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Forty Hadith of Nawawi

Selections from the 40 Hadith of al Nawawi XIII
2012 Fall Session (October 30 to December 25 2012)
Class taught by Shaikh Jamaal Zarabozo

Course Outline: Hadith #23: Purification is half of the faith ..
Text: Commentary on the 40 Hadith of al Nawawi by Jamaal Zarabozo

2012-10-30 Class Notes

On the authority of Abu Malik al-Harith bin Asim al-Asharee (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

“Purity is half of iman. ‘Al-hamdu lillah’ fills the scales, and ‘subhan-Allah and ‘Al-hamdulillah’ fill that which is between heaven and earth. And the salah is a light, and charity is a proof, and patience is illumination, and the Qur’an is a proof either for you or against you. Every person starts his day as a vendor of his soul, either freeing it or causing its ruin.”  It was related by Muslim.


عَنْ أَبِي مَالِكٍ الْحَارِثِ بْنِ عَاصِمٍ الْأَشْعَرِيِّ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ :

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم


" الطَّهُورُ شَطْرُ الْإِيمَانِ،

وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ تَمْلَأُ الْمِيزَانَ،

وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ تَمْلَآنِ -أَوْ: تَمْلَأُ- مَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ،

وَالصَّلَاةُ نُورٌ،

وَالصَّدَقَةُ بُرْهَانٌ،

وَالصَّبْرُ ضِيَاءٌ،

وَالْقُرْآنُ حُجَّةٌ لَك أَوْ عَلَيْك،

كُلُّ النَّاسِ يَغْدُو،

فَبَائِعٌ نَفْسَهُ فَمُعْتِقُهَا أَوْ مُوبِقُهَا ".


رَوَاهُ مُسْلِمٌ [رقم:223].


The reason the 40 hadith of Nawawi achieved so much fame is because of the type of hadith that he chose.
In this class we try to go beyond what is included in the Commentary of the forty hadith to get and even deeper understanding of the hadith.

The first lecture we cover narration and grading of the hadith. This is a very comprehensive hadith and it touches upon many aspects of the deen such as purification of the soul, names of Allah swt, etc.

Some of the wordings of the hadith, the first word is tahoor, there are two patterns of words, tahoor and wudu, if you change the vowels of the words, if you change from tahur to tuhoor (طُهور vs طَهور), sahur and suhoor. when you have the damma you are describing the act, the act of purification, the act of wudu, the action of eating early morning food, and if you change the damma to fatha, it changes from the act to the thing that you do to use the act, when you say bring me wadu (وَضوء), it means bring me the water to perform the wudu (وُضوء), similarly bringing food to make the suhoor. It is describing the act of purifying.

Shatr means half, it means two parts, each part would be shatr, these could be unequal parts. In Arabic when you divide it into two parts the word is shatr.

This hadith is recorded by Imam Muslim and also by Tirmidhi, ...... and others.

This hadith is Sahih Muslim is one of the hadith that has been critiqued. According to the majority of the scholars, the way Imam Muslim recorded the hadith, the chain is broken.

Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari did not reach the status that they have, except after many critiques and fighting among the ulema. These two collections withstood the criticism and it took two centuries.

Criticism of broken chain as recorded by Imam Muslim
Al-Daraqutni criticized this hadith, the way the chain is recorded, it looks like the chain is broken. There are two points to this criticism. One of the narrators is Abu Salam and he is narrating Abu Malik and there is somebody in between, there is a dispute whether the link is broken or not.

One of the key things about Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari, they are claiming all of those hadith are authentic hadith. There is a difference between claiming a hadith is authentic and claiming that a particular chain is authentic. Sometimes Muslim had another purpose in showing a particular chain. But this is not a criticism of the hadith itself. So this criticism is not really valid, since we know the hadith is authentic from other chains, just the chain that was used by Imam Muslim appears broken.

There’s a bigger issue however than this which we will come back to.

Criticism of the name of the narrator Abu Malik ... al-Asharee
According to Al-Nawawi this hadith is narrated by a Sahabi called Abu Malik ... al-Asharee but we are not sure about the middle two names. Sometimes that there are some people that are known so widely by their kunya that we lose their original name and their father’s name. E.g. Abu Hurayra. Sh did not understand this until there was an Imam in Boulder called Abu Mus’ab, but they didn’t know his name. A relative met the Sh and asked about him by his name and he didn’t recognize.

Biography of the narrator
From the same tribe as Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari. Muadh ibn Jabal was sent to the Asha’irah, and many converted and migrated to Madinah.

Abu Malik moved to Damascus and lived there until 18AH. He died during the plague in Damascus. Because of his death so soon after the Prophet (SAWS), we only have a few narrations from this Sahaabee.

Criticism related to different variations of the first word of the hadith - Tahoor is half of the faith
If you look at this hadith and the various narrations of the hadith which has to do with the first part of the hadith which has to do with the word tahoor.

What is meant by tahoor, there is a lot of discussion about it. It could be physical or spiritual purification. Is it just physical purification or something much more larger than it. Scholars have come up with a number of different interpretations using other evidences. Tahoor is ambiguous.

In some of the narrations it says al wudu (الوضوء) is half of the faith. In some other narrations it says that completing or perfecting the wudu (اسباع الوضوء) is half of the faith. By using the other words in these narrations, is the ambiguity removed?

Tahoor has four or five meanings that are equally possible, but when you use wudu there is one meaning of the word but you could have different understanding of the hadith.

Footnote: Scholars took all of the statements of Jesus in the New Testament and then they voted whether they should be considered as statements of Jesus. They came to one passage, they put it in a special category, this is what we wish Jesus said.

So when you use the wudu or perfecting wudu, then it has a specific meaning and if you do ijtihaad on this word, there is a possibility that people might reject your other understanding of the word.

Is it possible that all of these words (tahoor, wudu and asba al wudu) have similar meaning?

If the wording of the hadith was tahoor and then you used wudu when you narrate the hadith, would this be wrong?

When people narrated the hadith, did they narrate it verbatim or did they narrate it using the meaning of the hadith?

It is absolutely not allowed for you to distort the meaning of the hadith. Suppose there is a hadith that says fruits are good for you, and somebody reported it as apples are good for you, what did he do?

Let us say you want to convey the meaning of the hadith and you do not remember the exact wording of the hadith, what would the sahaaba or other narrators do when they wanted to convey the meaning of the hadith. They would say “as the prophet would say” at the end of the hadith to show that you are reporting the meaning of the hadith.

The sahaba had an obligation to pass on the meaning of the hadith, they had to report the meaning of the hadith even though they did not remember the words. We know from the example of the sahaba, were they knew the exact words of the prophet. The student had to narrate back the hadith to the teacher.

In one narration, where Prophet described hypocrites as one sheep between two goats, one of the students of ibn Umar narrated different word for the sheep or goat, but Ibn Umar corrected him and asked him to use the exact words used by the Prophet.

So the Sahabah would try to narrate things in the same way that the Prophet (SAWS) narrated it, unless they had to. The scholars, however, say that if someone is going to be forced to paraphrase, then there’s two conditions -- they must be an expert in the Arabic language; otherwise he may not be fully capturing the meeting; and he must be certain that he is remember the meaning of the hadith.

There are also some Sahabah who refused to narrate hadith because not all the sahabah kept studying hadith. One of them explained why to his son -- they got busy with other responsibilities and/or abilities to convey it in the same way we heard it.

This does not mean that at some time, there were not times when people were narrating by meaning.

So one of two things is happening in this hadith, either the narration is by meaning (narrator used the word tahoor instead of wudu) or a mistake has been made.

Now you have to study the narrations of the hadith from various chains of hadith in order to spot the mistakes in narration of the hadith. You collect all of the chains and then spot the mistake to see where it had originated (edit: get the revision tree for the hadith). Let us say the origin of the mistake is taba tabaien, you could look at his sources from the tabieen and see how did other students of the tabieen and see how did they narrate the hadith.

