Caution: Innovations Ahead!

sunnah-bidahThe term Bid’ah literally means innovation. Many people have invented new practices in our religion, which neither Allah (swt) nor the messenger (sa) commanded us to act upon. As Muslims, it is necessary to believe that the Prophet Muhammad (sa) bought us the complete religion in its most perfect form.

As the Quran says, “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Al-Maidah 5:3)

This verse confirms that our religion Islam is complete, and does not require any additions or omissions from it. Islam is such an amazing religion that it teaches us how to behave in every situation of life- be it at a funeral, a wedding, visiting the sick or even in the bathroom. As Muslims, we believe that by following the Prophet (sa) in every aspect of life, we will be successful in this life and the hereafter because his lifestyle is that of moderation.

Unfortunately, many Muslims have innovated numerous practices in Islam that were neither done by the Prophet (sa) nor commanded by Allah (swt) in the Quran. By doing such an act, they imply a number of things. Did the Prophet (sa) fail in bringing us the complete religion? Was Allah’s (swt) religion not perfect for you that you had to make some additions to Islam? Is the Quran not accurate for Allah (swt) says that He has completed and perfected the religion? Please reflect upon these questions fellow Muslims because Allah (swt) is perfect, His system is perfect and there is no fault in whatever He has given and gives us.

Bid’ah is something:

  1. we consider a part of Islam,
  2. for which there is no evidence in the Quran or Sunnah,
  3. we believe we can get rewards from Allah (swt) for carrying out this practice.

This is a litmus test for identifying any practice that is a Bid’ah. So, whenever you do something that you consider a part of Islam, ask yourself, did the Prophet (sa) do this? Does Allah (swt) command us to do this?

Here are some practices we consider a part of Islam, but they are in fact Bid’ah!

-Offering Fatiha at the grave: The Prophet (sa) has never been recorded to have offered Fatiha at anyone’s grave. In fact, he indirectly prohibited it as shown by the following Hadeeth in which Aisha (ra) asked the Prophet (sa) what to say when she visited the graveyard. He replied to send Salam upon them and to pray for them. He did not tell her to recite Fatiha or any chapter of the Quran. It is prohibited to recite the Quran in graveyards for the Prophet (sa) said: “Do not make your houses graveyards, for verily Satan flees from the house in which Surah Al Baqarah is recited.” Thus, our houses should not resemble graveyards where no chapter from the Quran is read.

-Events such as the Birthday of the Prophet (sa) (Maulad-e-Nabi). Neither the Prophet (sa) nor the companions (rta) celebrated such an event in their lives. However, just to imitate the Christians, Muslims have started doing so. They celebrate Jesus’s (as) birthday on the 25th of December, so we should celebrate our Prophet’s (sa) birthday too, right? Other events such as Qul or mourning on the 3rd, 10th or 40th day of death have no roots in our religion.

List of Bid’ah

  1. Offering Fatiha at graves or reciting Quran there.
  2. Celebrating the Prophet’s (sa) Birthday
  3. Shab-e-Mairaj on the 27th of Rajab (night of ascension) or Shab-e-Barat on the 15th of Shaban.
  4. Mourning on the 3rd, 10th and 40th and the yearly anniversary of the deceased.

According to Hadeeth, only three things increase the deceased’s reward namely Sadaqah, knowledge they taught and pious children who make Dua for them.

  1. Placing the Quran over the bride’s head.
  2. Celebrating Urs (yearly festival of saints).
  3. Sacrificing animals in the name of saints or even the Prophet (sa). We should perform all acts of righteousness only in the name of Allah (swt). Practices such as cooking food, or sacrificing animals in the name of the Prophet (sa) or for him are forbidden.

The Quran says, “Say (O Muhammad (sa)): “Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists).”(Al-Anam 6:162)

In Saheeh Muslim, it has been reported by Ali (ra) that the Prophet said: “Allah’s (swt) curse is upon the one who sacrifices to anything other than Allah (swt); Allah’s (swt) curse is upon the one who curses his own parents; Allah’s (swt) curse is upon the one who shelters an innovator; and Allah’s (swt) curse is upon the one who alters the landmarks.”

