Preparing for Ramadhaan

Sat 28 Apr 2018

  • Fasting is one of the Pillars of Islam
  • Allah says: “O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious – see V. 2:2).” [Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow) verse 183]
    • When a verse begins with “O You who believe” then listen carefully as it is going to be a commandment or a prohibition
    • This verse shows us that fasting has been obligated upon his Ummah
    • It also informs us that fasting was prescribed upon the previous nations who came before us
    • The verse also tells us the wisdom behind fasting: So that we may achieve piety (fearing Allah, fulfilling the obligations and staying away from the prohibitions)
    • The purpose and wisdom behind fasting is one of the most important things a Muslim needs to know
    • NOTE: Fasting is not just to experience hunger, although it is one important part of it.
      • Shaikh Al-Fawzan says when one experiences hunger he understands the position of those who are in poverty and do not have any food.
      • Also when one feels hunger, despite your strength and youth, you will experience what it feels to be weak.
    • To reach taqwa (piety) is the goal of fasting
    • Those who have the attitude “I just want to get it over and done with”, these will not experience the happiness and joy of the great opportunity Allah has provided to us to gain piety and a great deal of reward
    • Shaykh Al-Fawzan says when Ramadhaan finishes the Muslims are of 2 categories
      • Either someone who is happy that it is over, they could not wait for it to end, they have not understood the purpose of it. Someone who is like this needs to fix their attitude, fasting is a pillar of Islam.
      • Others feel happy that they have completed Ramadhaan, but are sad that it is now over, these people have understood its significance
    • Narrated Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “(Allah said), ‘Every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me. and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it.’ Verily, the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better to Allah than the smell of musk.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
      • There is a great deal of reward in Ramadhaan
    • Allah says: “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow) verse 185]
    • On the authority of Abdullah, the son of Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with them both), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) say, “Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the salah (prayer), paying the zakat (obligatory charity), making the hajj (pilgrimage) to the House, and fasting in Ramadhan.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
    • A person aims to purify and cleans his soul from the degrading and lowly acts
    • Anas b. Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) reported the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) as saying: The devil flows in a man like his blood. [Sunan Abi Dawud]
      • When a person fasts, his veins become less in volume due to lack of water and so this also limits the flow of the shaitaan
      • Fasting also strengthens your mind and your resolve in staying upon
    • Fasting teaches you patience upon the obedience of Allah and patience in staying away from the haraam
    • Fasting helps a person control himself
    • Within fasting, a person loses his desires for the worldly glitter and instead things more about the day of Judgement and therefore he better understands his purpose in life
    • Fasting helps you to sympathise with those who are in a poorer state than yourself
    • When a person is fasting he must refrain from certain things with an intention from before Fajr time until Maghrib time, this is the definition of fasting.
    • Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “If one does not eschew lies and false conduct, Allah has no need that he should abstain from his food and his drink.”[Al-Bukhari, Ibn Majah and others].
      • When fasting one must stay away from eating, drinking, intercourse etc, however one must also stay away from bad conduct (acting foolishly or upon falsehood) and must leave evil speech and false testimony.
      • The Salaf used to say the easiest part of fasting is to stop eating and drinking, whereas to control your tongue and your behaviour is the difficult part.
      • These days you may see a Muslim who does not offer five regular daily prayers, yet he fasts in Ramadhaan. This is a mistake in priorities.
    • Some of the Salaf used to make dua to Allah 6 months before Ramadhaan asking Allah for the opportunity to see the coming Ramadhaan and when it had ended they would make dua for Allah to accept their fasting and deeds during the month.
    • Ramadhaan is an opportunity for a person to connect with the Qur’an and pay more attention to it, read it and study it.
    • NOTE: A Muslim should set aside half an hour EVERY Day to read the Qur’an and this should be more in Ramadhaan
    • Before attending the Taraweeh prayers, one should read over what will be read that night and read the meanings of it so that when you come to the Taraweeh you can follow the Imam’s recitation and your mind will have a greater deal of focus
    • Q&A:
      • Is it permissible to read the Qur’an via mushaf or phone etc during the Taraweeh prayer and follow?
      • If someone has not memorised all of the Qur’an, and he/she is praying at home by themselves, can they pray Taraweeh while reading Qur’an via the mushaf or phone?
      • What if during taraweeh at a mosque the only Hafidh is the Imam, can someone behind him be appointed to follow along using the mushaf or phone?
      • What is the best way to correct the Imam during prayer?
      • What if I find it very useful to read the Qur’an along with the Imam using my phone and it improves my understanding/khushu/focusin prayer etc, can one do it then?

