guarded minority temples to prevent further attacks.
Many, including members of the minority community, contend that opposition groups like Jamaat, in the midst of their struggle to survive sustained state onslaught, can only be further crippled by out of character attacks on minorities, thus to suggest they were involved is illogical. In fact, the government alone stands to benefit from these attacks by distracting from their state violence against civilians, and such a tactic has been employed by past dictatorial governments.
The violence in Bangladesh is taking a troubling turn as religious minorities are dragged into the milieu while the religious majority, and the Islamists in particular, are facing a sustained and brutal onslaught, forcing them into desperate positions and measures. The international community of Muslims needs to pay attention to the events taking place on the ground in Bangladesh, a nation that represents 10% of all Muslims worldwide, and call upon the Bangladesh government to show restraint and uphold an environment that is respectful of all faith groups and is politically pluralist. Muslims in the West should furthermore pressure their governments, including MPs, Congressmen and other political figures, to condemn state suppression and murder in Bangladesh, the politically charged ICT, and the growing religious intolerance of the ruling regime.
If you would like to join the call for justice, please sign the following petitions:
United Kingdom – http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/46050
United States – https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/demand-fair-trials-bangladesh-opposition-leaders-and-stop-their-execution-government-exploiting/5QmwTRbf
In Britain, you can also call upon your MPs to sign the following Early Day Motion: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/business-papers/commons/early-day-motions/edm-detail1/?session=2012-13&edmnumber=1095
Photo Credit- suronin / Shutterstock.com
Narrated Abu Hurairah: Jibril (Gabriel) came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said: “O Allah’s Messenger! This is Khadijah, coming to you with a dish having meat soup (or some food or drink). When she reaches you, greet her on behalf of her Lord (Allah) and on my behalf, and give her the glad tidings of having a palace made of Qasab in Paradise, wherein there will be neither any noise nor any toil, (fatigue, trouble, etc.).” [Al-Bukhari, Vol 5, Book 58, Number 168]
‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas narrated that one day the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) drew four lines on the earth and asked his Companions if they understood what these lines stood for. They respectfully replied that he knew better. He then told them that these lines stood for the four foremost ladies of the universe. They were Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad, Maryam bint Imran, the mother of the Prophet Issa and ‘Asia bint Muzahim (the wife of the Pharaoh).
She was the first person to have an abiding faith in the utterances of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and to accept Islam as her religion and her way of life. She was blessed with the distinction of having been greeted with Salam (greetings) by Allah and the Angel Jibril.
Khadijah (radiyAllaahu ‘anha) was born in Makkah in the year 556 CE. Her mother’s name was Fatimah bint Zayd, and her father’s name was Khuwaylid bin Asad. He was a very popular leader among the tribe of Quraysh, and a very prosperous businessman who died while fighting in the famous battle of Fujjar. Khadijah thus grew up in the lap of luxury. She married Abu Halah Malak bin Nabash bin Zarrarah bin At-Tamimi and bore him two children, Halah and Hind. She wanted to see her husband prosper and financed him in setting up a big business. But unfortunately he passed away. Some time later the young widow married ‘Atique bin ‘Aith bin ‘Abdullah Al-Makhzumi, and she had a daughter by him as well named Hindah, but the marriage soon broke up on grounds of incompatibility. After this all her attention was devoted to the upbringing of her children, and building up the business she inherited from her father. Her astuteness and business ability made her business one of the most widespread businesses among the Quraysh.
Her policy was to employ hard working, honest and distinguished managers to deal on her behalf as a lot depended on the integrity of the employees who traveled far and wide on her behalf. She exported her goods to far away markets like Syria, and her managers bought goods from those markets to be sold at home.
Khadijah (radiyAllaahu ‘anha) had heard of the integrity, honesty and principled behavior of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and sent a job offer to him to head her trading caravans. He gladly accepted the offer and started working for her. Khadijah sent him on a business trip; her old and trusted slave Maysarah being delegated to accompany and serve him.
Maysarah was impressed by the Prophet’s integrity, strength of character, adherence to principles, his amicable dealings and his business abilities. On the way back from Syria, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) lay down under a tree to rest for a while. Nestora, a Jewish monk, noted for his knowledge of religion and for his insight saw him and asked Maysarah who he was. Maysarah told him all about Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and his reputation for honesty and intelligence. Nestora then told him that this man would be elevated to Prophet hood in the future, as no man had ever rested under that particular tree but Prophets.
