Nouman Ali Khan: Persevere with Patience

o-PROPHET-MUHAMMAD-facebookIn regard to the recent crisis in France, I came across a talk by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan, in which he discusses the correct reaction a Muslim should have to such incidents. I found the video very profound and thought provoking, something that I believe every Muslim should hear. Therefore, I am typing it out it here to be able to share it with others:

“Anybody, who seriously studies the Quran knows that Allah (swt) records on multiple occasions, how prophets were insulted, made fun of and rejected in the most obscene ways. And how even the prophets themselves felt the pain of those disbelievers making fun of them.

Prophet Nuh complains about how people found him disgusting – they would plug their ears with their fingers and walk away from him; they would pull their clothes back as a show of insult to him. Our Prophet (sa) is no exception. This Quran that honors our Prophet (sa) also records the most hurtful words that were said about him – the Prophet (sa) would have to recite these words , thus reminding himself of the pain every time. For example: Sahir (magician), Majnoon (insane), Kazzab (a perpetual liar) – so many accusations were made against our Prophet (sa), all of which are recorded in the Quran. With this, Allah (swt) wants us to remember an important fact: although the prophets are the most noble of Allah’s (swt) creation, at the same time, they are the people, who will face the worst kind of insults, the worst kind of ridicule. But what is our reaction supposed to be like?

If anybody would be angry and overwhelmed with rage, when the Prophet is insulted, I would argue it would be his companions. Their faith cannot even be compared to yours and mine. But how come they don’t react the way we do? How come they never had any ‘protest’? How come they were not going out for yelling and screaming in rage? Because they understood that the Quran didn’t just come to give them a love for the Prophet (sa) but also to ‘guide’ that love and teach them, how to respond to these kinds of insults. How is it that we don’t know that the Prophet (sa) himself is told:

“And leave Me Alone to deal with the beliers (those who deny My Verses, etc.), and those who are in possession of good things of life. And give them respite for a little while.” (Az-Muzzamil 73:10)

Be patient over whatever they say. I am fascinated by this Ayah. Because the word ‘مَا’ means ‘whatever’ – ‘whatever’ they say. Not whatever they have said, but whatever they might even come up with. And the form of the word in the Arabic suggests ‘what they may have said in the past, in the present and even in the future till this day.’

The Prophet’s (sa) policy is to be patient himself. Where does the Quran justify such our anger? And even if our anger is justified, the one thing we should feel towards those, who hate us and make hateful speech towards us, is sorrow. We should feel sorry for these people. They can’t hurt the Prophet (sa). They can’t take away his honor. It was given from the sky. It was given by Allah (sa). Nothing on earth can take it away. No article, no cartoon, no film, no speaker and no hate speech – no form of art can take away the dignity of our Prophet (sa). All these their efforts are futile and wasteful attempts to undermine the message of Islam.

Do think also about the following: when we react in such emotional manner and engage in senseless violence, don’t we also misrepresent Islam? Aren’t we doing exactly what the enemies of Islam want? The only thing that makes me angry is the anger at our own selves, that we don’t understand the policy of the Quran about responding to insults:

“Repel evil with that which is better. We are Best-Acquainted with the things they utter.” (Al-Mu’minoon 23:96)

“The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah ordered the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly), then verily! he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.” (Fussilat 41:34)

Respond with that which is best.

There also are some people, who think that this policy was only for the early times of Islam – the Mekkan time of the Prophet (sa), when he was supposed to be passive. But when he migrated to Madinah, battles began: Badr, Uhud, Ahzaab, Tabook, etc. Thus, according to claims of such people, the passivity policy was changed to that of action. Let’s look at Surah Aal-e-Imran, the battle of Uhud – what does Allah (saw) say to us?

“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties and in your personal selves, and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Scripture before you (Jews and Christians) and from those who ascribe partners to Allah…” (Aal-e-Imran 3:186)

You will absolutely hear hurtful words from those, who were given the book before you, and from the people, who commit shirk (associate partners with Allah) and blasphemy with God. You will hear hurtful speech ‘absolutely’ coming from them. These kinds of things are a manifestation – a proof that Allah (swt) prepared us mentally for that. And in the very same Ayah, Allah (swt) himself tells us, what our reactions should be like:

“…but if you persevere patiently, and become Al-Muttaqun (the pious – see V.2:2) then verily, that will be a determining factor in all affairs, and that is from the great matters, [which you must hold on with all your efforts].” (Aal-e-Imran 3:186)

If you can be patient and maintain the consciousness of Allah (swt), then that is the most noble of the deeds and the highest of accomplishments that you can achieve. That is supposed to be the reaction of Muslims.

I would like to end with the following: at school, bullies tease the kid that they know gets teased and shows a reaction. The more we react, the more we encourage others to pursue even more hateful speech. We have to learn to respond in mature, civil and higher discourse – the way the Quran, the Sunnah and the legacy of our Prophet (sa) tells us.

I pray that this message reaches all of my young brothers and sisters, who are feeling the sadness, the rage because of this incident. And I do hope that we can turn that rage into something positive.”

I pray that this beautiful reminder from Ustadh enables us to reflect upon this matter and help us adopt the correct way for representing our religion. If there are people who with their actions dishonour Islam, it is our duty to carry the name of our religion so well that its beautiful teachings should be reflected in our personalities. May Allah (swt) give us the wisdom to bear such incidents with patience and to be able to repel the bad with good.

[Video] Loving the Prophet (sa)

Here is a brief but amazing lecture by Mufti Ismail Menk on how to love the Prophet (sa), and glad tidings given in the Quran that those who love him and obey him will be near him on the Day of Judgement and in Jannah as well. This is mentioned in Surah an-Nisa:

“And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favor of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions.” (An-Nisa 4:69)

Community Matters


The basic question to ask yourself at this very point in time is: “What legacy do you want to leave behind? Consider the lives of the prophets, who brought significant change in their respective societies. Prophet Muhammad (sa) led the Ummah to success. Caliphs like Umar (rta) and scholars like Imam Ash-Shafi left their mark on this world. The question is: “What have you done? Besides personal achievements, what are your imprints in the society in which you live? What are you doing to bring about positive social change?”

Let’s talk a bit about change. As a member of the Muslim Ummah, bringing about positive change is a part of our mission. Anything that does not grow is considered to be dead, for example, a chair or a desk. On the other hand, even a small plant grows, because it is alive. Allah (swt) has designated us as the best Ummah, but being the best comes with a responsibility mentioned in the following verse:

“You [true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah (legal ways, etc.)] are the best of people ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Maruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah…” (Ale-Imran 3:110)

Consider the above verse. We are instructed to enjoin good and forbid evil, and this command has been mentioned before the one to “believe in Allah (swt)”. Why? It is because belief in Allah (swt) is not a unique quality of Muslims. A majority believes in God at some level. The Muslim Ummah differs in the sense that it believes in Allah (swt) and it is also concerned about others. A Mumin needs to consider not just one’s individual good deeds like praying and fasting; one needs to take into account one’s contribution towards the betterment of the Ummah. And the most effective way of contributing positively to the Ummah is to enjoin good and forbid evil. First, let’s find out how the prophets did it, and then look at what we can do today.

How did the prophets do it?

  • Story of Prophet Yusuf (as)

Prophet Yusuf (as) was a victim of his brothers’ evil plotting, when he was a young boy. We all know how he was thrown into a well, rescued by a caravan and sold as a slave in Egypt. We recall how he was placed in jail. We’ve read this story many times. Now, consider what happens when the king’s messenger comes to fetch him out of prison. What did he say to him? The Quran mentions:

“And the king said: ‘Bring him to me.’ But when the messenger came to him, [Yusuf (Joseph)] said: ‘Return to your lord and ask him, ‘What happened to the women who cut their hands? Surely, my Lord (Allah) is Well-Aware of their plot.’’” (Yusuf 12:50)

Prophet Yusuf (as) first asked about the women, who had wronged him. He cleared his name at the first opportunity he got. Thereafter, he asked to be made the state treasurer or finance minister.

“…Then, when he spoke to him, he said: ‘Verily, this day, you are with us high in rank and fully trusted.’ [Yusuf (Joseph)] said: ‘Set me over the storehouses of the land; I will indeed guard them with full knowledge’ (as a minister of finance in Egypt, in place of Al-Aziz who was dead at that time).” (Yusuf 12:54-55)

Once he was given this position, he created a system, whereby the country stocked up on good harvest for seven years and then, when they were hit by a drought for the next seven, people from other countries came to them for rations. The system created by Prophet Yusuf (as) is a good example of civic engagement. Now, ask yourself: how active are you in your community?

  • Story of Prophet Musa (as)

Prophet Musa (as) was a strong leader, who dared to ask Allah (swt) that he wanted to see Him. He brought a major change to Bani Israel, using two of his major strengths: powerful connections (he had grown up in the house of the Pharaoh) and physical strength. If Allah (swt) has blessed you with some positive quality, like intelligence or high IQ, consider it to be an Amanah from Allah (swt) and use it wisely.

  • Story of Prophet Ibrahim (as)

Prophet Ibrahim (as) questioned the age-old traditions of his family and community. He refused to accept them without any rationale. Unfortunately, Muslims today do the exact opposite. They follow their traditions and customs blindly, without thinking. Prophet Ibrahim (as) was very vocal about his beliefs. He recognized Allah (swt) and invited people to the best religion. Later, he broke their idols and was thrown into the fire by his own people. When Jibreel (as) came to ask him if there was anything he could do for him, Ibrahim (as) replied that he needed everything from Allah (swt) only. It was Ibrahim’s (as) faith that caused the laws of physics to change. Allah (swt) commanded the fire to cool down and protect Ibrahim (as). Subhan’Allah! What makes us think today that Allah (swt) will not protect us? Insha’Allah, He will, as long as He is on our side.

What can we do?                    

Positive change was the aim and message of every prophet. It is a fact that people are afraid of change. They are scared of others judging them, hurting them or taking advantage of them, if they try to do anything that is different. Yet the prophets worked around this challenge and invited people to Islam.

Today, when we get together as a community, we usually focus on the negative practices of others. We remain engrossed in the wrongs that others are doing. We never talk about the positive factors or how we can change the negative into the positive.

