Imams of Ahadeeth

Vol 5 - Issue 4 Imams of AhadeethThe collectors and preservers of Ahadeeth are the prime suspects of default or negligence in the sight of many ill-informed, ignorant pseudo-intellectuals of the past or present times. Sometimes these Muhadaseen (Hadeeth narrators) are tried and charged guilty in people’s own perception. Such questions as ‘Who knows the source of this information?’ ‘Were these men or women even present at the times of the Prophet (sa)?’ ‘How can we trust the credibility of a particular Ahadeeth?’ are rampant.

Quite amusingly, when Darwin’s ridiculous theory of evolution is presented to most, they accept it without a second thought, even though it has been proven incorrect by the Quran and the scientists. Similarly, do we ever question, how far the Sun is or did Neil Armstrong actually travel to the Moon? Never! One news bulletin is sufficient to convince us about the authenticity of any particular happening or discovery. How many of us go to the extent of verifying any of the information changing hands at the speed of light? Alas, we reserve the worst imaginable skepticism or allegations for our own reputed scholars. It is sinful to suspect those whom we know nothing about.

Muhammad Iqbal Kailani in his book “Following the Prophet’s Path” analyzes the lives of some of these Ahadeeth narrators to understand their quest for truth.

The search begins

Abu Ayub Ansari traveled from Madinah to Egypt for investigating a single Hadeeth. Jabir Ibn Abdullah traveled for a month just to hear a Hadeeth personally. Imam Razi spent seven years traveling in his quest to gather the Sunnah. Nafe Ibn Abdullah attended Imam Malik’s lectures from morning to noon for nearly forty years. History presents countless examples of such endeavors made by Ahadeeth students.

Abdullah Ibn Mubarak obtained instructions from eleven hundred renowned scholars of the Sunnah. Imam Malik learnt prophetic traditions from nine hundred teachers. Hisham Ibn Abdullah was instructed in Ahadeeth by seventeen hundred teachers.

After serving his duties in Ahadeeth in his home town of Bukhara, Imam Bukhari traveled to such other destinations as Balakh, Baghdad, Makkah, Basra, Kufa, Syria, Uskhalan, Hamus and Damascus for further enriching himself in the science of Sunnah.

At the time, when there were no road networks, flight connections, not even reliable maps available, these men undertook journeys of peril and personal sacrifice in search of the prophetic traditions. Their travelogues are an evidence of determination and sincerity to the cause of Ahadeeth compilation and preservation.

Financial sacrifices

The Ahadeeth narrators spent their entire fortunes working on the science of Sunnah. In his quest to find sound Hadeeth, Imam Malik’s teacher Rabia sold even the rafters of his house. At times, he had to face extreme poverty and actually fed himself on the remains of dates lying in the trash.

Imam Yahya Ibn Moeen spent one and a half million Dirhams in search of the Sunnah. He was reduced to such a state of destitution that he didn’t even have shoes to wear.

Imam Bukhari, who was raised in the lap of luxury, willingly faced hardships during his long journeys in search of the Sunnah. Umar Ibn Hafs, one of Imam Bukhari’s colleagues in Basra, narrates that they were engaged in writing down the Sunnah. After a few days, they realized that Imam Bukhari was absent from class. Upon inquiry, they discovered that he did not have proper clothing to step out of his room and was too poor to buy any. The students gathered money and bought for the Imam suitable clothes, so he could start attending classes again.

Ishaq Ibn Rahviyya, Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal’s classmate, tells of how Imam Hanbal came to Yemen to learn the Sunnah. During such time, he earned his living weaving trouser strings. When it was time for him to depart from Yemen upon completion of his education, he was indebted to a baker. He gave his shoes to the Baker for debt settlement and left Yemen barefoot. On his way back, he worked also as a loader to earn his living.

How many scholars of today do we know, who have abandoned their home comforts, jeopardized their lives and put their honour at stake in the quest for true knowledge? Sadly, such scholars today are fewer as compared to the previous eras.

Personal trials

Wrath of evil and unjust rulers was another trial that many noble scholars had to brave. In the reign of Banu Umaiyya (except the reign of Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz), some renowned scholars of Ahadeeth were persecuted cruelly. They included Mohammad Ibn Sireen, Hassan Basri, Obaidullah Ibn Abi Raffay, Yahya Ibn Obaid and Ibn-e-Abi Katheer.

During the rule of Banu Abbas, Imam of Darul Hijra Malik Ibn Anas was punished mercilessly by flogging on his bare back. The great scholar Sufyan Sauri was condemned to death. Imam Shafai was arrested and taken to Baghdad on foot, where he was incarcerated and tortured. The torments suffered by Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in the cause of the Sunnah are tragic. Imam Abu Hanifa’s funeral procession was taken out from the dark and narrow dungeon of prison. All these remarkable men withstood torture and death, never compromising the truth.

Strict criteria for Ahadeeth acceptance

Their caution and strict vigilance in matters of acceptance of the Sunnah can be realized from the meticulous standards these scholars adhered to. Abu Bakr (rta) and Umar (rta) never accepted a Ahadeeth without a proper witness. Usman (rta), as a precaution, narrated few Ahadeeth. Ali (rta) accepted the Sunnah from the narrators on oath only.

When Abdullah Ibn Masood was requested to narrate the Sunnah, his countenance changed with concern, as he understood the great responsibility he had as a Hadeeth narrator. When Anas (rta) related a prophetic tradition, he always added “or as the Messenger (sa) said.” Upon reaching their old age, the companions stopped relating the Sunnah out of the fear of their failing memory.

The narrator Moin Ibn Isa says: “The Hadeeth I have reported from Imam Malik are such that I have heard each one of them thirty times from him.” Ibrahim Ibn Sayeed Al-Jauhari states: “If I fail to get any Hadeeth from a hundred different sources, I consider myself weak in that Hadeeth.”

Non-Muslim commentators

The renowned orientalist professor Margaret stated: “The Muslim’s pride in their science of Sunnah is justified.”

The famous Hungarian orientalist Goldziher Ignaz (1850-1921) said: “The scholars, who collected the Sunnah, traveled extensively in the Muslim world from one end to the other, from Spain to Central Asia, mostly on foot, visited every city and every village in search of the Sunnah, in order to record them and to spread them among their disciples. Undoubtedly, these were the persons who deserved the title or surname of Rahhal and Jawwal (meaning indefatigable traveler).”

Dr. Springier, a renowned German orientalist, admits: “No nation ever existed in the past or is there in the present, which has invented like the Muslims the science of Asma-ur-Rijal, through which we can know today the lives of five hundred thousand people of Medieval times. The learned scholars of Sunnah have recorded every important detail about every reporter of the Sunnah, such as his belief, faith, character, virtue, trustworthiness, truthfulness, honesty, their retention power and comprehension skills.” (Asaba fi AhwAl-us-Sahaba)


It’s entirely up to our objective and non-biased reasoning to decide whether the Muslim Ummah should continue suspecting the efforts of its scholars or reap benefit out of it. Should we take pride in the sacrifices of the earlier generations and humbly accept them as the creditor or continue with a disrespectful and disdainful attitude?

With Allah (swt) eventually lies the reward of every knowledge bearer. Our scholars played their part and did it extremely well. They offered unimaginable services to Allah (swt) for the preservation of the Sunnah. Our acceptance or rejection of them only speaks of our own character. May Allah (swt) have His mercy on them and keep us guided on the straight path. Ameen.

Dawn of Knowledge – Part 2

By Uzma Jawed

Our civilization is the product of human efforts. The seven centuries of Muslim leadership in various fields of knowledge was a significant contribution. In addition to the fields of mathematical sciences and medicine, Muslims also made outstanding and original contributions to geography, chemistry, philosophy, arts and architecture.


The scholars of Islamic Spain initially started with the geography of Al-Andalus by Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Al-Razi and descriptions of the topography of North Africa by Muhammad Ibn Yousuf Al-Warraq. Then the Muslim geographers began to study practically the whole globe (minus the Americas) from both geographical as well as climatic point of view.

During the eighth and the fifteenth centuries, numerous books were produced on the geography of Africa, Asia, India, China and the Indies. Other books were written on such specialized topics as climate and plants. These writings also included the world’s first encyclopedias, almanacs and maps. The maps included detailed and accurate features, such as the origin of the Nile, which was not discovered in the West until much later. Al-Biruni was the first known writer to identify certain geological facts. He wrote a book on geology as well as improved the measuring methods of longitudes, latitudes, heights of mountains and the diameter of the Earth.

Muslims invented the compass and guided the European navigators regarding its use. The most famous Muslim traveler was Ibn Batutah, who traveled for twenty-eight years and produced a fourteenth century masterpiece that provided vivid and detailed insights about people, places, navigation, caravan routes, roads and inns.


The very name alchemy and its derivative chemistry come from the Arabic word Al-Kimiya. Jabir Ibn Hayyan (the Latin Geber) of the eighth century had a lasting influence in Europe till the sixteenth century. He was given the title of the father of modern chemistry. He contributed greatly to the fields of pharmacology and toxicology.

Vast amount of knowledge, accumulated by Islamic alchemists and chemists, has survived over the centuries in both the East and the West. For instance, Muhammad Ibn Zakariyya Al-Razi’s divisons of material in animal, vegetable and mineral is still popular. Many words in chemistry have Arabic roots, including alkali (Al-Qaliy) and alcohol (Al-Kohl), and the chemical instrument alembic has the Arabic root Al-Anbiq.


Islamic scholars also took an avid interest in dealing with intellectual problems posed by the Greek philosophers in the context of Islam. The first one to study this was Ibn Hazm, also known as one of the giants of the intellectual history of Islam. He authored more than four hundred books.

Another great figure in Islamic philosophy is Imam Al-Ghazali. He was a professor at the Nizamiyah University, a reputed learning institute of the time. In philosophy, he believed in the approach of mathematics and exact sciences as essentially correct and used these techniques of Aristotelian logic to show the flaws of excessive rationalism. He contended that it is not possible for reason to understand the absolute and infinite. He was largely successful in creating a balance between religion and reason.

Muslim philosophers also wrote extensively on creation, God, Aristotelian thought and logic. Ibn Bajjah (known in the West as Avampace) wrote a book on how a perfect society was dependent on the inner perfection of individuals within the society. Ibn Tufayl, a physician and a philosopher, wrote the book “Hayy Ibn Yaqzan” (“Living Son of the Awake”). Ibn Khaldun, who contributed widely to the philosophy of history and sociology, wrote on how psychology, economy and the environment affected the advancement of human civilization. A Spanish-born Islamic philosopher, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), wrote about religion and philosophy in his book “Kitab Fesal Al-Makal,” as well as wrote an answer to Al-Ghazali’s works. Moreover, his scholarly commentaries on Aristotle had considerable influences on the development of Western philosophy. He was known as ‘the commentator’ during the Western middle ages and the renaissance.


