Archive for the ‘Hadeeth’ Category

What is Sunna and what is not

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

An article I read suggests that a congregational supplication after a prayer is discouraged, because neither the Prophet (PBUH) nor the Sahaba (his fellows) have done it.

They may not have done it, but the Prophet (PBUH) never said we couldn’t do it. There is a difference between “not practiced” and “forbidden.”

The problem with issues like that one is that the people who rule in such a way, do so out of concern that something which is not Sunna becomes a regular part of Islam in the minds of the masses. That would establish a Bid`a (novelty) in religion, which the Prophet (PBUH) warned us not to do. The solution to this problem, IMHO, is not to forbid what is not forbidden, but to ensure that it doesn’t become a novelty, by deliberately not doing it on a consistent basis.

Scholars have differed on what constitutes a Sunna (Practice of the Prophet). That’s because following the Sunna is a requirement of Islam. Therefore, knowing what is Sunna and what is not becomes of religious essence.

The Sunna is not simply everything that the Prophet (PBUH) said or did or approved or did not disapprove, but rather what he consistently said and did and encouraged us to follow him on. The scholars have attempted to differentiate between the two by classifying the latter as Sunna Mu’akkada (Emphasized practice). That’s fine. Then, what we are required to follow is the emphasized Sunna.

As usual you gave me the words to clarify the issue. Not practiced and forbidden. A world apart. It opens a new universe.

You may already know this hadeeth, but it illustrates the point very clearly. One day, Khaalid ibn Al-Waleed (RA) invited the Prophet (PBUH) and others to dinner. His aunt, Maymoona, had prepared for them a grilled porcupine! Everyone stretched their hands to grab a bite of it, except the Prophet. Khalid’s face paled like he saw a ghost. He said to the Prophet (PBUH), “Is it forbidden, O Messenger of God?” He answered, “No, but I find myself not agreeing with it!” Narrated by Khaalid and reported by Al-Bukhaari.

So, just because the Prophet didn’t do something is no reason for us not to do it. Only if he told us “don’t do it!”, then we will have to stay away from it. It seems obvious, but in these days of massive confusion and disinformation, the obvious needs to be stated!

That is why the world always needs teachers. They are know to excel in one thing: to repeat and repeat and repeat.

We have so much confusion. Our faith is ripe not with bida but cultural and nationalistic nonsense. Yet, the hadeeth of the simple woman who kept repeating her question to the embarrassment of the Prophet (swas) helps us. She wanted an answer, although it was intimate, she would not give up until she gained knowledge.

We need to simplify Islam. We have so much on the agenda. Let’s forget trying to save the universe and remember how to make salat.

On a personal note: Eid Mubarak. May Allah reward you immensely for your kindness to me. I have been given a trial which in turn seems to be a blessing. It has made me reach deep into my being. Kinda sorta letting go of a lot of pretenses in life, too. I heard a sheik relate a hadeeth about the Prophet (swas) telling some Sahaba (ra) sometimes our deen is like a hot coal in our hands. (I have always been the princess who felt the pea at the bottom of ten mattresses). Your kindness is akin to the cool of the fire for Prophet Ibrahim.

A blessed and happy Eid to you and your loved ones.

Thank you for your kind words.

How do you simplify something which both God and His Messenger have repeatedly said was already simple? By removing the fluff and pork that accumulated on it over the centuries. My blog is my humble way of doing that.

Brother,

All I can respond is to write “Blog on baby blog on!” It takes wisdom to understand simplicity. When endeavoring to resolve a complex problem the walls are everywhere. Once we have the solution it is so simple.

Likewise, our faith has been mingled with politics and men of various ambitions. The simple laity is lazy. We want the ends and care little about the means. For those of us who are foolish, we seek the means. It makes for a lonely road. (Cf. Zen/Sufism).

Your blog serves the purpose of giving the readers solutions without having to do all the homework. Blog on baby blog on.

(Trust me, I do take advantage of your wisdom…I am all over the universe in my thoughts and it helps to have some notion of being grounded).

There is no problem in taking a voyage in a hot-air balloon, as long as you can always land safely on earth 🙂

I guess I have a license, then, to keep blogging? LOL.

