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Narratives in the Sunnah

blue_fields_by_luizalazar-d613y9jPraise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger the trustworthy, his family, companions and those who followed them in good faith until the Day of Judgment. In what is to follow…

The incident related to causes and consequences makes the hearing yearn for it. When interspersed by instances of lessons to be learned from the News of those of past times, the eagerness to know about them becomes among the strongest factors in the entrenchment of the morale behind it in the psyche. The etiquette surrounding the narrative has today become a peculiar art amongst the arts of language and literature. Among its most significant depictions, the narrative in the book and the Tradition (of the prophet).

The meaning of narratives:

The narrative is following one’s trail. It is said: I tracked his trail, i.e: I followed it, and the term “narrative” is an infinitive. The Almighty said: ((So they went back on their footsteps, following (the path they had come).)) [Al-Kahf: 64]. He said on the tongue of the mother of Moses: ((And she said to his sister: “Follow him”:)) [Al Qasas:11], ie, follow his trail to see who will take him.

A narrative is also: the News followed. The Almighty said: ((This is the true account)) [Al-Imran: 62], and said: ((There is, in their stories, lessons to be learned for men endued with understanding)) [Yusuf: 111].

The narrative: The command, the report, the matter of importance, and the circumstance.

The narratives of the Sunnah: Its reporting about the conditions of the past nations, past prophecies and incidents which occurred. The Sunnah has included many of the facts of the past, conditions of people, their news and what happened to them, and narrated about them a talking picture on how they were.

Types of narratives in the Sunnah:

The narratives in the Sunnah come in types, including:

First type: Narratives about the Prophets, by mentioning something from what has happened to them of incidents; the story of Ibrahim with his wife and his son Ismail in their coming to Makkah, and Moses with Al-Khidhr and others.

Second type: narratives relating to bygone incidents, past news, the story of the people of the cave, the man who killed ninety-nine souls, and the one who used to excuse the well to do and relieve the one in hardship and the like.

Benefits of narratives:

The narratives have many benefits, including the following:

1 – Believing the prophets, reviving their memory and showing their virtues, as in the story of Abraham in building the Kaaba.

2 – It is a kind of literature, to which the hearing listens and the lessons behind them are deeply established in the persona ((There is, in their stories, lessons to be learned for men endued with understanding)) [Yusuf: 111].

3 – To urge on doing good deeds and encourage for it by mentioning its immediate and postponed fruits, as in the story of the people of the cave.

4 – To strongly discourage bad actions, showing their bad consequences, as in the story of the three people, including the bald man and the leper.

Narratives in the Sunnah, a fact and not fiction:

We firmly believe that Mohammed, peace be upon him, is sincere in his Prophethood, sincere in his call and sincere in his words, since what he utters is from inspiration, as the Almighty says: ((Nor does he say of (his own) Desire, it is no less than inspiration sent down to him)) [AnNajm: 3 – 4].

And therefore the facts found in the narratives are fact not fiction, rather the narratives in the authentic Sunnah is among the most authoritative sources, and is stated therein is in complete agreement with reality.

The impact of narratives in education and discipline:

There is no doubt that the coherent and precise story touches the hearing passionately, penetrates the human soul with ease and facility, while taught and instructional lessons generate boredom. Young people are only able to follow them up and grasp their elements with difficulty, and for a short while. Therefore, the narrative style makes more sense and is more beneficial.

The common trend in souls is that they tend to listen to tales and stories, which remain longer in memory. Therefore educators should make use of them in the areas of teaching and education.

In the Prophetic narratives fertile material to help educators succeed in their mission, and provide them with disciplinary provisions, from the conducts of the Prophets and news the past ones. The instructor can elucidate the prophetic narratives in the style that suits the intellectual level of the learners at every stage of education.

Due to the importance of narratives in the Sunnah of the Prophet, we have chosen an adequate part of it from the books of Sunnah, according to the following process:

1 – Limitation to those (Statements) where the chain of narration has been authenticated, for there is sufficiency and wealth in them.

2 – Referencing the Statements from the books of Sunnah in use.

3 – Vocabulary of unfamiliar terms within the body of the Statement, with an overall explication of the Statement when in need to do so.

4- A mention of the most important benefits derived from the story.

5 – Return to the main sources, from the annotations of the Sunnah, Ghareeb Statements and language books, with reference to that in the footnote.

We ask Almighty Allah to benefit through it, He is the most Generous, Oft-Giving, and all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.



Hafsah bint ‘Umar (RadiyAllaahu ‘Anha)

One day the Angel Jibril told Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) about Hafsah:

“She is an often fasting and worshipping lady and she will be your wife in Paradise too.” [Mustadrak Al-Hakim 4/15]

Hafsah was the daughter of ‘Umar Faruq, and the niece of another famous Sahabi, ‘Uthman bin Maz’un. Her uncle from the paternal side was Zayd bin Khattab. ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar was her brother.

Hafsah was an extremely religious lady who used to spend her time in prayer and fasting. An excellent writer and orator, an ardent follower of Islam.