The well-known Hadeeth, “Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty” (Muslim), encouraged many Islamic scholars to contribute to various social sciences. For instance, Ibn Khaldun, who was considered the most original mind of the time, generated laws, which affected the rise and decline of a civilization.

Another distinguished scholar was Ibn Al-Khatib who created more than fifty works on travel, medicine, poetry, politics and theology. Muslims also developed a stylized form of decorative handwriting called calligraphy. This calligraphic art was initially used to beautify the word of Allah (swt) in the Quran. Eventually, this art form came to use in objects, houses, mosques and architecture in general.


T.B. Irving, a prominent American Muslim and a leading expert on the Arab-Islamic period in Spanish history, writes on Islamic architecture: “… few civilizations have approached Islam’s beauties in architecture: her soaring minarets and spires, her fabled domes, her cool corridors, all reflect the yearning of Muslims, who refusing to find expression in natural depiction concentrate their energies on buildings and their embellishment.”

These works of art could be found throughout Persia, India, Turkey, Egypt and Morocco in the intricate calligraphic mosaics of mosques, tombs, houses and buildings. Certain elements were an integral part of Islamic architecture: the Mihrabs, tombstones, geometric shapes and patterns, domes, mosaics, intertwining leaf motifs and design, fountains, gardens and courtyards.

These distinctive and outstanding Islamic structures became a prototype and model for lots of other civilizations. The Chinese showed this influence in their carpets and vases. Medieval Europe also drew from Islamic architectural examples. The use of domes, arches and interior courtyards were quite prevalent in many structures, especially the Gothic cathedrals. The most well-known example is of the Notre Dame of Paris.

In Conclusion

We have in front of us the everlasting proofs of the impact of eminent Islamic scholars. This evidence is easily accessible through books, objects, famous structures and buildings. Hence, it is easy for us to comprehend them visually and physically. However, we, the current generation, need to understand them spiritually. We need to identify with their inner motivation, their self-determination and the drive that led them to such heights of success.

Their pursuit of knowledge was successful because they were equipped with strong faith, truth of the Quran and the Sunnah, and pride and confidence in Islam. They absorbed those things, which confirmed their beliefs, and immediately rejected those that did not. If we could identify with our role models of the past, we could also triumph over this period of illiteracy, which is dominated by traits like enmity, intolerance and narcissism. If we could truly transcend over this phase, we could again experience the dawn of knowledge and, Insha’Allah, with Allah’s (swt) help, rise to the golden age of Islam.

Sunnah – Why should we follow it?

Vol 5 - Issue 4 SunnahBy Naureen Aqueel

Allah (swt) has a unique way of teaching His servants some vital points. No action of His is without wisdom. Thus, we find inherent lessons in the way He decrees things to happen. In the current context, we refer to the way He chose to send guidance to His slaves. We know that whenever Allah (swt) sent guidance to a people, He did not send a divine book alone. He always sent a messenger, who would bring the divine book to his people. There are many Prophets who came without a Holy Book, but there is no book that was sent down without a prophet.

Any reasoning observer can understand why this is so. The need for a practical example, a teacher and guide is ingrained in human nature. We cannot simply do with theoretical knowledge, unless we have with us someone to explain, interpret and apply that knowledge. And it is thus that Allah (swt) sends towards His slaves a treasure trove of guidance in the form of His messengers who demonstrate the true obedience to Allah (swt) and the ways of pleasing Him.

What is the Sunnah?

Literally meaning ‘way’ or ‘road,’ Sunnah in Islamic Shariah means the way of the Prophet Muhammad (sa). Scholars have defined it as including the words of the Prophet (sa), his acts and his confirmations or approvals of the actions or sayings of others.

Status of Prophet Muhammad (sa)

To understand the status of the Sunnah in Islam, we must first understand the status of Prophet Muhammad (sa). Prophet Muhammad (sa) was not sent simply to deliver the Book of Allah, the Holy Quran, as a mere postman. Nor was his job only to recite the Word of Allah to the people of Makkah.

Had it been so, would it have been difficult for Allah (swt) to send down the Holy Book alone in a complete form? In fact, none of the prophets were sent for merely delivering the Holy Scriptures. Their role was to not only deliver and recite the Holy Book to the people, but also to explain, interpret and expound it, providing them with a practical example of its contents. Their lives, character and manners were to be practical demonstrations of the message they brought. It was the same with Prophet Muhammad (sa). Allah (swt) describes this most beautifully in the Holy Quran:

“Indeed, Allah conferred a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (Muhammad (sa)) from amongst themselves, reciting to them His Verses (the Quran), and purifying them (from sins by their following him), and instructing them in the Book (the Quran) and Al-Hikmah [the wisdom and the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa) (i.e. his legal ways, statements and acts of worship)], while before that they had been in manifest error.” (Al-Imran 3:164)

It is clear that Prophet Muhammad (sa) was to deliver the Holy Quran, teach it to the people, purify them as well as teach something additional – ‘the wisdom’, which scholars have taken to mean the Sunnah. His life and his activities in all roles, be it husband, father, statesman, leader, judge, teacher, military commander, etc., were to be a paragon of wisdom and guidance for all of humanity.

We can say, however, that the mission of the Prophet (sa) is different from other prophets, as Allah (swt) sent him for all of the creation, irrespective of time and place, whereas the other prophets were sent to a particular nation at a particular time in history.

Two types of revelation – two sources of guidance and law

The revelation (Wahi) received by the Prophet (sa) was of two types. The first is the revelation of the Holy Quran, known as Al-Wahi Al-Matluw (the recited revelation), which is recited in prayers. The second is the revelation through which the Prophet (sa) received guidance regarding daily life matters, details of the Quran, Ibadah (acts of worship), etc. This is known as Al-Wahi Ghair Al-Matluw (revelation, which is not recited).

Scholars do use another set of terms for these two types of revelations. These are

Al-Wahi Al-Jali (the open or clear revelation) for the Quran and Al-Wahi Al-Khafi (the hidden or indirect revelation) for the Sunnah. In other words, Quran is the direct revelation from Allah (swt) since both its words and their meaning are from Allah (swt), while the Sunnah or Ahadeeth is indirect revelation in the sense that although the meaning is from Allah (swt), the words are of the Prophet (sa). Khaleel-ur-Rahman Chishti, a renowned writer on Islam, describes this relationship beautifully when he says: “The Quran and the Sunnah are not separate from each other. They are two streams flowing from the same fountain.”

The Holy Quran along with the Sunnah constitutes the Islamic law or Shariah, and as such one cannot follow Islam by rejecting or giving lesser importance to either one of them.

Al-Miqdam Ibn Madikarib relates that Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Beware! I have been given the Quran and something like it (the Sunnah). Beware! A time will come when a bellyful (proud person) will be sitting resting on the cushion saying: ‘Keep to the Quran; what you find in it to be permissible treat as permissible, and what you find in it to be prohibited treat as prohibited.’ Beware! The domestic donkey (although not mentioned in the Quran as prohibited), beasts of prey with fangs, a find belonging to the confederate – unless its owner does not want it – are not permissible to you.” (Abu Dawud)

The Sunnah not only outlines the rules of Halal (lawful) and Haram (unlawful), but also gives us guidance in matters of day-to-day life, such as sleeping, eating, answering the call of nature, business transactions, travelling as well as the methods and details of acts of worship (Salah, Zakah, Hajj, etc.).

Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad (sa)) gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)” (Al-Hashr 59:7)

This verse clarifies for us the law-making authority that the Prophet (sa) was vested with.

Obedience (Ita’ah) and Following (It’ibah)

The Quran and the Sunnah both use two different terms to describe a believer’s manner. The first is obedience (Ita’ah). Obedience to the Prophet (sa) is mentioned various times in the Quran side by side with obedience to Allah (swt). For example:

“Say (O Muhammad [sa]): ‘Obey Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad (sa)).’ But if they turn away, then Allah does not like the disbelievers.” (Al-Imran 3:32)

In his book “The Authority of the Sunnah”, a respected scholar of Islam, Mufti Taqi Usmani, notes: “It is noteworthy that whenever the ‘obedience of Allah (swt)’ is mentioned in the Holy Quran, it is always followed by the ‘obedience to the Prophet (sa),’ which has never been missed even in a single verse. There is no verse in the entire Book where the ‘obedience of Allah (swt)’ has been mentioned alone with no reference to the ‘obedience of the Messenger (saw).’ On the contrary, there are some verses where only the ‘obedience to the Messenger (saw)’ has been mentioned, and there is no reference to the ‘obedience of Allah (swt).’ The reason for so much stress upon the obedience of the Prophet (sa) is that the obedience of Allah (swt) cannot be carried out except through obedience of the Prophet (sa).”

The second term is It’iba (following). Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “Say (O Muhammad (sa) to mankind): ‘If you really love Allah, then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’” (Al-Imran 3:31)

It’iba (following) has been described by some scholars as meaning ‘to follow step by step,’ in other words, tracing the footsteps. This is why we find that the companions used to follow the Prophet (sa) in every little deed to the extent that even if he had his upper button open, they would follow him.

The Key to the Quran

Describing those who stress on following only the Quran and not the Sunnah, Muhammad Asad writes: “Those who speak so, resemble a man, who wishes to enter a palace but does not wish to employ the genuine key, which alone is fit to open the door.”

Indeed, the Sunnah is the key to the Quran. The Quran and the Sunnah are so intertwined that you cannot possibly separate them. The Sunnah explains the Quran by making clear the meaning of words used in the Quran; by mentioning exceptions to general rules in the Quran; and by explaining the cause and context of certain commands in the Quran etc. For example, the Quran commands observing the Salah as many as 73 times, but it does not describe its method. The method is contained in the Sunnah. This too has some wisdom behind it – to enforce the importance of the Sunnah.

Furthermore, the life of the Prophet (sa) is a practical demonstration of the Quran. Aisha (rta) used to say: “His character was the Quran.”

Sunnah in our lives

Our Deeds (even the worldly acts for satisfying our needs) done in accordance with the Sunnah become Ibadah (worship). In this way, the Sunnah acts as a machine transforming meagre things or waste into gold and adding them to our account for earning Jannah (Paradise).