Shaykh Jamaal collected 57 different chains for this hadith in order to find out which of the wording of the hadith is correct. Al Albaani says all three different wordings as sahih, it is possible that the Prophet could have said the same thing slightly different, but the problem is that all of the isnaads go back to the same narrator Abu Malik, so we can conclude that the Prophet did not say the same thing using three different words. It is the job of the hadith scholar to identify what exactly did the Prophet said.

Shaykh Jamaal’s conclusion is that he is not able to identify and analyze the problem. He thinks that the problem might go back to the original narrator, he might sometime say tahoor, sometime say wudu, so he is narrating by meaning. And Shaykh Jamaal is unable to identify anywhere in the chain the source of the problem, so it must be originated with Abu Malik.

It would be conjecture on our part to say what word did the Prophet used in the beginning of the hadith. Shaykh Jamaal will start with the more specific word and move to the more general word in order to see how scholars have discussed it.

Shaykh is leaning towards tahoor because of the genre of works known as al mustakhraaj of hadith by Abu Naeem and Abu Awanah. In order to strengthen the reputation of Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari, scholars went and collected the same hadith in the two collections but from different chains. In those collections the word that is used in tahoor.

Tirmidhi and abi ibn Shaybah used wudu instead of tahoor. Eight other collections used abaa al wudu instead of tahoor.

There is a category of hadith known as Shaad, it means hadith has come from trustworthy narrators but it contradicts stronger sources. It takes a lot of effort to find out whether one word belongs in the hadith or not, shaykh spent 3 weeks researching this issue and he had access to a lot of electronic material and earlier scholars did not have access to such a material.

2012-11-06 Class Notes


Last time we were trying to figure out what is the correct wording of the hadith. There are three different narrations and we will discuss them to highlight some important points.

Sh is leaning towards one narration, the one that mentions الطَّهُورُ شَطْرُ الْإِيمَانِ al-tuhoor shatr al-imaan and his reasoning is as follows:.

All of the narrations come from Abu Malik al Asharee. The wording al-tuhoor shatral iman, just this specific sentence is also quoted as a statement of Ali ibn Talib.

If a hadith is quoted all the way back to the Prophet , then it is known as marfoo مرفوع. The chain is traced back all the way to the Prophet. If the chain stops at a companion, it is a statement of the sahaba and is called as mawqoof موقوف.

I may quote a statement without stating that this is a statement of the Prophet. And now suppose that a companion did that, we have to ask did this statement originate with the Prophet. So there are some statements that are mawqoof, but the conclusion of the scholars is that the statement is marfoo.

Why would the scholars make the conclusion that a statement of the sahabi is marfoo?

Remember a statement of the sahabi is not a hujjah (an authority). So to raise a statement of the sahabi to be a statement of the Prophet is indeed something important.

If we analyze the statement and determine that it could not be his own personal reasoning (ijtehad), then we can rule it as marfoo. So when you have issues that are beyond the realm of human reasoning such as matters of aqeedah, statement that says on the day of judgement such an event will happen, this knowledge is beyond the reach of the sahabi and it has to be from the Prophet. There is one exception to it, but we will not discuss it now.

The statement, al tuhoor shatr al imaan, is a narration from Ali ibn Talib, can we consider it to be marfoo?
It is difficult to state that this is the ijtehaad of Ali ibn Talib, but we are not certain that these were the exact words of the Prophet.

The strongest narration along with supporting evidence such as the statement of Ali ibn Talib, then we can say al tuhoor shatr al imaan is the correct wording.


First wording of the hadith: Asbaa al Wudu - Completing the wudu

It means to perform the wudu in a complete manner without any deficiencies. We have other authentic hadith of the Prophet ﷺ in which he also described the importance of asbaa al wudu

Hadith: Shall I not inform you by the way which Allah wipes out sins and raises the level. The first thing he mentioned is performing wudu under extreme duress, taking many steps to the masjid, waiting for the salaat and he mentioned it is like rabaat (tie down your camel at the front lines of the war to wait for the enemy or start of the battle).

Asbaa al wudu means not to compromise when you make wudu. But if you have harm such as an open wound and making wudu would cause you harm then you should make tayammum. So here we are not talking about harm, but making wudu even when you have hardship. Remember you should not try to go out of your way to make it hard for you to make wudu.

Hadith: Allah swt asks the Prophet, do you know what the angels on high are disputing about. Allah swt told him they are discussing the different levels of reward and expiation of sins. They are discussing taking steps to the masjid, asbaa al wudu, waiting for salah, and if someone guards the salah, he will live in a good state and die in good state and when he dies it will be like when his mother gave him birth...

Rajab has a book on this hadith. Al Albaani said that this hadith is weak and then changed his mind that this is acceptable. This is an acceptable hadith.

What is meant by asbaa al wudu?
The word asbaa is a verbal noun (masdar).

Allah swt says in Surah Luqman: 20 He amply bestowed ...


ألم تروا أن الله سخر لكم ما في السماوات وما في الأرض وأسبغ عليكم نعمه ظاهرة وباطنة ومن الناس من يجادل في الله بغير علم ولا هدى ولا كتاب منير

Sahih International
Do you not see that Allah has made subject to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth and amply bestowed upon you His favors, [both] apparent and unapparent? But of the people is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening Book [from Him].


Some scholars say it means to complete all of the obligatory aspects of the wudu. For them it means without any deficiency.

What is the minimum requirement of how many times you have to wash your hand at the beginning of the wudu?
Washing of the hands is not part of the wudu, unless your hands are not clean, then you need to wash your hand and make them clean in order to perform wudu.

The face and the other parts in general have to be minimum washed once. bin Baaz says washing it once is sufficient. So if that is true then asbaa al wudu becomes the same as wudu is half of imaan.

Other madhabs say that asbaa means to make it full and complete. So you could have no deficiencies but there is room for improvement. So here asbaa could mean to wash it three times. Malikis say it means to wash it more than once.

Do you have to rub the water or can you just pour it over the various parts? Could you put your hands underneath the water and let it roll over?

Maliki madhab says you have to rub and make sure it reaches all of the parts and not just to pour it over.

Asbaa is more than just the minimum required according to Sh Jamaal.

Hanbalis will even add to the length of the parts that you wash, they say you go beyond the elbows. But Sh does not agree????

Now we will try to understand how perfecting wudu is half of iman. Most of the scholars focused on wudu is half of iman or al tuhoor shatr al iman.


Second wording of the hadith: Wudu is half of iman

Wudu is a very important act of ibaadah, it is an important act of purification. Allah swt loves those who purify themselves. Al-Baqara 2:222

Hadith: When a believer make wudu and rinses his mouth, the sins fall from mouth, when he rinses his nose, sins fall from his nose ..... when he washes his feet, sins fall from his feet to the point that they fall from his toenails. And then the Prophet said, his going to the mosque will be a nafeela for him.

These acts of purification like wudu are means by which Allah swt removes sins from us.

Surah Al Maeda verse : When you stand for prayer ..... at the end it says .....Allah does not desire to make hardship for you...

يا أيها الذين آمنوا إذا قمتم إلى الصلاة فاغسلوا وجوهكم وأيديكم إلى المرافق وامسحوا برءوسكم وأرجلكم إلى الكعبين وإن كنتم جنبا فاطهروا وإن كنتم مرضى أو على سفر أو جاء أحد منكم من الغائط أو لامستم النساء فلم تجدوا ماء فتيمموا صعيدا طيبا فامسحوا بوجوهكم وأيديكم منه ما يريد الله ليجعل عليكم من حرج ولكن يريد ليطهركم وليتم نعمته عليكم لعلكم تشكرون


Sahih International
O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favor upon you that you may be grateful.

This wording could mean purification of body and purification of the soul from the errors. Allah swt completes his bounty upon us....

Hadith: Prophet wished that he could see his brothers, saahaba asked him are we not your brothers, the Prophet said that you are my companions and the brothers are the ones who have not come yet. Sahaba asked him how will you recognize them. If person has white horse in a group of black horses, will he not be able to recognize them, they replied yes of course. The Prophet said that the wudu we do in this dunya will be a sign on the day of judgement.

Hadith: Prophet told us you should adhere to righteousness even if you cannot do all of the acts of righteousness. The best of the acts is salah and no one maintains his wudu other than a believer????

