Umar bin Abdul Azeez, Fifth righteous Caliph


Hazrath Umar bin Abdul Aziz is popularly acknowledged as “Al-Khalifat-us-Saleh” (The pious Caliph) or “Al-Khalifa Al Khamis” (The fifth righteously guided Caliph). He was the son of Abdul Aziz (Governor of Egypt) and Umm-i-Aasim (grand-daughter of the Caliph, Hazrath Umar RA). Born in 63 A.H. (682 A.D.) in Halwan, a village of Egypt and pursued education in Medina under the auspices of his maternal uncle, Abdullah Ibn Umar. Student life in Medina, renowned as the pinnacle of learning in Islamic world at the time, was immensely instrumental in moulding his life on every aspects of Islamic code. Umar bin Abdul Aziz married Fatima, daughter of his uncle, Caliph Abdul Malik.

Appointment as Caliph

In 706 AD, he was appointed as the Governor of Medina by Caliph Waleed. The Umayyad Caliph, Sulaiman Bin Abdul Malik nominated Umar Bin Abdul Aziz as his successor. On his death, the mantle of Caliphate fell upon Umar Bin Abdul Aziz who reluctantly accepted it.  Relinquishing all pomp and pageantry, the pious Caliph returned the royal charger, refused security and deposited the entire Caliphate equipment in the Bait-ul-Maal (Government Exchequer) thereby shunning the entitled luxury. He longed for commoner life and preferred to abode in a small tent. Upon being queried about his downheartedness, the Caliph responded, “Is it not a thing to worry about? I have been entrusted with the welfare of such a vast empire and I would be failing in my duty if I did not rush to the help of a deprived person.” Thereafter, he ascended the pulpit and delivered a masterly sermon mentioning, “Brothers! I have been burdened with the responsibilities of the Caliphate against my will. You are at liberty to elect anyone whom you like.” But the audience unanimously cried out with one voice that he was the paramount personality for the esteemed high office. Thereupon the pious Caliph advised his people to observe steadfastness on the path of piety. He empowered his subjects to withdraw their oath of allegiance to him, if he ever wavered from the path of ALLAH SWT.

Administration

Umar Bin Abdul Aziz was a competent administrator, well versed in his obligation towards this world and the Hereafter. He was extremely hard working and seldom enjoyed rest. His rule was envisioned based on Caliph Umar’s administration model. According to Imam Sufian Thauri, there are five pious Caliphs namely Abu Bakr, Umar Farooq, Uthman, Ali and Umar Bin Abdul Aziz.

Though his rule was brief, it is eminent for reinstallation of   democratic process which was left in the lurch by his predecessors. He replaced corrupt and tyrannical Umayyad administrators with accomplished and just ones. The primary act post assumption of office was restoration of the properties confiscated by the Umayyads to their rightful owners. He was hardly free from the burial ceremonies of Caliph Sulaiman and wished to take a short respite. His son reminded him whether if he would rest before dealing with cases pertaining to confiscated properties. He replied, “Yes, I would deal with these after taking rest.” “Are you sure, that you would live up to that time?” asked the son. The father kissed his dear son and thanked Allah SWT for blessing him with a virtuous son. He immediately dealt with the matter. He surrendered all his movable and immovable properties to the public treasury including a ring presented to him by Caliph Waleed. His faithful slave, Mazahim was deeply moved at this uncommon sight and asked, “Sir, what have you left for your children?” “ALLAH”, was the reply. SUBHANALLAH !!

Public Works Department

The public welfare institutions received greater stimulus. Thousands of public wells and inns were constructed throughout the expanse of vast empire. Charitable dispensaries were established. Government funded travelling expenses for the destitute travelers.

Crisis handling

The house of Umayyads, accustomed to luxuries at the expense of the common man, revolted against the revolutionary decree of the Caliph and bitterly protested against the disposal of their age-long properties.

To diffuse the crisis, the Caliph invited some prominent members of the House of Umayyads for dinner and advised his cook to delay meal preparation. As the guests were groaning with hunger, the Caliph ordered his cook to hurry up. At the same time he asked his men to bring some parched gram which he himself as well as his guests ate to their fill. Minutes later, dinner was served and the guests refused saying that they had satisfied their appetite. Thereupon the pious Caliph spoke out, “Brothers! when you can satisfy your appetite with a simple diet, then why do you play with fire and usurp the properties and rights of other.” These words pierced the conscience of the nobles of the House of Umayyads, rendering them to tears.

Compassion towards the poor

Once his wife witnessed him weeping after his prayers; she inquired reason for his grief; he replied: “O! Fatima ! I have been appointed as the ruler of Muslims and I am concerned about the poor that are starving, the sick that are destitute, the naked that are in distress, the oppressed that are stricken, the strangers  that are in prison, the venerable elders, one with a large family and modest means, and the likes of them in countries of the earth and the distant provinces, and I anticipate that my Lord would hold me accountable for them on the Day of Resurrection, and I fear that no defense would avail me, and I wept.”

 Benevolence

His promising son, Abdul Malik, advised his father to be severe in introducing his beneficial reforms. The wise father responded, “My beloved son, your proposal can be realized only by sword, but there is no good in a reform that necessitates the use of the sword.”

A Guest house for underprivileged was constructed from the funds of Bait-ul-Maal. His servant burned the firewood of this guest house to heat water for his ablution. He forthwith replaced the same quantity of firewood. On another occasion, he refused to use the water heated from the State charcoal. Umar Bin Abdul Aziz never dwelled in the Khansara’s government palatial buildings and instead chose to camp in the open.

Austerity

Umar Bin Abdul Aziz was a loving father but he never pampered his children with luxuries and comforts. Once he sought audience with his favorite daughter, Amina but she could not appear as she was improperly dressed. Her aunt came to know of it and purchased necessary garments for his children.

