Selections from the 40 Hadith of al Nawawi VIII: 2011 Fall Session
Recommended Textbooks: Commentary on the 40 Hadith of al-Nawawi by Jamaal Zarabozo
When: Tuesdays 6:30 - 7:30 PST on November 8 through November 29
Basic Outline of the Class
An in-depth commentary on some of the most comprehensive statements of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) Hadith #40: “Be in this world as if you were a...”
Notes from the previous session of the class
2011 Summer Session Notes
During the 2011 Summer session we studied hadith #40 from the collection of Imam Nawawi, however we did not finish the entire hadith. You can review the notes from the previous session to gain an appreciation of what was discussed in that class.
Actual text of the hadith
On the authority of ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with both of them, who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) took hold of my shoulder and said, “Be in the world as if you were a stranger or a traveler along a path.” And ibn Umar would say, “If you survive till the late afternoon, do not expect [to be alive in] the morning. And if you survive till the morning, do no expect [to be alive in] the late afternoon. Take from your health for your sickness and from your life for your death.”
Recorded by al-Bukhari.
Our attitude towards this world
We will start with the essence of this hadeeth, which is our attitude towards this world.
In this passage prophet (saw) is advising Ibn Umar and he is basically telling you should have one of two attitudes in this dunya, either as if you are stranger or as if you are a traveller. As a believer when it comes to this dunya this should be his attitude.
If you are a stranger most obvious things is that you have recognition and feeling that this is not your home and this is not you place. With respect to this worldly life he looks and recognises that this is temporary existence and is not a place where his aspiration will be placed. Once he takes of this attitude then there is lot of ramifications.
Consciousness of the hereafter
For instance if you know that this is not your place then you will not have the aspirations as the local people, you might not get excited as the local people get excited about. If you think about the things about people get so excited about in our culture and you compare them to what should be really importance w.r.t hereafter, when you look at media you will see people get excited about things which doesn’t have any value such as sports, entertainment, things that don’t have any value towards hereafter. Just from that point of view you will not be interested in things which people of this dunya is interested about and for you if you are thinking about the hereafter and conscious about that you are not here to enjoy this life but to use this energy and place as stepping stone for hereafter your concern is going to be different and you are not going to waste your time like people of thins dunya is concerned about.
In reality if you take this attitude then you will be really stranger to the people in this dunya not by choice but automatically. Also if someone is stranger then his heart is attached to his home. Example: some of the brothers from Libya started packing as soon as the news came about the rebels in Libya -- they feel that even though they have been away from Libya for many years and residing in the West but their home is still in Libya.If you are stranger to this dunya, then the things you are working for will take you to your homeland.
Your goal should not be to seek admiration of the people
If you are a person of this dunya, then your main goal or purpose is this life. If you are a stranger to this dunya and you recognize that this is not your life, then your ultimate hopes & aspirations will lead to your eventual home. You will always feel like you are in a strange land. For example, you will not seek the admiration of the people of this dunya.
The admired people of the dunya are the people who aspire in the dunya, but you are not trying to please them. You have another goal & purpose. You’re not going to change your way to please them.
Acquiring provisions for your destination - Eeman, good deeds and taqwa
As a stranger, you are always yearning for your home. That means you need provisions to get to your destination -- whatever steps are necessary. What you need to get to Janna is strong eeman, good deeds and taqwa. These are the things that will help you move to the hereafter. As Allah swt said in Qur’an 2:197 “Best provision is taqwa of Allah”
Avoid becoming an ascetic or forsake this world completely, but rather contribute positively
Being a stranger means that you avoid this world. You do not become a recluse or ascetic. You are a stranger in this world, and you have to live in this world. But you live by different principles and provide guidance to other people. Even if you are a stranger to other people, it doesn’t mean you don’t contribute. Enjoining good and eradicating evil is an obligation in all times and places. You should still contribute positively.
Sometimes because you are a stranger, your perspective could be more beneficial. Maybe you can offer that perspective to them -- that might be the most beneficial to them. You know that this is not necessarily your home is.
By being a believer, you will be a minority, when you consider humanity as a whole. For example, Allah (swt) said to Prophet sas: Yusuf:103
And most of the people, although you strive [for it], are not believers.
Allah swt said in Surah Isra verse 89, we have explained in this Qur’an all types of parables, but most of mankind do not believe in it, and they prefer disbelief.
Also in surah al Anam verse 116, Allah swt said that if you were to follow the majority of whoever is on the earth, they will deviate you from the correct path.
Out of a thousands, there will be a small number that will enter jannah, according to a hadith. In some weaker narration out of 100,000 only a small number will enter jannah
Hasan al Basri said, that sunnah is between extremism and negligence. So be patient while on this path The people of the sunnah were a minority in the past and they will be in the future and they will not be engaged with innovation. Therefore be patient on this path until you meet your Lord.
One thing that most Muslims can realize is that w.r.t disbelievers there is going to strangeness, however, the thing which is very difficult to deal is is a feeling of strangeness among the believers.
The main paradigm today is secularism or capitalism or materialism or staying away from Allah swt.
If you believe in revelation and want to adhere to it, you are in a relatively small minority. Even among people who believe in the revealed books there are very few who actually want to apply that revelation.
Even among the Muslims this is true. Most Muslims will look at disbelievers and they say they don’t believe in Allah and they don’t want to obey Allah and Alhamdulillah I am different from them and this kind of feeling most of Muslims do realise that we are different from them, and this kind of strangeness is relatively easily to deal with.
You will be a minority even among the Muslims - which is a bigger fitna
Other kind of strangeness is within the Ummah if you are following the Qur’an and Sunnah, and to this day and age, if you are going to take correct attitude to this dunya and follow Qur’an and Sunnah, even among Muslim now a days you are minority. This is the reality today and we have to be aware of it. This kind of strangeness is much more difficult. The Muslims themselves look at you as something strange to the extent your family members also feel that towards you. This kind of strangeness can be more harmful for that individual and might effect his Islam. This kind of fitnah can make one doubt their iman that so many people cannot be wrong. This kind of strangeness (ghurba) is related to the hadeeth which is much more difficult trial to the believers.
Prophet (saws) warned us about this kind of strangeness, in the following hadith:
“Islam begin as something strange and it will return to be something strange and glad tidings to those strangers” when he was asked who were those strangers He said “those people who do righteousness when the people have been corrupted (fasadan naas)....”
For example, people might begin to ask “why not buy a house on interest? There’s a lot of other Muslims who did. Why wear hijaab? Why not drink alcohol?” So this is the reality and we must determine the means and ways to respond appropriately.
Relationship between hadith #40 and the above hadith
If you apply this hadith amongst the Muslims of this day, you will be a stranger. Even us as Muslims as a whole, we do not understand the idea of giving preference to the hereafter over this life.
Shaikh’s experiences when giving lectures about attitude toward dunya
When Shaikh gives talks about dunya, he gets the same kinds of question: how do I maximise this dunya or keep getting the things of this dunya, while I am still following the Qur’an and Sunnah?
(Edit: You can surmise that shaikh is annoyed by this type of question...)
What are you really trying to maximize?
Shaikh responds to the above question by asking the following question: Why do you want to maximize what you get in this dunya? They look at Shaikh like it is the most puzzling question. If your purpose is not here, you’re not thinking about maximizing the dunya. The one who is maximizing the dunya sees this world as the goal. But the aakhira maximizer, he is worried about what he is getting in the hereafter. If you take this approach even among Muslims you are a stranger.
An example of strangeness in financial matters
Shaikh has close friends who have been on Shari’ah advisory boards. If you look at the rulings of these boards and look at the “innovative” financial schemes, those shuyookh are very accommodating to the bank, giving them conclusions that they would never apply in their own lives. The reason why: these financial institutions whether we like it or not, have to compete with non-Islamic institution.
When you look at Muslims, they can be divided into three categories:
1) Those who don’t care where their money comes from. (relatively small minority, alhamdulillah)
2) Those who will not take any money if there is doubt (small minority)
3) They will be happy doing the halaal way but if it requires a loss doing the halaal way, they would not follow the halaal way. (the vast majority)
Because they’re not at that point (3rd category) that they are willing to sacrifice a lot of this dunya. They might be losing 10-50k if they are following the Islamic way. You can say they have to deal with the Muslims like these. If they restricted to just those financial tools that are completely islamic they would not be able to address this vast majority. If your institution is only catering to category 2, it will not go very far.
For example, in Malaysia, sukook or Islamic bonds guarantee profit at a certain rate. They would get into it. Because they would not give up this dunya for the sake of Allah to that extent.
Even if you look at parents, they push their children to where they’re going to make money. Now in US, we have a shortage of Imam and Scholars. There are large mosques in LA area that are looking for Imam for a long time. Doesn’t mean that we don’t have people in the Muslim community that could be qualified. But we push them away from following that kind of path because that would be good for the ummah but not in this dunya. Finally, who’ll be responsible for this? If we don’t do this as a community, then as a community we’re sinful. We’re sinful for the fact we don’t have enough scholars in this Ummah.
Very difficult for today’s Muslims to live with the fact that Allah is Ar-Razzaq
Especially if the reason is that we want more from this dunya and if they go into this field they won’t make that much money. If they go in this field, Allah will provide, He is Ar-Razzaq. Sheikh came to the conclusion when he studied the attributes of Allah that the name Ar-Razzaq is one of the easiest name of Allah to believe in (we can believe He provides etc) but it’s very difficult to live by it. The fact that Allah is Ar-Razzaq. And living by it means, that Allah is the provider and Allah is the one who sustains. If you stay away from haram and you stick with halal, Allah will provide you in ways you cannot imagine. Yes when you get into field of dawah, you’re sacrificing a lot for this dunya.