Here are some initial steps we can take to transform this trend:

  1. Take an initiative. Don’t remain passive; don’t feel you ‘cannot do anything’. Focus on ideas to serve your community.
  2. Think of micro problems around you that you can solve. For now, don’t dwell on macro problems, resolving which is not within your capacity.
  3. Remember you cannot force change. Guidance comes from Allah (swt), and if you coerce people, they will reject change.
  4. Be a role model. Start your day with Fajr Salah and the Sunnah supplications of the morning. Eat and drink the Sunnah way.
  5. Your children are tomorrow’s generation. Rise up to parenting challenges and raise them to be productive members of the community.
  6. Be careful about places that the community uses. Stop looking for shortcuts. In the Masajid, we see shoes scattered everywhere, while the racks for shoes are empty. Many people are careless about using public washrooms. This only reflects our way of thinking.
  7. Apply the principle of Al-Hubb or loving one another. The Prophet (sa) explicitly mentioned that those, who are not merciful to the poor, are not one of us. True believers are those, who love for others what they love for themselves. We can’t sit and watch our Muslim brothers and sisters suffer all over the Ummah. Supplicate for them. Help financially, if you can.
  8. Never put down a brother or sister in Islam. Don’t think of anyone as beneath you.
  9. Exchange gifts. Do this with a sincere intention. Don’t consider it to be a social obligation.

Today, the Muslim community faces many diverse issues. Work on developing micro solutions to solve the problems. May Allah (swt) enable us to reach our end with Khayr. Ameen.

Adapted from a lectureshop organized by “LiveDeen”. Transcribed for Hiba by Umm Ibrahim.


Implementing Sunnah in Today’s Classrooms (Final Part)


26) Turn the attention of the questioner towards a more important issue.

Sometime it is better to turn the attention of the questioner to a more important issue. Once a person asked the Messenger (sa) when the Day of Judgement would come. Instead of replying, the Prophet (sa) asked him: “What have you prepared for it?” The man said that he hadn’t done much in terms of praying, fasting and charity, but he did love Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa). The Messenger (sa) said: “You will be with whom you love.” (Bukhari)

The question that the person asked was out of genuine curiosity, but the answer was neither revealed to the Messenger (sa), nor did he consider his preparation for it. So he turned the attention of the questioner towards a more important and pressing issue, i.e., his deeds.

If the teacher doesn’t know the answer to a question, or thinks there are other more important things to be taught, s/he should not snub the student but rather divert him/her to what s/he thinks needs to be learnt first.

27) It doesn’t matter, if you are a bit inconvenienced.

A Bedouin approached the Messenger (sa), while the latter was on a journey. The person took hold of the reins of the Prophet’s (sa) camel and then said: “O Messenger of Allah! Inform me of what will draw me closer to paradise and take me away from (hell) fire.” The Prophet (sa) said: “He has certainly been blessed or guided.” The Messenger (sa) then addressed the person saying: “What did you say?” The person then repeated his question. The Messenger (sa) replied: “You should worship Allah (swt) and not ascribe any partners to Him. You should establish Salah, give Zakah and maintain good relationships with your kith and kin. You may now leave my camel.” (An-Nasai)

Note: Even if you are in a hurry, give attention to the seekers of knowledge. A little inconvenience for the teacher may result in a huge benefit for the student.

28) Don’t criticize directly.

Many a time, the Prophet (sa) would observe a person committing a wrong deed. He would immediately take action, but not necessarily point out the wrongdoer. He would stand and address the people saying that ‘some people do so and so’, so that the individual would not be embarrassed before everyone.

Not only does this method protect a student’s self-esteem, it also teaches others about the incorrect action. At the same time, it strengthens the bond between the teacher and the student.

29) Use humour.

A person asked the Prophet (sa) to give him a camel, so that he may carry his goods on it. So the Messenger (sa) said to him: “I will give you the offspring of a she-camel.” The man said: “O Messenger (sa)! What can I do with the offspring of a she-camel?” The Prophet (sa) replied: “Is it not so that camels only give birth to camels?” (Abu Dawood)

The Messenger (sa) used to joke and jest with his companions on certain occasions. However, he spoke nothing but the truth. His humor did not hurt, offend or insult anyone. The companions asked him: “O Messenger (sa)! You joke with us?” He replied: “I speak nothing but the truth.” (Bukhari)

The Prophet (sa) used to teach many things through joking and humour. In the above Hadeeth, he teaches analytical thinking and deduction, at the same time lightening the atmosphere of the assembly. A classroom tends to get stuffy at times. A light hearted joke or anecdote blows away the clouds of stiffness and perks up the atmosphere.

30) Show interest in children’s hobbies.

Abu Umayr (rtam) was a young boy who had a pet bird. The Messenger (sa) was aware of this fact. One day, the bird died. When the Prophet (sa) came to visit them, he saw that Abu Umayr was sad. So he asked: “What has happened to him?” The people of the house said: “His bird has died.” The Prophet (sa) said to him: “O Abu Umayr! What has happened to the Nughayr (small bird)?” (Abu Dawood)

This shows the Messenger’s (sa) affection and compassion for the young child, whose bird had died, leaving him heartbroken. Upon seeing the sad look on the child’s face, the Prophet (sa) immediately enquired about the matter and consoled him with words of comfort. I would like to add here that the Messenger (sa) was an exceptionally busy man, assigned the greatest and most difficult task in the history of mankind – yet, he was not too busy to inquire about the happiness of a small child. Such acts develop a strong bond between the teacher and his students, one that is pivotal in successful learning.

31) Be open to suggestions.

When the companions reached the battlefield of Badr with the Messenger (sa), he chose a certain position for pitching the tents of the army. One of the companions, Hubab bin Munzir (rtam), who was a seasoned war strategist, approached him and said: “Has this place been chosen by Allah (swt) or is it your own decision?” The Prophet (sa) replied that it wasn’t a revelation from Allah (swt); rather, he had chosen it by himself. Hubab (rtam) then requested him to consider his decision, because there was another spot at a better location for the battle. The Messenger (sa) readily accepted this proposal and changed the location of the base camp.

If the Messenger (sa) is open to suggestions at all times, the teacher too should feel happy to have students who are able to reflect and suggest ideas to him. This does not make the teacher bound to ‘obey’ a suggestion , but s/he is bound to allow students to make them.

32) Leniency in punishments.

The Messenger (sa) said: “Allah loves that one should be kind and lenient in all matters.” (Bukhari)

The Messenger (sa) himself disliked awarding a physical punishment to people and encouraged mildness in all matters. The way of the Messengers (sa) was one of love and affection. Those around him obeyed him, because they loved him and feared his disobedience, because they knew their sins upset him, not because they would be beaten.

The anger of the teacher should be feared, because it might banish someone from his/her good books, not because of corporal punishment.

Anas bin Malik (rtam) narrates: “I served the Prophet (sa) for ten years, and he never said to me, ‘Uff’ (a minor harsh word denoting impatience) and never blamed me by saying, ‘Why did you do so or why didn’t you do so?’” (Bukhari)

The Messenger (sa) did not, however, ban physical punishment. He said: “Teach the child to pray, when he is seven years old, and smack him, if he does not pray, when he is ten.”

Firstly, keep in mind that a Muslim child ought to see his parents and those around him involved in prayer from the time s/he is born. Growing up in such a household would automatically result in him/her engaging in Salah from a very young age. The Messenger (sa) has asked us to encourage a child to offer Salah regularly at the age of seven and to ensure that s/he does so by the age of ten. This means that the next three years should be spent teaching and training him. And when all this fails, then he has suggested physical punishment. There are certain things to be noted. A ten-year-old child, having spent his/her entire life watching people offer Salah, would not abstain from it. In case s/he does so, there might be some special reason behind it, which must be attended to. And before someone starts beating up their children, remember that the Messenger (sa) forbade striking anyone on the face, hitting so hard as to leave a mark on the body and beating excessively. Also, remember the purpose of physical punishment is not to injure a child but to scare him/her from an evil deed, nor should the punishment serve as a vent of frustration, when the teacher fails in his/her own duty.

A piece of advice: do not use your hands to inflict a blow; whenever your hands reach out to the child, it should always be for affection. Also remember that the fear of physical punishment should be used more often than the punishment itself. Another thing is that physical punishment does not necessarily have to be hitting, but it could also be strenuous exercise or banishment from an enjoyable task.

Adapted (with permission) from “How the Messenger of Allah (sa) Taught his Students” written by Maulvi Jahangir Mahmud (

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The Massacre of Karbala – A Historical Analysis



1. This topic is a very contentious and emotional one. It’s possible to stoke the flame of anger and Shaykh Yasir Qadhi vehemently insists that he’s opposed to any hatred and bigotry. The purpose of this lecture is to educate, and discuss the incident of Karbala.

2. The Karbala massacre is a detailed event of history and history is, by its nature, subjective. We cannot go into a detailed analysis, so it’s going to be a summarized version of this event. The interpretations given are standard Sunni interpretations and by and large, it is agreed upon within Sunni scholarship. Our version will be based upon the works by Ibn Katheer, Ibn Hajar, etc.

Hussain ibn Ali (rta)

He was born in Shaban 4 AH, less than a year after Hasan (rta) was born. There are many Ahadeeth in which Hasan (rta) and Hussain (rta) are praised. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said that they would be the leaders of the young men of paradise, and called them “my two sweet basils”. (Bukhari)

Hussain (rta) lived in Madinah, until Ali (rta) became Khaleefah at which point Hussain (rta) moved to Kufa (Iraq) and lived there along with his brother, Hasan (rta). When Ali (rta) was assassinated by the Khawarij (a deviant sect), Hasan (rta) was given the oath of allegiance by the Kufans. Muawiyah (rta), who was the governor of Damascus at the time, was also given allegiance but by the people of Syria. Muawiyah (rta) and Hasan (rta) were about to go to war. However, Hasan (rta) decided to resign after six months in order to prevent more bloodshed. The Sunni scholarship believes that Hasan (rta) was more worthy of being Caliph at that time. The people of Kufa accepted his decision with great difficulty. Even Hussain (rta) was opposed to this decision but he was calmed down by Hasan (rta). After Hasan’s (rta) resignation, the brothers went back to Madinah, where Hussain lived till the death of Muawiyah (rta) in 60 AH. Hasan (rta) passed away in 51 AH, and during that time, Muawiyah (rta) nominated Yazeed (his son) as his successor.


Yazeed was the grandson of Abu Sufyan (rta) and the son of Muawiyah (rta). He was born in 26 AH and at a very young age, his father put him in charge of the army which attacked Constantinople. Hussain (rta) had also participated in this battle, alongside Yazeed. There is a Hadeeth narrated by Bukhari in which the Prophet (sa) said: “The first army of my Ummah which will attack the city of Caeser will be forgiven.” So we acknowledge that this is the army which was led by Yazeed, and this is one positive thing about him.

