The hajj of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was miraculous and unique in every respect. The manner in which he imparted ‘ilm and propagated Deen during this hajj, the attention which he showed to guiding, teaching and correcting the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), and similarly, the spiritual dimension of his (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) hajj – these were completely remarkable and unparalleled.
The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were consumed by the love of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Hence, when he announced that he was departing for hajj, they flocked to him from every area, like moths attracted to a candle-flame, and remained attached to him from the beginning until the end of this blessed journey. This love for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) urged the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) to record every minute detail of this journey, from the time of departure until the time of return. The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) even recorded details such as the ‘itr that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had applied, the limbs on which it was applied, and who had applied it. It was due to the efforts of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) in recording the hajj and other details of the blessed life of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that our Deen remains preserved until Qiyaamah.
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There was great wisdom in Allah Ta‘ala decreeing that the hajj would occur at the very end of the life of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). It was nearly time for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to depart from this world. Hence, this hajj would serve as a farewell to the Ummah, in which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would deliver his parting advices and teach them their Deen and hajj. Hence, this hajj equated a thousand lectures and a thousand lessons, as it was a moving classroom in which those who were unlearned were able to learn, those who were ignorant were educated and all were spiritually charged on account of the blessed company and presence of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).
(Adapted and summarised from the foreword of Moulana Sayyid Abul Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi [rahimahullah] on Juz–u Hajjatil Wadaa’ pgs. 20–23)
‘Aaizullah bin Idrees Al-Khawlaani (rahimahullah) said: “I can very clearly picture that occasion and that scene. It was a Thursday when ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was standing on the staircase. He addressed the people and said:
يا أيها الناس عليكم بالعلم قبل أن يرفع فإن من رفعه أن يقبض أصحابه
O people! Acquire knowledge before it is taken away, as it is taken away by the passing away of the learned scholars of deen.”
In this advice we are shown the procedure of acquiring the knowledge of deen. It is to be acquired from the learned men of knowledge. <click on article title to read more!>
There was once a grandfather who had great love for the Quraan Majeed. Every night without fail, he would make wudhu, apply ‘itr, remove his beloved Quraan from its velvet cover and sit with utmost respect reciting the word of Allah Ta‘ala in a most melodious tone. As he would recite, however, his young grandson would stare at him in bemusement and scratch his head in confusion. One day, his grandson came up to him and asked, “Dada, you recite the Quraan Majeed EVERY night but you don’t even know Arabic! You read so much but you don’t even understand what you’re reading! What a waste of time!” His grandfather looked at him, smiled and said, “My child, do you see the coal basket in the corner? Good! Empty out the coal, take the basket to the stream, fill it with water and rush back as quickly as your little legs can carry you.” The young boy ran off on his “mission”, heading towards the stream. He filled the basket, turned, and ran straight back to the house. “Dada!” he complained, “The water doesn’t stay in the basket because of all the holes! I think I’m wasting my time!” “I think you need to run faster.” suggested Dada. And so off he went again, running even faster than before. When he returned this time, there were at least a few drops of water at the bottom of the basket but even those dripped out before he could put the basket down. “One more time! Run your absolute fastest now!” urged Dada before the child could again complain. Now when the child returned, huffing and puffing from the exertion, there was at least a small puddle – but even that rapidly drained out before their eyes. “I give up Dada!” he exclaimed, “And I’ve wasted my time!” “Hold it! Not so hasty my child.” responded Dada. “Why don’t you examine the basket and tell me what you see?” he prompted. The child turned the basket in his hands, looking first at the inside and then turned it the other way, looking at the outside. “It looks brand new!” he marveled. “It’s all shiny again! All the soot has been washed off!” he said. “Exactly!” replied Dada. “The basket is perhaps unable to hold the water, but that doesn’t mean the water doesn’t affect it in any way. Rather the water cleanses and polishes it, removing all the dirt and grime. That, my child, is exactly what happens when we read the Quraan Majeed without understanding the meaning. Allah Ta‘ala not only gives us great reward but also cleanses our hearts through our recitation” he explained. “Wow! Will you teach me to read too Dada?” he asked. “Definitely!” replied Dada.