Following the Sunnah in our everyday lives is also a systematic training in obedience. Muhammad Asad in his book “Islam at the Crossroads” gives a thought provoking example of a man who is not very accustomed to walking. If asked to walk a long distance, he would not be able to do so. However, for a person trained in walking his whole life, this would not be difficult at all. Thus, if we constantly follow the Sunnah in our daily lives, our moral laziness gets diminished, and we do not find obedience in greater matters to be difficult.

Reply to Ahadeeth Rejecters

Compiled by Naureen Aqueel

(Excerpts from Dr. Idrees Zubair’s lectures)

Many criticisms have been made on the veracity and position of Ahadeeth in Islam. The truth is that such criticisms are based on ignorance. Those, who consider Ahadeeth objectionable, have not comprehended the reality of Ahadeeth and the efforts of the Muhaddithin (scholars of Ahadeeth) to devise a set of strict conditions for accepting Ahadeeth.

Let’s explore and refute some criticisms in detail.

Criticism 1

From the death of Prophet Muhammad (sa) to 300 AH, for around 250 years, Ahadeeth were transmitted only verbally. When something is verbally transmitted, there is a possibility that the words would have changed and, subsequently, so would the meaning. There is great possibility of text distortion; thus, Ahadeeth become unreliable.


Firstly, there is proof that written material of Ahadeeth existed at the time of the Prophet (sa). While pursuing a Ph.D. at Cambridge University in 1960s, Dr. Mustafa Al-Azami wrote a thesis proving that there were more than 50 companions, who had written and preserved Ahadeeth at the time of the Prophet (sa).

Secondly, there are proofs that no errors were made in verbal narrations. For example, the Prophet (sa) wrote a letter to Kaiser to invite him to Islam. It is on record that no copy of that letter was kept with the Prophet (sa). The Prophet (sa) dictated the letter, and the messenger took it away. But the scribe and the companions of the Prophet (sa), who were there at that moment, knew what was written in that letter. The letter was sent, and the companions, who had heard and memorized the letter verbally, transmitted the whole text of it to the later generations.

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, a scholar of the beginning of the third century, included in his book “Musnad Ahmad” that same letter, which he had received through verbal transmissions. Of course, this was recorded after the traditional scrutiny for accepting Ahadeeth. During the Usmani Caliphate, around 200 years ago from the current time, the same letter of the Prophet (sa) written to Kaiser was found during excavations in Egypt. When that original letter was collated with the letter mentioned in the book of the third century Hijri, there was not even an iota of difference between them. This is a great proof that not the slightest carelessness was employed in verbal narrations.

Similarly, Abu Hurairah (rta), a companion of the Prophet (sa), taught many Ahadeeth to his student Hammam Ibn Munabbih, who wrote them all down. However, Hammam’s manuscript got lost. The Ahadeeth narrations of Abu Hurairah (rta) were narrated later by his other students and written down in books of Ahadeeth. Relatively recently (in the 1954), Dr. Hamidullah, a great scholar of Ahadeeth, discovered the manuscript of Hammam Ibn Munabbih in the national library of Damascus and Berlin among old manuscripts. When one compares the Ahadeeth of Abu Hurairah (rta) recorded in these Ahadeeth books and those in the ancient manuscript, there is no difference.

The companions and other Ahadeeth narrators employed the utmost precision in narrating Ahadeeth. Moreover, they had very sharp memories. They used to memorize the family trees of horses, camels and tribes! It wasn’t difficult for them to memorize long Ahadeeth word for word.

Criticism 2

Ahadeeth at the time of the Prophet (sa) were few, but they grew in number during the time of the Tabaeen and later generations, indicating fabrication.


The number of Ahadeeth increased in later generations because of the growth in the number of Isnad (narrations) of the same Ahadeeth. In other words, for the Muhaddithin ‘Hadeeth’ means not just the words of the Prophet (sa) but each narration of those words. For example, the Hadeeth “Indeed, deeds depend upon intentions” is found in 70 different narrations. Each is counted as a separate Hadeeth.

Criticism 3

The Isnad system (the method of narrating Ahadeeth with a chain of narrators) was introduced at the end of the first century AH. They made up the chains themselves by guess work. So, if they concocted the chains, they might have done the same with the text of Ahadeeth.


A famous Tabaee Imam Ibn Sirin (33-110 AH) is recorded to have explained that the system of asking for references arose at the time after the martyrdom of Usman (rta), since it was a time of great trial and mistrust. Furthermore, the Isnad system is a natural process and cannot be fabricated so easily. Arabs used to have long names, with many other titles mentioned with the name. There is no record of an error in any chain. The names found in the chains were actual people found in those times. If you read their biographies, you find that they were really of that time, had the same name, titles, etc., and were of the same time, as those, whom they narrate from, and met the people they narrate from. The Muhaddithin used to scrutinize each narrator to the extent that people began to fear them.

The Isnad system has far greater intricacies than any contemporary research methodology. This system is very important. It has a position of reference for us and is a means to judge the authenticity of a Hadeeth. The Muhaddithin made numerous sacrifices (travelling long distances in heat, cold, hunger and thirst) for obtaining the authentic source of a Hadeeth – at times, only for a single Hadeeth.

Criticism 4

There are contradictions in Ahadeeth. The Prophet (sa) could not have made contradictions. People produced them themselves.


They often quote a Hadeeth, in which the Prophet (sa) told the people to erase whatever they had written from him besides the Quran. It is an authentic Hadeeth narrated by Sahih Muslim, but they quote it out of context, wherein lies the answer to contradictions. In the second half of the same Hadeeth, the Prophet (sa) advises, however, to quote Hadeeth from him. The context, in which this was said, was when people used to write the Quran on the already scarce writing material and then write the Ahadeeth on the same material along with the Quran. The Prophet (sa) feared that it would be mixed up.

When Muslims understood the difference between Ahadeeth and the Quran, the Prophet (sa) commanded them to write, as is directed in the Hadeeth, in which he commanded Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn As (rta) to write what he (saw) spoke. (Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi)

Lastly, the mouth that uttered the verses of the Quran uttered also the Ahadeeth. Similarly, the same companions transmitted to us the Quran and the Ahadeeth. How can we accept one thing and reject another?

Compilation of Ahadeeth

Vol 5 - Issue 4 Compilation of AhadeethWhile the Quran was being revealed in the Prophet’s (sa) lifetime, the companions used to write down his commentaries and explanations for better understanding. Muhammad Iqbal Kailani explains in his book, “Following the Prophet’s Path,” that once the Prophet (sa) asked his companions regarding what they were writing. The companions replied: “The same that we hear from you.” The Prophet (sa) said: “Along with the Book of Allah, is there any other book being written down? Separate the Book of Allah and keep it absolute.”

This statement of the Prophet (sa) clarifies that the companions used to write the Quranic verses and its commentary (Sunnah) in one place. Allah’s Messenger (sa) forbade them to write the same in one place out of fear of any discrepancy. However, he never forbade them from documenting them altogether. And once the Quran was preserved in the heart of many companions and could be recited fluently and correctly, the fear of Sunnah and Quran being intermingled was ruled out.

The following is the evidence of some of the compilation of prophetic traditions up to 11 Hijrah during the Prophet’s (sa) life and up to 110 Hijra, which was in the lifetime of his companions:

1. Book of Poor-due (charity)

Narrated by Abdullah Ibn Umar (rta): “The Messenger (sa) during the last days of his life ordered to have the book of charity written and forwarded to all government officials for compliance. The precepts regarding the poor-due of animals were mentioned in it.” (At-Tirmidhi)

2. Chronicle of Amr Ibn Hazm (rta)

The Prophet (sa) had a chronicle written and sent to Amr Ibn Hazm (rta), governer of Yemen at that time. It contained specifications regarding the Quran, prayer, poor-due, divorce, freeing of slaves, capital punishment and blood money. Furthermore, it also explained the Sunnah and major sins. (Ahmed, Abu Dawood, An-Nasai and Darimi)

3. Chronicle of Ali (rta)

Allah’s Messenger (sa) had a chronicle written and gave it to Ali (rta). Ali (rta) commented about this chronicle: “By Allah, we do not have any book to read or write except the Holy Quran and this chronicle.” (Ahmed)

4. Chronicle of Wail Ibn Hajr (rta)

When Wail Ibn Hajr (rta) was ready to return to his native country Hadramaut, Allah’s Prophet (sa) had a chronicle written and gave it to him. This chronicle contained details relating to prayer, fasting, poor-due, marriage contract, usury, intoxicants, etc. (At-Tirmidhi)

5. Chronicle of Sad Ibn Ubadah (rta)

After listening to the Prophet’s (sa) Sunnah, Sad Ibn Ubadah (rta) prepared this chronicle personally for himself. (At-Tirmidhi)

6. Chronicle of Samurah Ibn Jundub (rta)

During the life of the Messenger (saw), Samurah Ibn Jundub (rta) prepared this chronicle for himself. Afterwards, it was forwarded to Samurah’s (rta) son, Salman (rta).

7. Chronicle of Jabir Ibn Abdullah (rta)

Jabir Ibn Abdullah (rta) prepared a chronicle regarding the Sunnah dealing with the Hajj rites. (Muslim)

8. Chronicle of Anas Ibn Malik (rta)

Anas Ibn Malik (rta) was the Messenger’s (saw) private servant. When he used to hear the Prophet (sa), he used to write the Sunnah down. Later, Anas (rta) would read it to the Messenger (sa) for verification. (Hakim)

9. Chronicle of Abdullah Ibn Abbas (rta)

Abdullah Ibn Abbas (rta) possessed several books containing the Messenger’s (saw) Sunnah. (At-Tirmidhi) At the time of Abdullah’s (rta) death, he had such a vast collection of the Sunnah that his books could be carried by a camel. (Ibn Sad)

10. Chronicle of Truth

Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn As (rta) had a Sunnah collection, of which Syed Abu Bakr Ghaznavi states that it had more than 5374 prophetic traditions recorded. Amr Ibn As (rta) also referred to it: “Book of truth is that book which I have written after listening to the Sunnah directly from the Messenger of Allah (sa).” (Darmi)

11. Chronicle of Umar Ibn Khattab (rta)

This chronicle had documented commands in relation to charity and poor-due. Imam Malik states regarding the chronicle: “I had read this book of Umar (rta)” (Imam Malik)

12. Chronicle of Usman (rta)

This chronicle contained precepts dealing with poor-due. (Bukhari)

13. Chronicle of Abdullah Ibn Masood (rta)

Abdullah Ibn Masood’s (rta) son Abdul Rahman (rta) took an oath stating that his father used to write this chronicle with his own hands. (Aeena Parveziyat)

14. Musnad Abu Hurairah (rta)

Copies of this book were written during the companions’ period. A copy of this book was also with Abdul Aziz Ibn Marwan, Governor of Egypt, who passed away in 86 Hijra. He was Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz’s father. (Preface to Intikhab Hadith)

15. Sermon on the Conquest of Makkah

A citizen of Yemen named Abu Shah requested the Prophet (sa) to order the documentation of his sermon on the conquest of Makkah. (Bukhari)

16. Transmissions of Aisha (rta)

The transmissions of Aisha (rta) were documented by one of her students named Urva Ibn Zubair. (Preface to Intikhab Hadith)

17. Authentic Chronicle

This document was compiled by Abu Hurairah (rta) and was dictated to his student Hamam Ibn Munabba; thus, it is also known as ‘Chronicle of Hamam Ibn Munabba.’ This chronicle contained 138 traditions mainly regarding mannerisms. The chronicle has also been published in Pakistan and India. Abu Hurairah (rta) passed away in 59 Hijra, and even today a replica of his chronicle is in existence.