  1. Dowry (Jehez) given by women to men. This practice is not part of the Sunnah and has not been commanded by the Quran, but in fact, is a part of the Hindu culture and ours as well. Such a practice is highly disliked because it creates many obstacles for women trying to get married.
  1. Wearing good luck charms, talismans, amulets and the like. Good and bad only come from Allah (swt), and these objects have no power to change what Allah (swt) wants to happen. It is Shirk to believe that such objects can bring good, or prevent any bad from happening that Allah (swt) has already decreed. “And invoke not besides Allah, any that will neither profit you, nor hurt you, but if (in case) you did so, you shall certainly be one of the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers)”(Yunus 10:106)
  1. Building structures on graves.
  1. We should not sacrifice or pray to Allah (swt) where shirk is committed. The concept that   prayer is likely to be accepted at “Special places” such as graves of known or famous people is also wrong.
  1. Covering the head during call to prayer. There is no evidence that the female companions during the Prophet’s (sa) time did this. Also, the Adhan is not the recitation of Quran, but simply a call to prayer in the Arabic language.

Kindly, ponder upon these points and carry out research regarding these topics, as little knowledge is dangerous; hence, it is important not to follow others blindly. Rest Allah (swt) knows best!

She Struggled to Read the Quran

quran2My Quran Reflections Journal
Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 18 Reflection

(Al-Baqarah 2:121)

Last week, I met a lady at Al Huda Institute, Canada. She was struggling to read Surah Al-Fatihah just like a child begins to read: letter by letter. She fumbled, made mistakes and stammered… but didn’t give up. She kept on trying to read the Ayahs one by one till the end. Seeing her determination and sincerity, I asked her with tears in my eyes, if she was a revert. Her answer was affirmative. She asked me how I had guessed it. I told her that it was obvious, gave her a warm hug and congratulated her. She was amazed by my welcome, while I was stunned by her love for her newly adopted religion, Subhan’Allah!

She told me she could recite the Surah verbally but just couldn’t read it. Excited to have found somebody, who could understand her dilemma, she started reciting Al-Fatihah. How beautifully she recited, Masha’Allah!  She didn’t even know the translation or meaning of it; yet, there was such depth in her voice and shine in her eyes, which I cannot express in words. I was mesmerized. I didn’t even notice that tears started to flow out of our eyes at the same time. Such is the power of Allah’s (swt) Book, Masha’Allah. After finishing the recitation, she told me that she was learning to read the Quran there at Al Huda.

Ashamed, I thought to myself that so many of us take for granted the ability to read Quran. And there was an exemplary revert sister (formerly Christian), who was doing her best to learn to read the language of Allah (swt). It gave me goosebumps and reminded of the following verse:

“Those (who embraced Islam from Bani Israel) to whom We gave the Book [the Taurat (Torah)] [or those (Muhammad’s Peace be upon him companions) to whom We have given the Book (the Quran)] recite it (i.e. obey its orders and follow its teachings) as it should be recited (i.e. followed), they are the ones that believe therein. And whoso disbelieves in it (the Quran), those are they who are the losers.” (Al-Baqarah 2:121)

Cloak with an Eternal Glow

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter / CC BY-NC

The first time I met a princess;
Astonished, I don’t know how to express,
The look of an empress,
That leaves man always impressed.

A beauty that radiates from the heart,
Makes you look down when it meets your sight.
The show of modesty so bright,
That places her in the greatest heights.

Beauty –
A controversial discussion.
Whose is the duty
To judge in that position?

Their acclaimed beauty is skin scratched;
Nothing, but a facial mask!
To a pitiful task,
Obliged to what the society asks.

The sight that betrays the gaze,
As it cruises in lustful chase.
On flesh, a baked clay,
Leaving body and soul dazed.

Beautifully unique are these knights,
Who wear the flags of the One with Might.
Not parading what is meant out of sight,
These beauties you cannot smite.

With bigots from the society,
Plague to humanity,
Coming from their so-called liberty
To distort nature’s morality.

Freedom without values,
Forced in skimp and hills,
Degrading our milieu,
With shapes without skills.

She’s free from the eyes that prey,
Cover to the heart that prays,
Save the next generation from fray,
With guidance from the religious rays.

