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What is the true meaning of shirk and what are its types?


Question:
I often read that “this action is major shirk” and “this is minor shirk”. Could you explain to me the difference between the two?.

Answer:
Praise be to Allaah.
One of the most important obligations is to know the meaning of shirk, its seriousness and its different types, so that our Tawheed (belief in the Oneness of Allaah) and our Islam may be complete, and our faith may be sound. We say – And Allaah is the Source of strength and true guidance comes from Him:
Know – may Allaah guide you – that the word shirk in Arabic means taking a partner, i.e., regarding someone as the partner of another. It is said [in Arabic]: ashraka baynahuma (he joined them together) when he regarded them as two of equal status; or ashraka fi amrihi ghayrahu (he introduced another into his affair) when he made two people involved in it.
In terms of sharee’ah or Islamic terminology, shirk means ascribing a partner or rival to Allaah in Lordship (ruboobiyyah), worship or in His names and attributes.
A rival is a peer or counterpart. Hence Allaah forbids setting up rivals with Him and he condemns those who take them (rivals) as gods instead of  or besides Allaah in many verses of the Qur’aan. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Then do not set up rivals unto Allaah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped)”
[al-Baqarah 2:222]

“And they set up rivals to Allaah, to mislead (men) from His path! Say: ‘Enjoy (your brief life)! But certainly, your destination is the (Hell) Fire!’”
[Ibraaheem 14:30]

In the hadeeth it is narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever dies claiming that Allaah has a rival, will enter Hell.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4497; Muslim, 92.

The types of shirk:
The texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah indicate that shirk and the ascribing of rivals to Allaah sometimes puts a person beyond the pale of Islam and sometimes does not. Hence the scholars divided shirk into two types which they call shirk akbar (major shirk) and shirk asghar (minor shirk). There follows a brief description of each type:
1 – Major shirk
This means ascribing to someone other than Allaah something that belongs only to Allaah, such as Lordship (ruboobiyyah), divinity (uloohiyyah) and the divine names and attributes (al-asma’ wa’l-sifaat).
This kind of shirk may sometimes be outward, such as the shirk of those who worship idols and graves, or the dead or absent.
Or it may sometimes be hidden, such as those who put their trust in other gods besides Allaah, or the shirk and kufr of the hypocrites. For even though  their (hypocrites’) shirk puts them beyond the pale of Islam and means that they will abide  forever in Hell, it is a hidden shirk, because they make an outward display of Islam and conceal their kufr and shirk, so they are inwardly mushriks but not outwardly.
Shirk may sometimes take the form of beliefs:
Such as the belief that there is someone else who creates, gives life and death, reigns or controls the affairs of the universe along with Allaah.
Or the belief that there is someone else who must be obeyed absolutely besides Allaah, so they follow him in regarding as permissible or forbidden whatever he wants, even if that goes against the religion of the Messengers.
Or they may associate others with Allaah in love and veneration, by loving a created being as they love Allaah. This is the kind of shirk that Allaah does not forgive, and it is the shirk of which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allaah as rivals (to Allaah). They love them as they love Allaah”
[al-Baqarah 2:165]