Hafsah-bint-UmarHafsah had such noble qualities and such an amiable nature that ‘A’ishah remarked that among wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) only she could compare with her. Her life is exemplary, brought up as she was by a Companion of the calibre of ‘Umar bin Khattab.

Hafsah was born in the family of a great warrior and wrestler, ‘Umar bin Khattab who was well known for his martial skills. In her growing years she was brought up in an Islamic environment, both her parents and her aunts and uncles having already converted to the new religion. When she was old enough, she was married to Khanis bin Huthafah As-Sahmi. He was influenced by the teaching of Abu Bakr Siddiq and had accepted Islam.

Due to worst cruelty and oppression, Khanis had to migrate to Al-Madinah with his wife. He was welcomed by Rafa’h bin ‘Abdul Munthir and stayed in his house as his guest.

Both Khanis and Hafsah loved the new life in Al-Madinah. Hafsah made special arrangements to memorize the Ayat of the Quran as and when they were revealed. Then she would give deep thought and attention to the meaning and interpretation of the Ayat. Her husband meanwhile was enthusiastically preparing himself for Jihad and improving his martial skills. He was constantly alert to the movements of the enemy and was ever ready to meet them head on.

News came that the Quraysh of Makkah, after making elaborate preparations for a war to wipe out the Muslims, were marching towards Al-Madinah under the leadership of Abu Jahl.

The Muslims under the leadership of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), practically unarmed, reached Badr and set up camp taking control of the only source of water. All they had with them was their strong faith in the Allah.

Khanis bin Huthafah, ‘Umar Faruq and the maternal and paternal uncles of Hafsah and her cousin were all part of this courageous band. Her husband was determined to win the battle for Allah and bring to dust the pomp and grandeur of Abu Jahl’s forces. Finally the forces met and Khanis bin Huthafah went tearing through the ranks of the enemy. He was seriously wounded, but most of the leaders of the disbelievers were killed, and Islam triumphed. It is one of the greatest battles fought in history where a handful of unarmed and outnumbered men routed a powerful and well-equipped army.

When Hafsah heard of her husband’s heroic deeds she was very happy, and praised his valour in battle; but she also realized that in this condition he would need the best care possible. She immediately recited the Ayah of Surat Al-Anfal which were revealed in connection with the Battle of Badr,

“Allah made it only as glad tidings, as that your hearts be at rest therewith. And there is no victory except from Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” [Noble Quran 8:10]

These Words of the Allah Almighty promising victory inspired her and she happily turned to the task of nursing her husband back to health. But it was not to be, for he was to be blessed with an exalted position. A few days later he succumbed to his injuries and joined the ranks of those who are blessed with eternal life. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) heard of his passing away he arranged for him to be buried in Jannatul Baqi, next to the uncle of Hafsah; he personally led the funeral prayers. Hafsah was, naturally, grief stricken, but being a true believer she respectfully submitted to the Will of Allah. She turned towards her Maker and courageously gave herself even more to prayer and meditation. She was at this time barely twenty-one years old.

For her father it was very painful to see his daughter in this state. Her silent courage under these circumstances, her patient prayers and her study of the Quran irradiated her countenance with a spiritual beauty and innocence, but there was also a sadness because of the harsh loneliness that had become part of her life. After deep thought ‘Umar Faruq decided to approach ‘Uthman bin Affan, whose wife Ruqayyah the Prophet’s daughter, had passed away. He thought that sharing a common bond would help to alleviate their sorrow in losing worthy spouses. So, having taken this decision he went direct to ‘Uthman. After the formal greeting and expression of condolences on his wife’s death he broached the topic closest to his heart. ‘Uthman lowered his eyes and then after a few moments pause, he said he needed time to think it over.

‘Umar Faruq met him again after a few days and asked him if he had thought over the proposal. ‘Uthman answered that he was not presently planning on marriage. From there he went to Abu Bakr Siddiq and offered him his daughter in marriage. He too lowered his gaze and did not answer him. Imam Bukhari in his book of Hadith, As-Sahih Al-Bukhari, has given a whole chapter to the topic of an honorable man offering his sister or daughter in marriage.

‘Umar Faruq was very upset because both the men he approached had either avoided or refused marriage to his daughter. He was confident of a willing and joyful acceptance but things turned out otherwise. He was very upset and worried at the turn of events; in a sense it was an affront to him and his position as a sincere defender of the faith. People, he thought, would consider it an honor to have an alliance by marriage with him. With this grievance he went to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and explained to him the position he found himself in. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) smilingly answered that he should neither grieve nor worry, and Allah willing he would find a man better than ‘Uthman for Hafsah and ‘Uthman in turn, would find for himself a better woman than Hafsah.

