CategoryFor the hereafter

My Beloved Sister

Allaah, the Most High said:

O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves part of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused…

[Al-Ahzaab 33:59]

And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent….

[An-Noor 24:21]

My Beloved Sister, the following is a significant hadith, so PONDER OVER it:

Abu Hurairah said that it was reported that the Prophet, sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: 

There are two types of people of hell that I have not seen: people who have whips like the tails of cattle with which they strike the people, and women who are dressed but naked, walking with an enticing gait, with their hair looking like the humps of camels, leaning sideways. They will not enter Paradise nor smell its fragrance, although its fragrance can be detected from such-and-such a distance.[Reported by Muslim]

Would you NOT FOLLOW YOUR MOTHER Aaeishah and Umm Salamah, may Allaah be pleased with them both? 

My beloved sister, A woman’s modesty and how well she covers herself is analogous to the strength of her belief (eemaan). Consider what your mother ‘Aaeishah, the daughter of Aboo Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with them both, said: I used to enter my house in which the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and my father were buried, I would remove my (outer) clothes and say: It is only my husband and father (that are buried here). However, when Umar was buried with them, by Allaah. I would not enter except with my garment (properly) fastened around me out of shyness for Umar”.

 What eminence is greater than this eminence, and what modesty is more esteemed than this modesty, whereby her modesty is unwavering even towards a man who is dead and buried under the earth! This is the nobility of your mother, so would you not follow her? 

And also, your mother, Umm Salamah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: She mentioned the trait of a women’s dress to the Messenger of Allah [sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam], so, he said: “Let it down a hand span.” Umm Salamah said: “But that will expose her (feet). He said: “Let it down a forearm’s length, but no more than that.” [An-Nasaaie] 

This is the condition of one whose deen is firm and strong. As for the one whose deen is flimsy and her faith is weak, then she prefers exposing herself by a hand span, or a forearm’s length or even more according to the fragility of her eemaan. My beloved sister, (know that) the essence of chastity is modesty! 

THE CONDITIONS FOR THE HIJAAB ACCORDING TO ISLAAMIC LAW (THE SHAR’ EEAH) In order for the Hijaab to be in accordance with the Shar’eeah (Islaamic Law), the scholars say that it has to fulfill eight conditions; they are: 

First: It should cover the entire body 

Second: It should be loose and not narrow, so that it does not reveal the outline of the body. 

Third: It should not resemble the dress of kaafir (disbelieving) women. 

Fourth: It should not resemble men’s clothing 

Fifth: It should not be transparent (or “see-through) 

Sixth: And should not be an adornment in and of itself. 

Seventh: It should not be perfumed with bakhoor any other fragrance 

Eight: It should not be a garment of fame and vanity.

My beloved sister! Hijaab was legislated for COVERING, NOT FOR BEAUTIFICATION, ADORNMENT AND/OR ATTRACTION 

Be aware that the different types of clothing that are sold in the markets as Hijaab, are not really Hijaab. (Please be aware that) what matters is the reality not the name. So it is upon you to wear the Hijaab that was previously mentioned along with its eight conditions so that you would achieve happiness in this world and the next. 

These are samples of the legislated Hijab

This is dressing up and not Hijab

Your Intention Makes the Difference – Part 3

If you have read the first two parts of these series, you would know by now that your intention really makes the difference between success and failure. Success by winning Paradise in the hereafter or failure by entering into the Hell fire. Your intention, your sincerity towards Allah in your deed will decide whether it is an acceptable deed or not, as the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam relates to us:


“Allah does not accept any deed except that which is done only for Him and to seek His pleasure.”

Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 3140; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 52

But now we are going to answer an important question in this article:

Is a sincere intention to please Allah enough to make a deed permissible?

To answer this, we must first understand that the intention is always one of two players in a deed. The other player that accompanies an intention almost all the time is the action itself. We know what the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam has said about the intention. Now what has the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said about the action? He said:

“Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (that is Islam), will have it rejected.”

Narrated by Muslim, al-Aqdiyyah, 3243

From this we understand that although the intention is an important component of the deed, it is NOT enough to make a deed permissible. It has to be accompanied by an action that is within the guidelines of the matters taught to us by Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and His Messenger Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam.

The hadeeth above is so profound that the scholars of Islam have many things to say about it:

Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: “The principles of Islam are covered by three hadeeth”:

  • The hadeeth related by `Umar that actions are but by intentions,
  • The hadeeth related by `Aishah that states whoever innovates a matter in this matter of ours will have it rejected, and
  • The hadeeth related by al-Nu`man ibn Bashir which states that what is lawful is clear and what is unlawful is clear.

Al-Hakim relates that Imam Ahmad said: “It would be appropriate to mention these three hadeeth at the beginning of every book on the subject, since they are the foundations of the hadeeth”:

  • The one stating that the actions are by intentions,
  • The one stating that the creation of one of you is brought together in the womb for forty days, and
  • The one stating that whoever innovates something in this religion of ours will have it rejected

So from the matter above we can conclude that for any deed to be accepted, you have to bring two things with it. If even one of these is missing, Allah will not accept your deed:

  1. The intention of worship should be to sincerely please Allah alone.
  2. The action of worship should be in accordance with the Law of Allah and His Messenger.

The two conditions for the acceptability of any deed

The two conditions above have been mentioned by numerous scholars of Islam:

1) Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Allah has made devotion of worship to Him alone and following the Sunnah the means of deeds being accepted; if these conditions are not met, then deeds are unacceptable.”

[Al-Rooh, 1/135]

2) On this Aayah:

“So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.”

[Surat Al-Kahf: Aayah 110]

Ibn Katheer comments saying: “These two factors form the basis for an acceptable deed: it must be done sincerely for the sake of Allah alone, and it must be correct and in accordance with the Shari’ah (law) of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).’

And on this Ayah:

“And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face to Allah and he is Muhsin.”

[Surat An Nisa: Ayah 125]

Ibn Kathir explains the meaning saying: “Meaning, performs the good actions in sincerity for his Lord with faith and awaiting the reward with Allah, following the correct guidance that Allah legislated in the religion of truth which He sent His Messenger with. These are the two conditions, in the absence of which no deed will be accepted from anyone:
a) Sincerity and
b) Correctness.
The work is sincere when it is performed for Allah alone and it becomes correct when it conforms to the Shari`ah. So, the deed becomes outwardly correct with following the Sunnah and inwardly correct with sincerity. When any deed lacks either of these two conditions, the deed becomes null and void. For instance, when one lacks the pillar of sincerity in his work, he becomes a hypocrite who shows off for people. Whoever does not follow the Shari`ah, he becomes an ignorant, wicked person. When one combines both pillars, his actions will be the deeds of the faithful believers whose best deeds are accepted from them and their errors erased.

[Tafseer lbn Katheer]

3) On this hadeeth:

‘Actions are only judged by intentions’ [Saheeh al-Bukhaari #1]

Sheikh al-Albani, May Allah be pleased with him, explained: “Many people know this hadeeth in wording but don’t understand its meaning. Why? Because oftentimes we turn (to some people) and say: ‘Ya akhee, this action that you are doing, or this statement that you are uttering, is not a righteous action.’ What is the answer? ‘Ya akhee, the Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Actions are only judged by intentions’ and my intention is good! My intention is righteous!’

If one’s actions are not righteous but intention is righteous – this is not enough. Likewise it is also not enough if it is vice versa: i.e. if one’s actions are righteous but intention is not righteous. So either one is not enough without the other.”

4) Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “This hadeeth (“Whoever does any action that is not in accordance…..”) forms one of the most important principles of Islam. It is like a scale for weighing up deeds according to their outward appearance, just as the hadeeth ‘The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions’ is the means of weighing up the inner nature of deeds. Just as every action which is not intended for the sake of Allah brings no reward to the one who does it, so too every deed which is not in accordance with the command of Allah and His Messenger will also be rejected and thrown back at the one who does it. Everyone who innovates in Islam something for which Allah and His Messenger have not granted permission, that thing has nothing to do with Islam.

[Jami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hikam, part 1, p.176]

Incorrect actions are widespread in the Muslim ummah, where a person might think the intention is good but the action itself is an innovation in Islam. Again, repeating what was said by Ibn Rajab above about innovations:

Everyone who innovates in Islam, something for which Allah and His Messenger have not granted permission, that thing has nothing to do with Islam.

Innovations in Islam and the warning against them

Some common actions of worship that some Muslims do with a good intention but are innovations in Islam because the action itself is incorrect are as follows:

  1. Asking for help from a righteous dead person in a graveyard or shrine thinking that he/she has special virtues to provide sustenance, health and protection.
  2. Religious festivals and birthday celebrations like celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam.
  3. Wearing amulets and hanging special ornaments in the house seeking protection through it from evil.
  4. Religious music such as qawwalis that is done in remembrance of Allah and His Messenger.
  5. Reciting Surat Al-Fatihah on special occasions such as on the meal that is offered upon the death of a person, which is an innovation also.
  6. Reciting dhikr (remembering Allah) in a manner and in a number not prescribed by authentic teachings from Allah and His Messenger.
  7. Isolating certain nights to stand in worship reciting Surahs in an innovated manner and number, such as on the night of 15th of Sha’ban (known as Shab-e-Baraat in the Indian subcontinent) and 27th of Rajab (Shab-e-Mi’raj).
  8. Supplicating to Allah in unison with the imam after every Salah except in acceptable forms prescribed by the laws of Allah and His Messenger such as in Witr salah in Taraweeh.
  9. Uttering the intention out allowed such as the intention to pray.

The above are just a handful of the the great number of innovations plaguing the Muslim ummah today. These innovations arise when Muslims do not bring the two conditions for the permissibility of a deed of worship together.

Imaam ash-Shaatibee (rahima-hullaah) mentions:

“Linguistically bid’ah (innovation) means ‘a newly invented matter’. The Shari’ah definition of bid’ah as: ‘A newly invented way [beliefs or action] in the religion, in imitation of the Shari’ah (prescribed law), by which nearness to Allah is sought, [but] not being supported by any authentic proof – neither in its foundations, nor in the manner in which it is performed’.”

[Al-I’tisaam of ash-Shaatibee, 1/37]

The Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam was very severe in warning us against any innovation in Islam. He Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said:

“Beware of newly-invented matters, for every newly- invented matter is a going astray.”

Classed as saheeh (authentic) by al-Albani in Saheeh Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 2157

The warning against innovation in the religion of Islam is given to us every Friday using the words of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam, reminding us of the need to be aware of it and avoid it:

إِنَّ أَصْدَقَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابُ اللَّهِ وَأَحْسَنَ الْهَدْيِ هَدْيُ مُحَمَّدٍ وَشَرُّ الْأُمُورِ مُحْدَثَاتُهَا وَكُلُّ مُحْدَثَةٍ بِدْعَةٌ وَكُلُّ بِدْعَةٍ ضَلَالَةٌ وَكُلُّ ضَلَالَةٍ فِي النَّارِ

“The truest word is the Book of Allah and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The most evil matters are those that are newly invented (in the religion), for every newly invented matter is an innovation. Every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.”

Source: Sunan al-Nasā’ī 1578
Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani 

Note that the kind of innovation that is prohibited are those that are introduced in the matters of the religion of Islam, as is clearly stated in the hadeeth discussed earlier where the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said: Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (that is Islam), will have it rejected.”. This is not innovation in the matters of this world such as innovation of cars for example for the ease of the people.

Innovation in Islam stems from differing from the Qur’an and Sunnah. And differing from the Qur’an and Sunnah is what destroyed the Jews and the Christians. In the beautiful Surat Al-Bayyinah, Allah subhanu wa Ta’ala describes exactly that.

He Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says:

And the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) differed not until after there came to them clear evidence. (i.e. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and whatever was revealed to him).
[Surat Al-Bayyinah: Aayah 4]

Ibn Kathir explains the Ayah above in his Tafseer by saying:

“This refers to the people of those divinely revealed Scriptures that were sent down to the nations that were before us. After Allah established the proofs and evidences against them, they divided and differed concerning that which Allah had intended in their Scriptures, and they had many differences. This is like what has been reported in a hadeeth that has many routes of transmission:

The Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa sallam said:

“Verily, the Jews differed until they became seventy-one sects. And verily, the Christians differed until they became seventy-two sects. And this Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects, and all of them will be in the Fire except one. They (the sahabah) said, “Who are they, O Messenger of Allah? ” He replied, “Those who are upon what I and my Companions are upon.”

It was narrated from Mu’aawiyah ibn Abi Sufyaan (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stood among us and said: “Those who came before you of the people of the Book split into seventy-two sects, and this ummah will split into seventy-three: seventy-two in Hell and one in Paradise, and that is the jamaa’ah (main body of Muslims).”
Narrated by Abu Dawood (4597) and others; classed as saheeh by al-Haakim (1/128),

Sheikh ul Islam ibn Tamiyyah said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (4/155) (3/346): “The sign of these groups – i.e., the seventy-two groups that go against Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah – is that they forsake the Qur’aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus. The one who follows the Qur’aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus is one of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah.”

Sheikh Saalih Al-Munajjid has published on islamqa.info: “The cause of difference and division among these groups mentioned in the hadeeth has to do with fundamental matters of religion and basic issues of ‘aqeedah, not differences of opinion regarding fiqh.” [1]

Aqeedah refers to: what a Muslim believes in his heart about the matters which are known from the Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah, in acknowledgement of the truth of Allah and His Messenger. [2]

That’s why Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) says:

“The saved group is described as Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, and they are the greater majority and the vast multitude. As for the other groups, they are followers of weird ideas, division, innovation and whims and desires, and none of these groups reached anywhere close to the size of the saved group, let alone being equal to them, rather some of these groups are very small in number. The sign of these groups is that they go against the Qur’aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus. The one who follows the Qur’aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus is one of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah.”

[Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (3/346).]

Keep in mind that the widely known 4 imams viz. Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi’i and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and their madhabs are not one of the sects.

The Imams of the four madhab knew the seriousness of introducing innovations in Islam by moving away and differing from the Qur’an and Sunnah. All of them are famously known to have said,

“If I say something then compare it with the book of Allah and the Sunnah of his messenger and if it agrees with them then accept it and that which goes against them then reject it and throw my saying against the wall!”

[An Nawawee, al Majmoo (1/63) and Ibn ul Qayyim, A’laam ul Muwaqqi’een (2/361)]

What is important to be kept in mind from the matter above is that not all deeds done with a good intention are righteous. There are many innovative practices that were introduced and will continue to be introduced by the sects that differ from the Qur’an and Sunnah. You need to be aware of these sects and innovative practices with knowledge to protect yourself and guide those who don’t know. And more importantly, you need to make sure that your deed meets the two conditions for it to be acceptable by Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. Which is that, it must be performed with a sincere intention to please Allah alone and the action of worship performed must be from the guidelines given to us by Allah and His Messenger and not an innovation in Islam that differs from the law of Allah and His Messenger. 

 

Some important pieces of advice

Before his death, the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam gave this ummah some very important pieces of advice in order to safeguard themselves from innovative sects and religious practices and to ensure that the two conditions for the permissibility of a deed are met. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala let the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam know that the Muslim ummah will be split into multiple sects and that there will come a time when there will be a lot of differences, which is the time we live in today. In such a time, this is the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam’s advice to you:

Advice number 1:

“Indeed, whoever among you lives (for a long time) he will see much difference. Beware of the newly invented matters, for indeed they are astray. Whoever among you sees that, then he must stick to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs. “

Jami At tirmidhi 2676, Book 41, Hadith 32

Advice number 2:

“I have left behind two things, you will never go astray as long as you hold fast onto them, the Qur’an and Sunnah.”

 Muwatta Imam Malik, 1601

Advice number 3:

“You have to follow my Sunnah (way) and the way of my rightly-guided successors (al-khulafa’ al-rashidoon); bite onto it with your eyeteeth (i.e., cling firmly to it).”

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, al-‘Ilm, 2600

Advice number 4:

“You must adhere to my Sunnah and the way of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs who come after me. Adhere to it and cling to it strongly, and beware of newly-invented matters, for every newly-invented matter is an innovation (bid’ah) and every innovation is a going astray.”

Narrated by Abu Dawood (4607) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood

If we had to summarize the advises of the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam above into a single statement, it would be: 

Stick to the Qur’an and Sunnah upon the understanding and implementation of the rightly guided Salaf as-Saalih.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

“The sign of the people of bid’ah (innovation) is that they do not follow the salaf.”

End quote from Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (4/155).

Who are the Salaf as-Saalih?

Muhammad Nasir- Deen Al-Albaani (d.1420A.H) -rahimahullah-said:

“The Salaf as-Saalih (Pious predecessors) includes the three generations about whom the Messenger SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam testified regarding their goodness in a Hadeeth whose authenticity is agreed upon.  Rather this Hadeeth has reached the level of Mutawwatir due its many chains in the Saheeh of Muslim and other than them from a great deal of the Companions, that the Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said:

“خير الناس قرني ثم الذين يلونهم ثم الذين يلونهم ثم الذين يلونهم” 

“The best people are my generation then those who will come after them and then those after them…”

Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6065, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2533

Sheikh al-Albani continues, “So the three generations whose goodness has been testified are the ones who are intended by being the Salaf as-Saalih.”

The narration above is a command from the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam, his command to follow the Salaf as-Saalih and his affirmation that their path is the only correct path.

Where is the command of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala to follow the Salaf as-Saalih and his affirmation that their path is the only correct path? It is in the Qur’an as follows:

And the first to embrace Islam of the Muhajirun (those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah) and the Ansar (the citizens of Al-Madinah who helped and gave aid to the Muhajiroon) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well pleased with them, as they are well pleased with Him.
He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.

[Surat At-Tawbah: Aayah 100]

On this Aayah Sheikh al-Albani comments:

“Indeed this noble Aayah is the foundation from where it is necessary for every Muslim to spring forward from to get to know the Da’wah which some of the scholars, in the past and present have defined as the ‘Da’watus–Salafiyyah’.
Whoever truly wants to return to the Book and the Sunnah then it is necessary for that person to return to what the Companions of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam were upon, and the Tabi’een (the successors of the Companions) and the successors of the Ta’abeen.”

[Taken from a tape entitled ‘Dawatus-Salafiyyah’]

So in summary the Salaf as-Saalih are the first three generations whom Allah and His Messenger Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam have commanded us to follow, imitate and understand the Qur’an and Sunnah like the way they understood it. They are:

1st generation – The Sahabah (Those who met the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam as believers and died in a state of believing in him as Muslims).

2nd generation – Tabi’een (Those who came after the period of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam, who did not meet the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam, but met the Sahabah as believers and followed the teachings of the Sahabah and died as Muslims.)

3rd generation – Atba at Tabi’een (Those who came after the period of the Tabi’een, who did not meet the Sahabah, but met the Tabi’een as believers and followed the teachings of the Tabi’een and died as Muslims.)

Some practical steps in order for us to ensure that the action in our deed is from the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah:

1. Obtain knowledge of the religion of Islam from true scholars so that your action is based upon clear evidence from the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah. If someone comes with something new that you do not know of, ask for evidence. 

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala commands ask to verify some new piece of knowledge that comes to us with clear evidences:

O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done.
[Surat Al Hujurat: Aayah 6]

Say, “Produce your proof, if you should be truthful.”
[Surat Al Baqarah: Aayah 111]

If we don’t know whether an action is a permissible form of worship, then Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala tells us to:

“Ask the people of the knowledge if you do not know.”
[Surat Al-Anbiya: Aayah 7]

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,

“Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.”

[Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 224
Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani]

He Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam also warned us to take knowledge from the true scholars before it is taken away:

“Allah does not take away the knowledge by taking it away from the hearts of the people, but He takes it away by the death of the Scholars till no Scholar remains. Then people will take as their leaders the ignorant who when asked will give their verdict (fatwa) without knowledge. So they will go astray themselves and will lead the people astray.”

[Reported by Al-Bukhārī, no. 100]

In a wording, he said, “There will remain the ignorant from whom verdicts (fatwas) will be sought. They will give verdicts based upon their own opinions, so they will go astray and will lead the people astray.”

[Al-Bukhāri no. 7307]

Ibn Mas’ūd said,

“Learn knowledge before it is taken away, and it is taken away by the death of the scholars. Beware of going extremes and delving too deeply, and beware of innovations. Upon you is to adhere to the ancient affair.”

[See Ad-Dārimī with the explanation, Fathul-Mannān 2/115, Al-Musannaf of Abdur-Razzāq 11/252, Jāmi’ Bayān Al-‘Ilm wa Fadlihi 1/152, Al-‘Amr bil-Ittibā’ p. 59)

Mu’aadh ibn Jabal (Radhi Allah ‘Anhu) said:

“O’ people, you must seek knowledge before it is taken away, for indeed when its people (the scholars) die, it will be taken away. And beware of bid’ah, innovation and sophistication, and adhere to the ancient way [i.e., the way of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)].”

[Al-Bidaayah wan-Nahy ‘anha by Ibn Waddaah]

And always, always ask for evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah with regards to the act of worship that you are about to perform:

The author, (Imām al-Barbahārī) may Allah have mercy upon him said; “Examine! May Allah have mercy upon you, the speech of every person that you hear, practically in your day and age. Do not act in haste and do not enter into anything from it until you ask and see – Did any of the companions of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam speak concerning it or any of the scholars? For if you find a narration from them concerning it then hold tightly onto it and do not exchange it for anything nor give anything precedence over it and consequently fall into the Hell-Fire.” [4]

Sheikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan says:

“Beware and do not rush into accepting speech upon false value even if you are impressed and carried away by his eloquent speech, ability to manipulate words and lectures, do not hasten to it until you have looked into it and examined it against the Qurʾān and Sunnah. Look to see who said (this speech), is he a person of understanding or not? Ask the people of knowledge about him and examine to see if any of the salaf had preceded him in his speech. I have warned against this on many occasions, do not introduce opinions, views, statements that have not been mentioned before (from any of the salaf).” [4]

[Ithāf al-Qāriī fī Sharh us-Sunnah of Al-Barbahārī, 1/102-109 of Shaykh Ṣāliḥ ibn Fawzān al-Fawzān]

 

2. Ensure that the action is something which the Salaf as-Saalih have known to have done and it is not something newly introduced. Stop where they stopped. 

It is easy to understand this point when we realize that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala perfected and completed the religion of Islam during the time of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam. All the rules and regulations of worship were sent through revelation during the time of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam. The revelation also stopped during the time of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam. Then how can someone come after and introduce something new to a religion that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala said is perfect and complete?

This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.
[Surat Al-Maidah: Aayah 3]

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala perfected the religion to the extent that He taught us through His Messenger Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam how to clean ourselves after excretion and urination, to a level of perfection that someone was very amazed at this and said to Salman Al-Farsi RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu:

“Your Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam teaches you about everything, even about excrement.”

To which Salman Al-Farsi RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu responded:

“Yes, he has forbidden us to face the Qibla at the time of excretion or urination, or cleansing with right hand or with less than three pebbles, or with dung or bone.”

[Sahih Muslim: Book 2, Hadith 73]

The companions of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam practiced the perfect religion. It is enough for us to follow them.

Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamaan (RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu) said:

“Do not perform any act of worship that was not practiced by the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, for the earlier generation did not leave any room for the latter to add anything (to the religion). Fear Allah, O’ readers, seekers of knowledge, and follow the path of those who came before you.”

[Narrated by Ibn Battah in Al-Ibaanah]

Imaam Al-Awzaa’ee (d.157) said:

“Make yourself patient upon the Sunnah, stop where the people stopped, speak with what they spoke with, and refrain from what they refrained from. And follow the path of your Righteous Predecessors (Salaf-as-Saaliheen) for verily, sufficient for you is that which was sufficient for them.”