Evolution of Islamic laws

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Thank you, Aapa, for the blog you referenced in your recent question. I particularly like the author’s post on Islamic law. I like to second the the idea he stressed: that Islamic law evolved and was flexible and took in diversity of opinions, people and circumstances. I humbly think that this is also the case with executive government, economics, etc. Any student of Islamic history who read the writings of the Salaf (Muslim antecedents), can easily notice that evolution of thought, discipline and rulings.

What the Quran and the Sunna did was not ordain a rigid set of rules, but rather a framework within which a judge, ruler or businessman may work safely. Like a parent teaches their children how the world works so they make it and not get into trouble.

I watched a YouTube video with that brother interviewing Hamza Yusef. They were discussing the fact due to internet access to translations of hadith i.e Bukari and Quran many youths make judgments. They forget that many hadiths are contextual and it takes wisdom to understand. They joked that in the old days the elders/scholars would literally give them 20 lashes for the rash judgments.

Unfortunately, nationalism has erased the words of the tribal elder. And it is easiest to control the greatest number of people with the most rigid standards. George Orwell comes to mind in 1984. As nationalism spreads we have a loss of deep understanding of our faith. We have lost the sense of compassion that was a trait characteristic of the prophets.

We forget that we need forgiveness from Allah swt. We also need to be in the mode of forgiving. Our laws today are not the Laws of Love.

We forget our history. How can we forget what happened to us in Spain?

We need a basic class in why understanding sharia helps us to be the best of moral character. We are distanced from each other not by nationalism but our ignorance of the laws that unite us.

Islam is wide, but some want it narrow. It is easy, but some want it cumbersome. It is open, but some want it strict. It welcomes diversity and history has proved it, but some want it exclusive. It is adaptable, but some want it rigid. The problems Muslims have are not the result of Islam, as some Islamophobes want you to believe, but are the result of misunderstanding Islam. Hopefully, this blog may put a dent into that misunderstanding.

Does Islam prophesy an Anti-Christ?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

What do you know and what do you believe about this person whom some people claimed that Prophet Muhammad prophesied as Mahdi and this event called Dajjal Fitnah. I’m not sure but I think these are unfounded claims as far as the Qur’an is concerned. I don’t know but some people relate these things to what is happening in Syria.

There are several authentic hadeeths, reported in Al-Bukhaari and Muslim’s compilations and narrated by Al-Khudri, Ibn Umar and others, which mention Al-Maseeh Ad-Dajjaal (the luring messiah). In these hadeeths, the Prophet (PBUH) forewarns Muslims of the coming of the Anti-Christ, a man who will possess great powers, even power to resurrect people from the dead, and succeed in luring most people away from true faith to follow him instead. He will claim to be God. The Prophet (PBUH) said that the Dajjaal Fitna (test of faith) is the greatest and that every prophet had forewarned his people against it.

While the Quran does not mention Ad-Dajjaal, there is no reason to doubt the story. It would be a different matter if the Quran has contradicted the story. One authentic hadeeth I know of is reported by Al-Bukhaari and narrated by `Aa’isha, may God have been pleased with her, in which she relates that the Prophet (PBUH) used to say in his supplication during prayer, “O God, I seek refuge in You from the trying times of the Luring Messiah.”

Several authentic hadeeths also mention the coming of the Anti-Christ as one of several grand signs of the approach of the Hour (the Day of Judgment). Most of the signs mentioned in those hadeeths are also mentioned in the Quran, such as the second coming of Jesus Christ, the release of Gog and Magog, and the animal which will preach to people. Thus, there is no cause to deny the story about the Anti-Christ while the other, equally spectacular stories are confirmed by the Quran.

There is no evidence that the war in Syria has anything to do with the Anti-Christ.

As for Al-Mahdi (the guided one), the hadeeths about him are far less authentic. Neither Al-Bukhaari nor Muslim have reported any hadeeth about him, to the best of my knowledge. Whether he will exist has no bearing on your or my faith, since we already have all we need to be true believers: the holy Quran and the authentic Sunna.

Is supplication futile?

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Please, what is the relationship between dua (supplicating to God) and the Hadith which says that after 120 days of a fetus development in its mother’s womb that four things will be written for the baby, and nothing will be added and subtracted from the four things? In other words, can dua change the four things? If it can, then there is a misconception of what the Hadith says about nothing will be added or subtracted.

