The Life of This World Is a Transient Shade!!

The Life of This World Is a Transient Shade

Abdul Malik Al-Qasim

Excerpted from “The Life of This World Is a Transient Shade” © 1999 IIPH

“Truly, the life of this world is nothing but a [quick passing] enjoyment, and verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever.” [Qur’an, 40:39]
“And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial and that surely with Allah is a mighty reward.” [Qur’an 8:28]
“And strain not your eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to various groups of them [polytheists], the splendour of the life in this world, that We may test them thereby.” [Qur’an 20:131]
“And put forward to them the example of the life of this world: It is like the water [rain] which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But [later] it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter. And Allah is Able to do everything.” [Qur’an 18:45]
“My similitude and that of the life of this world is that of a traveler who took a rest at mid-day under a shade of a tree and then left it.” [Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and al-Hakim]
“Be in this world like a stranger, or a wayfarer.” [Bukhari]
“When Allah (`azza wa jall) gives a person whatever he loves of the worldly benefits despite his disobedience, then that is a gradual enticement.” [Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi]
“The Hour has drawn near, whereas the people have become more greedy for the life of the world and more remote from Allah.” [Al-Hakim]
Yahya ibn Mu`adh, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I don’t order you to abandon life but to abandon sins. Abandoning life is a virtue and abandoning sins is a duty, so your need for this latter is greater than your need for the former.”
Dear brother/sister,
This life is full of benefits and fortunes: The land on which man constructs his dwelling, and grows his food, drinks, dress… etc., all represents the nourishment for man’s body and soul proceeding towards Allah. Man of course cannot do without these vital necessities. the one who takes from these necessities only according to his real need as commanded by Allah is saved and praised. But whoever takes more than necessary for himself falls into covetousness which will lead him into harm instead of benefit, and consequently divert him from the right path towards Allah and the Hereafter.
Likewise, taking less than required of the worldly benefits is harmful because the human body needs to satisfy certain basic needs, and that will increase its capability to worship Allah perfectly.
`Amr ibn Abdullah said: “The life of this world and the Hereafter, in the heart of a person, are like the two scales of a balance, when the one becomes heavier the other becomes lighter.”
Al-Hasan Al-Basri was asked: “Who is going to cry more than the others on the Day of Resurrection?” He answered, “A man on whom Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala has bestowed His Grace and who uses that for Allah’s disobedience.”
`Umar ibn Al-Khattab said: “Renouncing the worldly pleasures is a comfort for both the human heart and body.”
Yahya ibn Mu`adh said: “How can I love this life? A sustenance is decreed for me in it which keeps me alive and helps me to perform the deeds of obedience that will lead me to Paradise.”
`Abdullah ibn `Umar, radhiallahu `anhu, said: “The life of this world is Paradise for a disbeliever and a prision for a believer. When a believer dies and departs from this world, he feels himself like a prisoner who was released to go freely on the spacious earth.”
`Umar ibn `Abdil `Aziz said: “The life of this world is not your permanent dwelling because Allah has decreed that it should perish and that all its dwellers should leave it. How many a populated area that will soon come to ruins, and how many a happy resident who will soon leave his residence. You should therefore leave this wolrd in the best way you can, and the best of provisions is piety. Since the life of this world is neither a home nor an abode for the believer, he should be in it, either a stranger whose objective is to take the required provisions and return home, or a traveler who is residing nowhere and who is proceeding day and night to reach a country of residence.”
A poet said: “Man should take the minimum possible of the worldly pleasures, because he is leaving for a fixed appointment; turn his eyes away from this life and its ornaments, make all the efforts to keep away from its lusts, because it is a place of temporary pleasures and trials, and all the people in it will perish.”

The Life of this World is Fleeting Enjoyment!

The Life of this World is Fleeting Enjoyment

Imam Ibn Kathir

Tafsir Ibn Katheer (Abridged) Volume 9 © Darussalam 2000

“Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children. (It is) like a rain (Ghayth), thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment, and (there is) forgiveness from Allah and (His) pleasure. And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.” [57:20]
Allah the Exalted degrades the significance of this life and belittles it by saying,
“that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children.”
Meaning, this is the significance of this life to its people, just as He said in another Ayah,
“Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life; but Allah has the excellent return with Him.” (3:14)
Allah the Exalted also sets a parable for this life, declaring that its joys are fading and its delights are perishable, saying that life is,
“Like a rain (Ghayth),” which is the rain that comes down to mankind, after they had felt despair. Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah,
“And He is it Who sends down the Ghayth (rain) after they have despaired.” (42:28)
Allah’s statement,
“thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller;” meaning that farmers admire the vegetation that grows in the aftermath of rain. And just as farmers admire vegetation, the disbelievers admire this life; they are the most eager to acquire the traits of life, and life is most dear to them,
“afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw.”
Meaning, that vegetation soon turns yellow in color, after being fresh and green. After that, the green fades away and becomes scattered pieces of dust. This is the parable of this worldly life, it starts young, then matures and then turns old and feeble. This is also the parable of mankind in this life; they are young and strong in the beginning. In this stage of life, they look youthful and handsome. Slowly, they begin growing older, their mannerism changes and their strength weakens. They then grow old and feeble; moving becomes difficult for them, while doing easy things becomes beyond their ability. Allah the Exalted said,
“Allah is He Who created you in (a state of) weakness, then gave you strength after weakness, then after strength gave (you) weakness and gray hair. He creates what He wills. And He is the All-Knowing, the All-Powerful.” (30:54)
This parable indicates the near demise of this life and the imminent end of it, while in contrast, the Hereafter is surely coming. Those who hear this parable should, therefore, be aware of the significance of the Hereafter and feel eagerness in the goodness that it contains,
“But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment, and (there is) forgiveness from Allah and (His) pleasure. And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.”
Meaning, surely, the Hereafter that will certainly come contains two things either severe punishment or forgiveness from Allah and His good pleasure.
Allah the Exalted said,
“And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.”
Meaning, this life is only a form of enjoyment that deceives those who incline to it. Surely, those who recline to this life will admire it and feel that it is dear to them, so much so, that they might think that this is the only life, no life or dwelling after it. Yet, in reality, this life is insignificant as compared to the Hereafter.
Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said,
“Paradise is nearer to any of you than the strap of his shoe, and so is the (Hell) Fire.” [Ahmad 1:387]
Al-Bukhari collected this Hadith through the narration of Ath-Thawri [Fath al-Bari 11:328]. This Hadith indicates the close proximity of both good and evil in relation to mankind. If this is the case, then this is the reason Allah the Exalted encouraged mankind to rush to perform acts of righteousness and obedience and to avoid the prohibitions. By doing so, their sins and errors will be forgiven and they will acquire rewards and an exalted status. Allah the Exalted said,
“Race with one another in hastening towards forgiveness from your Lord, and Paradise the width whereof is as the width of the heaven and the earth.”
Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah,
“And march forth in the way (to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for those who have Taqwa.” (3:133)
Allah said here,
“prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is the grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He is pleased with. And Allah is the Owner of the great bounty.”
Meaning, “This, that Allah has qualified them for, is all a part of His favor, bounty and compassion.” We mentioned a Hadith collected in the Sahih in which the poor emigrants said to the Messenger, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, “O Allah’s Messenger! The wealthy people will get higher grades and permanent enjoyment.” He asked, “Why is that?” They said, “They pray like us and fast as we do. However, they give in charity, whereas we cannot do that, and they free servants, whereas we cannot afford it.” The Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said, “Shall I tell you of a good deed that, if you acted upon, you would catch up with those who have surpassed you? None would overtake you and be better than you, except those who might do the same. Say, “Glorious is Allah,” Allah is Most Great”, and “Praise be to Allah”, thirty three times each after every prayer.” They later came back and said, “Our wealthy brethren heard what we did and they started doing the same.” Allah’s Messenger, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said,
“This is the favor that He gives to whom He wills.” [Muslim 1:416]

THE LIFE OF THIS WORLD!!

THE LIFE OF THIS WORLD

by Harun Yahya

[www.harunyahya.com]

Our universe is perfectly orderly. Countless billions of stars and galaxies move in their separate orbits yet in total harmony. Galaxies consisting of almost 300 billion stars flow through each other and, to everyone’s astonishment, during this gigantic transition no collisions occur. Such order cannot be attributed to coincidence. What is more, the velocities of objects in the universe are beyond the limits of man’s imagination. The physical dimensions of outer space are enormous when compared to the measurements we employ on earth. Stars and planets, with masses of billions or trillions of tons, and galaxies, with sizes that can only be grasped with the help of mathematical formulae, all whirl along their particular paths in space at incredible velocities.

For instance, the earth rotates about its axis so that points on its surface move at an average velocity of about 1,670 km an hour. The mean linear velocity of the earth in its orbit around the sun is 108,000 km an hour. These figures, however, only relate to the earth. We encounter tremendously larger figures when we examine dimensions beyond the solar system. In the universe, as systems increase in size, velocities also increase. The solar system revolves around the centre of the galaxy at 720,000 km an hour. The velocity of the Milky Way itself, comprising some 200 billion stars, is 950,000 km an hour. This continual movement is inconceivable. The earth, together with the solar system, each year moves 500 million kilometers away from its location of the previous year.

There is an incredible equilibrium within all this dynamic movement and it reveals that life on earth is based on a very delicate balance. Very slight, even millimetric variations in the orbit of heavenly bodies could result in very serious consequences. Some could be so detrimental that life on earth would become impossible. In such systems in which there is both great equilibrium and tremendous velocities, gigantic accidents may happen at any time. However, the fact that we lead our lives in an ordinary way on this planet makes us forget about the dangers existing in the universe at large. The present order of the universe with the almost negligible number of collisions, of which we know, simply makes us think that a perfect, stable and secure environment surrounds us.

People do not reflect very much upon such matters. That is why they never discern the extraordinary web of interlocking conditions that makes life possible on earth nor do they apprehend that understanding the real aim of their lives is so important. They live without even wondering how this vast yet delicate equilibrium ever came to be.

Nevertheless, man is endowed with the capacity to think. Without contemplating one’s surroundings conscientiously and wisely, one can never see the reality or have the slightest idea why the world is created and who it is who makes this great order move with such perfect rhythms.
One who ponders these questions and grasps their importance comes face to face with an inescapable fact: the universe we live in is created by a Creator, whose existence and attributes are revealed in everything that exists. The earth, a tiny spot in the universe, is created to serve a significant purpose. Nothing occurs purposelessly in the flow of our lives. The Creator, revealing His attributes, His might and wisdom throughout the universe, did not leave man alone but invested him with a significant purpose.