Hadith: The Prophet SAWS told us that no-one makes wudu (and in some narrations it says asbaagh) I swear by laa ilaaha that noone makes wudu except that the 8 door of jannah are opened for him????

Going to bed in state of tahara is important. THere are couple of hadith. if he makes wudu and lies on his right hand side and make dua, if you die during the night, you will be ahl al fitra (pure state of being a believer). This is the result of making wudu and the dua.

Hadith: ....the above wording make wudu and dua and then If you ask of Allah swt, then Allah swt will grant it to you from the good of this dunya and the hereafter.

Hadith: if anyone makes wudu and makes two rak;ahs without any distraction then all of his previous sins will be forgiven.

The Prophet (SAWS) said to Bilal: Tell me what you did after becoming muslims for I hear your footsteps in Jannah. He said that I do not do anything special except that after any time I do wudu, I pray what Allah (SWT) allows me to pray.

Q: What is the ruling of someone who prays without wudu?
We have a statement of the Prophet that Allah swt does not accept the prayer without making wudu.

Suppose they don’t know this statement and they say that I am not going to make wudu.
According to all of the four madhabs, if someone rejects the obligation of wudu, then he is performing kufr. We are discussing wudu wrt salah.

How can we understand that wudu is half of the Iman?

Don’t be worried if you have difficulty understanding this part of the hadith. Even to the case that some of the scholars even said that the meaning of Iman here is salah.

Qur’an: 2:143 Allah will never allow your Iman to be lost.
What is this verse speaking about?

When qiblah was changed from Jerusalem to Mecca, some of them were worried that their previous salah would be lost. Allah told them that their Iman would not be lost and Iman here meant salah.

We are trying to determine how wudu is half of Iman.

Understanding #1 that wudu is half of Iman:
Iman covers a lot of aspects and some say that here in this hadith iman means salah which is part of the Iman and that since wudu is part of salah, they say wudu is half of the Iman. They are basing this understanding on the verse 2:143.

Is this good usool al fiqh or principles of tafseer?

One scholar says that this hadith particularizes and generalizes the meaning of Iman. And he says that there is no evidence for it. They say that in verse 2:143 does not mean just salah, but that they continued with their prayers and kept their Iman.

Salah is the key distinguishing aspect between believer and non-believers. ......

This understanding applies to the wording of wudu shatr al iman but could be problematic for asbaa al wudu shatr al iman. Since the Venn diagram of all encompassing Iman, then the smaller subset of Iman as Salah and wudu as half of Salah, we have a smaller subset of wudu which is asbaa or perfection.

Understanding #2 that wudu is half of Iman:
We said that shatr does not mean exactly half. If we understand that it is part of iman, and since iman has many parts, we can understand that wudu is part of iman.

Shatr has to mean two parts even if they are not equal. But they are not understanding the meaning of the wording is not acceptable interpretation.

Understanding #3 that wudu is half of Iman:
Some people say that Iman wipes away all of the sins and wudu wipes away some sins, so this is how some say wudu is half of Iman. This is not a strong opinion or understanding of the wudu.

Understanding #4 that wudu is half of Iman:
If we use the wording of tuhoor and it its more general and it covers many different types of purifications. And then we can see how it is shatr al iman. We will discuss the wording tuhoor shatr al imaan next time.


2012-11-13 Class Notes

Edit: Insha-allah I will transcribe the notes for this class over the weekend, Sh Jamaal has sent the audio recording of the class that I missed last week due to travel - Shakeel



2012-11-20 Class Notes

Is there anything wrong in not being in state of tahara?
This hadith says tuhoor shatr al iman, this must be important, so we should understand its importance and what it signifies.

The ritual purity as being part of your religion is considered by the Western religion to be something beneath religion or even something that religion should be talking about.

One Western Biblical scholar when he was discussing the part of ritual purity in the bible said that this is the least interesting part of the bible and he said what connection does this have with religion.

When western writers started writing about Islam, they mentioned that Muslim scholars spent lot of time talking about ritual purity and he called it savage.

One Jewish scholar said on this topic, that it made me retch discussing this topic.

Mary Douglas, an anthropologist, in her book, Purity and Danger, led to a number of books by non Muslims about tahara in Islam. Today, we will discuss some of those works.

Link to Mary Douglas’ book on Google Books http://books.google.com/books?id=J-CQRQwODVsC

Link to an article by Mary Douglas on Purity and Danger http://web.mit.edu/allanmc/www/douglas.powersdangers.pdf


Kevin Reinhart’s article on tahara
In 1990, Dartmouth prof Kevin Reinhart, wrote an article “Impurity/No Danger” and it was in relation to Mary Douglas’ book. He says this discussion is uncomfortable to Western scholars. Since Mary Douglas has written this book, we have to respond to it, since he is a scholar on Islam. He is trying to figure out the logic behind tahara in Islam.

He discusses the terms, he says wudu is from making something bright, and tahar signifies something intense or purified. His conclusion is that if you are in state of impurity, in Arabic it is referred to a mahada, meaning something has happened, it is also used to refer to something like a car accident. He says it is a temporary state of the individual, but the word does not imply impurity. Even the word for sexual defilement junub (جنب) means something next to something, he says that there is nothing in Islamic terminology that implies that the person is impure.

Another unique aspect of Islamic tahara according to Kevin Reinhart, he says no human being is contagiously dangerous. Even in the case of a menstruating woman, anything that she touches does not become impure. And he says that this is something unique about Islam.

In conclusion he says, the tahara system is not a denigration of the body but it is an exaltation of the Islamic ritual. It is stressing a ritual, it does not imply impurity of the human body.

And then he asks a question, what’s wrong with being impure?  He says, the islamic answer is that there is nothing wrong at all. He says these actions have important goals, but it is not there to denigrate or bring down the human being and imply that there is something impure about them.

Second work by non Muslim scholar about tahara
In 1997, an Israeli zionist jew, he did his PhD from Columbia University, his thesis title is Tahara shatr al Iman and the subtitle is, an inquiry into .......

His best contribution of PhD thesis, he researched the books by many scholars such as Imam Shafie, Imam Malik and translated those works in English.

He says, that I argue that the shariah accords all humans pure from birth and I argue that it does not allow for the contamination or ritual defilement under any circumstances. When you think about the actions that put one in a state of impurity, these are actions you can not avoid as a human and are desirable (e.g. sleeping, kissing one’s wife etc) -- these are not necessarily impure -- there is some other logic to the laws of Islam. Being in a state of impurity does not mean you are in a “wrong state.”

Marion Holmes Katz’s book on Sunni Law of Ritual Purity
She did her PhD from Univ of Chicago. She also published a book, Body of Text: The Emergence of the Sunni Law of Ritual Purity. This is a typical book used in anthropology class in universities. This book has a lot of issues and that is the reason why we are discussing it.

Other books are content with taking Islamic law as it is. She wants to reconstruct and formulate and interpret it under a new methodology. She starts with doubting the Islamic entity as a whole.

If you see that there’s a commonality between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We’d expect that since there’s a similar source, but orientalists would claim that it was borrowed or stolen from Judaism. They claim Islam is not a religion by itself, rather it is something borrowed. She claims that you cannot rely on any of the texts, which is another feature of the orientalists. She says that nothing that is passed down to us is reliable, but our scholars have refuted them on this topic thoroughly.

Orientalists as a subject in the West started out by the missionaries writing on behalf of christianity or judaism or on behalf of their govts in order to colonize the people. But nowadays the orientalists do not have the same background. The most extreme views of Islam have even been rejected by non Muslim Orientalists.

She then discusses the verse of the Quran which says polytheists are najas (impure).

يا أيها الذين آمنوا إنما المشركون نجس فلا يقربوا المسجد الحرام بعد عامهم هذا وإن خفتم عيلة فسوف يغنيكم الله من فضله إن شاء إن الله عليم حكيم


O you who have believed, indeed the polytheists are unclean, so let them not approach al-Masjid al-Haram after this, their [final] year. And if you fear privation, Allah will enrich you from His bounty if He wills. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Wise.