 He never accepted any presents from anyone. Once, a person presented a basket full of apples. The Caliph appreciated the apples but refused to accept them. The Caliph clarified his stance, “No doubt, those were presents for the Prophet, but for me this will be bribery.”

 End

A slave of the Caliph was bribed to administer the deadly poison. The Caliph having felt the effect of the poison, detained the slave and questioned the rationale for his action. The slave replied that he was given one thousand dinars to accomplish the task. The Caliph deposited the amount in the public Treasury, acquitted the slave and advised him to abscond from the place immediately, lest anyone might kill him. Thus, he breath last in 719 A.D. at a youthful age of 36 at the place called Dair Siman (The convent of Siman) near Hams.

Umar Bin Abdul Aziz was one of the noblest souls that ever subsist in this world. His martyrdom plunged the Islamic world into gloom. It was a day of national mourning: the populace of the small town came out to pay their last homage to the departed leader. He was buried in Dair Siman on a piece of land he had purchased from a Christian. He reportedly left behind only 17 dinars with a will that out of this amount, the rent of the house in which he died and the price of the land in which he was buried would be paid.

Love of Prophet PBUH: AN OBLIGATION


To love the Prophet PBUH is a supreme act of iman. It is indeed he, who bestowed us the true religion (of Islam), inculcated manners in us, guided us through every stride of our lives, and endowed us through his Sunnah, a recipe for successful life here and hereafter. Many at times the proclamation of love for our adored Prophet PBUH renders null and void by mere utteration. We either don’t accomplish the requirements of his love or else confine his love to make-believe boundaries suited to our liking. A true lover of Muhammad PBUH is the one who devotes self to the teachings of Allah SWT and the Prophet PBUH. Allah SWT mentions, “Say (O Muhammad), if you should love Allah, then follow me, (so) Allah will love you and forgive you your sins.” [Al-Imran 3:31]

Beloved becomes dearer as the love blossoms and bonds them together. Mostly love, the most special feeling within our hearts, will cease to exist if it is pre-occupied by other emotion. The only fear a lover constantly bears is the pain of separation. Alhamdulillah, he who faithfully loves the Prophet PBUH is guaranteed that he be won’t apart from the beloved Prophet PBUH even in hereafter. Narrated by Anas RA, a Bedouin came to the Prophet and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! When will The Hour be established?” The Prophet responded, “Woe to you, what have you prepared for it?” The Bedouin replied, “I have not prepared anything for it, except that I love Allah SWT and His Apostle.” The Prophet said, “You will be with those whom you love.” We (the companions of the Prophet) said, “And will we too be so? The Prophet affirmed, “Yes” So we became very glad on that day,” [Bukhari]. Allah SWT says, “And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favor of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of the truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions,” [An-Nisa 4:69].

A Muslim is he who adores the Prophet PBUH more than his parents, his children, his belongings and even more than himself. Reported by Abu Hurairah RA that the Prophet PBUH said, “By Him in Whose Hands my life is, none of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father and his children,” [Bukhari]. In another narration by Anas RA, it is stated “none of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father and his children and all mankind,” [Bukhari]. It is important to note that in both these hadiths, the Prophet PBUH has sworn upon ALLAH SWT which depicts the graveness of the subject matter. A person’s faith is incomplete until his love for the Prophet PBUH is complete and absolute. Abdullah-bin-Hisham RA narrated: We were with the Prophet and he was holding the hand of Umar bin Al-Khattab. Umar said to Him, “O Allah’s Apostle! You are dearer to me than everything except my own self.” The Prophet said, “No, by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, (you will not have complete faith) till I am dearer to you than your own self.” Then Umar said to him, “However, now, by ALLAH, you are dearer to me than my own self.” The Prophet said, “Now, O Umar, (now you are a believer),” [Bukhari]

A believer can experience the bliss and sweetness of Islam when he possesses the love of Allah SWT and His Messenger PBUH. Anas RA narrated that the Prophet PBUH said, “Whoever possesses the following three qualities will taste the sweetness of faith:

  1. The one to whom ALLAH and His Apostle become dearer than anything else.
  2. Who loves a person and he loves him only for Allah’s sake.
  3. Who hates to revert to disbelief (atheism) after Allah has brought (saved) him out from it, as he hates to be thrown in fire.” [Bukhari and Muslim].

ALLAH SWT has stringently warned his slaves to beware if the desire for any worldly possessions, or materialistic life, or its temporary pleasures, etc exceeds the love for Allah SWT and HIS Prophet PBUH. Allah SWT declares, “Say (O Muhammad), if your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His messenger and jihad in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.” [Al-Taubah 9:24]. This is a cautionary advice to wait for what will befall of Allah SWT’s punishment and torment. May Allah SWT engross HIS love in our hearts and protect us from this obscured retribution.  Aameen

Abu Bakr As-Siddique RA


His real name was Abdullah ibn Abi Quhafa. He was born three years after the birth of Prophet PBUH and died three years after Prophet’s death.

Abu Bakr was always a very close Companion of the Holy Prophet, he knew him better than any other man. He was considered as the second of the two. Such was his belief and conviction in Muhammad PBUH, that he became the first adult male to accept his message as soon as it was delivered to him, without questioning it.

 Abu Bakr’s submission to Islam was impeccable, the Prophet once remarked, “I called people to Islam, everybody thought over it, at least for a while, but this was not the case with Abu Bakr, the moment I put Islam before him, he accepted it without any hesitation”. He was titled As-Siddiq by the Prophet PBUH for his firmness in faith.