A renowned verifier Dr. Mohammad Hameedullah, who used to reside in Paris, confirmed that a copy of this chronicle was written in 6 Hijra, which was confirmed from Maktab Zairia in Damascus.

The second copy of this chronicle was written in 12 Hijra, which was verified in the Berlin Library by Dr. Hameedullah. Both copies are identical in content.

The Ahadeeth transmitted by Abu Hurairah (rta) are found to be identical in the Sahah Sittah (six authentic books of Hadeeth).

Some other constitutional agreements

After his migration from Makkah to Madinah, the Prophet (sa) established in Madinah a new Islamic state. For effective governance, the Messenger (sa) had a constitution promulgated, consisting of fifty-three articles that were mainly about the duties and rights of Muslims and non-Muslims. (Ibn Hisham)

After the treaty of Hudaibiyah, the Prophet (sa) had the opportunity to invite to Islam leaders of various countries and clans of that time. He had letters written to them, inviting them to embrace Islam. Among them were Kaiser and Kisra, Macucus, Najashi, the rulers of Bahrain, Amman Damascus, Yamama, Najd Domtal Jandal and the Hameer tribe. (Bukhari)

When an army was sent to war by Allah’s Messenger (saw), he gave a letter to the commander of that army, instructing him to reach a certain destination and then open it and read his commands. (Bukhari)

These are just a few of the authentic documents which are available even today that were drafted in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (sa) upon his instructions. This information has travelled through time by means of a very cautiously and intricately prepared process, which is no less than a science in its own right.

Mercy for the World

By Hafsa Ahsan

The caricatures published in Danish newspapers, portraying Prophet Muhammad (sa) in a demeaning light, have evoked a strong reaction from Muslims all over the world. A very natural reaction of most of the Muslims is that of anger at this blatant display of Islamophobia. However, there are certain organizations who have taken this incident as an opportunity to propagate the true character of Prophet Muhammad (sa) to the world, and accordingly expand Dawah activities, especially among non-Muslim circles.

One such organization is Al-Huda International which, in collaboration with the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department, Government of Dubai launched a campaign called “Mercy for the World” in Dubai, UAE. Managed by Iman Ismail Abdullah, this campaign was inaugurated in May 2008 and concluded in December 2008.

The activities under the banner of “Mercy for the World” were aimed at serving a dual purpose. On the one hand, they attempted to channel the energy of those Muslims who wanted to do something in response to the caricatures – engaging in positive activities is always way more productive and result-oriented rather than going on a destructive spree and destroying one’s own and public property.

On the other hand, propagating the message and the personality of Prophet Muhammad (sa) is also one effective means of Dawah – it is no surprise then, that the seminars and presentations held under the umbrella of Mercy for the World Campaign managed to attract a non-Muslim audience. These presentations and seminars gave them a very good opportunity to get more information on the Prophet (sa). At the end of these seminars, an informal quiz competition was also held, with winners receiving prizes.

Other activities included a research competition, which was held in the later part of the year. Participants were required to write a fifteen-page article on any aspect of the life of Prophet Muhammad (sa). The winners of the competition would be awarded cash prizes. Moreover, posters designed by Al-Huda International were published by the Government of Dubai and distributed in shopping malls and sports clubs.

Apart from the activities, a booklet was also published as part of this campaign. Titled “Mercy for the World – Prophet Muhammad (sa)” and penned down by Umme Abdullah, this book was distributed for free among the participants of the seminars and presentations, as well as those who were connected with the campaign in any way.

The author of this booklet has compiled a comprehensive collection of quotations from non-Muslim scholars and intellects which bear testimony to the excellent character of Prophet Muhammad (sa). Thomas Carlyle, K. S. Ramakrishna Rao, Sarojini Naidiu and Mahatama Gandhi are only some of the well-known personalities who have, at some time or other, uttered glowing words of praise for the Prophet of Islam (SAW)

Probably, one of the best quotations in this book is from George Bernard Shaw when he says the following:

“I believe that if a man like him (sa) were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness. I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad (sa) that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.”

At the end of the day then, campaigns like Mercy for the World indeed help propagate the message of Allah (swt) and His Prophet (sa). Such campaigns can also be considered as an effective and timely effort to counter the Danish caricatures. Schools and other Dawah organizations can also start similar campaigns to educate both Muslims and non-Muslims about the personality and teachings of the Prophet (sa).

The Prophet (sa) and Us

Vol 5 - Issue 4 The Prophet sa & us

We live in a world desperately seeking heroes. Of skepticism: “He ‘looks’ so religious. Hmm, I wonder what the REAL story is!” Of mistrust: “Give me a break – teaching the Quran without an agenda? Not possible.” Of rituals we don’t understand and don’t bother to question. Of giant billboards but stunted role ‘models.’ Yes. Our world is ripe with sophisticated spin-doctors who could sell ice to Eskimos and sun glasses to a bat. And they are packaging and selling Islam to the Muslims with unparalleled bravado. Is it then any surprise that in the world we live in today, Prophet Muhammad (sa) hardly seems real or even possible?

He may well be the most influential man in history, but hey – what has he got to do with our contemporary, avant-garde, high-tech existence? They deliberate.

The spectrum of our connection with the Prophet (sa) is limited. For some, God’s gift to mankind is just that – a cliché. He seldom surfaces in their tête-à-tête. However, with an increased interest in religion within fashionable circles these days, the conversation does embark on ‘enlightened moderation.’ One may hear: “Have you read Karen Armstrong’s new book?” Or a trendy talk show on TV may present a flexible, ready-to-wear version of life in Madinah in the days of the Prophet (sa). Of course, there is also intellectual muscle flexing in some elite circles. But the point of reference is the Prophet (sa) as seen through the eyes of the Orientalist and is therefore purely academic. This almost mythical figure who lived some 1400 years ago in a land far away is a great conversational piece. He may well be the most influential man in history, but hey – what has he got to do with our contemporary, avant-garde, high-tech existence? They deliberate.

A large majority has erected impenetrable barriers of reverence between themselves and the Prophet (sa). Utter his name, and thumb and fingers will be kissed and put to the eyes at once. Question the validity of Eid Milad un Nabi, and they will lynch you in public. Their love for their Prophet (sa) has taught them to loot, plunder and burn other people’s property when his cartoons are published in a foreign newspaper. They will keep entire neighborhoods awake with hackneyed Naats sung on filmi tunes on loudspeakers after Fajr prayers. Ask them to emulate the ways of the Prophet (sa), and after many Astaghfurallahs, the retort shall inevitably be: “Us mere mortals? How can we even be the dust of the feet of the Prophet (sa)?”

A large majority has erected impenetrable barriers of reverence between themselves and the Prophet (sa). 

There is also a darker, more sinister shade on this spectrum – lurking behind well-trimmed beards, impressive vernacular and scholarly logic. These are the Munkar-e-Ahadeeth (deniers of Ahadeeth), who talk about the Prophet’s (sa) person and mission with deference, yet sow the seeds of doubts about the authenticity of traditions handed down to us through the generations. Their convincing and subtle deconstruction of Islamic practice based on the treasury of Ahadeeth gnaws at the very fabric of Islam itself.

If we interpret the Quran in isolation from the Prophet’s (sa) Ahadeeth and Sunnah, then whose ‘lens’ will be reliable? If Allah (swt) intended us to understand and interpret the Quran in a don’t-worry-be-happy-do-as-you-want-with-my-text kind of way, then what is the role of the Prophet (sa) in Islam?

That role has been clearly identified by Allah (swt) Himself in the Quran:

“O Prophet (Muhammad (sa))! Verily, We have sent you as a witness, and a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner. And as one who invites to Allah [Islamic Monotheism, i.e. to worship none but Allah (Alone)] by His Leave, and as a lamp spreading light (through your instructions from the Quran and the Sunnah – the legal ways of the Prophet (sa)).” (Al-Ahzab 33:45-46)

What our relationship with the Prophet (sa) should be has also been defined in the Quran and also by the Prophet (sa):

Allah (swt) says: “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad (sa)) you have a good example to follow, for him who hopes for (the meeting with) Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.” (Al-Ahzab 33:21)

Abu Hurairah (ratm) has narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “All my followers will enter Paradise except those who refuse. They said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Who will refuse?’ He said: ‘Whoever obeys me will enter Paradise and whoever disobeys me is the one who refuses (to enter it).’” (Bukhari)

In the present ‘let us talk Islam’ climate, why then are some people hell bent on reinventing the wheel?

That is why picking up a pen (or a word processor) and writing about the Prophet (sa) is a serious and scary venture. Serious, because we dare not be flippant about the man who is Allah’s (swt) last Messenger till the end of this world. Scary, because of the following Ahadeeth: Anas (ratm) has narrated: “The fact which stops me from narrating a great number of Ahadeeth to you is that the Prophet (sa) said: ‘Whoever tells a lie against me intentionally, then (surely) let him occupy his seat in Hell-fire.’” (Bukhari)

His greatest strength lies in his humanness and the way he elevated it to perfection. Contrary to popular belief, intimate proximity with the Divine did not make the Prophet (sa) ethereal; rather, it made him more human. 

Alhamdulillah, there is a wealth of information available to us on every aspect of the Prophet’s (sa) life. His status and our role in reference to him, has been laid out. What we can safely do is sift through his life and Sunnah with the intention of building a personal relationship of trust, love, understanding and, above all, of finding our hero. This would then be a process of discovery, NOT invention. Taking the cue from the Companions of the Prophet (sa) will certainly be an advantage on this road.