The hadeeth you refer to is reported by Muslim and rated authentic. It was narrated by `Aamir ibn Waathila. What the hadeeth says is that an angel is commissioned by God, after a fetus is 42 nights old, to fashion its form, hearing, eyesight, skin, flesh and bones. Then the angel asks God, “O Lord, male or female?” God tells him. Then the angels asks God, “And its lifespan?” God tells him. Then the angel asks God, “And its provision?” God tells him. Then the angel leaves with the paper in his hand, having added nothing else to it nor left out any of it.

Thus, what the hadeeth tells us is that four things are ‘written” for each human before he or she is born: His or her physical appearance, his or her gender, his or her lifespan and his or her provision and sustenance.

Writing these things means they are already known to God. People have changed their birth gender, for example. But it is the new gender that was written. God has already known about the change.

It is also important to realize that this “paper” is withheld from us. Only God and the angel who wrote it down know its content. People keep trying to change their financial situation and believers are encouraged to ask God to bestow on them wealth. God instructs us in the holy Quran, “And ask God from His bounty, for God is of everything Knowledgeable” (4:32). Whatever financial situation we end up with is foreknown to God. It is what was written down before we were born. We simply don’t know it. By not knowing, we have to work for it! By not knowing, we may keep asking God to change it. If we were to know it, we wouldn’t even try to change it, would we?

People keep trying to extend their lives. In doing so, they pursue methods which will keep them healthy, fight deceases and avoid risky behavior. By not knowing how long each of us will live, we can do all that. If we were to know, we would give up trying any of it.

The lesson learned from the hadeeth is the wisdom of the Beyond (Al-Ghayb); why it is kept hidden from us. It is precisely because we don’t know it that we supplicate to God to grant us what we hope for. It is precisely because we don’t know the Beyond that we keep trying to improve our lives. Supplicating to God and working hard for our goals are two things that God loves for us to do. Neither would be practical if we already knew the outcome.

God says in the holy Quran, “And say [to people], ‘Work! For God will observe your work, as well as His Messenger and the believers. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Beyond and the Presence then He will inform you of what you have been doing.'” (9:105).

And He also says, “And your Lord has said, ‘Supplicate to Me; I will answer you.'” (40:60) His answer is a fulfillment of what He has already written, but He wanted us to ask for it. This way, we keep remembering that He is the Source and He keeps showing us His Grace and that He listens.

To clear up any misconception, please go through the previous posts in the Fate category.

Business and the work ethic in Islam

Monday, August 19th, 2013

I came across the following last week and thought to talk about it a bit today:

From unemployment to self employment:

A beggar from Medina came to the Prophet (PBUH) and asked him for money. The Prophet (PBUH) asked him, “Have you nothing in your house?” The man replied, “Only a cloth, part of which we wear and part we use for carpet. And a wooden bowl from which we drink water.” The Prophet (PBUH) told him to bring them to him. He did.

The Prophet (PBUH) held the items in his hand and started an auction, “Who will buy these?” One man bid a Dirham (a silver coin). Another bid two Dirhams and bought the two items.

The Prophet (PBUH) gave the two Dirhams to the beggar and told him, “With one Dirham, go buy food and clothes for your family. With the other Dirham, buy and axe, go out with it and chop wood and sell it in the market. I don’t want to see you again for fifteen days!”

Fifteen days later, the man came back to the Prophet (PBUH) and reported to him that he made ten Dirhams selling the firewood that he chopped!

This story is reported by Abu-Daawood from a narration by Anas ibn Maalik. He did not immediately rate it, but indicated later that its authenticity was sound. The tenor of the story is confirmed by a hadeeth, reported and authenticated by Muslim and narrated by Abu-Hurayra that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Carrying a bundle of firewood on your back and selling it is better for any of you than begging for money that he may or may not get.” Also reported by Al-Bukhaari from a narration by Az-Zubayr ibn Al-`Awwaam (RA).

Islam encourages business, trade and self employment. Did you expect that Islam and capitalism have something in common? This is one aspect of pre-Islamic era that Islam has approved and encouraged.

The perils of the wrong mindset

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Brother,

I understand that riba (usury) is wrong. I understand that riba is like gambling. I understand that there are many views on insurance.

But, I need to have a fundamental understanding of why speculation is wrong. I know we have to work for our money.

I need to have the sin explained to me. Trust me I have done my share of reading on the matter. Yet, I do not have the basic definition of the sin of riba and gambling and it seems that they share the same root.

Indeed they do, and the Quran calls it Al-Maysir. The word means tools for easy gain.