Tradition has it that Maysarah also saw two angels bearing a cloud over Prophet’s head to protect him from the glare and heat of the sun.
When he returned home Maysarah reported to Khadijah all that had taken place on the trip to Syria. She was deeply moved and impressed, and started thinking of proposing marriage to Muhammad. But how could she express her thoughts to him? She already rejected several proposals of marriage from men belonging to some of the noblest families of the Quraysh. How would her tribe react? What would her family say? And what was more, would her proposal be acceptable to this young, yet unmarried man of the tribe of Quraysh?
As she pondered over these questions and debated within herself, one night she dreamt that the shining sun had descended from the heavens into her courtyard, radiating her home. When she woke up she went for the interpretation of this wonderful dream to her cousin, Waraqah bin Nawfal, a blind man noted for his skill in interpreting dreams, and for his depth of knowledge, particularly of the Torah and the Injil. When he heard her dream, he gave a serene smile, and told her not to worry, as this was a very promising dream. The glorious sun she saw descending into her courtyard indicated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) whose advent had been predicted in the Torah and the Injil was to grace her home and she would gain from his presence in her life.
After this meeting with Waraqah she became stronger in her desire to marry Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). One of her very close friends, Nafisah bint Manbah knew of her inclination and she went to Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and requested his permission to ask him a very personal question. When he said he had no objection, she asked why he had not yet got married. He said he did not have the financial resources. Then she asked him if he would be willing to marry a beautiful lady from a noble and wealthy family, who was inclined towards marriage with him. He asked whom she was referring to; when he learnt her identity he said that he was willing, provided she was willing to marry him. Khadijah’ was overjoyed.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was then twenty-five years of age and Khadijah was forty years old. (According to one tradition, she was twenty-eight). The two uncles of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) Hamzah and Abu Talib approached her uncle, ‘Umar bin Asad, with the formal proposal. It was accepted and the two families began preparing for the wedding. Halimah As-Sa’diyyah who nursed the Prophet in his infancy was specially invited for the wedding and traveled to Makkah from her village. When she left after the festivities, Khadijah presented her with household goods, a camel and forty goats as an expression of gratitude to the lady who had taken such good care of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in his infancy.
Khadijah was very blessed in the marriage, and had six children. First two sons, Qasim and ‘Abdullah; then followed the daughters, Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum and Fatimah. It was a very happy, peaceful and content household, but Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) felt something was missing, and he was extremely restless. He would retire for a month once a year to the cave of Hira to dedicate himself entirely to prayer and meditation. One day he felt the presence of another being who held him in his arms in a tight embrace. Then he loosened his hold and asked him to read; Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) answered that he was illiterate. But the person repeated the same act and the phrase again and again. Then finally he read these Ayat which are the first revelation of the Quran. They are from Surah Iqra or Al-‘Alaq.
“Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists). He has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.” [Noble Quran 96:1-5]
Then the being disappeared. This was such an awesome experience that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) returned home sweating and shaking. He called out to Khadijah asking her to cover him with a sheet or a blanket. When he had calmed down to some extent, he told his wife that he feared for his life, and narrated the whole incident to her. Khadijah, a picture of loyalty and serenity consoled him saying that Allah would surely protect him from any danger, and would never allow anyone to revile him as he was a of man of peace and reconciliation and always extended the hand of friendship to all. He never lied, always hospitable, carried the burdens of others and helped those who were in trouble. These soothing and encouraging words of sympathy and understanding from Khadijah gave him immeasurable strength and confidence. She then took him to meet her cousin, Waraqah bin Nawfal, who immediately guessed the identity of the being in the Cave of Hira as the Angel Jibril the Messenger of Allah who had visited Moses as well. Waraqah who was very old wished that he could live to see the time when the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) would be forced into exile by his people. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was very surprised and asked if his people would really do this to him. Waraqah assured him that it was typical of human beings that they would never appreciate or follow a Prophet who rose among them. Waraqah added that he wished he were alive at that time and be able to help him. He added that if what he had been told were true then surely it meant that her husband was the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) whose advent had been mentioned in the scriptures.