‘Umar Faruq was pleased on hearing this from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself, but also a little perplexed over who such a man could be? A few days later the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) married his daughter, Umm Kulthum to ‘Uthman. ‘Umar Faruq realized that one part of the prediction had come true, but he continued to puzzle over the second half of the statement. Who could possibly be a better man than ‘Uthman? Then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) proposed marriage to Hafsah. ‘Umar Faruq could not believe his ears; his daughter would have the honor of joining the select band of women who were known as the Mothers of the believers! ‘A’ishah and Sawdah were already part of the Prophet’s household. It seemed too good to be true. Thus Hafsah was joined in marriage to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in the 3rd year after Hijrah, before the Battle of Uhud. She was about twenty-two years old at the time. On seeing off his daughter to her husband’s house, ‘Umar Faruq told her that she should never try to compete with ‘A’ishah, who was the Prophet’s favorite and better than her in many respects. He said she should respect her sincerely and live happily as a member of the first and foremost family.

Sa’id bin Al-Musayyab, a learned scholar, states that the Prophet’s prediction that he was a better husband for Hafsah than ‘Uthman was proved right, as was his statement that Umm Kulthum was a better wife for ‘Uthman than Hafsah. After the marriage Abu Bakr Siddiq met with ‘Umar Faruq and told him the truth, which was that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had mentioned to him that he planned to marry Hafsah. That was the reason he had remained silent, as it would not have been proper to betray his confidence. If matters were different he would have been only too happy to accept her hand in marriage. ‘Umar Faruq expressed his happiness by quoting the following Ayah,

“This is by the Grace of my Lord – to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for himself; and whoever is ungrateful, (it is for the loss of only himself). Certainly my Lord is Rich, Bountiful.” [Noble Quran 27:40]

After attaining the position of the Mother of the Believers, Hafsah became even more absorbed in studying the finer points of religion. She would store in her mind conversations of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) which would lead to a better understanding of Islam. Often she would discuss any points that arose in her mind about the Shari’ah.

Jabir bin ‘Abdullah Ansari narrates an incident which was related to him by Umm Mubasher. She and Hafsah and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) were sitting and chatting together. He said that all the people who had given the pledged of allegiance at Hudaybiyah under the tree would go to Paradise, and not to Hell. She asked how that was possible. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) got annoyed, but Hafsah did not give up and quoted an Ayah from Surah Maryam.

“There is not one of you but will pass over it (Hell).” [Noble Quran 19:71]

In reply he quoted the very next Ayah, also from Surah Maryam.

“Then We shall save those who use to fear Allah and were dutiful to Him. And We shall leave the wrongdoers therein to there knees (in Hell).” [Noble Quran 19:72]

This news of Hafsah disputing with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) spread in Al-Madinah. On that day the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was very disturbed; and when ‘Umar Faruq heard about it he chided his daughter. She replied that ‘A’ishah too spoke in the same manner to him. Her father again cautioned her not to compete with ‘A’ishah and maintain a certain decorum, or else she would bring trouble on herself.

Among the Mothers of the believers, ‘A’ishah, Umm Habibah, Sawdah and Hafsah all belonged to the tribe of Quraysh. The others came from various other tribes. Everyday after the ‘Asr prayer, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would visit them all for a little while to see if they needed anything; the time of the visits was routine and each would wait eagerly for his arrival. On several occasions, it so happened that he spent more time with Zaynab. This upset ‘A’ishah, and she spoke about it to Hafsah and Sawdah. They got together and found out that a certain relative had sent Zaynab a special kind of honey and she used to offer it to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) everyday. This was his favorite and he used to be delayed in her apartment, enjoying it. ‘A’ishah was so fond of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that she could not bear for him to be late coming to her apartment. Because of her regard for him she could not object directly.

So she consulted Hafsah and Sawdah, and they decided that when he comes to each of us by turn, we would all say that there is a strange smell emanating from his mouth. When he heard the same thing from all three of them, he believed it must be due to the honey he had, and decided to give it up for good. If this had been an incident in the life of an ordinary person it would have been of no consequence. But this was with the last Prophet of Allah and his every word and every action would become the law or Shari’ah for all Muslims for all time to come. Thus it had a special significance.

So Allah rebuked him in Ayah of Surat At-Tahrim.

“O Prophet! Why do you forbid (for yourself) that which Allah has allowed to you, seeking to please your wives? And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Noble Quran 66:1]

It was around the same time that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) confided a secret matter to Hafsah, and warned her not to speak to anyone about it. But she told ‘A’ishah. Allah then revealed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) what happened. Allah revealed this in the following Ayah of Surat At-Tahrim,

“And when the Prophet disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wife, then she told it. And Allah made it known to him; he informed part thereof and left a part. Then when he told her thereof, she said: “Who told you this?” He said: “The All-Knower, the All-Aware has told me.” [Noble Quran 66:3]

The year, when the Peninsula was under the Islamic government, the granaries were full and all the riches were reaching the centre from the different regions of Arabia; many of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), who lived lives of luxury, put forward demands for an increase in their household allowances. When ‘Umar Faruq heard of this he was very upset; he told his daughter Hafsah that she should ask her father if she needed anything and not make any demands on the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). He also advised all the Mothers of the Believers not to make any demands. Umm Salamah did not quite like this and felt that he had the habit of interfering in every matter. She told him frankly that he should refrain from meddling in the affairs of the Prophet’s wives.