It is not the ease that is wrong though. It is the belief in it. The central point, IMHO, is what you alluded to when you said that we have to work for our money. The biggest problem with all games of chance, and speculation is one of them, is that they set the wrong mindset. They entice people to believe that there is a shortcut out there. That is contrary to the laws of God which state that means, not gimmicks, lead to results. Gimmicks may work sometimes, or else no one would have ever tried them. But they are short lived and cause more harm than good.

Even Wall Street knows that, or at least they used to. When you open a trading account, you have to sign forms that can fill a book. Forms to explain to you the risks involved, some may even exceed the value of the entire portfolio! When you open an investment account, on the other hand, there are far fewer forms to sign. That is because, even though investments too carry risk, they are natural risks, whereas speculative risks are random. The difference between the two is that investments involve an asset: property, product or service, while speculation is a bet on how such investment will do. In financial circles this is called a derivative. We all know from the global financial crisis of 2008, the extent of harm speculative derivatives can do.

That is the peril of the mindset that is convinced that there is a shortcut to riches that requires no work, no sweat, and no asset. There is no such thing, but speculators won’t accept that disappointing conclusion, just like a gambler keeps telling himself that the next time he will recoup all his losses.

Investments can be win-win affairs, while speculation is always a zero-sum game.

Usury fits that profile too. It stems from the wrong mindset that treats money as a commodity and thus finds what it thinks is a great business model: buy money cheap and sell it for more. That’s right; economists actually call interest the price of money! Money is price, it doesn’t, and shouldn’t have a price.

While you did not ask it, other readers may be wondering: how else can an economy run? How can banking be done without interest? How does an Islamic system finance start-up companies or real estate purchases, etc.?

The answer is quite simple: partnerships. A financier may decide to finance a project in return for a percentage of its equity and profits. But that also means sharing the risk. That is a natural mechanism in the law of God that makes a financier scrutinize the project like his networth depends on it. The result is that frivolous projects won’t find financing, but quality ones will. Mortgage lenders would never lend money to home buyers whom they are almost sure cannot repay the loan, which is what caused the foreclosure crisis of 2008. On the flip side, rich people will still put their money in worthwhile and promising projects, which by their nature benefit a lot more people than the stakeholders.

That, in a nutshell, is Islamic finance. It brings wealth to investors and far reaching benefits to society, advancement of the economy and, most important of all, the right perception of money and finance. It is not a game for clever quants to play, it’s life enhancement for millions of people.

I apologize for not having a MBA. Your response was detailed, as usual. However, I need to go to a simpler and deeper understanding.

My question thus becomes this: How does interest oppress those who are the meek and poor. How is usury a tool of the oppressor.

In other words how is this haraam (forbidden). On a grand scale I see the consequences of poor decision making, giving loans to those who do not have the means of paying back thus leading to bankruptcy. But break it down for me.

For example the issue of adultery is simple to understand as it does destroy the fabric of the family.

I am not trying to be stubborn or argumentative. I need to be able to place my finger on the essence of the sin of interest.

Many people question why adultery is a sin. If the reason is, as you stated, that it breaks up families, then divorce should also be a sin, because it too breaks up families. But it isn’t. It is only strongly discouraged.

Many scholars, past and modern, have attempted to find material reasons why adultery is a sin. Some postulated that it results in paternity uncertainty. If that’s the reason, then modern science can solve this problem with a DNA test. Would that make adultery OK? Of course not.

Some suggest that the reason is unwanted pregnancies. If that’s the reason, then foster homes can solve this problem. Does that make adultery OK. Of course not.

Some guess that the reason is sexually transmitted diseases. If that’s the reason, then immunizations and other protections can take care of this risk. Would that make adultery OK? Of course not.

The interesting thing is that God already told us why adultery is a sin. He says in the holy Quran, “And do not approach fornication; it is a debauchery and a wretched path.” (17:32). It sets a wrong mindset. It makes people view sex, women and marriage differently from God’s moral law. That is what makes it a sin. Sin is violation of God’s law. God designed His laws for maximum benefit to mankind. When man breaks God’s law, it is an objection to God. Adultery sets the sinner on an evil path because he is deviated from the Straight Path and is distanced from God and becomes an easy prey to Satan.