One time Shaikh sat down with the brother to see what the difference is between Islamic organizations and secular organizations in terms of financial burden or impact. if you take the same kind of job lets say like a teacher/admin/accountant/lawyer and compare with what Islamic orgs pay with this kind of work, as opposed to what avg salary is in this kind of field, and you look at 30 years, you’re sacrificing literally millions of dollars. People are aware of it. This kind of choice takes a conscious decision to sacrifice lots of this dunya. And when people do that, others don’t understand why they’re doing that. Why they’re giving all that money. Same as with parents who send their children to high paying jobs and they FEAR that their child might end up being an Imam. In Muslim land, it’s clear, if you’re good student, you’ll go to science and math...if you’re terrible, you’ll be an Imam. As a result, each generation is suffering even more and more. To get the people into that field, you have to make people realize, the goal is not just amassing dunya...you don’t understand what the Prophet (saw) has advised about “being in this dunya as if you’re a stranger”.
Q: What are some signs that your priorities are not correct?
A: Some of the signs are how willing you are to compromise just for some worldly benefits. There might be some laws of necessity to survive, but we are not talking about it. Let us say that you might receive bonus if you are willing to do something that is questionable or above or beyond the laws of shariah. You have to be careful about what are you compromising about. If you can never sacrifice the things of this dunya for the deen, or are not willing to sacrifice, then it is a sign that your priorities are more for this dunya and not the hereafter.
Q: Follow-up question: what if we are setting priority to this dunya for a short period of time?
A: Sometimes people do the compromises continuously, they justify their actions and continue doing those actions and it becomes a hurdle for them to follow their imaan. They continue giving priority to this dunya and continuously keep on doing it. You should try to have some balance. People have different levels of Imaan and we should strive not to fall below a minimum level. Minimum that we should do. If you’re doing something to help yourself at work, try to do something that helps you with respect to your deen. So as you improve in dunya thing, you also improve in Imaani things. Two things will work with another. If you reach a level of Imaan, you’re not so much concerned about this dunya and you’re satisfied with less. And you’re at an acceptable norm (per your society), if you find yourself not needing to have a new car or latest iPhone etc. while others continue to seek all those things, you might get to the point that you’re satisfied, You don’t want to sacrifice that either. If you’re giving all your time and energy is going to this dunya, it’s not a good thing, inshaAllah there should be some balance.
Q: Is there a harm in one considering themselves as a "stranger"...wouldn't that kind of imply that one is thinking too much of themselves?
A: We are trying to achieve the goals set by shariah. If we see signs that we are following them, we should be happy with them, but we should not become arrogant. We should be careful.
Q: Do you feel that this society is also promoting the idea of a melting pot and this is adding to the strangeness?
A: American culture is not a reflection of the ideal Islamic personality. People become to assimilate and loose their uniqueness and this is dangerous. American society is such that you can keep your uniqueness. To put it another way, people don’t really care about you here. Some other societies, there would be an uproar. That’s a good aspect and that allows people to have a proper attitude
A: Minimum Muslim contribution is not to do any harm in the society they’re living in. People sometimes don’t realize how they could be harming in the society. Ultimate best good we can give is to give them Islam.
Joke after 9/11 “who’s a moderate Muslim?”, One who drinks moderately.
We are discussing the portion of the hadith in which the prophet saw told Ibn Umar to be in this world as a stranger. We made a point that if you take this attitude towards dunya, you are not interested in amassing the wealth. With this attitude by default you will become stranger, as this understanding of the life of this world is not even held by many Muslims. We spoke about Ghurba or strangers and discussed the hadith “Islam began as something strange ….”. The reason Islam was something strange in the beginning was that the idea of worshiping Allah alone was not acceptable to the people of Arab at that time.
The believers will always be in minority among Muslims, then the believers who have true knowledge of the deen are even smaller minority among the believers, and those who act upon that knowledge are yet even smaller minority. This kind of pyramid distribution of Ghurba is discussed by Ibn al Qayyam in his book “Madaraj assalikeen”. According to him the true Islam which prophet and his followers were following is even stranger than the time it began (it is a very strong observation as he was talking about people of his time about 800 years ago). Even though the signs of Islam are there the real Islam is something very rare among people. He made these statements before the colonialism entered the Muslim lands. Now it is even worse.
Sometimes it is very difficult to withstand the pressure if you have views that go against the majority. We have to be frank, what we are speaking here is not easy of achieve and maintain. Maintaining is even harder than achieving it, as it takes continuous sacrifice. In this regards ulema quote a hadith:
“There are going to be times, when the patience at that time will be like holding on to a burning coal”.
Prophet saw is describing in the above hadith that there is going to be time when sticking to the truth is going to be very difficult. Next we will discuss some of the points that will help us maintain our faith when we realize it is getting tougher to maintain this attitude of strangeness.
Things that will help you overcome or withstand the feeling of strangeness
1. Glad tidings for the stranger:
We should not loose sight of this ultimate reward that should be in every Muslim’s mind “Tooba (Jannah)”. As mentioned in the hadith quoted earlier that stated that Islam began in strangeness, towards the end Prophet saw said “Glad tidings for the strangers”. There is difference of opinion that what “Tooba” means, but according to another hadith it is one of the trees in the Jannah. In one of the narration of hadith where prophet mentioned about that patience will be like holding on to the burning coal. He continued that the one who will continue to do good deeds at that time will receive the reward of 50 among you and sahaba asked 50 like us or 50 like them. Prophet said it will be the reward of 50 like you, subhanAllah, we are talking about the reward of 50 sahaba.
Therefore the reward for accepting the strangeness is very great. In the long run this strangeness will be replaced with the best of the company, when these people will be among prophets, shuhada, and siddiqueen in Janna
2. Everyone is responsible for their own deeds:
It is important to know what is the true path based on Quran and Sunnah and you also realize that people are following ways which are different than the true straight path and these people are trying to attract you to follow their ways. The common techniques to distract you are “we are living in 21st century so we have to flexible and not be rigid about these things which were commanded when people were living very simple life”, etc. There is very important point that you should realize before listening to these advisors, as Allah swt said in Surah Maida V105:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ ۖ لَا يَضُرُّكُم مَّن ضَلَّ إِذَا اهْتَدَيْتُمْ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَSahih International
O you who have believed, upon you is [responsibility for] yourselves. Those who have gone astray will not harm you when you have been guided. To Allah is you return all together; then He will inform you of what you used to do.
In this verse Allah swt is reminding us that there individuals trying to encourage you to stray from the straight path, they will not be able to stand in front of Allah on your behalf. Even though they may reassure you in this dunya that we are in it together, but Allah swt describes the situation of people on the day of judgement when they will be fleeing from even their wives and children. So we have to take responsibility of our actions. Secondly, Allah swt is telling us that if you are guided than those who are astray will not be able to harm you.
Even prophet saw was told very similar thing in Surah al-Jathiaya V18
ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاكَ عَلَىٰ شَرِيعَةٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْرِ فَاتَّبِعْهَا وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَSahih International
Then We put you, [O Muhammad], on an ordained way concerning the matter [of religion]; so follow it and do not follow the inclinations of those who do not know.
3. Reminder of the differences in goals
When you see people not following the Qur’an and Sunnah properly or when you do not find people who follow the Qur’an and Sunnah seriously as you do. This is because your goal is different than yours. Some people have goal to be social, and your goal is something different, you will not allow them to affect you. When that point is clear in your mind, then their behavior is not going to affect you. Your purpose is different than others. You can take this analogy and spread it to the matters of this dunya. If some people are compromising in the matters of the dunya, their purpose might be dunya and not the hereafter. Once you realize that your goal is different than yours, then it will not drag or bring you down.
For example, lot of people attend Islamic lectures but not all of them are there for the same goal. A majority of them are just there for social reasons, to meet their friends, to have chit chat, etc. If your goal is to gain knowledge out of that lecture and even if these people are trying to distract you, you will be able to ignore their attitude and concentrate on the lecture when you realize in your mind that your goal for being there is completely different than these people’s goal. Once this reality sinks in you that the reason you are behaving differently than other people is because your goal is hereafter, this recognition will act as a safeguard for you against other people.
4. Increase love for Allah and your Deen
Try to increase love for Allah and Deen and that is your goal and remind this factor is very important. Once you have this goal in mind you are not bothered of anything around you, for example if you loose a friend many time it will hurt you, if you love Allah more than your friend than you will be able to withstand this. These will help you to withstand the feeling of being stranger.
Ibn Khuldun was the first one who said Human being are social creature and thus he needs friend. Idea of being a stranger is not simple. People sometimes do things which they know is wrong and stupid (e.g joining a gang) so that they can belong. So being a stranger is a challenge. If you don’t have tools that will continue to strengthen you, then you may say someday that it is not working.
Passage from ibn Taymiyyah about ghurba or strangeness
Ibn Taymiyyah lived about 800 years ago. He lived in mostly Muslim land, but his family escaped the reign of Mongols. he was aware of Muslims living under non Muslim rule. He wrote about the hadeeth that we are discussing.
1. You cannot use strangeness as an excuse to not follow your deen
Just because Islam becomes strange and you don’t find many people adhering to it, and you have to make some effort to adhere to it. You cannot use this as an excuse to not apply the deen. He quoted the verse:
“ wa man yattabi deen ghair al islam lan uqbalahu”
Deen of islam is only way that is acceptable to Allah, who ever desires any thing other than Islam it will not be accepted from it and he further quoted, oh you who believe have taqwa and not die except as Muslims.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ[3:102]
2. One who accepts deen will not fall into evil (shar)
One who accepts deen, cannot fall into evil. He does not mean hardship or fitna. He says that person will be the happiest of the people. And then he quotes the hadeeth that says glad tidings to the stranger. It is clear that this individual will be happiest person in this life and hereafter. With respect to this life Allah says
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ حَسْبُكَ اللَّهُ وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ[8:64]
إِنَّ وَلِيِّيَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْكِتَابَ ۖ وَهُوَ يَتَوَلَّى الصَّالِحِينَ[7:196]
. Indeed my protector is Allah who has sent down the book and He is ally and protector of the righteous. He is going to take care of them in this life. And he quotes
وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا[65:2]
“” …. “”in which Allah swt says. Allah will find a way out for the muttaqi.