Or the belief that there are those who know the Unseen as well as Allaah. This is very common among some of the deviant sects such as the Raafidis (Shi’ah), extreme Sufis, and Baatinis (esoteric sects) in general. The Raafidis believe that their imams have knowledge of the unseen, and the Baatinis and Sufis believe similar things about their awliya’ (“saints”), and so on. It is also shirk to believe that there is someone who bestows mercy in a manner that is befitting only for Allaah, so he shows mercy as Allaah does and forgives sins and overlooks the bad deeds of his worshippers.
Shirk may sometimes take the form of words:
Such as those who make du’aa’ or pray to someone other than Allaah, or seek his help or seek refuge with him with regard to matters over which no one has control except Allaah, whether the person called upon is a Prophet, a wali (“saint”), an angel or a jinn, or some other created being. This is a kind of major shirk which puts one beyond the pale of Islam.
Or such as those who make fun of religion or who liken Allaah to His creation, or say that there is another creator, provider or controller besides Allaah. All of these are major shirk and a grave sin that is not forgiven.
Shirk may sometimes take the form of actions:
Such as one who sacrifices, prays or prostrates to something other than Allaah, or who promulgates laws to replace the rulings of Allaah and makes that the law to which people are obliged to refer for judgement; or one who supports the kaafirs and helps them against the believers, and other acts that go against the basic meaning of faith and put the one who does them beyond the pale of Islam. We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound.
2 – Minor shirk
This includes everything that may lead to major shirk, or which is described in the texts as being shirk, but does not reach the extent of being major shirk.
This is usually of two types:
1 – Being emotionally attached to some means which have no basis and  for which Allaah has not given permission, such as hanging up “hands”, turquoise beads etc on the grounds that they offer protection or that they ward off the evil eye. But Allaah has not made them the means of such protection, either according to sharee’ah or according to the laws of the universe.
[Translator’s note: the “hands” referred to are objects made of metal, pottery etc, usually blue or turquoise in colour, that some people hang up to ward off the evil eye, according to their mistaken belief]
2 – Venerating some people or things in a way that does not go so far as ascribing lordship to them, such as swearing by something other than Allaah, or saying, “Were it not for Allaah and So and so,” etc.
The scholars have stipulated guidelines to distinguish major shirk from minor shirk when shirk is mentioned in the texts of sharee’ah. These guidelines include the following:
(i) – When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) states clearly that this action is minor shirk, such as in al-Musnad (27742) where it is narrated that Mahmoud ibn Labeed said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The thing that I fear most for you is minor shirk.” They said: “O Messenger of Allaah, what is minor shirk?” He said: “Showing off, for Allaah will say on the Day when people are recompensed for their actions: ‘Go to those for whom you were showing off with your deeds in the world, and see what reward you find with them.’” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 951.
(ii) – When the word shirk is used in the texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah in the indefinite form [without the definite article al-]. This usually refers to minor shirk, and there are many examples of this, such as when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Incantations, amulets and love spells are shirk.”
Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3883; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 331.
What is meant by shirk here is minor shirk, not major shirk.
Amulets are things that are hung on children such as turquoise beads and the like, which they claim will protect them from the evil eye.
Love spells are something that they do, claiming that it will make a woman beloved to her husband and a man beloved to his wife.
(iii) – If the Sahaabah understood from the texts of sharee’ah that what was meant by shirk here was minor shirk, not major. Undoubtedly the understanding of the Sahaabah carries weight, because they are the most knowledgeable of the people concerning the religion of Allaah, and the most knowledgeable as to the intent of the Lawgiver. For example, Abu Dawood (3910) narrated from Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Tiyarah (superstitious belief in omens) is shirk, tiyarah is shirk,” three times, and there is no one among us but (will have some of that) but Allaah will rid him of it by means of tawakkul (putting his trust in Allaah). The words “there is no one among us…” are the words of Ibn Mas’ood, as was explained by the prominent scholars of hadeeth. This indicates that Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) understood that this was minor shirk, because he could not have said, “There is no one among us…” referring to major shirk. Moreover, major shirk cannot be eliminated by means of tawakkul, rather it is essential to repent therefrom.
(iv) – If the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) interpreted the words shirk or kufr in a manner which indicates that what is meant is a minor form thereof and not the major form. For example al-Bukhaari (1038) and Muslim (74) narrated from Zayd ibn Khaalid al-Juhani that he said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) led the morning prayer for us at al-Hudaybiyah following rainfall during the night. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) finished, he turned to face the people and said to them: “Do you know what your Lord has said?” They said: “Allaah and his Messenger know best.” He said: “This morning one of My slaves became a believer in Me and one a disbeliever. As for him who said: ‘We have been given rain by the grace of Allaah and His mercy,’ that one is a believer in Me, a disbeliever in the stars; and as for him who said: ‘We have been given rain by such-and-such a star, that one is a disbeliever in Me, a believer in the stars.’”

The interpretation of the word kufr here is given in another report narrated from Abu Hurayrah who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do you not know what your Lord said? ‘I do not send any blessing upon My slaves but a group among them become kaafirs thereby because they refer to the stars and attribute things to the stars. This explains that if a person attributes rainfall to the stars by believing that they caused it to fall – when in fact Allaah has not made the stars a means of causing rainfall – his kufr is a kind of ingratitude for the blessing of Allaah. It is well known that ingratitude for the blessing of Allaah is minor kufr. But if a person believes that the stars are controlling the universe and they are the ones that cause the rain to fall, then this is major shirk.

Minor shirk may sometimes take the form of outward actions, such as wearing talismans, strings, amulets and the like, and other words and deeds. And sometimes it may be hidden, like a little bit of showing off.
It may also take the form of beliefs:
Such as the belief that something may be a cause of bringing benefit or warding off harm, when Allaah has not made it so; or believing that there is barakah (blessing) in a thing, when Allaah has not made it so.
It sometimes takes the form of words:
Such as when they said, “We have been given rain by such and such a star,” without believing that that the stars could independently cause rain to fall; or swearing by something other than Allaah, without believing in venerating the thing sworn by or regarding it as equal with Allaah; or saying, “Whatever Allaah wills and you will,” and so on.
It sometimes takes the form of actions:
Such as hanging up amulets or wearing a talisman or string to dispel or ward off calamity, because everyone who attribute powers to a thing when Allaah has not made it so either according to sharee’ah or according to the laws of the universe, has associated something with Allaah. This also applies to one who touches a thing seeking its barakah (blessing), when Allaah has not created any barakah in it, such as kissing the doors of the mosques, touching their thresholds, seeking healing from their dust, and other such actions.
This is a brief look at the division of shirk into major and minor. We cannot go into great detail in this short answer.
Conclusion:
What the Muslim must do is to avoid shirk in both its minor and major forms. The greatest sin is shirk and transgression against the unique rights of Allaah, which are to be worshipped and obeyed alone, with no partner or associate.
Hence Allaah has decreed that the mushrikeen will abide forever in Hell and has told us that He will not forgive them, and He has forbidden Paradise to them, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, Allaah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills; and whoever sets up partners with Allaah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin”
[al-Nisa’ 4:48]