It was at this time that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had fallen from his horse and been injured; keeping all these things in view he decided to go into seclusion and moved to an upper room adjacent to the apartment of ‘A’ishah. The whole city was buzzing with the gossip the hypocrites spread saying that he divorced his wives. But actually no such thing happened. All the Companions were disturbed by this situation, but no one had the courage to approach the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and talk to him directly. Finally ‘Umar Faruq known for his forthrightness went to him and asked him if the rumor was true. When he denied it he was delighted. Then he asked if he could announce this good news to the rest of the Muslims. When he received permission, he joyfully informed the community that everything was fine with the Prophet’s household. The whole city was relieved that the Messenger of Allah had not been offended in any way. On the twenty-ninth day he came down into the apartment of ‘A’ishah. She asked him smilingly why he came down before the month was over. He replied that often the lunar month did consist of only twenty-nine days. Hafsah promised her father that she would never ever ask for a raise in her allowance and she stood by her word to the end of her life.

Hafsah died in the year 41st after Hijrah aged fifty-nine. At the time of death she was fasting. The funeral prayers were led by the governor of Al-Madinah, Marwan bin Al-Hakam. Abu Hurairah and Abu Sa’id Khudri, the eminent Companion of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) were among those who carried the shroud to Jannatul Baqi’. Her two brothers, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar and ‘Asim bin ‘Umar placed her gently into her final resting place. Salem bin ‘Abdullah, ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Abdullah and Hamzah bin ‘Abdullah, all the sons of ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar also attended the funeral.

And so a righteous and learned writer and reciter of the Noble Quran who devoted herself from her youth to prayer, fasting and meditation passed into history.

These Ayat from Surat Al-Qamar express an apt tribute to this great Mother of the Believers.

“Verily, the pious will be in the midst of Graders and Rivers (Paradise). In a seat of truth, near the Omnipotent King.” [Noble Quran 54:54-55]

Source: “Great Women of Islam” – by Dar-us-Salam Publications

A Stop Between Two Years: Dr. Fawzān Al-Fawzān

islam-for-humanityThe first thing that might come to a Muslim’s mind while he is witnessing the end of one year and the beginning of another is to remember Allāh’s ability to circulate the days, cause a succession in time and years, and the ability to alternate the day and night. He says: In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are signs for people of understanding.” [1] Also, “It is Allāh who alternates the night and the day; in these things there is an instructive example for those who have vision.” [2]

Additionally, the Muslim will remember Allāh’s ability to manage the affairs of this vast universe and its movements. He says: “All in heaven and earth beseech Him; every day He is in power.” [3]

How many people were born during this year and how many have died? How many lived in poverty and became rich, and how many lived in luxury only to become poor? How many humiliated people were granted dignity and how many dignified people were granted humiliation? Allāh says, “Say: ‘Allāh, Sovereign of all dominion, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty from whom You will; You bestow honor on whom You will and You disgrace whom You will. In Your Hand is the good.” [4]

It is easy to become distracted by our hectic lives and by all the things that keep us busy, thus causing us to forget the short time that we have on this earth, the limited number of breaths that we will take, the years and days that are passing us by as our age increases. This passing of the years is a decrease in our life span and only brings us closer to the hereafter.

A poet once said:

We are happy with the days that we are alive,
Every day that goes by only brings us closer to our end.
So prepare yourselves and strive hard before your death,
Because both loss and gain are in doing good. [5]

Many months and years have passed us by and it as if we are in deep slumber and believing this life to be eternal. Al-Ḥassan al-Baṣrī said: “Son of Adam, you are only a number of days; when one day passes, a part of you also passes.” [6]

The days and nights of life are only stages for the ages and a storage for the deeds. Although it might be short and limited, you can purchase the most valuable good from it, i.e. Paradise, or the cheapest good, i.e. Hell. A person’s reward in this life and in the hereafter is weighed according to his deeds. Admittance to Paradise or Hell is also linked to a person’s deeds.

Allāh says: “He whose scales are heavy [with good deeds] will lead a happy life; but he whose scales are light, will have his home in the abyss. What will make you know what it is? [It is] a blazing Fire.” [7]

How beautiful are the words of Ibn Al-Mu‘taz when he said: “Every minute we go closer to our end, and our ages are rolled up as if they are stages [of our life]. We leave this life with the provision of piety, and your age is only days which are so little.” [8]

Some wise persons said: “How can a person be happy when his day completes his month, his month completes his year, and his year completes his age? How can he be happy while his age leads him to his end, and his life leads him to his death?”

How beautiful is the following depiction of a person riding the coattails of his age to his grave: A person only rides the coattails of his age for a journey that will end in days and months. Every day that he spends, he is further away from this life and closer to his grave.

How many times have we awaited for the end of the month or the year so that we can receive our salaries or our bonuses, or accomplish something that we have either a desire or a need for? Very few people among us realize that all of this [time that has passed] only causes a decrease in our age, in our life span, in the pages of our record, and the moments of good or bad recorded in our scrolls.