Generosity

Even in the pre Islamic period, Abu Bakr was known for his generosity. This quality excelled to an unimaginable level after Islam. He freed a number of slaves who went through gruesome torture on their acceptance of Islam, prominent among them being Bilal, Aamir ibn Fuhayrah, Umm Umays and many others. Abu Bakr, a man who possessed 40000 Dirham was left with a meager 5000 Dirham at the time of his migration.

Migration to Madinah

As Islam was growing rapidly in Makkah, the enemies of Islam desperately wanted to stop this message from spreading. To bring this idea to fruition, these enemies hatched a plan to murder the Prophet. Allah SWT revealed to his Prophet the ill intentions of the non-believers and ordered him to migrate to Madinah. So the Prophet sought Abu Bakr’s companionship in this remarkable journey which became a landmark event in the history of Islam. By this time majority of fellow Muslims had already migrated to Madinah.

The Prophet had to take the alternate route to escape from the eyes of Pagans. The pagans almost reached the mouth of the cave where the Prophet and Abu Bakr had taken refuge. Abu Bakr grew pale with fright, he feared not for himself, but for the life of the Holy Prophet. However, the Prophet PBUH remained calm and said to Abu Bakr “Do not fear, certainly Allah is with us,” [At-Tauba 9:40]. These Quranic words quickly calmed down Abu Bakr and brought back tranquility to his heart.

Participation in Battles

Abu Bakr, being the closest of Companions of Prophet PBUH, took part in all the battles that Prophet Muhammad had fought. At Uhud and Hunain, some members of the Muslim camp showed signs of weakness. However, Abu Bakr, with his unwavering faith, always stood like a rock by the side of the Prophet PBUH. One example of his firm faith could be understood by his eagerness to kill Mohammed, his own son who had not yet embraced Islam and was with the enemy camp in the battle of Badr.

The Successor of the Prophet

Hajj became an obligation only in the ninth year of Hijra. The Prophet PBUH was too busy at Madinah, to lead the Hajj, so he sent Abu Bakr as his representative to lead the Muslim pilgrims to perform Hajj. The Prophet himself performed Hajj in the following year.

The Prophet PBUH led the prayers himself ever since he arrived in Madinah. During his last illness, the Prophet could no longer lead the prayers and therefore he had to choose someone to lead Muslims in prayer. He bestowed this great responsibility on none other than Abu Bakr. One day Abu Bakr was away and Omar was appointed by the Companions to lead the prayers in his absence. Realizing the change of voice, the Prophet said: “This is not Abu Bakr’s voice, no one but he should lead prayers, he is the fittest person for this position”.

These two incidences provide enough indications that Prophet himself wanted only Abu Bakr to succeed him.

Prophet’s death

When the news of the Prophet’s death came out, many Muslims were confused and stunned. Omar RA himself was so overcome with emotions that he drew his sword and declared “If anyone says that the Messenger of Allah is dead, I will cut off his head”.

Muslims stayed in such state until Abu Bakr arrived and gave his famous address: “O People! If anyone among you worshipped Muhammad, let him know that Muhammad is dead. But those who worshipped Allah let them know that Allah is alive and will never die.” Let all of us recall the words of the Qur’an. It says: “Muhammad is only a Messenger of Allah, there have been Messengers before him. What then, will you turn back from Islam if he dies or is killed?” [Al-Imram 3:144]

Suddenly Abu Bakr’s words started to sink in, and in no time confusion vanished and Umar instantly collapsed. Having shrugged off the shocking news of the Prophet’s death, Muslims realized that they need someone to fill the position of leadership amongst them.

Abu Bakr as the first Caliph

Soon after the death of Prophet PBUH, the voices of dissent emerged from some corners of the Islamic state. One was the group which refused to pay Zakat arguing that the Prophet PBUH is no more hence the system of Zakat also departed with the Prophet. The other was a bunch of people proclaiming themselves to be the Prophet. These two issues were so severe that they would tear the tiny state of Islam apart had the new Khalifah, Abu Bakr not taken stern steps to diffuse the voices of traitors. Abu Bakr straight away decided to wage war against these conspirators. When Umar asked him to retreat from war, Abu Bakr said, “Should Islam extinguish while Abu Bakr is alive,” He further added “I shall wage war against those Muslims who differentiate between Salah and Zakat.”

Abu Bakr’s Death

After a fortnight’s illness, As-Siddiq al-Akbar passed away on 22nd Jamadal-Akhira, 13 A.H. (23rd August 634 A.D.). Before his death he said to his noble daughter Hazrath Aaisha RA, “Do not use new cloth for my shroud. Wash the sheet in my use and wrap my corpse in it”. His wish was acted upon. His next wish was to pay all the money he got as salary for being the Caliph from “Baitul Mal” (The Public Treasury) after selling his garden. He said, I did not like to take anything from the “Baitul Mal” but Umar pressed me to accept some allowance so that I would be relieved of my occupation and devote my full time to the duties of the Khilafat. I was left no choice but to accept the offer”. After his death, Aaisha asked Hazrath Umar RA to take over that garden as desired by her father. Umar remarked: “May Allah bless him. He left no chance for anybody to open his lips against him”.

As-Siddiq al-Akbar left behind a noble example of selfless service. He lived and worked for the sake of Islam to his last breath, but sought no worldly rewards. Subhanallah!!!

Salat-ul-Qasr or The Traveller’s Prayer-Part II


In our previous blog we dealt with the definition of travel for the purpose of praying Salat-ul-Qasr. In this blog we intent to shed some light on what a day’s journey mean in modern units of measurement. The Prophetic traditions use the term ‘day’s travel’ in the books of ahadith. The standard units of measurement for travel during early Islam were the farsakh and the barīd.                                                                    

Barīd was a distance that a messenger could travel before he needed to stop to allow his animal to rest.