“Verily, whosoever sets up partners (in worship) with Allaah, then Allaah has forbidden Paradise to him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers) there are no helpers”
[al-Maa’idah 5:72]

Every wise and religiously-committed person should fear shirk for himself and should turn to his Lord, asking Him to help him avoid shirk, as al-Khaleel [Ibraaheem – peace be upon him] said:
“and keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols”
[Ibraaheem 14:35 – interpretation of the meaning]
One of the salaf said: “Who can claim to be safe from this after Ibraaheem?”
So the sincere believer’s fear of shirk should increase as should his desire for his for his Lord to keep him away from it, and he should say the great du’aa’ which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught to his companions when he said to them: “Shirk among you will be more subtle than the footsteps of an ant, but I will teach you something which, if you do it, both minor and major shirk will be kept away from you. Say: Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika an ushrika bika wa ana a’lam wa astaghfiruka lima la a’lam (O Allaah, I seek refuge with You from associating anything with You knowingly, and I seek Your forgiveness for that of which I am unaware).”
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3731
The above refers to the difference between major and minor shirk, defining each and describing its types.
With regard to the difference between them as far as the ruling is concerned:
Major shirk puts a person beyond the pale of Islam, so the one who does that is judged to be out of Islam and to have apostatized therefrom, so he is a kaafir and an apostate.
Minor shirk does not put a person beyond the pale of Islam, rather it may be done by a Muslim but he still remains in Islam; but the one who does that is in great danger because minor shirk is a major sin. Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “If I were to swear by Allaah falsely, that is better for me than if I were to swear by something other than Him sincerely.” So he regarded swearing by something other than Allaah (which is minor shirk) as being worse than swearing by Allaah falsely, and it is well known that swearing by Allaah falsely is a major sin.
We ask Allaah to make our hearts steadfast in adhering to His religion until we meet Him, and we seek refuge in His Might – may He be glorified – from going astray, for He is the Ever-Living Who never dies, but the jinn and mankind will die. And Allaah knows best and is most wise, and to Him is the final return of all.
Courtesy: Islam Q&A

The reason why mankind was created.


Why was mankind created?

Firstly

One of the greatest attributes of Allah is wisdom, and one of His greatest names is al-Hakeem (the most Wise). It should be noted that He has not created anything in vain; exalted be Allah far above such a thing. Rather He creates things for great and wise reasons, and for sublime purposes. Those who know them know them and those who do not know them do not know them. Allah has stated that in His Holy Book, where He says that He has not created mankind in vain, and He has not created the heavens and the earth in vain. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us? So Exalted be Allah, the True King: Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Lord of the Supreme Throne!” [al-Mu’minoon 23:115, 116]

“We created not the heavens and the earth and all that is between them for a (mere) play” [al-Anbiya’ 21:16]

“And We created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, for mere play. We created them not except with truth (i.e. to examine and test those who are obedient and those who are disobedient and then reward the obedient ones and punish the disobedient ones), but most of them know not” [al-Dukhaan 44:38]

“Haa‑Meem. [These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur’aan, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings.] The revelation of the Book (this Qur’aan) is from Allah, the All‑Mighty, the All‑Wise. We created not the heavens and the earth and all that is between them except with truth, and for an appointed term. But those who disbelieve, turn away from that whereof they are warned” [al-Ahqaaf 46:1-3]

Just as it is proven that there is wisdom behind the creation of man from the standpoint of sharee’ah, it is also proven from the standpoint of reason. The wise man cannot but accept that things have been created for a reason, and the wise man regards himself as being above doing things in his own life for no reason, so how about Allah, the Wisest of the wise?

Hence the wise believers affirm that there is wisdom in Allah’s creation, and the kuffaar deny that. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding. Those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You! (Exalted are You above all that they associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:190, 191]. And Allah says, describing the attitude of the kuffaar towards the wisdom of His creation (interpretation of the meaning): “And We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose! That is the consideration of those who disbelieve! Then woe to those who disbelieve (in Islamic Monotheism) from the Fire!” [Saad 38:27]. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Allah tells us of His perfect wisdom in creating the heavens and the earth, and that He has not created them in vain, i.e., in play with no beneficial purpose. “That is the consideration of those who disbelieve” in their Lord, because they think that which does not befit His Majesty. “Then woe to those who disbelieve (in Islamic Monotheism) from the Fire!” Allah created the heavens and earth in truth for truth. He created them so that His slaves might understand the completeness of His knowledge and power and the extent of His might, and that He alone is the One to be worshipped, and not those who have not created even an atom in the heavens or on earth. And that they might know that the Resurrection is true and that Allah will judge between the people of good and evil. The one who is ignorant of the wisdom of Allah should not think that Allah will treat them equally when judging them. Hence Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Shall We treat those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds as Mufsidoon (those who associate partners in worship with Allah and commit crimes) on earth? Or shall We treat the Muttaqoon (the pious) as the Fujjaar (criminals, disbelievers, the wicked)?” [Saad 38:28] This does not befit Our wisdom and Our judgement. End quote. Tafseer al-Sa’di, p. 712