You will observe the same about other sins prohibited in the Quran. Intoxication and unearned gain are prohibited in 5:90. God explains why in the next verse, “Satan only wants to sew between you enmity and hatred with intoxicants and unearned gain, shun you from the remembrance of God and from prayer. Are you ceasing?” (5:91)

God doesn’t say that intoxication can ruin your liver, or that it may endanger other people when you drive drunk. God doesn’t say that gambling can wipe out one’s life savings. God doesn’t mention that both are addictions that are very hard to be free from. God’s reasons are moral. Other material reasons may apply, but they are not why something is a forbidden sin. Intoxication sets a wrong mindset. It makes a person “drink to forget” his problems, instead of heading them on and solving them, gaining strength of character and wisdom in the process. Unearned gain sets the wrong mindset. It makes a person view others as “marks”, to borrow from con artists vocabulary. The right mindset that Islam encourages is that others are fellow human beings, dignified, worthy of respect and care, and having full capacity to be good and contribute to positive human progress.

The sin of interest is that it sets the perception and belief that you can have your money work for you instead of you working for your money. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “None of you would eat better food than food he earned by the work of his hands. God’s prophet David, upon him be peace, did.”, narrated by Al-Miqdaam ibn Ma`dikarib and reported and rated authentic by Al-Bukhaari.

I find it fascinating that God quotes people who have argued that usury is like trading. He does not refute their argument! Instead, He states unequivocally that He made trading lawful and usury unlawful (2:275). God doesn’t want us to be distracted by arguments why something He forbade is bad for us.

I beg you to help me with this. Where do trust funds find themselves. And what is the difference in Islam between a trust fund and inheritance?

Trusts are called Waqf in Islam. The word means holding an asset from being sold or donated and dedicating its income and facilities to designated people or purpose.

Waqf has two types: (1) Waqf Khayri (charitable trust/endowment) and (2) Waqf Ahli (familial trust). The first type is very highly praised in Islam. The Prophet (PBUH) has famously said, “All the work of a child of Adam ceases with his death, except three: an ongoing charity, a knowledge that benefits and a righteous child who prays for him.” Narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported and rated authentic by Muslim. This has motivated multitudes of Muslims throughout the ages to found thousands of charitable projects and endowments. The result was that nearly all needs of society were taken care of without the government having to do any of it! A stranded traveler knew that he can find a hostel where he could stay the night, warm and safe, at no cost. Orphans and widows didn’t have to be scared or hungry. Desert travelers knew there would be plenty of water wells they could drink from.

Waqf Ahli, on the other hand, has been controversial for a good part of a century now. It is banned by many Muslim countries, such as Turkey, Syria and Egypt. The reason is that they saw much abuse of it. They saw it as a way to concentrate wealth in a family, instead of letting it into the economy. Many people used it as a way to circumvent inheritance law. With familial trusts, they could favor some relatives over others, whereas inheritance law fixes heir eligibility and distribution amounts of an estate.

IMHO, abuse of a system is no reason to ban it, but rather is reason to regulate it. Waqf Ahli has been allowed, even suggested, by the Prophet (PBUH) when one has needy relatives, as has been reported about Abu-Talha dedicating his best garden to his poor relatives after he heard this verse, “You shall not attain godliness until you spend from what you love” (3:92). It is a good way to take care of one’s poor relatives while one is still alive, as well as after he, the trustee, dies. That is the difference between trusts and inheritance. The other difference is what I mentioned above about allotment of shares and designation of beneficiaries.

Nobody ever owns the asset under Waqf and the trustee’s heirs are supposed to carry on the upkeep of the trust. Perhaps that’s why many Waqf assets were neglected to the point of deterioration. That was another reason governments moved to ban them. It would’ve been better IMHO if governments took over the maintenance.

Supplication during the night

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Assalaamu ‘alaikum WR WB brother.

Is there any specific Du’a recorded in the Sunnah which should be recited
specifically during night prayers (Qiyaamul Layl)
If so , please do share them Insha Allah

The first time God ordered the Prophet (PBUH) to stay up at night praying was in Chapter 73 (Al-Muzzammil), very shortly after revelation started. In this chapter, God only tells the Prophet to recite the Quran.

Later, in Chapter 17 (Al-Israa’), God tells the Prophet two things about night prayer: (a) that it is voluntary (Naafila) and (b) to say in it this supplication, “Rabbi adkhilni mudkhala sidqin wa akhrijni mukhraja sidqin waj`al li min ladunka sultaanan naseera” (17:80) which means, “Lord, make me enter an entrance of truthfulness and make me exit an exit of truthfulness, and set for me, from Your Own, a supporting authority.” Followed by, “Jaa’a-l haqqu wa zahaqa-l baatilu. Inna-l baatila kaana zahooqa” (17:81), which means “Truth has come and falsehood has passed away. Indeed, falsehood is always passing away.”