Farsakh appears to be a Persian unit of measurement that the Arabs adopted. A barid is made up of four Farasakh.

The question arises as to how much distance could be travelled in one day so that the number of days could be changed into distance. Without going into the minute details of this issue, the Hanbalis, Shafies and the Malikis believe this distance (to be eligible for shortening the prayer) to be 16 Farasakh and the Hanafis believe it to be 15 Farasakh. There are differences of opinion about the conversion into modern units. Hanafis take this distance approximately equal to 78 kms or 48 miles while as Imam Nawawi converts this into about 139 kms. There is no precise and agreed upon conversion factor for translating a day’s journey into a tangible and precise measure of distance. The modes of transport back in those days (i.e. 1400 years) and now are completely different. Given the different modes of transport that we use in contemproray times, it is extremely difficult to actually measure and fix an exact numerical figure to this.

However, the opinion of Imam Ibn Taymiyyah is different from all the four schools of thought. He says, The Prophet PBUH did not specify any distance and it does not make sense that the Shariah would place a numerical value when such unit-definitions were not known or followed by the majority of that generation. The purpose of this ruling regarding shortening the prayer is to ease the burden upon the traveller by allowing him to shorten the prayer.  So Ibn Taymiyya’s opinion that a traveller’ is one who is customarily considered one.

The second issue is for how long does one remain a traveller? 

The Hanafi School considers a traveller to be someone who intends to reside at a place for fifteen days or less (inclusive of the day that he intends to travel). The Malikis, Shāfiʿīs, and Hanbalis claimed that the time that makes a traveller into a resident is four days. They base their argument on the command of the Prophet PBUH that the Emigrants (Muhajirun) who were performing Hajj with him should not stay in Makkah for more than three days [Reported by Muslim].

Ibn Taymiyyah holds the opinion, like his opinion about the distance of the travel, that there exists no explicit and specific time frame which converts a traveller (musafir) into a resident (muqeem).  Therefore, he felt that a traveller would remain a traveller even if he stayed at a specific location for a longer period of time, as long as his lifestyle was that of a ‘traveller’. Ibn Taymiyya also pointed out that there are authentic narrations that indicate the Prophet PBUH would pray qaṣr for more than fifteen days. There is the Hadith of Jabir that the Prophet PBUH camped at Tabuk praying qaṣr for twenty days (Reported by Abu Dawud). Another is the hadith of Ibn ʿAbbās in which he reported that the Prophet PBUH stayed in Makkah nineteen days, praying qaṣr (Reported by al-Bukhārī).

All the four schools interpret these evidences by claiming, that the Prophet PBUH did not know how long he would camp at Tabuk during that expedition, However  Ibn Taymiyyah holds the view that the Prophet PBUH suggested no specific number of days. At times He PBUH prayed Qasr for more than four or fifteen days.

But perhaps understanding that this open ended permission had potential problems and probably was more prone to misuse, Ibn Taymiyya did feel that the opinion of four days was safer to follow. Ibn Taymiyya himself did not unequivocally allow such a person to pray qaṣr for a limitless number of days. Even though he said that it is permitted and that one should not rebuke those who do this, he also said that it was better to pray full.  (Ibn Taymiyya, Majmūʾ al-Fatāwā 24/17, 18).

In such matters, one could follow any of the four schools or the opinion of Ibn Taymiyyah and one should not look down upon other for following a particular practice.

Regarding the legal status of Qasr, the Hanafis deem it to be obligatory for the traveler and state that if the traveler prays the regular prayer, he will in fact be sinful. The other schools say that shortening the prayer is preferred, but not obligatory.

The Hanafi School does not allow combining the prayers (jama bain asalat) except during Hajj. A vast majority of other scholars allowed Zuhr and Aṣr to be joined, and Maghrib and Ishā to be joined. They say that this should preferably be done only during the actual travel.

Ramadhan, What next??


End of Ramadhan does not essentially mean end to all the good that we did during the blessed month. The sign of the accepted Ramadhan is that we remain steadfast in whatever we did during the month till we meet our end. Allah SWT says: “And worship your Lord until the certainty (i.e. death) comes to you,” [Al Hijr 15:99].

Shawwal, Tenth month of the Lunar Calender


Now that Ramadhan is over, most of us find ourselves in a dilemma. How do we continue with the spirit of Ramadhan? The fact that “Shaytan’ is no more chained and the gates to the hell are no more closed, how do we bring the spirit of Ramadan into our lives for the rest of the year.

It is quite common among masses that once Ramadhan is over we drift away from the path of obedience to Allah SWT and start falling prey to satanic traps. People plan to watch a movie on the following days of Eid as a mark of celebration, try and watch the backlogs of missed TV serials, masjids will have a deserted look and five obligatory prayers are taken lightly to an extent that Fajr is constantly missed with congregation.

If a Muslim lived through Ramadan and spent the days of it in fasting and nights of it in praying, and habituated himself to doing acts of good, then he must continue to remain upon this submission to Allah SWT at all times. This is the true state of the servant (abd), for indeed, the Lord of the months is One and He is ever vigilant and observing His servants at all times. Therefore, the enthusiasm and the zeal of a Muslim must be constant and he must continue to remain in the service of his Master.

Shawwal is the following month of Ramadan. The first day of Shawwal is Eid-ul-Fitr, a day in which Allah SWT rewards HIS slaves for their submission to HIS will during the blessed month.