 

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Authentic Adhkār from the Qur’an & Sunnah: Lesson 13

Sat 21 Apr 2018

✏️Lesson 13: The differences in the names of Allah, and what is the greatest name of Allah?

We have already covered that Allah’s names are more than 99 and that the one whomsoever learns and acts on them will enter Paradise

  • This indicates that the names of Allah have different levels
  • Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah says whoever says that the attributes of Allah do not have different levels, then there is no evidence behind their statement
  • Just as the names and attributes of Allah vary, then so do their virtues
  • The narratiiomn
    • This hadith proves that there are different levels
  • It was narrated that Anas bin Malik said: “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) heardman say: ‘Allahumma! Inni as’aluka bi-anna lakal-hamd. La ilaha illa Anta, wahdaka la sharika laka. Al-Mannan. Badi’us-samawati wal-ard. Dhul-jalali wal-ikram (O AllahI ask You by virtue of the fact that all praise is due to You; none has the right to be worshiped but Youalone, and You have no partner or associate, the Bestower, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, the Possessor of majesty and honor.’ He (saas) said: ‘He has asked Allah by His Greatest Name which, if He is asked thereby He gives and if He is called upon thereby He answers.'” [Reported in the Musnad of Imam Ahmed and also found in the four books of the Sunnan]
    • Note: what is the order of the four sunnan in the order that their authors died? 1. Ibn Maajah (d.273 AH), Abu Dawud (d. 275 AH), Tirmidhi (d.279 AH), Nisaai (d.303 AH)
    • Note 2: Imam Ahmed died 241
    • What about the order of the Sunan in order of which book is best? Some scholars order them as follows, Abu dawud, NIsaii, Timridhi, Ibn Maajah
  • There are numerous narrations which mention the greatest name of Allah
    • It was narrated that Al-Qasim said: The Greatest Name of Allah, if He is called by which He will respond, is in three Surah: Al-Baqarah, Al ‘Imran and Ta-Ha. (Hasan) Another chain for something similar from Al-Qasim, from Abu Umamah, from the Prophet (saas) [Sunan Ibn Majah]
    • It was narrated from Asma’ bint Yazid that : The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “The Greatest Name of Allah is in these two Verses: And your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God – Allah), La Ilaha Illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.’ And at the beginning of Surah Al ‘Imran.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
    • Narrated Buraydah ibn al-Hasib: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) heard a man saying: O Allah, I ask Thee, I bear witness that there is no god but Thou, the One, He to Whom men repair, Who has not begotten, and has not been begotten, and to Whom no one is equal, and he said: You have supplicated Allah using His Greatest Name, when asked with this name He gives, and when supplicated by this name he answers. [Sunan Abi Dawud]
  • From these narrations we know that the one who calls upon Allah with his greatest name will have his/her supplications answers, the scholar have done a great amount of research into this topic
    • Imam Shawkaani (may Allah have mercy on him) said indeed the scholars have differed on what the greatest name of Allah is, in approximately 40 opinions, however many of them are weak.