We are happy when the crescent appears; it is like the sword that is taken out of its sheath. When it is said that the month is complete, it is only a metaphorical expression as it really means that part of our life has gone.[9]

Additionally, we sometimes forget that death will put an end to our hopes, surprise us before our hopes are reached, take us aback, and be inflicted on us without any prior notice. Allāh says: “No one knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no one knows in what land he will die; with Allāh is full knowledge and He is aware of [all things].” [10]

How beautiful are the words of Abū al-‘Atāhiyah:

Live as you want in lofty palaces.
Enjoy what you wish in the day and night.
When souls are in the final agony and the chests are breathing with difficulty.
Then you will definitely know that you were living an illusive life. [11]

There are great examples to be learned in the rotation of the sun and the moon. These months begin as a small crescent, similar to children when they are born. Then, they grow up as bodies and when they are complete, they start to dwindle and diminish. This is similar to the case of humans: a weak childhood, a strong youth, a complete manhood, a weak old age, and then the inevitable death.

Allāh says: “It is Allāh Who created you weak, then gave you strength, then weakness after strength and grey hair: He creates as He wills, and He is the All Knowing, the All Powerful.” [12]

Another example is the sun, which rises weak but begins to grow; it slowly becomes stronger until it takes it full shape and its rays and light [are intense] and spread far, then it dwindles [as it sets], eventually disappearing and coming to an end when its heat and light diminish. This is similar to the case of a human: Allāh prolongs his life until he becomes old and weak. The successful believer gains goodness, obedience, kindness, and benefits others thorough his long life. The Prophet (ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) was asked: “Who is the best amongst the people?” He replied: “The one who has a long life and his deeds are righteous.” It was asked: “Who is the worst amongst the people?” He replied: “The one whose life is long, but his deeds are evil.” [13]

The Prophet (ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) used to often repeat the following supplication: “Allāh, make my life a source of abundant good and make my death a source of comfort by protecting me against every evil.” (Reported by Muslim) [14]

The coming of the morning and the departure of the night reminds us that life is divided into stages and every stage has its values and status, and has its duties and functions. Every minute is an investment for a specific work or a task that you should carry out. Time cannot be replaced, and the same can be said about deeds, as they too cannot be replaced by other deeds [when the time has gone]. Thus, the one who looks for success and salvation should do his utmost to make the best of his entire life. He should also be eager to use his entire time, and should be warned against delaying things or leaving them for the future. He cannot use excuses to justify his delay or his laziness. If you were to miss today’s deeds, you would not be able to make them up as every day has its duties, every time has its consequences, and every minute has a required job and a constant reckoning.

Time runs by very quickly, refuses to come, and will never come back. If all the people were to gather and try to bring one day of your life back to you, they will never be able to do that even if they tried.

Yesterday, which only passed by a short time ago cannot be brought back even if all the people on the earth tried to do so.

It was reported that ‘Āmir b. ‘Abd al-Qays (may Allāh have mercy on him) used to pray one thousand rak‘ah (a unit of prayer) per day. A man stopped him and said to him: “Stop, so that I can speak to you.” He (i.e. ‘Āmir) said him: Try to stop the sun so I can talk to you.” Although this report may have some exaggeration to it, it, none the less, relates that time is very precious. Time is connected to life, and any minute that you waste of your time, you waste the same amount from your limited life. A wise person should not waste his time lamenting on what he missed or leaving everything for the future.

The past has gone and what you hope for is an unseen; you only have the hour in which you live.

Al-Ḥassan al-Baṣrī said: A caller comes from Allāh everyday when the dawn emerges as the sun begins to rise saying: “Son of Adam, I am a new creation, and I will be a witness for [or against] your deeds. Try to make the best of me by increasing righteous deeds as I will not return until the Day of Judgment.” [15]

Those who are well aware of Allāh (‘Ārifūn billāh) feel shy to have Allāh see them in the same state that they were in yesterday. They accept nothing [from themselves] but an increase in their good deeds every day. They feel sorrow to lose a day, considering it as a big loss to the extent that one of them said:

Is it not part of a loss that our nights pass with no benefit, while they are considered part of my life? If a day passes before me in which I neither received any knowledge or guidance, then it cannot be counted as part of my life. [16]

Another one said: If your capital is your life, then be warned against spending it in an improper place. [17]

My brothers and sisters, contemplate over the beating of your heart, it is as if each heartbeat urges you to race against time and hasten to do righteousness. Each beat confirms to you seconds, which if counted add up to minutes, notifying you that whatever you have missed [of doing righteousness] will not come back to you or be replaced.

A person’s heartbeat relates to him that this life is only composed of minutes and seconds. So try and increase your remembrance of Allāh, as it will be useful to your soul after your death. The remembrance of Allāh will benefit a person in another life.

Similarly, look at your watch and gaze upon the second hand as it swallows the seconds: one second, two seconds, five seconds, ten seconds, sixty seconds, hundred seconds, thousand seconds, and million seconds. It neither stops nor does it feel tired [as it eats away the seconds]. On the contrary, it still swallows the hours one after another whether you are awake or asleep, standing or sitting, or working or relaxing. Remember that every second that passes by is part of your life and recorded in your scroll as good or bad. If you spend these seconds in doing good, then they will be a reservoir for you [in the hereafter] and an honor [in this life]. Otherwise, they will be recorded against you; so every second that you waste in vain will be recorded against you and not for you.