Its Sunnah (Tradition of Holy Prophet) to fast for six days in Shawwal, Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari RA related the Messenger of Allah PBUH said: “Whoever observes the Ramadan fast and follows it with six days of fast in Shawwal, it is as if he has fasted Dahr (the whole year).” [Bukhari]

The servant of Allah is obligated, after having Emaan in Allah, to persevere and be steadfast upon obeying HIM by performing the obligatory acts and avoiding the prohibited ones. This is achieved by following the Straight Path, which is the firm Religion, without drifting away from it. Indeed, the true manner of a Muslim is that of one who praises and thanks his Lord for having been bestowed the ability to fast and make Qiyaam (night prayer). His condition after Ramadan is better than it was before Ramadhan. He is more ready to obey, desiring to do good deeds and quick to implement the obligatory acts.

Steadfastness after Ramadhan and the rectification of one’s statements and actions are the greatest signs that one has gained benefit from the month of Ramadhan and striven in obedience.

Ramadan, as you know is considered to be a time for change. But changes that are not sustainable have little or no benefit to them

During Ramadhan, we do more Ibadah, recite more Quran and do more charity besides other acts of worship.  Keep up these things, even though little. The Prophet PBUH said, “The deeds most loved by God are those done regularly, even if they are small.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

The nature of change is that it should come from within. Here are a few ways we can continue the spirit of Ramadhan in our lives:

  1. Read a little of the Qur’an every day – you would just need to read 18 verses of the Qur’an per day to finish the whole Qur’an within the year. It is that simple.
  2. Give charity on a regular basis, even though it might be small. The Prophet said: “Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.” [Al-Tirmidhi]
  3. Increase your connection with Allah through His remembrance. Prophet PBUH: “O Messenger of Allah SWT! Verily, the sanctions of Islam have become too heavy for me, so tell me something that I can easily follow, The Prophet PBUH replied “Let your tongue always be moist with the remembrance of Allah”. [Al-Tirmizi]
  4. Be more compassionate with your family, especially your parents.
  5. Always ask for Allah’s help and His favours even in the smallest of matters.
  6. See around your neighbourhood and see if anyone needs help. Try to help the needy in whatever way you can.
  7. While sitting with family or friends avoid frivolous talk and instead talk constructive.
  8. Take some time off every day to reflect upon yourself.
  9. Control your food and DO NOT overeat. The Prophet PBUH said: “No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath.” [Tirmidhi & others]
  10. Have self-control as practised in Ramadhan.
  11. Sleeping is necessary for human body. But do not oversleep and what is more than necessary.
  12. Develop patience.

There is no end to such a list. But it will take commitment and perseverance to imbibe the spirit of Ramadhan throughout the year. Suffice to say that as Muslims, we have to be good in our words and deeds and it should reflect all thru our life.

Do’s & Don’ts of Ramadan


The month of Ramadan is full of blessings and glad tidings. As Muslims, our endeavour should be to do things which are please our Lord and refrain from things which are disliked by HIM. This should be the general practice of muslims and more so in the blessed month of Ramadan where special emphasis should be laid on doing good and refraining from bad. We list out some of the Do’s and Don’ts of this blessed month.

Do’s

Do keep your tongue moist in the remembrance of ALLAH SWT
Be generous during the month as Ibn Abbas said: “The prophet (S.A.W) was the most generous of the people, and in the month of Ramadan he would increase his generosity as if it were wave of a pleasant cool wind.”[Sahih Bukhari]

Recite Quran incessantly as Ramadan is considered the month of holy Quran since it was revealed during this month. The Prophet PBUH used to recite Quran to Angel Jibreel once every Ramadan but in the last Ramadan of his life he recited the Quran twice before Jibreel.

Try using dates for Suhoor (Pre-dawn meal) Prophet PBUH said “How excellent are dates as the believer’s Suhoor.”[Abu Dawood]

Forget all your grudges against your family members, neighbours, friends and all believers at large as the month of Ramadan is the best time to work on building better relationships. It was one of the qualities of the Prophet PBUH to establish good and steady relationship with his relatives — ‘Silat-Ar-Rahim’

Control your anger and try practicing the manners of highest order like Prophet’s and his Companions’.

Distribute Iftar to others as Prophet PBUH said: “He who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive the same reward as him, except that nothing will be reduced from the fasting persons reward.” [Ahmed, Ibn Maajah]

Increase during this month four qualities: Two with which you shall please your Lord, and two with which you cannot do without. The two that shall please Allah SWT are the repetition of La Illaha Ill ALLAH and Istighfaar (asking forgiveness), and the two qualities you cannot do without are asking Allah SWT to be allowed into Paradise and taking refuge in Him from Hell.[taken from Prophet’s sermon on the last day of Shabaan]

Don’ts

Do not miss a single obligatory prayer during Ramadan. After testifying Shahadah the most important obligation on a believer is to offer Salat. Salat is the only thing which differentiates a believer from a non believer. As Prophet PBUH said: “That which differentiates us from the disbelievers and hypocrites is our performance of Salat. He, who abandons it, becomes a disbeliever.” [At-Tirmidhi]. Offering of Salah (prayers) is placed above fasting in the chronology of five Islamic pillars.

Do not waste time in needless things like shopping and. Avoid visiting markets as much as you can. Prophet PBUH said: “The parts of the land dearest to ALLAH are its Masjids, and the parts most hateful to ALLAH are its markets”. Try to cash in each and every second in the remembrance of ALLAH SWT.

Do not pollute your sight by gazing at non permissible activities such as watching TV (for entertainment), staring at pictures in magazines and newspapers. A believer must lower gaze all the times.

Do not indulge in unnecessary, indecent and abusive talk. Prophet PBUH said: “Fasting is not (merely abstaining) from eating and drinking, rather it is (abstaining) from ignorant and indecent speech, so if anyone abuses or behaves ignorantly with you, then say: I am fasting, I am fasting.” [Sahih Bukhari].