If you ask any Islamic scholar about najas, they will say it is not a physical impurity, it is a spiritual impurity because of their shirk. She says no, the polytheists are physically impure. So she rejects all of the Sunni scholars.

It has a lot of strange and unfortunate things in her book.

There is a hadith that says if you eat any meat touched by fire you have to do wudu. This practice was abrogated. The only question left was about the camel’s meat. In Hanbali madhab, even to this day, if you eat camel’s meat you break your wudu.

She implies when she talks about Umar ibn Abdul Aziz, she describes him as pious and scrupulous and implies that he fabricated this hadith. She does not say why. But the implication is because it doesn’t fit her thesis.  

Burge’s article on Impurity/Danger!
One person -- Burge -- published an article on Angels in Islam -- The article was called Impurity/Danger!

He says impurity is much more dangerous than what the Islamic scholars and fuqaha have suggested. What would you think if you see this in the introduction of the article? How can he say it, what is his evidence?

The goals of the books of fiqh are very narrow, it has it’s purpose, but the extent of your knowledge of Islam is much more than these laws. Burge says that all of the works of fiqh relied just on books of fiqh. If you wanted to find more about tahara where would you look, if you want more elaboration you would want to discuss books of tafseer and commentaries of the verses. There are tafseers on ayat al ahkam.

He bases his article on this work, A commentary with selected translations on Jalaaluddin Suyooti’s on angels. In particular he is going to discuss a couple of hadith and some of Al-Suyooti’s interpretation of the hadith.

One hadith “the angels do not accompany someone who is in sexual defilements.” Another hadith: “The angels do not enter a house in which there is a sexually defiled person.”

Suyooti wrote a large number of books, nobody in our history has written so many books. If you pick up a lot of books from our Islamic scholars, you will see a lot of passages copied from other books. Suyooti was known to bring a lot of stuff together. There are two words ta’leef and  tasneef means to bring other works together. As an example, he has a book on differences between a thief and a person who ...

You basically cannot trust the hadith that are quoted in Suyooti’s work. There is a PhD thesis about hadiths in Suyooti’s works. Suyooti has 500 hadith about angels, which does not make sense....

Traditional interpretation is that some of the angels of rahmah will not enter the household in presence of sexual impurity. Suyooti’s interpretation of the above hadith goes even further: he says only the angel that records your bad deeds will remain behind. So is this a good thing or a bad thing? (Edit: The conclusion is that Burge really has no basis to say what he says about impurity being a danger.)

Footnote: Sh Jamaal has written an article about 20 years that discusses the topic of women in menstrual cycle whether they can touch the Qur’an. We have notes about it in Fiqh us Sunnah class notes. There is no doubt that you do not make the Qur’an impure by touching it.

Edit: Sh argues that there are no strong evidence to show that women in their menstrual cycle can indeed touch and read Qur’an. There is a long discussion about the hadith, if I remember correctly.

You cannot really say that being impure is dangerous, since Burge simply discusses one aspect of impurity which is about janaba (sexual defilement).

So the question to answer is whether the hadith that Burge quotes are authentic or not?

Abu Ishaaq al Huwaini says that these hadith are not authentic. Even Imam Bukhari says so. These hadith are from Sunan Abi Dawood.

Al Huwaini says that these hadith are weak but can be raised to level of hasan.

Sh Al Albaani says that these hadith are weak. He is forced to interpret .... some meaning of the hadith?????

Al Albaani says that if you are sexually defiled, it is not obligatory to make ghusl, you can go to sleep. There are hadith which show that you can make ghusl or wudu or wash your hands and go to sleep.

Al Albaani says that if there is an individual who is in sexual defilement and spends a long time in this state, and he says that this person is showing  very little religiousness and his internal being is in filth??????? He implies that this person does not being in this state of janaba and that is the reason why the angels will not enter his household.

Sh Jamaal concludes that these hadith quoted by Burge are not authentic.



2012-11-27 Class Notes

Handout sent by Sh Jamaal that lists all verses and hadith that mention the word t-h-r

From this root ‫ﻁﻩﺭ‬ , there are 31 words/occurrences in the Quran.

ﻳَﻄْﻬﺮ Verb Form I, Intransitive, to be cleansed

#1: And they ask you about menstruation. Say, "It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you. Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves."

ﻃَﻬﺮ Verb Form II, Transitive, to cleanse, to purify

#2: And your clothing purify

#3: And [mention] when the angels said, "O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds.

#4: O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favor upon you that you may be grateful.

#5: O Messenger, let them not grieve you who hasten into disbelief of those who say, "We believe" with their mouths, but their hearts believe not, and from among the Jews. [They are] avid listeners to falsehood, listening to another people who have not come to you. They distort words beyond their [proper] usages, saying "If you are given this, take it; but if you are not given it, then beware." But he for whom Allah intends fitnah - never will you possess [power to do] for him a thing against Allah. Those are the ones for whom Allah does not intend to purify their hearts. For them in this world is disgrace, and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.

#6: [Remember] when He overwhelmed you with drowsiness [giving] security from Him and sent down upon you from the sky, rain by which to purify you and remove from you the evil [suggestions] of Satan and to make steadfast your hearts and plant firmly thereby your feet.

#7: Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase, and invoke [ Allah 's blessings] upon them. Indeed, your invocations are reassurance for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.

#8: And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet's] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.

#9: And [mention] when We made the House a place of return for the people and [a place of] security. And take, [O believers], from the standing place of Abraham a place of prayer. And We charged Abraham and Ishmael, [saying], "Purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who are staying [there] for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer]."

#10: And [mention, O Muhammad], when We designated for Abraham the site of the House, [saying], "Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand [in prayer] and those who bow and prostrate.


ﺗَﻄَﻬﺮ Verb Form V, Intransitive, to perform self-cleaning, to purify oneself, to stay away from defilement

#11: And they ask you about menstruation. Say, "It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you. Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves."

#12: But the answer of his people was not except that they said, "Expel the family of Lot from your city. Indeed, they are people who keep themselves pure."

#13: But the answer of his people was only that they said, "Evict them from your city! Indeed, they are men who keep themselves pure."

#14: Do not stand [for prayer] within it - ever. A mosque founded on righteousness from the first day is more worthy for you to stand in. Within it are men who love to purify themselves; and Allah loves those who purify themselves.

#15: And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves


ﻃَﻬﻮر Intensive active participle, most purifying, pure, purifying

#16: And it is He who sends the winds as good tidings before His mercy, and We send down from the sky pure water and their Lord will give them a purifying drink

#17: And when you divorce women and they have fulfilled their term, do not prevent them from remarrying their [former] husbands if they agree among themselves on an acceptable basis. That is instructed to whoever of you believes in Allah and the Last Day. That is better for you and purer, and Allah knows and you know not.

#18: And his people came hastening to him, and before [this] they had been doing evil deeds. He said, "O my people, these are my daughters; they are purer for you. So fear Allah and do not disgrace me concerning my guests. Is there not among you a man of reason?"

#19: O you who have believed, do not enter the houses of the Prophet except when you are permitted for a meal, without awaiting its readiness. But when you are invited, then enter; and when you have eaten, disperse without seeking to remain for conversation. Indeed, that [behavior] was troubling the Prophet, and he is shy of [dismissing] you. But Allah is not shy of the truth. And when you ask [his wives] for something, ask them from behind a partition. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts. And it is not [conceivable or lawful] for you to harm the Messenger of Allah or to marry his wives after him, ever. Indeed, that would be in the sight of Allah an enormity.

#20: O you who have believed, when you [wish to] privately consult the Messenger, present before your consultation a charity. That is better for you and purer. But if you find not [the means] - then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.


ﺗَﻄْﻬﻴﺮ Verbal Noun, used as cognate accusative for emphasis, purifying

#21: Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet's] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification


ﻣﻄَﻬﺮ Active participle, one who carries out act of purifying

#22: [Mention] when Allah said, "O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and I will purify you from those who disbelieve


ﻣﻄَﻬﺮة Passive participle, a thing which is purified, something free of impurities

#23: And give good tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds that they will have gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with a provision of fruit therefrom, they will say, "This is what we were provided with before." And it is given to them in likeness. And they will have therein purified spouses, and they will abide therein eternally.