The Prophet (ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) said: “There are two blessings that many people lose: health and free time for doing good.” (Reported by Al-Bukhārī) [18] This ḥadīth means that a lot of people are heedless about these two blessings and do not know their true value. They do not obtain any benefit from these two blessings; rather, they either waste them in disobeying Allāh or in doing something that has no value for them. Thus, they (i.e. blessings) will be a loss for them.

If you want to see the truth of this then look at the affairs of the majority of people. Many of them spend hours eating and indulging in gossip, listening and looking [at what Allāh has prohibited], mingling, playing and joking, continuously staying awake, idle talks, and meetings that have more idle and less benefit.

Do not be surprised when you find some people complaining about what to do during their leisure time. They are impatient with the long time that they have, so they try to waste time and ruin it. Glory be to Allāh, who is the Greatest! Is it the blessing of spare time that they are discussing? In fact, they neither know about the values of this blessing nor make the best use of it. They are not aware that the time they waste, others, who have high intentions and sublime interests, use it to collect the goodness of this life and the hereafter. They realized the value of time, were successful in investing it, and received the benefit of each minute.

If you ask the one who wastes his time: why do you break your ties of kinship? Why are you ungrateful to your parents and neglectful in your children’s upbringing? Why are you not involved in calling to Allāh? Why are you lazy in seeking knowledge and have a weak intention to compete and exert efforts to acquire it? Without any hesitation, he would respond: I am busy, while in reality nothing kept him busy except sleep, sloth, lack of ambition, weakness of intention, and the control of his passion and desires over him.

How beautiful are the words of the poet who said: Time is the most valuable thing that you can keep; I see that it is easy for you not to waste it.[19]

These days, we are paying farewell to a day that is fleeting and receiving a new one . I wish I knew what [deeds have] we done in the past year and what deeds will we perform in the New Year? Everyone should take the time to question himself. He should look at his past year and how he spent it, and how did he spend this year?

He should ask himself, did he performed the Islamic obligations as they were meant to be performed? Was he careful of avoiding Allāh’s punishments by not violating His prohibitions and sacred things? Did he fulfill the people’s right? Did he perform his duties towards his parents, children, relatives, and everyone else? Did he safeguard his tongue, eyes, ears, and private parts against what Allāh prohibited? Did he legally earn his money and spent it in a legal way? ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb is reported to have said: “People, question yourselves before you are questioned. Weigh your deeds before they are weighed. Prepare for the meeting with Allāh; on that Day you will be brought for judgment and not a single deed of yours which you hide will be hidden.” [20]

However long you live, whether it is seventy years, ninety years, or you were granted two hundred years, how short this period will be and how limited this life will be. Prophet Nūḥ (Noah) (peace be upon him), remained alive for nine hundred and fifty years and called his people to Allāh. When he was asked how he perceived the length of this life? He said: “It was like a house that had two doors. I went through one and came out from the other.” [21]

Ask yourself, how did your records close this year? You might have nothing left remaining of your life except hours or maybe days.

You hope for a long life, but you do not know that if the night comes you will live until the dawn. How many young people are safe during the day and in the night his shroud is being woven? How many healthy people died with no illness and how many ill people lived for a long time? [22]

The Prophet (ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) advised someone by saying: “Make the most of five things before five others: youth before old age, health before sickness, wealth before poverty, free time before becoming busy, and life before death.” (Reported by Al-Ḥākim who graded it as sound and Adh-Dhahabī agreed with him.) [23]

The Prophet (ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) recommended us to seize these chances before their opposite takes place. You find strength and commitment in youth, but once the person becomes old, his strength weakens and his will vanishes. You find zeal and drive in health, but once he becomes ill, his drive collapses, he becomes bored, and he will be charged with heavy loads. You find comfort and free time with wealth, but once he becomes poor, he becomes busy trying to earn a living for himself and for his family and he will have many concerns.

Within free time, there is a huge chance of obtaining provision of righteousness, and coming closer to Allāh though the partaking of various worships. Allāh says: “When you are free [from your immediate task], continue to labor hard.” [24] Meaning, strive hard in Allāh’s worship.

There is a great opportunity for [committing] righteous deeds in this life. When a person dies, a barrier becomes erected between a person and the performance of righteous deeds, and it will not be possible for him to return to this life. Allāh says: “When death comes to one of them, he cries: ‘My Lord, send me back [to the world] so that I may make amends in the things I neglected.’ Never! It is but a word he says. Before them is a barrier until the Day they are raised up.” [25]

Just as people should stop and analyze and question themselves, so too should groups and communities. They should review their struggles and their fights; reviewing their past, analyzing their gains and losses, and draw future plans so that they may avoid anything that might cause them to stumble or humiliate themselves. This self analysis will help communities and groups to improve their methods of working to create a better community; the best community is the one that has not become arrogant because of some gains, whatever they may be, that they have received. Such communities and groups have neither been affected by [an external] fierce power which it had to face, nor influenced by a calamity, even if was severe and bitter. Rather, they will continue in their tracks struggling, winning, fighting, and hoping.