The four daughters grew up to be faithful and courageous daughters of Islam. They all migrated to Al-Madinah, with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
Zaynab was married to Abu ‘Aas bin Rabi’ah, Ruqayyah was married to ‘Uthman. When she passed away he married her sister Umm Kulthum; Fatimah was married to ‘Ali bin Abi Talib. The first three daughters died during the lifetime of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and his beloved daughter Fatimah lived just six months after he passed away.
When the disbelievers saw that Islam was attracting more and more followers in spite of all their tactics, they decided to declare an open and total political and economic boycott of the tribe of Banu Hashim. This took place in the seventh year after the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) declared himself the Messenger of Allah. This is also known in Islamic history as the Shi’ab Abi Talib.
It was so severe that innocent children faced starvation and hunger, and adults survived eating the leaves of trees. Yet the firm followers of Muhammad did not turn away from their true religion and they came out of the ordeal stronger and purer than before.
Khadijah (radiyAllaahu ‘anha) who had been brought up in luxury in her wealthy father’s home now faced the economic hardships with patience and courage, which are a necessary part of any siege. Khadijah’s nobility of character and conduct pleased Allah, so much that He sent special greetings for her.
Khadijah (radiyAllaahu ‘anha) was the ideal wife and mother. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) lived in her house which became a blessed place due to his presence and the fact that Jibril (peace and blessings be upon him) came often to visit him there with Quranic revelations. It became the centre of Islam, where all the Companions male and female visited often to partake of the hospitality of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and his wife.
After the Hijrah (migration) of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to Al-Madinah, the house was occupied by the brother of ‘Ali. Later Mu’awiyah bin Abu Sufyan who transcribed some of the Divine Revelations purchased this house and built a mosque. Thus the site of the house of Khadijah became a place of prayer and worship for all time. She had been used to praying two Rak’as of Salat (prayer), mornings and evenings with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), even before prayers were made compulsory by Allah. After accepting Islam she became more contemplative and inclined towards worship; she found a blessed feeling of peace in prayer.
Afif Kindi relates that ‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul Muttalib was a great friend of his and he used to visit him often in Yemen in connection with his business in perfumes. On one occasion when they were standing and chatting in Mina, they saw a handsome young man approach. He carefully washed his hands and feet and then stood respectfully with his arms crossed on his breast. Soon a dignified lady of noble bearing and a young handsome young lad joined him. ‘Afif asked ‘Abbas what they were doing and whether this was a new form of exercise. ‘Abbas replied that the youth was his brother ‘Abdullah’s son, and the lady was his wife. She was a woman of great wealth and virtue, and an ideal wife and mother. The lad was his brother Abu Talib’s son. Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) had announced that he was a Messenger of Allah and had started preaching a new religion called Islam. In due course ‘Afif accepted Islam, but he always regretted the fact that he had not joined the Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions in their prayers and supplication on that memorable day in Mina, when he had first heard of Islam.
Khadijah passed away just three years before the Hijrah, or the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) migration to Al-Madinah. She died at the age of sixty-five, having given almost twenty-five years to Muhammad and the cause of Islam. When Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) saw her in the throes of death he consoled her saying Allah had so ordained it, and that the thing she was dreading, would prove favorable for her. Her eyes lit up and as she gazed at her beloved husband, her soul left its earthly body.
Her grave was prepared at a place called Hujjun, near Makkah. Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) stepped into it to see that everything was as it should be, and with his own hands lowered her gently into it. Thus passed away the ‘Mother’ of all Muslims, the one who had sacrificed her all for Islam, the lady who was the greatest supporter of Islam in its earliest days. She who was the mother of Fatimah, the First Lady of Paradise, the grandmother of the beloved grandchildren of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) Hasan and Hussein who are to be the foremost of the youths in Paradise.
When she passed away, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was heartbroken at the loss of a dedicated companion who stood by him during the most difficult period of his life.
One of the ladies of the Quraysh, Khawlah bint Hakim, visited the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to console him, and saw his state of depression and grief and remarked on it. He replied it was only natural that he should be touched by her absence, as she had been a loving mother to his now neglected children; she had been a loyal and sympathetic wife who shared his secrets. It was only human and natural that he should feel her loss as she was there for him during his most difficult times. Whenever he was abused by the disbelievers she had provided moral support and unflagging faith.