Our Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Indeed these hearts rust just as iron rusts when wet with water.” A Sahaabi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked, “O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! What is its polish?” “Abundant remembrance of death and the recitation of the Quraan Majeed.” answered Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). (Shu‘abul Imaan #2014)
A person suffering from a splitting headache, despite not knowing the pharmacological effect, group schedule or origin of panado, won’t think twice before swallowing the tablet. He understands that this lack of knowledge and understanding in no way hinders or obstructs the tablet benefitting him by alleviating his pain. Similarly, when a person recites the Quraan Majeed with dedication and devotion, it serves to cleanse his heart of the layers of muck and grime that engulf his heart by him sinning. This is regardless of whether or not he understands the meaning of the Quraan Majeed.
The Quraan Majeed was revealed in Arabic and the people to whom it was directly revealed were Arabs who spoke the most eloquent form and dialect of the language. Despite them being completely conversant and fluent in the language, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was tasked with a separate responsibility in his capacity as the Nabi – the responsibility to teach them the RECITATION of the Quraan Majeed.
Allah Ta‘ala mentions in Surah Aal ‘Imraan (v164):
لَقَدْ مَنَّ اللہُ عَلَی الْمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ اِذْ بَعَثَ فِیۡہِمْ رَسُوۡلًا مِّنْ اَنۡفُسِہِمْ یَتْلُوۡا عَلَیۡہِمْ اٰیٰتِہٖ وَیُزَکِّیۡہِمْ وَیُعَلِّمُہُمُ الْکِتٰبَ وَالْحِكْمَۃَ ۚ وَ اِنۡ کَانُوۡا مِنۡ قَبْلُ لَفِیۡ ضَلٰلٍ مُّبِیۡنٍ
“Indeed Allah Ta‘ala had favored the believers when He sent in their midst a messenger from among them who recites to them His verses, purifies them and teaches them the book and wisdom and they were before in clear misguidance”
The recitation of the Quraan Majeed holds such a degree of importance that teaching the recitation alone formed a separate department from the other departments of deen. Allah Ta‘ala not only showed its importance but even expressed it to be a great favour on the Ummah that they learn to recite the Quraan Majeed. This is because the recitation of the words of the Quraan Majeed is an irreplaceable ‘ibaadah that plays an extremely important role in the life of a Muslim.
Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal (rahimahullah) once saw Allah Ta‘ala in a dream and asked, “O my Rabb! What is the best way for the person seeking your proximity to gain your nearness?” “Through my speech (the Quraan)” replied Allah Ta‘ala. “With or without understanding?” Imaam Ahmad next asked. “With understanding and without understanding.” answered Allah Ta‘ala. (Ithaafus Saadatil Muttaqeen vol. 4, pg. 466)
Some Muslims are is misled by the idea that reciting the Quraan Majeed without any idea of the meaning is a “waste of time” as it is merely reading in a “parrot fashion”. Hence they abandon reading the Quraan Majeed. Such people in reality are doing themselves a great disservice and depriving themselves of the abundant reward Allah Ta‘ala has offered.
Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever recites one “harf” (letter) of the Kitaab of Allah Ta‘ala will receive a reward in return and one reward is multiplied by ten. I do not say that “alif laam meem” is a harf. Rather “alif” is a harf, “laam” is a harf and “meem” is a harf.” (Sunan Tirmizi #2910)
If a person recites just the three letters “alif laam meem” (at the beginning of Surah Baqarah) and nothing else, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has promised this person a minimum of 30 rewards! This is despite the fact that the Ummah of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) does not know the meaning of these three letters with certainty. This proves without a doubt that recitation of the Quraan Majeed – although the meaning is not known to the reciter – guarantees immense reward. Are we, as Muslims, willing to deny this reward and thus challenge the promise of our Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)?
To understand the meaning of the Quraan Majeed is indeed very important and striving to learn it at the hands of a true ‘Aalim of deen is a praiseworthy effort. In the event of not knowing the meaning, however, the RECITATION should never be abandoned. We face a dark future if we begin to distance ourselves from the Quraan Majeed, the word of our Allah Ta‘ala, due to not understanding its meaning. Will we allow the day to come when we abandon even salaah due to not understanding Arabic?