Clothe to please her Lord
Distinguished from them all
As believers in His law,
Who look away from human lure.

She’s free;
Freedom from the denizen of earth.
She’s beautiful in her Hijab and heart.
She’s a princess on earth
And a Queen in Jannah.

She’s better than Hurul-Ayan;
They didn’t pass through this worldly strain,
Obeying their Lord’s claim,
Eminent ladies of heavenly gain.

To all Hijabis,
The queen of Al-Jannah.

Peace and Love – the Basis of Islam

Islam-Peace-ReligionThere has recently been a great upheaval in the Islamic world. Civil wars and invasions have grown, and Muslims continue to be oppressed. Some people point to the wickedness in the Islamic world and foolishly seek to ascribe this to Islam itself. Yet, Islam is a religion of peace and love that prohibits corruption, killing and dispute. It is vitally important that this fact is well explained to everyone with verses from the Quran, and the month of Ramadan is an excellent time for doing it.

People are more loving and forgiving in the month of Ramadan, and those, who have fallen out, are reconciled. The moral values that prevail in the month of Ramadan facilitate a better understanding of the fact that Islam is a religion of love.

Islam calls for peace and respect

Our holy book, the Quran, is a true Book sent down by Allah (swt) to lead people to the true path and to moral virtues. The moral values commanded in the Quran are based on love and understanding. The word ‘Islam’ comes from the Arabic word ‘Salam’. Allah (swt) sent down Islam so that people might see the manifestations of His infinite love and compassion in the world and to lead lives based on peace:

“O you who believe! Enter perfectly in Islam (by obeying all the rules and regulations of the Islamic religion) and follow not the footsteps of Shaytan (Satan). Verily! He is to you a plain enemy.” (Al-Baqarah 2:208)

In this verse, our Lord explicitly states that Islam is a faith built on the foundations of love and affection. The Quran teaches us a conception of love that stems from faith and has a profound effect on the soul. Feelings of altruism, courage, generosity, love and protectiveness represent the essence of the conception of love in the Quran.

That is why Islam calls people to peace and encourages a life based on complete sincerity and honesty in the sight of Allah (swt). It is therefore, very important for every individual to accept and act on Allah’s (swt) provisions and commands respectively; in order to live by Islam in a sincere manner.

This is the basis of Islam, and is set out as follows in a verse: “There is no compulsion in the religion.” (Al-Baqarah 2:256)

As Allah (swt) explicitly commands in this verse, nobody can compel anyone else to live by Islam. The responsibility of believers is to tell people of the existence of Allah (swt) and the moral values of the Quran. Muslims, who wish to discharge that responsibility, tell other people about Islam in order to be instrumental in their salvation. They obey Allah’s (swt) command about “enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil” and summon others to His path with all sincerity. In discharging that responsibility, however, they never resort to compulsion, and they know that it is Allah (swt) alone who will lead people to salvation. This is set out in the Quran in the following verse:

“Verily! You (O Muhammad(sa)) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided.” (Al-Qasas 28:56)

Islam offers freedom of religion and belief

The moral values of Islam offer freedom of thought and religion, and thus environment of liberty. In the eyes of Islam, everyone has the right to live by his own beliefs, or lack thereof. One can worship in a church, in a synagogue or in a mosque, as one wishes, or live a life of no belief at all. Freedom of religion and belief, are therefore another basic element of Islam.

Muslims, therefore, regard people of all faiths, races and nations as manifestations of Allah (swt) in this world and feel a profound love and affection for them. This is a fact that constitutes the foundation of societies that live by Islamic moral values.

Islam – a gateway to peace and security

The most important feature of a society, in which peace has been established, is security; there can never be peace without security. From that point of view, Islam provides the precondition for peace, and the only way to ensure security is to “enter Islam,” to live by the moral values of Islam.

According to the Quran, a Muslim has a duty to treat everyone with kindness and affection. Every Muslim has a responsibility to aid the needy, protect the weak and prevent the spread of corruption. And corruption means all forms of anarchy and acts of terror that might threaten security and peace. As Allah (swt) says in one verse: “…and Allah likes not mischief.” (Al-Baqarah 2:205)

The love taught in the Quran is true love; based on the love of Allah (swt) and His approval. That love is never weakened in the face of difficulty, and grows even deeper; despite time and errors. The words of our Prophet (sa) always contain advice concerning the increase in love.