[Related in Ash-Shari’ah, by Al-Aajurree, p. 58]

‘Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood (RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu) said:

“Whoever wants to follow an example, let him follow the example of those who have passed away, the Companions of Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). They were the best of this ummah, the purest in heart, the deepest in knowledge, the least in sophistication. They were people whom Allah chose to be the Companions of His Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam and to convey His religion, so imitate their ways and behavior, for they were following the Straight Path.”

[Al-Baghawi in Sharh as-Sunnah]

‘Abdulaah Ibn Mas’ood (RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu) said:

“Follow and do not innovate, for everything has been taken care of, and you must follow the ancient way (i.e., of the Salaf).”

[Ad-Daarimi in his Sunan]

‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar (RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu) said:

“People will continue to adhere to the correct way so long as they follow the footsteps [of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam)].”

[Al-Laalkaa’i in Sharh Usool I’tiqaad Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah]

Ibn ‘Abbaas RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu said:

“Indeed the most detestable of things to Allah are the innovations.”

[As-Sunan al-Kubraa, 4/316]

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said:

“The basic principles of Sunnah in our view are: adherence to the way of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, following their example and forsaking bid’ah (innovation), for every bid’ah is going astray.”

[Al-Laalkaa’i in Sharh Usool Ahl as-Sunnah]

The author, (Imām al-Barbahārī) may Allah have mercy upon him said: “Safe yourselves from the small innovations, cause verily the small/minor innovations go to an extent and become major. Likewise every innovation in this ummah was minor in the beginning, seemed similar to the haqq (the truth). Everyone who performed it got deluded by it, to an extent that it became unavoidable. It later turned into a deen that is practiced. So the person who followed it left the Sirat al-Mustaqeem (the straight path).”

 

3) Do not decide whether an act of worship is acceptable or not based upon its good or bad appearance, logic or on weak opinion. Its permissibility depends only upon whether it is found in the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah or not.

‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Umr said:

“Every bid’ah (innovation) is misguidance, even if people think it is good.”

[Al-Laalkaa’i in Sharh Usool I’tiqaad Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah]

About the act of mas’aa (wiping over socks to complete the ablution) the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam taught us to wipe the top of the socks even though it is logically more sound to wipe the bottom of the socks because you find more dirt there. About this ‘Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (Radhi Allah ‘Anhu) commented:

“If religion were based on opinion (what people think is common sense), then we should wipe the bottom of the khuff (leather slippers) rather than the top, but I saw the Messenger of Allah wiping the top of them.”

[Ibn Abi Shaybah in Al-Musannaf]

Imam Al-Awzaa’i said:

“You must follow the footsteps of those who came before, even if the people reject you. Beware of personal opinions even if people make them attractive. The clear way is that of the Straight Path.”

[Al-Khateeb in Sharaf Ashaab al-Hadeeth]

Imaam Maalik said:

“Truly I am only a mortal: I make mistakes (sometimes) and I am correct (sometimes). Therefore, look into my opinions: all that agrees with the Book and the Sunnah, accept it; and all that does not agree with the Book and the Sunnah, ignore it.”

[Ibn ‘Abdul Barr in Jaami’ Bayaan al-’Ilm, 2/32]

Imaam Abu Haneefah said:

“When I say something contradicting the Book of Allah the Exalted or what is narrated from the Messenger (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), then ignore my saying.”

[Al-Fulaani in Eeqaaz Al-Himam, p. 50]

Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee said:

“The Muslims are unanimously agreed that if a sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is made clear to someone, it is not permitted for him to leave it for the saying of anyone else.”

[I’laam , 2/361]

Imaam Ahmad said:

“Do not follow my opinion; neither follow the opinion of Maalik, nor Shaafi’i, nor Awzaa’i, nor Thawri, but take from where they took (i.e. from the Salaf as-Sallih)”

[Ibn al-Qayyim in I’laam, 2/302]

 

To Conclude

Your intention makes the difference, but your sincere intention is useless if the action you perform is not according to the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah upon the understanding of the Salaf as-Saalih.

We will end this series with an incident that took place after the death of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam, that shows to us how important it was for the Sahabah to ensure that both their intention and their action is according to what Allah and His Messenger had left them with in the Qur’an and Sunnah. Here is the incident:

Amr ibn Yahya said: “I heard my father narrating from his father who said:

“We were at the door of ‘Abd-Allah ibn Mas‘ood before the early morning prayer. When he came out we walked with him to the mosque. Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari came up to us and said, “Did Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan come out to you yet?” We said, “No.” He sat down with us until [Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan] came out. When he came out, we all stood up to greet him, and Abu Moosa said to him: “O Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan, earlier I saw in the mosque something that I have never seen before, but it seems good, al-hamdu Lillaah.” He said, “And what was it?” He said, “if you live, you will see it. I saw people in the mosque sitting in circles waiting for the prayer. In every circle there was a man, and they had pebbles in their hands. He would say, ‘Say Allahu akbar one hundred times,’ and they would say Allahu akbar one hundred times; then he would say, ‘Say Laa ilaaha ill-Allah one hundred times,’ and they would say Laa ilaaha ill-Allah one hundred times; then he would say, ‘Say Subhaan Allah one hundred times,’ and they would say Subhaan Allah one hundred times.’ He asked, ‘What did you say to them?’ He said, ‘I did not say anything to them; I was waiting to see what your opinion would be and what you would tell me to do.’ He said, ‘Why did you not tell them to count their bad deeds and guarantee them that nothing of their good deeds would be wasted?’ Then he left, and we went with him, until he reached one of those circles. He stood over them and said, ‘What is this I see you doing?’ They said, ‘O Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan, these are pebbles we are using to count our takbeer, tahleel and tasbeeh.’ He said, ‘Count your bad deeds, and I guarantee that nothing of your good deeds will be wasted. Woe to you, O ummah of Muhammad, how quickly you are getting destroyed! The Companions of your Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) are still alive, his garment is not yet worn out and his vessels are not yet broken. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, either you are following a way that is more guided than that of Muhammad or you have opened the door of misguidance!’ They said, ‘By Allah, O Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan, we only wanted to do good.’ He said, ‘How many of those who wanted to do good failed to achieve it! The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told us that people recite Qur`an and it does not go any further than their throats. By Allah, I do not know, maybe most of them are people like you.’ Then he turned away from them. ‘Amr ibn Salamah said, ‘I saw most of the members of those circles fighting alongside the Khawaarij on the day of Nahrawaan.’ ”

[Reported by al-Daarimi, al-Sunan, no. , ed. by ‘Abd-Allah Haashim al-Yamaani. Al-Albaani classed its isnaad as saheeh in al-Silsilat al-Saheehah under hadeeth no. See Majma’ al-Zawaa’id by alHaythami ]

The point to understand from the hadeeth above is:

Even though the act of worship that the people in the masjid were performing by saying takbeer, tahleel and tasbeeh is an act that looked good in appearance and sincere in intention as they were praising Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’la, the sahabah still scolded them for doing it because it was an action done in a manner that was not prescribed by the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam and warned them to stop because they knew it will not be accepted by Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.

The incident above is a lesson for us to ensure that our deeds with sincere intentions are always accompanied by correct actionIt warns us against becoming like those who try to change a religion that is already perfect by introducing new practices which will never be accepted by Allah, about whom the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said:

“I will reach the Cistern ahead of you. He who comes to me will drink, and whoever drinks will never thirst again. There will come to me some people whom I will recognize and they will recognize me, then they will be prevented from reaching me. I shall say: ‘They are of me,’ but it will be said: ‘You do not know what they introduced after you were gone.’ So I shall say: ‘Away, away with those who changed (the religion) after I was gone.’”

[Narrated by al-Bukhaari (6212) and Muslim (2290)]

 

The Intention Makes the Difference Part 3

Resources used in making this article:

[1] https://islamqa.info/en/answers/90112/who-are-the-saved-group

[2] https://islamqa.info/en/answers/951/what-is-aqeedah

[3] https://theauthenticbase.wordpress.com/quotes-from-the-salaf/

[4] http://dusunnah.com/article/examine-the-speech-of-every-person-you-hear-today/

 

Your Intention Makes the Difference – Part 2

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says:

Whoever desires the life of this world and its adornments – We fully repay them for their deeds therein, and they therein will not be deprived. 
They are those for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter but Fire;  And lost is what they did therein, and worthless is what they used to do.
[Surat Hud: Aayah 15]

The Salaf-us-Saalih have commented on this verse:

Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu said concerning this verse, “Verily those who show off, will be given their reward for their good deeds in this life. This will be so that they are not wronged, even the amount equivalent to the size of the speck on a date-stone.” Ibn `Abbas Radhi Allahu ‘Anhu continued saying, “Therefore, whoever does a good deed seeking to acquire worldly gain – like fasting, prayer, or standing for prayer at night – and he does so in order to acquire worldly benefit, then Allah says, `Give him the reward of that which he sought in the worldly life,’ and his deed that he did is wasted because he was only seeking the life of this world. In the Hereafter he will be of the losers.”

Mujahid and others said, “This verse was revealed concerning the people who perform deeds to be seen.”

Qatadah said, “Whoever’s concern, intention and goal is this worldly life, then Allah will reward him for his good deeds in this life. Then, when he reaches the next life, he will not have any good deeds that will be rewarded. However, concerning the believer, he will be rewarded for his good deeds in this life and in the Hereafter as well.”

[The commentary above was taken from Tafseer Ibn Kathir]

Let’s focus on those golden words above once again to understand that Qatadah Rahimahullah is talking about two people, who are doing absolutely the SAME deed, but one wins only in this world and the other wins both here and in the hereafter:

Person 1:

“Whoever’s concern, intention and goal is this worldly life, then Allah will reward him for his good deeds in this life. Then, when he reaches the next life, he will not have any good deeds that will be rewarded.”

Person 2:

“Concerning the believer, he will be rewarded for his good deeds in this life and in the Hereafter as well.”

Take the example from Part 1 of this topic where the wealthy man spent his provision in the path of Allah, and yet he will be thrown into the hell fire. The other man whose provision was half a date that he spent in charity, is likely to be saved from the fire. Both men are doing the SAME deed of spending and yet one excels only in this world while the other excels both in this world and in the hereafter. Half a date of charity outweighed a lifetime of accumulated wealth. The intention made the difference.

Your intention is such an important aspect of your deed that you can use to invest EVERYTHING that you do here in this world and gain reward in the hereafter, even acts that you may not consider to be worship towards Allah such as: sleeping, eating, playing football, going to the gym, cooking, painting. How, you ask? Where is the proof from the Qur’an and Sunnah you ask? Let us explore the topic of intention (sincerity towards Allah) a bit more and truly realize how broad it is and what we are missing out on.

The famous hadeeth on niyyah

The Commander of the Faithful, Umar ibn al-Khattab, relates that he heard Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) say:

“Actions are but by intentions and every man will have only what he intended. So whoever emigrated for Allah and His Messenger, then his emigration was for Allah and His Messenger. And whoever emigrated to attain something of this world or to marry a woman, then his emigration was for whatever reason he emigrated.”

[Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

This hadeeth is so important that Imam Al-Bukhari chose to record this as the very first hadeeth in the famous Sahih Al-Bukhari.
Imam As-Shafi`i said: “This hadeeth contains a third of knowledge. It applies to seventy distinct branches of Islamic Law.”
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said that this hadeeth is one of three that covers the principles of Islam.

The background of the hadeeth is as follows: 

When the believers were migrating from Makkah to Madinah, some Muslims immigrated for the love and pleasure of Allah. But others migrated for worldly gain.

It is related that a man sought the hand of a woman called Umm Qays. She refused to marry him unless he undertook the emigration to Madinah. So he made the emigration and married her in Madinah. He became known as “the emigrant to Umm Qays”.

Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, in his commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari entitled Fath al-Bari, asserts that the story of the “emigrant to Umm Qays” is authentic. In fact, its chain of transmission fulfills all of the conditions of authenticity set forth by al-Bukhari and Muslim. However, Ibn Hajar also points out that there is no evidence to indicate that the Prophet (Sallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) was referring to this incident when he said “Actions are but by intentions…”

In any case, this hadeeth is general in its meaning relating in some way to every action that has or should have an intention behind it.

So we see two men, both migrating to the city of Madinah. Both undertaking the tedious, weary task of giving up their nice comfortable homes that they lived in for so long, leaving behind wealth and possession, a fantastic secure job, then taking the trouble of travelling for many hundreds of miles to get to a destination that was completely new to them and could possibly be the beginning of a tough time to settle in. Both these men are going through the SAME thing. But one gains the reward of Allah and the other doesn’t. One wins and the other loses. Isn’t that astonishing? What makes the difference? The intention. One did it for the pleasure of Allah. The other for a woman.

The winner converted his action to worship by a simple intention in the heart to please Allah.

So the lesson here is that: the famous hadeeth on niyyah is not just for established acts of worship in our shariah, like fasting or praying. Rather this hadeeth is for any permissible deed that we do. This is what Ahmad ibn Hanbal understood from the hadeeth, because he said: “I prefer that when anyone does any deed – whether it be prayer, fasting, or charity, or whether it be any other kind of virtuous deed – he should have his intentions always precede his actions, for the Prophet (Sallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said: ‘Actions are but by intentions…’.”

The important lesson above is stressed in the following quote by Sheikh Salih Al-Munajjid:

It should be noted that intentions are of two types [1]:

1 – Obligatory intention, without which an act of worship is not valid, such as the intention in doing wudoo’, praying, paying zakah (obligatory alms), fasting and doing Hajj (Pilgrimage). This intention is something that no one can do without. When you pray, you already have an intention in your heart. It is difficult for a person to forget to form the intention in such cases.

2 – The second type of intention is that which is mustahabb (preferable) in order to attain reward. This is what some people forget, which is to keep the intention in mind when doing permissible things, so that they will be acts of worship, such as eating, drinking and sleeping with the intention of strengthening oneself to do acts of worship, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“You will never spend anything that you spend for the sake of Allah, but you will be rewarded for it, even the morsel of food that you put in your wife’s mouth.”

Narrated by al-Bukhari (56)

And similarly, the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said to Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas Radhi Allahu ‘Anhu:

“You will not spend charity with which you seek Allah’s Face, but you will ascend a higher degree and status because of it, including what you put in your wife’s mouth.”

Saheeh Al-Bukhari and Muslim, as noted in Tafsir Ibn Kathir under Aayah 2:274

It should also be noted that:

1) Your niyyah needs to precede your action.

2) The niyyah is in the heart.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said “The intention of purifying oneself by doing wudoo’ ghusl or tayammum, of praying, fasting, paying zakaah, offering kaffarah (expiation) and other acts of worship does not need to be uttered verbally, according to the consensus of the imaams of Islam. Rather the place of intention is the heart, according to the consensus among them. If a person utters something by mistake that goes against what is in his heart, then what counts is what he intended, not what he said.” [2]

3) A person’s intention should be comprised of:

A– That he is performing the specific act of worship, like wudoo’, salah, zakah etc. (This is important because you cannot make the intention after the act of worship. For e.g. you take a shower and then after you finish you cannot make the intention that you performed ghusl and expect reward from it).
B– That he’s performing it for the sake of Allah
C– That he’s performing the act of worship so as to fulfill the command of Allah

This is the complete intention (Allah knows best).

[Sharh Riyadh Us Saliheen by Shaikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen (1/14)]

How doing the same deed made one a winner and the other a loser

Now let us see some more examples of how the same deed made people winners and others losers because one intended by the deed to seek the pleasure of Allah and the other didn’t.

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says:

“There is no good in most of their secret talks save (in) him who orders Sadaqah (charity in Allah’s Cause), or Ma’ruf (Islamic Monotheism and all the good and righteous deeds which Allah has ordained), or conciliation between mankind, and he who does this, seeking the good Pleasure of Allah, We shall give him a great reward.”
[Surat An-Nisaa’: 114]

Ibn Rajab comments on this verse:

Allah describes enjoining alms giving, goodness, and reconciliation as good deeds in and of themselves. This is because such deeds benefit the people. However, Allah only promises a reward to those who carry out these deeds “seeking the good pleasure of Allah”. Therefore, if a person performs these good and beneficial deeds for the sake of Allah, then the deeds will be good for him as well as for those who benefit from his deeds. If he had other ulterior motives, then these deeds will be of no good for him. [Jami` al-`Ulum wa al-Hikam]

Similarly,  using Ibn Rajab’s words again, the deed such as going to the gym may be a good deed in and of itself because you may do it to improve your health and stay fit. However, Allah only promises a reward to those who carry out this deed “seeking the good pleasure of Allah”.

You can just about place any good deed in the underlined part above and it will still hold true. Lets try again.

A deed such as sleeping may be a good deed in and of itself because you may do it to  relieve yourself from the hardships of the day. However, Allah only promises a reward to those who carry out this deed “seeking the good pleasure of Allah”.

See? It is that simple. It requires you to be attentive of Allah in your actions all the time, whether you’re sitting, moving, at your work place, with your family, with your friends, whatever and wherever. As Allah says:

Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those 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 be You above all that they associate with You as partners).
Then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.

[Surat Aal ‘Imran: Aayahs 190-191]

Mu’adh (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

I sleep and I get up (to pray at night), and I seek reward for my sleep as I seek reward for my getting up.

Narrated by al-Bukhari (4088)

He (may Allah be pleased with him) sought reward for his sleep just as he sought reward for his getting up to pray at night, because he intended by sleeping to gain strength to do acts of worship.

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar said in al-Fath: What this means is that he sought reward by resting just as he sought reward by striving, because if the intention in resting is to enable one to do acts of worship, one attains reward.[1]

So why can’t we make the same intention when we work, play football, cook food, wash ourselves or whatever, to be sincere to Allah and seek reward through it? Take each of the deeds just mentioned and relate it to the hereafter:

Work: Hasn’t the Prophet Sallalahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam commanded us numerous times to work for our provision, one being in the following hadeeth :

It was narrated that ‘Aishah RadhiAllahu ‘Anha said:
“The Messenger of Allah said:
“The best (most Pure) food that a man eats is that which he has earned himself.”
Sunan an-Nasa’i 4449
In-book reference : Book 44, Hadith 1
English translation : Vol. 5, Book 44, Hadith 4454

In another hadeeth:

Ka`b ibn `Ujarah رضي الله عنه said: “A man passed by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and his Companions were impressed by the man’s strength and energy. They said: ‘O Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, if only this was for the sake of Allah!’
The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

❝If he goes out to work for the sake of his young children, he is striving for the sake of Allah;
if he goes out to work for the sake of his aged parents, he is striving for the sake of Allah;
if he goes out to work to keep himself from having to beg, he is striving for the sake of Allah;
but if he goes out to work for the purposes of showing off and boasting, then he is striving in the way of the Shaytaan.❞

[Al-Tabaraanee in al-Kabeer (282) and in al-Sagheer (940) and graded as “Saheeh li-ghairihi” by Shaikh al-Albaanee in Saheeh al-Targheeb (1692 & 1959) and in as-Saheehah (2232) from the Hadeeth of Abu Hurairah]

Most of us have a Monday to Friday fixed hours job that we get up for about 70% of the times in a week. We get up to go to work, why can’t we go to work to worship Allah? A simple sincere conscious intention towards seeking the pleasure of Allah is all that is required.

Say you are a doctor. Abu ‘Aisha Amjad writes [3],

“The Muslim doctor should hope for Allah’s reward and good recompense.  He (or she) should be sincere to Allah in his (or her) profession and should not practice medicine only for his (or her) status to be acknowledged. Rather he (or she) should be sincere and hope for Allah’s reward.* Alqamah Ibn Waqqaas Al-Laythiy said: I heard Umar Ibn Al-khattaab (radiyallaahu-‘anhu) saying whilst on the minbar: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallal-laahu-‘alayhi-wasallam ) saying:

إنما الأعمال بالنيات وإنما لكل امرئ ما نوى فمن كانت هجرته إلى الله ورسوله فهجرته إلى الله ورسوله ومن كانت هجرته لدنيا يصيبها أو امرأة ينكحها فهجرته إلى ما هاجر إليه

“Actions are (judged) by intentions and every person will have what he intended. So he whose migration was to Allah and His Messenger, his migration is to Allah and His Messenger. And he whose migration was for some worldly (gain) or for a woman to marry, then his migration is to that for which he migrated.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Why don’t we think about the above before we go to work? All it requires is a sincere intention and then Allah will reward us even whilst we are typing away on a computer or performing a heart surgery or whatever our job is, because our intention was to please Him alone.

Play football: Hasn’t the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam commanded us in numerous places to stay fit, healthy and strong, one of which is:

“A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer.”

In-book reference : Sahih Muslim, Book 46, Hadith 52
USC-MSA web (English) reference : Book 33, Hadith 6441

Why don’t we think about this before we start exercising or going to the gym or playing for physical fitness. All we have to do is form a sincere intention towards Allah to please Him abiding by the commandments He gave us to follow Himself for taking care of our-selves. And then we can enjoy both this time of keeping ourselves healthy in this world and also reap reward in the hereafter because we converted our action into worship for the sake of Allah.

Cook Food: Hasn’t Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’la said:

O you who have believed, eat from the good things which We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah if it is [indeed] Him that you worship.

[Surat Al-Baqarah: Aayah 172]

Why don’t we think about this before we start cooking or eating, why don’t we think about wanting to please Allah, forming an intention and then proceeding with the action and gaining numerous reward at the same time in this world and hereafter as opposed to the one who starts the deed without being conscious of Allah and thus not benefiting from the time and effort that he/she spends cooking and eating?

Washing ourselves: Hasn’t the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam taught us by his actions to clean ourselves, one incident being:

“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to relieve himself, then another boy and I would bring a vessel of water and a short spear [to use as a sutrah for the prayer he was going to do after doing wudoo’] and he would cleanse himself with the water.”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 149; Muslim, 271

Why don’t we think about this action of cleansing that the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam did before entering the bathroom, reciting the du’aas that he Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam has taught us to say before entering the bathroom, forming an intention to please Allah to clean ourselves for His sake and His pleasure because the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam used to clean himself and thus gain the reward of Allah and His Blessings, Mercy and Victory in this world and the hereafter?

These are just some deeds that we do everyday. We do many more and by Allah! we will find something in the Qur’an or Sunnah guiding us and telling us how to go about doing it.

Do you see how Allah has guided us in every single matter of our lives from prayer to professional work to how to clean ourselves in the bathroom to physical fitness? Allah has showed us how His religion is comprehensively part of everything that we do here in this world and how we can relate everything to Him and seek His pleasure and gain great reward.

And why else would Allah tell us to say and remind ourselves that:

Say (O Muhammad Sallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam): “Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).

[Surat Al-An’am: Aayah 162]

Allah has guided us in every aspect of our lives and has taught us how to relate everything that we do with seeking His pleasure and the Hereafter. And the one who doesn’t do so, is not mindful of Allah in all his activities and therefore has no sincerity or intention behind what he does and he just aimlessly does the deed, is surely in loss. This also goes for the people who don’t make an effort to know Allah and don’t invest the time to build a relationship with Allah that would have helped them to remember and want to please Allah all the time in whatever they do. Such people will surely be in loss in the hereafter. Which is why the great scholar Imaam lbn al-Qayyim Rahimahullah said:

“The lifespan of a person is the period of his life, and there is no life for the one who has turned away from the (worship) of Allah, and is occupied with other than Him, rather the life of the animals is better than his life. For indeed, a person’s life is by way of his heart and soul, and there is no life for a person’s heart except by having knowledge of its Creator, having love for Him, and worship of Him alone, turning to Him in repentance, having tranquility and comfort in His remembrance, and having delight in drawing closer to Him. So whoever is deprived of this life has indeed been deprived of goodness in its entirety. Rather there is nothing in this world with all that it has that could compensate for this life (of having knowledge of Allah, worshiping Him, and having delight in drawing closer to Him etc).