From the north to the south and the east to the west, numerous countries across the globe are caught in the same fever – the fever of Islamophobia. In the forefront of promoting fear and enmity for Islam and Muslims are the various media agencies which either distort the truth or resort to outright propaganda in order to portray Islam in a negative light. Testament to the animosity born against Muslims are the countless incidents which we hear of innocent Muslims being persecuted worldwide. From being denied a visa, an education or permission to board an aircraft to outright physical torture, Muslims have become an international target for hostility.
What are Muslims to do in the face of such enmity and hostility? What strategy can we possibly adopt to stem the tide of persecution?
The answer is simple – we practice on the advice which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) gave when entering Madeenah Munawwarah. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “O people! Spread salaam (greet one another), feed the people, perform salaah (tahajjud) at night when people are asleep and you will enter Jannah with salaam (ease and comfort).” (Sunan Tirmizi #2485)
When Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) initially made hijrah to Madeenah Munawwarah, the disbelievers of the city wished to know what kind of person Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was and what the motives of his mission were. Hence the narrator of the above hadeeth is none other than ‘Abdullah bin Salaam (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) who was, at that time, the leading Jewish rabbi of Madeenah Munawwarah. He made it a point to attend the first sermon of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) which would be delivered in Madeenah Munawwarah. The above advice formed the first words he heard from the blessed mouth of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), and what a beautiful, lasting impression they had on him! His perception of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and Islam was now one of natural beauty and truth and he thus, shortly after, embraced Islam and joined the ranks of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum).
The advice of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) could be summarized into three points.
Firstly, we need to be polite to one and all. Unfortunately, when we are unable to make salaam to even our own Muslim brother, how will we ever be able to display the courtesy, politeness and etiquette of Islam to the disbelievers?
Secondly, we need to treat people with kindness. Let alone feeding and showing kindness to the destitute and needy out of the home, sometimes the staff within our homes are in difficulty and yet we do not have the hearts to help them. Is it then any surprise at all that they consider us to be heartless? Even worse is when we flash the bounties of Allah Ta‘ala before them – very often the good food, etc. that we eat – without sharing even a single morsel with them, whereas they often lack enough of even ordinary food for themselves and their families. This often creates much bitterness in their hearts which later surfaces in many negative ways.
Thirdly and finally, we need to reconnect and strengthen our bond with Allah Ta‘ala. This is done by being committed to our daily ‘ibaadah and also making du‘aa to Allah Ta‘ala on a daily basis.
Insha-Allah, by us practicing on these three simple steps, we will find the entire world gravitating to the magnetic effect which the natural beauty and truth of Islam holds.
When Sayyidah Haajar (‘alaihas salaam) was in the midst of the barren desert with her infant child, Sayyiduna Ismaa‘eel (‘alaihis salaam), she neither had supplies nor anybody to assist her. She thus stood and turned to Allah Ta‘ala in du‘aa. Such was her state of anxiety that she soon began running back and forth between the mountains of Safaa and Marwah. As she ran between the mountains, she displayed a state of utter humility and desperation. She showed herself to be totally helpless and absolutely in need of Allah Ta‘ala. She continued running and making du‘aa until Allah Ta‘ala answered her du‘aa, alleviated her anxiety and caused the blessed water of Zam Zam to flow for her.
Hence the person making sa‘ee between Safaa and Marwah should adopt a similar state. He should focus on his abject poverty and need in comparison to the limitless treasures of Allah Ta‘ala and his own lowliness before the grand majesty of Allah Ta‘ala. He should bear in mind that he is totally dependent on Allah Ta‘ala to guide and enlighten his heart so that he may live a life of piety and his sins may be forgiven. Once he has developed this frame of mind, he should turn to Allah Ta‘ala in du‘aa, begging him to rid and free him of all his faults, shortcomings and sins. He should implore Allah Ta‘ala to not only guide him to the straight path but also keep him firm on it until the day he dies. Just as Allah Ta‘ala had transformed the state and condition of Sayyidah Haajar (‘alaihas salaam), he should beseech Allah Ta‘ala to also change his condition from being one of sin and disobedience to being one of spiritual perfection, perpetual mercy, true steadfastness and complete guidance. (Adapted from Tafseer Ibni Katheer vol. 1 pg. 199)
Click here for a detailed discussion on Makkah Mukarramah
Allah Ta‘ala has one system for the Ka’bah Musharrafah and another system for Musjidul Aqsa. The system for the Ka’bah is that He will always protect it. Therefore when Abrahah had come with his elephants to attack the Ka’bah, although the Quraish were ascribing partners with Allah Ta‘ala and were involved in all types of wrong, Allah Ta‘ala still destroyed Abrahah and his army.