Everybody faces hardship in this dunya and it is not just for strangers. And more someone sins, the more hardship he faces. But the one who actually adheres to Islam, he will earn the respect of the people around him. And even those Muslims who live in non-Muslim land and practice their religion receive respect and honor from non-Muslims that the other Muslims will not receive (who do not follow their religion). Then he continues with an important observation that the ones who are practicing their deen are excused from many type of work that others are required to do.
4. In the long run any harm that will come to Muslims due to adherence to his religion will be overcome by joy and happiness. In the end the mushrikeen will be destroyed and the Muslims are the ones who will be victorious.
It takes strong Imaan to be stranger and many times it is difficult to adhere to what is right. One classic example is the rites of marriage in Muslim societies, there are many things that occur that are not proper and one who stands up to it will require courage on his part. Muslim leaving these rites will become something strange within their own societies and he would be looked up as crazy.
Ibn al Qayyam realized the reality of this strangeness. The best thing to do is to realize that it is going to happen to you and you should be prepared for your correct stance when you feel the resistance from people around you.
You have to realize this aspect of strangeness. You have to determine what is your stand and you will be tested???
Next we will move to the word “Aw” in the hadeeth. So far we have discussed the word gharib in the last two lectures.
Q: Can you explain what ibn Taymiyyah meant by the word shar i.e Evil ?
A: The person will not experience unhappiness when he uses the word shar. You could say that psychologically you will be happy. That person will be not feel psychological or inner un-happiness. If you have strong relationship with Allah no one can touch that.
They can punish you, torture you, take away your material things, but they cannot touch your heart. This is something that no one can touch, if you have deen in your heart. inwardly that person will not feel any shar
Q: Is stranger being outcast?
A: Strangeness that is being spoken about is not about going out into the mountains, the strangeness is about your intention behind interactions and dealings with the people, because your goal is different. It does not mean that you will be aloof or not smile. But when they do something that is not in adherence with your goal, you will separate from them and not take part in those actions. And if this happens often, then you will choose to disassociate with them if they cause harm to your Imaan, or they may disassociate with you.
It depends on the people around you, if they are pretty good, then you may not need to move away and actually you want to positively influence them. If the people you are involved with are different in understanding in Islam and if they are not interested in learning Islam then you will be disassociated with them.
A: Depending upon what kind of people you are with, you might stand out. For example you are with Muslim women who do not wear hijab and if you are wearing hijab (responding to a sister’s question), then you will stand out among them, they might recognize it as a good thing while they are not doing it themselves. In other cases they may feel friction from he and force her to not be among them.
Q: Reference for the book from which the quote of ibn Taymiyyah comes from
A: This particular quote was taken from his book “Daqaiq Tafseer” which is most likely part of his Majmoo al Fatawa:
Q: sometimes people say that you must use hikmah and not be so rigid on these things. be open minded for the general good of the public how does one respond to this?
A: Hikmah doesn’t mean to compromise, when you are speaking to people and trying to explain to them what Quran and Sunnah says, don’t be harsh on them as this is part of Hikmah. People use the word Hikmah in such a generic manner that it loses it actual meaning. In Quran Hikmah means shariah and Sunnah. You don’t do which cause more harm than good, this general principle is not absolute, Prophet (saw) called people to Deen which caused a war and people might say this is not hikmah as it caused war which is more harm, thus the principle is not absolute. Many things and principles go together with hikmah and we will touch on this later in our discussions.
We are discussing hadith #40 from Forty Hadeeth of Nawawi and we are now parsing each word spoken by the prophet. Last time we finished discussing the word ghareeb and now we are moving on to the next word in the hadeeth, which is ‘Aw’.
‘Aw’ meaning “or”
Where we left off in this hadeeth is with the word "Aw". Ibn Uthaymeen in his tafseer of Riyad ul Saleheen is saying that the narrator is in doubt about what he heard from prophet, it was either a stranger or a traveler on the path. Shaikh Jamaal Zarabozo feels this comment is very strange and he has not heard it from any other scholar. If he had said “أو قال عابر سبيل” “or prophet said traveler on the path” then it makes sense that he was in doubt regarding what he heard, just “Aw” without “Qala” cannot mean a doubt. The other way of indicating the doubt by the narrator is to add the word “Shakk” after the sentence, e.g. it could have been “Aw Aabir sabeel shakk Malik” that would mean the narrator Malik had a doubt about these words.
The word “or” in English implies some kind of choice, some kind of permissibility -- as if this or that as if Prophet is giving some kind of choice to Ibn Umar. To be a stranger or a traveler. But most likely that is not the case here. Because there is a stylistic aspect of the Arabic language (balaaghah), that if you are moving from one level to another, or one thing is stronger than the other, it can mean “bal” (rather or in fact).
The same style of balagah exist in Quran and is not translated properly by most of the translators, e.g. verse from the Quran
When the defeaning ... man will flee from his brother and his mother and father, from his spouse and his children.
فَإِذَا جَاءَتِ الصَّاخَّةُ يَوْمَ يَفِرُّ الْمَرْءُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ وَأُمِّهِ وَأَبِيهِ وَصَاحِبَتِهِ وَبَنِيهِ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ شَأْنٌ يُغْنِيهِ
“On the Day a man will flee from his brother, And his mother and his father, And his wife and his children, For every man, that Day, will be a matter adequate for him. “ [80:34-37]
Here there is clear progression from one relation to another, and it is a progression, so here due to the balaghah of the Arabic langauge, “wa” does not mean “or”, it means “Bal”.
In the tafseer of Surah Abasa many scholars define this “wa” as “bal”. This point was first highlighted by Zamakhshari, who was a Mutazilah scholar, he was an expert in the balaghah of the Arabic language. He was the first to analyze the Quran in the light of the balaghaah of the Arabic language. Virtually every one who came after him, depended upon his scholarly work on the balaghaah, specially Raazi, who came after him. In this sense the above verse will mean “he will flee from his brother in fact from his mother and father as well ….”
In the hadeeth, Prophet saws is expressing two options, either be a traveller or a stranger, and there is a degree of “step up” from one to the other. So it would mean “be a stranger or in fact it would be better if you would be traveller on the path”. One is clearly at a higher level than the other, as we will see later.
If you look a the life of Prophet (saws) and he is the one who set the example of being a traveler in this Duniya. He was not concerned with this duniya, we know how much he loved sahaba, towards the end of his life the Muslims were getting rich but he chose not to indulge in the dunya. one time the Prophet saws was lying down on his mat which was not soft and made of tree branches. One time he got up from sleeping and there was marks in his body. Ibn Masood tried to remove from his body and suggested that he could get something nice to sleep on. Prophet said to him “ What do I have to do with this worldy life, I and this dunya are like traveler who sits under tree to get a shade and then he moved on”. So Prophet himself set an example of being like traveller with respect to this duniya.
We have two things, a traveler and a stranger, and these are the two recommendations given by the Prophet to ibn Umar.
Pondering upon the two choices: Traveler and a Stranger
When you study Islamic topics you don't want to be passive receptor. Ultimate goal is to make it part of life and important tool is not just sit but to think about the information and to ponder about it and internalise it. Here Prophet is mentioning two possibilities how Muslim should be in this duniya. With respect to degree traveller is greater than being a stranger.
What are some of the differences between being a traveler and a stranger? And what is the prophet saws implying by giving us these choices?
Classroom discussion about the two choices:
1. Stranger hopes that one day he might be assimilated or accepted. If you look at the Muslim community in the United States, as a whole we are still strange. As a stranger the temptation to assimilate or lose your uniqueness is much stronger than the traveler.
2. Traveler is going somewhere and what are it’s ramifications? If you’re just a traveler, are you going to buy a car, house, if you know that you’re just a traveler? If you are a stranger, even though you might be outsider, you might still get weighed down, then your heart may get involved once you invest in duniya. As a traveler he understands that if he invest in this duniya his heart may get involoved in this duniya.
3. A traveler has a home somewhere else, and this is not his home. In any case, he doesn’t act like this is his home.
4. Traveler might have a goal and a stranger might not have one.
5. A traveler is aware that he is in the process of something, whereas a stranger might forget what it is that made him strange.
6. A stranger might choose to stay -- he’s not focused on moving somewhere.
7. A traveler is not going to get too attached/comfortable to this life.
8. A traveler will take the minimum that he thinks he is going to need. A stranger may still get more than he needs.
So this is not a choice that the Prophet (SAWS), but he is saying being as a traveler is clearly superior and there is a clear difference.
The term used here is not musafir but abir sabeel which is more descriptive than musafir. Abir sabeel means you are on the path already -- you are literally on the road.
What Prophet (SAWS) described about Abir sabeel, if you think about human being as whole, he is describing the reality of human being as whole. There is no human being where time has stoped and every human being is moving towards the end of his journey. Every one is heading towards a certain point irrespective of whether you are Muslim or Non Muslim. When a person is about to die, doctor says that it is only matter of time. You cannot escape that you are moving to that time when you are going to leave this world. Everyone is moving towards the ultimate time of death and followed by resurrection. There are people who are not concerned with the resurrection, and there are some people who are lost in this journey as they dont have clue what will happen to them and there are some who don’t have courage to face the fact what will happen to them. There are some who are complacent. Ultimate result either will be good or bad for every single human being. Journey is going to happen, Allah has given human being the ability to think about about what is going to happen to him at the end of this journey and has given him time to make changes before meeting Allah swt.
The best thing for you is to recognize that like it or not you accept it, you are on this journey. And we should prepare for it.
(Page 1547 - 1548 volume 3) Story of Fudayl ibn ‘Iyaad, who saw a man who was 60 years old. He said “You should realize that you have been traveling to your lord for 60 years, and you will soon meet him.” When this person heard this it was shocking to him and he said “To Allah we belong and to him we will return.” Fudayl asked: “Do you know what that that means? It means that you know that you are on the journey and you are the slave of Allah and you know that you will be detained/questioned.” Ironically, the more you recognize that you are on the journey, the better prepared you are. The old man asks: “So what is the solution? What can I do” [Side note: Everybody knows this, but the question is how to allow it to have an impact on our lives] Fudayl replies saying: “Do good for the remainder of your life, you will be forgiven for what you’ve done in the past. If you do evil, you will be held responsible for the sins of the past, and for what you do in future.”