Secondly

Allah has not created man to eat, drink and multiply, in which case he would be like the animals. Allah has honoured man and favoured him far above many of those whom He has created, but many people insist on kufr, so they are ignorant of or deny the true wisdom behind their creation, and all they care about is enjoying the pleasures of this world. The life of such people is like that of animals, and indeed they are even more astray. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“while those who disbelieve enjoy themselves and eat as cattle eat; and the Fire will be their abode” [Muhammad 47:12]

“Leave them to eat and enjoy, and let them be preoccupied with (false) hope. They will come to know!” [al-Hijr 15:3]

“And surely, We have created many of the jinn and mankind for Hell. They have hearts wherewith they understand not, and they have eyes wherewith they see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not (the truth). They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones” [al-A’raaf 7:179]

It is well known to wise people that the one who does a thing knows more about the wisdom behind it than anyone else and for Allah is the highest description (cf. al-Nahl 16:60); He is the One Who has created mankind and He knows best the wisdom behind the creation of mankind. No one would dispute this with regard to worldly matters. All people are certain that their physical faculties have been created for a reason. The eye is for seeing, the ear is for hearing, and so on. Does it make sense for his physical faculties to have been created for a reason but for himself to have been created in vain? Or does he not agree to respond to the One Who created him when He tells him of the reason behind his creation?

Allah has told us that the creation of the heavens and the earth, and of life and death, is for the purpose of testing, so as to test man. Whoever obeys Him, He will reward him, and whoever disobeys Him, He will punish him. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And He it is Who has created the heavens and the earth in six Days and His Throne was on the water, that He might try you, which of you is the best in deeds. But if you were to say to them: “You shall indeed be raised up after death,” those who disbelieve would be sure to say, “This is nothing but obvious magic” [Hood 11:7]

“Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All‑Mighty, the Oft‑Forgiving” [al-Mulk 67:2]

From this test results a manifestation of the names and attributes of Allah, such as Allah’s names al-Rahmaan (the Most Gracious), al-Ghafoor (the Oft Forgiving), al-Hakeem (the Most Wise), al-Tawwaab (the Accepter of Repentance), al-Raheem (the Most Merciful), and other names of Allah.

One of the greatest reasons for which Allah has created mankind – which is one of the greatest tests – is the command to affirm His Oneness (Tawheed) and to worship Him alone with no partner or associate. Allah has stated this reason for the creation of mankind, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): “And I (Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone)” [al-Dhaariyaat 51:56]. Ibn Katheer (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

i.e., I have created them so that I may command them to worship Me, not because I have any need of them. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talhah said, narrating from Ibn ‘Abbaas: “except that they should worship Me (alone)” willingly or unwillingly. This is the view favoured by Ibn Jareer. Ibn Jurayj said: i.e., except that they should know Me. Al-Rabee’ ibn Anas said: “Except that they should worship Me”, i.e., for the purpose of worship. End quote. Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/239

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Allah, may He be exalted, created mankind to worship Him and to know Him by His names and attributes, and to enjoin that upon them. Whoever submits to Him and does what is enjoined upon him will be one of those who are successful, but whoever turns away from that, they are the losers. He will inevitably gather them together in the Hereafter where He will reward or punish them for what He commanded and forbade them to do. Hence Allah mentions how the mushrikeen denied the reward or punishment, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): “But if you were to say to them: ‘You shall indeed be raised up after death,’ those who disbelieve would be sure to say, ‘This is nothing but obvious magic’” [Hood 11:7]. i.e., if you were to speak to these people and tell them about the Resurrection after death, they would not believe you, rather they would reject your words vehemently and deny the message you brought, and they would say, ‘This is nothing but obvious magic,’ but in fact it is obvious truth. End quote. Tafseer al-Sa’di, p. 333

And Allah knows best.

The Duty of Children Towards Parents


The duty of children towards parents is clearly defined.
The Duty of Children Towards Parents

ALL religions of the world have laid great emphasis on the rights of parents and the duties of children towards them. According to Islamic teachings, to be obedient and to show kindness to parents has been enjoined in the Holy Quran in such a manner as to say that among the noble deeds, to obey parents, treat them respectfully and to show kindness to them is next to worshiping Almighty Allah.  The Holy Quran says, “Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor.” – Surah Al Isra (17:23).

According to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the parents of a certain person arehis Heaven or Hell. What this means is that if a person obeys his parents, attends to their needs and keeps them happy and comfortable, he will attain Paradise. On the other hand, if he is disrespectful and rude to them, offends them by ignoring their needs and feelings or causes them grief in any manner, his place shall be in Hell. In modern times, a trend has arisen whereby when parents come to be seen as a liability because of old age and physical weakness. They are then sent to ‘old people’s homes’.

But the stricture ordained by Islam makes it clear that shrugging off the responsibility of old parents serves as an invitation to Hell. Both the father and mother are equal when it comes to caring for them and providing them all possible physical comforts and mental peace. The time that the parents need to be looked after most, is in their old age. To serve them devotedly at that stage of their lives is the best way of pleasing Almighty Allah. It is also one of the easiest ways of attaining Paradise. Abu Hurairah, a companion of the holy Prophet, has said that “a person is indeed disgraced, who does not earn Paradise by caring for his parents during the life time and old age of his/her parents”.