The reason why man exists on earth is recounted by Allah in the Qur’an as follows:

He Who created death and life, that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving. (Surat al-Mulk: 2)

Verily We created Man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him: So We gave him (the gifts) of hearing and sight. (Surat al-Insan: 2)

In the Qur’an, Allah further makes it clear that nothing is purposeless: Not for (idle) sport did We create the heavens and the earth and all that is between them! If it had been Our wish to take (just) a pastime, We could have found it in Our presence, if We would do (such a thing)! (Surat al-Anbiya: 16-17)
The Secret of the World

Allah indicates the purpose of man in the following verse:
In the Qur’an, the last remaining authentic revelation which guides humanity to the true path, Allah repeatedly reminds us of the temporary nature of this world, summoning us to clarity of mind and consciousness. Indeed, wherever we live, we are all vulnerable to the devastating effects of this world, a self-explanatory phenomenon for people who observe life and the happenings around us. This is also true of all the attractions surrounding us. The pictures in this page are each a demonstration of this fact. Any corner of the world, no matter how impressive, will be exposed to unavoidable deterioration in a few decades, sometimes in even shorter periods of time than one would have ever expected.
That which is on earth We have made but as a glittering show for the earth, in order that We may test them – as to which of them are best in conduct. (Surat al-Kahf: 7)

In doing so, Allah expects man to remain His devoted servant all through his life. In other words, the world is a place where those who fear Allah and those who are ungrateful to Allah are distinguished from each other. The good and the evil, the perfect and the flawed are side by side in this “setting”. Man is being tested in many ways. In the end, the believers will be separated from the disbelievers and attain the Paradise. In the Qur’an it is described thus: We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false. (Surat al-‘Ankabut: 2-3)

In order to have an understanding of the essence of this test, one needs to have a deep understanding of one’s Creator whose existence and attributes are revealed in everything that exists. He is the Creator, the Possessor of infinite power, knowledge, and wisdom. He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Bestower of Forms. To Him belong the most beautiful names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, declare His glory: and He is the Exalted in might, the Wise. (Surat al-Hashr: 24)

Allah created man from clay, endowed him with many features, and bestowed many favors upon him. Nobody acquires the traits of seeing, hearing, walking or breathing by himself. Moreover, these complex systems were placed in his body in the womb before he was born and when he was without any ability to perceive the outer world.
Given all these traits, what is expected of man is to be a servant of Allah. However, as Allah makes clear in the Qur’an, the majority of people are “wrongdoers” and “ungrateful” to their Creator, for they refuse submission to Allah. They suppose that life is long and that they possess the individual strength to survive.

That is why their purpose is to “make the most of their lives while they last”. They forget death and the hereafter. They endeavor to enjoy life and to attain better living standards. Allah explains the attachment of these people to this life in the following verse:

As to these, they love the fleeting life, and put away behind them a day (that will be) hard. (Surat al-Insan: 27)

Disbelievers endeavor to taste all the pleasures of this life. Yet, as the verse implies, life passes very quickly. This is the crucial point that the majority of people fail to remember. Let us think about an example to further clarify the subject.

A Few Seconds or a Few Hours?
Everything on earth is destined to perish. This is the real nature of worldly life…
Think about a typical holiday: After months of hard work, you have your two weeks’ vacation and arrive at your favorite holiday resort after an exhausting eight hours’ ride. The lobby is crowded with holidaymakers like you.
You even notice familiar faces and greet them.
The weather is warm and you do not want to miss one moment enjoying the sunshine and the calm sea, so without losing any time, you find your room, put on your swimsuit and hurry to the beach. At last, you are in the crystal-clear water, but suddenly you are startled by a voice: “Wake up, you will be late for work!”
You find these words nonsense. For a moment, you cannot grasp what is happening; there is an incomprehensible discrepancy between what you see and hear. When you open your eyes and find yourself in your bedroom, the fact that it was all a dream astonishes you greatly. You cannot keep yourself from expressing this astonishment: ” I rode eight hours to reach there. Despite the freezing cold outside here today, I felt the sunshine there in my dream. I felt water splashing on my face.”

The eight hours’ drive to the resort, the time you waited in the lobby, in short everything related to your vacation was actually a dream of a few seconds. Though indistinguishable from real life, what you experienced in a genuine way was merely a dream.

This suggests that we may well be awoken from life on earth just as we are awoken from dream. Then, disbelievers will express exactly the same type of astonishment. In the course of their lives, they could not liberate themselves from the misperception that their lives would be long. Yet, at the time when they will be recreated, they will comprehend that the period of time which appears to have been a lifetime of sixty or seventy years was as if it were merely a few seconds’ duration. Allah relates this fact in the Qur’an:

He will say: “What number of years did you stay on earth?” They will say: “We stayed a day or part of a day: but ask those who keep account.” He will say: “You stayed not but a little, if you had only known!” (Surat al-Muminun: 112-114)

Whether it be ten years or a hundred, man will eventually realize the shortness of his life as the verse above relates. This is just like the case of a man who wakes up from dream bitterly witnessing the vanishing of all images of a nice, long holiday, suddenly realising that it had merely been a dream of a few seconds’ length. Similarly, the shortness of life will most strike man when all else about his life is forgotten. Allah enjoins careful attention to this fact in the following verse of the Qur’an: On the day that the hour (of reckoning) will be established, the transgressors will swear that they tarried not but an hour: thus were they used to being deluded! (Surat or- Rum: 55)

No less than those who live for a few hours or a few days, those who live for seventy years also have a limited time in this world… Something limited is bound to end one day. Be life eighty or a hundred years long, each day brings man closer to that predestined day. Man, in reality, experiences this fact throughout the course of his life. No matter how long-term a plan he devises for himself, one day he attains that specific time when he will accomplish his goal. Every precious objective or thing deemed a turning point in one’s life soon turns out merely to have been a passing whim.

Think of a boy, for instance, who recently entered high school. Typically, he cannot wait for the day on which he will graduate. He looks forward to it with unrestrained eagerness. Yet soon he finds himself enrolling in college. At this stage of his life, he does not even recall the long years of high school. He already has other things on his mind; he wants to take advantage of these precious years to ease his fears for the future.
Hence, he makes numerous plans. Before long, he becomes busy arranging his forthcoming wedding, a very special occasion that he eagerly awaits. Yet time passes faster than he expected and he leaves many years behind him and finds himself a man supporting a family.
By the time he becomes a grandfather, an old man now in declining health, he faintly recalls the events from which he derived pleasure as a young man. Grim memories do fade. The troubles that obsessed him as a young man interest him no more. Only a few images of his life unfurl before his eyes. The appointed time approaches. The time left is very limited; a few years, months or possibly even just days. The classic story of man, without exception, ends here with a funeral service, immediate family members, close friends and relatives attending.
The reality is that no man is immune to this end.
Nevertheless, from the beginning of history, Allah has instructed man about the temporary nature of this world and described the Hereafter, his real and eternal residence. Many details pertaining to paradise and hell are depicted in the revelations of Allah. Despite this fact, man tends to forget this essential truth and tries to invest all his efforts in this life, even though it is short and temporary. However only those who assume a rational approach to life are summoned to clarity of mind and consciousness and realize that this life is not worth anything compared to the eternal one. That is why man’s objective in life is only to attain paradise, an eternal place of Allah’s benevolence and enduring abundance. Seeking the contentment of Allah with true faith is the only way to obtain it. However, those who try not to think about the unavoidable end of this world, and who lead a life in keeping with such an attitude surely deserve eternal punishment.
Allah in the Qur’an relates the awful end that will meet these people:

One day He will gather them together: (It will be) as if they had tarried but an hour of a day: they will recognize each other: assuredly those will be lost who denied the meeting with Allah and refused to receive true guidance. (Surah Yunus: 45)

Therefore patiently persevere, as did (all) Messengers of inflexible purpose; and be in no haste about the (disbelievers). On the Day that they see the (punishment) promised them, (it will be) as if they had not tarried more than an hour in a single day. (Yours is but) to proclaim the Message: but shall any be destroyed except those who transgress? (Surat al-Ahqaf: 35)

Unbridled Ambition

Earlier in this book, we mentioned that the time an ordinary man spends in this world is as short as “the blink of an eye”. Yet, no matter what a man possesses in life, he does not attain real contentment unless he has faith in Allah and keeps himself occupied with His remembrance.
From the time he begins to become an adult he craves wealth, power or status. To one’s astonishment however, he has limited resources to satisfy these cravings; there is no chance whatsoever to possess everything he desires. Neither wealth, nor success nor any form of prosperity, however, will placate his ambitions. Regardless of social status or gender, people’s lives are most often limited to six or seven decades only. Upon the termination of this period, death renders all worldly tastes and joys meaningless.

One who is prone to unbridled desires always finds himself incurably “dissatisfied”. At every stage of life, this dissatisfaction is always there, while the causes change according to time and conditions. The will to satisfy these desires can make some people indulge in almost anything. He may be so committed to his desires that he is willing to face every consequence, even if it means losing the love of immediate family or being an outcast. Yet by the time he accomplishes his goal, the “magic” disappears. He loses all interest in his accomplished purpose. Moreover, not being content with this accomplishment, he immediately starts to seek another and makes every effort to attain it until he at last achieves it in turn.

Having unbridled ambition is the typical characteristic of a disbeliever. This trait remains with him until he dies. He never feels satisfied with what he possesses. That is because he simply wants everything for his own selfish greed and not to obtain the contentment of Allah. Likewise, everything people possess and toil to possess is a reason for boasting, and people become heedless of Allah’s limits. Surely, Allah will not allow one who is so rebellious against Him to have peace of mind in this world. Allah says in the Qur’anic verse:

Those who believe and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for, without doubt, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction. (Surat ar-Ra’d: 28)

A Deceptive World

Countless examples of the perfection of the creation surround man all over the world: gorgeous landscapes, millions of different kinds of plants, the blue sky, clouds heavy with rain, or the human body – a perfect organism full of complex systems. These are all breathtaking examples of creation, reflection on which provides deep insight.

Seeing a butterfly displaying its wings, the marvelously intricate patterns of which are statements of its identity, is an experience never to be forgotten. The feathers of a bird’s head, so fine and lustrous that they look like rich black velvet, or the attractive colors and scent of a flower are all amazing to the human soul.

Everyone, almost without exception, appreciates a beautiful face. Opulent mansions, gold-plated fixtures and luxury cars for some people are the most cherished possessions. Man craves many other things in life, yet the beauty of whatever we possess is destined to perish in time.

A fruit gradually darkens and finally decays from the moment it is plucked from its branch. The scent of flowers fills our rooms only for a limited period. Soon, their colors fade and they wither away. The prettiest face wrinkles after a few decades: the effect of years on skin and the greying of hairs make that pretty face no different from those of other elderly people. No trace remains of the healthy complexion or ruddy cheeks of a teenager after the passage of years. Buildings need renovation, automobiles become old-fashioned and, even worse, rusty. In brief, everything surrounding us is subject to the ravages of time. This seems to be a “natural process” for some. However, this conveys a clear message: “Nothing is immune to the effects of time.”