Do not backbite as it is worse than adultery as Prophet PBUH said: “There are seventy two forms of Riba, the least of which is as bad as a man having intercourse with his own mother, and the worst of which is when a man slanders the honour of his brother.” [Silsilah as Saheeh]

Do not listen to music at any time. Try to refrain from it from this Ramadan. Narrated By Abu ‘Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash’ari , that he heard the Prophet saying, “From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful.” [Sahih Bukhari Vol.7, Book 69, #494B]

Do not lose your temper and get into unnecessary quarrel. The holy month teaches us patience. We should always exercise it. The Prophet PBUH said: “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, ALLAH SWT is not in need of his leaving his food and drink. (i. e. ALLAH will not except his fasting).” [Sahih Bukhari]

Do not stare or talk to stranger females / males (non Maharam) and shake hands with them. The prophet PBUH said “It is better for you to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle than to touch the hand of a woman who is not permissible to you.” [Classed Sahih by Shaikh Albani]

All these Do’s and Don’ts should be adhered to not only in Ramadan, but during other times as well.

“Verily, Death is full of agonies”


Madina was totally engulfed in confusion and anxiety. The Companions of the Prophet PBUH had assembled around his house with tearful eyes and grieving hearts. The reports pouring out from the house revealed that his condition was extremely precarious and there was very little optimism in his recovery. It culminated that only a few moments of his precious life remained.

The Companions of the Prophet were yearning of have a glimpse of their beloved Prophet PBUH from close, but situation demanded that none except the members of the family visit him. The Prophet PBUH kissed his grandsons, Al-Hasan and Al-Husain and recommended that they be taken care of. He advised his wives to remain steadfast in their remembrance of ALLAH. As the relentless pain kept torturing, He turned to wife Aisha and said: “I feel as if death is approaching.” He ordered the people to perform the prayers and be good to slaves. He repeated it several times. The misery of our times is that we are callous with this advice.

The honoured daughter Hazrath Fatimah RA was sitting beside her father’s bed. She kept gazing at his illuminated face and witnessed that the perspiration of death was flowing down his face and forehead. With a heavy heart, tearful eyes, and choked throat, she was reciting the following verse which Abu Talib had recited in praise of the Prophet: “The luminous face in whose honour rains are sought from the clouds. The person who is the asylum for the orphans and the guardian of the widows”.

At this moment the Prophet PBUH, opened his eyes and said to his daughter in a low voice: “This is a verse which Abu Talib recited about me. It will, however, be better if, instead of the same, you recite this verse of the Holy Qur’an: “Muhammad is but a messenger. The messengers have already passed away before him. Will it be that, when he dies or is slain, you will turn back on your heels? He who turns back does no hurt to ALLAH, and ALLAH will reward the thankful.” [Al Imran 3:144]

The Prophet’s love for his only surviving child was one of the most sublime manifestation of human sentiments, so much so that he never proceeded on a journey without bidding farewell to his daughter and upon his return he first sought her audience. He accorded her great respect as compared with his wives and used to tell his Companions: “Fatimah is a part of my body. Her pleasure is my pleasure and her anger is my anger.” (Bukhari)

Throughout the Prophet’s illness Fatimah remained beside him. The Prophet PBUH signalled her to speak to him. She brought her head close to her father’s head and conversed with him in low tones. The people around were unaware of what transpired between them. When the Prophet PBUH ceased talking, Hazrath Fatimah RA wept bitterly. However, soon after this the Prophet made a sign to her again and spoke to her in low tones. This time she raised her head in a pleasant mood with smiling lips. Those present were amazed to observe these two antithetical conditions, and requested Fatimah RA to enlighten them. She replied: “I am not going to divulge the secret of the Prophet of ALLAH”.

After the passing away of the Prophet PBUH, on the insistence of Hazrath Aisha RA, Hazrath Fatimah RA broke her silence and said “In the first instance my father informed me about his death and stated that he was not likely to recover from his illness. Hence, I began weeping profusely. However, when he talked to me for the second time he told me that I would be the first person from amongst his Ahl-al-Bayt who would join him. This made me happy and I understood that I would be joining my dear father very soon”. [Tabaqat Ibn Saad].             

When the pang of death initiated, Aisha RA leant Prophet PBUH against her. She mentioned: It was a great Divine favour on me that the Prophet PBUH breathe his last in my room, while I am still alive. He departed between my chest and neck whilst leaning against me. ALLAH SWT enjoined his saliva with mine at his demise. ‘Abdur-Rahman Ibn Abu Bakr came in with a Siwak (tooth stick) in his hand, while the Prophet’s head was in my lap. I noticed that he was looking at the Siwak. So I asked him: “Would you like me to have it?” He nodded in the affirmative. I took it and gave it to him. As it was too hard for him, I asked him again: “Shall I soften it for you?” Again, he nodded in the affirmative. So I softened it with my saliva and he passed it (on his teeth). There was a water container available at his hand with some water in. He put his hand in it and wiped his face with it and said: “There is no God but ALLAH. Verily, death is full of agonies.” (Bukhari)

Miraculous ZAMZAM


Zamzam is a sacred well encompassing Masjid-e-Haram at Makkah found thirty-eight cubits away from the holy Ka’bah. It is a living miracle of ALLAH and there is no second opinion about its existence and sustenance. Just being 5 feet deep, it is able to cater to the requirements of billions of pilgrims in the past and will continue to do so until the Day of Judgment. It is a demonstrated fact that the water of Zamzam is devoid of any biological contamination such as formation of algae etc. The Prophet PBUH said: “The best water on the surface of the earth is the water of Zamzam; it is a kind of food and a healing from sickness.” (Saheeh al-Jaami)                                

 

Zamzam is a well through which ALLAH SWT quenched the thirst of infant Ismail, son of prophet Ibrahim (peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon them both). When the mother-son duo of Hajira (peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon her) and Ismail exhausted the meager food supplements on a barren desert, the latter desperately sought water to smother the bursting thirst of her son, but could not find any. She climbed up the Mount al-Safaa, praying ALLAH to bless her with water for Ismail, and then she climbed up the Mount al-Marwah repeating her plea. She ran across both mountains Safaa and Marwah for seven times. Her faith and prayers justified ALLAH’s mercy and thus angel Jibreel (peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon him) on HIS command struck the earth, for water to gush out.