A person once asked the holy Prophet, “Who has the greatest claim on me with regard to service and kind treatment?” The Holy Prophet replied, “Your mother and again your mother and once again your mother. After her is the claim of your father, then that of your near relatives, and then of the relations next to them”. This shows that the claim of a mother is greater than a father over the care that you endow upon them in their old age. Serving and obeying parents is a matter of give and take. Those who treat and obey their parents can rest assured that their children will also show kindness and compassion to them. Respecting and caring the parents is a virtue of the highest order that continues to transcend generation after generation.

Asma bint Abu Bakr relates that her mother had come from Makkah to Madinah to meet her. Her mother was not a Muslim and followed pagan tribal customs and beliefs. Asma enquired from the holy Prophet how she was supposed to treat her. The holy Prophet told her to be kind and considerate and to behave towards her as was a mother’s due from a daughter. Obeying one’s parents and treating them with respect and affection is a great virtue and it serves as repentence for a person’s sins. Similarly, to ask Almighty Allah to have mercy on them after death is an act that brings them comfort in their graves. It is the duty of sons and daughters to pray for the forgiveness of their parents after their death and treat their relatives and friends with due respect. In the Holy Quran, Muslims have been urged to pray for the salvation of their parents as shown in the following verse: “And say, My Lord, Have mercy on both of them as they cared for me when I was little”.

The holy Prophet has said that to abuse one’s parents is a major sin. So much so that if a person abuses someone else’s parents and that person, in retaliation, abuses his parents, then it is as though he himself has abused his parents. On another occasion, when asked about the major sins, the holy Prophet replied, “To associate someone with Almighty God, to disobey parents, to kill unlawfully, and to give false evidence”.

In the light of the Holy Quran and holy Prophet’s sayings, one can understand that the respect for parents occupies a special place in the moral and social teachings of Islam.

Courtesy: Riaz A. Siddiqui

Duties of a Muslim towards a non-Muslim


What is the duty of a Muslim towards a non-Muslim, whether he is a dhimmi in a Muslim country or in his own country, and the Muslim is living in the land of that non-Muslim? The duty I would like to have clarified is interactions of all kinds, starting with greeting and ending with celebrating the non-Muslim’s festivals with him. Is it permissible to take him as a friend at work only? Please advise us, may Allah reward you.

Praise be to Allaah. The duty of the Muslim towards a non-Muslim includes a number of things:

Firstly:

Da‘wah or calling him to Allah, may He be glorified and exalted. He should call him to Allah and explain to him the reality of Islam when possible, with regard to whatever issues he has knowledge about, because this is the greatest kindness that he can give to his fellow-citizens and to those whom he meets of Jews, Christians and others who may be mushrikeen (polytheists), because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:

“The one who guides others to goodness will have a reward like that of the one who does it.”

And he (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said to ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), when he sent him to Khaybar and instructed him to call the Jews to Islam:

“By Allah, if Allah were to guide one man through you, that would be better for you than having red camels (the best kind).”

And he (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:

“Whoever calls others to right guidance will have a reward like that of those who follow him, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest.”

So calling him (the non-Muslim) to Islam, conveying Islam to him and being sincere towards him in that are among the best means of drawing close to Allah.

Secondly:

He should not wrong him, with regard to his physical wellbeing, his wealth or his honour. If he is a dhimmi (non-Muslim living under Muslim rule), musta’man (one who is granted security in a Muslim land) or mu‘aahid (one with whose country the Muslims have a peace deal), then he should give him his due rights, and not transgress against his wealth by stealing, betraying or deceiving, and he should not harm him physically by striking or killing him, because the fact that he is a mu‘aahid or dhimmi, or musta’man, means that he is protected by sharee‘ah.

Thirdly:

There is no reason why we should not interact with him, buying, selling, renting, hiring and so on. It is narrated in saheeh reports that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) bought from kuffaar who were idol worshippers, and he bought from the Jews, and these are interactions. When he (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) died, his shield was being held in pledge by a Jew for some food he had bought for his family (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).

Fourthly:

With regard to greeting, the Muslim should not initiate the greeting, but he may return it, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:

“Do not initiate the greeting of salaam with the Jews or Christians.”

And he (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:

“If the people of the Book greet you with salaam (by saying al-salaamu ‘alaykum), say ‘Wa ‘alaykum.”

So the Muslim should not initiate the greeting to a kaafir, but if the kaafir initiates it, and the Jew or Christians etc. greets you with salaam, then you should say “wa ‘alaykum,” as the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said.

These are some of the rights between a Muslim and a kaafir.

Another right is being a good neighbour. So if he is a neighbour, be kind to him and do not annoy him; give charity to him if he is poor, give him gifts, give him beneficial advice, because these are things that will attract him to Islam and to become Muslim; and because the neighbour has rights. The Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:

“Jibreel kept urging me to be kind to my neighbour until I thought that he would make him my heir.” Saheeh – agreed upon.

If the neighbour is a kaafir, he still has the rights of a neighbour; if he is both a relative and a kaafir, then he has two rights: the rights of a neighbour and the rights of a relative. One of the rights of the neighbour is that you should give him charity, but not zakaah, if he is poor, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Allaah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allaah loves those who deal with equity” [al-Mumtahanah 60:8].