#24: But those who believe and do righteous deeds - We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide forever. For them therein are purified spouses, and We will admit them to deepening shade.

#25: A Messenger from Allah, reciting purified scriptures

#26: wherein they abide eternally, and purified spouses

#27: Exalted and purified,


ﻣﻄَﻬﺮون Passive participle, free of impurities

#28: None touch it except the purified.


ﻣﺘَﻄَﻬﺮﻳﻦ = ﻣﻄﻬﺮﻳﻦ Active participle, those who seek to be purified

#29: Within it are men who love to purify themselves; and Allah loves those who purify themselves.

#30: And they ask you about menstruation. Say, "It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you. Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves."

Examples from Hadith

#1: The Prophet  would say, “O Allah, to you is the praise that fills the heavens and fills the earth and fills whatever You will after that. O Allah, purify me with snow, hail and cold water. O Allah, purify me from sins and transgressions like a white garment is cleansed of filth.”

#2: O Messenger of Allah, I have wronged myself and committed fornication, so I want you to purify me.

#3: “No Muslim purifies himself and completes his purification that Allah has prescribed upon him and then he prays these five daily prayers except that it is an expiation for what is between them.”

#4: “The key to the prayer is purification, it becomes inviolable by the takbeer and one is released from it by the tasleem.”

Meaning of Words
Words can have different levels of meaning. Literal الحقيغي and Metaphorical (المجازي)

Literal Meaning (al Haqeeqi)
For example, Lion (الأسد) is the literal, a brave man is the metaphorical meaning of the same word.

So one of the rules of tafseer is that words are to be interpreted as literal unless there is evidence that it is metaphorical.


But even the literal cases can be sub-categorized, including:

Literal Category #1: The Shari’ah literal meaning (الحقيقة الشرعية):
Sometimes the shar’i meaning is different from the literal meaning. Eg. “salaat” means prayer which is the shar’i meaning. Because the word Salaat by itself means du’a.

For example the words jihaad and imaan. Imaan literally means tasdeeq or affirmation. So the Shar’iah has come and given a much more extensive meaning, covering professing the faith and actions of the limbs.  

Literal Category #3: Lexically literal meaning (الحقيقة اللغويّة)
The  meaning of the word existed before the Prophet and shariah does not redefine the word.

When you interpret the Quran, you have to understand it in the context of the Shariah literal meaning before the lexically literal meaning. When you try to understand imaan, Pharoah might have imaan from the lexically literal meaning but he did not have the shariah literal meaning.

Can you move from the shariah literal meaning to the lexically literal meaning of a word? Yes, if there is evidence from the context.

For example, when you say salaat upon the Prophet, the word salaat is more closer to the lexical meaning and not the shariah meaning of salaat.

Literal Category #2: Conventional literal meaning (الحقيقة العرفيّة)
Sometimes some words are used in a particular way even though linguistically they may cover more than that.

For example, ad dhaaba (الدابّة), a word from the Quran, the literal meaning of the word, means everything that crawls on the earth, which includes ants and other animals, but during the time of the Prophet, it was used to mean to a specific set of animals such as camels. This is the conventional literal meaning of the word.

Shariah meaning of tuhoor
We are dealing with the word tuhoor, we should ask if the shariah meaning of the word is different than the literal meaning, and if it so, we need to know its shariah meaning. We discussed the lexical meaning of the word tahara last time.

There is a specific order in which you can move from one literal category to another, which is ....

The word ta-ha-ra occurs 31 times in the Qur’an, and you can group it into four categories.

Ta-ha-ra Category #1: Words related to the Prophets
Ta-ha-ra Category #2: Words related to the Quran
Ta-ha-ra Category #3: Words related to the ritual acts of worship
Ta-ha-ra Category #4: Words related to the sexual relationships

There are a number of verses that are related to the Quran.

Surah Waqi’ah

None touch it except the purified.


Surah Bayyinah

Surah Abasa

Here the description of Quran is from the pure sources. What are the implications of Quran coming from pure sources?

It is not a product of human beings and it is protected from being contaminated by human beings. In Surah Waqi’ah, the word purified is used to refer to the Angels.

Muqaddas is never used to refer to human beings. Some people use it to refer to the Prophet, this is not from Islamic terminology. Quds means the land of the pure. Jews and Christians use this word to refer to the human beings, but it is not used in Islamic terminology to refer to human beings at all.


Discussion of tafseer of the verses related to ta-ha-ra

In Surah Maedah verse 6, Allah swt teaches us how to perform wudu

يا أيها الذين آمنوا إذا قمتم إلى الصلاة فاغسلوا وجوهكم وأيديكم إلى المرافق وامسحوا برءوسكم وأرجلكم إلى الكعبين وإن كنتم جنبا فاطهروا وإن كنتم مرضى أو على سفر أو جاء أحد منكم من الغائط أو لامستم النساء فلم تجدوا ماء فتيمموا صعيدا طيبا فامسحوا بوجوهكم وأيديكم منه ما يريد الله ليجعل عليكم من حرج ولكن يريد ليطهركم وليتم نعمته عليكم لعلكم تشكرون


O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favor upon you that you may be grateful.

Do these two occurrences of ta-ha-ra have the same implications?

Does the verse discuss two different types of impurities (physical and spiritual), or is it possible that those two impurities are overlapping.

We also need to keep in mind the following verse, the disbelievers are impure (najs). Here the najs is due to their disbelief and not because of any physical impurity.

يا أيها الذين آمنوا إنما المشركون نجس فلا يقربوا المسجد الحرام بعد عامهم هذا وإن خفتم عيلة فسوف يغنيكم الله من فضله إن شاء إن الله عليم حكيم


O you who have believed, indeed the polytheists are unclean, so let them not approach al-Masjid al-Haram after this, their [final] year. And if you fear privation, Allah will enrich you from His bounty if He wills. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Wise.

Abu Hurairah moved away from the Prophet (SAWS), because he was sexually defiled and the Prophet (SAWS) told him a believer never becomes impure.

حدثنا علي بن عبد الله قال حدثنا يحيى قال حدثنا حميد قال حدثنا بكر عن أبي رافع عن أبي هريرة أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لقيه في بعض طريق المدينة وهو جنب فانخنست منه فذهب فاغتسل ثم جاء فقال أين كنت يا أبا هريرة قال كنت جنبا فكرهت أن أجالسك وأنا على غير طهارة فقال سبحان الله إن المسلم لا ينجس.



In the beginning of Surah Maeda, Allah swt tells us to fulfill all contracts ....



Is this a good translation? Some Mufasseeren highlight something very interesting where Allah swt describes various laws ........ contracts, hunting, and then verse 6 and laws after laws.

It almost looks like in middle (towards the end) of verse 3, Allah swt says, I have completed my favour upon you and perfected religion for you.

Similarly in verse 4, the following words jump upon you ....

The Mufasseeren say fulfill contracts in Surah Maedah means fulfill your covenant with Allah, that is obey the commands that come from Allah swt.

Right after the verse describing wudu, Allah swt reminds us to remember his favors and his commandments, and he know the innermost thoughts of men.

Verse 12-14, ibn Katheer, Tabari, Ar-Razi, and others also make the following observation. They fail to obey the commandments of Allah swt and they use it to analyze the verse of wudu. They say Allah swt has given us these ritual laws and their ultimate goal is to complete his favors upon us, so that we may enter jannah. The ultimate goal is to keep us away from sin, and to help us remain pure.  This is how the mufasseeren describe the verses of Maeda that discuss wudu.

Tabari quotes a number of earlier scholars including ibn Abbas and he says fulfilling the contract means the limit of what is halal and what is haraam. He says it is fulfillment of tauheed.

Ar-Razi also emphasizes the verse of wudu, and most important aspect of fulfillment of the covenant is the salat and the most important act for salat is wudu. He says without ritual purity, the fulfillment of the divine covenant is not achievable.