The Prophet (PBUH) did that and much more. He was committed to night prayer even after he was told it was voluntary. And he added other supplications, such as this one reported by Al-Bukhaari in his authentic compilation,
“O God, to You is praise; You are the Caretaker of the heavens and the earth and whomever is in them. To You is praise; You are the King of the heavens and the earth and whomever is in them. To You is praise, You are the Truth. Your promise is truth. The meeting with You is truth. What You say is truth. The Garden (Al-Janna) is truth. Hellfire is truth. To You I have submitted. In You I have believed. Upon You I have relied. Back to You I have returned. With You I have argued. For Your sake I have judged. So, forgive me what I have put forward and what I have put behind, what I have kept private and what I have made public. You are the Advancer (Al-Muqaddim) and the Regresser (Al-Mu’akhkhir). There is no god but You and there is no capacity nor strength except by You.”

Losing weight

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

If you have ever tried to lose weight, you know three things: (a) That the way to do it is simple and well known, albeit easier said than done, (b) that it requires discipline and self control and (c) that when it succeeds, you feel unencumbered and happy. You know you’ve done the right thing for yourself. The same can be said about stopping any addiction, such as smoking or gambling. Even spring cleaning is the same way.

And so is soul cleaning. The Prophet (PBUH) commented one day on verse 83:14 of the holy Quran. The verse said, “Nay! Rather, what they have been earning [of sin] has formed a stain on their hearts.” (83:14). He said, “A person’s heart gets blotted every time he sins. If he repents, it is polished out. If he does it again, the blot gets bigger. Until his heart is blocked. That is the stain.”, narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by At-Tirmizhi who rated it soundly authentic.

Cleaning of the heart is probably the hardest component of soul cleaning. It all starts with cleaning of the faith, such that no hint of “shirk” (associating others with God in worship) taints it. Then comes mind cleaning: cleaning of thoughts, such that you assume good until you see otherwise and when you do you forgive. Change negative thoughts to positive ones promptly and seek refuge in God from the whispers of Satan. Think twice before saying or doing things. Never act impulsively or on negative emotions. Stay away from negative people. Keep up prayer, supplication and charity. Read the Quran and reflect on it. Say good words and do good wherever you go and to whomever you meet. Clean your attitude, such that you deal with all with equal respect and courtesy.

When you boycott sin, it works for your soul like boycotting cigarettes works on your lungs and boycotting gambling works on your pocket book. The more you practice, and ask God to help and strengthen you, the easier it will get and the more likely it will be to succeed.

Waiting for a blessing

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

What about someone that is waiting for a particular blessing and it does not come? I know dua (supplication) and qadar (precision) meet and whichever is the stronger manifests. Yet, a blessing is a gift isn’t it? A sweet chocolate kiss from Heaven.

Is it the ego that prevents blessings from flowing?

This may not seem like a serious subject but it is…give me a good Sura (Chapter of the Quran) or ayat (verse) that defines blessings.

Ego, sin, impatience, doubt (including self doubt), etc. In other words: lack of true submission.

Picture an airplane full of food and medicine for victims of a disaster but is unable to land because of lack of runway. Blessings are kinda like that. Remember the hadeeth in which Gabriel told the Prophet (PBUH) when Laylat-ulk-Qadr is, and the Prophet (PBUH) went out to tell Muslims but because two Muslims were arguing loudly he was made to forget it? (Narrated by Abu-Saeed Al-Khudri and reported by Muslim). The scene was not welcoming to the blessing even though the Prophet (PBUH) himself was there.

One of my favorite verses is this, “He knew what is in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility upon them and rewarded them with a nigh victory.” (48:18) It always starts with us submitting, hoping and waiting without hurrying and with full faith that good will happen. Only then does it happen.

Your statement that dua and qadar meet and the stronger of them wins, needs discussion. I addressed a misunderstanding about this in a previous blog post. Qadar comes with or without dua and it can be a reply to a dua. It does not meet dua nor fight with it. Qadar does not mean fate; it means precision in measure and timing.