If an individual finally wakes up and changes his life this is grace from Allah and this is sign that Allah will help us and he will reward him and inshAllah will forgive what he did in the past. When someone wakes up it is important to realize that he has to mend his ways and start doing actions. By recognising what is in the front you can use this to wipe away what you did in the pat.
Joel Osteen [a Christian preacher said]: “Why is the rear view mirror of your car so small compared to the windscreen? Because what is in front of you is far more important than what is behind you.”
If you think about Fatihah, we don’t ask for guidance to the correct way of life (we don’t say “Ihdina ila deen al-saheeh”). We ask Allah (SWT) to guide us along the straight path -- obviously there is no difference between the straight path and the true religion, but Allah SWT is reminding us that we are on a path. When you are on a path, there are things you have to be conscious of.
You must recognize your destination: The destination is not death, but you have a goal between now and death and goal after death. Your destination is Jannah and Allah’s pleasure. Once you recognize your destination, you have to work out the way to get there. In the case of pleasing Allah and what is the path, it is siraat al-mustaqeem. The path for Islam is there for us. Knowing the path is the easy part. Seeing the path is not the difficult part. But just because you know the path doesn’t always mean that you take the proper path. Sometimes for example, you take excursions. For example, if you need to get to New York, you’ll avoid any dangerous paths or path that is questionable. You will choose the best path and You’ll also take steps to verify your knowledge. Just like you check Google Maps, you’ll verify it and make sure you go the right way. (analogous to the case where you should verify your knowledge about Islam and you should not take the cultural Islam that your parents followed)
On that path there are many things you can do. E.g. Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, etc. How many things will you do along the way? If you are group of four and there is a person among you who desperately wants to go New York, if there is any suggestion by the group to visit any other place along the path this person would say no. This should be the nafs. Any excursion that will take you away, you don’t want to take that risk.
One of the dangers of excursions that you might be tempted to stay there longer and not get back to the path to New York, Suppose you take excursion to Denver along the way and that you might like what you see in Denver, and you end up liking it a lot, then you say “I’ll just stay here for a bit longer.” You could get stuck in Denver, but maybe you’ll get on the path, but you’ve sacrificed a lot of time, and you could have put that towards your destination. In our life we never know when death is going to come to us. What if you are never able to get back on the path. This could ruin everything you did for New York. Denver might make you forget that you are going to New York. Or you might run out of resources -- energy, time, wealth so that by the time you try to get back on the path, it’s not the same, you may not be able to travel as many miles a day as when you were fresh (young). If you spend so many years in the dunya. Once you are old you decide to Pray and get back to the path. This becomes much harder to do as time goes on. And who is to blame for that?
Should Allah make you responsible for wasting all of your resources. If you performed actions and then became sick or old or weak, then you might expect the reward for those missed actions, but if you never did anything good in your life and then you fall sick and now you expect that Allah will reward you as you had the intention to do good, why should you expect to be rewarded when you did not even started? On the other hand, when you are focused/determined, Allah (SWT) provides different ways of helping you.
On the authority of al-‘Irbad b. Sariya, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet (s) said: “Allah has struck a parable: a straight highway, on either side of which are two walls. Within both of the walls are open gates; curtains cover the doors. At the gate of the highway is a caller who says: ‘O people! Enter the highway and do not stray away!’ There is another caller in the depths of the highway. Whenever someone wishes to open one of those doors, he cries out: ‘Woe to you! Open it not, for if you do, you shall certainly enter it!’
The highway is Islam, the two walls are the limits of Allah, the gates are sins, the caller at the entrance of the highway is the Book of Allah, and the caller from the depths of the highway is Allah’s preacher [i.e., the voice of conscience] who resides in the heart of every Muslim.”
(Reported in Musnad Ahmed and Mustadark Al-Hakim and graded Sahih by Albani)
The Prophet (SAWS) explained the parable and said: the path is Islam, the walls are the halal things, the doors are the things that have been prohibited. The curtain on the doors is Allah’s prohibition. The book of Allah is the caller at the start of the path. The caller at the end of the path is the admonisher in the heart of every Muslim.
Allah has placed something in your heart that will encourage you to follow the straight path. Every time you deviate, the believer’s heart tells him that he is doing something wrong. The heart knows that it is wrong, as long there is Imaan in the heart. The more the individual ignores his heart he eventually destroys the admonisher in his heart.
Allah swt is helping us along this path. When Imaan is in the heart, then the path is easy to follow.
Our job and difficulty is to be steadfast on this path. And next time we will discuss how to remain steadfast on this path, and how to remain on the path and not to deviate from this path. Sometimes we deviate and how can we prevent this from happening.
Q&A Is it proper to say someone died tragically?
Anyone who died without Imaan has died tragically. If you die without Imaan, then you are heading to hellfire. If you die with Imaan, then you are not dying tragically.
Q: Stranger can influence people, but the traveler is not concerned with that isn’t that positive for being stranger?
A: Definitely stranger can influence other people, but his effectiveness in influencing others is limited by his strangeness.
We are in the second part of this hadith, where prophet saw advised ibn Umar to be traveler on the path and we showed that this is not an option rather an elevated state compared to being stranger.
Reminder about our journey, our goal, and our purpose
Regardless of whether we want to face the reality or not all of us are the traveller whether we want to realise or not. This journey has one major end to it that is when death comes. This is point where you no longer can benefit yourself. This part is the one which An-Nawawi did not mention which we will discuss. The ultimate end of the journey is not death, but it is when we meet Allah swt. This journey we cannot escape it. This journey has a goal and purpose which is specific and it is to serve and worship and please Allah swt. You recognize the fact that this is your journey and this your goal. Once you recognize the ultimate goal, journey and intention you have to stay the course. Staying the course may not be easy because it take dedication, effort from our part and should be blessed by Allah swt to stay on the course
The Prophet (SAWS) when speaking about the heart he said that the word “heart” (in Arabic) comes from the root word qalb which means upside down. So the Prophet (SAWS) said that it was given this name because hearts can change easily and it is like a leaf that is hanging on a tree, and the wind can change its direction. This is the analogy that the Prophet (SAWS) gives us about our hearts.
We have to be careful about the state of our hearts. The Prophet (SAWS) used to make the du’a: O the one who turns the hearts, make my heart firm upon the deen.
حدثنا أبو معاوية عن الأعمش عن أبي سفيان عن أنس قال : كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يكثر أن يقول : يا مثبت القلوب ، ثبت قلبي على دينك ، قالوا : يا رسول الله ، آمنا بك وبما جئت به ، فهل تخاف علينا ؟ قال : نعم ، إن القلوب بين إصبعين من أصابع الله يقلبها .
Prophet is giving us a lesson by making this dua of keeping our hearts firm upon the deen.
The hadeeth continues, sahaba used to ask him, “We have believed in you and what you have brought and do you fear from us, and the prophet replied yes, and he said that the heart is between two of the fingers of Allah swt and He turns them anyway He wills."
if we do not strive to please Allah this may be the reason that Allah may not keep us in this blessed path
Further more Prophet reminded us that what may happen if we do not stay on this path. The most important deeds are when we are close to our end. Prophet described “The person will perform deeds and people will look at him as if he is from Ahl Jannah but actually he is from Ahl Nar.” There is also one more narration which says that “The person would continue to do good deeds till the end of his life but at the end he does something with which he becomes people of fire” At the end of both (this?) narration Prophet said “Actions are according how they are sealed (at the end of your life). “
The result of this is that if we made mistake and if we change our ways then we meet Allah when we changed our ways and this is how we will be judged by Allah inshaAllah. On the flipside of it, you heart could be changed towards the remembrance of Allah swt even though it was not earlier. The end results are going to be what matters the most. In this regards both of the above hadith are fearful and hopeful at the same time.
It is possible that we may change and may end in circumstances that might not be beneficial, specially with the temptations that exist in the duniya today.
Changing behaviors and attitudes of the Muslim immigrants in the US as an analogy of how hearts can change
Shaikh has personal relationship with this hadeeth. Because when Sh reflects on this since he became Muslim, if he looked at the Muslim community that he was part here in US, there are early immigrants and African-American community which he is not talking about, he is talking about mostly the mainstream sunni community, Sh has noted lot of changes in one generation, when he first became Muslim and think back how the Muslim were at that time, if you have to describe in the light of this hadeeth they were like traveller, they were not people who were essentially interested in this duniya, they were not poor people they had money still they were not interested in this duniya.
Most of the families did not have TV and majority of them did not have furniture too although they had money but they were not interested in these things. When they used to sit and talk they used to talk about not the same thing what people speak today. When Sh heard first time with brothers talking he was amazed. Their concern was not how they will get fatwas which will make them richer. The behaviours was like traveller and they took minimum from this duniya, their hearts was separated from this duniya.
Another example: We are willing to commit one of the seven destructive sins to be part of this society
After this many of them came as students for various reason and they stayed in this society and they started getting older. They were in the state of stranger they were living here but there was this feeling that they thought like strangers. Now we have come full circle, now we want to be full fledged citizen and be part of this duniya, society. We are looking for fatwas so that we can be part of this duniya. One of the common reason to defend Riba is that if we don’t take it then we cannot be rich and we cannot make it here. The one act which has harshest statement in Quran and Sunnah but just to be part of this duniya we are willing to do the gravest sin. We look at this in different way, we feel like we are part of the community being indulged in political domain. And we become proud because Aziz Ansari is a popular comedian, and there is a Muslim member of Congress, and there is miss USA who is Muslim etc. Now as a community we are trying to be part of this duniya as much as we can. Sh feel on the light of this hadith , it is clearly seen in today’s community.
Fitnahs that affect us when we stray from the straight path
There is other things which leads the people to go off form the straight path. These are fitnah, fitnah is part of our life, Allah is going to try us. If we allow this fitnah to affect our willingness to be in straight path then we are in danger. For example fitnah between the Muslims, like backbiting, lying etc (e.g. even between Ikhwaanis and Salafis, and even internally within the Salafis)when we see this happen especially from people who are involved in dawah and you respect them, this can shake your faith. This can affect you to keep in the path.