Hussain (rta) refuses to pledge allegiance to Yazeed

When Yazeed was nominated as successor, there were three men to whom the Ummah was looking, as to what their reaction will be. They were:

  1. Ibn Umar (rta)
  2. Abdullah ibn Zubair (rta)
  3. Hussain (rta)

Ibn Umar (rta) made the decision to be apolitical in the interest of not shedding more blood of the Muslims. Ibn Zubair (rta) decided to revolt and he went to Makkah. He was killed after the Karbala incident.

Sunni scholarship believes that it is allowed for a person to be Caliph in the Muslim Ummah when there are other people more worthy of the title. Also, we have the right to disagree with the political decisions made by the companions, but we cannot doubt their Niyyah (intention).

The third person was Hussain (rta). After Muawiyah’s (rta) death, the governor of Madinah called him and asked him to give the oath of allegiance to Yazeed. He refused, and the governor wasn’t harsh. Hence, he let it go. Hussain (rta) went straight to Madinah, and news spread that Hussain (rta) has refused to pledge the oath of allegiance. The people of Kufa rejoiced at this news, and started sending letters after letters to Hussain (rta), imploring him to come over to Kufa and promising that they will pledge allegiance to him. Hussain (rta) decided to send his cousin Muslim bin Aqeel to Kufa to check out the situation and confirm what these letters had stated.

Muslim bin Aqeel leaves for Kufa

Muslim bin Aqeel left with a small group of people and reached Kufa in Dhul-Qadah, 60 AH. Here, the response of Kufan residents was tremendous. Thousands of people came to Muslim bin Aqeel and pledged allegiance to Hussain (rta).

Muslim bin Aqeel was overjoyed. He immediately sent a letter to Hussain (rta), confirming the statements of the letters and asking him to come immediately to Kufa. Now, the news that the people of Kufa are preparing to revolt reached Yazeed. He decided to send the most vicious politician he had to Kufa to stop this revolt. That politician was Ibn Ziyad, a man in his late twenties, who only wanted to rise in the ranks of power, and for that, he was prepared to do anything.

Ibn Ziyad isolates Muslim bin Aqeel

Ibn Ziyad reached Kufa with a small entourage of people at Fajr time, and at first, the people of Kufa thought he was Hussain (rta). They started rejoicing and calling out to him, and he immediately understood that the rumors he had heard were indeed true and there was an uprising in the making in Kufa. One of the first things Ibn Ziyad did was to dismiss the present governor, and become governor of Kufa. He employed a shrewd method to find out where Muslim bin Aqeel was hiding. In order to isolate him, Ibn Ziyad negotiated with each tribe’s members who were supporting Muslim bin Aqeel, urging them to call their tribe back from fighting, bribing them with money, increase in ranks, emotional blackmail, or whatever worked. At the end of the day, everybody abandoned Muslim bin Aqeel, and all it had taken for them to do so, was money and power.

When Muslim bin Aqeel was eventually forced to surrender, he conveyed the message to Ibn Ashar (who was one of those who had captured him) to go immediately to Hussain (rta) and warn him that the tide had completely turned in Kufa, and to go straight back to Madinah. He told him to convey to Hussain (rta) that the Kufans had lied and betrayed them.

On 9th Dhul-Hijjah, Muslim bin Aqeel was publicly executed by being thrown off from the highest tower of the city. Before being thrown off, he said, “O Allah, be the judge between us and those who abandoned us…”

Hussain bin Ali (rta) leaves for Kufa

Now Hussain (rta) was on his way. He had left Makkah on the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah, one day before Muslim bin Aqeel was publicly executed. In Makkah, every senior companion tried to dissuade him from this journey. They reminded him that the people of Kufa were not to be trusted, since they had also betrayed his father, Ali (rta). Hussain (rta) insisted that the Kufans had sent him letters of support and so many people cannot betray all at once. Some of the companions who tried to stop him were Ibn Abbas (rta), Abdullah ibn Umar (rta) and Abu Saeed al Khudri (rta). Hussain (rta) also insisted on leaving because his intention was not to have any bloodshed in Makkah.

Hence, Hussain (rta) went and sent a messenger to Kufa, announcing that he will be there soon. He had no clue what had already happened in Kufa. The messenger was caught and was executed in Kufa. Hussain (rta) sent a second messenger, who was also executed. But before his execution, he shouted out to the Kufans that Hussain (rta) was just around the corner!

Now Hussain (rta) got the message by Ibn Ashar (who had promised Muslim bin Aqeel to get the message to Hussain (rta)). Hussain (rta) was now convinced that his journey was indeed in vain and that the whole climate in Kufa was changed. But now, it was rather too late. Even if he wanted to turn back, the sons of Muslim bin Aqeel (who were in his entourage) wanted revenge for the death of their father. Others said to Hussain (rta) that the people of Kufa has done this with Muslim bin Aqeel, but they would surely never ever do this with the grandson of the Prophet (sa). Hence, Hussain (rta) decided to proceed to Kufa.

Sunni scholarship believes that Hussain (rta) did not march on to a suicide mission. He truly believed in the Kufan promises when he made the decision to go forward.

Troops intercept Hussain (rta) at Karbala

Ibn Ziyad heard of this and at this time, a large number of troops had been sent to fight the Daylamites (an Iranian tribe). He intercepted them and sent them to fight Hussain (rta). These troops caught up with Hussain (rta) in the plain of Karbala, very close to Kufa. At this point, many people, who had joined Hussain (rta), left. Around 70 people were left, and they were part of his family. The leader of the troops was Umar bin Sad bin Abi Waqqas (rta). He was the son of a famous companion of the Prophet (sa). He was reluctant to harm these people but he didn’t stand up to the orders given to him by Ibn Ziyad. Umar sent a message to Hussain (rta), asking him why he was here. In response, Hussain (rta) showed him the bags of letters he had received from the Kufans, and explained that this is why he was here. He then said that if the Kufans do not want him, he will go back. This message was sent to Ibn Ziyad. This was 3rd of Muharram, 61 AH. The siege actually lasted only five days.

Exchange of options

Ibn Ziyad, upon receiving Hussain’s (rta) message, sent back this message: Pledge allegiance to Yazeed on my hand. Of course, Hussain (rta) wouldn’t do that and this is expected of him. He gave Ibn Ziyad three options:

  1. Let me go back to Makkah
  2. Let me talk directly to Yazeed
  3. Banish me to a faraway land, where I spend the rest of my days, worshipping Allah.

Ibn Ziyad, in his arrogance, didn’t listen to any of these choices. He refused everything and insisted that Hussain (rta) should give Bayah on his hand or it’s going to be war. Now, a key point to note is that during these five days, it is impossible that a message got to Damascus, and Yazeed got to know of these happenings, and ordered for Hussain (rta) be killed. Hence, Sunni scholarship believes that the main culprit in this was Ibn Ziyad. This doesn’t mean everybody else was free of blame.

Hussain (rta) refused to pledge allegiance on Ibn Ziyad’s hand and Ibn Ziyad sent his most ferocious commander Shimr to Karbala, because he sensed that Umar ibn Sad bin Abi Waqqas was a soft person. Shimr arrived at Karbala on the 9th of Muharram. There was a lot of tension in both camps. Some people among the 4000 troops (sent to fight the Daylamites) fled. They had no intention of fighting the grandson of the Prophet (sa). Some even defected and came over to Hussain’s (rta) side.

Fighting and martyrdom

On the morning of 10th Muharram, it was a brutal scene. Around 70 men were versus an army of 3000-4000 brutal men. The fighting began. Nobody dared to lift a hand against Hussain (rta). It was Shimr who led his team forward and dealt the fatal blow, which martyred Hussain (rta). Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi Rajioon.

Hussain’s head was brought to Ibn Ziyad, who took a stick and poked at it, while saying vulgar things. Anas ibn Malik (rta) couldn’t stand this. He stood up and chastised Ibn Ziyad’s actions and said to him that he had seen the Prophet (sa) kiss the lips that were being poked by Ibn Ziyad in such a vulgar fashion. Some reports say that the head of Hussain (rta) was sent to Yazeed and he poked it, but this is the minority opinion in Sunni scholarship.

There was only one male survivor of that massacre: Ali (Zain ul Aabideen), the son of Hussain (rta) who was in the women’s tent because he was sick. Nobody else survived this brutal act.

Who is to blame?

There are many to be blamed for this brutal act of Islamic history.

1. People of Kufa

They claimed to support Hussain (rta) no matter what. But in the end, while Hussain (rta) was trapped in Karbala for five days, practically next door to them, they didn’t budge. Nobody came out to help Hussain (rta).

2. Ibn Ziyad

He had shown arrogance and brutality in his dealing with Hussain (rta). Allah (swt) punished him during his life. His life was riddled with battles, and his death also resulted in decapitation. His head too, was brought to the court and humiliated. Not only that, but in front of the terrified crowd, a snake slithered up to his head, went up his nose and disappeared.

3. Umar ibn Sad

Some scholars also blame him for not standing up to Ibn Ziyad and refusing to fight Hussain (rta).

4. Shimr and his team

This was the man who dealt the final blows to Hussain (rta) and ultimately murdered him.

5. Yazeed ibn Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan

He is not absolved of this incident. Ultimately, he was the ruler at that time, who had sent Ibn Ziyad to Kufa. We don’t curse him by name, but he takes a good share of the blame for the massacre at Karbala. He may not have intended to kill Hussain (ra). He said that he had not asked for him to be killed when Hussain’s (ra) head was brought to him. Also, he wrapped it up in a cloth, and returned it to Hussain’s family. But he didn’t punish any of the perpetrators, too. So there is no doubt that he takes a good share of the blame.


Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal’s son asked him whether he should love Yazeed. Imam replied: “Can anybody with Iman love Yazeed?” His son further asked: “Shall we curse him?” The Imam replied: “Have you seen me curse anybody by name?” This is our conclusion. We don’t curse anybody by name, but we do say: “Lanat Al-Allahi ‘Ala Az-Zalimeen” (May Allah’s curse be on the unjust).

Please note that these are the excerpts from the full talk transcribed exclusively for Hiba Magazine’s blog by one of our readers. You can listen to the audio of Shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s talk by downloading it – click here to download. All copyrights belong to AlMaghrib Institute.