I read your response..you have a way of making things easy to understand. There is a youtube video that someone posted on a forum I follow. The young scholar discusses “the dua meeting the qadar”. The viewer gets the impression that supplication overrides destiny. I think you need to explain in your discussion that we can not mold the dua. We can not have dua be wishful thinking. I can not make dua and wish only for my knight in shinning armor. I can not have the mold. That is my shortsightedness and ego. Am I correct?

Contemplation is a part of reviewing the blessings. In hindsight, we see what Allah subhana wa taala has sent to us. And it makes sense. Trust me the past two years have been full of blessings yet I have felt as if I were in a dark wilderness, alone. When I take time to reassess I realize it could not have transpired any other way.

Yes, He is full of Mercy and He sends His Blessings. We are so scared of the blessings. There is accountability in accepting blessings. That is a part of submission. The runway in your example would be accountability in my words, correct?

You need to write on true submission. Honestly, we are so busy trying to be super-Muslims we forget the simple things. There is a fine line. We have to be busy with life while we wait for the guidance of Allah subhana wa taala. That is not easy.

I understand self-doubt to be an instrument of Shytan (Satan). I know dhikr (remembrance of God) and dua and salat (prayer) are cures as is the biggie sabr (patience).

Actually, we can mold the dua. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Let any of you ask his Lord all of his needs, even ask Him to replace the lining of his shoes that was torn!”, narrated by Anas ibn Maalik and reported by Assuyooti who rated it authentic. Most scholars, however, have doubted its authenticity. The point of this hadeeth is that nothing is too small or too big to ask God for. When you really think about it, you will find that most of what we wish for in our prayers is rather trivial and that what is really important God is already taking care of. He is Al-Qayyoom (The All-Caretaker).

That said, your point is well taken. I understood it to be that a believer should not insist on an outcome. However God chooses to reply to his request should be reason for the believer to rejoice. That requires that the believer be in tune with what God sends his way. Otherwise he will not recognize the reply when it comes. That is the lesson of Salaat-ul-Istikhaara (consultation prayer). You are torn between two decisions and honestly cannot decide, so you ask God to decide one for you. How do you know what God decided and when? You will see it and feel it if you are tuned in.

The belief many Muslims have that supplication preempts destiny is a false doctrine which sadly most Muslims do not even review. It is a harmless false doctrine, though, so I don’t fret over it. Destiny never changes because God knows it already. He does not shape it for us. We shape it with our words and deeds out of our free will. He simply knows it already. It’s kinda like watching a recorded football match with your son who hasn’t yet seen it but you have and he made you promise not to spoil it for him. He can cheer his team till he’s blue in the face, but you know his team lost. They lost because they didn’t play well and didn’t listen to their coach. You had nothing to do with it! I can excuse non-Arabic speakers who do not know what the word Al-Qadhaa’ means, but what is the excuse of the Arabs? The word does not mean destiny and never did.

The “runway” in my previous example is the space in the heart that we leave open to receive God’s gifts. It’s what Rumi spoke of all the time. That space widens when we accept and narrows when we question. That is what true submission is about. After you read the Quran and recognize its truth, you let God in. Easier said than done though.

Tuning in…that is never explained enough and people run from pillar to post trying to understand how they know they are tuned in. It seems that we have a paucity of vocabulary or descriptors to help us understand when we are tuned in. I know in prayer there is a physical change when you are tuned in. Yet, there are not universal words to define the “tuned in” stage. Similar to the Zen. The area of the spiritual real and the physical real is fuzzy. You mentioned self-doubt. It is overwhelming for the psyche to live in the tuned in state for long periods of time. I am still trying to comprehend this one. Maybe that is what I was alluding to in terms of becoming reclusive; not that you do not wish to interact with the world but the need to be ” tuned in” is greater and you do not want to risk the goodness.

Your runway made me think…our trials are the shovel that make the path wider. Our trials are what makes us dependent upon Allah subhana wa taala. Rumi’s Love is so deep it is too simple. Once again it is the inability of our language to communicate to us what we have.

Salaat-ul-Istikhaara is the salaat for guidance when you have to make a decision. What about when you are in the wilderness looking for guidance?

As for understanding the Quran…there are times when Allah swt gives you a response as if you are slapped in the face and at other times one ayat takes months and months to comprehend.