Above all, every plant, animal, and human being in the world – that is to say, every living thing – is mortal. The fact that the world population does not shrink over the centuries – due to births – should not make us ignore the fact of death.

Yet as an unbridled passion, the spell of possessions and wealth influences man greatly. The lust for possessions unwittingly captures him. However, one point should be grasped: Allah is the sole Owner of everything. Living things remain alive as long as He wills and they die when He decrees their death.

Allah calls upon man to reflect on this in the following verse:

The likeness of the life of the present is as the rain which We send down from the skies: by its mingling arises the produce of the earth – which provides food for men and animals: (It grows) till the earth is clad with its golden ornaments and is decked out (in beauty): the people to whom it belongs think they have all powers of disposal over it: There reaches it Our command by night or by day, and We make it like a harvest clean-mown, as if it had not flourished only the day before! Thus do We explain the Signs in detail for those who reflect. (Surah Yunus: 24)

In this verse, it is shown that everything on this earth deemed nice and beautiful will lose its beauty one day. Moreover, they will all disappear from the surface of this earth. This is a very important point to ponder since Allah informs us that He gives such examples “for those who think”. As an intelligent being, what is expected from man is to think and to take lessons from events and finally to set rational objectives for his life. “Thought” and “comprehension” are the unique traits of man; without these traits man lacks his most distinctive features and becomes lower than the animals. Animals also lead lives which are similar in many respects to human lives: they breathe, breed, and, one day, die. Animals never think why and how they are born, or that they will die one day. It is very natural that they do not engage in an effort to comprehend the real objective of this life; they are not expected to think about the purpose of their creation or about the Creator.
And coin for them the similitude of the life of the world as water which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingled with it and then became dry twigs that the winds scatter. Allah is able to do all things.
(Surat al-Kahf: 45)

However, man is responsible to Allah for building consciousness of Allah through pondering on and being mindful of His orders. Furthermore, he is expected to comprehend that this world exists only for a limited period. Those who truly comprehend these facts will seek Allah’s guidance and illumination by engaging in good deeds.

Otherwise, man meets suffering both in this world and the Hereafter. He becomes wealthy, but never attains happiness. Beauty and fame usually entail misfortune rather than a joyous life. A celebrity, for instance, who one day basks in the adulation of his fans later battles severe health problems, and one day dies alone in a small hotel room with no-one caring for him.

Qur’anic Examples of the Deception of the World

Allah repeatedly emphasizes in the Qur’an that this is just a “world where all pleasures are doomed to perish”. Allah tells the stories of those societies and men and women of the past who rejoiced in their wealth, fame or social status yet met disastrous ends. That is exactly what happened to the two men related in Surat al-Kahf:

Set forth to them the parable of two men: for one of them We provided two gardens of grape-vines and surrounded them with date-palms; in between the two We placed corn-fields.

Each of those gardens brought forth its produce, and failed not in the least therein: in the midst of them We caused a river to flow. (Abundant) was the produce this man had: he said to his companion, in the course of a mutual argument: “more wealth have I than you, and more honor and power in (my following of) men.”

He went into his garden in a state (of mind) unjust to his soul: He said, “I deem not that this will ever perish, nor do I deem that the Hour (of Judgement) will (ever) come: Even if I am brought back to my Lord, I shall surely find (there) something better in exchange.”

His companion said to him, in the course of the argument with him: “Do you deny Him Who created you out of dust, then out of a sperm-drop, then fashioned you into a man? But (I think) for my part that He is Allah, my Lord, and none shall I associate with my Lord. Why did you not, as you went into your garden, say: ‘Allah’s will (be done)! There is no power but with Allah!’ If you see me less than you in wealth and sons, it may be that my Lord will give me something better than your garden, and that He will send on your garden thunderbolts (by way of reckoning) from heaven, making it (but) slippery sand! Or the water of the garden will run off underground so that you will never be able to find it.”

So his fruits (and enjoyment) were encompassed (with ruin), and he remained twisting and turning his hands over what he had spent on his property, which had (now) tumbled to pieces to its very foundations, and he could only say, “Woe is me! Would I had never ascribed partners to my Lord and Cherisher!” Nor had he numbers to help him against Allah, nor was he able to deliver himself.

There, the (only) protection comes from Allah, the True One. He is the Best to reward, and the Best to give success. Set forth to them the similitude of the life of this world: It is like the rain which we send down from the skies; the earth’s vegetation absorbs it, but soon it becomes dry stubble, which the winds scatter: it is (only) Allah who prevails over all things. Wealth and sons are allurements of the life of this world, but the things that endure, good deeds, are best in the sight of your Lord as rewards, and best as (the foundation for) hopes. (Surat al-Kahf: 32-46)

Boasting about one’s possessions causes a person to be ridiculous. This is the unvarying law of Allah. Wealth and power are given as a gift by Allah and can, at any time, be taken away. The story of “the people of paradise” which is recounted in the Qur’an is another example of this:

Verily We have tried them as We tried the people of the garden, when they resolved to gather the fruits of the (garden) in the morning but made no reservation, (“if it be Allah’s Will”).Then there came on the (garden) a visitation from your Lord, (which swept away) all around, while they were asleep.

So the (garden) became, by the morning, like a dark and desolate spot (whose fruit had been gathered).

As the morning broke, they called out, one to another, “Go you to your tilt (betimes) in the morning, if you would gather the fruits.” So they departed, conversing in secret low tones, (saying) “Let not a single indigent person break in upon you into the (garden) this day.” And they opened the morning, strong in an (unjust) resolve. But when they saw the (garden), they said: “We have surely lost our way: Indeed we are shut out (of the fruits of our labor)!” Said one of them, more just (than the rest): “Did I not say to you, ‘Why not glorify (Allah)?'” They said: “Glory to our Lord! Verily we have been doing wrong!” Then they turned one against another, in reproach. Then some of them advanced against others, blaming each other. They said: “Alas for us! We have indeed transgressed! It may be that our Lord will give us in exchange a better (garden) than this: for we do turn to Him (in repentance)!”

Such is the punishment (in this life); but greater is the punishment in the Hereafter, if only they knew! (Surat al-Qalam: 17-33)

The attentive eye immediately recognizes from these verses that Allah does not give examples of atheists in this story. The ones in question here are exactly those who believe in Allah but whose hearts have become insensitive towards His remembrance and who are ungrateful to their Creator. They take pride in possessing what Allah gives them as favors, and totally forget that these possessions are only resources to be used in His way. Typically, they affirm the existence and power of Allah; however, their hearts are full of pride, ambition and selfishness.

The story of Qarun, one of the people of Moses, is narrated in the Qur’an as an example of the archetypal wealthy worldly character. Both Qarun and those who yearn for his status and wealth are so-called believers who cast their religion away for possessions and thus lose the blessed eternal life, whose loss is eternal deprivation:

Qarun was doubtless of the people of Moses but he acted insolently towards them: such were the treasures We had bestowed on him that their very keys would have been a burden to a body of strong men, behold, his people said to him: “Exult not, for Allah love not those who exult (in riches). But seek, with the (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on you, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget your portion in this world: but do good, as Allah has been good to you, and seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land: for Allah loves not those who do mischief.” He said: “This has been given to me because of a certain knowledge which I have.” Did he not know that Allah had destroyed, before him, (whole) generations, which were superior to him in strength and greater in the amount (of riches) they had collected? But the wicked are not called (immediately) to account for their sins.

So he went forth among his people in the (pride of his worldly) glitter. Said those whose aim is the life of this world: “Oh! That we had the like of what Qarun has! For he is truly a lord of mighty good fortune!” But those who had been granted (true) knowledge said: “Alas for you! The reward of Allah (in the Hereafter) is best for those who believe and work righteousness: but this none shall attain, save those who steadfastly persevere (in good).” Then We caused the earth to swallow up him and his house; and he had not (the least little) party to help him against Allah, nor could he defend himself. And those who had envied his position the day before began to say on the morrow: “Ah! It is indeed Allah who enlarges the provision or restricts it, to any of His slaves He pleases! Had it not been that Allah was gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us up! Ah! Those who reject Allah will assuredly never prosper.” That home of the hereafter We shall give to those who intend not high-handedness or mischief on earth: and the end is (best) for the righteous.

Anyone who does a good action will get something better. As for anyone who does a bad action, those who have done bad actions will only be repaid for what they did. (Surat al-Qasas: 76-84)

The main misdeed of Qarun was to see himself as a separate being apart from and independent of Allah. Indeed, as the verse suggests, he did not deny the existence of Allah, but simply assumed that he – due to his superior traits – deserved the power and wealth bestowed on him by Allah. However, all people in the world are servants of Allah and their possessions are not given to them simply because they deserve them. Everything given to man is the favor of Allah. If he is aware of this fact, man will not become ungrateful and spoilt towards his Creator due to the riches in his possessions. He will only feel grateful and show this gratitude by his good manners towards Allah. This is certainly the best and most honorable way of showing one’s gratitude to Allah. On the other hand, Qarun and those who aspire to be like Qarun realize the wicked deeds they engage in only when a disaster falls upon them. After all the harm that befalls them, if they persist and still revolt against Allah, they are utterly ruined. Their end will be unavoidable: the Hell, an evil place in which to remain!
Know you (all), that the life of this world is but play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting and multiplying (in rivalry) among yourselves, riches and children. Here is a similitude: How rain and the growth which it brings forth delight (the hearts of) the tillers; soon it withers; you will see it grow yellow; then it becomes dry and crumbles away. But in the Hereafter is a Penalty severe (for the devotees of wrong). And Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the devotees of Allah). And what is the life of this world, but goods and chattels of deception? (Surat al-Hadid: 20)
TAKEN FROM “THE TRUTH OF THE LIFE OF THIS WORLD” BY HARUN YAHYA, TA-HA PUBLISHERS, UNITED KINGDOM, 1999

Hikmah: The Simple Beauty of Islam!!

Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem

Hikmah: The Simple Beauty of Islam

[
www.davidmyatt.info]

The purpose of this essay, InshaAllah, is to present a basic introduction to Hikmah – that is, to the knowledge (al-ilm) which is Al-Islam.It is unfortunate that for too long Muslims, trying to understand the nature of our existence, of reality, of al-ilm, have used the terms and often the arguments of the Greek and later philosophers. This was true, for instance, of Ibn Rushd and Al-Ghazali, among others.The basis for a correct Muslim understanding of Hikmah, and all that derives from it, is the Quran and the Sunnah, and these alone. This is so because a Muslim is a person who, affirming the Shahadah, looks to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and His Messenger (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and regards the Quran as the true, the literal, kalam of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.What this amounts to, in practical terms, is that we refer to the Quran for our terms, for our concepts – as well as for Hikmah and al-ilm. To use the terms of Greek philosophy – or modern, Western, philosophy – is incorrect, and amounts to an imitation of the kuffar. Why? Because we are then seeking to interpret, or re-interpret, the Quran, and even the Sunnah, in such kaffir terms, whereas the Quran is unique and kalamu Allah – and, as Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says:
“The genesis of truth is Allah alone, so do not be among those who do not believe.” (3:60 Interpretation of Meaning)Furthermore, it needs to be made clear, at the outset, that the Quran does not have an outward (dhir) and an inner, or esoteric (batin) meaning, as maintained by several Sufis, and others. As Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says:
“It is He who gave to you this Book wherein are muhkan Ayat that are umm al-Kitab, and others which are mutashabih.” (3:7 Interpretation of Meaning)Those mutashabih Ayat can often be understood by reference to Ahadith, to other Ayat – and if they cannot, there is certainly no hidden, or ancient esoteric knowledge, by some teacher, or Sufi “master”, to “explain” them. There is, or may be, InshaAllah, dhikr which may bring us closer to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, to hikmah.
“He gives Al-Hikmah to whomsoever He wills.” (2:269 Interpretation of Meaning)”Remembrance of Allah is best…” (29:45 Interpretation of Meaning)”It is through remembrance of Allah that the heart discovers rest.” (13:28 Interpretation of Meaning)What we need to remember in this respect is that our beloved Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and the Shahabah (Radiallaahu Anhum) and the Tabiun did not seek to clarify, or explain, many of the “unclear” things in the Quran – a point made by Ibn Taymayyah in his Minhaj as-Sunnah in respect of the Minhaj al-Karamah of al-Hilli (the Shia). Why did they not do this? Because, as will become clear, al-Hikmah is Al-Islam, and Islam is a Way of Life – a means to live this mortal life in accordance with the Will of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. In simple terms: enjoining the good, forbidding the bad, and Jihad, are often more important than discussions about the meaning of some words. There is a great understanding of human nature – of the real purpose of our lives – here, as there is, of course, the perfect example of our beloved Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) for us to follow.
“Let those who would trade the life of this world for the life Hereafter fight in the Cause of Allah. And those who do fight in the Cause of Allah – whether they be killed or are victorious – will have bestowed on them, by Us, a great reward.” (94: 74 Interpretation of Meaning)Furthermore, we simply do not need the so-called explanations and expositions of Islam given to us over the centuries by those Muslims who have sought, for whatever reason, to use the terms, the language, the ideas, of the West, of the kuffar. In truth, there is no such thing as Muslim “philosophy” – there is only al-Hikmah, al-ilm – the truths – which Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala in His Mercy has given to us. To know Islam, to live Islam, to understand Islam, is to know the source of these things. Of course, the kuffar, and the modernist Muslims and apostates, would disagree with this, and may even call this “ignorance” (or whatever) – but always the basis for their disagreement with us is their acknowledgment, whether admitted by them or not, that the West, the ways, the thought, the philosophy, the ideas, the concepts, of the kuffar are somehow “better” or more important than what has been given to us by Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, and that we, according to them, “must” use these kaffir things in order to have knowledge and wisdom. For such apostates and modernist Muslims, knowledge and wisdom are what the kuffar believe them to be – not what Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has told us they are. That is, these apostates and modernist Muslims have forsaken, or seem to have forsaken, that simple, beautiful, submission to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala which is Islam.Hikmah and al-ilmHikmah – often translated as wisdom – is what Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala informs us it is. This is the beginning and the end of the matter.Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says:
“These are the Ayat of the Book [al-Kitab] of al-Hikmah.” (31:2 Interpretation of Meaning)That is, al-Hikmah is the Quran. Could anything be more clear, more precise?
“We gave al-Hikmah to Luqman, and he said: ‘Give praise and thanks to Allah’…” (31:12 Interpretation of Meaning)”I have provided you with a Book, and Hikmah – and then a Messenger [Rasool] confirming [these]…” (3:81 Interpretation of Meaning)The kalamu Allah is clear – it is simple submission to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, a simple duty to follow the Way of Al-Islam as given in the Quran and Sunnah.
“Correct guidance is the guidance of Allah.” (3:73 Interpretation of meaning)”This day I have perfected your Way of Life for you and completed My Favour upon you and have chosen for you as your Way of Life Al-Islam” (5:3 Interpretation of Meaning)”And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the Kafiroon.” [5:44 Interpretation of meaning]”It is not for the believer – man or woman – when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter, that they should have any option in their decision. For whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has indeed strayed into plain error.” (33:36 Interpretation of Meaning)Al-ilm is also what Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala informs us it is:
“Among His subjects, it is those that fear Allah who have knowledge.” (35:28 Interpretation of Meaning)”And those who have been given al-ilm have been given that so that they may know that it (this Quran) is the truth from their Rabb, and that they may believe therein, and that their hearts may submit to it with humility. For, in truth, Allah is the Guide, of those who believe, to the Straight Path.” ( 22:54 Interpretation of Meaning)What is also clear, is that the kuffar are ignorant, devoid of Hikmah – because they conceal the simple, yet profound, truth of Tawheed with their words, their concepts, their philosophy, their ways of life, and because they refuse to bow down in simple submission to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, and refuse to obey Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and His Messenger (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). What is authentic for us, is the Quran and Sunnah; what is “authentic” for them, and their philosophies, is what they consider, or deem to be, authentic. Their mistake is and has been to posit things such as reason, or an object and a subject, or a Creator and what is created, and then seek to understand or explain things in terms of, or in relation to, these other things they have posited, whereas we know and accept what Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has said in the Quran as the truth. Those who fail to understand this, fail to understand the simple beauty that is Al-Islam.The Simple Beauty of Islam:It should be abundantly clear that Islam is simple – that being a Muslim is simple. There is, for a Muslim, the simple acknowledgment of two things. First, of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala as our Rabb, as The One Who created us, Who defines us, Who has determined the meaning and purpose of our lives.
“Allah (alone) has power over, and is the (sole) master of, all things. The creations in Heaven and Earth, the very change of Night to Day, are Signs for those gifted with intelligence, those who whether sitting, standing or reclining on their sides, give praise to Allah and who frequently recall these creations in Heaven and Earth, (saying): ‘You who are our Rabb – You created all these things for a purpose; the achievement is Yours alone.’ ” (3:189-191 Interpretation of Meaning)”Allah knows all things…” (3:34)Second, there is an acknowledgment of Muhammad (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as the Messenger and Prophet of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.Since Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has said that our Way of Al-Islam is complete and perfect, we accept that it is. We further accept that Hikmah is contained in the Quran which also contains knowledge about the real purpose of our lives.
“And this (Islam and the Quran) is the straight path of your Rabb. For those who take heed of Our clear revelations there shall be that dwelling which is peace (Jannah). (6:126-7 Interpretation of meaning)”Every soul shall taste death. We shall try you in good and bad ordeals, and to the Unity you shall return.” ( 21:35 Interpretation of meaning.)There is purity, a wonderful beauty, in Islam – a purity, a beauty, that the words, the ideas, the beliefs, the ways, the philosophy, of the kuffar all distance us from.
“Thus We have made you [Muslims], a Wasat (just and the best) people, that you be witnesses over all other peoples as the Messenger (Muhammad) is a witness over you.” (2: 143 Interpretation of Meaning).May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala forgive us for our mistakes and may He guide us to and keep us on the Right Path.Abdul-Aziz1425

Strangeness and the Strangers!!

Strangeness and the Strangers

By Imam Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah

Adoptted by Ammar ibn Abdullah al-Hindi
Based on a booklet by ibn Qayyim entitled al-Ghurbathu wa al-Ghuraba
[
www.missionislam.com]