However His system for Musjidul Aqsa is totally different. Allah Ta‘ala explains in the opening verses of Surah Bani Israaeel that as long as you are in My obedience, the control of the Musjid will be in your hands and when you leave My obedience then the control will also leave your hands.
Therefore approximately 450 years after Nabi Sulaimaan (‘alaihis salaam), when the Banu Israaeel began to transgress the laws of Allah Ta‘ala, Allah Ta‘ala imposed Buktu Nassar, the king of Babylon upon them. He burnt and destroyed Musjidul Aqsa, killed thousands of the Banu Israaeel and exiled the remainder to Babylon. For 70 years they had to live in exile and had no control of Musjidul Aqsa. After 70 years when they changed their ways, Allah Ta‘ala gave them the control once again.
Later, 40 years after the ascension of Nabi ‘Isa (‘alaihis salaam), when the Banu Israaeel once again transgressed the laws of Allah Ta‘ala, a Roman king by the name of Taitas attacked Musjidul Aqsa and destroyed the entire city. He killed a large number of them as well. The Musjid remained in this deserted condition till the time of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). During this entire period, no salaah or ‘ibaadah took place in it. (Ma‘aariful Quraan vol. 5, pgs. 435 – 439)
The abovementioned system of Allah Ta‘ala is the same up to this day as well. Hence if we are really concerned about the current situation in Musjidul Aqsa and its surroundings, together with making earnest du‘aa, one of the most important things is to rectify our lives. This will insha-Allah be a very important and positive step in regaining the complete control of Musjidul Aqsa.
Click here for a detailed discussion on the virtues and history of Musjidul Aqsa
‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) mentions that a hypocrite by the name of Bishr once had an argument with a Jew. In order to resolve the argument, the Jew suggested that they resort to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who would preside over their case and decide who was in the right. The hypocrite, on the other hand, suggested that they take the case to Ka’b bin Ashraf, a Jewish leader. They eventually took the case to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who passed judgement in favour of the Jew against the hypocrite.
The hypocrite was unhappy with the decision and took the Jew to ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) for a “second opinion”. The Jew said to ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), “Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has already decided the case but he is not pleased with the decision of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).” ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked the hypocrite, “Is that so?” When he replied in the affirmative, ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) instructed them to stay where they were and that he would be with them soon. He then entered and brought his sword. As he emerged, he struck the neck of the hypocrite killing him. He then declared, “This is the decision I make for the one who is unhappy with the decision made by Allah Ta‘ala and His Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”
It was on this occasion that the verse “Have you not seen those who claim that they believed in what was revealed to you and what was revealed before you? They want to take their disputes to the Taaghut (i.e. Ka’b bin Ashraf), while they were ordered to reject him. Shaitaan wants to mislead them to a remote wrong way” was revealed. According to some narrations, Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) came down and said, ‘Umar has differentiated between truth and falsehood. (Roohul Ma‘aani, vol. 5, pg. 88 and Tafseer Qurbtubi, vol. 6, pg. 436)
Unfortunately, we are beginning to adopt exactly the same mentality and behaviour. We too ‘shop around’ for Islamic rulings and fatwas, looking for the ‘best deals’ which are most convenient and suitable for us. At times we even go to the extent of not restricting ourselves to the following of one mazhab and ‘hop over’ to another, merely for convenience and to suit our desires.
The month of Ramadhaan is a month of great opportunities. The opportunities that a Believer looks for are the opportunities of the Hereafter that make him/her closer to Allah Ta‘ala. Hereunder are some great opportunities which will bring us ‘great returns’.