    • Indeed the Sufia (sufis) have made a great deal of fabrications on this issue, including many made up stories. Every Muslim needs to be upon caution from falling into this deception. One should check the sources used carefully.
    • NOTE: Why are the sufia called sufia? One opinion is that “suuf” means wool linguistically, and so this is a reference to their zuhd (asceticism).
    • Imam Shawkaani says the most popular opinion and most well evidence and the most likely to be correct is in specifying what the greatest name of Allah is in terms of evidence, is his name, “Allah”.
    • One evidence for the above is when we ask “What is the greatest name of Allah”, we always refer to him by default as “Allah”, and we may for example say “Al-Rahmaan (The Most merciful) is one of the names of Allah”, i.e. the name “Allah” is central.
    • In the Book Kitaab At-Tawhid, the Shaikh , mentions that “Allah” is the greatest name of Allah and explains by stating that the name Allah explains the essence of Allah, and that:
      • it is the basis of Eemaan (as we say “Eemaan in Allah”)
      • it is the basis of Islam (as the first pillar, in the testimony we mention his name Allah), and
      • that with this name we start with his name “Allah” and that he is the greatest)
      • And that when we seek refuge we seek refuge with him using this name
      • Therefore this name “Allah” has specific virtues which the others do not have
    • And the verse “And to Allah belong the most beautiful names” shows that all the other names return back to this one and it encompasses them
    • Each of the other names clarify different aspects of why Allah should be singled out for worship, e.g. he is Al-Rahmaan (The Most Merciful) etc
  • Therefore the majority of the scholars state that the name “Allah” is the greatest name
  • Other scholars state that the greatest name is “Al-Hayyul Qayyuum” (The Ever Living, the one who sustains and protects all that exists)
    • Ibn qayyim says the attribute of life (Al-Hayy) is inclusive and comprises all of the attributes of perfection , and the second part (Al-Qayyuum) shows that Allah is completely self sufficient, needing none, yet at the same time he sustains and protects all that exists, and so everything needs him and he needs none.
    • The name “Al-Hayyul Qayyuum” is mentioned the most of the narrations which cover the greatest name of Allah
    • However “Allah” is mentioned in all of the hadith which mention the greatest name of Allah
  • The above two are the strongest two opinions
  • NOTE: However this is an issue of Ihtihaad as there is not any hadith which categorically state which name is greatest, and so this is an issue requiring analysis and research
  • In any case, if you were to repeat the dua which the man made in the first n
  • Q&A:
    • What is the meaning of the name Allah?
    • Is right to call Allah “God”? = No
    • Is it better to call Allah “The Lord” or “The Creator” when explaining to non Muslims? = Yes, this is because the names “Lord” or “Creator” have direct translations into Allah’s names whereas just saying “God” can mean different to different people
    • Question about praying witr and Tahajjud at night
    • Is it right for a man to hug his mother-in-law or sister in-law?