Fitnah of Extremism
The prophet (SAWS) warned about extremism, we know that munafiqoon, khawarij and extremism did exist during the time of Prophet and we should not allow this fitnah to effect us to remain in the straight path.
Then when we see that this division of Muslims is a kind of trial. 9/11 for example -- Sh knows people who gave up and hardly wanted to practise at all. 9/11 had that same effect. It changed their whole perception of Islam. This brings into focus the importance of grounding yourself in the knowledge of this deen. Realities don’t change because of the actions of some foolish Muslims. An individuals aqeedah remains the same, irrespective of the actions of some foolish individuals. These things are superficial.
But if you are not strong in your knowledge in the Qur’an and Sunnah, then you can be affected by these trials. E.g. if your deen is based on following the people you respect, what happens when those people change? It’s going to be very different if your faith is based on knowing, understanding and believing the teachings of Allah (SWT).
Analogy of Pluto as a planet or not a planet to understand the beliefs will not change for some individuals
We all learnt that Pluto was a planet, but in 2006 scientists categorize it as not a planet but a dwarf. For most it lead to a change in their knowledge base, if they would appear on Jeopardy, they would answer the question “what is pluto” as “what is not the last planet” However for some this discovery by an organization did not matter. For example, There’s an astronomer called Weintraub wrote a book called “Is Pluto a Planet?” For them, they believed that Pluto met the definition of planet, it meant something to them. And they stood up for it, just because the IAU (International Astronomical Unit) declared something they had firm knowledge about, they were not about to change their knowledge base.
Another analogy: Mathematical axioms
If some one comes to you and says that 1 + 1 = 3, how much it would take to convince you about this, will just having evening news about this be enough to change you ? No, because you think you can prove in so many ways that it is 2 not 3 and your faith that it is 2 is not going to be shaken.
There are two principles about knowledge
1) When you know something and you are sure about it then you should not change your view unless you are shown absolutely that you are wrong.
2) conversly, if you are shown absolutely that you are wrong then you should change.
When you study Islam, this is your knowledge and you can get to the root of it. And if someone comes later and say that we should change, this should not shake your faith.
There is a sheikh that the Sheikh meets regularly, every time they meet he tries to explain why things need to change after 9/11. Eventually, the Sheikh came to the conclusion that he wasn’t talking to him, but trying to convince himself. This is human psychology that if you are trying to be something that you don’t believe in then you will never be satisfied and you need these kind of self assurances that you are ok.
Fitnah of doubt and confusion
If your understanding of the religion in not based on solid ground, then shubahat can shake you and effect you. if people speak about the change then you might buy it and this is when you get into fitnah which can affect you to be on the path of Allah. If they make you doubt about it a little, they have succeeded. one of the greatest danger about doubt it that it effects your willingness to sacrifice for the sake of Allah to remain faithful with Allah. Unless you have strong belief in Allah you will be ready to sacrifice this for the sake of Allah. this is one of the main things which will help to remain steadfast in this path. We have to build that, our faith is tied to what we understand and what we believe, because if we understand things then if some one come and talks about it this will not effect, shaitan is always going to try this on us to shake our faith. You have to make the deen like your field of speciality at job, where you are always willing to gain more and more knowledge to advance in your career.
Actions that will help you stay on the straight path and to counteract the fitnahs
This will be helped by turning to the Qur’an, reading and understanding the Qur’an as well as the Sunnah. There’s no need to explicitly mention the Sunnah because it’s pointed to by the Qur’an.
For whoever wills among you to take a right course.
1. Follow Quran and Sunnah
Allah swt is telling us first and foremost to go to the Qur’an, this is our source of knowledge along with sunnah. If we become strong in our understanding of Quran and Sunnah this will protect us from many of possible trial which will take us away to be on the course.
2. Check our knowledge and revive it (Muhasbah)
We have to continually check our knowledge and revive it, this will also allow us to be firm on His path. We have to gauge ourselves how much we are dedicating ourselves to the cause of Allah swt. We may get weak in Imaan due to diseases in the heart and like any other diseases if we don’t take notice of this, as this is the sign that there is something wrong, if we don’t keep any eye the situation can get worse. Similarly with respect to our deeds we should keep an eye on it so that it remains good.
Especially in this modern age, there is no person who will look out for you -- perhaps your spouse, but we as a community don’t enforce good on ourselves any more.
3. Judge yourself honestly - Every individual should think about his deeds that he has set for himself
Allah says in Surah:Hashr: v18
O you who have believed, fear Allah . And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow - and fear Allah . Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَAnd be not like those who forgot Allah , so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient.
You have to constantly check yourself and check honestly. Being honest is not easy and this is of extreme important. As human being we like to fool ourselves. When you judge others you can give them excuses, but it not good that you give excuses when you judge yourself. You have to be strictly honest with yourself, then you will benefit.
Umar al-Khattab is famous to have said “You should reckon yourself before you are being reckoned, you should beutify yourself before …
Maimon Al maraan said “An individual will not have real taqwa until he reckons himself like he judges his business partners” Because here we are trying to be on the course and thus we have to know what is going on.
So you can’t allow yourself to be negligent of what you are doing. You have to be aware of what is going on and what is happening to you. It also includes being aware of what has positive and negative effects on you. So when you find yourself being weak, then the next step is to think about why you’ve changed. And a lot of time there are clear causes. Once you identify the causes, you have to solve those issues. Without recognition, awareness and admission that you’ve made a mistake, you can’t fix the problem. Any 12 steps program begins with self admission of the problem.
4. Keeping in mind the purpose of this journey
You should keep in the mind, the ultimate goal of our journey, which is to please Allah swt. If this is the ultimate in your heart and it is above anything else, then it will help you strive for the sake of Allah swt. You will not do minimum but go above and beyond what they have asked of you. For example, if you love your wife or parents you will try to make them happy in the best manner, the ultimate goal is to please them and thus you strive even more. Of course, w.rt. Allah when we strive to please Allah and be close to Him, the benefit comes back to us. the more we try to go close to Allah, the more He will help us to get closer to Him.
And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.
We are seeking rewards that are in excess of our deeds and this awareness should help us strive to do more
We have to remember the fact the Prophet said that, “No ones deed will cause him to enter Jannah”. We are actually seeking something which is beyond what we deserve, any time you recognize this, that it is better that we should put as much effort than we can, because we know we are going to get in return from Allah which is beyond of what we deserve, We want Allah to shower mercy on us.
What this means is that we should never be lax or lackadaisical of our Imaan. We should not say “Al-hamdulillah I’m a good Muslim.” Iman can be damaged and there’s always room for improvement. We should recognize our shortcoming so we should be striving to do more for the sake of Allah (SWT).
Do our hearts remain attentive throughout the entire Salaah?
Eg. Salaah, most people when they enter the Salaah, there are some parts of the Salaah they drift and their hearts are not into it. E.g. the two rak’ahs of Fajr -- even the shortest prayers -- and ask if you concentrated for the whole duration? Even though we’ve just done an act of worship, which is good thing, still we seek Allah’s forgiveness, as we know that there were shortcoming in our prayers.
If we realize that even in the good things we do, we have some shortcomings, and we should at the very least have the intention that we want to be better. And maybe that sincere intention is enough to please Allah (SWT).
5. Turn to Allah swt and seek His assistance - Make dua
Once you have sincere intention that it is enough to help yourself. Always turning to Allah and seeking His help and guidance. Allah has taught this dua out of His grace and mercy on us, at least 17 times a day we make this dua.
It does not say Ila or Ala siraat al-mustaqeem, rather ihdina siraat al-mustaqeem, because when you drop the preposition, then from balagah perspective it is more powerful, as it is comprehensive form which includes all of those, we need guidance to reach that path also along the path. It is reminder to us that we need Allah’s help throughout.
Also remeber the dua of Prophet (saw) (Page 1547 Volume 3 we will find the dua)
6. The people before us
Another thing which will help us, part of the knowledge that Allah has given to us in the Quran is the knowledge of the people of the past, because other than prophet saw if you put your faith in people then you would be heart broken. Allah gives us the example of Bani Israel who had prophets in their midst over and over gain and they still did all kind of nonsense and disobeyed Allah. After 1400 years from the death of the prophet saw, wouldn’t it affect the Muslim community. This is lesson to us that this kind of things should not effect us. Allah swt said in Suran ar-Ra’d: v120
وَكُلًّا نَّقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ مِنْ أَنبَاءِ الرُّسُلِ مَا نُثَبِّتُ بِهِ فُؤَادَكَ ۚ وَجَاءَكَ فِي هَٰذِهِ الْحَقُّ وَمَوْعِظَةٌ وَذِكْرَىٰ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ
And each [story] We relate to you from the news of the messengers is that by which We make firm your heart. And there has come to you, in this, the truth and an instruction and a reminder for the believers.
Because this part of life, this doesn’t effect the reality of Allah or the deen of Allah, but this will effect you as individual. As we have discussed about the change in the community in past decade where people try to change our course.
7. Finding people to help you
The next point, to help us, is to find good people who also has understanding of the Deen. Being ghuraba is not easy and if you find people who can help you or support you it will be beneficial. But if you cannot find good people then it is better to be a bit distant, otherwise they will negatively impact your iman. Being ghuraba when no support then this might effect your deen.
Prophet (saw) said “You should stick to the jamah. As the wolf attacks the sheep which is lonely”.
The Prophet (SAWS) said that “the individual follows the way of your close friend (al-rajulu ala deen khalilihi), so be careful about your close friend.” But if you’re not watching your deen and keeping an eye on your deen, you might not notice until it’s way too late.
Aabir sabeel means staying the course and not being derailed from the path that is correct.
Impact on believer who has attitude of being a stranger or traveller on a path
When a believer looks at this dunya and he has this attitude of being a stranger or being a traveller on a path, it is going to affect him in many ways.
1. Able to handle trials and tribulations more easily than others
Since all of his heart (emotions) is not in this dunya, his heart is some place else, and his emotions are some place else, the true believer is able to handle trials and tribulations, such as loss of health, loss of property, any kind of loss... When they loose something of this dunya, for them who are attached to this world, they loose all hope. You could see how people reacted during the great depression or stock market crashes during 1930s and 1980s, when they lost everything, they committed suicide, they felt that there is no more need to live.