A Companion of the Prophet narrates that whenever any gift was brought to him he would immediately send it to some lady who had been a friend of Khadijah. Ayshah, a favorite wife of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) says that whenever a goat was slaughtered the Prophet it would send some meat to Khadijah’s friends; when she remarked about this on one occasion he told her, ‘I have great regard for her friends, as she has a special place in my heart.’ Ayshah said she never experienced such a feeling of natural feminine jealousy for any other wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as she did for Khadijah. She also narrates that whenever Muhammad spoke of her he would talk at great length and praise her qualities, and pray for her forgiveness.
Ayshah narrates that whenever the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) talked about Khadijah, it was in terms of the highest praise. One day her innate feminine envy overtook her sense of decorum and she spoke in disparaging terms of her, wondering why the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) missed her when he was blessed with a better, younger wife by Allah. This displeased him, but forbearing as he was, he just sighed and answered,
“I have not yet found a better wife than her. She had faith in me when everyone, even members of my own family and tribe did not believe me, and accepted that I was truly a Prophet and a Messenger of Allah. She converted to Islam, spent all her wealth and worldly goods to help me spread this faith, and this too at a time when the entire world seemed to have turned against me and persecuted me. And it is through her that Allah blessed me with children.”
As Allah says in Surah Al-Fajr in the Noble Quran that it will be said to the pious believers:
“O the one in complete rest and satisfaction! Come back to your Lord — well-pleased (yourself) and well-pleasing (unto Him)! Enter you then among My (honored) servants, and enter you My Paradise.” [Noble Quran 89:27-30]
Source: “Great Women of Islam” – by Dar-us-Salam Publications
Trend One – The Arrogant Students
“Do not attend the lectures of this Shaykh as he is a deviant because in one of his lectures five years ago, he mentioned that he follows a certain opinion which is incorrect,” said the twenty year old about a famous scholar.
“Why are you addressing him as ‘Shaykh’, he is just a normal student of knowledge like you and I,” said the twenty three year old first year student about the Shaykh with 30 years of experience and a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies.
“I used to respect you, but after hearing your opinion on this issue, I can no longer take knowledge from you as it is clear that you have been corrupted by the West,” hundreds of angry Facebook users wrote to many of their teachers.
Do any of these situations seem familiar to you? What about the following?
Trend Two – The Arrogant Teacher
“I have a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies and I am telling you that there is no way I can be wrong on this issue,” said the famous scholar.
“Do not address me by my name. Call me ‘Shaykh’ or ‘Mufti’, show me some respect,” said the 20 year old Islamic Studies graduate.
“I am the teacher and you are the student, I know better so never question my opinion,” said hundreds of Islamic teachers to their young students.
Now, what about the following situation?
Trend Three – The Salaf
“I am giving my opinion about her. If it is correct then it is from Allāh, but if it is incorrect then it is from me and Shaytaan,” said the famous companion Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood when asked for a fatwa.
“Woe to you, Yaqub! Do not write down everything you hear from me, for surely I may hold an opinion today and leave it tomorrow, hold another tomorrow and leave it the day after,” said one of the greatest scholars of this Ummah, Abu Hanifa, to his student Abu Yusuf.
“I have been sent to you with this question from my hometown in Morocco, undertaking a journey of six months to reach here,” said a man to imām Malik before narrating the issue which imām Malik was not familiar with. “Tell the person who sent you that I do not know,” was imām Malik’s reply.
Humility is a key characteristic of a believer, even more so for a student or teacher of knowledge. The companions and early scholars of Islam exhibited this throughout their lives, because they understood the Deen and importance of practicing what they preached.
It is sad to see today that someone who just does a quick Google search or reads a Wikipedia article considers himself as an expert on a topic with firm belief that he can’t be wrong and those who oppose him must be deviants.
Where is the benefit of doubt? What happened to thinking well of others, especially our Islamic teachers? Where is the humility, which was a key characteristic of all our righteous predecessors? The same questions apply to Islamic teachers who feel they need to be treated special because they are famous or whatever reason they use to justify it.
We should remember the words of Allāh warning us all against these evils.