“Islam began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange, so give glad tidings to the strangers.”
The Meaning of “Strangeness”
Many times in many situations the people that follow the religion of Allah feel a sense of not belonging, of being out of place, of not fitting in, and, in other words, of being strange. This feeling could occur in a gathering of non-Muslims, but, unfortunately, this feeling sometimes also occurs when one is with his fellow Muslims.
A person sees his brothers and sisters doing acts that are contrary to Islam, or taking part in innovations that sometimes even border on kufr (apostasy), yet he feels that he does not have enough power or courage to stop them in these acts. Some brothers and sisters, especially if they do not have enough taqwa or Islamic knowledge, sometimes buckle under the pressure of their peers and join in these acts, knowing that this is not what Allah wants them to do. However, feeling helpless, since it seems that they are alone in their ideas and without any support to help them do what is right, they succumb to such pressures.
These brothers and sisters, may Allah have mercy on them, should take consolation in the verses of the Qur’an and the many statements of the Prophet (saws) describing this very situation of strangeness that they feel.
Why Have They Been Called “Strangers”?
Allah says in the Qur’an,
“If only there had been, in the generations preceding you, people having wisdom, prohibiting others from evil in the earth; except a few of those whom we have saved from among them.” (Qur’an Hud 116).
This verse speaks of the few people on earth, the “strangers”, who prohibit mankind from evil. These are the same people the Prophet (saws) spoke about when he said, “Islam began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange, so give glad tidings [ar. Tooba. This is a tree in Paradise. So the Prophet (saws) is giving the good news of Paradise to these strangers.] to the strangers.” It was asked, “Who are those strangers, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “Those that correct the people when they become corrupt.” [Reported by Abu Amr al-Dani, from the hadith of ibn Masoud. It is authentic according to al-Albani. Another narration says, “Those that correct my Sunnah which has been corrupted by the people after me.”] In another narration he said in response to the same question, “They are a small group of people among a large evil population. Those who oppose them are more than those who follow them.” [Reported by ibn Asaakir. It is authentic according to al-Albani.]
These praiseworthy people are called strangers since they are a small minority among mankind. Thus, Muslims are strangers among mankind; the true believers are strangers among Muslims; and the scholars are strangers among the true believers. And the followers of the Sunnah, those that clear themselves from all peoples of innovation, are likewise strangers.
In reality, however, their strangeness is only because they are the minority and it is not because their actions and beliefs are strange. This is what Allah says in surah al-Anaam,
“And if you obey most of the people on Earth, they will lead you astray” (Qur’an al-Anaam 116).
Allah also says,
“And most of mankind will not believe, even if you (O Muhammad) desire it eagerly” (Qur’an Yusuf 103);
“And truly, most of mankind are rebellious and disobedient (to Allah).” (Qur’an al-Maidah 49)
“But nay, most of mankind are ungrateful” (Qur’an Yusuf 38).
Therefore, Allah, the All-Knowing Creator, knows the most of mankind will not follow the truth. Instead, only a small group of people will be set apart that truly and correctly believe in Him, the strangers from among mankind.
The strangers in belief, however, and the strangers in character and actions are in reality the majority of mankind, for they are strange to Islam and to the laws that Allah has revealed. Thus we see that there are various types of strangeness, of which some are praiseworthy, some are blameworthy and some are either praiseworthy or blameworthy. We will discuss these various categories separately below.
The Various Types of Strangeness
You should know, may Allah have mercy upon you, that strangeness is of three types:
The first type of strangeness is the strangeness of the “People of Allah and the People of His Messenger” (saws), which we mentioned previously. This strangeness is a praiseworthy strangeness, as it has been praised by Allah and His Messenger (saws). Therefore, this kind of strangeness should be sought and its people must be supported. This strangeness occurs in different times, in different places, and among different peoples. These strangers, then, are the true “People of Allah” for they do not worship ought save Him, and they do not take support from any path except the path of the Prophet (saws), and they do not call to anything except that which has been brought by the Prophet (saws). These are the people who left mankind when they (the strangers) were in need of them the most. For, on the Day of Judgment, when all other groups will go with that which they used to worship, they will stay in their places. It will be said to them, “Will you not go as the other people have gone?” They will answer, “We had abandoned the people (in this life), and we were more in need of them then we are today, and we will wait for our Lord whom we used to worship.” [Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim] Thus it is apparent that this strangeness does not cause its bearer any discontent. Rather it is a comforting strangeness, a solace to the believers. This is because he knows that his helpers are Allah, His Messenger and those who believe [This is a reference to verse 55 of surah al-Maidah], even if all of mankind left and abandoned him.
These strangers are again described in a hadith narrated by Anas ibn Malik, in which the Prophet (saws) said, “It is possible that a disheveled, dusty person, with not many belongings [Literally, “with two headdresses”], who is not noticed among the people, if he asks of Allah, Allah will fulfill his prayer.” [Reported by at-Tirmidhi and al-Hakim. Al-Albani said it is authentic.] Al-Hasan al-Basri [a very famous Follower – tabi’ – known for his piety,
asceticism and knowledge] said, “A believer is a stranger in this world, he is never afraid of its humiliation, and he never competes for its glory. The people are in one situation and he is in a different situation. The people are content with him, yet he is in turmoil [Literally, “tired”] with himself.” From the characteristics of these strangers that the Prophet (saws) described is the holding on to the Sunnah of the Messenger (saws), even if the people abandon it. They, the strangers, leave all the innovations that their people invent, even if such practices should be common among them. They also stick to tawheed, even if the people corrupt it with shirk. They do not ascribe themselves to anything besides Allah and His Prophet (saws); they do not, that is, ascribe themselves to a shaikh, tariqah, particular madhhab or a group of people. They are dedicated only to Allah, with their sincere worship of Him and Him alone, and to His Prophet (saws), by following the path that he
followed. These are the people who grasp the glowing hot embers [A reference to the hadith that is to follow], even though most of mankind – nay, all of them – blame them for this. This is the meaning of the statements of the Prophet (saws) alluding to the fact that they stick to his Sunnah, even if the people corrupt it.
Allah, all praise be to Him, sent His Prophet (saws) when mankind followed different religions, for there were those who worshipped rivers and trees, and there were those who worshipped idols, and there were Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians. Islam, when it first appeared among these people, was strange to them. If a person from among them accepted Islam and followed the call of Allah and His Prophet (saws), he would be shunned by his family and his tribe. He would live the life of a stranger among his people. Eventually, however, Islam spread far and wide. The Muslims became stronger and stronger, so much so that the strangers were those that did not accept the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (saws).
But, alas, Satan deceived mankind again. People took to the ways that their forefathers, who had accepted Islam, had abandoned until, finally, Islam became strange again, just like it had started and just like the Prophet (saws) had foretold. Nay, indeed, rather the true Islam – that which the Prophet (saws) and his Companions were following [this is a reference to the reply that the Prophet (saws) gave when asked what the characteristics of the “Saved Group” were] has become even stranger to the people then when it initially appeared, even though its outward signs and external relics are well known and widespread. [This is what ibn al-Qayyim, wrote in the 8th Century of the Hijrah, wrote. Imagine our situations six centuries after him. May Allah protect us.]
How can it not be so, when these strangers are only one group among seventy-two others [the Prophet (saws) said in an authentic hadith that this Ummah would divide into seventy-three groups, all of which would go to Hell except the one Saved Group.], each of which follows its own desires and takes its passions as gods?
Those are the groups that base their teachings on doubts and innovations and whose sole purpose is the gratification of their own desires. Thus, the group whose goal is to achieve the pleasure of Allah by following the path of His Messenger (saws) will be the strange one among all of the other groups. This is why the true Muslims – those that adamantly cling to the Sunnah – will have the reward of fifty Companions. When the Prophet (saws) was asked about the verse,
“O you who believe! Take care of your own selves. If you follow right guidance, no harm can come to you from those who err” (Qur’an al-Maidah 105)
he said, “Nay indeed, order good and forbid evil until you see stinginess being obeyed, and desires being followed, and this world preferred [over the next], and each person being deluded by his own opinions. Then take care of yourself and leave the common people. For indeed, after you there will be days of patience, where patience will be like holding on to glowing embers. Whoever is able to do this will have the reward of fifty people that do like him.” They asked, “O Messenger of Allah, the reward of fifty of them?” He replied, “The reward of fifty of you” [Recorded by al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud with a weak chain but it has supporting evidence. Al-Albani calls it sahih. See al-Sahiha, #957]. This reward is due to his strangeness among the people.
So, if the believer whom Allah has blessed with wisdom and knowledge wants to tread upon this path, the path of Allah, then let him be prepared to resign himself to the life of a stranger among his people, just like his predecessors who accepted Islam were treated by the people. For indeed, he will be a stranger in his beliefs, because his people have corrupted their beliefs. He will be a stranger in his religion, due to what the people have done to it. He will be a stranger in his manner of praying, because the people are ignorant of the prayer of the Prophet (saws). He will be a stranger in his ordering of good and prohibiting evil, for the people have taken what is evil as good and they have abandoned what is good as evil. In short, then, he will be a stranger in all his matters of this world and the Hereafter, calling to the path of Allah and withstanding the harm of all those that go against him.
As for the second type of strangeness, then know, O reader, that this strangeness is the blameworthy strangeness, for its people are the evil sinners, the ignorant and the arrogant of mankind. Their strangeness is due to their refusal to follow the correct and straight path of Allah. This strangeness is the strangeness of not conforming to the religion of Islam and, as such, it will remain strange even if its followers are numerous, its power is strong and its existence is widespread. These are the strangers to Allah. May Allah keep us from becoming one of them.
The third category of strangeness is, in essence, neither praiseworthy or blameworthy. It is the strangeness that a traveller experiences when he travels to a different country, like a person who lives in a place for a short period of time, knowing that he has to move on. One aspect of this strangeness is that all of us, whether we realize it or not, are strangers in this world, for we will all go one day to our permanent abode in the Hereafter. This is the meaning of the hadith of the Prophet (saws) when he told Abdullah ibn Umar, “Live in this world as though you are a stranger or a wayfarer.” Thus, this category of strangeness has the potential to become a praiseworthy strangeness if we realize the meaning of this statement of Allah’s Messenger (saws).
We pray that Allah bless us to be Muslims, knowledgeable and pious, and that He forgive us our sins and bless us with His Mercy. Glorified be your Lord, the Lord of Honour and Power! (He is free) from what they attribute to Him And Peace be on the Messengers. And all Praise and thanks be to the Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

The Best of the Best!!

The Best of the Best

Abu Eesa Niamatullah

[www.islamicawakening.com]