But if a believer loses things in this dunya, and since his heart is not attached to it and if he is patient, then it will lessen his loss.
2. Avoiding competition with people of this dunya
Believers are not competing with the people of this dunya. People of this dunya, their whole life and effort is directed towards this dunya. All of their energies are put into this dunya. First of all, believers should not compete with them, you should also be aware that you have limited time and resources in this dunya, so you would focus this limited resource effectively. As economists say that there is scarcity of resources in this world, so everything is based on cost benefit analysis. If you are aware your benefits in hereafter, you will not spend all of your time in the affairs of this dunya, you would be more balanced and spend it in the masjid, reading the Quran, and try to sacrifice something of this dunya.
So for example a normal western person might spend 80 hours working. But if you are to go to the masjid, worship etc, then you have to sacrifice some of that time. Adding more and more to your wealth is not that important for you.
Hadith: “Whoever prefers the dunya, he will harm the hereafter and Whoever loves the Hereafter will harm the dunya. So give preference to the one which is going to last forever then the one which is going to demise.”
It highlights the limited resources and instructs to set up your priorities and goals for the hereafter.
We fall into the competition with the kufar, and we try to out perform them with respect to this dunya. It will be difficult, because they will put all of their effort, ruling out ethical behavior, but just their resources into this dunya. This is not where our efforts should be focused.
3. Paradox: Honor, respect and dignity comes more easily to one who is not giving preference to this dunya
You have to obey and respect Allah swt. The paradox of this dunya is that you give preference to the Hereafter, and if we do it as an ummah as a whole, then Allah swt gives us the honor and respect and dignity also in this world.
Allah swt says in Surah Fatir: v10
مَن كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْعِزَّةَ فَلِلَّهِ الْعِزَّةُ جَمِيعًاSahih International
Whoever desires honor [through power] - then to Allah belongs all honor.
Hadith “If someone has hereafter as his main concern, Allah will make this..... the dunya will come to him”
If you are true to Allah swt as a whole, Allah swt will bless you in this dunya. As Allah swt said in surah an-Nur: v55
وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَىٰ لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُم مِّن بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا ۚ يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَSahih International
Allah has promised those who have believed among you and done righteous deeds that He will surely grant them succession [to authority] upon the earth just as He granted it to those before them and that He will surely establish for them [therein] their religion which He has preferred for them and that He will surely substitute for them, after their fear, security, [for] they worship Me, not associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that - then those are the defiantly disobedient.
وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ ۙ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌSahih International: al-Maida: 9
Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds [that] for them there is forgiveness and great reward.
Allah swt promised the early Muslim community, that those who believe and do good deeds in this world, Allah swt will bring them honor and dignity????
We should never want to be like the people of this dunya, as they are going to put all of their efforts to gather more and more in this dunya. We have to be ready to put some of our efforts in the hereafter and this might hurt our dunya, but that is not our goal and our purpose. And hence we should not judge ourselves against the kufar in matters of wordly riches.
4. Realization that this dunya is just a stage in our life
We should realize that this dunya is a stage in our life. It is an important and real stage, it is not an illusion, it’s importance is that we should use the resources in this life for the purpose of the hereafter. We should not neglect this world, ordering good and eradicating evil is being part of this dunya, but the purpose behind this should be to please Allah swt and not to seek benefit in this world. Similarly supporting ourselves and our families is being part of this dunya and we have to use halal resources for this purpose.
Q: You mentioned last time that one of the things that will help us it to judge ourselves, can you elaborate that what kind of things can we do to judge ourselves?
A: An important step in that regards is to make an honest account of what you are doing. Humans internally have feeling that they are getting stronger in Iman, but unless you take time to think and reflect to see which things are working and which are not working, you cannot be effective in course correction.
There are some who don't have any time at all to reflect, they are busy all of the time, and this is a characteristic of this society, some believe that this is the goal of this society. There is a political science philosophy that keep people busy such that they don’t have time to reflect on dhulm that is being committed to them. if you don’t keep society busy, then they will have time to reflect and to revolt, as can be seen by the number of jobless in the US and the Occupy movement that is going on right now.
Consult with people you trust, they can give you feedback on how you are doing. It is important to be with the jama’ah and in the company of good people. Their example will help you and make you reflect on your own affairs. So you have work both through internal and external means.
Q: Why dunya becomes easy when you are working for hereafter, is it a test from Allah swt?
A: When someone is just concerned about this dunya, they are the one’s who realize when they have even lost one penny, because the dunya has become so important to them. Even though they are deeply engrossed in this dunya, they are always worried about loosing it. Any kind of loss becomes difficult for them. Even Allah swt gives them but He makes sure that they will never receive true happiness or content from this dunya. While the one working for hereafter, Allah swt will provide for him and give him content that he thinks he has much more than he actually has.
When Allah swt blesses the ummah as a whole, it can be a trial, and if you are prepared for it, then you will be ready for the trial.
Q: You see people suffering whole of their life during childhood, e.g. in Afghanistan, so when these people grow up they are revengeful and have difficulty in developing a true understanding of Islam????
A: One thing to keep in mind when you talk about suffering in this world is that Allah swt is not going to commit dhulm to any human being. If human being is suffering something in this dunia, if they are deserving something better, Allah swt is not going to keep them in that suffering. The suffering of this dunya and if they are deserving of something better, then Allah swt will reward you. You have to keep in mind the words from that hadith that on day of judgement people will come to Allah swt who had the harshest life and when He will show them some of bounties from Jannah, they will forget all of their suffering. Similarly the person who goes into hellfire, will not recall any of the pleasures of this dunya.
Allah swt does not wrong any one and He is just. We cannot comprehend all of the wisdom of Allah swt, how He provides for people and keep them in the state they are in, but it is not based on any dhulm. The bad situation that we are in is due to our own actions. We should reflect upon the things that we are doing, and it is not surprising that Allah swt does not change the situation, because we are committing fasaad in this dunya. Most human beings have compassion in their heart. And that should have a stronger effect on you and you should try to change yourself and change the society as a whole. You should be inspired to change the society when you look at the negatives of this dunya or society.
In the long run, Allah swt is not going to treat anyone injustly, they might suffer a lot, but there will be a time, when they will not be concerned about the suffering that they had to endure.
Additional statement of the Prophet not included by Imam Nawawi and Imam Bukhari in their works
Next part of the hadith which is not included in the textbook. Imam Nawawi took this hadeeth from Bukhari, who did not include this additional part.
The prophet saws said, that you should reckon or count yourself as the inhabitant of the grave.
The reason why Bukhari did not include this part, because the narrator, Layth ibn Abu Sulaim who as he became older started making more mistakes. He did not reach senility but his mistakes grew with is age. With respect to narrators the scholars of hadeeth are very particular about this. Bukhari’s approache in his Saheeh, if he has any doubt about a person he will not include that. This extra portion is accepted by Albani and Suhaib al Arnoot. Because there are other hadeeth which convey the same meaning. This portion fits in here very well. When you are stranger or traveller on path, it is as if he is putting us in the next stage of our journey. Entering the next stage of entering the grave is reality and this cannot be denied.
In three places in the Qur’an, Allah swt reminds us about the death “kullu nafsin dhaiaqatul maut” and Allah swt told Prophet “Innaka Mayyit wa Innahum mayyitoon”.
Indeed, you are to die, and indeed, they are to die.
Death is an eventuality and you cannot escape it
Death is something you cannot escape. This is the reality every one knows but we human being do our best to put death out of our minds especially current civilization as this is consumption driven time. The last thing they want to think is about death. At the same time in this civilization the death is more nearer to them and all around in comparison to the past where in a village 2 or 3 person would die in that village in a year. Now in media there are lot of news about the death but we have immuned ourselves from the death.
Near death experiences
Since we cannot escape the death, it is time to take the reminders that Allah has around us about the death. This advice given to Ibn Umar is that you are already virtually dead. Your time is coming for sure and it is reminder how did u prepare for that. Sheikh shared about his experience hiking when they came face to face with a bear.
Near death experience sometimes changes you immediately, but over time it fades away. you eventually forget it. You don’t want to always be faced with near death experiences in order to be thinking about death. You don’t want to wait until its too late. We see people dying around us for no reason at all, we have to start thinking about that.
Ibn Masud said that “the one who is going to be happy in the long run, they take lessons from other people’s experience around them”.
When are we going to take death seriously in our life?
Quotation from a famous person, موتوا قبل أن تموتوا و حاسبوا أنفسكم قبل أن تحاسبوا, you should die before your death actually comes, and you should judge yourself before you are judged.
Important lessons derived from death
We will discuss three important things with respect to death
1. What are the important lessons from thinking about death?
2. Best kind of reminders for thinking about death?
3. How are we going to prepare for our death?
Classroom discussion about lessons from death
i) It puts things into perspective, we may get stressed about things that do not deserve our time and energy -- you may get worried about a dent in your car, but that really doesn’t matter globally.
ii) You become humble -- you realize at the end you will be stuck in a hole in the ground.
iii)It makes you realize that the end could come -- even before you have time to make tawbah. So it should make you worry about sinning. When you do something that you know is wrong, you can downplay it. However, when you bring remeberance of death in your mind you may consider every sin as a grave sin and rush to tawbah.
iv) There is thinking in communities that we will think about death when we are old, basically when they are unable to commit any sins. But this thinking is a grave mistake. Young people die, we see athletes and youth who are in the prime of their health, die, and this occurs often
v) It opens our eyes and we realize how much time we are wasting on frivolous things. And this also happens when we fast, since some have less energy towards the end of the ramadan and they stay away from things that are meaningless.
vi) If you keep in mind grave and death, you begin to realize that there are lot of things which is not helping in the final destination also you will realize that you are wasting valuable time where you can work towards your final destination
vii) It also reminds that we are traveller, this journey no one can escape, everyone is going to get there, but are we prepared to face Allah. Our ultimate goal is to face Allah.
viii) We should think about our inter-personal relation ships, is our pride holding us from have proper relationship with others. Mending our relationship with others is much more important, than holding a grudge against somebody, when we are about to face Allah swt. It should impact how we behave towards others.
ix) Creates a sense of urgency for taubah or repentance, and also your relationship with others. It is easy in this society to spend all your time in the dunya, and thinking or remembrance of death, will drive to seek this balance in this world.
x) It makes you realize how temporary are the things of this world. The world is all fleeting. Even if you try to bury yourself with your wealth, this is not going to help you in the grave.