Tabari says, Wudu is for minor impurity, ghusl for major impurity, sand in absence of water, in order to cleanse your body of sins. So wudu is for cleansing your body of sin. What does he mean by that?

We have many hadith that tell us that how sins will fall from different parts of your body as you perform wudu. So wudu does indeed cleanse our body from sins.

Ar-Razi says the aim of tahara is the purity of heart from the quality of rebellion towards Allah. ... this is because it defiles our soul...... and we intend to cleanse our body of these defilements, and removal of corrupt beliefs, immoral qualities is also tahara. And that is the reason why Allah swt calls the disbelievers as najs. Similarly, Allah swt says to Isa, that he will purify him from the disbelief of the people.

Ar-Razi says that when we make wudu, are our hands and faces impure? No, they are not impure. When he surrenders to this duty, shows his submission to Allah and it removes rebellion from the heart and that is why ritual acts are called tahara. This is the fundamental approach of Shafiee, as you know there was dispute between madhabs about what is exactly meant by wudu.

The function of ritual purity is not cleanliness, it is for the surrender of the believer to Allah, and it implies the complete surrender of the heart to the commandments of Allah swt. And because of this surrender, our sins are removed. Once the sins are removed, salah becomes nafilah, as we have seen before from the hadith.... ???? does anybody recollect this hadith ????

Al Qurtubi brings this hadith which we are discussing. He says without this ritual act of purity, prayer is incomplete. He says without tahara, the religion is incomplete and he brings the verse that discusses the completion of deen.

Al Qurtubi also emphasizes that this favor has been given in particular to the Muslim ummah. And we know that Prophet will know his followers from this act of wudu, which means the other prophets do not have this favor.

Al Qurtubi says this is why niyaah is an important act of wudu, otherwise it will not be an act of prayer and it will be incomplete without the niyaah.

In Surah al Maeda verse 41, Allah swt refers to jews and hypocrites, says, those are the one’s that Allah does not intend to purify their heart...  This is because of their refusal to fulfill the covenant with Allah swt, specifically when they covered the hadd punishment for zeena, when they knew it existed in their books, and because of their disobedience, Allah swt does not intend to purify their heart....

Those who fail to fulfill the covenant, they may be Jews or Christians or Hypocrites or Muslims, if they chose to not fulfill the covenant, Allah swt tells us that his intention is not to purify their heart.

2012-12-04 Class Notes


We will continue our discussion of hadith #23 from the forty hadith of Nawawi.

Discussion of the word yutahirakum in Surah Anfal verse 11

إذ يغشيكم النعاس أمنة منه وينزل عليكم من السماء ماء ليطهركم به ويذهب عنكم رجز الشيطان وليربط على قلوبكم ويثبت به الأقدام

Sahih International

[Remember] when He overwhelmed you with drowsiness [giving] security from Him and sent down upon you from the sky, rain by which to purify you and remove from you the evil [suggestions] of Satan and to make steadfast your hearts and plant firmly thereby your feet.


What is the meaning of   ليطهركم به  yutahira kum bihi in this verse?
If you look at At-Tabari’s tafseer, it has a narration by ibn Abbas, where he mentions when the Prophet coming down to the camp during the battle of Badr, ......, the shaytan was creating waswasa, and some of them were perturbed that were asked to make prayers even though some were in the state of janaba, and then Allah caused rain to come down upon them, and the verse says that not only did the rain purify them, it also removed the evil of the Shaytan, and ....

Can you say that the word yutahirakum means both ritual purity and spiritual purity? If it is indeed a homonym, even then is there one specific meaning understood in this verse?

If you look at the various tafseers, they say it means both. The interpretations are talking about the impurity of the heart, that needed to be removed, this means spiritual purity and they were able to remove the spiritual impurity because of the ritual purity.

Ibn Katheer says that both outward and inward purification took place, at first glance the water from the sky could purify the outward impurity, and this would seem like that it is an outward purification, but this is not necessarily the case. Allah swt speaks about a drink in jannah that purifies them inwardly and outwardly. And hence water can be a source of both outward and inward purification.

Ibn Katheer says the water does outward purification and then when the verse mentions shaytan, it refers to inward purification. He also ties it to the next verse, the same water gave them another external help, which resulted the sand to become firm and made the footing of the sahaba firm during the battle.

Mufasireen also mention another aspect, some of the narrations make it clear that the muslims at the time of battle of Badr, that they could not purify themselves before standing in front of Allah swt, this was before the revelation of tayammum, they were distressed with respect to their relationship with Allah swt, the fact that they were forced to pray in the state of janaba. And this verse highlights the fact that their standing was restored in front of Allah swt, it strengthened their faith in the battle of the Badr, it was the spiritual purity that was the key behind the victory in the battle of Badr.

And when we allow some spiritual impurity from Shaytan to weaken us, this is when the disbelievers are able to have victory over us.

What is the haqeeqa shariah (literal shariah) or primary meaning of the word tahara?

When you go through the various verses of the Quran that discusses tahara, what do you think is the primary conclusion of the meaning of the word tahara?

Twenty of those passages are clearly spiritual purification, ...6 verses are clearly ritual purification, and five of them could be either.

The vast majority of the hadith are clearly referring to ritual purity, and this is not surprising, since ritual purity questions came up and the Prophet had to explain them. Even though the shariah meaning is spiritual purification, the day to day questions were about ritual purification.

From these verses it is a clear sign that tahara is spiritual purity, Allah swt could have used any other word for ritual purity and spiritual purity, but Allah swt has chosen to use them interchangeably, and sometimes it is difficult to conclude whether the word tahara refers to either spiritual or purity. Since the word tahara is used interchangeably, we can say that there is a clear connection between the two.

Even the dua that we are supposed to learn to say after performing wudu ....

..... Oh Allah make from those who repent often and who purify often....

Had this dua simply said purify often, then we could have said it meant ritual purity, but the dua starts with repentance, and even though we say this dua after making wudu, the word tahara does mean spiritual purity. And hopefully all of us who say this dua after making wudu would think about it.

وعن عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال‏:‏‏"‏ما منكم من أحد يتوضا فيبلغ-أو فيسبغ الوضوء- ثم قال‏:‏ أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، وأشهد أن محمدًا عبده ورسوله، إلا فتحت له أبواب الجنة الثمانية يدخل من أيها شاء‏"‏ ‏(‏‏(‏رواه مسلم‏)‏‏)‏‏.‏

وزاد الترمذي‏:‏ ‏"‏اللهم اجعلني من التوابين واجعلني من المتطهرين‏"


http://sunnah.com/riyadussaliheen/9#42 (Jazakallahu khaira Br Shafik....)

Hadith: Whoever makes wudu properly and then says this dua ..... open for him will be eight gates of Jannah and he shall be able to enter from any of them.

We should have an appreciation of the significance of the ritual purity. Many times we learn the lessons about fasting, salat, etc but many times we do the ritual acts of tahara, without giving them the significance.

This hadith which we are studying tells us that tahara is an important action of our deen and we should think about it consistently. And we are performing wudu atleast once a day, there are stories of our scholars who studied all night and had the wudu for more than a day.

When we make wudu, sins fall from us. We should think about, why does this act remove the sins from us?

It is an act of purity but it is not an act of cleanliness. For example, when you pass wind, you go and perform wudu, even though the parts that you clean have nothing to do with the act of passing wind.

.... our sunnah teaches us how to relieve ourselves, every aspect of this dunya are related to Allah swt, all aspects of our life tell us how to achieve the pleasure of Allah swt

Quote ... there is no distinction between the soul and the body, and between this life and the hereafter ?????? did i get this correctly ???

This hadith is a clear sign of what our ulema have discussed. When you think about Iman, there are two aspects, there are positives and negatives, the negatives harm us spiritually such as kufr and shirk. All categories of sin affect our heart, they put a black dot on our heart. So you need constant purification.

In negatives, there are lusts, desires, and other kinds of sins, and we need to constantly remove them, and if we don’t remove them, then they will eventually cover our whole heart.