[Ad-Daa’ wad-Dawaa’ (pg. 201), Daar’Aalim al-Fawaaid print, 2nd edition]

Some practical steps in order for us to be mindful of Allah and seek reward from our deed with a sincere intention:

Sheikh Saalih Al-Munajjid writes:

“What helps to keep this intention in mind is:

Deliberating, thinking and not being hasty.

So you should think about what you are intending to do, take stock of yourself before acting, think about whether it is halaal or haraam (permissible or impermissible), then look at your intention:

What do you want from this?

Every time you take stock of yourself and think before acting, this will remind you about forming the intention, until it becomes second nature and a habit that you adopt, so that you will not enter or exit, eat or drink, give or withhold, without having an intention in doing so; thus most of your time will become times of worship.”[1]

To Conclude:

Allah says:

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.
I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me.
Verily, Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong.

[Surat Adh-Dhariyaat: Aayahs 56-58]

It is possible for you to worship Allah 24 hours a day. You are not worshiping Allah only when you are in the mosque. Your entire life can revolve around worship. You are here for the hereafter. You were given life because of worship. And your sincerity, your intention towards Allah will make the difference.

Please read part 1 of this topic here: Your Intention Makes the Difference Part 1

The Intention Makes the Difference Part 2

Resources used:

[1] https://islamqa.info/en/answers/95095/forgetting-intention

[2] https://islamqa.info/en/answers/13337/ruling-on-uttering-the-intention-niyyah-in-acts-of-worship

[3] https://salaficentre.com/2015/05/3-the-muslim-doctor-and-the-goal-behind-medicine/

Your Intention Makes the Difference – Part 1

When you come across the aayaahs in the Qur’an that speak of the hell fire, you are left terrified, shaken, broken by the extreme nature with which Allah describes the destruction of it! Aayaahs of the Qur’an such as:

In fierce hot wind and boiling water
And a shade of black smoke,
Neither cool nor beneficial
[Surat Al-Waaqi’ah: Aayahs 42-44] 

There will be sent against you both, smokeless flames of fire and (molten) brass, and you will not be able to defend yourselves.
[Surat Ar-Rahmaan: Aayah 35]

For them there will be no food except from a poisonous, thorny plant, which neither nourishes nor avails against hunger.
[Surat Al-Ghashiyah: Aayahs 6-7]

Wherein he will neither die nor live.
[Surat Al-A’la: Aayah 13]

It is a fire about whose intense heat in comparison to that of the fire on earth has been described by the Prophet Sallalahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam when he said,

“The fire of the Children of Adam that you all kindle is one part of the seventy parts of the fire of Hell.”
They (the Companions) said, “O Messenger of Allah! Isn’t it sufficient’?’
He replied,” It is more than it by sixty-nine times.”

Al-Bukhari and Muslim

It is a fire whose severe isolation and loneliness has been described by the sahabah and many scholars of the past.
Ibn ‘Abbas RadhiAllahu Anhu said, “Its doors will be closed.” and “they will have chains on their necks, and the gates (of Hell) will be shut upon them.”
Ad-Dahhak said, ُ”It will be sealed over them and it will have no door.”
Qatadah said, ُ”It will be shut and there will be no light in it, no escape, and no way out of it forever.”
Thabit Al-Bunani said, “It will burn them all the way to their hearts while they are still alive.” Then he said, “Indeed the torment will reach them.” Then he cried.

Such horrifying reports of the fire that Allah has prepared make you wonder how evil the people who enter it must have been, so much so that they weren’t able to attain Mercy from the Most Generous of those Who grants Mercy and Forgiveness. As Allah says:

None shall enter it save the most wretched.
[Surat Al-Layl: Aayah 15]

These must have been some really reaaaaally bad people who did some reaaally bad deeds.

But do you know who are the very first amongst the people who will enter such a fire? Here are the first three:

  1. A man who studied religious knowledge and taught it and who used to recite the Qur’an.
  2. A man who spent his wealth in every way possible way that Allah likes.
  3. A man who died as a martyr in the path of Allah. 

You don’t believe it? It is what the Prophet Sallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam said himself:

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say:
“The first of people against whom judgement will be pronounced on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who died a martyr.
He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them.
[The Almighty] will say: ‘And what did you do about them?’
He will say: ‘I fought for You until I died a martyr.’
He will say: ‘You have lied – you did but fight that it might be said [of you]: ‘He is courageous.’
And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.

[Another] will be a man who has studied [religious] knowledge and has taught it and who used to recite the Qur’an. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them.
[The Almighty] will say: ‘And what did you do about them?’
He will say: ‘I studied [religious] knowledge and I taught it and I recited the Qur’an for Your sake.’
He will say: ‘You have lied – you did but study [religious] knowledge that it might be said [of you]: ‘He is learned.’ And you recited the Qur’an that it might be said [of you]: ‘He is a reciter.’
And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into the Hell-fire.

[Another] will be a man whom Allah had made rich and to whom He had given all kinds of wealth. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them.
[The Almighty] will say: ‘And what did you do about them?’
He will say: ‘I left no path [un-trodden] in which You like money to be spent without spending in it for Your sake.’
He will say: ‘You have lied – you did but do so that it might be said [of you]: ‘He is open-handed.’
And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.”

It was related by Muslim (also by at-Tirmidhi and an-Nasa’i)

While Abu Hurayrah RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu was narrating this hadeeth, he was so traumatized by it that he kept gasping until his head fell forward and he needed the support of another person beside him.

These three people, in spite of all their hard earned effort towards doing good deeds, where did they fail? The failed in their sincerity towards Allah. And only that caused them to enter the Hell fire. Their intention is what made the difference.

We learn from this that just doing a good deed is not enough. What plays an even more important role in deciding whether that deed will be accepted by Allah, is the intention behind it.

The Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Allaah does not accept any deed except that which is done only for Him and to seek His pleasure.”

Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 3140; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Silsilah as-Saheehah, 52.

The question that should be asked to yourself before doing any good deed is:

Am I doing this to please Allah?

Riya

They fell into something called Riya (showing off).

In al-Musnad (27742), it is narrated that Mahmoud ibn Labeed said that the Messenger of Allaah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said:

“The thing that I fear most for you is minor shirk.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, what is minor shirk?” He said: “Showing off, for Allah 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 as-Silsilah as-Saheehah, 951.

Allah has mentioned in the Qur’an with regards to shirk:

“Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship).”
[Surat An-Nisa: Aayah 48] 

And although riya is regarded as minor shirk, it must be avoided just as major shirk is avoided.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked: Do the words of Allah, “Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship)” [an-Nisa’ 4:48] include minor shirk?

He replied: “The scholars differed concerning that. Some of them said that it includes all kinds of shirk, even minor shirk such as swearing by something other than Allah; Allah will not forgive him. But with regard to major sins, such as drinking alcohol and zina, they are subject to the will of Allah; if Allah wills He will forgive them and if He wills He will punish them. 
Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] said different things. On one occasion he said: Allah does not forgive shirk even if it is minor. And on another occasion he said: That which Allah does not forgive is major shirk.  Whatever the case, we must beware of shirk altogether, because the general meaning may include minor shirk too, because He says “Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him” meaning any partner, therefore it suggests any kind of shirk.
End quote from Majmoo’ Fataawa as-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (2/203).[2]

We can notice how riya ties to shirk even in the following hadeeth where we see how we may incur the anger and wrath of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, who is the Most Merciful, if we do our deeds to show off to others than Allah:

The Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said:


“Allah – the Blessed and Sublime – says:  “I am in no need of partners. Whoever does a deed for the sake of others as well as me, I leave his deed for those others.'”

Sahîh Muslim

We see how it affects one of the most important principles of Tawheed (to single out Allah in all acts of worship and to abandon the worship of anything else) which is:

Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah – to single out Allah within the actions of the servant.”

This includes all actions that draw them closer to Allah, Glorified and Exalted, like Du’aa (supplicaton).
All forms of worship must be strictly for Allah alone, and nothing can be done for other than Him. This is what is called tawheed al-‘ibaadah, or tawheed al-uloohiyyah, and it is the tawheed that is put into practice as the servant singles out Allah in everything He has requested, with an intention for Him alone, in all acts of obedience.
[Taken from Shaykh Saalih ibn ‘Abdillaah Al-Fawzaan’s book-Duroos min Al-Qur’aan Al-Kareem (p.12-14).]

This is why it is so important to learn Tawheed and we made a special article just for you on that here: The Only Way You Will Succeed 

A remedy for Riya

The Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said:

“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:

اللهم إني أعوذ بك أن أشرك بك وأنا أعلم وأستغفرك لما لا أعلم

Allahumma inni a’oodhu bika an ushrika bika wa ana a’lam wa astaghfiruka lima la a’lam.
(O Allah, 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

It is tragic to know how many times we fall into this error. When we stand up for salah, do we stand up with the sole purpose of seeking Allah’s pleasure alone or do a thousand other thoughts run in our mind because of which prayer just becomes a ritual that we do to go with the flow that everyone else is going in? Do we stand up to pray just to be seen by others to save our reputation which is at stake when people start realizing we don’t come to the mosque so often? When I invite people over for dinner am I doing it so that I receive praises of how delicious and costly the food is and make them listen to the trouble you had to go through to arrange for it?  When once in a blue moon you call your parents to check on how they are doing, do you see the deed as just a chore that you need to get out of the way so that you don’t have to listen to your parents complaining about you not keeping in touch with them so often? Where is Allah in our minds when we do all these so called ‘good deeds’? The pleasure of Allah is the last thing in our minds let alone the only thing.

We can do all the good deeds that we want, be as righteous, humble, knowledgeable, devoted to worship in the eyes of people as much as we want, but if there is no connection that we make between our deeds and the pleasure of Allah, we are doing it all for nothing.

Even the Jews and Christians do good deeds

Even the Jews and Christians do a lot of good deeds, maybe sometimes even more so than a lot of the Muslims in today’s time. But Umar ibn Al Khattab RadhiAllahu ‘Anhu would look at the righteousness of these folks and start crying, for he understood that all that hard work was going to get them nowhere except into the Hell fire.
Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Burqani narrated from Abu `Imran Al-Jawni that he said,
“Umar bin Al-Khattab passed by the monastery of a monk and he said: `O monk!’
Then the monk came out, and `Umar looked at him and began to weep.
Then it was said to him: `O Commander of the faithful! Why are you weeping?’ He replied: `I remembered the statement of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, in His Book:

‘Working [hard] and exhausted (in doing their deeds).
They will enter in the hot blazing Fire,’
[Surat Al-Ghaashiyah: Aayahs 3-4]

So that is what has made me cry. ‘

Ibn Kathir writes for the explanation of the Aayah above, ‘they did many deeds and became weary in their performance, yet they will be cast into a blazing Fire on the Day of Judgement.’
Can we say the same for us and many of our deeds?

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala constantly reminds us throughout the Qur’an of the importance of accompanying ‘belief in Allah’ along with our righteous deeds. The same Aayah is repeated again and again:

Except for those who have believe and do righteous deeds..
[Surat Al-Asr: Aayah 3]

Ibn Kathir writes concerning this Ayah, “Allah makes an exception, among the species of man being in loss, for those who believe in their hearts and work righteous deeds with their limbs.”