According to the saheeh hadeeth narrated from Asma’ bint Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her), her mother, who was a mushrik, entered upon her during the truce between the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and the people of Makkah, seeking help. Asma’ asked the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) for permission – should she uphold ties of kinship with her? The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:

“Uphold ties of kinship with her.”

But with regard to celebrating their festivals, the Muslim should not take part in celebrating their festivals, but there is nothing wrong with offering them condolences if a loved one dies, such as saying “May Allah compensate you in your loss” and other kind words. But he should not say “May Allah forgive him” or “May Allah have mercy on him” if the deceased was a kaafir, and he should not pray for the deceased if he was a kaafir. But he may pray for the one who is alive to be guided and to be compensated and so on.

End quote. Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him). Fataawa Noor ‘ala al-Darb, 1/289-291.

And Allah knows best.

What is the merit of Friday over other days ? and Why?


Praise be to Allaah.

Friday has many distinguishing features and virtues that Allaah has bestowed upon this day and not others.

Muslims-friday-prayerIt was narrated that Abu Hurayrah and Hudhayfah (may Allaah be pleased with them) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah led those who came before us away from Friday. The Jews had Saturday, and the Christians had Sunday. Then Allaah brought us and Allaah guided us to Friday. So there is Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and thus they will follow us on the Day of Resurrection. We are the last of the people of this world but we will be the first on the Day of Resurrection, and we will be dealt with before all others.” Narrated by Muslim, 856.

Al-Nawawi said:

Al-Qaadi said:  The apparent meaning is that it was obligatory for them to venerate Friday but this was not stated clearly; the matter was left to their own reasoning… But they did not manage to work it out and Allaah did not guide them to it. It was enjoined clearly upon this ummah, and was not left to their own reasoning, thus they were blessed with it … It was narrated that Moosa enjoined Friday upon them and told them of its virtues, but they disputed with him and argued that Saturday was better, and it was said to him, ‘Let them be.’ Al-Qaadi said: if there had been a clear command, their arguing with him would not have been valid, rather it would have been said to him that they were going against the command. I say: it may be that that was clearly enjoined upon them but they disputed as to whether it was something they had to adhere to or they could change it to another day; they decided to change it to another day and they erred greatly thereby.

It comes as no surprise that Friday was specifically enjoined upon them and they went against that.

Al-Haafiz said: How can it be otherwise when they are the ones who said “We hear and we disobey”?

It was narrated from Aws ibn Aws that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of your days is Friday. On that day Adam (peace be upon him) was created; on that day he died; on that day the Trumpet will be blown and on that day all of creation will swoon. So send a great deal of blessings upon me, for your blessings will be shown to me.” They said, “O Messenger of Allaah, how will our blessings upon you be shown to you when you have turned to dust?” He said, “Allaah has forbidden the earth to consume the bodies of the Prophets, peace be upon them.”

Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1047; classed as saheeh by Ibn al-Qayyim in his comments on Sunan Abi Dawood, 4/273; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 925.

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best day on which the sun rises is Friday. On it Adam was created, on it he was admitted to Paradise and on it he was expelled therefrom.”

Narrated by Muslim, 1410.

This hadeeth includes some of the reasons why Friday is regarded as special.

Al-Nawawi said:

Al-Qaadi ‘Iyaad said: The apparent meaning is that these virtues do not mean that Friday is regarded as special because Adam was expelled on a Friday and the Hour will begin on a Friday. Rather it is meant to explain what momentous events took place and will take place on this day, so that people will make the most of this day to do righteous deeds, so as to attain the mercy of Allaah and ward off His punishment. This is the view of al-Qaadi. Abu Bakr ibn al-‘Arabi said in his book al-Ahwadhi fi Sharh al-Tirmidhi: All of these events are good and add to the virtue of Friday. The expulsion of Adam from Paradise is the reason why his offspring and the Messengers, the Prophets, the righteous and the awliya’ exist. He was not expelled from it as such, but rather it was for a purpose, then he will return to it. With regard to the Hour beginning on a Friday, the reason is so that the reward may be hastened for the Prophets, believers in truth, awliya’ and others, and their honour and high status may be made manifest. This hadeeth points to the virtues of Friday and its high status in relation to the other days.

It was narrated that Abu Lubaabah ibn ‘Abd al-Mundhir said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Friday is the master of days, and the greatest of them before Allaah. It is greater before Allaah than the day of al-Adha and the day of al-Fitr. It has five characteristics: on this day Allaah created Adam, on it He sent Adam down to the earth, on it Allaah caused Adam to die, on it there is a time when a person does not ask Allaah for anything but He gives it to him, so long as he does not ask for anything haraam, and on it the Hour will begin. There is no angel who is close to Allaah, no heaven, no earth, no wind, no mountain and no sea that does not fear Friday.” Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 1084; classed as hasan by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 2279

Al-Sanadi said: “They fear Friday” means they fear the onset of the Hour. This indicates that all created beings are aware of the days and they know that the Day of Resurrection will come on a Friday.
The virtues of this day include the following:

1 – On it is Salaat al-Jumu’ah (Friday prayer), which is the best of prayer.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe (Muslims)! When the call is proclaimed for the Salaah (prayer) on Friday (Jumu‘ah prayer), come to the remembrance of Allaah [Jumu‘ah religious talk (Khutbah) and Salaah (prayer)] and leave off business (and every other thing). That is better for you if you did but know!” [al-Jumu’ah 62:9]

Muslim (233) narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The five daily prayers and from one Jumu’ah to the next is an expiation for whatever sins come in between them, so long as one does not commit a major sin.”