Have you ever wondered to yourself what it actually means to be the best?
When we are told that ‘this is the best’ or ‘that was the greatest’ or ‘this will bring the most benefit’ etc, have you ever thought who on Earth gave such people/editors the authority to tell us that? In an age when we have a plethora of ‘Top 10’ or ‘Top 100’ lists on everything from cars to films, from foods to places, one wonders where is that list that will really provide some benefit to us in this current short life and the next very long one.
Well, wait no more. Below, from a choice of hundreds of narrations from our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) you can find 100 hadith, in no particular order of merit, detailing ways on exactly how to become the best, how to have the most excellent characteristics, what really will prove most beneficial for us to know, what really are the greatest things to think about and hope for and indeed, how to become the most beloved of people to our Magnificent Creator, Allah jalla wa ‘ala.
No more subjectivity, no more empty statements; just the divine criteria of what really is the best as developed by the very best himself, Muhammad al-Mustapha (‘alayhis-salatu was-salam). For an explanation of the meaning of each of these hadith, you can visit here.
So go on, don’t be ordinary. Don’t be common. Don’t be typical..
Be the best.
Sayyidina Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) told us:
1. “The best of the Muslims is he from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe.” (Muslim)
2. “The best of people are those with the most excellent character.” (Tabarani, Sahih)
3. “The best of people are those that bring most benefit to the rest of mankind.” (Daraqutni, Hasan)
4. “The best of people are those who are best in fulfilling (rights).” (Ibn Majah, Sahih)
5. “The best of people during fitnah is a man who takes up the reins of his horse pursuing the enemies of Allah, causing them fear yet they make him fearful too, or a man who secludes himself in the desert fulfilling the rights of Allah upon him.” (Hakim, Sahih)
6. “The best of mankind is my generation, then those that follow them and then those that follow them. Then there shall come a people after them who will become avaricious, who will love gluttony, and who will give witness before they are asked for it.” (Tirmidhi, Sahih)
7. “The best of people are those who live longest and excel in their deeds, whereas the worst of people are those who live longest and corrupt their deeds.” (Tirmidhi, Sahih)
8. “The best of women are those that please him (her husband) when he sees her, obeys him when she is commanded, and who does not secretly betray him with regards to herself and her money in that which he dislikes.” (Ahmad, Sahih)
9. “The best of women are those that please you when you see them, obey you when commanded, and who safeguard themselves and your money in your absence.” (Tabarani, Sahih)
10. “The best of marriages are the easiest ones.” (Abu Dawud, Sahih)
11. “The best of your dates is the Borniyyu date; it expels disease yet does not contain any disease itself.” (Hakim, Hasan)
12. “The best of your garments are those which are white; shroud your dead in them and clothe your living with them. The best of that which you apply to your eyelids is antimony causing the eyelashes to grow and sharpening the eyesight.” (Ibn Hibban, Sahih)
13. “The best quality of your religion is scrupulousness.” (Hakim, Sahih)
14. “The best of your religion is that which is easiest.” (Ahmad, Sahih)
15. “The best of the prayer lines for men are the first rows, the worst being the final rows. The best of the prayer lines for women are the final rows and the worst are the first rows.” (Muslim)
16. “The best prayers for women are those performed in the most secluded parts of their houses.” (Ibn Khuzaymah, Sahih)
17. “The best of you in Islam are those who are most excellent in character as long as you deeply understand the religion.” (Ahmad, Sahih)
18. “The best of you are the best of you in fulfilling (rights).” (Ahmad, Sahih)
19. “The best of you are those who are best to their families, and I am the best of you to my family.” (Tirmidhi, Sahih)
20. “The best of you are my generation, then those that follow them and then those that follow them. Then there shall come after them a people who will betray and be untrustworthy, will give witness even though they have not been asked to, will make vows yet will not fulfil them and obesity will appear amongst them.” (Bukhari)
21. “The best of you are those who feed others and return greetings.” (Abu Ya?la, Hasan)
22. “The best of you is he from whom good is anticipated and safety from his evil is assured; the worst of you is he from whom nothing good is expected and one is not safe from his evil.” (Tirmidhi, Sahih)
23. “The best thing mankind has been given is excellent character.” (Hakim, Sahih)
24. “The best of that which you treat yourself with is cupping.” (Hakim, Sahih)
25. “The best of journeys undertaken are to this Mosque of mine and the Ancient House.” (Ahmad, Sahih)
26. “The best of which man can leave behind for himself are three: a righteous child who supplicates for him, an ongoing charity whose reward continues to reach him and knowledge which others benefit from after him.” (Ibn Hibban, Hasan)
27. “The best Mosques for women are the most secluded parts of their houses.” (Bayhaqi, Sahih)
28. “The best of the world’s women are four: Maryum bint ?Imran, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad and Asiyah the wife of Fir?awn.” (Ahmad, Sahih)
29. “The best of days that you should perform cupping are the 17th, 19th and 21st of the month. I did not pass a single gathering of angels on the night of Isra’ except that they would say to me, ‘O Muhammad, perform cupping!'” (Ahmad, Sahih)
30. “The best day on which the Sun has risen is Friday; on it Adam was created, on it Adam was made to enter Paradise and on it he was expelled. The Hour will not be established except on Friday.” (Muslim)
31. “Verily, the best of perfume for men is that which is strong in smell and light in colour, and the best of perfume for women is that which is strong in colour and light in smell.” (Tirmidhi, Sahih)
32. “The most beloved of religions according to Allah the Most High is the ‘easy and flexible religion.'” (Ahmad, Hasan)
33. “The most beloved of deeds according to Allah are the continuous ones, even if they are little.” (Agreed upon)
34. “The most beloved of names according to Allah are ‘Abd Allah, ‘Abd’l-Rahman and Harith.” (Abu Ya?la, Sahih)
35. “The most beloved of deeds according to Allah are the prayer in its right time, then to treat the parents in an excellent manner, and then Jihad in the path of Allah.” (Agreed upon)
36. “The most beloved of deeds according to Allah is that you die and yet your tongue is still moist from the remembrance of Allah.” (Ibn Hibban, Hasan)
37. “The most beloved words according to Allah the Most High are four: Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, La ilaha illallah and Allahu Akbar; there is no problem with which one you start with.” (Muslim)
38. “The most beloved of speech according to Allah is when the servant says, ‘Subhanallahi wa bihamdihi’ (How Transcendent is Allah and we praise him!).” (Muslim)
39. “The most beloved of speech according to Allah the Most High is that which Allah chose for his Angels: Subhana Rabbi wa bihamdihi, Subhana Rabbi wa bihamdihi, Subhana Rabbi wa bihamdihi.” (Tirmidhi, Sahih)
40. “The most beloved of people according to Allah is he who brings most benefit, and the most beloved of deeds according to Allah the Mighty, the Magnificent, is that you bring happiness to a fellow Muslim, or relieve him of distress, or pay off his debt or stave away hunger from him. It is more beloved to me that I walk with my brother Muslim in his time of need than I stay secluded in the mosque for a month. Whoever holds back his anger, Allah will cover his faults and whoever suppresses his fury while being able to execute it, Allah will fill his heart with satisfaction on the Day of Standing. Whoever walks with his brother Muslim in need until he establishes that for him, Allah will establish his feet firmly on the day when all feet shall slip. Indeed, bad character ruins deeds just as vinegar ruins honey.” (Tabarani, Hasan)
41. “The most beloved of people to me is ?A’ishah and from the men, Abu Bakr.” (Agreed upon)
42. “The best of people in recitation are those who when they recite, you see that they fear Allah.” (Bayhaqi, Sahih)
43. “The best of your leaders are those that you love and they love you, you supplicate for them and they supplicate for you. The worst of your leaders are those that you hate and they hate you, you curse them and they curse you.” (Muslim)
44. “The best of you are those who are best in paying off their debts.” (Tahawi, Sahih)
45. “The best of you are those with the longest lives and most excellent character.” (Bazzar, Sahih)
46. “The best of you are those with the longest lives and best in action.” (Hakim, Sahih)
47. “The best of you are those with the softest shoulders during prayer.” (Bayhaqi, Hasan)
48. “The best of you are those who are best to their wives.” (Tirmidhi, Sahih)
49. “The best of you are those who are best to their families.” (Tabarani, Sahih)
50. “The best of you during the ‘Period of Ignorance’ are the best of you in Islam as long as they deeply understand the religion.” (Bukhari)
51. “The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” (Darimi, Sahih)
52. “The best of companions according to Allah are those who are best to their companion and the best of neighbours according to Allah are those that are best to their neighbour.” (Tirmidhi, Sahih)
53. “The best of places are the Mosques and the worst of places are the markets.” (Tabarani, Hasan)
54. “The best supplication on the Day of ?Arafah and the best thing that I and the Prophets before me ever said was, ‘La ilaha illallah wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahu’l-mulk wa lahu’l-hamd wa huwa ?ala kulli shay’in Qadir.'” (Tirmidhi, Hasan)
55. “The best of provision is that which suffices.” (Ahmad in ‘Zuhd’, Hasan)
56. “The best testimony is when one gives it before he is asked to do so.” (Tabarani, Sahih)
57. “The best of dowries are the easiest.” (Hakim, Sahih)
58. “The best of charity is that which still leaves you self-sufficient for the upper hand is better than the lower hand; start with those you are responsible for.” (Tabarani, Sahih)
59. “The best of gatherings are those that are most open.” (Abu Dawud, Sahih)60. “The most beloved deed according to Allah is to have faith in Allah, then to maintain the ties of kinship, and then to command to good and forbid the wrong. The most abhorrent of deeds according to Allah is to associate partners with Him, then to cut the ties of kinship.” (Abu Ya’la, Hasan)
61. “The most beloved Jihad according to Allah is that a word of truth be spoken to a tyrant ruler.” (Tabarani, Hasan)
62. “The most beloved word according to me is that which is most truthful.” (Bukhari)
63. “The most beloved fast according to Allah is the fast of Dawud; he would fast every alternate day. The most beloved prayer according to Allah is the prayer of Dawud; he would sleep half the night, stand a third and then sleep for a sixth.” (Agreed upon)
64. “The most beloved dish according to Allah is that which most hands feed from.” (Ibn Hibban, Hasan)
65. “The most beloved servant of Allah is he who is most beneficial to his dependents.” (Zawa’id al-Zuhd, Hasan)
66. “The best of earnings is that of the labourer as long as he tries his best.” (Ahmad, Hasan)
67. “The best of all deeds is to have faith in Allah alone, then Jihad and then an accepted Hajj; they surpass all other deeds like the distance between the rising and setting of the Sun.” (Ahmad, Sahih)
68. “The best of all deeds is the Prayer at its earliest time.” (Tirmidhi, Sahih)
69. “The best of all deeds is the Prayer in its right time, to treat the Parents honourably and Jihad in the path of Allah.” (al-Khatib, Sahih)
70. “The best of all deeds is that you bring happiness to your Muslim brother, pay off his debt or feed him bread.” (Ibn Adiyy, Hasan)
71. “The best of faith is patience and magnanimity.” (Ahmad, Sahih)
72. “The best of days according to Allah is Friday.” (Bayhaqi, Sahih)
73. “The best of Jihad is that man strives against his soul and desires.” (Daylami, Sahih)
74. “The best Hajj is that with the most raised voices and flowing blood.” (Tirmidhi, Hasan)
75. “The best of supplications is that of on the Day of ‘Arafah, and the best thing that was said by myself and the Prophets before me was, “La ilaha illallah wahdahu la sharika lahu.” (There is nothing worthy of worship except Allah alone, He has no partners.) (Malik, Hasan)
76. “The best of dinars are: the dinar spent by a man upon his dependents, the dinar spent by a man upon his horse in the path of Allah and the dinar spent by a man upon his companions in the path of Allah, the Mighty, the Magnificent.” (Muslim)
77. “The best word of remembrance is: La ilaha illallah and the best supplication is: Al-hamdu lillah.” (Tirmidhi, Hasan)
78. “The best word of remembrance is: La ilaha illallah and the best (expression of giving) thanks is: Al-hamdu lillah.” (Baghawi, Hasan)
79. “The best of hours are those deep in the latter part of the night.” (Tabarani, Sahih)
80. “The best of all martyrs are those who fight in the front line; they do not turn their faces away until they are killed. They will be rolling around in the highest rooms of Paradise, their Lord laughing at them – when your Lord laughs at a servant, there is no accounting for him.” (Ahmad, Sahih)
81. “The best of all martyrs is he whose blood is shed and whose horse is slaughtered.” (Tabarani, Sahih)
82. “The best of all charity is the shade of a canopy (provided) in the path of Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, to gift ones servant in the path of Allah and to gift ones she-camel in the path of Allah.” (Ahmad, Hasan)
83. “The best of all charity is that which is given to the relative that harbours enmity against you.” (Ahmad, Sahih)
84. “The best of all charity is that you give it while you are healthy and desirous (of that money), hoping to become wealthy but fearing poverty. Don’t delay until you are about to breathe your last and then you say, ‘This is for ‘so and so’ and this is for ‘so and so”, for indeed, it has already been written that ‘so and so’ would receive that.” (Abu Dawud, Sahih)
85. “The best of all charity is when the one with little strives to give; start with those you are responsible for.” (Hakim, Sahih)
86. “The best charity is to provide water.” (Ibn Majah, Hasan)
87. “The best prayer after the obligatory ones is the prayer in the depth of the night, and the best fast after the month of Ramadhan is the month of Allah, Muharram.” (Muslim)
88. “The best prayer is the prayer of the man in his home except for the obligatory prayer.” (Nasa’i, Sahih)
89. “The best prayer is that with the longest standing.” (Muslim)
90. “The best of all prayers according to Allah is the Friday morning prayer in congregation.” (Ibn Nu’aym, Sahih)
91. “The best fast is the fast of my brother Dawud; he would fast every alternate day and he would never flee (the battlefront) when the armies would meet.” (Tirmidhi, Sahih)
92. “The best of all fasts after Ramadhan is in the month that you call Muharram.” (Nasa’i, Sahih)
93. “The best of all worship is supplication.” (Hakim, Sahih)
94. “The best deed is the prayer in its right time and Jihad in the path of Allah.” (Bayhaqi, Sahih)
95. “The best of the Qur’an is: “Al-hamdu lillahi Rabb’l-‘Alamin”. (Hakim, Sahih)
96. “The best of earnings is a blessed sale and that which a man earns with his hands.” (Ahmad, Sahih)
97. “The best of the Believers is the most excellent of them in character.” (Ibn Majah, Sahih)
98. “The best of the Believers with respect to Islam is the one from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe; and the best of the Believers with respect to Iman are the most excellent of them in character; and the best of those who migrate is he who migrates from that which Allah the Most High has prohibited; and the best of Jihad is when one strives against his soul for the sake of Allah, the Mighty, the Magnificent.” (Tabarani, Sahih)
99. “The best of mankind is the believer between two honourable persons.” (Tabarani, Sahih)
100. “The best of all days in the world are the ten days (of Dhul Hijjah).” (Bazzar, Sahih)

Tarbiyah : The Key to the Ummah’s Victory!!