The element of having belief i.e. being mindful of Allah, while we do good deeds cannot be taken lightly. We should be afraid of becoming from the people who used to do so much work and so many good deeds whom Allah will treat as follows:

And We will regard what they have done of deeds and make them as dust dispersed.
[Surat Al-Furqan: Aayah 23]

Under the Ayah above, Ibn Kathir quotes this Ayah:

O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he does not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day. His likeness is the likeness of a smooth rock on which is a little dust; on it falls heavy rain which leaves it bare. They are not able to do anything with what they have earned.
[Surat Al-Baqarah: Aayah 264]

The Salaf-us-Saalih were afraid

The Salaf-us-Saalih (our righteous predecessors) were afraid of their insincerity towards Allah in their deeds, even though they were the best of mankind in their worship towards Allah. The Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam has said about them:

‘The best people are my generation then those who will come after them and then those after them…’

Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6065, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2533

So the word ‘Salaf or more appropriately ‘Salaf-us-Saalih’ includes the first three generations from the time of the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam:
1st generation – The Sahabah
2nd generation – The Tabi’een (Those who followed the Sahabah)
3rd generation – The Atba-ut-Tabi’een (Those who followed the Tabi’een)

The concern that the Salaf-us-Saalih had towards ensuring sincerity in their actions for the pleasure of Allah alone and the fear they had of showing off can be seen by some of their actions and statements:

A great scholar and imam by the name of Ibn al-Qayyim rightly said,

“Deeds without sincerity (to please Allah alone) are like a traveler who carries in his water jug dirt. The carrying of it burdens him and it brings no benefit.”

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim

One of them would be reading Qur’an in the masjid when someone would walk in and he would hide it in his garment so that others don’t see that he is doing a good deed.

One of them would wait for their wife to go to sleep, and then he would sneak out of his bed to pray Qiyaam al-Layl (the night prayer). His wife would never know.

One of them continued to fast voluntary fasts for 20 years. His wife would give him breakfast in the morning and he would go give it as a sadaqah. He would come home during maghrib time to eat and break his fast and his wife would think it is his dinner.

Sa’eed ibn ‘Aamir may Allah have mercy upon him said: “Ayyoob As-Sikhtiyaani may Allah have mercy upon him used to pray all night long and would conceal this from people. When it was close to the time of the Fajr prayer, he would raise his voice as if he had just woken up.”

Abu Yoosuf, may Allaah have mercy on him, said:
“Intend Allah through your (search for) knowledge, for indeed I never sat in a gathering of people in which I made it my intention to humble myself except that I didn’t leave from it until I had surpassed them. And I never sat in a gathering of people in which I made it my intention to surpass them, except that I didn’t leave from it until I was disgraced.
Knowledge is one of the many acts of worship and one of the many ways of gaining nearness to Allah. So if one purifies his intention while seeking it, his deed will be accepted and purified. And its blessing will become complete. However, if he intends other than the sake of Allah when seeking knowledge, his deed becomes nullified and wasted and his transaction is lost. Perhaps he may even miss out on these (worldly) objectives and never achieve any of them. So in this case, he will have failed in his objective and at the same time wasted his efforts.”[1]

Please see how the words above tie in to what the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said:

“He who does not acquire knowledge with the sole intention of seeking the Pleasure of Allah but for worldly gain, will not smell the fragrance of Jannah on the Day of Resurrection.”

Reported by Abu Hurairah: Abu Dawud, Book 13, Hadith 1391

Al-Hasan al-Basrî said:
“I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul. No one feels safe from it (insincere intention) except for a hypocrite and no one fears it except for a believer.”

Yaqub il Maqfuf used to say:
“The sincere person is the one who hides his good deeds the same way he hides his bad deeds.”

Abu Uthmaan used to say:
“Sincerity is forgetting the sight of the creation, and continually being mindful of Allah.”

Ibraheem ibn Al Adham used to say:
“He has not been truthful to Allah, the one who seeks fame and recognition.”

The famous Sheikh Al Albaani used to say:
“Fame will break ones back.”
i.e. the more famous you become in the eyes of the people, the harder it is for you to guide your actions towards sincerity.

Sa’ad ibn ‘Abdullah used to say:
“There is nothing tougher upon the person then his niyyah.”

Sufain Ath-Thawri used to say:
“I have not struggled against anything more difficult than my niyyah (intention). Verily it keeps changing upon me.”

Abdullah ibn Mubarak used to say:
“Maybe a small deed will become big because of the niyyah (intention), and a big deed may become small because of the niyyah.”

The quote above is reflected in the hadeeth where a small task of giving half a date can save someone from the fire where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“Save yourself from hellfire by giving even half a date-fruit in charity.” –

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 498

Compare this to the hadeeth of the three men who entered hell. The man who spent his wealth in every possible way that Allah likes entered hell. And in this hadeeth a man who is giving only half a date in charity is being saved from the hell fire.
The intention is what made the difference.

Please read part 2 of this article here: Your Intention Makes the Difference Part 2

The Intention Makes the Difference

Resources used:

[1] https://abdurrahman.org/2014/09/30/sincerity-in-seeking-knowledge-shaykh-muhammad-baazmool/

[2] https://islamqa.info/en/91763

[3] A lot of the quotes of the Salaf-us-Saalih were taken from this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ajdFvbq5MM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Reasons Why a Muslim Should Not Listen to Music

1. Allah has forbade it

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The interpretation of the Sahaabah and Taabi’in, that ‘idle talk’ refers to singing, is sufficient. This was reported with saheeh isnaads from Ibn ‘Abbaas and Ibn Mas’ood. Abu’l-Sahbaa’ said: I asked Ibn Mas’ood about the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

‘“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks.”

[Luqmaan 31:6]

He said: By Allaah, besides Whom there is no other god, this means singing – and he repeated it three times. It was also reported with a saheeh isnaad from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) that this means singing. There is no contradiction between the interpretation of “idle talk” as meaning singing and the interpretation of it as meaning stories of the Persians and their kings, and the kings of the Romans, and so on, such as al-Nadr ibn al-Haarith used to tell to the people of Makkah to distract them from the Qur’aan. Both of them are idle talk. Hence Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “Idle talk” is falsehood and singing. Some of the Sahaabah said one and some said the other, and some said both. Singing is worse and more harmful than stories of kings, because it leads to zinaa and makes hypocrisy grow (in the heart); it is the trap of the Shaytaan, and it clouds the mind. The way in which it blocks people from the Qur’aan is worse than the way in which other kinds of false talk block them, because people are naturally inclined towards it and tend to want to listen to it. The aayaat condemn replacing the Qur’aan with idle talk in order to mislead (men) from the path of Allaah without knowledge and taking it as a joke, because when an aayah of the Qur’aan is recited to such a person, he turns his back as if he heard them not, as if there were deafness in his ear. If he hears anything of it, he makes fun of it. All of this happens only in the case of the people who are most stubbornly kaafirs and if some of it happens to singers and those who listen to them, they both have a share of this blame. (Ighaathat al-Lahfaan, 1/258-259)

2. The Prophet Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam has forbade it

The Prophet sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam said,

“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. And there will be some people who will stay near the side of a mountain and in the evening their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something, but they will say to him, ‘Return to us tomorrow.’ Allah will destroy them during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and He will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection.”

Reference : Sahih al-Bukhari 5590
In-book reference : Book 74, Hadith 16
USC-MSA web (English) reference : Vol. 7, Book 69, Hadith 494

It was narrated that Naafi’ (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Ibn ‘Umar heard a woodwind instrument, and he put his fingers in his ears and kept away from that path. He said to me, O Naafi’, can you hear anything? I said, No. So he took his fingers away from his ears and said: I was with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he heard something like this, and he did the same thing. (Saheeh Abi Dawood). Some insignificant person said that this hadeeth does not prove that musical instruments are haraam, because if that were so, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would have instructed Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) to put his fingers in his ears as well, and Ibn ‘Umar would have instructed Naafi’ to do likewise! The response to this is: He was not listening to it, but he could hear it. There is a difference between listening and hearing. Shaykh al-Islam (Ibn Taymiyah) (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Concerning (music) which a person does not intend to listen to, there is no prohibition or blame, according to scholarly consensus. Hence blame or praise is connected to listening, not to hearing. The one who listens to the Qur’aan will be rewarded for it, whereas the one who hears it without intending or wanting to will not be rewarded for that, because actions are judged by intentions. The same applies to musical instruments which are forbidden: if a person hears them without intending to, that does not matter. (al-Majmoo’, 10/78).

Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: the listener is the one who intends to hear, which was not the case with Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both); what happened in his case was hearing. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) needed to know when the sound stopped because he had moved away from that path and blocked his ears. So he did not want to go back to that path or unblock his ears until the noise had stopped, so when he allowed Ibn ‘Umar to continue hearing it, this was because of necessity. (al-Mughni, 10/173)

Al-Qaasim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Singing is part of falsehood. Al-Hasan (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: if there is music involved in a dinner invitation (waleemah), do not accept the invitation (al-Jaami by al-Qayrawaani, p. 262-263).

3. The 4 Schools of thought have forbade it

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The view of the four Imaams is that all kinds of musical instruments are haraam. It was reported in Saheeh al-Bukhaari and elsewhere that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that there would be among his ummah those who would allow zinaa, silk, alcohol and musical instruments, and he said that they would be transformed into monkeys and pigs… None of the followers of the imaams mentioned any dispute concerning the matter of music. (al-Majmoo’, 11/576).

Al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The four madhhabs are agreed that all musical instruments are haraam.(al-Saheehah, 1/145).

Hanafi

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The madhhab of Abu Haneefah is the strictest in this regard, and his comments are among the harshest. His companions clearly stated that it is haraam to listen to all musical instruments such as the flute and the drum, even tapping a stick. They stated that it is a sin which implies that a person is a faasiq (rebellious evil doer) whose testimony should be rejectedThey went further than that and said that listening to music is fisq (rebellion, evildoing) and enjoying it is kufr (disbelief)This is their words. They narrated in support of that a hadeeth which could not be attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). They said: he should try not to hear it if he passes by it or it is in his vicinity. Abu Yoosuf said, concerning a house from which could be heard the sound of musical instruments: Go in without their permission, because forbidding evil actions is obligatory, and if it were not allowed to enter without permission, people could not have fulfilled the obligatory duty (of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil). (Ighaathat al-Lahfaan, 1/425).

Maliki

Imaam Maalik (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about playing the drum or flute, if a person happens to hear the sound and enjoy it whilst he is walking or sitting. He said: He should get up if he finds that he enjoys it, unless he is sitting down for a need or is unable to get up. If he is on the road, he should either go back or move on. (al-Jaami’ by al-Qayrawaani, 262). He (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The only people who do things like that, in our view, are faasiqs.” (Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 14/55).

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: With regard to the view of Imaam Ahmad, his son ‘Abd-Allaah said: I asked my father about singing. He said: Singing makes hypocrisy grow in the heart; I do not like it. Then he mentioned the words of Maalik: the evildoers (faasiqs) among us do that. (Ighaathat al-Lahfaan).

Shafi‘i

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, explaining the view of Imaam al-Shaafa’i: His companions who know his madhhab (point of view) stated that it is haraam and denounced those who said that he permitted it. (Ighaathat al-Lahfaan, 1/425).

Hanbali 

Ibn Qudaamah, the researcher of the Hanbali madhhab – (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Musical instruments are of three types which are haraam. These are the strings and all kinds of flute, and the lute, drum and rabaab (stringed instrument) and so on. Whoever persists in listening to them, his testimony should be rejected. (al-Mughni, 10/173). And he said (may Allaah have mercy on him); If a person is invited to a gathering in which there is something objectionable, such as wine and musical instruments, and he is able to denounce it, then he should attend and speak out against it, because then he will be combining two obligatory duties. If he is not able to do that, then he should not attend. (al-Kaafi, 3/118)

4. The Sahabah, the Tabi’een and the Atba at Tabi’een have forbade it

Some people even have the nerve to suggest that the Sahaabah and Taabi’een listened to singing, and that they saw nothing wrong with it!

 Al-Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him) said: We demand them to show us saheeh isnaads going back to these Sahaabah and Taabi’een, proving what they attribute to them.  Then he said: Imaam Muslim mentioned in his introduction to his Saheeh that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Mubaarak said: The isnaad is part of religion. Were it not for the isnaad, whoever wanted to could say whatever he wanted to.