During this year, the Muslim community has gone through very difficult trials and tremendous disasters; foremost among these trials are the fierce campaigns and unjust wars against our brothers in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, Sudan, and other places. This has caused the Muslim blood to become cheap and the occupation of their lands by any and every foreigner.

When a Jewish, Christian, or a Buddhist is kidnapped, the entire world turns head over heels; international organizations begin to move, mass media will be on the highest alert, and the whole international opinion will be mobilized to deny what happened and take revenge against the Muslims. As for Muslims, no one feels any sympathy for them, entire people are being annihilated, their resources and properties are being robbed, and their sacred prohibitions are being made legal [by the invaders]. You will hardly find anyone who will deny this or someone who would lend support or aid to them. Our situation is analogous to the description of what a poet once said:

Killing a non-Muslim is an unforgivable sin,
while killing an entire Muslim people is a questionable issue.
In spite of that, we believe in Allāh and are quite sure of His victory.
Such blows, however painful they might be, will be pushing and awakening,
when darkness encompasses a place, dawn will emerge.
If the darkness of the night fills the entire place, then dawn will break.

Allāh says: “Do you think that you shall enter Paradise without first having suffered like those who passed away before you? They were afflicted by severe poverty and ailments, and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed with him said: ‘When [will] the help of Allāh [come]?’ The help of Allāh is certainly near.” [26]

[1] ’Āl-‘Imrān, 3:190.
[2] Al-Nūr, , 24:44
[3] Al-Raḥmān, 55:29.
[4] ’Āl-‘Imrān, 3:26.
[5] This verse of poetry is attributed to Abū al-‘Atāhiyah. Refer to: Muḥāḍarāt al-’Udabā’ by Al-Rāghib al-Aṣbahānī, 1/483.
[6] Refer to Jāmi, al-‘Ulūm wa al-Ḥikam, explanation of the ḥadīth that says: “Be in this world as if you are a stranger or just passing through.” 7/40.
[7] Al-Qāri‘ah, 101:6-11
[8] The poetic verses are attributed to ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Mu‘taz. Refer to: Dīwān Abī Hilāl al-‘Askarī, 2/181.
[9] Refer to: Laṭāt’if al-Ma‘ārif 321/1.
[10] Luqmān, 31:34.
[11] The poetic verses are attributed to Abū al-‘Atāhiyah, Refer to: Al-Kashkūl for Abū al-‘Alā’ al-‘Āmilī, 1/4.
[12] Ar-Rūm, 30:54.
[13] Reported by Al-Tirmidhī 9/ 119 no. 2499. It was also reported by Aḥmad in his Musnad 38/ 191 no. 18194 and the two reports are narrated through ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mas‘ūd (may Allāh be pleased with him). In his book titled Ṣaḥīḥ al-Jāmi‘ no. 3296, Al-Albānī graded it as sound.
[14] Muslim’s Ṣaḥīḥ 17/ 367, no. 7078 on the authority of Abū Hurairah (may Allāh be pleased with him).
[15] Refer to: Kanz al-’Ummāl 15/796 no. 43161.
[16] This poetry is for Rāfi‘ b. al-Ḥussain. Refer to: Al-A‘lām by Al-Zarkalī, 3/12.
[17] In another report, it came as be careful. The poem is for ‘Imārah the jurist (from Yemen). Refer to: Wafayāt al-’A‘yān ( the letter ‘ain ع ) and the book of ḥayāt al-Ḥayawān by Al-Dumairī, part two, section of the pure letter (letter ‘ain ع )
[18] Ṣaḥīḥ ( the sound book of) Al-Bukhārī 21/261 no. 641 through Ibn ‘Abbās (may Allāh be pleased with them).
[19] This verse of a poem is attributed to Ibn Hubairah. Refer to: Dhayl ṭabaqāt al-Ḥanābilah 1/114.
[20] Refer to: Muṣannaf Ibn Abī Shaybah, 8/149 no. 18.
[21] Refer to: Iḥyā’ ‘Ulūm al-Dīn by Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazzālī , 2/393.
[22] Refer to: Bahjat al-Majālis wa ‘uns al-Majālis for Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr 1/183.
[23] Reported by Al-Ḥākim 18/126 no. 7957 through Ibn ‘Abbās. In his book Ṣaḥīḥ al-Jāmi‘ no. 1088.
[24] Al-Sharḥ , 94: 7
[25] Al-Mu’minūn, 23:99-100.
[26] Al-Baqarah, 2:214.

Those Who Will Be Excused For Not Knowing: Shaykh Abdul-Aziz bin Baaz

Shaykh Abdul-Aziz bin Baaz rahimahullaah
Kitaab Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutnawwi’ah li Samaahat vol. 7, p. 132

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:

ibn-bazPraise be to Allâh.

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.

Bangladesh Unrest: A Battle of Faith?

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.