One most remarkable and striking aspect of the Prophet (sa) was his ability to command respect in situations where anyone else would border on undignified. It takes a big man to sit on a mule and be commander-in-chief of an army. Look at the Battle of Hunain – the Prophet (sa) sat on his white mule and Burrah Ibn Azab (rta) narrated: “By Allah! Whenever the battle got intense, we would save ourselves through the Prophet (sa), i.e., we would hide behind him and the brave amongst us was that person who would stand beside the Prophet (sa).” (Muslim)

His greatest strength lies in his humanness and the way he elevated it to perfection. Contrary to popular belief, intimate proximity with the Divine did not make the Prophet (sa) ethereal; rather, it made him more human. We then have a hero with not some out-of-this-world super powers but with a dazzling human factor. It is this very factor that impressed friends and foes in his lifetime and still holds its own amidst venomous attempts to dent his Sunnah. He was ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’. His unpretentious, modest simplicity did not waver with changing circumstances.

Alas! It is this same human factor that is so lacking in us today.

The Boulder of Biddats (Innovations)

Vol 5 - Issue 4 The Boulder of biddatsThe term ‘innovation’ means to invent or make something up. To understand the concept of innovation in Islam, one can imagine a glass of crystal clear water that is meant to quench thirst. Someone adds some colour to it with the intention of making it appear more appealing to the thirsty. Then, another person further adds some sugar to make it tastier. Would you still consider it to be a glass of pure water? Not quite. Now, what you have is an adulterated version of what was formerly water. This is the saga of Islam today.

Muhammad Iqbal Kailani in his book “Following the Prophet’s Path” states:

Innovations have done greatest damage to the religion of Islam. Since innovations are practiced by way of virtue and in the hope of rewards, an innovator seldom thinks of leaving them, whereas in the case of other sins, the sinner is conscious that he is doing a wrong thing. It can be assumed that at some later stage he would be ashamed of his sins and turn to Allah (swt) with repentance.

The root causes behind innovations have been identified as follows:

Presuming good rewards

Some people consider innovated practices of worship a means to bring them closer to Allah (swt) to such an extent that they decide on the rewards as a result of following it. They claim sincere intentions and devotion towards Deen and confidently advocate self-made practices, which do not hurt anyone. But as Allah’s Messenger (sa) clearly stated: “All kinds of innovations lead astray.” (Bukhari)

One may argue that instead of four Rakahs for Zuhr prayer, I want to offer five, so that I may earn extra merit and pleasure of Allah (swt). Do you seriously think this will be a cause of pleasure for Allah (swt), when His prescribed Deen is being changed, especially after His final revelation through His last Messenger (saw)?

Self following

Most commonly a large number of uneducated, illiterate or ignorant masses follow customs and practices observed by teachers, ancestors, tribe, rulers, etc. They never feel the need to verify a certain ritual, let alone to question it. To them blind reverence is sufficient.

When one tries to appeal to their logic in the hope that they discontinue innovated practices never propagated by our Prophet (sa), they falsely accuse: “This is a new religion you are trying to invent. We found our ancestors following the same rituals you are preventing us from.”

Allah (swt) responds to them: “They said: ‘(Nay) but we found our fathers doing so.’” (Ash-Shuara 26:74)

Exaggeration in devotion to holy men

To seek the company of virtuous teachers and role models is always desirable; but excessive, un-natural and blind devotion to holy men has harmed Islam, too. After all, these religious scholars, in spite of their sincere and great contributions towards Islam, were human beings who did not have the authority to introduce anything new to the religion.

Some followers in their excessive devotion started to grant a supernatural colour to the dreams, personal observations and minor experiences of these holy men. This provided a whole new concept of intercession, grave worship, saint following, etc.

Muhammad Iqbal Kailani writes: “It is said, when the Sufis first came to India on the mission of propagating Islam, they found the local people (the Hindus) were fond of music. So, to attract them to Islam, the Sufis invented Sama or Qawwali. Thus, was set a precedent for a new innovation. To argue that it was considered expedient in the remote past is no reason to stick to it now.”

Difference of opinion

Ill informed and incompetent religious preachers treat innovations lightly. They claim that due to difference in interpretations and judgments there is a difference of opinion among different schools of thought.

One can claim this in cases where both parties have substantial evidence in the form of Sahih (authentic) Hadeeth. But in cases where one party has a Daeef (weak) Hadeeth, by no means should it be encouraged.

This disintegrates societies, confuses the followers and becomes a major source of trial when the supposed experts seem to be at war with each other claiming supremacy one over another.

The Prophet (sa) stated: “I will be the first person at the fountain of Kauthar. Whoever comes there will drink from it, and whoever drinks once will never feel thirst again. There will be some persons who will also come there, whom I will recognize and consider them to be my followers and they also will recognize me. But the angels will stop them from coming near me. I will say: ‘They are my followers.’ But I will be informed: ‘Oh Muhammad (sa), you do not know what innovations these people have invented after you.’ Then, I will say: ‘Be gone! It is better to be at a distance from such people who changed my religion after me.’” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Ignorance of the true Sunnah

Many times, in true devotion, Muslims quickly accept anything known to be associated with the Prophet (sa) and do not inquire into its authenticity. Since ignorance in relation to our Deen is rife today, fabricators find this situation to be to their advantage.

On the other hand, some pseudo-intellectuals or self-appointed preachers attribute matters so carelessly to our Messenger (saw), often misquoting or narrating Ahadeeth incorrectly and thus altering its meaning altogether.

The Messenger (sa) warned: “He who intentionally attributes a false thing to me should seek his abode in Hell.” (Muslim)

Allah’s Messenger (sa) also stated: “Whoever has resurrected one Sunnah of mine and people acted upon it, that person will be entitled to the reward of all people, who have enacted it, and the reward of people will not be diminished. And the person who started an innovation, and people started acting upon it, the sins of all those people will be dumped upon who initiated it, and the sins of the people will not be diminished.” (Ibn Majah)

Political expediency

In some Muslim countries, religious clergy have an apologetic attitude. They dare not state right from wrong in case it brings them defame or loss of public support. Their first loyalty belongs to the religious group they are from, even if it means supporting a certain innovation to win public response, thereby compromising the Shariah.

Ali (rta) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah has cursed the person who sacrifices an animal in the name of other than Allah, who changes the boundary stones, who curses his own father and who protects an innovator.” (Muslim)

Anas Ibn Malik (rta) narrated that the Prophet (sa) warned: “Allah does not accept the repentance of an innovator, until he forgoes the innovation.” (Tabarani)

In conclusion, if a Muslim can honestly offer Huqooq Allah and Huqooq-Al-Ibad, as prescribed by Allah (swt) and His Prophet (sa), it should suffice to take him to Paradise by Allah’s (swt) mercy. There is no need to create new and novel ways to win Allah’s (swt) approval. Besides, innovations liquidate the true essence of our Deen. The pillars of Islam should be observed staunchly, articles of faith should be distinctly clear, the Quran should be read with understanding and the Sunnah should be followed meticulously. This will bring back the lost glory, Insha’Allah!

Common Biddats practiced today

We find no authentic sources from the Quran or the Sunnah for any of the following acts of worship, festivities or celebrations; hence, they fall under the category of Biddats:

  • Ayat-e-Kareema in congregation,
  • Chilla Kashi (sitting for 40 days at the tomb of a saint),
  • Chaleeswan,
  • Darood recitation in congregation,
  • Daswan,
  • Darga (tomb of a saint),
  • Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi,
  • Fatiha,
  • Giarween Shareef,
  • Hal,
  • Institution of Peer – Mureedi,
  • Koonday,
  • Niyaz Shareef,
  • Quran Khwani in congregation,
  • Shab-e-Barat,
  • Shab-e-Mairaj,
  • Urs Shareef, etc.

Sunnah and Science: Coming Full Circle

Vol 5 - Issue 4 Sunnah & science

Scientists and their discoveries are considered as the most reliable sources of knowledge in today’s world. Notwithstanding the fact that even they upgrade or change their findings whenever a new research reveals new facts, educated Muslims tend to focus only on them – especially in medicine, health and psychology.

Believers tend to forget that the knowledge of human beings has limitations; only Allah (swt) has knowledge that knows no boundaries. Allah (swt) chose Muhammad (sa) as the recipient of His Divine Revelation and Hikmah. Scientists can attempt all they want to acquire this knowledge via humanly-limited endeavors, but Muhammad (sa) was chosen to receive it through Wahi (revelation). His entire life was, therefore, an epitome of success in health, hygiene, mental precision and human relationships.

It is amusing to note that modern science, medicine and even fashion have come full circle in reiterating what Muhammad (sa) did fourteen centuries ago. Some of these comparisons are highlighted below.


Healing with the ‘black seed’

Kalonji, black cumin, or scientifically Nigella Sativa, is used in several modern herbal remedies, with absolutely NO side effects. It is used to treat a wide range of illnesses and disorders. Today, doctors suggest eating this seed for general good health, gastric, respiratory and mental ailments, or massaging affected skin with its oil to cure rheumatic ailments. It is said that devouring a teaspoon or 25 grams of black seeds in their original form everyday keeps all kinds of ailments at bay.

The Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Use the Black Seed, for indeed, it is a cure for all diseases except death.” (Sahih Al-Bukari 7:591)

Sleeping early and waking up before dawn

Prophet Muhammad (sa) is known to have slept very little in the night, after becoming Allah’s Messenger. He slept early, retiring after Isha, and woke up well before dawn.

Abu Barzah (rta) said: “The Messenger of Allah (sa) disliked sleeping before the Isha prayer and indulging in conversation after it.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Modern science has revealed that the organs of the body are detoxified during the night. For ideal detoxification, a person should be done with the day’s work after 9 pm and be in deep sleep from 11 pm to 5 am. Developed nations follow this practice. This routine ensures maximum employee productivity as well.

Afternoon siesta

Narrated by Anas Bin Malik (rta): “Umme Sulaym used to spread a leather sheet for the Prophet (sa) and he used to take a midday nap at her home.” (Al-Bukhari)

Some organizations now provide ‘nap rooms’ at the workplace for enabling employees to take a siesta after lunch. Called ‘power naps’, afternoon siestas have shown to improve some memory functions of the brain, boosting the employee back to morning-fresh energy.

Personal Grooming and Hygiene

Oiling of hair

The Prophet (sa) would keep his hair generously oiled.