Let the love flourish

Ata Al-Khursani relates: “Rasulullah (sa) said: “Shake hands to that the hatred leaves your hearts. Give gifts so that love is born among you and enmity ends.” (Muwatta, Husnu’l Khulq)

Lovelessness is one of the greatest problems of our time. When there is no trust, people regard one another as a threat, or as dangerous. They may easily attack one another in the street or they may suddenly explode in anger; but where there is trust, there is also love. When people are valued and where there is love and forgiveness, love will flourish there. It is important to seek the beauty and goodness in everything. Let us not forget, that only then, we can love to the maximum and enjoy the greatest delights of brotherhood.

Death of a Non-Muslim Relative

Dead_flower_by_allsoulsnightWhen my father, who was a non-Muslim, passed away a couple years ago, I was faced with the question of what I, as a Muslim, should and am allowed to do in such a situation. What are my responsibilities towards my deceased non-Muslim father? Can I attend his funeral? Can I pray for him? Can I visit his grave? Am I eligible to receive inheritance from him? Thoroughly researching the rulings regarding the burial and funerals of non-Muslims, I got my answers.

Responsibilities of a Muslim towards Non-Muslim Parents

Islam encourages Muslims to strengthen the ties of kinship with both Muslim and non-Muslim relatives. In fact, being dutiful to one’s parents, no matter what religion they belong to, is placed in the Quran right next after worshiping Allah (swt): “And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents…” (Al-Isra, 17:23)

Since dutifulness to parents extends beyond their death, a Muslim is allowed to participate in the funeral and burial of non-Muslim parents / relatives.

Zakariya al-Ansaari said: “He may (i.e., it is allowed for a Muslim and is not Makrooh) attend the funeral of a Kaafir relative, because of the report narrated by Abu Dawood from Ali who said: ‘When Abu Talib died, I came to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and said: ‘Your uncle, the misguided old man, has died.’ He said: ‘Go and bury him.’” (An-Nisai)

There are, however, certain restrictions on the involvement of a Muslim in the funeral and burial procedures.

Burying Non-Muslim Relatives

According to Sheikh Al-Albani, a Muslim is allowed to take care of the burial of his non-Muslim parents/relatives; however, this does not cancel out the hatred a Muslim should feel towards their Shirk. Further, a disbeliever can neither be buried in a Muslim graveyard (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daaimah, 9/10), nor prepared for the burial according to Islamic rites: he should not be washed or shrouded, and no prayer should be offered over him (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daaimah, 9/14).

a Muslim is allowed to take care of the burial of his non-Muslim parents/relatives; however, this does not cancel out the hatred a Muslim should feel towards their Shirk

From the earlier mentioned Hadeeth, in which the Prophet (saw) permits Ali (rtam) to go and bury Abu Talib, Sheikh Al-Albani concludes that if it were permissible for a Muslim to bury a non-Muslim according to Islamic rites, then the Prophet (saw) would have told Ali (rtam) to do so, “because it is well known that it is not permitted for the Prophet (saw) to delay explaining something at the time, when that information is needed.”

Although it is permitted for a Muslim to bury a non-Muslim relative, Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daaimah, 9/10, suggests that, when possible, it is better to avoid doing it: “If there are people among the Kuffaar, who can bury their own dead, then the Muslims should not bury them, or join the Kuffaar and help them to bury them, or try to please the Kuffaar by joining the funeral procession, even if this is a political practice.”

 Attending Funeral and Burial

According to Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, it is permissible for a Muslim to attend the funeral and burial of a non-Muslim relative. However, Muslims are restricted from participating in prayers or any other burial rites of other religions. Likewise, attending of the funeral should not involve anything Haram, such as listening to musical instruments and so on.

When attending the funeral and burial of a non-Muslim relative, the right intention for a Muslim to have is that of carrying out the duty of kindness to his deceased relative, sharing the misfortune with the family and strengthening good relationships with the rest of the kin.