Next Lesson insha Allah:  Ramadhaan preparation lesson

 

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Authentic Adhkār from the Qur’an & Sunnah Lesson 12

Sat 14 Apr 2018

✏️Lesson 12: Understanding the names of Allah correctly and acting on them, + are they limited to 99?

  • It is clear that the need for the servant to know his lord and creator is from the greatest of his needs
  • The servant therefore needs to carefully ponder over the names of Allah and focus on them one by one
  • The servant believes the perfection of Allah is infinite
  • The servant must make this issue (i.e understanding the names and attributes of Allah) from the most important of issues
  • Anas said: One of the Ansar used to lead the Ansar in Salat in the Quba’ mosque and it was his habit to reciteQul Huwal-lahu Ahad whenever he wanted to recite something in Salat. When he finished that Surah, he would reciteanother one with it. He followed the same procedure in each Rak’a. His companions discussed this with him and said, “You recite this Surah and do not consider it sufficient and then you recite So would you recite it alone or leave it and recite some other.” He said, “I will never leave it and if you want me to be your Imam on this condition then it is all right ; otherwise I will leave you.” They knew that he was the best amongst them and they did not like someone else to lead them in Salat. When the Prophet (saws) went to them as usual, they informed him about it. The Prophet (saws) addressed him and said, “O so-and-so, what forbids you from doing what your companions ask you to do ? Why do you read this Surah particularly in every Rak’a ?” He repiled, “I love this Surah.” The Prophet (saws) said, “Your love for this Surah will make you enter Paradise.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
    • Recap of the Virtue of Suratul-Ikhlaas (Chapter Sincerity)
  • It is upon every Muslim to understand all of the names and attributes of Allah having acceptance, satisfaction and pleasure regarding them
  • Imam Zuhri said: From Allah is the revelation, upon the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is the duty of dissemination, and upon us is submission.
  • It is not permissible for a Muslim who has understood the rights of Allah and his status, to ever approach any of his names and attributes with rejection or dissatisfaction.
    • NOTE: The Qur’an has muhkamaat (clear) and mutashaabihaat (ambiguous) verse. The people of innovation claim that the names of Allah are all mutashaabihaat, however this is false, the names and attributes of Allah are clear, and those who may hold more than one meaning should be understood in the context of the muhkamaat, and thus they become clear. However they (the people of innovation) do not return to the muhkamaat, instead they apply their own mind and logic, thereby going further astray.
    • Note: common Muslims who have not learnt or studied, when they delve into the attributes of Allah
    • This is why when learning the religion, this should be done step by step
    • Saying: Whoever attempts to gain knowledge in one go, looses it all in one go (due to a lack of grounding)
    • It is an obligation that we submit and accept
    • A Muslims should be extremely careful from going into the error of the Mulhiduun (those who distort the names of Allah, see lesson 11)
    • The Methodology of Ahlu-Sunnah in this field is to affirm what Allah has affirmed for himself, and to affirm that which his Messenger Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has affirmed for him, without any distortion, nor rejection nor giving descriptions of making resemblance. And at the same time to negate that which Allah has negated for hismnelf, and that which his messenger has negated for him. Ahlu-Sunnah do not go beyond the Qur’an and Sunnah.
    • In comparison, the people of innovation go beyond the qur’an and Sunnah, and instead try to use their logic to work out what to believe instead of following the texts
    • No doubt there are great affects upon a servant in terms of his righteousness , uprightness, and his fear of Allah (knowing he sees and hears him), the greater he becomes in his knowledge, then the greater he becomes in his fear of Allah, and the greater he becomes in his asking of Allah, and in his being closer to Allah.
    • As for the one who deviates from this methodology, and instead moves off this path and traverses upon the path of the people of deviation, then how far will he stray from understanding his lord and creator? Such a person will become the weakest in their understanding in his lord, and the least in fearing and having awe for his lord.
    • Ibn Qayyim mentioned that the people’s level differs in their understanding of Allah, and that this difference stems from their difference in their understanding of the texts. He said you will find the weakest of the people in insight are the people of philosophy, those who speak false in deviation in regards to the names of Allah, that which the Salaf criticised and disparaged them due to their lack of their understanding of the texts and because of their false doubts taking hold of their hearts. In fact, Ibn Qayyim says the commoners are in a better state in their understanding of the names and attributes of Allah, greater in their submission and belief than the people of philosophy.
  • NEXT CHAPTER: The number of names Allah has

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Authentic Adhkar from the Qur’an and Sunnah: Lesson 11:

Saturday 31 Mar 2018

Lesson 11: The names of Allah are Husnaa (Pinnacle of perfection), and what are the 4 forms of Ilhad (Distortion)?