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “Eat olive oil (Zayt) and anoint yourselves with it, for it is from a blessed tree.” (Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

Abu Hurairah (rta) also reported the Prophet (sa) as saying: “Whoever has hair should honor it.” (Abu Dawud)

Today, gels and creams are applied by young men to achieve the same oiled, sleeked-back look. Women in Asia regularly use oiling as a way of maintaining healthy, lustrous hair.


Kohl powder is made of antimony sulphide, applied in and around the eyes as an ointment and cosmetic. It has traditionally been used in Eastern countries for centuries, by both men and women. Today, even the supermodels in the West grace covers of glossies adorned with ‘Kohl pencil’, while in the East newborn babies’ eyes are laced with this substance to strengthen their vision. Eastern women also use Kohl to achieve a dark-eye look.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) endorsed its use by applying it to his eyes regularly. Abdullah Bin Abbas (rta) quotes the Prophet as saying: “Use the antimony Kohl, for it makes eyesight clearer and strengthens hair.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Al-Nisai, Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

Oral hygiene

Toothbrushes, toothpastes, mouthwash, dental floss and breath sprays are commonly used today to achieve personal oral hygiene. So important is it to have a fresh-smelling mouth and sparkling teeth that anyone with even the slightest hint of bad breath, yellowed teeth or sickly gums is considered severely lacking in personal grooming and is socially ostracized.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) once gave up something he loved – honey – vowing never to consume it again, when he was told it made his mouth produce unpleasant odor. Despite efforts, his Companions could not count the exact number of times he used Miswak in a day – he did it so frequently. It was also one of the things he did just before he died.

Ibn Umar (rta) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Make a regular practice of the Miswak, for, verily, it is healthy for the mouth and it is a pleasure for the Creator.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Human Relationships

Husband-wife foreplay

Considered taboo in most of Asia, modern educational ‘intimacy guides’ for married couples stress the importance of foreplay before husband-wife Coitus. Science has identified several ‘erogenous zones’ on a woman’s body that harbor a high density of nerve-ends sensitive to stimulus. Our Prophet Muhammad (sa) stressed this aspect of intimacy in his advice to Muslim husbands during his lifetime, as illustrated in the narration below.

Imam Al-Daylami (rta) records a narration on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik (rta) that the Messenger of Allah (sa) is reported to have said: “One of you should not fulfill one’s (sexual) need from one’s wife like an animal; rather, there should be between them foreplay of kissing and words.” (Musnad Al-Firdaws of Al-Daylami, 2/55)

Not spanking children

It is known that Prophet Muhammad (sa) was tender and kind towards children, kissing them often, playing with them and allowing them to come to mosques during prayer time. Notably, he never hit a child in his life. Abstaining from spanking is Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) Sunnah.

Aisha (rta) has narrated: “The Prophet (sa) never hit anyone with his hand; not a woman, nor a servant, except during Jihad in Allah’s cause.” (Muslim)

Strassberg and others of Vanderbilt University analyzed the school behavior of 273 kindergarten children and their parents’ discipline methods at home. Observation of school behavior indicated that children, who were spanked at home, were more aggressive towards other children.

Each of us should reflect upon whether or not we are one of those ambivalent Muslims, who follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa) only when they are reinforced by scientific discoveries, endorsed by designers, or accepted as the status quo. Are we quick to emulate his actions because we love him more than our own self, logic, intellect and reputation? Does our love for him surpass that for anything else? Or do we wait in the sidelines until it becomes socially acceptable to follow his guidelines? Honest answers to these questions will show us where we stand as Muslims.

Terrific Teaching Techniques

Vol 5 - Issue 4 Terrific teachingPicture this: seated around a single man is a crowd full of eager eyes. Some of the men appear to be from the elite society, highly educated and of polished manners; they sit shoulder to shoulder with desert-rough Bedouins, whose swords speak more eloquently than their tongues. The gathering also includes shepherds, scribes, farmers, merchants and even street urchins. Children freely hover among them – they are never shooed out of the way. Such was the informal classroom of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa).

Our Prophet (sa) had much to teach and his knowledge, which determined the destiny of people, was not to be taken lightly. His students varied in age, background, gender and disposition. How would he address such a diverse gathering?

To begin with, the Prophet (sa) did not limit his ‘classes’ to sermons after Jumuah or a gathering under a tree – he would teach his companions whenever a suitable moment arose, whether they sat together for a meal or rode together through the desert. Accordingly, his manner of teaching varied, too. Let us look at some of the Prophet’s (sa) methods of instruction, as observed from his Sunnah.


Many important lessons have been etched in our minds through the true stories related by our Prophet (sa). Stories of strife borne by pious people of the past encourage patience. Reflecting on the good deeds of others invites us to similar actions, whereas stories about oppressors and their retribution by Allah (swt) discourage people from following their steps. Today, parents, teachers and all forms of information media can attest to the effectiveness of this method of instruction.


Once, the Prophet (sa) drew a square and then drew a line in the middle of it, letting this line extend outside the square, and then drew several small lines attached to that central line. Upon finishing this, he said: “This is the human being, and this (the square) is his lease of life, encircles him from all sides (or has encircled him), and this (line), which is outside (the square), is his hope, and these small lines are the calamities and troubles (which may befall him), and if one misses him, another will snap (i.e., overtake) him, and if the other misses him, a third will snap (i.e., overtake) him.” (Bukhari) This method of drawing in the sand was used by the Prophet (sa) for explaining abstract concepts.


Parables obviously simplify concepts and were extensively used by the Prophet (sa). For example, to encourage keeping good company, he said: “The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell, while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you would get a bad and nasty smell thereof.” (Bukhari)


At times, the Prophet (sa) would quiz his companions. This was used not only to test their knowledge and understanding of the Deen but also as a method to make them start thinking about a certain topic. Sometimes, he would begin talking about a topic by asking a question first, in order to call their attention towards it or allow them to view their understanding of a topic, before he clarified a misconception. He would even have them ponder over a riddle, from which they could benefit. Once, he said: “Amongst the trees, there is a tree, the leaves of which do not fall and is like a Muslim. Tell me the name of that tree?” Everybody started thinking about the trees of the desert areas. Ibn Umer (rta) thought of the date-palm tree but hesitated to give a reply, because he did not wish to appear more knowledgeable than his father Umer (rta) and Abu Bakr (rta), who sat with him. The others then asked: “Please, inform us what is that tree, O Allah’s Messenger?” He replied: “It is the date-palm tree.” (Bukhari)


The impact of the visuals cannot be denied. The Prophet (sa) would often indicate an object, which could easily be viewed by the people for comparing it with something, or speak of something in terms of an object, which people could easily visualize by themselves. He often compared the punishments in Hell with the Mountain of Uhud, in order to help people visualize the immensity and seriousness of the punishment. He would even use his hands to help people visualize the meaning of his words. It is narrated that “the Prophet (sa) said: ‘He, who brought up two girls properly till they grew up, he and I would come (together) (very closely) on the Day of Resurrection,’ and he interlaced his fingers (for explaining the point of nearness between him and that person).” (Muslim)

Catch Phrases

“May his nose be rubbed in dust, may his nose be rubbed in dust, may his nose be rubbed in dust,” repeated the Prophet (sa), catching the attention of the companions around him. They wondered what type of a person should be so humiliated. Burning with curiosity, they focused on the Prophet’s (sa) next words: “Who found his parents one or both approaching old age and did not enter Paradise through serving them.” (Muslim)

Repeating a phrase in this manner not only called people to attend but also stressed the importance of the discussed issue.


There are some noteworthy characteristics about the speeches delivered by the Prophet (sa). They were never long and winding but to the point, using simple language that could be easily understood by the masses. He would speak with sincerity and would pause at places, giving time for the impact of his words to sink in, and at times he would repeat a statement several times for emphasis. Rather than vent his anger at people, he often became silent, which was enough to make those around him realize his disapproval, just as his quiet smile would indicate his approval of a matter and even his pleasure.

Being a Role Model

Most importantly, the Prophet (sa) provided a role model to be followed and a physical example of everything he taught – in short, he practiced what he preached, and his actions spoke volumes.

The above techniques used by the Prophet (sa) should be kept in mind by those whose responsibility it is to teach and impart knowledge, regardless of what the subject matter may be. Just as hundreds of years ago the Prophet’s (sa) techniques proved to be effective for people of diverse backgrounds and ages, we also will be able to make a difference around us if we will adopt these methods and work with the intention to please Allah (swt), Insha’Allah!

Handy Tips for Smart Savers

Home Economics

In the Kitchen

  • Buy your groceries on a weekly basis to avoid wastage which may incur due to monthly stocks.
  • Supervise your servants to ensure they don’t waste your valuable stocks.
  • Use your meal leftovers to prepare tasty dishes.
  • Buy local food products instead of imported ones – this will support the economy too.
  • Cook food for your dinners instead of getting it catered.

Using Electrical Appliances

  • Never keep any appliance on a stand-by mode.
  • Switch to energy-saving bulbs.
  • Irons use maximum electricity in the first ten minutes – iron a maximum number of outfits in one go.
  • Use sunlight instead of dryers to dry your clothes.
  • Switch to split air conditioners for an economical electricity bill.
  • Use air conditioners with timers

Credit and Banking

  • Avoid credit cards altogether
  • Be wary of bank charges on ATM withdrawals

Shopping Cautions

  • Always shop on a full stomach to avoid purchasing unnecessary eatables
  • Make a list and shop according to that
  • Be wary of sales – only buy what you genuinely need
  • Make less trips to the market to avoid temptation
  • Whenever you think of buying something, rate it on a scale of one to ten. If the rating is below 5, consider it as a luxury and not a necessity

Compiled by Umm Isam

Is the Price Hike Controlling You?

Vol 5 - Issue 4 Is the price hike conyrlling youOfaira Ateeq Husain and Sumaira Dada spoke to some people to find out how they are managing the price hike

It may be quite hard to believe, but it is only when my mother-in-law goes for a vacation that I get a glimpse of house management. Now that she is visiting her daughter in Canada, I am looking after the house. This time around everything seems to be different because of the price hike. I cannot help but wonder how everyone else is managing. Along with a colleague, I decided to speak to a couple of people on how they are coping with the spiraling prices.

What They are Saying

Sharifa, a Quran teacher and a grandmother of three, manages the budget strictly. She records her daily expenses and trims down what she believes are unnecessary expenses. Instead of getting her clothes made by the tailor, she sews her own clothes and sometimes also those of her two daughters-in-law. Food expenses are also kept under control. The entire family eats together, and whenever possible, the food is cooked without a lot of oil. Instead of consuming high quality basmati rice, the family eats the cheaper broken rice.