The scholars (may ALLAH have mercy on them) are in agreement that it is Mustahabb (recommended) for pilgrims on Hajj and Umrah in particular, and for all Muslims in general, to drink Zamzam water to their fills. Prophet PBUH is reported to have drunk the water of Zamzam [Bukhaari]. According to the hadith of Abu Dharr (may ALLAH be pleased with him), the Prophet said concerning the water of Zamzam, “It is a blessing, and it is food that satisfies.” [Muslim]. Al-Tayaalisi added, in a version that he narrated: “and a cure for the sick. But this is when one drinks it with faith and sincerity, as proven in the hadith of Abu Dharr.

The blessed water of Zamzam was used by the two angels to cleanse the heart of the Prophet PBUH during his childhood. This is established by the hadith of Abu Dharr who reported that the Prophet PBUH said: “My roof was opened when I was in Makkah, and Jibreel came down and opened my chest and washed it with Zamzam water. He then brought a gold basin full of wisdom and faith, poured it into my chest, and closed it up again. Finally, he took me by the hand and ascended with me into the first heaven,” [Bukhaari].

Al-Haafiz Al-Iraaqi (may ALLAH have mercy on him) said: The rationale of cleansing Prophet’s chest with Zamzam water was to make him stronger so that he could visualise the kingdom of heaven and earth, and Paradise and Hell; and also that one of the special qualities of Zamzam is that, it strengthens the heart and calms the soul.

It is advised that people carry holy Zamzam water back to their homes since it is a catalyst for cure for those who seek healing. Aa’ishah(R.A) reported that she took Zamzam water home with her in bottles, and said, “The Messenger of ALLAH PBUH took some of it away with him, and he used to pour it on the sick and give it to them to drink,” [Tirmidhi].

Ibn al-Qayyim (may ALLAH have mercy on him) said: Myself and others tried seeking healing with Zamzam water and witnessed wondrous things. I sought healing with it from a number of illnesses, and I was healed by the permission of ALLAH. I saw someone who nourished himself with it for a number of days, half a month or more, and he did not felt hunger; he performed Tawaaf along with the other people just as they did. And he told me that he consumed nothing but Zamzam water for forty days and he had the strength to have intercourse with his wife, to fast and to perform Tawaaf numerous times. [Zaad al-Ma’aad]

The Messenger of ALLAH (peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon him) said: “The water of Zamzam is for whatever it is drunk for.” [Ibn Maajah]. Undoubtedly Zamzam water serves whatever purpose and intention for which it is drunk; provided it is dealt with sincerity. The scholars and the righteous have attempted this and they drank with the intention of fulfilling their needs and seeking cure for the sick or relief from poverty or catastrophe and surely ALLAH simplified their needs for them. So if one gets the opportunity to drink Zamzam, one should grab the opportunity to pray for: a healthy body, sharp mind, forgiveness for sins, life in Jannah after death, an honorable death with the kalima on one’s lips, and everyone’s physical and spiritual needs of this world and Hereafter.

Are we hypocritical lovers of Prophet??


The concept of the religion of Islam is to abide by the book of ALLAH i.e. Quran and follow the way of life (Sunnah) of prophet. Life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the realistic example of ALLAH’s words i.e. Quran. So perfect was the model that which Muhammad presented, it encompassed all the components of human life to perfection beyond compare. He was an orphan; hardworking shepherd; obedient son; sacrificing nephew; loving and concerned father; compassionate grandfather; devoted husband; noble citizen; courteous neighbor; honest tradesman; trustworthy individual; guardian of orphans and widows; messiah of down-trodden; tolerant preacher never offending belief of others; true social reformer and abolisher of injustice of any kind; pioneer of freedom and equality; merciful forgiver; able and just ruler; advocator of best treatment to one and all especially non believers who come under protection; and the first human to give women equal status in society and the right of full possession of property and inheritance from parents, sons, brothers and sisters and so on. An exemplary visionary who relentlessly worked to bring the mankind close to his creator (ALLAH) thereby on a common platform rising above, religion, sex, cast, creed, colour, race, social status, etc.

Who can better pursue the philosophy of Prophet than his own companions as they witnessed him practicing perfectly what he preached. They were never impolite or offensive. They respected and honored him more than themselves. Let me quote an example of a companion, Khubaib (may ALLAH be pleased with him) at the last minute of his life, the pagans asked him: “Don’t you wish that you were spared and Muhammad PBUH got this punishment? Would you not like that you were resting comfortably in your home, while he was killed in your place?” From the man who was about to die because he had accepted the Message brought by Muhammad PBUH came with this reply: “By ALLAH, I cannot even imagine that a thorn should prick the foot of Muhammad PBUH while I rest in my home.” On the occasion of treaty of Hudaibia, Quraish (the Prophet’s tribe) sent Orwa Ibn Masud to negotiate with the Prophet in the Hudaibia area; he was greatly impressed by how the companions treated the Prophet. He said, “I have visited the kings of Persia, Rome and Abysinia, but I have not seen any leader more revered and respected by his people than Muhammad. If he ordered them to do anything, they do it without delay. If he performs Wudhu (washing up for prayer) they all seek the remainder of the water he used. They never look at him in the eye, out of respect.” This is how the Prophet was treated by his companions. He was ALLAH’s Messenger who possessed great qualities and the best of conduct ever.