Bangladesh Unrest: A Battle of Faith?
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 ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) 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 ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), ‘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 –
United States –

In Britain, you can also call upon your MPs to sign the following Early Day Motion:

Photo Credit- suronin /

Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (R.A.)

dew_on_flower_petal_wallpaper_by_wallpaperc-d5wsmmkNarrated 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

Ayshah bint Abu Bakr (R.A.)

ayisha-abubaker-wife-prophet-muhammad‘Ayshah (radiyAllaahu ‘anha) was born in 614 CE, she had claims to noble birth from both sides of the family. Her mother was Umm Roman and her father was Abu Bakr As-Siddiq.

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

Suffering From Weak Faith

islamI have been a religious person for several years, but for a few months I have been feeling that my mind and heart are devoid of faith and will power. This matter is tormenting me and I said to myself that perhaps this is a touch from the Shaytaan or something like that, and it will go away when Ramadaan comes. But it has not gone away and I find it very difficult to pray qiyaam al-layl (night prayers). I have tried to read more Qur’aan despite this waswaas (whispering) and the distress it is causing me. My situation has started to affect me socially, at work, in the family and in my religion. Now I am living in torment because of this and I cannot find the faith which I feel has been taken away from me. I feel that I will have a bad end and that my faith will never return to me and that a seal has been placed over my heart. When I go to the mosque to pray, which I have not stopped doing, I feel that I am not like the other worshippers and I envy them for their faith. I also feel put off by religion and often I cannot listen to the Qur’aan or hadeeth (prophetic narrations), or listen to tapes, except with great difficulty. This is tormenting me because I do not want this, and I want to be like I was, a believer who loves the religion because it is the truth, but I feel that I cannot control my mind or my feelings. I have started to think about my sins which I believe are the cause of this, and I have started to remember many sins which I had forgotten, as if they are appearing before me one after the other. Until now I am living with this torment, misery and distress. I do not know what has happened to me and what the solution and the remedy is. Will my faith come back to me or is this a bad end and a punishment from Allaah? Finally, please do not forget to make du’aa’ (supplication) for me.

Praise be to Allaah.  

My brother, have great hope in Allaah, and do not let the Shaytaan cause you to despair of the vast mercy of Allaah which He has guaranteed for His believing slaves. What you are telling yourself about this being a sign that you will die following something other than that which Allaah wants is only insinuating whispers (waswaas) from the Shaytaan and his deviant ideas by means of which he wants to tempt the slaves of Allaah and lead them away from their religion. So he comes to a righteous slave and whispers to him that his good deeds are of no avail, or that he is doing them not for the sake of Allaah but to show off to people, so that they will think he is good. All of these are the usual ways with which the Shaytaan tries to trick the slaves of Allaah, especially those who show signs of being righteous – of whom I think that you are one, although I do not praise anyone before Allah – to hinder their efforts. We seek refuge with Allaah from him.

You need to increase your hope and trust in Allaah Who forgives all sins, and who accepts the slave who seeks His protection and refuge, for He is the Most Merciful, the Oft-Forgiving and the  Most Loving.

You should increase your good deeds, such as reading Qur’aan, giving charity, remembering Allaah (dhikr), upholding the ties of kinship, etc. The weakness which you feel also happens to others, for it is something natural. How many people were examples followed by others and had a great deal of drive and ambition, then they lost their drive and ambition for a long time, then it came back to them by the grace of Allaah.

Remember the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):

“Everybody has his time of energy, and every time of energy is followed by a time of  lethargy. But if a person tries to follow a moderate path, then I have hope for him, but if he becomes one who is pointed out (in the street), then do not think anything of him.”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2453; classed as hasan (sound) by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 1995).

What is meant by “Everybody has his time of energy” is eagerness for a thing, energy and the desire to do good.

What is meant by “every time of energy is followed by a time of lethargy” is tiredness, weakness and lack of movement.

“But if a person tries to follow a moderate path” means that the one who has energy does his deeds in moderation and avoids going to extremes when he is feeling energetic and avoids being negligent when he is feeling lethargic.

“Then I have hope for him” means, I have hope that he will be successful, for he can continue following a middle course, and the most beloved deeds to Allaah are those which are continuous.

“but if he becomes one who is pointed out (in the street)” means, if he strives hard and goes to extremes in doing good deeds so that he will become famous for his worship and asceticism, and he becomes famous and people point him out to one another,

“then do not think anything of him” means, do not think that he is one of the righteous, because he is showing off. He did not say, “do not have hope for him,” as an indication that he has already fallen, and he will not be able to make up for what he has missed out on.

[From Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi]

Think about this hadeeth, and relate it to your own situation and the situation of others: you will see a clear similarity. This hadeeth clearly states that man goes through a stage of incomparable eagerness and great focus and ambition, then suddenly he becomes weak and loses that focus and eagerness and ambition. When he reaches this stage, he must strive even harder to do obligatory duties and avoid haraam (impermissible) things. If he does that, then there is the hope that he will succeed and progress, but if he falls into haraam things and stops doing obligatory things, he will be lost and doomed.

So you must turn to Allaah a great deal, seek His forgiveness and ask Him to make you steadfast until death. I also advise you to keep away from haraam things. May Allaah forgive your sins and make things easier for you.

Islam Q&A
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