Some of them said that the ahaadeeth which forbid music are full of faults. No hadeeth was free of being criticized by some of the scholars. Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The ahaadeeth which were narrated concerning music being haraam are not full of faults as has been claimed. Some of them are in Saheeh al-Bukhaari which is the soundest of books after the Book of Allaah, and some of them are hasan and some are da’eef. But because they are so many, with different isnaads, they constitute definitive proof that singing and musical instruments are haraam.

All the imaams agreed on the soundness of the ahaadeeth which forbid singing and musical instruments, apart from Abu Haamid al-Ghazzaali, but al-Ghazzaali did not have knowledge of hadeeth; and Ibn Hazam, but al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) explained where Ibn Hazam went wrong, and Ibn Hazam himself said that if any of (these ahaadeeth) were saheeh, he would follow that. But now they have proof that these reports are saheeh because there are so many books by the scholars which state that these ahaadeeth are saheeh, but they turn their backs on that. They are far more extreme than Ibn Hazam and they are nothing like him, for they are not qualified and cannot be referred to.

5. There is a specific way at specific time using a specific instrument that is permissble

The women at Eid or Wedding using the daff

The exception to the above is the daff – without any rings (i.e., a hand-drum which looks like a tambourine, but without any rattles) – when used by women on Eids and at weddings. This is indicated by saheeh reports. Shaykh al-Islam (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: But the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made allowances for certain types of musical instruments at weddings and the like, and he made allowances for women to play the daff at weddings and on other joyful occasions. But the men at his time did not play the daff or clap with their hands. It was narrated in al-Saheeh that he said: “Clapping is for women and tasbeeh (saying Subhaan Allaah) is for men.” And he cursed women who imitate men and men who imitate women. Because singing and playing the daff are things that women do, the Salaf used to call any man who did that a mukhannath (effeminate man), and they used to call male singers effeminate – and how many of them there are nowadays! It is well known that the Salaf said this.

Young girls singing

In a similar vein is the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), when her father (may Allaah be pleased with him) entered upon her at the time of Eid, and there were two young girls with her who were singing the verses that the Ansaar had said on the day of Bu’aath – and any sensible person will know what people say about war. Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Musical instruments of the Shaytaan in the house of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)!” The Messenger of Allaah had turned away from them and was facing the wall – hence some scholars said that Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) would not tell anybody off in front of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), but he thought that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was not paying attention to what was happening. And Allaah knows best. He (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) said: “Leave them alone, O Abu Bakr, for every nation has its Eid, and this is our Eid, the people of Islam.” This hadeeth shows that it was not the habit of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions to gather to listen to singing, hence Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq called it “the musical instruments of the Shaytaan”. And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) approved of this appellation and did not deny it when he said, “Leave them alone, for every nation has its Eid and this is our Eid.” This indicates that the reason why this was permitted was because it was the time of Eid, and the prohibition remained in effect at times other than Eid, apart from the exceptions made for weddings in other ahaadeeth. Shaykh al-Albaani explained this in his valuable book Tahreem Aalaat al-Tarab (the Prohibition of Musical Instruments). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) approved of young girls singing at Eid, as stated in the hadeeth: “So that the mushrikeen will know that in our religion there is room for relaxation.” There is no indication in the hadeeth about the two young girls that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was listening to them. The commands and prohibitions have to do with listening, not merely hearing, just as in the case of seeing, the rules have to do with intentionally looking and not what happens by accident. So it is clear that this is for women only. Imaam Abu ‘Ubayd (may Allaah have mercy on him) defined the daff as “that which is played by women.” (Ghareeb al-Hadeeth, 3/64).

“No people go astray after having been guided except they developed arguments amongst themselves.” (Saheeh)

Abyssinians playing in the mosque of the Prophet

Some of them used the hadeeth about the Abyssinians playing in the mosque of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) as evidence that singing is allowed! Al-Bukhaari included this hadeeth in his Saheeh under the heading Baab al-Hiraab wa’l-Daraq Yawm al-‘Eid (Chapter on Spears and Shields on the Day of Eid). Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: This indicates that it is permissible to play with weapons and the like in the mosque, and he applied that to other activities connected with jihaad. (Sharh Muslim). But as al-Haafiz ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: whoever speaks about something which is not his profession will come up with weird ideas such as these.

Some of them use as evidence the hadeeth about the singing of the two young girls, which we have discussed above, but we will quote what Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, because it is valuable:

Ibn al-Qayyim  on the two girl singing “incident”

I am amazed that you quote as evidence for allowing listening to sophisticated songs the report which we mentioned about how two young girls who were below the age of puberty sang to a young woman on the day of Eid some verses of Arab poetry about bravery in war and other noble characteristics. How can you compare this to that? What is strange is that this hadeeth is one of the strongest proofs against them. The greatest speaker of the truth [Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq] called them musical instruments of the Shaytaan, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) approved of that appellation, but he made an exception in the case of these two young girls who had not yet reached the age of responsibility and the words of whose songs could not corrupt anyone who listened to them. Can this be used as evidence to allow what you do and what you know of listening (to music) which includes (bad) things which are not hidden?! Subhaan Allaah! How people can be led astray! (Madaarij al-Saalikeen, 1/493).

Ibn al-Jawzi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) was young at that time; nothing was transmitted from her after she reached the age of puberty except condemnation of singing. Her brother’s son, al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad, condemned singing and said that it was not allowed to listen to it, and he took his knowledge from her. (Talbees Iblees, 229). Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: A group of the Sufis used this hadeeth – the hadeeth about the two young girls – as evidence that singing is allowed and it is allowed to listen to it, whether it is accompanied by instruments or not. This view is sufficiently refuted by the clear statement of ‘Aa’ishah in the following hadeeth, where she says, “They were not singers.” She made it clear that they were not singers as such, although this may be understood from the wording of the report. So we should limit it to what was narrated in the text as regards the occasion and the manner, so as to reduce the risk of going against the principle, i.e., the hadeeth. And Allaah knows best. (Fath al-Baari, 2/442-443).

If you want further evidence as to when it is permissible to beat the daff, please read: https://islamqa.info/en/20406

6. It distances you from the Quran and the Sunnah

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: How strange! What type of faith, light, insight, guidance and knowledge can be gained from listening to tuneful verses and music in which most of what is said is haraam and deserves the wrath and punishment of Allaah and His Messenger? … How can anyone who has the least amount of insight and faith in his heart draw near to Allaah and increase his faith by enjoying something which is hated by Him, and He detests the one who says it and the one who accepts it? (Madaarij al-Saalikeen, 1/485)

Shaykh al-Islam said, discussing the state of the person who has gotten used to listening to singing: Hence you find that those who have gotten used to it and for whom it is like food and drink will never have the desire to listen to the Qur’aan or feel joy when they hear it, and they never find in listening to its verses the same feeling that they find when listening to poetry. Indeed, if they hear the Qur’aan, they hear it with an inattentive heart and talk whilst it is being recited, but if they hear whistling and clapping of hands, they lower their voices and keep still, and pay attention. (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 11/557 ff)

Some say that music and musical instruments have the effect of softening people’s hearts and creating gentle feelings. This is not true, because it provokes physical desires and whims. If it really did what they say, it would have softened the hearts of the musicians and made their attitude and behaviour better, but most of them, as we know, are astray and behave badly.

Some Q n A

How does music cause hypocrisy to grow in the heart, and not other sins?

This is one of the clearest indications of the Sahaabah’s understanding of the workings of the heart and their knowledge of diseases of the heart (i.e., spiritual diseases) and their remedies. It highlights the fact that they were indeed doctors of the heart, unlike those who deviate from their path.

It should be understood that singing has specific characteristics that affect the heart, instilling hypocrisy in the heart and causing it to grow, just as water causes plants to grow.

If a man of understanding reflects upon the condition of singers and the condition of people who remember Allah and read the Qur’an, the intelligence of the Sahaabah will become clear to him, and he will realise how much knowledge they had of spiritual diseases and their remedies. And Allah is the source of strength.

I don’t get it how it affects my heart, I don’t feel bad when I listen to music

Those who watch movies, if they had no music, would it be as interesting to watch? Every scene has a different tune playing in the background to suit the scene. If it is a horror, romantic or action scene, the music swiftly changes. This is because the music alters the mind, it puts a person into a different mood, it creates an effect on the heart and thus shaytaan uses this tool to entice us into haram.

It causes an eclipse to occur in the heart, which can’t be noticed that easily. The belief that Allah is watching us becomes overshadowed causing a person to enter into the state of ignorance, which paves the way to many more sins.

Conclusion

Perhaps – for fair-minded and objective readers – this summary will make it clear that the view that music is permissible has no firm basis. There are no two views on this matter. So we must advise in the best manner, and then take it step by step and denounce music, if we are able to do so. We should not be deceived by the fame of a man in our own times in which the people who are truly committed to Islam have become strangers. The one who says that singing and musical instruments are permitted is simply supporting the whims of people nowadays, as if the masses were issuing fatwas and he is simply signing them! If a matter arises, they will look at the views of fuqahaa’ on this matter, then they will take the easiest view, as they claim. Then they will look for evidence, or just specious arguments which are worth no more than a lump of dead meat. How often have these people approved things in the name of sharee’ah which in fact have nothing to do with Islam!

Strive to learn your Islam from the Book of your Lord and the Sunnah of your Prophet. Do not say, So-and-so said, for you cannot learn the truth only from men. Learn the truth and then measure people against it. This should be enough for the one who controls his whims and submits himself to his Lord. May what we have written above heal the hearts of the believers and dispel the whispers in the hearts of those who are stricken with insinuating whispers. May it expose everyone who is deviating from the path of Revelation and taking the easiest options, thinking that he has come up with something which  none of the earlier generations ever achieved, and speaking about Allaah without knowledge. They sought to avoid fisq (evildoing) and ended up committing bid’ah – may Allaah not bless them in it. It would have been better for them to follow the path of the believers.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There will appear people in my community, who will hold adultery, silk, alcohol and musical instruments to be lawful.” (Bukhari)

Isn’t the warning from the hadith above enough for us.  It’s clear that fatwas on music are already here making it permissible, I don’t think we are too far away from the time when fatwas on alcohol and zina start coming in. Today it might be unimaginable for even  someone who thinks music is not haram or is makruh that how alcohol and zina would be halal too but Prophet Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam has not lied and he said the truth. It’s coming!

May Allah guide our affairs and lead us to the straight path. Ameen.

PicsArt_04-14-07.49.49

Resources used to compile this article:

Ruling on music singing and dancing: islamqa.info/en/5000
Harms that songs do: islamqa.info/en/122790
When is it permissible to beat the duff islamqa.info/en/20406

Where is Allah?

This is a question that falls into the matters of ‘Aqeedah – which refers to the matters which are known from the Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah, and which the Muslim must believe in his heart, in acknowledgement of the truth of Allah and His Messenger. And because there can be no difference of opinion in the matters of ‘Aqeedah there can only be one answer to this question. And the answer is as follows:

Allah is above His Creation. To be more precise: He is above the seven heavens, above His ‘Arsh (Throne) over which our Lord rose in a manner that befits His Majesty.

Now even though it is a very simple answer that the Sahabah (the companions of the Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) and a good number of generations after the Sahabah believed in with complete conviction, there is a lot of confusion that exists amongst the Muslims with regards to it in today’s time.
Let’s make it very clear so that by the time you are finished reading this piece, there is not even a shadow of a doubt left in you about where Allah, the All Mighty and Majestic, is.

Here are the 3 views that are popular amongst the Muslims concerning where Allah is:

View number 1:  Allah is everywhere.
View number 2:  Allah is neither inside the world not outside it, neither to the right nor to the left.
View number 3:  Allah is above His Creation, above His ‘Arsh.

Now let’s compare all the views above with 4 things to see which one is correct:

1)         What the Quran and Prophetic Sunnah say.
2)         What the Scholars amongst the Salaf (our righteous predecessors) say.
3)         Common sense.
4)         Man’s innate instinct/natural inclination (Fitrah).

 
1) Let’s start with what the Quran and Prophetic Sunnah say.