Nausheen, also a Quran teacher, prioritizes while managing the household budget. Hers is education; therefore, she is willing to keep her children in good schools, despite the increase in fees. She says that the family has limited eating out to once a month. Her advice for mothers is to stop children from consuming junk food, which is not only of low nutritional value but also heavy on the pocket.

Maria, a lecturer at a business school, feels that the car pool arrangement for her school-going children has helped cut expenses. Moreover, she has been thinking of having the petrol-driven car finally converted to CNG, to save on fuel cost.

Dr. Saba, a sonologist and a mother of two, has been doing grocery shopping more carefully, refraining from impulsive buying. However, she continues to buy well-known brands for essential items as milk and cooking oil.

Zahida, a government school teacher and a mother of two, has tried to bring food expenses under control by preparing dessert twice a month. She has also cut down travelling expenses by going shopping only on the weekends and that too in the family car.

Amna, a baby sitter, is trying to cut down her travel cost by commuting on foot whenever possible.

Simplicity is Part of Faith

Instead of whining and complaining all the time, we should take this as an opportunity to follow the footsteps of the Prophet (sa) and his companions. From Aisha (rta) we know that the Prophet (sa) used to repair his shoes and mend his dresses. He used to check his own clothing and, milking the sheep and catering for himself were some of his normal jobs. (Mishkat)

The Prophet (sa) has also said: “Will you not listen? Will you not listen? Will you not listen? Verily, simplicity is a part of Iman (faith). Verily, simplicity is a part of Iman. Verily, simplicity is a part of Iman.” (Abu Dawood)

Rapidly rising prices is a phenomenon, which the authorities are duty-bound to control. Nevertheless, keeping an attitude of gratefulness despite the decrease in the number of tasty foods and less desserts to savour will, Insha’Allah, yield benefits in this world and in the Hereafter. After all, Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “And indeed We bestowed upon Luqman Al-­Hikmah (wisdom and religious understanding, etc) saying: ‘Give thanks to Allah.’ And whoever gives thanks, he gives thanks for (the good of) his ownself. And whoever is unthankful, then verily, Allah is All­-Rich (Free of all wants), Worthy of all praise.” (Luqman 31:12)

A Penny Saved is a Penny Gained

Regardless of what our salary is, we must strive to save a certain percentage of it for the rainy days. It is sad but true that even if earn more than what we need, we generally end up spending that entire extra amount, believing citing our luxuries as our needs. Remember there will never be an end to the wish list, but the bucks saved today will come in handy tomorrow.

Never Stop Sharing

When we are required to tighten our own belts, the first causality is our sense of generosity and giving. Sadaqah and Zakat always bring Barakah in our earnings – this is Allah (swt)’s promise to the Believers. We may lessen our contribution to charity in accordance with our revised budget but we must not deprive our less-privileged servants and relatives of our patronage. You will discover that the more Sadaqah you give, the more bounties of Allah (swt) will come to you from unimaginable sources.

Avoid Wastage

In general, Islam highly discourages wastage of any kind, but it is decidedly even worse to indulge in the wastage of already-scarce resources. It also results in Allah (swt)’s anger. At all times, make a conscious effort to utilize your blessings effectively and help your children realize it too.

To Be or Not To Be Ethical

Vol 5 - Issue 4   To be or not to be EthicalThis final article is by no means a conclusion on work ethics. There will still be many ethical dilemmas at work that will continue to trouble us. That in itself is a good sign. “Why?” you might ask. Because when these dilemmas stop troubling us, it means we no longer care about being ethical.

When our concern about being honest and truthful and the urge to control the waves of jealousy start to ebb, it is only the Quran and Hadeeth that bring us to our senses. Social pressures can be overwhelming at times, especially if you are living in a country which is regarded among the most corrupt in the world.

Whilst writing these articles, I have also learnt to identify the tugs of Nafs (desires) and ways to control it, Alhamdulillah. To be fair to others, to meet deadlines and to deliver good quality work seem to be contradictory goals most of the time. One is tempted to cut corners to quicken the pace of work – it is only in these very moments that the Quran and Hadeeth come to my rescue. Facts from our pious predecessors’ lives also keep us from floundering in the morass of confusion by making the right and the wrong very clear. Although we can barely reach the standards of God-consciousness (Taqwah) that they have set, their lives do tell us that you can be an ordinary human being and yet have high ethical standards.

Early Muslims and modern corporations

I am reminded of an incident from Mohammad Ibn Sirin’s (rta) life. He was a trader and a retailer, who once bought olive oil worth forty thousand Dirhams. On examination, he found a dead rat in one of the containers. He felt doubtful about the quality of oil in the entire consignment and chose to dump it, instead of risking people’s health. Consequently, he was unable to pay the forty thousand Dirhams and as a result, spent time behind bars. There were no case studies written on his level of honesty and the standards of business ethics he had set; yet, in his time, he was greatly trusted and admired, and we read about him to this day.

Ibn Sirin’s (rta) incident reminds me of the “Johnson and Johnson” “Tylenol” case. The company had aggressively marketed a brand of pain-relieving capsules (“Tylenol”), which accounted for 18% of the company’s income and had 37% percent of the market share. However, in 1982 after the death of seven people, it was found that the capsules were laced with cyanide. The company chose to recall ALL “Tylenol” bottles, facing a loss of up to $100 million (not including the damage to the brand and loss of public confidence). Nevertheless, this very decision put the company in the limelight, and it was hailed as an ethical firm. Within just six months, “Tylenol” regained its market share!

Another well-known personality from our pious predecessors is Imam Bukhari, who set such high standards of honesty that he did not even want to change his intention for greater worldly gains. Once, a group of traders offered to buy a consignment from him for a profit, which was double of what was offered to him by another trader the previous evening. He chose to forego the second offer in favour of the earlier one, because he had already intended to deal with them.

What do people say?

A young executive in his twenties, Murtaza, is of the opinion that truthfulness and success go together. According to him, if one is untruthful, word gets around which results in a bad reputation. At the same time, he believes that most people are myopic and prefer short-term gains over long term benefits. He names his father as one of the most ethical people he has come across.

The opinion voiced above reminded me once again of Muhammad Ibn Sirin (rta). Maimoon Ibn Mehran narrates that before completing a transaction, Ibn Sirin (rta) always asked his customer thrice, whether he was satisfied. He was so careful about his dealings that Maimoon exclusively purchased from him. While modern management would put this down as an excellent example of customer relationship management; it all boils down to plain honesty.

The head of research in a well-known Islamic financial services firm says that if you are unethical, you are definitely unsuccessful. He names one of his senior colleagues in the industry as ethical as well as successful. Still, he was also of the opinion that to reach the topmost level, one does have to compromise a little bit. This view was contrary to the opinion held by a chief executive of a business concern. When I asked him to name a few ethical and successful people, he immediately came up with three managing directors of local and multinational firms.

There are also people, who are ethical but have been unsuccessful monetarily. According to a female employee of an audit firm, even if people have managed to pull it off for some time using unethical practices, in the long-term they finally have to show performance, especially if they are chosen for an international assignment. Her role model is Syedah Aisha (rta), who was confident, full of energy and interacted with men within the limits set by Shariah.

Ayesha, who has worked in a part-time position, comes up with two people whom she believes to be ethical and successful. One of them is a scholar who was able to bring about positive change in a locality. Another person is a medical doctor as well as a Hakeem, who is charitable and closely follows the Sunnah. According to Ayesha, unethical people are often successful too, but their success is limited to this world only.

To be unethical is useless…

It is important not to be weighed down by what the cynics and skeptics say. Being unethical would not give us anything more than what has been destined for us. In a Hadeeth narrated by Jabir (rta), we learn that the Prophet (sa) addressed people saying that they should fear Allah (swt) and act decently in acquiring their livelihood, for no man would die until he obtains his provision, even if it involves some delay. The Prophet (sa) reiterated that people should fear Allah (swt), earn their livelihood by lawful means and stay away from the forbidden. (Ibn Majah)

Therefore, unethical dealings do not give us any more of the worldly gains that have been written for us. Such an attitude merely creates a ‘lose-lose’ situation: losing out in this world and, most definitely, losing out in the Hereafter. Now, who would want that?

A Wedding to Remember

Vol 5 - Issue 4 A wedding to rememberBy Saira Naeem

Saeeda Qamar, our Tajweed teacher, came and sat at the head of our class just like she did every day. But today she was not wearing her uniform headscarf; instead, she had a black one. I was surprised, because none of our staff members were ever seen without uniform. My classmate whispered into my ear: “She’s getting married today.” I said: “How do you know?” She pointed to her henna colored hands. Still I was not convinced enough.

Our Tajweed class started, and she kept on correcting us in the same manner as she had always done. When, at the end of the class, Saeeda Baji said an unusually long dua and started weeping, I realized that maybe it really was her wedding day.

Our Tafseer teacher came in and said: “Do you know that your Tajweed teacher is getting married today and is moving to Karachi?”

I was amazed! I had heard about people committed to Allah (swt), who made the Quran the first priority in their lives, but I had never actually seen a person, who was going to have the so-called ‘biggest day of her life,’ and yet wanted to give her duties to Allah (swt).

She could have easily skipped the class, but this was her conviction – to stay committed till the end. Saeeda Baji said she loved all her students and asked us to hold onto the Quran, which is Allah’s blessing upon us. And her actions spoke louder that her words.

Her wedding was not going to take place in a big hotel or a park with mixed gathering, dances and songs. It was to happen in Shah Faisal mosque. I was wondering, what would the wedding be like? Will she get dressed up? Will she wear makeup? How will the guests eat in the Masjid?

We prayed Asr with the congregation in the upper ladies corner of Faisal mosque. The bride also prayed along with everyone else – not at all bothered about her dress getting messed up. Saeeda Baji was a very pretty bride. Her makeup was just enough. She did not do any back-combing – her hair was tied back nicely, with a Dopatta tucked on her head and around her bosom. She was not wearing a low neckline, quarter sleeves or extremely flashy jewelry. She did not pluck her eyebrows; YET, she was looking so peaceful and graceful.

It was the Noor of the Quran that made her look this way. Many brides spend thousands of rupees on the wedding day just to look perfect. They diet for six months to loose that extra weight, so that their figure looks nice in the tight-fitted shirt. They undergo facials, hair does and all kinds of treatments to get that perfect look. They complete their beauty sleep, take rest at home for a month or so to look FRESH on the wedding day. But this lady did not take even a day off from her commitment to Allah (swt), and Allah (swt) gave her that freshness and beauty without having to do any of the above things.

