Muslim Scholars and Teachers Respond to Paris Shooting

Following are the responses of some of the Muslim scholars and thinkers to the Paris shooting as posted on their official Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. We have tried our best to accommodate as many views as we can. If you have anything to add from another scholar, email us a screenshot at editor@hibamagazine.com and we will add it Insha’Allah!

MuftiMenk

OmarSuleiman

YasirQadhi

YaserBirjas

AbuEesa

YahyaAdel

 

Community Matters

community

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.

 

The Divine Connection

The Divine Connection

Whenever you think about Salah, you have to consider it in terms of numbers and quality.

On the Day of Judgement, there will be stations or levels. Salah will be the first thing about which people will be questioned. You cannot pass that station unless your Salah is complete and acceptable. If an individual comes with mega achievements, while lacking in Salah, the angels will ask the person: “What about your Salah?” The angels will check the numbers and the quality of your Salah. The quality depends upon Sunnah, Nafil, Qiyam Al-Lail, and of course the amount of Khushu (presence of one’s heart and mind) in one’s prayer. If your Salah is excellent, you will be able to cross that station without any worries.

The question is: what is the quality of our Salah? Most of the times, the only thing we remember from our Salah is the recitation of Allahu Akbar. (May Allah forgive us! Ameen!) No wonder we are commanded to end the Salah with the Tasleem and then recite Astaghfirullah (O Allah, forgive me) for any shortcomings in our Salah.

The importance of Salah can be deduced from the Hadeeth of Umm Salamah (rtaf), who narrated the final few moments in the life of the Prophet (sa) before his death. He advised his Ummah about Salah and its importance.

Consider the Sahabah. They did not have luxury cars. They did not have Masjids conveniently located near their residences. Some of them lived so far from the Masjid, they actually asked the Prophet (sa) if they could shift somewhere nearer. The Prophet (sa) refused, promising them great rewards for their efforts. What about today? We have Masjids in every neighbourhood. We have at our disposal cars and public transport. Most of us are in good health. Yet, some of us are too preoccupied with the worldly things – like cricket or television shows – to pay heed to the Adhan.

Some of us are preoccupied with our meals. It is a Sunnah to eat a quick meal and thereafter, perform Salah with ease. However, we do exactly the other way around. We hurriedly pray Salah and then sit down to enjoy a leisurely meal. The same goes for when some of us have to answer the call of nature. Instead of relieving ourselves and then praying with a fresh ablution, some of us pray hurriedly and then rush to the washroom. Subhan’Allah!

We have to understand that Salah is our Divine connection with Allah (swt). In particular, the Sujood is the position in which we have the closest connection with Him. This is why we have been instructed to pray earnestly, while we are prostrating. Now, when we say it is a connection, we have to consider this: the quality of any connection has to be really, really good, if you want to ensure a swift and efficient response. If the connection is faulty, the response will be less and/or delayed. So what are the different factors that affect this connection and its quality? Consider the following flowchart:

Divine Connection Flowchart

Following this flowchart, you can understand the reason behind the complain of some people that they have been supplicating for years and years, yet their particular Duas have not been heard. You can also comprehend the meaning of the following Hadeeth:

The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “A person leaves (after having prayed), and nothing is recorded for him except a tenth of his prayer, (or) a ninth of it, (or) an eighth of it, (or) a seventh of it, (or) a sixth of it, (or) a fifth of it, (or) a fourth of it, (or) a third of it, (or) a half of it.” (Abu Dawood)

Salah involves our body and our souls. Our bodies are nourished by food, drink and regular exercise. However, no amount of meals can nourish the soul whose five meals are the five obligatory prayers. The soul is nurtured by heavenly sources, not television watching. Moreover, praying a couple of Salah per day will not fulfil the soul, whose staple diet is of five obligatory Salah and the in-between snacks are the voluntary prayers and Qiyam Al-Lail.

Now, most of you reading this will have a very clear idea about the importance of Salah. The question is: What do you do, if you find your relatives or your friends to be lax with their Salah? How do you broach the subject with them? What pointers do you give them? Here is a brief introduction to the importance of Salah that you can discuss with them:

  • It is one of the pillars of Islam.
  • It has to be performed regardless of circumstances or how excruciating they are (whether one is ill, travelling or on a battle-field).
  • It was obligated during the journey of Miraj. Allah (swt) brought the Prophet (sa) into the heavens and communicated this obligation directly. This was unlike the other pillars, which were obligated through a revelation. Consider also that the original number of prayers were fifty. Allah (swt) brought them down to five upon the request of the Prophet (sa) but promised to reward them for fifty.
  • Salah is the only pillar of Islam for which you need to be in a state of ritual purity or Taharah.
  • It is the only obligation that is preceded by an official announcement – the Adhan.

We have written quite a bit about Khushu. The question arises: What is Khushu? Having Khushu in Salah basically means to have a protective wall around yourself that protects your Salah. When you are praying, you have to focus upon what you are saying. You have to maintain the high quality of your Divine connection. Scratching, looking at the time, yawning and all such similar acts indicate that your heart is not into Salah. You are only performing the rituals mechanically without any Khushu.

So how can you gain Khushu?

Before Salah

  • Don’t pray if you are fatigued or hungry, or need to use the washroom.
  • Dress nicely. Designate some clothes and always wear them, while preparing for Salah. This has a profound psychological effect.
  • Do a fresh ablution.
  • Go to the Masjid early – as soon as possible.
  • Pray two units of Tahiyyat Al-Masjid.
  • Start with Sunnah prayers.
  • Pray as close as possible to the Imam.
  • Avoid chattering with people. Focus upon Dhikr.

Note: While praying, your mind plays back the last few tasks you have been doing, and the only time you get into ‘Salah mode’ is when the Imam says the Tasleem. Hence, the advice is to get into the prayer mode by dressing up, doing ablution and praying Sunnah prayers or two units of voluntary prayer. This will help you concentrate, while you are praying the Fard Salah!

During Salah

  • As you say ‘Allahu Akbar’ and start your Salah, remember this: Allah (swt) is Greater than anything that occupies your mind.
  • As you fold your hands over your chest, realize your position of humility.
  • Reflect upon the Arabic phrases that you understand.
  • Aim to make this Salah the one, of which you will be proud on the Day of Judgement.
  • Maintain your Divine connection and avoid looking around, while you are praying.

After Salah

  • Say ‘Astaghfirullah’ after your Tasleem. This will avoid making you too proud or too lazy, or too dependent upon that one quality Salah you have just performed.
  • Remain seated. Recite a few supplications. Don’t be in a rush to get up and leave.
  • Pray Sunnah and Nafil prayers.

We pray to Allah (swt) to grant us Khushu and make our Salah a means of making us enter Jannah. Ameen!

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