“Say: My Lord has only forbidden immoralities, what is apparent of them and what is concealed, and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allāh that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allāh that which you do not know.” [Surah Al-A’raaf, 33]
“Why then when you heard it (the slander), did the believing men and women not think good of their people and say this is an obvious lie?” [Surah Nur, 12]
“The true servants of Allāh are only those who walk on this earth with humility and when ignorant people try to dispute with them, they respond with words of peace.” [Surah Furqaan, 63]
This is a short reminder to all of us to humble ourselves while dealing with anybody and to approach Islamic knowledge with this humility. We should think before we speak and never talk to or about anyone in a way that we would not want them to address or talk about us.
Whenever we hear an opinion with which we disagree, it is best for us to give the person the benefit of doubt and consider it his Ijtihad (Ijtihad is the term used to describe the making of a decision through personal effort; without counsel from scholars) and not allow it to make us arrogant or harsh towards him/her especially if it is a teacher of Islam.
Allāh did not create us to spend our time writing long-winded refutations against scholars’ opinions, nor challenging du’aat (Muslim missionaries) and students of knowledge searching out their every fault and slip of the tongue, intentionally misrepresenting, and blowing their statements out of proportion. Allāh created us to worship Him alone and assist others in doing so, and this can only be accomplished if we humble ourselves and don’t look down on others.
Remember that humility is not weakness; it is honor and good character.
Ismail Kamdar. aka Abu Muawiyah, is the Head Tutorial Assistant of the Islamic Online University, the author of “Having Fun the Halal Way: Entertainment in Islam” and the host of a regular Tafseer program on Radio Al-Ansaar. Ismail began his study of Islam at the age of thirteen with a seven year Alim course at a local Madrassa. He then studied under a variety of Shuyookh and institutes from around the world. His most notable teacher is Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, the founder of IOU. Ismail is currently in his final year of BAIS (Bachelors of Arts in Islamic Studies)
She (radiyAllaahu ‘anha) said that there were nine blessings of Allah which distinguished her from all other women in the world except Maryam bint ‘Imran, the mother of ‘Issa.
The Angel Jibril had presented her portrait wrapped in green silk to Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and told him that this was the picture of the lady chosen by Allah, to be his consort both in this world and the next.
She (radiyAllaahu ‘anha) was the only virgin to have become the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
When the Prophet passed away, he was resting in her lap and was buried in her apartment.
Many times angels encircled her apartment with love and respect.
Very often divine revelation would come to Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) when they were lying together resting in peace and tranquility.
She was the daughter of a true friend of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), Abu Bakr As-Siddiq.
Ayat had descended from the heavens from Allah proving her innocence.
She (radiyAllaahu ‘anha) was born a Muslim and had been brought up in a pure environment, and spent her formative years with the best of creatures, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
Allah, the Lord, the Sustainer of the Universe promised her Divine Forgiveness and abundant bounties.
As a girl she used to play with dolls, Once Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) visited her father, he saw her playing with a winged horse; she was barely five years old at the time. When he inquired she said it’s a horse. He smiled and answered that horses didn’t have wings! She promptly retorted that the Prophet Sulaiman had winged horses, which showed even at this tender age she was intelligent on religious and historical matters. At the age of 8 years, she experienced an historic move, when the first Islamic state was on rise, she was able to recall all the minor details. Next year she joined the household of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
Small rooms were constructed around the Prophet’s Mosque, and Ayshah occupied one of these, on the eastern side of the Mosque it had earthen walls with a roof made of leaves and twigs. It was covered with a blanket to prevent rainwater from seeping through and the roof was so low that a person standing upright could touch it. The door never closed and a blanket hung as curtain. Close to the room, on a slightly higher level was another small room. A mat, a thin mattress, a pillow filled with the bark of trees, a water bag, a small plate for dates and a glass for drinking water were all the things in the room. This sparse little room was filled with spiritual treasures.
When the whole of Arabia was under authority of Islam, huge quantities of grain and cash flowed into the central treasury. But on the day that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) passed away, there was not even food for a single day in his household. Ayshah maintained this tradition up to her last days.
Ayshah (radiyAllaahu ‘anha) was very charitable, all money that came her way was given away as soon as possible. One day a beggar came to her and asked for food. She told her maid to give the lady the piece of bread they had. The maid answered that there was nothing else with which she could break her fast. ‘Ayshah said help the hungry woman and the evening would take care of itself. By the blessings of Allah in the evening someone sent her a dish of cooked meat; She also sold the house she owned to give the price in charity.