When attending the funeral and burial of a non-Muslim relative, the right intention for a Muslim to have is that of carrying out the duty of kindness to his deceased relative

However, special restriction has been placed on attending the funeral of a hypocrite. The Quran directs the Prophet (saw) not to pray for the hypocrites and the rebellious against Islam and not to stand at their graves:

“And never (O Muhammad (saw)) pray (funeral prayer) for any of them (hypocrites) who dies, nor stand at his grave. Certainly they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger, and died while they were Fasiqun (rebellious, — disobedient to Allah and His Messenger).” (At-Taubah, 9:84)

Praying for the Deceased and Visiting the Grave

Although in times of sorrow it might be extremely difficult and heart-wrecking to accept this, the Quran gives a straightforward order not to pray for the forgiveness of the deceased disbelievers, even if they are close of kin:

“It is not (proper) for the Prophet and those who believe, to ask Allah’s Forgiveness for the Mushrikin (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah), even though they may be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of the Fire (because they died in a state of disbelief).” (At-Taubah, 9:113)

A Hadeeth shows that even the Prophet (saw) himself was not given permission to pray for the forgiveness of his mother, although he was allowed to visit her grave. Abu Hurairah (rtam) has reported: “The Prophet (saw) visited the grave of his mother, and he wept and those, who were with him, wept. Then he said: ‘I asked my Lord for permission to pray for forgiveness for her, and He did not grant me permission to do that, and I asked Him for permission to visit her grave, and He gave me permission. So visit the graves, for they are a reminder of death.’” (Muslim, Abu Dawood, An-Nisai, Ibn Maajah, Al-Haakim, Al-Bayhaqi and Ahmad)

A Hadeeth shows that even the Prophet (saw) himself was not given permission to pray for the forgiveness of his mother, although he was allowed to visit her grave

The above Hadeeth also indicates the reason for visiting graves – to be reminded of death. To this, Sheikh Al-Albani adds that visiting the graves of non-Muslims should be done with the purpose of learning a lesson. Al-Albani says that non-Muslim dwellers of the grave should not be greeted with Salam and should not be prayed for; instead, they should be given the tidings of Hell.

The evidence for that is the Hadeeth of Saad ibn Abi Waqqas (rtam) who said: “A Bedouin came to the Prophet (saw) and said: ‘My father used to uphold the ties of kinship, and so on and so forth – where is he now?’ He said: ‘In Hell.’ The Bedouin got upset and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, where is your father?’ He said: ‘Whenever you pass by the grave of a Kaafir, give him the tidings of Hell.’ The Bedouin later became a Muslim, and he said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (saw) gave me a difficult commission. Whenever I pass by the grave of a Kaafir, I give him the tidings of Hell.’” (Narrated by Al-Tabaraani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, 1/191; Ibn al-Sunni in ‘Aml al-Yawm wa’l-Laylah, 588; al-Diyaa’ al-Maqdisi in al-Ahaadeeth al-Mukhtaarah, with a Saheeh Isnaad. Al-Haythami (1/117-118) said: it was narrated by al-Bazzaar and by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, and the men of its Isnaad are sound.)

Inheriting from a Non-Muslim Relative

Another important matter to consider is the question of inheritance. The general rule is that a Muslim does not inherit from an unbeliever. Usamah bin Zaid (rtam) related that the Prophet (saw) said: “The Muslim does not inherit from the unbeliever, and the unbeliever does not inherit from the Muslim.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The best we can do for our non-Muslim relatives is to share with them the teachings of Islam, before they reach the point of no return. One short sentence of Shahadah can make the difference for their entire eternity

However, the Scientific Research Committee (IslamToday.net) has given a verdict that if a non-Muslim father has left a will, in which he specifies inheritance for his Muslim child, then the child is eligible to “receive up to one-third of the estate (33.3 %), since this is the amount of a person’s estate that he can bequeath to non-inheritors”. If, however, the percentage the non-Muslim father has specified in his will exceeds that, then the Muslim child “will not be permitted to accept this excess without the express permission of the other inheritors”.

The best we can do for our non-Muslim relatives is to share with them the teachings of Islam, before they reach the point of no return. One short sentence of Shahadah can make the difference for their entire eternity. We should earnestly pray to Allah (swt) to guide them to the Straight Path during their lifetime, for Allah (swt) Alone can guide a soul to the truth.