The Prophet (sa) and his Daughters


Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “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)

“And We have sent you (O Muhammad (sa)) not but as a mercy for the Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists)….” (Al-Anbiya 21:107)

Without doubt, one of the greatest gifts Allah (swt) has given to the believers is perfect guidance, which Muslims can follow with the assurance that it will not lead to a dead end. This guidance is the last revelation – the Noble Quran – and the way of Prophet Muhammad (sa), who practically showed us the religion of Allah Almighty (swt) and explained it in great detail, as is mentioned by Abu Zarrah (rtam): “When the Prophet of Allah left us, we had all the knowledge (even) about every bird which flies above us.”(Ibn Hibban)

One of the most important aspects of every person’s life is the relationship with one’s children. Let us see what our Prophet’s (sa) conduct was as a father.

According to one of the opinions, the Prophet (sa) had three sons: Al-Qasim, Abdullah (At-Tahir) and Ibrahim – and four daughters: Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthoom and Fatimah, whom he called Az-Zahra (the flower). The daughters outlived his sons and they were from his first wife, Khadijah (rtaf). It must also be mentioned that most reports about the Prophet’s (sa) relationship with his daughters date back to the Madinah period – the time, when all of them were of full age and already married. This is due to the fact that most knowledge about his private life came through his wives, all of which, except Khadijah (rtaf), he married either shortly before Hijrah or after it. Most reports came through Aisha (rtaf), who has narrated more than two thousand Ahadeeth, which constitute the fourth largest source from among the Sahabahs.

Pondering over the reason Allah (swt) gave to the Prophet (sa) so many daughters that outlived his sons, the scholars are of the opinion that it was so in order to show that he did not rely on his sons, as was a custom among the Arabs of the time, and in order to confront the Jahiliyah tradition of hating daughters.

The Prophet (sa) was overjoyed about the birth of his daughters, unlike the neglectful attitude Arabs had towards their daughters. This proved that there is no reason to worry about the birth of daughters, and that the Rizq of every person is with Allah (swt). The Rizq does not decrease because of the number of children or the birth of daughters. The Prophet (sa) also has said that a person who will raise two righteous daughters will stand next to him on the Day of Judgement. (Muslim)

All of the Prophet’s (sa) daughters were born before his prophethood; therefore, when the command of Allah (swt) came (“And warn your tribe (O Muhammad (sa)) of near kindred.” (Ash-Shuara 26:214)), the Prophet (sa) ascended the mount of Safa and called his tribe to Islam: “Oh, the people of Quraish, ransom yourselves – nothing else will help you in front of Allah (swt),” and also his daughters: “Oh, Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad, ask me how much you wish of my money but it will not help you in front of Allah (swt).” (Bukhari) All of his daughters accepted Islam and later migrated to Madinah.

The Prophet (sa) did not delay the marriages of his daughters, choosing for them husbands who were known for their wisdom and sharp mind (like Abu al-As ibn al-Rabia, to whom he gave his eldest daughter Zaynab), or their Iman and shyness (like future Khalifah Uthman ibn Affan – a man in front of whom even angels felt shy and to whom he gave two of his daughters: Ruqayyah and after her death, Umm Kulthoom). After the death of his second daughter, the Prophet (sa) gave a brief description of this righteous man: “If I had a third daughter, I would give her to Uthman in marriage.” (Al-Asbahani)

He gave his youngest daughter Fatimah (rtaf) in marriage to Ali ibn Abu Talib (rtam), who stood at the forefront in almost all of the important battles of the Muslims. The Prophet (sa) respected his daughters and never forced husbands of his choice upon them. He always sought their opinion. After Ali (rtam) had asked for Fatimah’s (rtaf) hand in marriage, he informed her about it in a subtle way: “Ali mentioned you.” Fatimah’s shy silence was a sign of her acceptance, and they were married. (Ibn Sad)

The Messenger of Allah (sa) tried to help in solving the marital problems of his daughters and encouraged happiness and harmony among the spouses. One day, having come to visit his youngest daughter, the Prophet (sa) did not find Ali (rtam) there. When he found out that they had had a small marital argument, the Prophet (sa) went in search of him and found Ali (rtam) in the Masjid, where he was sleeping on the floor. Carefully clearing away the soil from Ali’s (rtam) face, he woke him up, in order to help the couple make up. (Bukhari)

When the Prophet (sa) saw the necklace of his deceased wife, Khadijah (rtaf), which was sent from Makkah by his daughter Zaynab as ransom for her husband, Abu al-As, who had not yet converted to Islam, he could not remain indifferent. He asked the permission of Muslims to release his daughter’s husband and let him go back to her to Makkah. He received their permission. (Abu Dawood)

When the Muslim army went out for their first decisive battle against the disbelievers of Makkah, the Prophet (sa) left Uthman ibn Affan (rtam) in Madinah with his daughter Ruqayyah (rtaf), who was ill at the time, thus showing by this action that caring for relatives is of utmost importance in any situation.

Yet, at the same time, he did not give his daughters any privileges, which would raise them above other Muslims. He said about his youngest daughter, who resembled him like no one else in the way she spoke and walked: “I swear by Allah, if Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad, would steal, I would cut off her arm.” (Bukhari)

One day, the Prophet (sa) noticed Fatimah (rtaf) entering his home. Since there were guests in the Prophet’s (sa) home, she left straight away. The next day, he went to visit her, in order to inquire why she had come. Fatimah (rtaf) did not say anything, but Ali (rtam) explained that he had requested her to ask from him a servant. Due to the hard work, the skin on her hands had become very rough; due to sweeping the floor, her clothes were dirty. To this, the Prophet (sa) answered: “Oh Fatimah, fear Allah (swt) and fulfil your duties in front of your Lord by doing the household chores. But when you go to sleep, recite Subhan’Allah thirty-three times, Alhumdulillah thirty-three times and Allahu Akbar thirty-four times, together one hundred, and this will be better for you than having a servant in your home.” (Abu Dawood)

The Prophet (sa) did not try to gift the Dunya to his daughters. He always pointed to the importance of the Akhira, especially when there was a choice between the two. Shaykh Ibn Taymiyah has analyzed that the one who will recite the above mentioned Dhikr before sleeping will not be overcome by tiredness, because the Prophet (sa) presented it as a solution to this particular complaint. It should also be mentioned that the Prophet (sa) himself, being the best among people, never looked down upon household chores and always helped his wives. This was narrated by his youngest wife Aisha (rtaf), when she was asked about what the Prophet (sa) would do while he was at home: “He did house chores together with his family, but when the time for Salah arrived, he went to the Masjid.” (Bukhari)

May Allah (swt) help us appreciate and emulate the Prophet’s (sa) example and reap unaccountable benefits resulting from it. Ameen.

“Allah (swt) is beautiful and He loves beauty” (Muslim)

Oct 10 - Allah swt is beautiful

When studying other religions, one realizes what a blessing Islam is, for it does not associate religiosity with depriving the human nature of its natural urges. In fact, Islam encourages its followers to adorn themselves, when worshipping Allah (swt):

“O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes), while praying…” (Al-Araf 7:31)

Furthermore, in the next verse, Allah (swt) says:

“Say ((O Muhammad (sa)): ‘Who has forbidden the adoration with clothes given by Allah, which He has produced for his slaves, and At-Taiyibat [all kinds of Halal (lawful) things] of food?’” (Al-Araf 7:32)

Therefore, Muslims should bear in mind that Islam does not associate piety with a dishevelled appearance.

During the time of the Prophet (sa), people beautified themselves in various ways – some were encouraged and retained by Islam, whilst other forms were prohibited, as they were repugnant to the human nature.

For instance, during the time of the Prophet (sa), people used to dye their hair. Jabir Ibn Abdullah (rta) reported that Abu Quhafah (rta) was brought on the day of the conquest of Makkah, and his head and beard were white like Thaghamah (a plant whose flowers and fruit are white). The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Change this with something, but avoid black.” (Muslim)

The Prophet (sa) is also reported to have said: “The Jews and the Christians do not dye their hair, so differ from them.” (Bukhari)

The Prophet (sa) also recommended which dye to use. Abu Dharr (rta) reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “The best things, with which to change grey hair, are henna and Katam (a plant similar to henna, which is used as a dye).” (At-Tirmidhi)

From another Hadeeth, we know that the Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever has hair should care about it.” (Abu Dawood)

Ata Ibn Yasser (rta) reported that a man came to the Prophet (sa), when he was in the mosque, with uncombed hair and an untidy beard. The Prophet (sa) pointed at him, as if ordering him to fix his hair and beard. He did so and returned. Thereupon, the Prophet (saw) observed: “Isn’t this better than one of you coming with his hair uncombed, as if he was a devil?” (Malik in Al-Mawatta)

Whilst reading the Ahadeeth, one gets an insight into the fashion and styles prevalent in that age. For instance, men and women used to shave their heads. The Prophet (sa) allowed men to shave all their heads but made it Makruh (disliked) for women to do so. Ali t said: “The Prophet (sa) told the women not to shave their heads.” (An-Nasai)

He also instructed the men not to shave portions of their heads and leave portions. Ibn Umar (rta) said: “The Prophet (sa) told us not to have the Qaza haircut [shaving some portions and keeping some].” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Ibn Umar (rta) said: “The Prophet (sa) saw a boy, whose head was partially shaved, and told the people not to do so and said: ‘Shave it all or leave it all.’” (Abu Dawood)

Likewise, men used to wear pure silk and gold. Although silk and gold were prohibited for men, they were allowed for women. From a Hadeeth we learn that the Prophet (sa) took silk in his right hand and gold in his left, and said: “These two are Haram (prohibited) for the males among my followers.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawood, An-Nasai and Ibn Majah)

People also used perfume to adorn themselves. One of the sons of Umm Atiyya (rta) died, and on the third day, she asked for a yellow perfume, put it over her body and said: “We were forbidden to mourn for more than three days, except for our husbands.” (Bukhari)

The Prophet (sa) encouraged the use of perfume: “Whoever is offered some perfume should not refuse it, because it is light to wear and has a good scent.” (Abu Dawood and An-Nasai)

He always used to accept perfume when presented to him. (Bukhari)

In fact, the Prophet (sa) rebuked people who ate raw legumes and threatened to exclude them from approaching the mosques due to the unpleasant odour that they carried.

Al-Mughirah Ibn Shubah (rta) reported: “Whoever has eaten from this malignant tree should not approach our mosque, until its smell completely vanishes.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Ibn Hibban)

Ibn Umar (rta) reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever has eaten garlic should not approach our mosque.” (Bukhari and Muslim) A foul breath is indeed a matter of great discomfort for people around.