She (radiyAllaahu ‘anha) loved her sister’s son, ‘Abdullah bin Zubayr, very deeply. He loved her and always looked after her needs. Once he remarked that her generosity needed to be restrained. ‘A’ishah was upset when she heard this; she swore she would never to talk to him. Finally, when she calmed down and made up with him, she freed several slaves as penance for breaking her oath.
‘Ayshah (radiyAllaahu ‘anha) was soft-hearted. On one occasion when a beggar carrying two children came to her door; Ayshah had only three dates in the house. These she gave her; the woman gave one each to the children and started eating one herself. One of the children ate his share quickly and started looking at his mother eating her date. The woman could not bear her child’s hunger and took the date from her mouth, broke it into two halves, and gave a piece to each of the children. When ‘Ayshah saw this heart-rending scene she could not control her tears.
In the month of Sha’ban, Ayshah (radiyAllaahu ‘anha) accompanied Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) who led the Muslim army towards Qadid, where a minor battle started with tribe of Banu Mustalaq. Several hypocrites were also part of the army during this particular battle. She had borrowed a necklace from her sister Asma’. On the way back the army camped in the desert, and Ayshah went far into desert to relieve herself. Suddenly she realized that the necklace dropped along the way. She found it after a long search. When she reached the site, the caravan had left, the normal procedure was that the ladies, who were segregated from the men folk, would get into their litter and draw the curtains. Then the camel drivers would place the litter on the camel’s back. Since ‘Ayshah was very light no one realized her absence. She lay down, waiting for her companions to return.
Safwan bin Mu’attil had the responsibility of checking the camp site for things which might have been left behind, at daybreak he arrived to find someone lying down in a Jilbab. When ‘Ayshah heard him she woke up, and got on to the camel. He then walked leading the camel by the bridle.
At noon when the caravan had just reached the next camp site to rest, they saw ‘Ayshah arriving with Safwan. Madinah was flooded by loose talk that ‘Ayshah was a loose woman and her character was suspect, led by ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul. Hasan bin Thabit, Hamnah bint Jahash, and Mastah bin Athathah who joined the hypocrites. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was extremely disturbed when he heard this talk, but ‘Ayshah was blissfully ignorant of all this.
One night when she went out with the mother of Mastah bin Athathah. The lady tripped and started cursing her son. ‘Ayshah said that he was a Companion of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who fought in the Battle of Badr and deserved respect. The old lady retorted that ‘Ayshah was ignorant of the fact that he was involved in an awful plot; she revealed what had been taking place behind her back. On returning home, she took the permission of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), and went to visit her parents. She was heartbroken, her sympathetic and loving parents advised her to be patient and everything would be cleared up. But she could not accept the fact that people could descend to such cruel depths. After two days and nights of continuous weeping she fell ill.
On the third morning, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) came to see her. He told her very gently that if she erred she should ask Allah for His forgiveness. She said to her husband that if she denied she was guilty, nobody would believe her; but she was innocent and only Allah knew it. The best answer to these accusations was to quote the answer of the father of Yusuf,
“So (for me) patience is most fitting. And it is Allah Whose help can be sought against that (lie) which you describe.” [Noble Quran 12:18]
At precisely this moment, the Ayat announcing her innocence were revealed. When the revelation ended he then turned to ‘Ayshah with a smile and started reciting the Ayat,
“Verily, those who brought forth the slander are a group among you. Consider it not a bad thing for you. Nay, it is good for you. Unto every man among them will be paid that which he earned of the sin, and as for him among them who had the greater share therein, his will be a great torment. Why then, did not the believers, men and women, when you heard it (the slander), think good of their own people and say: “This (charge) is an obvious lie?” Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they (the slanderers) have not produced witnesses! Then with Allah they are the liars. Had it not been for the Grace of Allah and His Mercy unto you in this world and in the Hereafter, a great torment would have touched you for that whereof you had spoken. When you were propagating it with your tongues, and uttering with your mouths that whereof you had no knowledge, you counted it a little thing, while with Allah it was very great. And why did you not, when you heard it, say: “It is not right for us to speak of this. Glory be to You (O Allah)! This is a great lie.” Allah forbids you from it and warns you not to repeat the like of it forever, if you are believers. And Allah makes the Ayat plain to you, and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. Verily, those who like that (the crime of) illegal sexual intercourse should be propagated among those who believe, they will have a painful torment in this world and in the Hereafter. And Allah knows and you know not. And had it not been for the Grace of Allah and His Mercy on you, (Allah Would have hastened the punishment upon you). And that Allah is full of kindness, Most Merciful. O you who believe! Follow not the footsteps of Shaytan. And whosoever follows the footsteps of Shaytan, then, verily, he commands Al-Fahsha’ (illegal sexual intercourse), and Al-Munkar (evil and wicked deeds). And had it not been for the Grace of Allah and His Mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure from sins. But Allah purifies (guides to Islam) whom He wills, and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.” [Noble Quran 24:11-21]
Her parents were proud and relieved; pride that their daughter had been honored with a Quranic revelation, and relief that she was acquitted of any wrongdoing. They asked their daughter to rise and thank her husband, ‘Ayshah promptly replied that she was grateful to her Allah for He had revealed Quranic Ayat in her honor. This episode is known in Islamic History as the Event of Al-Ifk.