2 – Praying Fajr in congregation on Fridays is the best prayer that the Muslim can pray during the week.

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best prayer before Allaah is Fajr prayer on Friday in congregation.”

Narrated by al-Bayhaqi in Shu’ab al-Eemaan; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1119

One of the special features of Fajr prayer on Friday is that it is Sunnah to recite Soorat al-Sajdah in the first rak’ah and Soorat al-Insaan in the second.

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite in Fajr prayer in Fridays Alif-Laam-Meem Tanzeel (Soorat al-Sajdah) in the first rak’ah and Hal ata ‘ala’l-insaan heenun min al-dahr lam yakun shay’an madhkooran (Soorat al-Insaan) in the second.

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 851; Muslim, 880.

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said:

It was said that the reason why these two soorahs are recited is because they mention the creation of Adam and what will happen on the Day of Resurrection, because that will come to pass on a Friday.

3 – Whoever dies during the day or night of Friday, Allaah will protect him from the trial of the grave.

It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no Muslim who dies during the day of Friday or the night of Friday but Allaah will protect him from the trial of the grave.”

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1074; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Ahkaam al-Janaa’iz, p. 49, 50

These are some of the virtues of Friday. We ask Allaah to help us to please Him.
And Allaah knows best.

How to Know If Allah is Pleased with You?


How to Know If Allah is Pleased with You?Among the signs that the Lord is pleased with His slave is that He guides him to do good deeds and avoid haraam things. This is confirmed by the words of Allaah:

While as for those who accept guidance, He increases their guidance and bestows on them their piety [Muhammad 47:17]

As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our paths (i.e. Allaah’s religion — Islamic Monotheism) [al-‘Ankaboot 29:69]

But if a person is hindered from doing good deeds and avoiding haraam things – we seek refuge with Allaah – then that is a sign that Allaah is not pleased with him.

Allaah has also explained in His Book that the sign of His being pleased with His slave and of His guidance is that He opens his heart to true guidance and true faith. And the sign of misguidance and being far from the Straight Path is distress and constriction in the heart.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And whomsoever Allaah wills to guide, He opens his breast to Islam; and whomsoever He wills to send astray, He makes his breast closed and constricted, as if he is climbing up to the sky. Thus Allaah puts the wrath on those who believe not” [al-An’aam 6:125]

Ibn ‘Abbaas said, commenting on this verse: “And whomsoever Allaah wills to guide…”: He opens his heart to Tawheed and belief therein. Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 2/175

Another sign of Allaah’s love for His slave and His being pleased with him is that He makes him beloved to His slaves. Al-Bukhaari (3209) and Muslim (2637) narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When Allaah loves a person, He calls out to Jibreel: ‘Allaah loves So and so,’ so Jibreel loves him. Then Jibreel calls out to the people of heaven, ‘Allaah loves So and so, so love him.’ So the people of heaven love him and he finds acceptance on earth.”

Al-Nawawi said: “and he finds acceptance on earth” means that people love him and are pleased to see him, so their hearts incline towards him. It says in another report: “and he finds love on earth.”

And Allaah knows best.

Source: Islamqa.com

The Ease and Simplicity of Islam


Assalam alaikkum, Before I begin, I would like to make a disclaimer that this article deals with the actual laws of Islam, showing that Islam is a simple religion and not burdensome, this does not mean that life will be easy for a practicing Muslim as Allah has promised to test each and every one of us. So keep in mind that although Islam is easy to practice if you commit yourself, your level of commitment will be tested by Allah.
ease-simplicity-of-islam
There is a misunderstanding amongst many people that Islam is difficult and a burden to follow. Such people either have an incorrect understanding of Islam or do not realize how easy the rules of Islam are to follow. Let us look at the basic teachings of Islam and see how simple, natural and easy it is to practice Islam.

The scholars of Islam have agreed that the general principle regarding things of this world is that everything is permissible unless proven otherwise. So the burden of proof actually falls on those who say that anything is prohibited. This applies to all worldly things, as for religious deeds, the deed must be proven or it will be considered an innovation. Proof for this principle can be found in the following verses,

  • “Allah wishes to make things easy for you, and not to make things difficult for you,” [Surah Baqarah 2:185] and “We did not place difficulty in this religion.” [Surah Hajj 22:78]


Also the following Hadith is proof of this principle:

  • “Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but aim to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded; and gain strength by worshiping in the mornings and the nights.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhari 1:2:38]

In fact, Imam Bukhari has a chapter in his Saheeh Al-Bukhari called “The chapter of the religion being easy” and ample proof for this point can be found in that chapter.