Women used to wear earrings and bangles. On Eid day, when the Prophet (sa) preached about giving charity, women started giving their fore-arm bangles and earrings. (Bukhari) It was also a practice to apply Kohl in the eyes.

Umm Atiyya (rta) narrated from the Prophet (sa): “It is not lawful for a lady, who believes in Allah (swt) and the Last Day, to mourn for more than three days for a dead person, except for her husband, in which case she should neither put Kohl in her eyes, nor perfume herself, nor wear dyed clothes, except a garment of Asb.” (Bukhari)

In order to enhance their beauty, women used to pluck their eyebrows, widen and sharpen their teeth, tattoo their skins and attach hair pieces and wigs to lengthen their hair. The Prophet (sa) said: “Allah has cursed the Washimat and the Mustawshimat [tattooers and the tattooed], the Namisat and the Mutanammisat [those who pluck eyebrows and those whose eyebrows are plucked], and the Mutafallijat [those who widen the gaps between their teeth] for beauty, who change what Allah has created.” (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood and At-Tirmidhi)

In another Hadeeth, the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah has cursed the Wasilah and the Mustawsilah [those women who make wigs and hairpieces, and those who wear them].” (Bukhari)

However, if a woman has some obtrusive hairs on her face, which are a problem and an embarrassment for her, she may remove them. Aisha y was approached by the young wife of Abu Ishaq. She wished to remove her facial hairs in order to look beautiful for her husband. Aisha y advised her to do so. (At-Tabarani)

In all ages, men and women have paid attention to their personal appearance and spent time, money and effort in beautifying themselves. However, it is disturbing to note that the emphasis on personal appearance is so excessive in the current age.

As Muslims we need to remind ourselves that inner beauty comes before external appearances. After all, we have been taught to pray: “O Allah, just as You have made my external features beautiful, make my character beautiful as well.” (Hisnul Haseen) Ameen.


The Prophet’s (sa) Concern for Taharah

Oct 10 - Allah swt is beautifulBy Halima Khan

Taharah is the first lesson taught by Islam. Ask any neo-convert and his declaration of ‘la ilaha illallah’ is closely followed by a Ghusl. Hence, the cleansing of a soul that was formerly stained by Shirk is complete only once physical cleansing has been observed. The essential connection between Islam and Taharah is already established from this relevant fact.

Tradition has it that the people of a small town near Madinah, who were very particular about Taharah, especially for their prayers, have been mentioned in the Holy Book. The Lord (swt) praises these people in the Quran:

“Never stand you therein. Verily, the mosque whose foundation was laid from the first day on piety is more worthy that you stand therein (to pray). In it are men, who love to clean and to purify themselves. And Allah (swt) loves those, who make themselves clean and pure (i.e. who clean their private parts with dust [i.e. to be considered as soap) and water from urine and stools, after answering the call of nature].” (At-Tawbah 9:108)

After being blessed with Prophethood, the second revelation reminded the Prophet (sa) of his heavy responsibilities and asked him to observe cleanliness:

“O you (Muhammad (sa)) enveloped (in garments)! Arise and warn! And your Lord (Allah) magnify! And your garments purify! And keep away from Ar-Rujz (the idols)!” (Al-Muddaththir 74:1-5)

All blessings that come from Islam, the fountain of blessings, directly stem from cleanliness. The Prophet (sa), set for us the highest example in principles of faith and in cleanliness, which in Islam is not only a physical condition, but also a state of being and existence.

We know from history that the desert environment of Arabia and the nomadic life of its people were not very conducive to cleanliness and refinement. Most of them neglected the basic aspects of Taharah. Hence, it was the Prophet (sa), who instructed them in matters of Taharah, with his lively instruction and to-the-point admonition. Thus, he gradually led them out of their uncouth habits by teaching them refinement and civil manners.

The following incidents will illustrate how the Prophet (sa) used Hikmah in teaching Taharah to those around him.

Once, a Sahabi (rta), with his hair and beard unkempt, came to see the Prophet (sa). The Prophet (sa) asked him to tidy up his hair. He did so, and when he re-appeared before the Prophet (sa), he said: “Is this not better than that one should come with disheveled hair, looking like a devil?” (Al-Muwatta of Imam Malik) This incident illustrates that one should keep one’s hair clean, combed and neat at all times.

Another incident reveals that a Sahabi (rta) in dirty and ragged clothes once joined the company of the Prophet (sa) and his companions. On seeing his condition, the Prophet (sa) asked him about his financial condition. The man answered that he was financially blessed, and that he had everything from camels to horses to goats; in addition to all of these, he also owned a slave. The Prophet (sa) pointed out to him that the blessings that have been bestowed on him should also be apparent in his clothes and style of living. He (sa) said to him: “Since Allah (swt) has given you wealth, let Him see the effects of His favour and bounty upon you.” (An-Nasai) This shows that not using the blessings the Lord (swt) has showered upon us is a sign of ungratefulness towards His favours.

At one occasion, the Prophet (sa) saw a man with untidy hair and remarked: “Does he have nothing with which to comb his hair?” (Abu Dawood)

When he saw another man with dirty clothes, the Prophet (sa) remarked: “Can’t he find anything with which to wash his clothes?” (Abu Dawood)

It was also an instruction of the Prophet (sa) that people attend gatherings and congregations, such as the Friday and Eid prayers, in proper attire. He said that if you can afford it, it is befitting that you wear garments other than your working clothes to Friday prayer. (Abu Dawood)

The Prophet (sa) himself was so conscious of hygiene that, when he travelled, he carried with him several items for personal use like: oil, comb, pair of scissors, Miswak, mirror, etc. For oral hygiene, he cleaned his teeth regularly with Miswak – not once a day but several times. Aisha (rta) points out how diligently he used the Miswak every morning when he woke up, and also when he returned home. This was to such an extent that it is recorded that using the Miswak was among his last actions.

Many Ahadeeth of the Prophet (sa) also emphasize on Taharah, some of which are as follows:

“When you drink (water), do not breathe in the vessel; and when you urinate, do not touch your penis with your right hand; and when you cleanse yourself after defecation, do not use your right hand.” (Bukhari)

“Cleanliness invites toward faith, and faith leads its possessor to the Garden.” (Tabarani)

Taharah reflects not only personal hygiene but the condition of one’s faith as well. It is significant for us as Muslims to have a strong faith. We should take a good look at how important Taharah is to us – maybe that will tell us, where we stand in matters of faith. Make amends while you can, before the time comes for someone else to take care of your last Taharah rituals for you.

Companions’ Love for the Quran

Vol 6 - Issue 4 Companinons' love

If someone would ask you what the Prophet (sa) has left for you, will it take you a while to respond? When Abu Hurairah (rta) told a group of people that the Prophet’s (sa) inheritance was being distributed in the mosque, the people returned lost, unable to find anything. What they missed out on was exactly what we would have missed out on easily. So, what was the Prophet’s (sa) inheritance? In the mosque, they found people performing Salah, others reading the Quran and discussing what was Halal and what was Haram. Abu Hurairah (rta) told them: “Woe unto you! That is the inheritance of Muhammad (sa).” (Tabarani)

Modern life moves at the speed of a bullet train, or perhaps even faster. In this rapid rut of life, we hardly find time to connect with Allah (swt). Unfortunately, Salah for most of us just becomes a combination of mechanical actions that we repeat day in and day out. The spirit in our worship lies in understanding the Holy Quran, which cannot come without the love of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) describes the believers in the Quran: “… But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else).” (Al Baqarah 2:165)

Such love is evident in the tremendous effort that the Companions put in reading and understanding the Holy Quran. Some used to finish the entire Quran in two months, some in one month, some even in ten days or less. Once, when Ibn Umar (rta) was asked by the Prophet (sa) to read the Quran in one month, he insisted on doing it in less than that, so he was then advised to read it in seven days and no less (Bukhari). A group of such Companions as Usman, Zaid Ibn Thabit, Ibn Masood and Ubayy Ibn Kab (rta) used to complete the reading of the entire Quran every Friday. (Ghazali)

The Companions were a true example of the verse of the Holy Quran, “Those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides…” (Al-Imran 3:191). They used to read the Quran during all hours of the day and night, whether they stayed in one place or were travelling. (Al-Nawawi)

They read the Quran in a slow and distinct manner (Tartil), as taught by the Prophet (sa). Abdullah Ibn Abbas (rta) said: “That I read Surah of the Cow (Al-Baqarah) and the Surah of the House of Imran (Al-Imran) in a slow and distinct manner, while pondering over them, is better for me than to read the entire Quran babbling.” He also said: “That I read, [the surah beginning with] ‘when the earth is shaken’ (Surah Al-Zilzal) and Surah Al-Qariah, reflecting over them, is better for me than to read Surah Al-Baqarah and Surah Al-Imran babbling.” (Ghazali)

Weeping whilst reading the Quran was also a way of the Companions. The Messenger of Allah (sa) commanded: “Recite the Quran and weep. If you do not weep naturally, then force yourself to weep.” (Ibn Majah) True to this tradition, Abdullah Ibn Abbas (rta) tells us: “When you read [the Quranic verse of] prostration, in which occurs the word, Subhana, do not hasten to prostrate until you weep. If the eyes of anyone of you do not weep, his mind should weep [i.e. be filled with grief and fear of God].”

Some Companions liked to read the Quran silently and others liked to read it aloud. The Prophet (sa) directed them even in this matter in accordance with the Quranic verse: “… And offer your Salat (prayer) neither aloud nor in a low voice, but follow a way between.” (Al-Isra 17:110) Abu Qatadah narrates that the Prophet (sa) told Abu Bakr (rta): “When I passed by you, you were reciting the Quran in a low pitch [in the night prayer].” He replied: “I recite it to Him, Who hears [even my] whispers.” The Prophet (sa) continued: “Raise your pitch a little.” Then he told Umar (rta): “When I passed by you, you were reciting the Quran in a very loud pitch.” He replied: “I awake those who sleep, and make Satan run away.” The Prophet (sa) said: “Lower your pitch a little.” (Abu Dawood and At-Tirmidhi)

The Companions also read the Quran beautifully, thereby following the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa), who said: “Adorn the Quran with your voices.” (Abu Dawood) Reading beautifully meant reading in a slow and distinct manner, by controlling the voice though not with that excessive stretch which changes the prose order (Nazm). (Ghazali) One night the Prophet (sa) listened to the Quranic recitation of Abdullah Ibn Masood (rta), and with the Prophet (sa) were Abu Bakr and Umar (rta). They stood still for a long time [listening]. Then the Prophet (sa) said: “One who wants to read the Quran as fresh as it was revealed should read it following the reading of Ibn Umm Abd.” (Ibn Majah)

Merely reading the Quran was not enough. An important part of recitation was to understand the Quran. The Companions warned the people not to overlook understanding the words of Allah (swt). Anas Ibn Malik (rta) once said: “Often one recites the Quran, but the Quran curses him, because he does not understand it.” The sign of faith, according to Abdullah Ibn Umar (rta), was to understand the Quran. In this regard he said: “We have lived long … a time has come when I see a man who is given the whole Quran before he has acquired faith; he reads all the pages between Al-Fatihah and its end, without knowing its commands, its threats and the places in it where he should pause – he scatters it like the scattering of one fleeing in haste.” Ali (rta) said: “There is no good in the Quran reading which is not pondered over.”