Let me end with this: There comes a point in one’s life when you see the blessings. You become sure that the end of any given is going to be good; you become so used to this that the ordinary stressors disappear. You know from past experiences what the anticipated result will be. It is almost too much to take in. I guess this is being “tuned in”.

The reason why I am hung up on this is simple. I post on a forum I follow and often the responses become so obtuse that we forget in the wording, life is to be lived. We are ordinary people and Islam is a faith for the common man.

You really ought to give a kuthba (sermon) on this. Tell the imam (preacher) of your masjid (mosque) you need to speak to the youth. We are missing that in our masjids. The use of language to an audience that is real and meaningful.

Zhikr is the best way to achieve the tuned-in state, especially if it is done with mindfulness. But even when it is done by force of habit, provided the heart is sound, the believer will be eased into things. If you ever wondered why Zhikr is so lauded in Islam, that’s why IMHO.

Mindfulness is also the best way to understand the Quran. When you read the Quran mindfully, no word passes by without reflection. You ask yourself what does this word really mean? Why did God choose this word and not any of its synonyms in this particular verse and context? How is this verse related to the one before it and the one after it. That is the method taught by the late Sheikh Shaarawi, may God bless his soul. Suddenly, the Quran relates to your life intimately. You feel clued in.

A person in the wilderness looking for guidance will find it if he is really looking for it, because God says in the holy Quran, “And upon God is the orientation of the road” (16:9) You just walk the road and earnestly look for the way and God will show it to you. It’s a promise from Him.

On destiny and supplication

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

AssalaamuAlaikum akhi.

Hope you and your family are doing well by the blessings and mercy of Allah(SWT). I have a question on destiny and dua’a. I understand it is a very confusing topic. But, well I believe, we humans can sure speculate and understand a pattern of the same. InshaAllah.

My question is, 1. Do really Dua’a change the destiny of believers? If yes, then What about the dua’a(prayers) of disbelievers? Does Allah(SWT) accept their prayers also and change their destiny akhi?

2. Are their any factors that make our dua’s to be accepted soon by Allah(SWT)? I understand it is a matter which Allah(SWT) knows about and not us. BUt considering the limitations of our human mind, are their factors?

3. This is a bit off the topic, I have heard that we should not judge people by their appearances, as their imaan lies in their heart & Allah(SWT) knows the best what sort of person he/she is? But isn’t it that if imaan is there in our heart, it would be shown/seen out in our actions, behavior, our appearance? What is the Islamic & also your view point on it?

You can take one question at a time and answer it akhi. At your leisure. JazakAllah Khair.

Peace.

Wa Alaykum Assalaam, brother.

Destiny is not a confusing subject. It is quite simple. Only God knows where each of us will end up. Nobody else. He says in the holy Quran, “Say: None in the heavens and the earth knows the Beyond but God.” (27:65). Very straightforward.

Perhaps the confusion comes from the many opinions and theories people have formed about fate over the centuries. I’d suggest that you read the previous posts in this blog in the Fate category.

I think you are referring to the hadeeth, “Nothing holds back a Divine Decree except supplication.”, narrated by Salmaan Al-Faarisi and reported by At-Tirmizhi who rated it “sound but strange.” The authenticity of this hadeeth is suspect. But even if it were authentic, the word “Al-Qadhaa'” that appears in it is wrongly translated as destiny or pre-destination. This is a very common error that most Muslims fall into. Al-Qadhaa’ simply means Divine Decrees. What the hadeeth means is that God may suspend a Decree of His when the affected believer supplicates to Him. This does not change the believer’s destiny. God knew all along that His servant will call upon Him. He sends down His Decree then holds it. Why? In order to convey to us how much He loves supplication! This teaches us that if we want to be saved from afflictions and hardship, our best chance is to call upon God to save us from them. Amen.

God may reply to your supplication immediately or may defer the reply. He does that because He is the only One who has the whole picture. He grants everything in precise measure and timing. That is what the word Al-Qadar means. Another word that is wrongly translated as fate.

As for appearance, it can, as we all know, be deceiving. Some people look pious but are wicked inside. God says in the holy Quran, “And among the people is one whose utterance in this world you admire and he holds God a witness to what is in his heart while he is the fiercest of adversaries!” (2:204).

And the flip-side is also true. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “There may be a man, dusty and uncombed, whom people pay no attention to, but if He swears upon God for something, God will fulfill it!”, narrated by Anas ibn Maalik and reported by At-Tirmizhi who rated it it soundly authentic.