There are three signs which indicate that a person has tasted the sweetness of faith.

  1. That he loves ALLAH and His Prophet more than anything else.
  2. He loves everyone solely for the sake of ALLAH.
  3. After accepting Islam he hates going back to non-belief as much as he hates going into the fire.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

This kind of incredible relationship with the prophet has to be for two reasons

  • Because he is the core of the entire religion
  • Because he has set examples for us not just for admiration but emulation.

What is the relation of an average metropolitan Muslim and prophet? We no doubt adore our beloved Prophet Muhammad, to whom we even desire to sacrifice our lives. However, it is a real pity that our minds are corrupted and we are subjugated by the external environment. If we really love our Prophet, we should have followed him by abstaining from the things he ostracized. The Sunnah is diminishing from our lives, our actions are way beyond what Muhammad (pbuh) had envisaged for his treasured ummah.

Islam is a perfect religion and every solution to any problem is described in the Holy Quran and very evidently practiced by Prophet Muhammad. In the context of blasphemy against our prophet, our brothers rightly protested, banned products, and few laid downed their lives. Let us analyze how our Prophet responded to mischief mongers and evil doers. Everyone is aware of the narrative about the woman, who always put her garbage on the road whenever Prophet Muhammad was passing. Frankly, I was upset when I first listened to such incidence. But later, as a Muslim, I reasoned that I have to do what Prophet did. i.e. follow him. My Prophet never uttered a word to the woman, just moved on with a smile. Later on when she fell sick, the Prophet was the first to visit her in spite of her behaviour. This very gesture moved her heart and she embraced Islam.

Recall the event at Taif, when the Prophet was stoned. The angel Jibrael AS appeared and offered to crush the people between the two mountains, but still, even in that condition, the Prophet cared about the people and replied: ‘No, I hope that these people will one day come to worship only Allah and Him alone’? and did not let angel do so. Soon the Taif’s offspring’s entered into realm of Islam.

In this world, there are still millions of people who are living in darkness and ignorance. It becomes gravely important to enlighten the mass (by dawah) to the message of our Prophet in best possible manner. The use of social networking sites and internet will largely support this cause. Facebook has provided us a medium to interact with everyone throughout the world and where the Prophet is being criticized, it is like a blessing in disguise for us. As every non-Muslim there in, is putting forward his perspective. We ought to answer them and clear their misconception appropriately accompanied with logical facts.

Hence, I request Muslims to broaden their horizon of thought and actions. Work earnestly to become better Muslims by incorporating values of Sunnah. Seek an opportunity in every adversity to spread the message of Muhammad to those who criticize Islam. Verily ALLAH knows our intentions and actions are well judged. Expect nothing but HIS appeasement alone!

Authenticity of Milad


12th Rabi-ul-awal of the Arabic calendar is the day on which our beloved Prophet Muhammed (Peace and Blessings be upon him) was born, according to all-time famous historian Allama Ibn-e-khaldun. Prophet clearly said that he was born on Monday, It was narrated from Abu Qutaadah al-Ansaari (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah PBUH was asked about fasting on Mondays. He said, “On that day I was born and on that day the Revelation came to me.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1978).

Milad means the day of birth in Arabic language. Now we have to find out that, did the Prophet PBUH celebrated his birthday or did his Sahaba (Prophet’s best followers ) celebrated Prophet’s birth or did any one amongst the salaf us saleheen (rightegeous) celebrated it? History does not substantiate any instance advocating celebration of Prophet’s Birthday. Hence it is very clear that neither did the prophet celebrate his birthday nor did the Sahaba (his companions) celebrate it. Allah SWT says in his holy Quran “And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad) gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)” [al-Hashr 59:7]

And the Prophet PBUH said: “I urge you to adhere to my Sunnah [way] and the way of the Rightly-Guided khaleefahs. Adhere to it and cling tightly to it. And beware of newly-invented matters [in religion], for every newly-invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is a going-astray.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, al-Sunnah, 3991; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, no. 3851). This tradition of Prophet PBUH points to us three vital things
• Prophet PBUH urged his ummah to adhere to his path
• And to adhere to the path of rightly guided khaleefahs (his companions)
• And beware of bidah (inventing new matters into the religion)

In the year 624 Hijrah (Arabic calendar) the practice of celebrating Milad started. This was established by Sultan Abu Saeed Muzaffer. In his Court there was an alim (religious scholar) by name Abul Khattab ibn Dahiya, he wrote a book supporting the celebration of Milad for which he was awarded 1000 dirhams as a token of appreciation for his work by the Sultan (the ruler). Most of the religious scholars say that Abul Khattab ibn Dahiya was a liar of the highest order hence his works are not trusted by most of the scholars. [Ibn Kathir in Al Bidayah wan Nihayah, Volume 13, Page No. 137]. This indicates that observance of Milad is an innovation which emerged 600 years after Prophet PBUH. Is this not a serious matter to be pondered upon???

So much to so that modern day Milad celebration is far from all that is desired of a Muslim gathering. They include in these gatherings haraam and reprehensible things, such as free mixing of men and women, singing, or committing actions of shirk such as seeking the help of the Prophet PBUH, calling upon him, seeking his support against their enemies. Late night Milad programs cause hindrance in offering Fajr prayers. Additionally, people think that attending these gatherings bring them rewards and source of blessing, and remaining absent attributes to sin, and label the absentees as ‘enemies of the prophet’.

Lets remember our Prophet PBUH on this day and introspect ourselves that how close we are in following his sunnah and let we strive to become the followers like Sahaba (beloved companions of Prophet PBUH) Finally we should all resolve to abstain from such untoward innovation like Milad. Aameen.