The Quran describes the “exaltedness” or “highness” of Allah in different ways.

a) In terms of being high and above, Allah says in the Quran:

“… and He is the Most High, the Most Great.”

[Quran, Surat Al-Baqarah 2:255]

“Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High …”

[Quran, Surat Al-A’laa 87:1]

“And He is the Irresistible, above His slaves …”

[Quran, Surat Al-An’aam 6:18]

“They fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded.”

[Quran, Surat An-Nahl 16:50]

In the Quran there is also the affirmation that Allah is above the heavens:

Do you feel secure that He, who is above the heaven, will not cause the earth to sink?

[Quran, Surat Al-Mulk 67:16]

Indeed your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and then He Istawa (rose over) the Throne…

[Quran, Surat Al-A’raf 7:54]

The Most Beneficent (Allah) Istawa (rose over) the (Mighty) Throne.

[Quran, Surat Taha 20:5]

 

b) In terms of things ascending to Him, Allah says in the Quran:

To Him ascends good speech, and righteous work raises it.

[Quran, Surat Faatir 35:10]

The angels and the rooh [Jibreel] ascend to Him.

[Quran, Surat Al-Ma’aarij 70:4]

 

c) In terms of things descending from Him, Allah says in the Quran:

He [Allah] arranges [every] affair from the heavens to the earth.

[Quran, Surat As-Sajdah 32:5]

Indeed, it is We Who have sent down the dhikr [the Quran].

[Quran, Surat Al-Hijr 15:9]

 

Now let’s look into the Prophetic Sunnah:

The Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam is reported to have said: “O Our Rabb! You are in the heaven, and we are on the earth…,”

[Hadeeth by Qatadah, declared hasan by Shaykh al-Albaani]

He SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam is also reported to have said: “Our Rabb is Allah Who is in the heaven…”

[Reported by Abu Daawood, Ahmad, and others]

He used to say “Subhana Rabbi al-A’ala (Glory be to my Lord Most High).”

He also used to raise his hands towards the heavens when he made du’a (supplication), as reported in many ahadeeth.

The most astounding hadeeth of all is an example of an approval of the Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam which indicates that Allah is Exalted and High. It is the hadeeth concerning the young slave girl.
Once, the Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam asked a young slave girl: “Where is Allah?” She replied: “Above the heavens.” He asked, “Who am I?” She replied, “The Messenger of Allah.” He SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam then ordered her master, “Grant her freedom, because she is a believer.”

[Reported by Imam Muslim, Abu Dawood, and others]

This young girl was uneducated, as many are, and she was a slave, but she knew that her Lord is above the heavens.

Hence according to the above, View number 3 is the truth.

 

2) Now let’s move onto what the Scholars amongst the Salaf (our righteous predecessors) say.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-’Uthaymeen, a great scholar of Islam who followed the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah, writes the following in his Tafseer (explanation) of Ayat Al-Kursi:

‘As for the ijmaa (general agreement), it is acknowledged that the salaf are in agreement that Allah is above His ‘Arsh. No one among them had ever said that He is everywhere or that He is neither above the world nor below it, or that He is neither to the right nor to the left, or that He is neither separated from the world nor associated with it.’ (End of quote.)

The word ‘Salaf’ refers to the companions of Allah’s Messenger SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam and the Imams of guidance from the first three generations of whom the Messenger of Allah SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam testified for as to their superiority when he said: “The best of mankind is my generation (the generation of the Sahabah), then those who come after them, then those who come after them.” [Reported by Imaam Ahmad in his Musnad, Al-Bukharee and Muslim]

Once again, we can confirm that View number 3 is the truth.

 

3) Now let’s move on to see this in terms of our common sense.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-’Uthaymeen writes the following in his Tafseer (explanation) of Ayat Al-Kursi about View number 2:

‘This position is absolute negation because it is a description of non-existence. Some scholars said, “If we were asked to describe ‘non-existence’ we would not find a more comprehensive definition than this description [View number 2].’ (End of quote.)

He also writes: ‘If we say that, “Allah is either above the world or under it or on its right or left,” then which of these descriptions denote perfection? The answer is, “Allah is above the world,” because if he is “under it” then He would be less perfect than the created! And if He is in the same place as the created, then Allah would be equal to him in perfection. Thus it is necessitated that Allah is above everything.’ (End of quote.)

And so it becomes even more clear why View number 3 is the truth.

 

4) Finally, let’s move on to see this in terms of our own innate instinct/natural inclination (Fitrah).

Think about it! When something troubles you, or when you want to ask Allah for something do you look in all the directions or do you look towards the heavens?

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-’Uthaymeen writes: ‘Each person naturally acknowledges the fact that Allah is above the heavens. That is why whenever a person supplicates to His Rabb (Allah) he/she takes refuge towards the direction of the sky (i.e. upward).’ (End of quote.)

He also writes: ‘The strange thing is that those who deny the Transcendence of Allah themselves raise their hands upward in the direction of the heavens when they invoke Allah.’ (End of quote.)

And so View number 3 is the absolute truth.

 

A common misconception

There is a common question that arises that if Allah is above His Creation, above His ‘Arsh, then why did Allah say, “We are closer to him than his jugular vein.” [Quran 50:16] Or why did He say in relation to when someone is on his deathbed that, “We are closer to him than you, but you do not see.” [Quran 56:85]

The answer to this is simple. When Allah says ‘We are closer to him’, He refers to His angels whose task it is to record people’s deeds. Those who said that it means that He is near explained it as meaning that He is near by His knowledge.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir in his explanation of the Quran says the following concerning the ayah ‘We are closer to him than his jugular vein’:

“It means His angels are nearer to man than his jugular vein.” And Ibn Kathir also says, “Allah did not say, ‘And I am closer to him than his jugular vein.’ Rather, He said, ‘And We are closer to him than his jugular vein.’ just as He said in the case of dying persons ‘But We are closer to him than you, but you do not see’ in reference to His angels (who take the souls).” (End of quote.)

The problem in understanding these Ayaat for most Muslims comes because they do not understand it like the way our Salaf understood it according to the teachings of Prophet Mohammed SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam. This is why it is very important that we interpret everything in our religion only according to the way it was taught to us and practiced by the Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam and not according to our own logical reasoning.

 

Where is Allah.png

 

Resources used to compile this answer:

5 Reasons Why a Muslim Should Not Celebrate Birthdays

1: The calendar system 

We are in 2016. Did the world begin 2016 years ago?  If that were true it would mean that the world started in 0001 AD. If not, then why are we in 2016?
We are in 2016 AD because we follow a calendar that was made by the religion of Christianity – currently the religion practiced by the majority of people on Earth. Now, the question is why do we need to follow the Christian calendar? Don’t we have a calendar of our own?

A Muslim knows that we have our own calendar. It’s called the Hijri calendar. And this is the calendar which we are supposed to follow. Now because of the circumstances in the world we live in today, there must be a standard calendar like the Gregorian or the Christian calendar that everyone can follow. But that should only be limited to our worldly affairs like paying rent, calculating salaries etc. We should use it keeping in mind that this is only a dharoorah (necessity) and Islam permits certain things (that are normally haram or forbidden) when there is a necessity.

So now, tell me when is your birthday? Will you now calculate your birthday according to the Christian calendar or will you see it in accordance with the Hijri calendar? Now I do not intend to mean that you start celebrating your birthday according to the Hijri date. I am just trying to begin showing you how illogical Birthdays are and outside of the concept of Islam.

2: The origin of celebrating birthdays is unknown to the majority

Now, I don’t want to waste your time elaborating this point because our friend Google can help you. There is a lot to read and watch about this out there.(1) The summary of it is that birthday celebrations – whether it be cutting cakes, lighting candles etc. have pagan origins and it is linked with false divinely beliefs that people held. Just to give you a quick example, the candles which are put on the cake have to be blown in just a single blow. If even one candle was left lighted, people used to think that the upcoming year would bring hardships for the person whose birthday is being celebrated.

Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas’ud:

The Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam said: Taking omens is polytheism; taking omens is polytheism. He said it three times. Every one of us has some, but Allah removes it by trust (in Him).

Grade: Saheeh (Al-Albani)
Sunan Abi Dawud 3910; 
Book 30, Hadith 7 

3: Imitation of the non-believers

If you understood the point above (which I assume you obviously did), you will be able to understand this one clearly. There are numerous ahadeeth in which the prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam prohibited imitating the non-believers. I will just mention two:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar:

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: He who copies any people is one of them.

Grade: Hasan Saheeh (Al-Albani)
Sunan Abi Dawud 4031; Book 34, Hadith 12

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam as saying:

You would tread the same path as was trodden by those before you inch by inch and step by step so much so that if they had entered into the hole of the lizard, you would follow them in this also. We said: Allah’s Messenger, do you mean Jews and Christians (by your words)” those before you”? He said: Who else (than those two religious groups)?

Sahih Muslim 2669 a; Book 47, Hadith 7

For guidelines regarding imitating the non-believers, please visit the following link:  https://islamqa.info/en/21694

4: Ok, so you want to thank Allah. Eh?

When asked about the reason for birthday celebrations, most of the people come up with this, “Akhee/Ukhti, I want to thank Allah for the life He gave me, that’s why I want to throw a party and thank Allah.” Hold on, hold on! Tell me is thanking Allah from the acts of worship or not? The answer is that it’s from the acts of worship. One must know that every act of worship has two conditions:

  1. Sincerity of doing it only for the sake of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala
  2. Following the Sunnah of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam

If condition (1) is absent, that act of worship will become Shirk (Associating partners with Allah).
I
f condition (2) is absent, it will become a Bid’ah (Innovating in the religion of Allah).

You may be celebrating for the sake of Allahs pleasure, but are you following the Sunnah? Since celebrating birthdays doesn’t meet condition (2), it becomes an innovation which will not be accepted by Allah. If you really want to thank Allah then do what the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam taught us with regards to thanking Allah and do not innovate in this beautiful religion by practicing it according to the way you think is right.

5: Life is short. Do not forget your purpose of life!

We should actually ponder and reflect on our birthdays rather than jump around with birthday snow spray.  We should see time to be passing like a countdown timer. If a person is in his twenties, he should realize that one third of his life may be over. He should ask himself with regards to the preparation he has attained to meet Allah. “Am I ready? What have I done till now for my akhirah? What if I die now? Is Allah pleased with me?” should be the questions haunting his mind. Remember this hadeeth?

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam said:

“The ages of (the people in) my nation will be between sixty and seventy, and few of them will exceed that.”

Grade: Hasan (Darussalam)
Sunan Ibn Majah; Vol. 5, Book 37, Hadith 4326

So these were 5 reasons why a Muslim shouldn’t be involved in birthday celebrations. If you still want to persist in it, please remember the warning of Allah:

And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination.”


[Al Qur’an 4:115]

Just imagine if the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam was alive today. Would you still celebrate your birthday if you would hear the above mentioned ahadeeth from his blessed tongue (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam)?

Yeah, it’s tough to stop. Friends might start looking at you with weird expressions. Family members might think your’re becoming an extremist. But it is not impossible to stand and say that you’re going to give it up for the sake of Allah, because remember:

The Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam said:

“You will never give up a thing for the sake of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, but Allah will replace it for you with something that is better for you than it.”

 Ahmad Hadith No. 22565; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani

May Allah enable us to spend our lives in obeying Him and prevent ourselves from His disobedience. Aameen.

5 reasons why a Muslim should not celebrate brithdays

Footnotes:

(1) Click here to read about the history of birthdays.
Click here to watch a fantastic video that will tell you about the origin of birthdays.

For a scholarly response regarding the topic above, please visit: https://islamqa.info/en/1027

One of our readers asked us a brilliant question:

Good read but Reason 2 needs to be elaborated. Most people would understand what you mean to say. However, for a few that explanation wouldn’t suffice. For example, some might tell you that it is just a cake, what is so wrong about that?

We were very happy to respond to this query and you can read the answer by clicking here.