  • Firstly, the fact that everything worldly is permissible unless prohibited by sacred texts or deduction from them, is proof that Islam is not a difficult religion to follow, the amount of things that are permissible to do are far more than the obligations or prohibitions.Islam is not an ascetic religion that expects people to abandon the world and worship Allah all day in a cave, in fact, Islam prohibits such behaviour and encourages us to interact with society and live normal lives within the boundaries set by Allah, fulfilling our rights to Allah, to ourselves, and to the rest of creation.
  • Islam has given rights to all creation; we are not to harm any human, animal, plant or even ourselves unjustly. We must stay away from all sources of vice and whatever leads to them and we must fulfill our basic obligations. If we do these things, we can enjoy the permissible things of this world like family, spousal relations, physical sports or whatever you enjoy as long as you do not break the rules of Islam.
  • Islam is the natural religion; it appeals to our inner nature (Fitrah) and fulfills its basic needs without asking us to do anything unnatural. Try and find one ruling in the Quran and Sunnah that goes against human nature, you will not find it.
  • Islam is not a burden and does not ask us to do anything that we are incapable of doing, we are not required to give up our personalities, social lives or money. We are not required to pray all night or fast every day, in fact such things are prohibited. Islam emphasizes that we live a balanced life fulfilling our obligations to Allah as well as our obligations towards people and even our own selves. Try and find one command or prohibition in Islam that is beyond human ability, there is no such ruling.
  • One reason many people find Islam difficult to practice is because Satan beautifies evil deeds and makes good deeds look boring and difficult, thus we becomes lazy. Yet if one overcomes this obstacle he will find that the deeds emphasized by Islam bring true inner peace and are not too difficult, and he will begin to see the evils and wastage involved in committing sins. Take that first step and see for yourself.
  • Islam obliges us to worship Allah only, pray five times a day, fast one month a year, give two and a half percent of our excess wealth in charity, make Hajj once in our lifetime if possible and in general to be good to the rest of creation, stay away from the prohibited matters and have good character. None of these things are beyond human capabilities or unnatural, there is nothing prohibited that is necessary in our lives, rather only that which is harmful to human life is prohibited.
  • Another important point to remember is that Allah is Ar-Rahman (Most Merciful) and Al-Ghafoor (Most Forgiving) which means that if we try our best to practice Islam, and still fall into error due to our human nature and own weakness, the door to Allah’s forgiveness is always open for those who repent.
  • The basics of Islam are simple to understand and practical to implement, making Islam a universal religion that can be practiced by anyone regardless of his or her intellectual or physical capabilities. It is this pure simplicity of Islam that makes it so universally appealing and it is one of the many reasons that so many people around the world from different backgrounds convert to Islam.

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How a Muslim defends his brother’s honor?


Islam is a religion of peace, love and compassion. Lies, unjustified suspicion, backbiting, slander and gossips are totally alien to Islam. In fact they are considered amongst the most destructive of major sins.
How a Musim defends his brother's honor?
This is so because these sins sow enmity and discord among the Muslim community (Ummah) and lead to its destruction. They cause hostilities between people of the same household, and between neighbors, friends and relatives.

Islam states that our relationship with mankind should be one of sincerity and responsibility. It should be one where we have respect for the honor, reputation and privacy of others. This beautifull relgion teaches us that we are not only held accountable for our own attitudes and actions but also for anything else over which we have control or influence over, in our society or the world around us.

Those who worship Allah should care for each other in every way; the Muslim community should sustain best moral values of the faith: Mercy, compassion, fear of Allah, piety, and justice.

Allah ordered Muslims to defend, help and stand by each other,

“strong against unbelievers but compassionate amongst each other”[Qur’an 48:29].

A Muslim is required to defend his brother when someone talks about him behind his back. In Islam, Muslims should not do injustice to others nor do they tolerate any injustice to themselves.In their love and concern for each other, all Muslims are like one body, as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“when any part of the body suffers, the whole body feels the pain”.(Sahih Muslim)

Allah has promised for the one who defends his absent brother with a great reward and promised to protect him from the fire.

Abu Ad-Darda narrated that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“The one who rebuts another from backbiting has protected himself from the fire.”

Defending (Rebutting) backbiting is a characteristic of a believer. Allah says in the holy Qur’an:

(And when they hear Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk), they withdraw from it and say: “To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not the ignorant.)(28:55)

The believer knows that the devil wants to destroy him because he rejects backbiting by rebutting it. If he cannot change the topic of conversation he should dislike it in his heart and leave the gathering, remembering Allah’s saying:

(…And if Shaitan(evel) causes you to forget, then after the remembrance sit not you in the company of those people who are the Zalimun (unfair, wrong-doers,etc..)(6:68)

Also, Prophet Muhammad advised Muslims to love each other, he said:

“…no one believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”(Muslim)

Islam teaches us that if people are being ridiculed or backbitted in our presence, we should defend their honor. If we neglect this, we shall deprive ourselves of ever needed help and mercy from God. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“If a man’s Muslim brother is slandered in your presence, and you are capable of defending him and you do so, God will defend you in this world and in the next. But if he fails to defend him, God will destroy him in this world and the next.”(Baghawi).

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