A man once came to learn the Quran from the Prophet (sa), who taught him Surah Az-Zalzalah (99). When he reached the words “So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall see it; And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall see it,” the man said: “This is sufficient for me,” and left. The Prophet (sa) observed: “This man has returned as a Faqih (one who has acquired understanding).” (Abu Dawood)

There were also Companions like Usman Ibn Affan (rta) and Abdullah IbnMasood (rta), who, once they had learnt ten verses from theProphet (sa), did not go anyfurther, unless they had understood and put into practice whatever they had been taught. That is how they sometimes spent years in learning onlyone Surah. (Suyuti)

It was the strength of the bond with the Quran that kept the Companions steadfast in their faith, even when the Prophet (sa) was not amongst them. Due to the fine understanding and frequent reading of the Quran, they were able to control their excessive grief at the Prophet (sa)’s death by remembering the Quranic verse: “Muhammad (sa) is no more than a Messenger, and indeed (many) Messengers have passed away before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back on your heels (as disbelievers)?” (Al-Imran 3:144) May Allah (swt) fill our hearts with love for the Quran. Ameen.

The Prophet’s (sa) Visit to Jannah

Vol 6 - Issue 2 Prophet's sa visit to jannahBy Asma Siddiqui

Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) [above all that (evil) they associate with Him] Who took His slave (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-Al-Haram (at Makkah) to the farthest mosque (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad) of Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. (Al-Isra 17:1)

The incident of the above Ayah is famous as the event of Isra. ‘Isra’ literally means ‘travelling in the night’. This Ayah mentions the journey of Prophet Muhammad (sa) from Masjid-Al-Haram to Masjid-Al-Aqsa.

During this journey, the Prophet (sa) saw great signs of Allah (swt). The main reason behind this journey was for him to witness the eventual abode of the good as well as the bad, in order that he might convey it to all fellow human beings. It was a little glimpse into Hell as well as Jannah, so that people learn to abstain from punishable acts and, instead, do activities that would bless them with Allah’s (swt) love.

There are many notable incidents, as reported in the Ahadeeth, which give one a glimpse of Jannah and the reward of those, for whom Jannah is the eternal abode.

One such Hadeeth mentions the following incident during the Isra journey. The Prophet (sa) passed though a village. As soon as the people there would harvest their land, it would grow back again immediately. The Prophet (sa) asked Jibrail (as), who these people were. He replied, they were fighters in the way of Allah (swt). Their good deeds grow 700 times in reward, and whatever they spend, they get rewarded for it. Indeed, Allah (swt) is the best Sustainer. (Bukhari)

Prophet Muhammad (sa) also said: in another Hadeeth: “Then, Jibrael brought me to Sidrat Al-Muntaha, which was veiled in colors indescribable. Then, I entered Paradise, and its lights were of pearls and its soil was musk.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (sa) also visited a valley, which was filled with a pleasant, cool, fragrant air. There, he heard a voice. He asked what this was. Jibrael (as) replied, this was the voice of Jannah. Jannah was saying: “Oh, Lord! Fulfill your promise to me. My wealth, silk, gold, honey, wine, everything is getting excessive. There should be someone to use it.”

Jannah then got the following reply from Allah (swt): “Every Momin, man or woman, who believes in Me and My Prophet (sa), does good deeds, who does not include anyone else with Me, does not consider anyone My equal, all those will enter you. Listen, whoever has fear for Me in their heart is free of fear from anyone else; who turns to Me for help, he is not deprived of Me; who gives loan to Me, I reward them; who has faith in Me, I become enough for him. I am the True Lord. There’s no God other than Me. My promises are not unfulfilled. The true Momin is forgiven already. Allah (swt) is the best Creator.”

Hearing this, Jannah said: “I am happy.”

It was narrated by Ibn-e-Abbas (rta) that the Prophet (sa) said that on the night of Isra, he smelled a very nice and precious fragrance. I asked: “What is this fragrance?” The reply that came was that that this is the pharaoh’s daughter’s hairdresser’s (female) and her children’s palace.

That is because once she was combing the pharaoh’s daughter’s hair, and the comb fell, and she immediately picked it up and uttered: “Bismillah.”

To this, the princess said: “My father is the only God.”

She said: “No, Allah is the only Creator, Who gives sustenance to me, to you and to your father.”

The princess said: “Really! Do you think anyone else is God other than my father?”

She replied: “Yes, mine and yours and your father’s Rab is Allah.”

The princess told this to her father, who got very angry. He called her immediately and asked: “Do you consider anyone else as God other than me?”

She said: “Yes, mine and your Rab is Allah, who is Great and Mighty.”

The Pharaoh immediately ordered that a bronze pot be heated. When it became hot, he ordered her children to be thrown into it. The hairdresser requested that her and her children’s bones be placed in the same place. The pharaoh agreed and one by one threw her children into the pot.

Finally, they turned to the youngest child, who was at its mother’s breast. The mother could not bear it. Allah (swt) bestowed the child with speech, and he spoke loudly: “Dear mother, don’t feel sorry. Do not falter. To die for truth is the best deed.” So the mother became calm. The infant was thrown into the pot, and so was the mother. The result was this fragrance that emerged from their palace. (Baihaqi)

During his journey, the Prophet (sa) also saw the Kauthar River. He said: “When I entered Jannah during Shab-e-Mairaj, I walked about and came to a stream, on either bank of which stand hollow domes made of pearls. They are hollow inside so that heavenly people may inhabit there. I asked Jibrail, what this was. ‘This is the same stream of Heaven (Kauthar), which is God’s blessing upon you.’ When I examined the soil of this stream, it had a sweet smell like the scent of musk.” (Bukhari)

Prophet Muhammad (sa) has vividly described Jannah in many Ahadeeth. Abu Hurairah (rta) asked Allah’s Messenger (sa), what the creation was made of, and he replied that it was made of water. He was asked, what Paradise was constructed of, and he (sa) replied: “A brick of gold and a brick of silver with mortar of strong-scented musk; its pebbles are pearls and rubies and its soil is saffron.” (At-Tirmidhi)

The Prophet (sa) has also mentioned that person, who is rewarded even with the lowest level in Jannah, will be blessed with a space equal to ten times the area of the world. The distance between the two arms of the frame of each door of Jannah will be so wide that if a person wants to cover this width, it would take him forty years to do so. (Muslim)

The Prophet’s (sa) visit to Jannah is of great significance. It has given the pious a picture of the lovely things that are awaiting them. This should serve as a motivation for us to live a life that will lead us to the eternal Paradise.

Shaitan’s Schemes against the Prophet (sa)

Vol 6 - Issue 1 Shaitan's SchemesSherlock Holmes had Professor Moriarty, Spiderman battled the Green Goblin – every fictitious hero has had to face a devilish, scheming enemy in their action-packed lives. The same is true for our real life heroes – Prophets of Allah (swt) have had to face many enemies, including the devil himself – the Shaitan (also known as Iblis).

It is taken for granted that Shaitan’s Waswasa (whispering) would encourage many people to conspire against the prophets, our guides towards the path of Jannah. However, Shaitan himself has also come physically for leading our prophets astray. For example, Shaitan appeared before Prophet Ibrahim (as), as he prepared to sacrifice Ismael (as) on Allah’s (swt) command. Shaitan was stoned for his efforts by both father and son, and the incident was made an important ritual of Hajj – stoning the pillars at Jamarat. On studying Prophet Muhammad’s (sa) Seerah, we find that this evil nemesis and his aides made physical appearances during the Prophet’s (sa) lifetime, too.

It was during the turbulent times in Makkah, shortly before the Prophet’s (sa) Hijrah, that the Kuffar amongst the Quraish gathered to conspire against the Prophet (sa). They had tried verbal persuasion, physical torture, humiliation, starvation, banishment and even promises of wealth and position to lure Prophet Muhammad (sa) away from his mission of spreading the word of Allah (swt), but it was all in naught. At this point in time, Prophet Muhammad (sa) appeared most vulnerable to them, because his strongest supporters – his uncle, Abu Talib and his wife, Kadijah (rta) – had died.

As the Quraish debated on the best means to silence the Prophet (sa) forever, they were interrupted by an old man. He introduced himself as a well-wisher from the tribe of Najd, was curious to hear their talk and hoped for their success on reaching a sound decision. This old man was Iblis himself, and with his smooth talking he was readily admitted into the meeting! In this way he, too, was present when the Quraish plotted the murder of Muhammad (sa). (Ibn Hisham)

Alhumdulillah, Allah (swt) warned the Prophet (sa) of their plans and temporarily blinded the assassins who surrounded his house, as he left Makkah and made his way to Madinah.

Later, Iblis made his appearance when the Quraish prepared to battle the Muslims at Badr. On hearing the fabricated news that the Muslims from Madinah were intercepting a Quraishi caravan returning from Syria, the Quraish swiftly rounded up their men and armaments for war. They rallied other Arab tribes to help as well and then came a moment of hesitation; they were afraid that the tribe of Banu Bakr (their age old enemies) might attack the Quraish’s army from the rear. Should they advance towards Muslims or not?

It was at this crucial point of indecision that Iblis approached them, disguised as Suraqa Ibn Malik Ibn Jusham Al-Mudlaji – chief of Bani Kinana. He boldly promised: “I guarantee that no harm will happen from behind.” Thus reassured, the army of disbelievers charged forward.

It was in the very midst of the battle that Shaitan revealed his true self as a traitor and a liar. The Muslims were rapidly gaining ground on the battlefield and Angels had begun to descend, by Allah’s (swt) command, to aid the Muslim army. Seeing this, Shaitan fled. Indifferent to the pleas of his allies, he deserted the Kuffar’s army and plunged into the sea.