After this incident the Prophet’s respect for ‘Ayshah increased even more. ‘Amr bin ‘Aas once asked Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) who he loved most in this world, and he replied that he loved ‘Ayshah more than anyone else. Then he asked him about the men folk. And the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) answered that he loved Ayshah’s father the most. On one occasion ‘Umar told his daughter Hafsah not to try and compete with ‘Ayshah as Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) valued her very highly.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) loved to listen to ‘Ayshah talking and always smiled when she spoke. On one ‘Eid day there were some Africans displaying their skill with spears; ‘Ayshah wanted to watch, so the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stood in front of her so she could enjoy and not be seen. And he did not move until she tired of it.
But all this pleasant entertainment could not distract Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) from his duty to Allah. When the Mu’adthin’s call to prayer would be heard, he immediately would rise and prepare to go the mosque, the love for Allah had priority over all other affections and interests.
Once they camped at a place in the desert and again ‘Ayshah’s necklace fell off. Some of the companions were sent to find it. When the call for morning prayers was given, there was no water for ablution. The Companions were worried about the morning prayers, and held Ayshah responsible. Her father rebuked his daughter for creating a situation, which might lead to the prayers being missed. Exactly at this moment this Ayat was revealed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him),
“And if you are ill, or on a journey, or one of you comes after answering the call of nature, or you have been in contact with women (by sexual relations) and you find no water, perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your face and hands. Truly, Allah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving.” [Noble Quran 4:43]
The people expressed their thanks for such a great favor Allah granted because of her. Abu Bakr As-Siddiq had not realized until that moment how pleased Allah was with her.
By the ninth year after Hijrah, Islam had spread over most of Arabia. Madinah became a flourishing state. Some wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) requested a increase in allowances. This disturbed the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and he declared that for one month he would separate himself from his wives, and he went into seclusion.
After 29 days he came to ‘Ayshah’s apartment, and told her to make a choice after consulting her parents; choose him and a life of hardship, or leave him and lead a life of ease. ‘Ayshah had no doubt in her mind; she immediately answered that she and her parents would sacrifice their lives for him if need arose, there was no need to consult her parents and she would prefer life with him to the world and its attractions. A beautiful smile lit his face. And then Allah revealed the following,
“O Prophet Say to your wives: ‘If you desire the life of this world, and its glitter, them come! I will make a provision for you and set you free in a handsome manner (divorce). But if you desire Allah And His Messenger, and the Home of the hereafter, then verily, Allah has prepared for the good-doers among you an enormous reward.” [Noble Quran 33:28-29]
All the wives took the same decision as ‘Ayshah.
In two recorded incidents Ayshah saw Jibril personally.
On one occasion, ‘Ayshah saw the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) talking to a rider of a horse. When she inquired about the stranger, he was surprised that she saw him and told her it was the Angel Jibril as human and sent greetings to you. She prayed that Allah give reward to the honored guest and to noble host.
Anas narrates: Once Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was praying in ‘Ayshah’s apartment, she saw someone standing outside the door. When he finished his prayers she informed him. It was angel Jibril. Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) invited him inside but he replied that they don’t enter where there were dogs or pictures. When Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) looked around he saw a puppy in a corner of the room; when he was chased out then the angel entered.