1. Tahajjud/Nafl Salaah: The virtues of tahajjud are many. Although we desire to wake up for tahajjud throughout the year, many of us don’t get the opportunity. Ramadhaan is the ideal time, since we are waking up for sehri. Together with the physical nourishment, we should take some spiritual nourishment as well.
Apart from tahajjud we should try to perform other nafl salaahs as well. The reward of a nafl in this month is equal to that of a fardh. However, if one has outstanding qadha (missed) salaah then this should be read in place of the nafl salaahs.
2. Du‘aa: Ramadhaan is a month of crying to Allah Ta‘ala and presenting our needs before him, since du‘aas are readily accepted in this month. We also learn from the ahaadeeth that there are certain special du‘aas which we ought to be making. These are:
a. Mercy of Allah Ta’ala.
b. Forgiveness of Allah Ta’ala.
c. Emancipation from the fire of Jahannam.
d. Entry into Jannah.
Furthermore, there are certain special occasions for du‘aa as well, viz. sehri, iftaar, last ten nights and especially the odd nights of these last ten nights.
3. Recitation of the Quraan Majeed: Ramadhaan is the month of the Quraan Majeed. The Quraan Majeed and all other divine books were revealed in this month. The pious predecessors completed the Quraan Majeed many times during the month of Ramadhaan. Some of them even made up to 2 khatams daily.
4. Zikr: The hadeeth teaches us that we should make two particular forms of zikr in Ramadhaan, which are very pleasing to Allah Ta‘ala, viz. The recitation of first kalimah and istighfaar.
5. Taraaweeh: Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has mentioned that when a person is in sajdah, he is the closest that he can be to Allah Ta‘ala. In the taraaweeh salaah, Allah Ta‘ala is giving us 40 more opportunities (2 sajdahs x 20 rakaats) to be the closest to Him. Therefore the taraweeh salaah should not be taken as a burden. Rather one should complete it with great enthusiasm. We should also ensure that our daughters also perform it.
6. Sympathy and Generosity: These are great qualities at all times. However, in this month the reward for this is multiplied greatly. Let us open our hearts in feeding the poor, and lessen the workload of our Muslim domestics and garden boys.
7. Taubah and Refraining from Sins: Together with doing all the good actions mentioned above, one has to sincerely repent from all vices and totally refrain from committing any sin in this blessed month. Insha-Allah, by refraining from sin in this month, Allah Ta‘ala will give us the ability to completely abandon sin for the rest of our life. If one continues sinning in this month, all the rewards that have been accumulated will be lost.
The great Maaliki scholar, Imaam Shaatbi (rahimahullah) [d. 790 A.H.] writes:
The most effective and beneficial method of acquiring knowledge is to obtain it from its true bearers who possess it truly and completely.
People ask: “Is it possible to acquire knowledge without the medium of a teacher?”
While it is undoubtedly possible in the literal sense, the scholars are unanimous that by and large, learning under a teacher is necessary and self-study is practically impossible. They have also said: “Knowledge was in the hearts of men, then it moved to books; however its keys still lie in the hands of men (teachers).”
This statement advocates the necessity of acquiring knowledge from qualified teachers. The proof of this is an authentic hadeeth of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam): “Indeed Allah Ta‘ala does not snatch away knowledge suddenly from the people. Instead, He takes it by the demise of the ‘Ulama.” Thus, qualified teachers are definitely the keys of knowledge and knowledge can only be acquired from them. This is also something extremely clear and logical. (Al-Muwaafaqaat – vol. 1, pg. 82 – Summarized)
The illustrious Sahaabi, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was once invited to a waleemah function. When he was about to enter, he heard some impermissible activity taking place, hence he returned immediately. When he was questioned about the reason for his return, he explained: “I heard Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) saying: ‘Whosoever adds to the numbers of a people, will be counted from among them, and the one who is pleased with the wrong of a people, will be a partner in their actions.’” (Ithaaful Khairatil Maharah vol. 4, pg. 135)
It is indeed extremely sad to notice many Muslims joining the disbelievers in their activities and festivities. There are those who remain as spectators and others actively participate. This hadeeth sounds a very severe warning for the passive participants, let alone those who actively join in the wrong.