For a person, who has not experienced the miracle of the Quran, all of this might seem like a fairy tale; but trust me – seeing is believing. Allah (swt) showed me that it is possible to follow His path at any point of time – there will always be Sabiqoon Al-Awaloon, who will do their good deeds at the level of Ihsan.

I asked Saeeda Baji’s mother, how they had managed the food arrangements. She said that they ordered lunch boxes plus dinner for people at home. I just thought of the expenses they had saved: hotel and food charges, different kinds of Rasms, such as Joota Chupana, Doodh Pilana extra and a whole lot more.

After returning home, I kept on thinking about this perfect wedding. This union would include Allah’s blessing and duas of all the people she had been with, whether students or colleagues. May Allah (swt) give all our teachers the greatest rewards in this world and the hereafter, and may He give me the Tofeeq to follow their footsteps, Ameen.

Connecting our Children to Sunnah

He loved children. And children loved him. Prophethood did not prevent him from giving them attention and affection. They attended his gatherings and accompanied him. He would initiate Salam to them, talk, kiss and embrace them, place them on his lap and shoulder, educate them and let them assume responsibility. Despite being the greatest Imam, leading noble men in prayer, he prolonged his Sajdah just to let his grandson riding his back have his fill. Unthinkable in our Masjids! He interrupted his sermon, descended the pulpit, picked up his faltering grandsons and then resumed. Not likely in today’s Islamic classes! His love and mercy were for all children. He deemed it a Muslim’s mark: “He is not one of us, who does not show mercy to our young ones and esteem to our elderly.” (At-Tirmidhi, Ahmad) His loving, patient, gentle, understanding and balanced attitude helped fashion those children into distinguished Muslims.

His example lives on, inviting the Ummah to treat children his way. Old or young, we owe him tremendously and repay by following his way, thus, paving the way for our own success and happiness. “….and whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad (sa)) will be admitted to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise), to abide therein, and that will be the great success.” (An-Nisa, 4:13) Following his Sunnah is Islam’s basic requirement, not just a matter of Thawab (reward). Obeying him spells the difference between success and failure, as the Uhud battle reminds us.
With this success formula in hand, how do we connect our children to the Sunnah? By getting connected to it ourselves! Learn what Sunnah is and be role-models for your children – children see what you do; they don’t hear what you say!
If our concept of Sunnah is correct, we can educate our children correctly. The term ‘Sunnah’ is often used narrowly referring to the Prophet’s (sa) manners of eating, drinking, dressing, sleeping, etc. Actually, it embraces all aspects of life: births, weddings, deaths, trading and combat. There is a Sunnah way of talking, conducting Dawah and dealing with parents, spouses, elders, children, servants, neighbours and the needy. Our children should see us emulating Sunnah wholly, not selectively. Follow it in Muamalat (interpersonal dealings), as you follow it in Ibadah (worship). Follow it in Akhlaq (manners), as you follow it at mealtime. Beautify your Hijabs and beards with Prophetic qualities of patience, honesty, gentleness, humility and generosity. Please your parents and control your anger; these are Sunnahs, too. Live simply so that accounts of the Prophet’s (sa) simple life don’t just make ‘nice, ancient stories’ for your children but a reality. Sahabah best emulated the Prophet (sa). Anas Ibn Malik (rta) narrated that he passed by a group of boys, greeted them and said: “The Prophet (sa) used to do so.” (Bukhari)
Our children need to see us loving and revering the Prophet (sa) above ANY other person. Let them not find us preferring family traditions or ‘scholars’ opinions’ over the Sunnah. Would we like our children to hear tons about the Prophet (sa) and then witness his Sunnah being disregarded at weddings and deaths? Wouldn’t they be confused to learn that the Prophet (sa) ordered Sahabiyat to attend Eid prayers, but find their mother missing out on the blessings, because her school of thought says women shouldn’t go to Masjid?
Certain Sunnahs are more basic and important than others, but none are unnecessary or purposeless, and none should be belittled. Sunnah is what the Prophet (sa) said, did and approved of. Study his Sunnah and Seerah (biography) thoroughly. The more you know, the more you can teach to your children, and the more you can love and follow him. Tell children stories about the Prophet (sa), about Sahaba’s extraordinary love and obedience to him and of the incredible efforts of Muhadditheen (Hadeeth scholars). Excellent books and audios about these are available for adults and children. Bring them home and share them with your family.
Take your Deen from the Quran and the Sunnah. These safeguard one’s beliefs and actions against deviations and provide clarity in an age of confusion, which our children see more of: “I have left amongst you two things which, if you hold fast to them, you will never stray: the Book of Allah and my Sunnah.” (Al-Hakim) Shun all Biddats (innovations). A mother was once brought a bag of candies by a friend, who received it as mid-of-Sha’ban celebration. The mother returned it in the children’s presence, nicely but clearly explaining that the celebration is an innovation, and innovations harm our Deen.
Quote the Prophet (sa) with care. Abdullah Ibn Masood’s (rta) face would change colour, when quoting Hadeeth due to a sense of responsibility. Although Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal knew hundreds of thousands of Hadeeth by heart, he would quote from his books to avoid the possibility of erring and distorting Hadeeth wording. If you don’t remember a Hadeeth exactly but are sure of its meaning, express it accordingly to your child. Feed their impressionable minds authentic knowledge.
Study the Prophet’s (sa) Salah in detail. Pray his way and teach your children likewise. Before Ramadan arrives, learn about his Ramadan and Eid. Eating dates in odd number and offering your children the same before leaving for Eid-ul-Fitr prayers, while saying Takbeerat, can give them life-long memories of Sunnah.

Everyday Sunnahs can be instilled from day one. Say Bismillah when nursing, and Alhamdulillah, when the baby sneezes. Cover her yawning mouth. Recite the various Duas taught by the Prophet (sa): leaving and entering the house, using the toilet, traveling, morning and evening Duas, Duas for illness, etc. Follow the Sunnahs of eating, dressing, relieving oneself and sleeping. Educate the children when they err, as did the Prophet (sa) with Umar Ibn Abi Salama, whose hand used to go around the dish. (Bukhari) If the children are outdoors, bring them in at Maghrib. If they ask why, say: “The Prophet (sa) has told us so. Wicked, invisible Shayateen are out there to hurt you.” Revive nearly-extinct Sunnahs, like sitting on the floor for meals, eating collectively from a dish, licking fingers afterwards and using Miswak and Kohl.
The Sunnah isn’t about spiritual matters alone; bodies benefit, too. Forget junk food and nourish children instead with Sunnah foods: honey, dates, olives, figs, barley, gourd, lentils, pomegranates, etc. When they fall ill, rush first to Duas and the Prophet’s (sa) medicine, rather than blindly trusting the increasingly questionable ‘modern’ medicine.
Remember Imam Hanbal? He recorded thousands of Ahadeeth, yet states that “he never penned down a Hadith of the Prophet (sa) that he did not abide by”! Imagine a world, where our children are surrounded by living examples of the Quran and the Sunnah. Can you help create that world?

Following the Sunnah is as Easy as…

By Hafsa Ahsan

Did you know that whenever you smile at or greet someone who visits your home you are following the Sunnah? Did you know you are also following it when you cook something nice and send some of it to your neighbour? Yes, some of the Sunnah practices are as easy as that.

It is quite a sorry state of affairs that the Sunnah practices in general are regarded as something very difficult to follow. And from that misconception arises another very gross conclusion – there is no need to follow these traditions. On the contrary, there are many practices which are quite simple to implement in one’s practical life, and some of those are as follows:

The Right Side

One of the main Sunnah practices to implement is to do everything from the right side first, for instance, eating and drinking with the right hand, putting on clothes from the right side first, stepping out of the washroom with the right foot forward first, walking into the mosque with the right foot first, sleeping on the right side, etc.

Narrated by Aisha (rta): “The Prophet (sa) used to love to start doing things from the right side whenever possible in performing ablution, putting on his shoes and combing his hair.” (Bukhari)

The interesting scientific benefit of sleeping on the right side is that it avoids undue pressure on the heart, which is on the left side. In fact, doing everything with the right hand has the scientific logic that since the heart is on the left side, doing things with the left hand will put pressure on the heart.

Eating habits

Sunnah practices while eating involve taking smaller portions, smaller bites, chewing properly, not reclining while eating and not criticizing any food.

Narrated by Abu Juhaifa (rta): “Allah’s Apostle (sa) said: ’I do not take my meals while leaning (against something).’” (Bukhari)

Narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta): “The Prophet (sa) never criticized any food (he was invited to), but he used to eat it if he liked the food, and leave it if he disliked it.” (Bukhari)

Scientific evidence shows that eating while reclining leads to the food not being digested properly. Similarly, taking smaller bites and chewing thoroughly helps in digestion.

Saying ‘Bismillah’ before doing anything

This is one of the easiest practices one can follow. Saying ‘Bismillah’ ensures that one does not do something which would bring about Allah’s (swt) displeasure. Moreover, one actually is rewarded for doing that particular task.

Narrated by Wahb Ibn Kaisan Abi Nuaim (rta): “A meal was brought to Allah’s Apostle (swt), while his step-son Umar Ibn Abi Salamah was with him. Allah’s Apostle (swt) said to him: “Mention the Name of Allah and eat of the dish which is nearer to you.’” (Bukhari)

Good intentions

Making intention pure before embarking on any task ensures reward for that task. For instance, if you’re cooking with the intention of fulfilling your rights towards your family members, or visiting an old relative purely for Allah’s (swt) pleasure, there is no reason why you won’t be amply rewarded.

Narrated by Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (rta): “I heard Allah’s Apostle (sa) saying: ‘The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions, and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.” (Bukhari)

Drinking habits

Sunnah drinking habits include having a drink while sitting, drinking water in three breaths, not drinking directly from the water jug and not breathing into the water vessel.

Narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta): “The Prophet (sa) forbade the drinking of water directly from the mouth of a water skin.” (Bukhari)

Before going to sleep

Narrated by Jabir (rta): “Allah’s Apostle (sa) said: ‘Extinguish the lamps, when you go to bed; close your doors; tie the mouths of your water skins and cover the food and drinks.’ I think he added, ‘…even with a stick you place across the container.’” (Bukhari)

So there you have it. Following the Sunnah practices requires only some degree of effort initially, but the rewards are numerous. All you need to do is to remind yourself that not only are these practices beneficial for you in your everyday life (as has been proven by modern science), but following them will also earn you rewards in this world as well as in the Hereafter. So make a firm resolve to start these very basic practices from today.