In general we don’t fall into kufr and shirk, but there are some types of shirk that we do fall into a daily basis, and we should strive to remove them. Ritual acts of purity are like a reminder of tajdeed of our deen.

The word for purifying and removing the negatives is tahara, and this is how it constitutes half of our deen. Shaykh had drawn a circle with two halves, one labeled positives and the other labeled negatives, and removing the negatives is known as tahara, and this is how it is half of our deen.

You can take this analogy a bit further and think about the different acts of tahara as well.

You should have iman in your heart in order to be in state of purity, this is the first step to purify yourself. Now when you think about the state of janaba, this state does not imply that you have done anything wrong, being in this state does not mean that you have committed a sin.

You have to realize that there are sins that require us to tawbah, and similarly .... .....

When a woman is in her menses or after childbirth, she has to perform ghusl, and it is different than in being in state of janaba. First she is in this state of impurity for a longer period of time and she cannot voluntarily remove herself from this state, so what kind of lesson can we get from that?

There could be a state that you are in longer and you cannot remove yourself from it voluntarily.

If Allah swt wills then he can keep us from being purified and if he wills that we are to be in that state, and no matter what we do, we cannot be purified. We need Allah swt and we should recognize that we should always be turning to Allah swt and hoping and yearning for the purification.

Tahara is related taqwa, even in the mundane things that we do.

When you cannot remember whether you are in a state of tahara or not, then it is a sign that you do not think about Allah and whether you did an act that broke wudu. But when you think and remembrance of Allah swt in your mind, then you will be aware of the acts that you performed that broke wudu.

When we act, we should remember and keep us away from cheating, lying, stealing.

The two halves of positives and negatives is also useful when we talk about the purification of the soul.

Ibn Uthaymeen in his interpretation says that it means purification from all physical and spiritual impurities.

Some interpret tahara to mean, just to avoid sins. But this is a very narrow interpretation.

Shaykh’s conclusion is that tahara is purification of both physical and spiritual impurities. Ritual purity reminds us of spiritual purity.


2012-12-11 Class Notes

Handout sent by Sh Jamaal Zarabozo, it is an article written by him for Al-Basheer magazine about the requirements of tahara in order to touch or recite the Qur’an.



2012-12-18 Class Notes


The way that the Prophet is describing purification is shatrul iman, is that there are two parts, one positive and one negative, one quality that we have to do or possess and one that we have to keep away from.

If the major impurity that we should remove is shirk, then the positive quality that we should possess is that of tauheed. Is this what the Prophet describing in this hadith, or are we stretching the analogy too much?

What is a stronger statement, is it alhumdullilah or lailaha-illalah?

There is a hadith of the Prophet that says, Allah has selected four phrases from all of the speech, subhanallah, allahu akbar, lailahaillah, and alhamdullilah  Whoever says subhanallah, Allah will remove 20 sins from him, whoever says allahu akbar will have similar sins, and whoever says alhamdulillah will have 20 additional sins removed.

Alhamd captures what is in la ilaha and something more.

So this shows that our analogy still applies to the understanding of tahura being composed of positives that we need to possess and negatives that we need to avoid.

Dhikr is one of the most important acts that we can perform. Dhikr is one of the most important tools that we have.

Ibn Qayim describes dhikr as food for the heart, the weapon by which we fight, cure for the diseases, and the connection between the slave and ....

Hadith: Shall I not inform you about the best of your deed, the one that raises you in rank, better for you .......  The prophet said that it is the dhikr of allah (remembrance of Allah).

Dhikr is more important that giving gold and silver in charity and more important than jihaad. If you have any other good actions without dhikr or the meaning of dhikr, then they are useless. It is dhikr that makes your acts for the sake of Allah swt, and this foundation is more important, than the act itself. If the act is not based on dhikr, then it will be considered meaningless.

Quran:

Quran: Remembrance of Allah is greater
One interpretation is that dhikr is greater than any act of worship.

Allah swt has ordered us to make dhikr, he forbid us from forgetfulness,... he has praised people who perform dhikr, ... he mentions those who mention him,

In Surah Taha, we can see that Dhikr is like the soul for any act that we perform.

If the acts of tahara become routine that we do, without them reminding us of Allah swt, then they can be made meaningless. Dhikr can change something from something soulless and meaningless to an act of ibaadah.

Ibn al Qayim has a statement in Midaraj al Saliheen which is a commentary on a book about the every early Sufis: The people who know Allah swt best, they are the ones who change their most mundane acts into acts of worship, and those who do not know Allah, turn the most important ritual acts into mundane acts.

When we think of dhikr, we think of phrases, they are important to know, but there is a goal behind them, it is not just to know the phrases.

Two of the most dangerous things for human beings are jihaala and ghafla. Jihaala can be translated as ignorance.

Surah Nisa verse 18: Repentance accepted by Allah swt is only when they act out of jihaala and repent soon after.

Here jihaala means to act without thinking about Allah swt, this is when you commit sins because you have neglected Allah swt and committed sins. Later when they repent, they realize that they have done something stupid, they know that it was wrong, and they are begging Allah swt for forgiveness.

Jihaala means lack of remembrance of Allah swt, this is the greatest sin that a human being can commit, you are heedless of the sin that you are committing.

Surah ... : The time of the account has reached the people,  .... while they are at play and their hearts distracted.

This surah is describing heedlessness.

Surah ...: INdeed those who fear Allah and when .. reaches them, they remember Allah....

Shaytan might be able to influence you ... but as soon as you stop and think of Allah swt, then you realize the stupidness and heedlessness of what shaytan is guiding you towards. If you do not stop and think of Allah swt, then you will not be able to see it

Hadith: The most protected person from the shaytan is when the person is in remembrance of Allah swt

Quran... The person who forgets Allah and that is the reason why Allah made them forget about themself .....

What does it mean by a person forgetting himself?

The recompense you get from Allah swt is in direct response to the act that you performed. If you forget Allah swt, then he makes you forget yourself. They have no clue what is good or harmful for them. So they continue the path that will lead to their destruction. THey have no understanding of what is good for them. Such people when they get to this state, they are no better than being dead, spiritually they are dead.

Hadith: Similitude of one who remembers Allah and one who does not remember Allah is like that of life and death.

Hadith: Somebody came to the Prophet and said that the laws of Islam are heavy for me, so give me some advice that will make me firm on them, Prophet said let you tongue be moist with the dhikr of Allah swt.

Dhikr of Allah swt

Dhikr is not just words. They are not just words of remembrance, they are acts that are pleasing to Allah swt.

Said ibn Jubayr says dhikr is obedience to Allah swt, whoever has obeyed Allah swt has remembered him, and whoever has disobeyed Allah swt has not remembered him even if he is making tasbeeh.

Ibn Taymiyyah said that any statement said by tongue ...... including acts of ibaadah, teaching knowledge.... is a form of dhikr of Allah

Hadith: Quran is either a proof or argument for you or against you.

Dhikr is what makes you take the knowledge that is in front of you and to enable to make it part of you and how you live your life. It has to drive you to make it part of your life.

There are different types or forms of dhikr. The most general category of dhikr is the awareness of ALlah, you are thinking of Allah. This is the ultimate goal of all of the other forms of dhikr.

Hadith: Prophet describes to us ihsaan, worship as if you are seeing him.

That feeling of ihsaan can stay with you all of the time, it is not easy to be always at this level, but it is the ultimate goal of all of dhikr. We should have proper dhikr throughout our life.

Dhikr and taqwa are related.

Another form of dhikr is contemplation and reflection about the creation of Allah swt.

Quran: Surah Ali Imran verse 191 and 192
Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], "Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.
Our Lord, indeed whoever You admit to the Fire - You have disgraced him, and for the wrongdoers there are no helpers.

In the creation of Allah swt are reminders ......

They remember Allah swt under all circumstances. This type of pondering has an impact. THey understand that this has not been created in vain. They asked to be saved from the hellfire.

Specific words of dhikr

We have books on the words of dhikr. What should be say when we wake up, when we go to sleep, when we eat, for every different occasion. Many times there are very subtle meanings that you can gain from the words and the act that you performing. Nawawi has a book called kitaabul atkaar.....