Sheikh Safi-ur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri has recorded these incidents of Shaitan’s interference in our Prophet’s (sa) life in his noteworthy book “Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum” (“The Sealed Nectar”).

Shaitan’s workers amongst the Jinn have also been recorded to have made an effort to entice Prophet Muhammad (sa). It has been recorded by Imam Bukhari that Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated the following words of the Prophet (sa): “Last night, a big demon (Afreet) from the Jinns came to me and wanted to interrupt my prayers (or said something similar), but Allah enabled me to overpower him. I wanted to fasten him to one of the pillars of the Masjid, so that all of you could see him in the morning, but I remembered the statement of my brother Sulaiman (as stated in Quran): ‘My Lord! Forgive me, and bestow on me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me: Verily, you are the Bestower’ (Sad, 38:35).” The sub-narrator Rauh said: “He (the demon) was dismissed humiliated.”

These incidents prove that Shaitan is conniving, and even those most beloved to Allah (swt) are not spared from his plots to misguide. Truly, we are unable to stop his efforts; yet, we are not his helpless prey. Allah (swt) has armed us with Dua and Salah to protect us from Shaitan’s plotting. As we learn from the Seerah of the Prophet (sa) and the lives of the prophets before him, Allah (swt) will protect those who seek His protection, and help those who seek His aid. May Allah (swt) grant us refuge from the evil schemes of the Shaitan. Ameen.

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.

Combating Depression the Prophet (sa)’s Way

role modelThe most popular fictional stories of today speak of people, who braved humiliation and personal loss and arose from the ashes of depression to take on the world and march towards success. As inspiring as these stories may be, they offer little practical advice on coping with our own personal pain. For learning to deal with real grief, we must look at the stories of real people; and such is the story of our Prophet Muhammad (sa).

Sahabahs have recorded the many afflictions our Prophet (sa) faced and how he endured them for the benefit of all Muslims. Just like us, he also bore the loss of his loved ones. In fact, his beloved wife Khadijah (rta) died early in his mission of prophethood. At that point of his life, he was already struggling with continual physical and emotional harassment by his townspeople and soon faced the challenge and helplessness of seeing his strongest supporter Abu Talib die a Kafir. Rather than wring his hands in despair, Allah’s Messenger (sa) entrusted himself to Allah (swt). His daughter once wept, seeing him being harassed by insolent Kaffars, and he in turn tried to comfort her by saying: “Do not weep, my daughter – Allah will verily protect your father.” (Bukhari)

Later, our Nabi (saw) suffered the anguish of witnessing the death of his young son Ibrahim, the only son, who did not die in infancy. He wept, yet mourned by simply saying: “The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord. Oh Ibrahim! Indeed, we are grieved by your separation.” (Bukhari)

Our Prophet (sa) also endured the pangs of starvation, the humiliation of being labelled a magician, a liar and even a mad man. He was stoned by disbelievers in Taif, and his blood glued his sandals to his feet. He was wounded in the battle of Uhud and even spat on by his enemies. Unable to shake him from his determination to continue his mission, they attacked his family by spreading slander about his youngest wife Ayesha (rta). In each case, he called out to his Lord and asked for mercy and patience.

Our Prophet’s (sa) entreaties and Duas to Allah (swt) are lessons for us to follow in our own cases of pain. Our Prophet (sa) bore more than what we, his humble followers, ever could endure, as he himself explained: “Those, who are most afflicted among the people, are the Prophets…” (At-Tirmidhi) Although he was an exceptional man, Muhammad (sa) was a human being. Being orphaned at an early age, he was known to be a very sensitive person. We would be mistaken to assume that because of his prophethood, he could shrug off his grief and continue to strive for his mission, just like our mythical comic book heroes do. Sahabahs claimed they had never witnessed the Prophet (sa) weep, as he did when his cousin Hamza (rta) was assassinated. Though he gave no orders to search for the assassin, it became known that a slave named Washi had done it. Much afterwards, when the Prophet (sa) met him, he asked Washi to hide his face from him (Bukhari) – the pain of losing Hamza (rta) was still felt by Muhammad (sa).

It was his unshakeable faith in Allah (swt) that provided Muhammad (sa) with the healing balm for the wounds cut by the tests of life. We will also be tested to see, if we are worthy of Paradise. We will be able to pass our tests of life only if we turn to Allah (swt) as our Prophet (sa) did.

The Prophet’s (sa) Marriages – Wisdom for Those Who Seek it

role modelMany will agree that the decision to marry is not an easy one. What kind of spouse to look for? How should the wedding be conducted? How to nurture the bond of marriage? – All of these are weighty considerations, especially for those, who seek Allah’s (swt) blessings for a successful and joyous marriage life. As in all instances, we can find the answers to true marital success from our Prophet’s (sa) life.

Our Prophet (sa) was married eleven times. The number itself makes many critics (including Muslims) to shy away from studying the example he sought to uphold through his marriages. His wives were bestowed the title of Ummul-Momineen (mothers of the believers) and truly played the role of the first ladies of the Muslim Ummah, supporting and advising their husband, bringing to him the grievances of people and educating the masses about the Deen.

Additionally, they lived with each other comfortably. They did have their differences but managed to avoid the types of soap operas created by lesser numbers of women living together, let alone sharing a single husband. Each of them gave their consent to marry him, and none of them sought to leave him – even when Allah (swt) promised to provide them with the bounties of this world, if they would divorce him.

Our Prophet’s (sa) first wife was Kadijah Bint Khawaylid (rta). She was a forty year old noblewoman and a respected entrepreneur, who had been a widowed mother and later a divorcee prior to her marriage to the Prophet (sa).Though fifteen years his senior, Khadijah (rta) was the Prophet’s (sa) most beloved wife and the mother of his six children. She witnessed the early days of the Prophet’s (sa) mission and was ‘the woman behind the man’- the first to accept Allah’s Messenger (sa) and support him through initial difficulties. After her death, the Prophet (sa) continued to make Dua for her and remembered her throughout his life.

Kadijah’s (rta) death left the Prophet’s two younger daughters in need of a woman’s motherly love. The widowed Saudah (rta) was requested to fill that void. Being a humored person, she soon created a comfortable and light atmosphere in the Prophet’s (sa) home and eventually was considered a mother figure by her co-wives.

Aisha’s (rta) history as the youngest of the Prophet’s wives is often under harsh scrutiny. Her marriage was a direct order by Allah (swt), which the Prophet (sa) received in his dreams. Dreams were a form of revelation also for other prophets, including Ibrahim (as), who was ordered to sacrifice his only son through a dream. Aisha (rta) was six years old, when her marriage was arranged – a feature allowed only to Allah’s Prophet (sa), but a blessing for his entire Ummah, as she became Islam’s foremost female scholar. Aisha (rta) was blessed with an inquisitive mind and incredible memory. Through her close relationship with the Prophet (sa), she would question him about all matters and would then memorize his every word. After the Prophet’s (sa) death, her home became the school, from which many future scholars emerged.

Through marriage with Aisha’s (rta) the Prophet (sa) formed strong family ties with her father Abu Bakr Siddiq (rta) (the first Caliph). Similarly his marriage to Hafsa (rta) did the same with her father Umar (rta) (the second Caliph). Interestingly, even the third and the fourth Caliphs (Usman (rta) and Ali (rta)) shared ties through marriage with the Prophet (sa), as his daughters were their wives.

We see the example of bringing families together by means of marriage also through the Prophet’s (sa) marriages to the war captives Safiyyah (rta) (a daughter of a prominent Jewish leader) and Jawayriyah (rta) from the tribe of Banu Mustaliq.

Zainab Bin Khazeemah (rta), also known as ‘mother of the needy’ for her generosity, and Umm Salamah (rta), an elderly wise woman and a renowned narrator of Ahadeeth, eventually joined the ranks of these blessed women. Their husbands were martyrs and Prophet’s (sa) marriages with them brought them and their children under his protection, thus encouraging the Ummah to help the widows.

Umm Habibah (rta) was Prophet’s (sa) cousin, and their marriage was a long distance one. She was in Abbassinyah, a widowed and destitute mother, when the Prophet (sa) heard of her situation and sent his proposal through a messenger to the King Negus. On her consent, Negus arranged the wedding and a wedding feast, gave her Mehr on the Prophet’s (sa) behalf and even had her transported to her husband. This wedding refutes the belief that the consummation of marriage is a prerequisite for Valima. It also refuted the once prevalent custom of not marrying one’s first cousin.

The story of the Prophet’s (sa) marriage to Zainab Bint Jahash (rta) is outlined within the Quran (Al-Ahzab) itself – as Allah (swt) Himself had the Nikah preformed in Jannah. She was a divorcee of the Prophet’s (sa) ‘adopted’ son, so this marriage broke down the custom of adoption. This marriage made many a tongue wag and, hence, helped to identify the hypocrites among the true followers of the Prophet (sa).

Since the prophets must face harder trials than their followers and observe more demanding religious rites, they have also been given some privileges for them alone. Such was the case of the Prophet’s (sa) marriage to Maimoona (rta), as stated by Allah (swt) in (Ahzab 33:50-52). She was very pious woman, who had been once divorced and later married and widowed. It was her ardent desire to be amongst the Um-ul-Momineen, even though she knew well the difficult lives they had. Allah (swt) accepted her earnest plea, and the Prophet (sa) accepted her proposal.

The Prophet (sa) treated his wives equally, spending one day with each of them, beginning with Umm Salama (rta) (the eldest) and ending with Aisha (rta) (the youngest). Each was allotted a night with him and lots were drawn to choose, who would accompany him on a journey. Though Aisha (rta) was his favourite, he treated them equally in all matters

Further study of the lives and personalities of the mothers of believers would reveal, why they were selected by Allah (swt) to uphold this special title. A question that ought to be considered by the ‘Muslim’ critics of the Prophet’s (sa) marriages should be: “If we accept him as the Prophet chosen by Allah (swt), may we question his actions and refuse to seek the wisdom within them?”

Anger for Allah (swt)

our role modelAt a time when conflict, distress, and war are rampant, Muslims are facing persecution. As Fitan descend one after another, we, as Muslims, desperately need to mould our reactions to deliberate provocations, according to the lofty moral conduct exemplified by our Prophet Muhammad (sa). At one extreme, we react to traumatic events by abusing, insulting, and threatening to kill the enemies of Islam; on the other end, we befriend some prejudiced non-Muslims so whole-heartedly that we don’t feel anything, when they degrade Islam.