‘Ayshah attained a lofty status because of her knowledge. Everyone consulted her on the finer points of religion. Many Hadiths originated from her 2210 in number.. She was among the top seven companions who narrated thousands of Hadiths.
Imam Dthahabi wrote that she was a theologian of the highest order. She imbibed divinely inspired knowledge and wisdom from the very fountainhead of Prophethood and an eyewitness to problems and their answers by divine revelations. Her apartment was the centre where Ayat were revealed by the divine Mercy of Allah. Thus she was given the title of ‘Horizon of the Ladies of Islam’.
During the time of Khulafa-u-Rashidin, her Fatwas were accepted. Once someone asked Masruq if ‘Ayshah had mastery over Shari’ah laws regarding inheritance. He swore that he had seen Companions asking her questions about the finer points of the laws of inheritance. ‘Urwah bin Zubayr, her sister Asma’s son often visited her to discuss religious issues with her. Other Companions envied him as he could freely approach her at any time.
Once the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and ‘Ayshah were not feeling well. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that if she died before him he would bathe her and shroud her and lower her into her grave and pray for her. She light heartedly replied that it seemed as if he would celebrate her death; and she told him that in case she died before him, he should bring a new wife into her apartment. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) smiled at this.
Her brother, ‘Abdur-Rahman came in during his last moments with a Siwak in his hand; the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) looked longingly at it. ‘Ayshah understood and asked him if she could offer one to him. When he nodded, she took it and softened it with her teeth and offered it to him. He cleaned his teeth; and dipping his hand frequently in water, he kept wiping his face again and again, repeating the words,
“There is none worthy of worship but Allah. Verily, death has pains.” Then he pointed upward with his hand and said, “Toward the best friend”
Ayshah once had a dream that three moons descended into her apartment. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) passed away he was buried in her apartment. Her father told her that part of her dream came true that day – the first moon irradiated her apartment. Later, her father and then Umar Al-Khattab was buried next to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) which fulfilled the prophesy of her dream.
Imam Dthahabi quoted a saying of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that a Prophet’s soul leaves its body in the place that it likes the best. Thus it is proven he died in his favorite place, the apartment of ‘Ayshah.
She left this earthly existence for Paradise in the year 58 Hijrah on the 17th of Ramadhan at the age of 66.
She was buried in Jannatul Baqi’. with Abu Hurairah leading the funeral prayers.
Source: “Great Women of Islam” – by Dar-us-Salam Publications
This is a true story. The story of two very close friends. Or I should say closest friends. Distance never changed their friendship, neither did time or status. Nor the long years of disconnection or the brief periods of connection. One of them was a little more practicing than the other, though both were strong in faith. The more practicing friend now prayed day and night for the other friend, for his guidance.
Yet for years saw the friend indulged in wrong acts. Yes it was painful. So painful that questions came up in mind… “Am I making any mistake in my prayers? Why don’t I see any change”…. Imploring prayers came from the aching heart… “My lord, show me for once that you do care for my prayers.”…And one day, after a long time, they got to talk.
It was a pleasant moment to know that the not-so-practicing friend was now trying his best to understand. And it was that one weak moment when that friend admitted that at times of great hardship and hopelessness, he tried to commit suicide more than once over the years and each time got saved miraculously! And every return made him firmer, finally feeling the shelter lies in his Lord, not in giving up hope in Him.
And the other friend fell in prostration.
“Oh my Lord, when I asked you why you are not guiding him, correcting his ways, you were the only One to save him from a misguidance that would destroy everything! you saved him from the sin from which there could be no turning back! And I was thinking you didnt answer my prayers! Help me remember to never be ungrateful to you or never lose my faith. Because today I surely know you care for us the most. You will never leave us alone….you are up there, watching us, loving us, guiding us….we have no reason, absolutely no reason to despair!”
End of story. Beautiful, isn’t it?
No matter how ruthless the world turns and how silent He appears, He, our Ever Living Lord, One Lord, the Lord who responds to the prayers of the distressed heart is listening. He is helping. May be not in the way we wish to get the help, but in the way we perfectly need the help! He is there, He loves us. He is listening. And He will be there. Who else do we need to make us go on?