Prophet took the time to teach this to us, and Allah swt gave us this knowledge, and we should take time to learn it and memorize it. When you say these words, you should take time to think of Allah swt.

Footnote: Every dhikr from the Prophet is a complete sentence. Many times people are making dhikr in a way that is not taught by the Prophet. When one of the sahaba repeated the dhikr for going to bed, he interchanged the words for nabi and rasul, and the Prophet corrected him. So when we say Allah, Allah repeatedly or huwa huwa repeatedly, this is not from the guidance of the Prophet.


Should someone make dhikr with their tongue while their heart is not really present, is there any benefit in making this type of dhikr?

Dhikr in the Arabic language means mentioning something by the tongue. However there has to be drive in your heart and mind behind the words.

Nawawi says mentioning words by the tongue is dhikr, but it has to driven by what is in the heart and the tongue.

The ultimate goal is that your heart and mind should be present behind your words. But if your heart and mind are not present, would it be something that would be acceptable by ALlah swt.

THere are two opinions on this matter.

One opinion is that ....at the very least you are doing something to keep your tongue away from destructive acts..... and your heart might be affected by this act of the tongue.... and eventually you might become cognizant of what you say.  This was the opinion of ibn al Qayim and ibn al Taymiyyah.

There are other scholars who say no, they say the exact opposite. They say mere words without having any understanding of the words have no benefit...  It is obligatory to combine the remembrance of ALlah in the heart with the words of the tongue.

Another author says that words without remembrance can have a detrimental effect and he quotes a verse of the Quran Surah Al Zumar 22, woe to the heart that is heedless ... And he continues and says that if you continue doing it, then you will fall into hypocrisy.

So is one whose breast Allah has expanded to [accept] Islam and he is upon a light from his Lord [like one whose heart rejects it]? Then woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of Allah . Those are in manifest error.

Is the verse quoted above, the correct interpretation of the verse?

If you are doing the dhikr that it is important and that you should do it, and if you are momentarily heedless, then inshaallah, you will start making dhikr in a way that you will be remembering Allah.

If you have weakness in your dhikr, then continue doing dhikr. But if you are making dhikr just for the show or benefit of others, then it will be sinful and harmful.  

There are different levels of the words of dhikr.

1. Saying the words without having the heart being attentive. This is the weakest form of dhikr

2. Saying the words and recognizing what you say

3. Plus contemplating and understanding the ramifications of what you say

4. Plus accompanied by strong feeling of Allah in the heart and lead one to live one’s life according to the .... This is the key to the Islamic life and this is what we should try to achieve.

Next week we will discuss the translation of alhamdulillah.

2012-12-25 Class Notes


We are discussing the portion of the hadith that says “alhumdullilah fills the scale”.

Majority of the Muslims today are not Arabs. There used to be a time, even though many Muslims were not Arabs, their understanding of Islam was primarily through Arabic. Quran was translated very recently and now we have more and more Muslims relying on translation of the Quran rather than going straight to Arabic. Even second generation Arabs in the US, English has become their primary mechanism for understanding Quran.

What is your understanding of the word “alhamdullilah”?

Pickthall and Yusuf Ali translate it as “praise be to Allah”, Muhammad Ali translates it as “praise is due to Allah”. A lot of translations say it means “praise be to Allah”.

What does the word “praise” mean?

Praise is the act of making positive statements about a person, object or idea, either in public or privately. Praise is typically, but not exclusively, earned relative to achievement and accomplishment. Praise is often contrasted with criticism, where the latter is held to mean exclusively negative statements made about something, although this is not technically correct (see also Blame).

praise
 [preyz]  Show IPA noun, verb, praised, prais·ing.
noun
1. the act of expressing approval or admiration; commendation;laudation.
2. the offering of grateful homage in words or song, as an act ofworship: a hymn of praise to God.
3. the state of being approved or admired: The king lived in praisefor many years.
4. Archaic. a ground for praise, or a merit.
verb (used with object)
5. to express approval or admiration of; commend; extol.
6. to offer grateful homage to (God or a deity), as in words or song.


It is very difficult to translate something from one language into another. Our ulema say that Quran is untranslatable, and that is the reason why Quran was not translated for a long period of time. You can capture the basic meaning of the Quran, and most translations capture the basic meaning, but somebody to have the strong feeling and attachment to the Quran and to appreciate the depths of the meaning of the Quran, translations are very difficult.

Sh says that the translation of the Quran should be accompanied with footnotes in order to understand the meaning of the Quran.

Meaning of the word hamd

Al Tabari says that the word hamd means shukr, but that is not the strongest understanding of the word. In Arabic you will not find true synonyms, there will be different meanings conveyed by two synonyms.

In Arabic dialects, you could have two words with the same meaning, even though various dialects were synchronized???, there might be two words from two different dialects that have the same meaning.

In order to understand hamd, we have to understand the following five words in Arabic and if we understand these words, we can then understand hamd, since alhumdullilah is a very important word for us to understand, since we say it in our salah and use it many times throughout our day.

Al Hamd
Al Shukr
Al Madh
Al Thana????
Al Majd

These five words are close in meaning but there are differences in each of these words.

You say shukr if the action touches your or benefits you, whereas hamd is used even if the action does not touch you directly. This means Allah swt is deserving praise for all of his actions even though they do not relate to you.

You use shukr to thank somebody when their actions touch you. So in this sense, there is an overlap between shukr and hamd. You can use alhamdullilah to thank Allah swt when his actions impact you directly.

If you looked at a pearl and you were fascinated by its qualities and you might praise it, but the pearl itself did not have any will in order to get those qualities. So you don’t use thanks in order to praise inanimate objects, here you would use madh to praise inanimate objects.

Allah swt has forbidden dhulm for himself. And he has prescribed rahmah and that his rahmah would overcome his anger. And because of these qualities, Allah swt is deserving of hamd, according to ibn Taymiyyah.

It is not unusual to hear our scholars say that al hamd is only offered by the tongue. However al hamd is offered by the heart, the tongue, and the limbs. It is not just a statement, it much more beyond the statement.

The statement of our tongue must be sincere. So if our words of praise are not accompanied by true feelings of the heart, then the words of praise are madh and not hamd.

Words of hamd must be accompanied by love, gratitude, awe, and rida (we will define it later).

Why should these feelings must be in the heart when we say al hamd?

Praise starts with a feeling in the heart before it is even a statement of the tongue. There has to be a feeling of gratitude, and once you recognize these, then you will say al hamd with these feelings in the heart.

Is the phrase alhamdullilah, khabar or al insha?

In Arabic language you can divide every statement into khabar or al insha. Khabar is a statement of fact, it does not require any act on your part, whereas insha requires an action on your part. If I ask you to stand up or sit down, it requires an action on your part.

If you say la ilaha ... is just a statement of fact, then it means you are in realm of kufr, since you are saying that the statement does not imply any act on your part. Even shaytan can say la ilaha ... and mean it. You have to internalize it and live upto it.

Al hamd is both khabar and insha.

Al hamd is under all occasions, both occasions that look good for you and those that are not good for you.

Hadith: Ayesha narrated that whenever the Prophet saw something that he did not like, he would say alhamdullilah. ..... Prophet said that whenever something good happens to him he praises his lord and gives thanks (footnote: we can see that al hamd and shukr are diferent) and if hardship befalls him, he praises the lord.

Why do we say alhamd even if something bad happens to us?

Allah swt has never decreed anything that is pure evil. Even if something looks difficult for us and something we cannot understand, we know that Allah swt is still deserving praise for that situation.

Al hamd has to be based on knowledge, you are praising somebody because you know that they are deserving of this praise. And this meaning is what makes al hamd different than al madh.

So one who knows Allah swt is going to truly understand the al hamd and it will have a bigger impact on him.

Shukr is done with the tongue and the heart and the limbs.

Quran: Allah swt is speaking to the family of Dawood, ask me with thankfulness

Prophet was asked why he was continuing to offer prayers even if all of his actions were already accepted, he did those actions out of thankfulness of the bounties provided by Allah swt.


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