Tarbiyah : The Key to the Ummah’s Victory

Author: Shaikh Ali Hasan al-Halabi

The Ways in which Creation Operates
Jubayr ibn Nufayr said: Once, when Cyprus was conquered and its people were divided and they used to cry to each other, I saw Abud-Dardaa sitting alone crying. So I said: O Abud- Dardaa! What makes you cry on this day in which Allaah has strengthened Islaam and its people? So he said: “Woe be to you O Jubayr. How insignificant the creation is to Allaah when they abandon His commands. Between us is a nation, who were evidently strong and had dominion, they abandoned the commands of Allaah, so see what has become of them!”[2]
So this is a clear and indisputable evidence that cultivation and education upon the commands of Allaah – with the beneficial knowledge and righteous actions – is the basis for achieving the help of Allaah; whilst abandoning this is the cause for defeat. “Indeed, Allaah – the One free from all defects, the Most High – has established certain Sunan (ways and causes) upon His creation, whosoever fulfills them will achieve success and felicity, but whosoever turns away from them has indeed gone astray. Allaah the Most High – explains this Sunan with regards to those who disbelieve: “Similar Sunan were faced by people before you, so travel through the earth and see what was the end of those who disbelieved.”[3]And He – the Most Perfect – says:
“Such was the Sunnah (way) of Allaah with those who lived before. Indeed, in the Sunnah of Allaah you will find no change.”[5]
This established Sunan, or way in which Allaah’s creation operates, is not only for one particular nation to the exclusion of others, nor for any one particular era to the exclusion of others. Rather, this matter was practically taught to even the first of the Muslims, the Sahaabah – may Allaah be pleased with them all – as in the battle of Uhud, when the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commanded the archers to remain in their positions, yet they disobeyed his order; which resulted in their defeat:Lessons from the Battle of Uhud
Al-Baraa’ ibn ‘Aazib radiallaahu ‘anhu said:
We encountered the pagans on that day [of Uhud] and the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam positioned a group of archers and appointed ‘Abdullaah ibn Jubair to be in command of them and said: “Do not leave this position, if you should see us conquer them, do not leave this position; and if you should see them conquer us, then do not come to our aid.” However, when we met the enemy they fled on their heels, until I saw their women running towards the mountain, lifting their dresses from their legs, thus exposing their ankle-bracelets. Some people started saying: The booty, the booty! So ‘Abdullaah ibn Jubair said: The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has taken a promise from me not to abandon this position. However, his companions refused to stay. So when they refused, Allaah confused them, such that they did not know where to go; due to which they then suffered seventy deaths….”[6]
Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim (d 751H) – rahimahullaah – said:
“This calamity which struck them was caused by their own actions. So our Lord said: “When a single disaster struck you, whereas you struck them with a disaster twice as great, do you then say: from where did this come? Say: It is from your own selves! Indeed, Allaah has power over everything.”[7]
And He mentioned this itself; in that which is more general than this in the Makkan soorahs. He said:”Whatever misfortune befalls you is because of what your own hands have done, yet for many He grants forgiveness.”[8]
“Whatever of good comes to you, it is from Allaah; and whatever misfortunes befall you, it is from your ownselves.”[9]
So the good and the bad here are blessings and misfortunes. So the blessings of Allaah are something which He has favoured you with, whilst the misfortunes have sprung from your own selves and your actions. So the first is from His grace and the second is from His justice. And the servant is always between His grace and His justice; His grace is upon him, His judgment in him and whatever He decrees is just. And Allaah concluded the first Aayah with His saying:
“Indeed Allaah has power over all things.” After His saying: “Say: It is from your own selves!” Thus indicating to them about the generality of His Power along with His Justice – and He is the Most Just, the All-Powerful.”[l0]
Disobedience Results in Defeat
And the story of this battle of Uhud must give us the du’aat (callers), an important lesson by which we benefit in our lives, which is that: “When the Muslims suffer defeat in jihaad or in da’wah, then they should blame themselves and straighten their course; and they should weigh their actions with the true scales. Since Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – has informed the Muslims that the reason for their defeat in the battle of Uhud was themselves, and this was the same reason on the day of Hunayn. And it is from the Sunan of Allaah that He does not remove a blessing from a people which has been given to them, unless they change what He has given them of eemaan (faith), guidance and good. Allaah says:
“That is because Allaah will never change the favour which He bestows upon a people, until they change themselves.”[11]
And this verse shows us the history of our Islaamic Ummah in the best way. So our Salafus-Saalih (Pious Predecessors) clung to the blessings of Allaah upon them, and the most important of these blessings is the correct ‘aqeedah (beliefs) and noble manners; and they kept away from disunity and splitting. They took hold of those prescribed reasons which made them the best of nations ever raised for mankind, and thereby deserved through this, the victory of Allaah, establishment upon the earth and the various tribes and nations being made subservient to them.
After them came a people who changed that which the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Companions were upon, in ‘aqeedah and methodology, with their own customs, ways and manners. They split into groups and parties and raised up the banner of jaahiliyyah (pre-Islaamic ignorance), so Allaah made them despicable, causing the lowly nations to dominate over them. So the best of them were attacked and the minds of the children were brainwashed, and they became scum, like the scum upon the waves.
So if the Muslims desire good, unity and establishment upon the earth, then they should make their manners and behaviour like that of the Salaf of this Ummah and begin by changing themselves. However, he who is unable to change even himself, will not be able to change his family, not to mention changing the Ummah.
And then this aayah comes between two aayaat, which informs us about the people of Fir’awn – and those nations and tribes which preceded them – who disbelieved in Allaah and His Signs. There was much oppression and sin committed amongst them, so Allaah destroyed them. So take heed – O people of understanding and hearts – and beware of the punishment and the power of Allaah! And know that change begins with the soul and is not achieved through having many helpers, nor strength of information, nor the clamor of those who clap and shout, nor by the arenas and streets being filled with huge crowds.
Indeed, the leaders of our Ummah – those through whom Allaah gave honour and might to His Deen – when the conquest of a city was delayed for them, then they gathered the army and asked them two questions, for which there was no third: [i] What are the Sunnahs that you have fallen short in complying with? [ii] What are the sins you have committed?![12]
Therefore, they used to take account of themselves, and they used to fear the spread of sins amongst themselves. The leader used to be a good example for his army, with regards obedience to Allaah and fear of Him. However, as regards us today, then we read the previous aayah and we read other aayaat which are like it, such as the saying of Allaah – the Most High:
“Never does Allaah change the condition of a people, until they change themselves. But when Allaah wills punishment for a people, then there can be no turning it back, nor will they find besides Him any helper.”[l3]
However, along with this, these sublime aayaat do not deeply enter into our hearts. We accuse the east and the west, but we do not accuse ourselves and we take a very precise account of other people – such that it contains no pity, nor mercy – but we do not take account of our ownselves.”[l4]From Where Will the Help Come?
Due to all this, Allaah attached His help and assistance for His servants, to the servants aiding Him, and this does not come about except with true tarbiyah (cultivation and education) and sincerely clinging to the truth. So He – the Most Perfect – says:”Indeed Allaah will help those who help His (cause). Indeed Allaah is Exalted in Might, all-Powerful.”[15]
‘Urwah ibn az-Zubayr (d.94H) – rahimahullaah – said: When the people were equipped and ready to proceed to Mu’tah, he said to the Muslims: “May Allaah accompany you and defend you. ” …. Then they went on until they reached the land of Shaam (Syria, Jordan and Palestine), where they were informed that Heraclius had arrived at al-Balqaa with one- hundred thousand Romans, and added to them – from the Arab tribes of al-Hazm, Jadhaam, Balqeen and Bahraa – another one-hundred thousand men. So the Muslims waited for two nights, considering what to do. So they said: We will write to the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and inform him about the number of the enemy. He said: But ‘Abdullaah ibn Rawaahah encouraged the people to bravery and said: “By Allaah, O people! That which you hate is what you had come out for. You seek martyrdom. We do not fight the enemy merely with what we have prepared, nor with strength, nor with large numbers. We do not fight them except with this Deen that Allaah has blessed us with. So go forth, because it is only one of two good things: either victory, or martyrdom. He said: So the people said: By Allaah! Ibn Rawaahah has spoken the truth. So the people continued.” [16]
The Mufassir and Imaam, ash-Shanqeetee (d.1393H) said:
“Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – explains in the above noble aayah that He has sworn to help and give victory to those who help Him. It is known that the help and victory of Allaah comes by following what He has prescribed, obeying His command, avoiding His prohibitions, by helping His Messengers and their followers, aiding His Deen and fighting against His enemies and overpowering them – until the word of Allaah is made uppermost, whilst the word of His enemies is debased and made low. Then Allaah – the Most High, the Most Magnificent – explains the characteristics of those whom He has promised would receive His help and victory, distinguishing them from others. So He said, whilst explaining those to whom He swore He would aid and give victory to – because He is the one to aid and give victory:
“Those who, if We establish them in the earth, establish the prayer, give the zakaah, enjoin the good and forbid the evil.”[l7]
And that which this noble aayah indicates is that whosoever aids Allaah, then Allaah will aid Him. This is clearly explained in other than this place, such as His – the Most High’s – sayings:
“O you who Believe. If you help Allaah, Allaah will help you; and establish your feet firmly. But those who disbelieve, for them is destruction and Allaah will make their deeds vain.”[l8]
“Indeed, Our Word has gone forth of old for our slaves, the Messengers, that they will certainly be victorious; and that Our forces will certainly be triumphant.”[19]
“Allaah has Decreed: It is My Messenger and I who will prevail.”[20]
“Allaah has promised to those amongst you who believe and do righteous actions that He will grant you the Khilaafah in the land.”[21]And in His – the Most High’s – saying:
“Those who, if We establish them in the earth, establish the Prayer, give the Zakaah, enjoin the good and forbid the evil.”[22]