Next time we will mention hadeeth of the prophet, Prophet mentioned a point which is not exactly captured in the classroom discussion and we will discuss it next time, Insha-Allah.
We are discussing benefits of remembering death.
What Prophet saws has said about death is also recorded by Ali in sahih Bukhari. Ali said, The world is moving away from us and the hereafter is moving towards us. Each one has its people, so be among the people of the hereafter. Today is striving (doing deeds) with no reckoning whereas tomorrow there will be reckoning with no deeds.
Allah swt has reminded us in Surah Maida [5:106] that death is musibah:
O you who have believed, testimony [should be taken] among you when death approaches one of you at the time of bequest - [that of] two just men from among you or two others from outside if you are traveling through the land and the disaster of death should strike you. Detain them after the prayer and let them both swear by Allah if you doubt [their testimony, saying], "We will not exchange our oath for a price, even if he should be a near relative, and we will not withhold the testimony of Allah . Indeed, we would then be of the sinful."
Death is the greatest musibah or calamity that can strike you.
Qurtubi said about death that it is the greatest clamity and it is the most terrifying thing. It is the destroyer of comfort. Qurtabi wrote this in the book of hereafter. Then in his tafseer Qurtabi adds that even though death is a big disaster, even bigger disaster is not thinking about death, not pondering about death and not to be prepared for it or plan for it. And in it is a great reminder for one who thinks or ponders.
When you think about this world, or disasters of this world, people plan for disasters, get all kind of insurances for clamities that might never occur. They are intelligent enough to plan for it, the greatest affliction that they know is coming for sure, yet they are not planning for it. They try their best to ignore it.
Reality is that we cannot escape death, “we need to embrace it.” We can benefit from it’s reminder and we can plan for it and work for its eventuality.
We do not try to escape it i.e. reality and we face the reality and prepare for this reality. Remembering death and thinking about death often is mentioned in the books of fiqh of most school as Mustahabb. For these book of fiqh to highlight this quality and say this is mustahabb is very interesting, as in fiqh you don’t find many things about tazkiya.The more and more you remember about death it will benefit us.
Benefits of thinking about death
Among the things that ulema have mentioned about benefits from remembering death are:
1) Remembering death makes you yearn for hereafter
The existence of hereafter is much greater than what we are experiencing in this life. If we know what is Hereafter from Qur’an we know the greatness of it. When you remember death, you remember that this is first step to the other existence. This is where believer experience the best thing and the best of all is to see Allah and have the pleasure of Allah. When you remember death it is the first step to that existence. When you yearn for something then that will make things for you easier to work for that goal. For example, the students who wants to earn some kind of degree, you see that they yearn for it. They work hard for it and still it seems easier as they have this goal in their mind.
2) It also lessens your dreams or desires of this world.
Which means less stress, less anxiety in this world
3) Repenting to Allah swt before it is too late
Reminds you to do actions related to the Hereafter, e.g. tawbah. It is a reminder that your actions will come to an end. In this life we have fixed resources, even if you live a hundred years, in the grand scheme of things it means nothing. But there are some exceptions to that. When you think about your death, you realize that you will live a very short life.
There are things that you do which will continue to give you reward even after the death, thus plan accordingly to do those kind of deeds which will benefit you even after his death. There is hadith from Prophet (saw) about three deeds
(حديث مرفوع) أَخْبَرَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ خُزَيْمَةَ ، قِرَاءَةً عَلَيْهِ قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ حُجْرٍ ، قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ ، عَنِالْعَلاءِ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ، أَنّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ , قَالَ : " إِذَا مَاتَ الْمُؤْمِنُ انْقَطَعَ عَمَلُهُ إِلا مِنْ ثَلاثٍ : صَدَقَةٍ جَارِيَةٍ ، أَوْ عِلْمٍ يُنْتَفَعُ بِهِ ، أَوْ وَلَدٍ صَالِحٍ يَدْعُو لَهُ " .
When an individual dies, his actions cease, except for three that continue to exist for him after he dies, continuous charity (sadaqatun jariyah), knowledge that you have passed on that is benefited by, or a righteous child that makes dua for you.
Among the deeds that will benefit for you are the above three that will benefit for you after your death.
4) Rectify or straighten your affairs of the world before it is too late
It makes you realize getting your affairs right with respect to this Duniya and people here. If you have wronged someone, that action will not come to end just because you have died. Like Prophet (Saw) said “If someone has wronged anyone, you should get that issue resolved right there before there comes a time when there is no dinar or dirham and only thing he will take from you is your good deeds during the reckoning, If you don’t have any good deed then you will be burdened with some of his sins.”
Thus if you have done wrong to someone here and you remember the death, if you dont take care of this in this duniya then your good deed will be taken away. As your good deeds are the only wealth you have in the hereafter.
Sometimes we have very petty issues with others, you dont want this petty issue to be any source of harm when you leave this world, and many times this happens within the close relationship, such as between brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. These kinds of things are not wroth it when you think about death. grave and hereafter. This purifying the relationship with these people.
5) Helps in softening of the heart
A woman came to Ayesha and said that her heart has become hard and she advised here to remember death, and after she did that her heart softened. The hardness of heart is a sign that you are giving too much to duniya.
6) Hadeeth of the Prophet that describes death and benefits of remembering death
(حديث مرفوع) أنا أَبُو بَكْرٍ , ثنا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يُونُسَ بْنِ مُوسَى الْكُدَيْمِيُّ , ثنا عِيسَى بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الْبِرَكِيُّ , ثنا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ بْنُ مُسْلِمٍ الْقَسْمَلِيُّ , عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ عَلْقَمَةَ , عَنْ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ , عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ , قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ : " أَكْثِرُوا مِنْ ذِكْرِ هَادِمِ اللَّذَّاتِ , فَمَا ذَكَرَهُ أَحَدٌ فِي سِعَةٍ إِلا ضَيَّقَهَا عَلَيْهِ ، وَلا فِي ضِيقٍ إِلا وَسَّعَهُ عَلَيْهِ " .
In a hadeeth prophet described death, he said, “Remember the destroyer (Removes the pleasure from the foundation) of pleasures - death - often. Verily no one remembers death in times of good, other than it narrowed it on them (bring them down), and nor in difficulty except that it makes matter easier for them.
If you have financial difficulties in this world and it is the only thing on your mind, then your life becomes very hard, but when you remember death, then you would realize that it is not worth it.
7) Death teaches us to be patient in this life
This will make us realizes that the things of duniya should not burden us and if we are patience at this time this will benefit more when we meet Allah. And one who remembers it during times of ease except ..
8) Pleasures of the life are brought to an end by thinking about death
Some time people have riches and things are easier to them, some time it can get to the point when they says “This is the life” this feeling could be brought to end when you remember about the grave. As this will remind that this is not the life and all of this pleasure is going to end.
9) Life of the hereafter is the real life
And this worldly life is not but diversion and amusement. And indeed, the home of the Hereafter - that is the [eternal] life, if only they knew.
Even as muslim, we start enjoying things of this life, but real life is hereafter and we always have to continue thinking about this to bring us back down to Earth.
10) “If you remember death very often it make things very clear for you.”
Remembering the incident about the car where a group of Muslims were travelling and their car was involved in an accident, they were listening to music and as soon as the accident happened they switched to recitation of the Quran. When they were listening to music..... before that incident they were discussing about the music, whether it is haram or makrooh, but once they were reminded about death and what could have happened to them, now they just want to do what is right or safe leaving the doubtful matter.
(Just as the hadeeth say about leave the doubtful matter da3 maa yuribuk ). Because when you remember the death you want to stay away from doubtful matter as they don’t want to get in the situation which might costing yourself in the long run even though in this world you may get few minutes of pleasure. If someone remebers the death often he is not going to be looking for loop holes, technicalities and excuses for doing something doubtful. If some thing is doubtful he is going to leave it immediately.
11) The more you remember about hereafter, the lesser this world becomes
One of the early scholar Daqqaaq summarized three benefits of remembering death.
Whoever remembers death often
1. He will hasten to repent
2. He will be content with his lot
3. He will have energy to do more
Whoever remembers life often
1. Will delay repentance
2. He will not be content
3. He will be lazy
Abu Darda said “Whoever remembers the death often, his joy will be reduced (which we get from the worldly things) and his envy will be reduced.”
Why should you envy over something in this duniya if things of this dunya don’t matter to you anyways then why should you care if someone has more of it. As you put things in proper place and his envy will be reduced.
12) Thinking about death a lot, can increase your Yaqeen about hereafter and about Allah.
Over the years sheikh met with atheist, the most of the atheist out there are not serious. Sheikh had a colleague, his philosophy was that he could prove that he existed and he couldn’t prove that anybody else existed. The point behind is he hardly believes that this world existed. Once sheikh discussed with him a point which was difficult even for the atheist, because it has to do with our fitrah and it is very hard to deny. The question that sheikh asked was that what we are doing in this world is that the end of it and there is nothing after this, this means that everything you are doing in this life is meaningless. it is very hard for atheist to come to conclusion that what we do in this world in only thing and there is nothing after the death, and to come to conclusion is difficult as there is no meaning for this life.
If this life is meaningless, then you can be doing anything without worrying about the consequences, so why restrain yourself? Shaikh narrated a story about his chaplin career, when he met a prisoner who was an atheist, who believed nothing matters in this world and there is no God. Shaikh asked him why did you kill? he replied because that person infuriated me. Sheikh said if there is no purpose to this life and you are infuriated then why did not you kill yourself? That made him even more angry.