How do we direct our anger to ensure that it lies within the boundaries of ‘anger for the sake of Allah (swt)?’ How do we know, when it is praiseworthy to remain silent and forgive our enemy, and when it is commendable to react with appropriate emotions and words of Naseehah?

Prophet Muhammad (sa) is well-known for practicing self-control when angry. He expressed his fury at the most by a change in facial expression: his cheeks would turn red, and he would become silent. In some cases, he would make a statement of mild or stern rebuke, in order to correct serious errors made by his companions. The term ‘personal revenge’ never existed in his vocabulary.

How and when the Prophet Muhammad (sa) expressed his anger is best described by Aisha (rta): “Allah’s Messenger never once struck anyone with his hand – not a servant of his nor a woman – except when he was fighting in war. He would never seek to punish anyone for their abuses, except when one of Allah’s prohibitions had been transgressed; then, he would do so only for Allah’s sake.” (Muslim, Abu Dawood, and Ibn Majah)

One of his duties as a Prophet, however, was to ensure that Allah’s (swt) laws and Hudood (restrictions) were not violated. Hence, errors by Muslims in implementing Deen were immediately corrected. Because of this, Allah’s Messenger (sa) expressed his anger on certain occasions. The following Ahadeeth illustrate this point.

Zayd ibn Thabit (rta) reports: “The Prophet chose a place, where he went out at night to pray. Some men saw him doing that, and they prayed with him. They came every night to do that. One night, the Prophet did not come out to join them. They started to make some noises like little coughs, raised their voices, and even threw pebbles at his door. He came out to them in a state of anger and said: “Look, you people! You continued doing what you did, until I thought it might be made obligatory for you. Pray in your own home, because the best prayer a person can offer is the one he offers at home, except for the obligatory prayers.” (Bukhari, Abu Dawood, and An-Nasai)

Once, the Prophet (sa) found his companions disputing with each other over the issue of the divine decree (Qadr). The Prophet’s (sa) face became furious, and he said: “Was this what you were ordered to do? Is this what you have been created for? To toss the verses of the Quran around like that? This is how the nations before you fell to their ruin.” (Ibn Majah)

Another action that angered the Prophet (sa) was when people asked him too many questions. Zayd ibn Khalid (rta) reports: “A man asked the Prophet (sa) about what one should do with what one might find in the street. The Prophet (sa) said to him: ‘Publicize it for a year, and then make sure to know its description and spend it. Should its owner come up, give it back to him.’ The man said: ‘What about a lost sheep?’ The Prophet (sa) said: ‘It belongs to you, your brother or the wolf.’ The man further asked: ‘What about a lost camel?’ The Prophet’s (sa) face was reddened with anger at this question, and then he said to the man: ‘What do you want with it? It has its own hoofs and drink, until its owner finds it.’” (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah)

There were some incidents in the Prophet’s (sa) life that made him angry even with his dearest companions.

The Sahihain report a Hadeeth, in which Usama Bin Zayd (rta), a beloved companion of the Prophet (sa), tried to intercede on behalf of a Quraishi woman convicted of theft. On hearing Usama (rta) speak for her, the Prophet (sa) became angry, and his face changed color. He replied: “Are you interceding concerning one of the punishments prescribed by Allah (swt)?” He further said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, was to steal, I would cut off her hand.” Then, he ordered the hand of the woman, who had stolen, to be cut off.

Muslim narrates a Hadeeth about Muadh Bin Jabal (rta) lengthening the Isha prayer so much that a man left the congregation and reported the incident to the Prophet (sa), who rebuked Muadh (rta) by saying: “Muadh, do you want to become a Fattaan (person putting people to trial)?” He then instructed him to recite just the shorter Surahs in the night prayer.

A narration in the Sahihain reports, how Allah’s Messenger (sa) once became angry at two of his young wives, Hafsa and Aisha (rta), when he entrusted one of them with a secret taking her into strict confidence, but she disclosed it to the other against his wishes. Vowing to stay away from them both for a month, he moved to an upper room in silent fury. As his wives cried in repentance, Allah (swt) revealed Quranic verses censuring them for having angered him.

Al-Darimi has a narration about Umar (rta) bringing the Torah before the Prophet (sa) and reading from it. The Prophet’s (sa) face changed color as he became angry, until Umar (rta) stopped. The Prophet (sa) then said: “By Him in Whose hand is the life of Muhammad, even if Moosa were to appear before you and you were to follow him, leaving me aside, you would certainly stray into error; for if Moosa were alive, and he found my prophetical ministry, even he would have definitely followed me.”

Aisha (rta) has narrated: “The Prophet (sa) entered upon me, while there was a curtain having pictures (of animals) in the house. His face got red with anger, and then he took hold of the curtain and tore it into pieces. He said: ‘Such people, who paint these pictures, will receive the severest punishment on the Day of Resurrection.’” (Bukhari)

We can see, how Allah’s Messenger (sa) became angry, when Muslims exceeded limits of moderation in worship, disputed with each other about Deen, asked too many questions, referred to other sources besides the Quran, or inclined towards neglecting the restrictions ordained by Allah (swt). He expressed his anger, however, with constrained emotions and carefully-chosen but effective words of reprimand. That’s how we should also try to mould our fury: to be ignited only for Allah (swt), and expressed just as His Messenger (sa) did.

“The strong man is not the one, who can throw another down. The strong man is the one, who can control himself, when he is angry.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Mercy during War

Image Prophet sa humourIslam did not conquer lands and enter hearts by inflicting torture, raping helpless women or killing the innocent. Indeed, 1400 years before the Geneva Convention or any other War Crimes Tribunal was formed, the Prophet (sa) and his companions (rta) displayed a great sense of mercy and justice, when dealing with the enemies of Islam, which is prominently absent nowadays. The horrific stories of savageness today put every human being on earth to shame. Tribunals and other organizations appear either feeble or ineffective in delivering justice. Looking back at Islamic history, we encounter remarkable examples of Islam’s magnanimous soldiers.

After the victorious battle of Badr, upon Prophet’s (sa) orders, a ransom was set with consideration of the financial circumstances of the captives. As a result, some poor captives were released even without ransom. Others were allowed to work for their freedom. Given that the polytheists of Makkah were literate as compared to the Muslims of Madinah, the Muslims would ask the literate Makkan captives to teach the younger generations of Madinah literacy in return for their freedom. Accordingly, they were entrusted with ten children, and as soon as the children were proficient, the prisoners were set free.

The Prophet (sa) encouraged Muslims to treat prisoners humanely, so much so that Muslim captors would give to them the most valued item in their meal-bread-and keep only dates for themselves. After the battle of Badr, the Prophet (sa) ordered to burry the dead bodies of Islam’s enemies in a dry well, rather than leave them around for birds and beasts to prey on. This he did out of respect for their dignity, as well as out of mercy for the family of the dead. On the contrary, the disbelievers mutilated the dead bodies of Muslim soldiers in the following battle of Uhud. Prophet’s (sa) uncle’s Hamza’s (rta) heart was cut out by Hind bint Utbah, Abu Sufyan’s wife, out of barbaric vengeance. Prophet (sa) simply forgave her and never avenged her even later in life, when she converted to Islam.

Another extraordinary example is of when the Prophet’s (sa) son-in-law Amr ibnul Aas (who was yet a disbeliever) was captured in Badr fighting against Muslims. The Prophet (sa) did not make any distinction between his relatives and strangers. The Prophet’s (sa) daughter Zainab (rta) sent her late mother’s Khadija’s (rta) necklace to secure the freedom of her husband Amr ibnul Aas. Though this gesture greatly saddened the Prophet (sa), reminding him of his late beloved wife.

Likewise, before the commencement of the battle of Uhud, Allah’s Messenger (sa) gave his sword to Abu Dujanah (rta). The companion demonstrated incredible valor before the enemies. As he was moving into the thick of the battle, he rushed to kill a person, who was inciting the enemy to fight the Muslims. Upon this, that person shrieked. It was a woman, Hind bint Utbah. Abu Dujanah spared her saying: “I respect the Prophet’s sword too much to use it on a woman.” Though she was actively involved in the war, a sense of compassion took over Abu Dujanah (rta), comprehending the Prophet’s (sa) merciful nature.

Once, the Jewish tribe of Bani Nadir revoked the treaty they had agreed upon with the Muslims and attempted to murder the Prophet (sa) by deception. Consequently, the Prophet (sa) and his troops lay siege on Bani Nadir’s fortresses for a considerable time. Eventually, the Jews began to despair of any help from their allies, and Huyay agreed to go into exile with his people. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) allowed them to take all the possessions that their camels could carry, except for their arms and armor, as well as safeguarded their departure from Madinah.

Bani Nadir loaded their doors and even their lintels onto their camels. As they made their way through the crowded market of Madinah, the camels were objects of wonder, both for the richness of their trapping and the wealth of their load. Women displayed garments of silk or brocade, most of them laden with ornaments of gold, rubies, emeralds, etc. Muslims permitted their enemies to march off with pride.

The battle of Mu’tah was the beginning of great Muslim conquests into the lands of Christians. It all started, when the close ally of the Roman Empire, Amr al-Ghassani, beheaded the Prophet’s (sa) messenger, Al-Harith Bin Umair (rta), while delivering a letter to the ruler of Basra. The killing of an envoy was grounds enough for Muslims to declare war. But the Prophet (sa) suggested that the Muslims invite the enemy to profess Islam first, and then, based on their response, they would decide whether to wage war or make peace.

Islam also condemns any purposeful destruction of the enemy’s property. The Prophet (sa) always ordered his army: “Fight the disbelievers in the name of Allah (swt), neither plunder nor conceal booty, kill neither children nor women, nor an ageing man, nor a hermit be killed; moreover, neither trees should be cut down nor homes demolished.” (Zad Al-Mad 2/155, Fath Al-Bari 7/511)

A translation from the Quran states: “And indeed whosoever takes revenge after he has suffered wrong, for such there is no way (of blame) against them. The way (of blame) is only against those who oppress men and rebel in the earth without justification; for such there will be a painful torment. And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives, that would truly be from the things recommended by Allah (swt).” (Ash-Shura 42:41-43)

Obeying Allah’s (swt) instructions to attain the level of Ihsan (a beautiful deed), Muslim soldiers made a great impact on the lives of many non-Muslims. Indeed, there is a famous saying: “History has never known more merciful conquerors than the Arabs.” It was this mercy that allowed Islam to relieve nations from cruelty, injustice, and barbarism and introduce a civilized way of life.