    • The names of Allah are described as “husnaa”, i.e. at the pinnacle of perfection
    • We have been commanded in the quran to make mention of his names and a severe weartning has been made aha-inst those who make Ilhaad (distortion, deviation, rejection) and that indeed Allah will hold them to account with a  severe reckoning
    • Allah says: “And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who believe or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be recompensed for what they used to do.” [Surah Al-Ar’raaf (The Heights) verse 180]
    • Therefore it is important for EVERY muslim to make time to study the beautiful names of Allah and that he/she understands these names and attributes correctly
    • Allah says: “Verily, those who turn away from Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc. by attacking, distorting and denying them), are not hidden from Us. Is he who is cast into the Fire better or he who comes secure on the Day of Resurrection? Do what you will. Verily! He is All-Seer of what you do (this is a severe threat to the disbelievers).” [Surah Fussilat (They are Explained in Detail) verse 40]
    • All of the names of Allah are husnaa, Allah due to his perfection, might, majesty and greatness is not names except with the most perfect and beautiful of names.
      • Likewise Allah does not have any attribute except that it is perfect
      • The praise of Allah is only made upon the most perfect and best of praise
    • Nothing can take the place or replace the names of Allah
  • Allah mentions his names as being husnaa in four places in the Qur’an
      • Al-A’raaf (The Heights) verse 180
      • Al-Israa (The Journey by Night) verse 110
      • Daa-Haa (Ta-Ha) verse  08
      • Al-Hashr (The Gathering) verse 24
    • Each of the names of Allah has an attribute of perfection associated with it
    • Each of the attributes of Allah has an attribute of perfection associated with it similarly
    • All of Allah’s names and attributes indicate absolute perfection, not a single one of them has any element of deficiency associated with it.
    • Every name of Allah carries a distinct attribute of perfection and meaning which is unique from all the others, no two names of his are the same.
      • What are some examples?
      • Therefore, when one looks at the names and attributes of Allah, they all indicate Allah
    • Ibn Qayyim said all the names of Allah are praise, had they been merely names with no meaning, then this would not have indicated any praise or perfection. Rather all the names carry attributes which are upon the pinnacle of perfection
    • When one considers all the above, it becomes clear that learning the names and attributes of Allah is something one MUST learn and put into practice. For example, when Allah says “And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them”, then this can only be actualised by understanding them in the first place so that one knows what he or she is saying when calling upon Allah with his names.
      • If one does not know the meanings of the names and attributes of Allah, then it may be that his/her dua becomes inappropriate, for example someone asking Allah for mercy, yet using his name that he is the most severe in punishment
    • If you were to look into the Qur’an you can find many places where the names of Allah are mentioned, e.g. at the end of a verse, and the names always correspond to the context of the verse.
      • What are some examples?
    • Ibn Qayyim says Allah loves that the creation be upon the
      • Allah is the All-Knowing, so he loves those of Knowledge
      • That he is the All Perfect and loves Perfection
      • He is the Oft-Forgiving, and loves those who forgive others
      • He is The Appreciative, so loves the thankful
      • Etc
    • Importance of leaving the ones who make Ilhad (distortions) in the names of Allah
      • Linguistically Ilhad means to  incline away or distort something
      • These people make distortions of the names of Allah away from their realities
      • Ilhad takes many forms from the people of innovation
      • Allah warned against this ilhad severely, therefore it is upon every muslim to learn about it so that you can stay away from it
      • There is a saying: Learn the evil not for the sake of the evil, but in order to safeguard yourself from it, for indeed the one who does not know the evil from the people will fall into ti
  • 4 Forms of Ilhad:
      • 1. To take the names of Allah give them to the Idols
        • For example, Al-laat, Uzza and Manaat were distortions of Allah’s names, the polytheists distorted the original names and gave these new names to their Idols
      • To name allah with a name which is not befitting of his might and majesty.
        • This will happen whenever one makes up or invents a name which is not from the Qur’an and Sunnah
        • For example the christians name Allah “The Father” and philosophers used to say call Allah some sort of “prime mover/force”. Some people of innovations used to call Allah the engineer of creation
      • To reject the names of Allah is ilhad
        • Many of the people of Innovation do this
      • To make comparison or resemblance between the names of Allah and his creation then this is ilhad.
        • Allah says in the Quran: “The Creator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you mates from yourselves, and for the cattle (also) mates. By this means He creates you (in the wombs). There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” [Surah Ash-Shura (The Consultation) verse 11]
  • Q&A:
    • What about the name “As-Sattaar”?
    • What about people saying “Mother nature”?

Home work: memorise the 4 forms of Ilhad

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