In it is a proof that there is no promise from Allaah of His help, except by establishing the Salaah, paying the Zakaah, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil. So it is these whom Allaah will establish upon the earth and will strengthen His Word through them. However, those who do not establish the Salaah, nor pay the Zakaah, nor enjoin the good or forbid the evil, then there is no promise for them from Allaah that He will aid and grant them victory. They are not from His party, nor are they his friends – those who have the promise of His help and victory. Rather, they are the party of Shaytaan and his friends. So if they were to expect the help of Allaah and the fulfillment of His promise upon them, then their example is like that of a hired worker who refuses to do the job that he was hired for, yet he expects to be rewarded. So whosoever is like this, then he has no intellect![23]
The Fruits of Disagreement
There is here, an important point that must be mentioned, which is that disagreement, opposing views and mutual disregard is one of the greatest causes of defeat. This – in reality – is due to a deficiency in tarbiyah (education and cultivation) and therefore it is one of those matters which prevents victory.Imaam ash-Sha’bee (d.104H) said: “No nation differed after its Prophet, except that the people of falsehood from it, gained ascendancy over its people of truth.”[24]
And this – as has preceded – is precisely what happened to the Sahaabah (Companions), those who were educated and cultivated under the shade of Revelation, with their Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. So what is the case of those who come after them?!
Indeed: “Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – explained that one of the greatest causes for the loss suffered by the Muslims at the battle of Uhud was the differing and ikhtilaaf (disagreement) of the archers, and that some of them disobeyed the order of the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. About this Allaah – the Most High – said:
“Indeed, Allaah did fulfill His Promise to you when you were killing them by His Permission; until you lost your courage and began disputing about the command, and disobeyed, after He showed you that which you love. Amongst you are some that desire this world and some that desire the Hereafter. Then He made you flee from them, that He may test you. But He forgave you, and Allaah is Most Gracious to the Believers.”[25]
So in all the battles of the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the Muslims were a single rank and a single jamaaah ‘ (united body), taking orders from a single leader. Allaah – the Most High – said:”O you who Believe! When you meet an enemy, be firm against them and remember Allaah a lot so that you may be successful. And obey Allaah and His Messenger, and do not dispute less you lose courage and your strength departs. And have sabr (patient perseverance), indeed Allaah is with the patient ones.”[26]
So obedience to Allaah and His Messenger means being free from defect and blemish in both ‘aqeedah (beliefs) and manhaj (methodology), just as it means agreement in direction and where instructions are taken from. However, defeat is the result of disunity and disagreement between the hearts, and in having many leaders and many jamaa’ahs (groups and parties).
There has – in this present age – been no battle in which we have participated, except that in it we were differing and disputing parties, having differing leaderships and having mutual hatred. So how is it possible to achieve victory and establishment?! Indeed, everyone talks about bringing about unity, and writes about it and looks forward to it. However, the results are sorrowful and destroy and frustrate the hopes. After every attempt it becomes clear that every group strove to cause difficulties for the others; and to plot against them; and to make conditions upon them which conflict with the goals of unity and harmony. So the attempt that will be effective and successful must have as its goal, corrections for the ailments of the hearts and souls….. So when the souls are changed and the hearts are filled with taqwaa (piety, fear and obedience to Allaah), then everything in our lives will be changed.”[27]
Lessons from the Battle of Hunayn
Thus the cause for the defeat has been very clearly manifested, and it is a deficiency in the tarbiyah (education and cultivation). Another clear manifestation of this also, is what happened in the battle of Hunayn, about which Allaah – the Most High – said:
“And on the day of Hunayn, when you rejoiced at your great number, but it availed you nothing; and the earth vast as it is – was straightened for you, then you turned back in flight.”[28]
Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim said:
“So from the wisdom of Allaah, He first gave them a taste of the bitterness of defeat and of being overcome – despite their large number, preparation and strength – in order that heads which had been raised up due to the conquest of Makkah, should be lowered. For they did not enter His land and His Sacred Precinct (i.e. Makkah) in the way the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam entered it; lowering his head with humility, upon his horse – to the extent that his chin nearly touched the saddle – out of humility before His Lord, humbling himself before His Greatness and submitting to His Might. This was due to the fact that Allaah had made lawful His Sacred Precinct and His Land for him, and He had not made it lawful to anyone before him or after him. All of this occurred so that he should make clear to those who said: “We will not be defeated today because of our numbers!!” Explaining to them that the victory comes only from Him and that whomsoever He aids, then none can overcome him; and whomsoever He forsakes, then there is none to grant victory to him, besides Allaah. And that He – the Most Perfect – took it upon Himself to aid and grant victory to His Messenger and His Deen – not due to their large numbers which they (falsely) delighted in, since that was of no avail to them. Rather, they fled, turning their backs. So when their hearts had become downcast, Allaah sent them the removal of their distress and a prior taste of victory, by sending down His tranquility upon His Messenger and upon the Believers and by sending down the unseen forces (i.e. the Angels). So from His wisdom – the Most Perfect – was that he only granted victory and its gifts to them when their hearts had become downcast and saddened:
“And We desired to favour those who were weak in the land and to make them leaders and make them the inheritors, and to establish them in the land. And We let Fir’awn and Haamaan and their hosts receive from them that which they feared.”[29]”[30]
Impatience: An Obstacle against Tarbiyah
From that which negates tarbiyah and prevents its completion is: being hasty and having lack of sabr (patient perseverance). This produces a negative result, the least of which is a delay in the victory. Our Lord – the Most Perfect – said:
“And what made you hasten from your people, O Moosaa? He replied: They are close on my footsteps, and I hasten to you – O my Lord – that you might be pleased. ” [31]
A clear goal and a clear intention: I have hastened to you – O my Lord – to please you. So Allaah said:”Indeed We have put your people to fitnah (trial and tribulation) in your absence. And indeed as-Saamiree has led them astray.”[32]
So this is Moosaa ‘alayhis-salaam, and he was one of the Oolul-‘Azm (foremost in resolve) from the Messengers, yet he sought to hasten the affair. So when he sought to hasten the affair, fitnah (trial and discord) occurred amongst his people which was that they began worshipping others besides Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic. Allaah – the Most High – said:
“So patiently persevere, and let not those who have no yaqeen (certainty of faith) discourage you from conveying Allaah’s Message.”[33]
Imaam al-Baghawee (d.555H) – rahimahullaah – said:”Meaning: do not let those who have no certain faith lead you into ignorance and into following them upon misguidance.”[34]
Ibn al-Qayyim – rahimahullaah – said:
“Whosoever considers the trials and discords that have come upon Islaam – the small and the great of them – will realise that they were due to abandoning this principle of not being hasty, and of having sabr upon that which is harmful, and seeking to remove the harm in a hasty manner. This in turn produces that which is greater and worse than the initial harm.”[35]
So this is a word from a Scholar who has carefully and thoroughly examined the Book and the Sunnah, and has likewise carefully examined the condition of the Muslims, and therefore said what he said – may Allaah have mercy upon him.
Tarbiyah and Sabr: the Key to Victory
The teacher, Muhammad Qutb (one of the heads of innovation) – may Allaah forgive him – said in his book: Waaqi’unal-Ma’aasir, and he was speaking about the Islaamic Movements of Egypt, internally and externally, he said: “So with regards to within the country, then there occurred from them hastiness in showing the strength of the jamaa’ah ‘ (i.e. the Muslims) – whether in making themselves manifest, or in demonstrations, protest marches, entering into political affairs of the time – such as fighting the communists; and supporting the affairs of the country in the security council, and other than that. It is as if the jamaa’ah – each and every time – wanted to say: we are here, and we are able to do such and such…. Leaving aside the matters of the day, then was this something which was permissible for the Muslim jamaa’ah to enter into? Or was its obligation to call to the correction of the fundamental manhaj (methodology) of living, to the establishment of the firm pillars and to the perfection of the desired tarbiyah. However, seeking to hasten the movement before its time, then produced an effect upon the overall direction.”[36]
I say: What will very clearly demonstrate the matter of hastiness and its many negative effects is the saying of Allaah – the Most Perfect, Most High – when He said:
“Have you not seen those who were told to hold back their hand from fighting, and offer Salaah (Prayer) and give the Zakaah. But when fighting was prescribed for them, behold! a section of them fear men as they fear Allaah, or even more. They say: Our Lord! Why have you prescribed fighting for us. Would that you had granted us respite for a short period.”[37]
“So those who were resolved upon Jihaad and loved it, when they were tested with it, they were averse to it and fled from it.”[38]
And they were from the Companions of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – those who received tarbiyah (cultivation and education) beneath the shade of Revelation and who were guided by the Sharee’ah. So how about those after them – the greatest of whom cannot even reach a handful, or even half a handful, of their calibre?!
And only Allaah guides to the Path that is straight
NOTES
[2]. Related by Imaam Ahmad in az-Zuhd (2/63) and Abu Nu’aym in Hilyatul-Awliyaa (l/216-217).[3]. Soorah Aal-‘lmraan 3: 137[4]. Soorah al-Ahzaab 33:62[5]. Qul Huwa Min ‘Indee Anfusakum (p.58) of Muhammad Suroor.[6]. Related by al-Bukhaaree (no.4043).[7]. Soorah Aal-lmraan 3:165[8]. Sooratush-Shooraa 42:30[9]. Sooratun-Nisaa 4:79[10]. Zaadul-Ma’aad ( 3/238).[11]. Sooratul-Anfaal 8:53[12]. Such as the advice given by Umar ibn al-Khattaab to Sa’d ibn Abee Waqqaas and his army – radiallaahu ‘anhumaa – as occurs in ‘Iqdul-Fareed (1/40).[13]. Sooratur-Ra’dd 13:11[14]. Qul Huwa Min ‘Indee Anfusakum (pp.59-62).[15]. Soorah Hajj 22:40[16]. Related by Abu Nu’aym in Hilyatul-Awliyaa (1/119).[17]. Soorah al-Hajj 22:41[18]. Soorah Muhammad 47:7[19]. Sooratus-Saaffaat 37:171-173[20]. Soorah al-Mujaadalah 58:21[21]. Sooratun Noor 24:55[22]. Soorah al-Hajj 22:41[23]. Adwaa’ul-Bayaan (5/703-704) of ‘Allaamah ash- Shanqeetee.[24]. Related by Abu Nu’aym in al-Hilyah (4/313) and adh- Dhahabee in Siyar A’laamun – Nubalaa (4/311).[25]. Soorah Aal-‘lmraan 3:152[26]. Sooratul Anfaal 8:45-46[27]. Qul Huwa Min ‘Indee Anfusakum (pp. 93-94)[28]. Qul Huwa Min ‘Indee Anfusakum (pp. 93-94)[29]. Soorah al Qasas 28:5-6[30]. Zaadul-Ma’aad (3/477-478) of Ibn al-Qayyim.[31]. Soorah TaaHaa 20:83-84[32]. Soorah TaaHaa 20:85[33]. Soorah ar-Room 30:60[34]. Ma ‘aalimut-Tanzeel (6/279) of al-Baghawee.[35]. A’laamul-Muwaqqi’een (3/4) of lbn al-Qayyim.[36]. Quoted in Mawqiful-Mu’min minal-Fitnah (pp. 28-29) by Shaykh ‘Abdullaah al-‘Ubaylaan – may Allaah protect him.[37]. Soorah an-Nisaa 4:77[38]. Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (10/690) of Shaykhul-lslaam lbn Taymiyyah.