Thinking about death will lead you to think about hereafter, this great existence then becomes very purposeful in your mind. You cannot think that these things have no purpose and we are going to get wasted in the end. especially for the Muslim, it is going to make him think that this idea that everything what you do here doesn’t have any ramifiication later is not possible as this is part of Fitrah which even atheist feel this. You will certain about hereafter, actions that we do in this world do matter and this certainty will have positive effect on your life.
This certainty in the Hereafter also has an effect on us in the dunya. The Prophet (SAWS) taught us a dua:
اللهم اقسم لنا من خشيتك ما تحول به بيننا وبين معاصيك ، ومن طاعتك ما تبلغنا به جنتك ، ومن اليقين ما تهون به علينا مصائب الدنيا ، ومتعنا بأسماعنا وأبصارنا وقوتنا ما أحييتنا ، واجعله الوارث منا ، واجعل ثأرنا على من ظلمنا ، وانصرنا على من عادانا ، ولا تجعل مصيبتنا في ديننا ، ولا تجعل الدنيا أكبر همنا ولا مبلغ علمنا ، ولا تسلط علينا من لا يخافك فينا ولا يرحمنا“O Allah give us kind of certainity that will make easy upon us the afflictions of this life”
13) It helps us to have proper kind of Hayaa towards Allah (SWT)
It assists us in feeling Allah swt’s presence and awe that we should have towards Allah, part of what is required from us to fulfill the propher Hayaa towards Allah is to remember the destroyer of the pleasures which is death.
رواه الترمذي عن عبد الله بن مسعود قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "استحيوا من الله حق الحياء. قال: قلنا: يا رسول الله، إنا نستحي والحمد لله، قال: ليس ذاك، ولكن الاستحياء من الله حق الحياء أن تحفظ الرأس وما وعى، والبطن وما حوى، ولتذكر الموت والبلى، ومن أراد الآخرة ترك زينة الدنيا، فمن فعل ذلك استحيا من الله حق الحياء".
“Have Haya from Allah to the amount that he is deserving to have haya” Sahaba responded “We have Hayaa O messager of Allah, we glorify and praise Allah” Prophet (saw) said: “This is not it, Hayaa towards Allah that he deserves is for person to be mindful of his head and of his senses, and the stomach and bodily parts near to it, and to remember death and afflictions. And whoever wishes for the hereafter let him leave the beautifications of this life. Whoever does these things has haya from Allah that He deserves.”
So we learn from this hadith that with respect Allah haya means certain kind of acts which are pleasing to Him.
Those are the some of the importance and benefits about remembering the death.
This remeberence of death and the grave, you dont want to make it as routine which doenst have any efefct of you. You want to make it part of regiment, you dont have to wait for near death situation or to get to a time when you are scared and that is when you think about death.
What is the best time to remember death and the answer is now is the best time to think about death.
It is strange that not many scholars have written about when is the best time to think about death.
1) When an individual goes to bed at night
There was study done about sleep. they said if you go to bed and fall asleep right away this means this you have worked to hard which is not good. At the same time if you take 30 min to fall asleep this is also not good. But ideal time is that it should take about 12 -15 minutes to go to sleep. There will be a time where it is just you and your thought and Allah, this is good time to think about death, this is propbably only few mintuers. There is certain reason why this time is good time, the most obvious thing this when you fall sleep you are entering a small death and Propeht S(Aw) said “An-naum Akhu l mawth”
And it is He who takes your souls by night and knows what you have committed by day. Then He revives you therein that a specified term may be fulfilled. Then to Him will be your return; then He will inform you about what you used to do.
Allah says “ yatawaffakum”
In this “Lam tamthoo fee manamiha”
Allah takes the souls at the time of their death, and those that do not die [He takes] during their sleep. Then He keeps those for which He has decreed death and releases the others for a specified term. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.
Allah describes the sleep as maut, we see that many people die in the sleep. This is what ulema called small death.
You are already entering a kind of death, and if you don’t think about the death at that time, then we are not sure when we will remember death.
The dua itself what we make should remind us about the death. When you go to sleep you make the dua “Allahuma Biismika Amutu wa Ahyaya” When you wake up the first Dua you make also reminds us about the death “Alahamdulillah alladhi ahyana ba’da amatana wa ilahi an-nashur”. In another dua “Radda alayhi rohi”
There is no other time closer to death to reflect upon death is this time when you go to bed as there is no one to disturb you as you are doing your dhikr and you are all by yourself. And this is where you have to make it part of your regiment. If you do this everyday this will have some effect on you in some manner and this will not go waste. This is like daily reminder about death, many times we don’t think about things which are more important. Although Allah has given us such a good time and right time to remind about death and we have to make use of it. Unfortunately none of the scholars who speak about death point this out.
When we speak about thinking about death, we are not talking that it is far off thing, but this is reality. You should realize that once your ruh is taken from you it may not come back and any one of that night might not come back you. This should be enough as the reminder to think about the death. If Allah gives you life next day than you should make changes in you.
Sometimes there are something which have lasting impact on you, like near death experience. But seeing death and seeing dead people and seeing people close to death and to see how people eventually die, this can have effect you. Prophet (saw) “Information is not like actually seeing something.”
(حديث مرفوع) حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَلِيٍّ ، قثنا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُعَلَّى الدَّوْرَقِيُّ ، قثنا يَعْقُوبُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الدَّوْرَقِيُّ ، قثنا هُشَيْمٌ ، عَنْأَبِي بِشْرٍ ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَيْرٍ ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : " لَيْسَ الْخَبَرُ كَالْمُعَايَنَةِ " .
If you visit a hospice you will learn lot of things about death and as ibn masood said “we have to learn from other people”, you will see individuals people who were enjoying their dunya but now he is helpless there in his wheel chair, that individual might have been rich in this duniya, but he is in a state and he will be in that few hours but he is completely cut off from this dunya. All things what you yearned might be gone before even death comes to him. He may be rich but all those things are useless for him, this is completely meaningless this is even before death comes to him. This is importance for us to remind about the death to put things in proper perspective.
All of these things will be helping us embrace death in the way we described.
Imagine what it would be like if he’s dead. If he does not remember death, these things are completely meaningless. So it’s important to put things in a proper perspective, and to benefit from this remebrance. All of these are means of helping us embrace death.
Q: The clamity of deatg, is it not easy for the believers?
Death has his pangs on everyone, when the soul leaves the body, it will be smooth in the case of Believer, for the disbeliver this is torture for that person, and will be difficult situation. Pangs of death both believer and disbeliever are going to face, after that one torment the things will be easy for the believer. Ibn Masood once said “weather you are believer or disbeliever, the death will benefit you” think about this statement we will discuss it next time.
We are discussing the portion of the hadeeth that is not mentioned by Imam Nawawi and also not mentioned by Bukhari.
After prophet told Umar to be a stranger, then he said to him to reckon himself from the people in the grave. We are discussing what effect this advice should have upon us.
What is the most effective time to think about the death?
Just before you are about to sleep. At this time you are slipping into a minor death. And if you cannot reflect about death during this time then it is a sign that you are hearts are dead or have grown cold. You should be able to reflect upon death when you are drifting into a minor death. There is no way for you to be sure that you will come out of this minor death. This is a good time to ponder upon death and what it means and how to prepare for it.
Another time to think about death is during salah.
Prophet saws said: you should remember death in your prayers, the person who thinks about death, will do his best to perfect his prayer and he is going to think that there is no other prayer after his death.
If you add another hadeeth, in which prophet said, the first thing that an individual would be held accountable would be his salat. If salat is good then everything else will be accepted and if his salah is not good then his other deeds will be rejected.
حدثنا جرير بن عبد الحميد الضبي عن منصور عن تميم بن سلمة قال : أول ما يسأل عنه العبد يسأل عن صلاته ، فإن تقبلت منه تقبل منه سائر عمله ، وإن ردت عليه رد عليه سائر عمله .
You would not want your salat to be deficient, if this is the last chance that you have, you would want it to be perfect. And if this feeling does not arise then it might be a reflection upon the rest of your actions.
There is a general rule about Musnad al Firduas by al-Daylami, if you only find a hadith in there, then you can say that it is weak. But this hadeeth that you can only find in Musnad al Firdaus which is saheeh. (an exception)
Hadeeth in Musnad of Ahmad: When you stand for your prayer, pray as if it is your farewell prayer.
حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ ، قَالَ : نا الْحَسَنُ بْنُ رَاشِدِ بْنِ عَبْدِ رَبِّهِ الْوَاسِطِيُّ ، قَالَ : أَخْبَرَنِي أَبِي رَاشِدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ رَبِّهِ ، قَالَ : نا نَافِعٌ ، قَالَ : سَمِعْتُ ابْنَ عُمَرَ ، يَقُولُ : أَتَى النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رَجُلٌ فَقَالَ : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ حَدِّثْنِي حَدِيثًا وَاجْعَلْهُ مُوجَزًا ، فَقَالَ لَهُ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : " صَلِّ صَلاةَ مُوَدِّعٍ كَأَنَّكَ تَرَاهُ ، فَإِنْ كُنْتَ لا تَرَاهُ فَإِنَّهُ يَرَاكَ ، وَأْيَسْ مِمَّا فِي أَيْدِي النَّاسِ تَكُنْ غَنِيًّا ، وَإِيَّاكَ وَمَا يُعْتَذَرُ مِنْهُ " .
Imams when they stand for prayer say “Pray as though this is your last prayer” -- there is no hadeeth that the prophet used to say this before salah, but they derive this from many different hadeeth of the prophet.
If you remember death, then it can have positive impact on your prayer and and good salah should have a positive effect on the rest of your life, so it is an exponential effect.
Another time to think about death is when you are ill.
Prophet said that verily Allah accepts taubah of an individual as long as the soul is not about to leave his body.
At a minimum the sick person can feel remorse. prophet saw said “essence of taubah is remorse”. There is not much that he can do to fix his acts from the past, the least he can do is feel remorse, and we hope that Allah swt accepts from his repentance.
Other things that you can do to remind you of death
1. Visiting the graves.
2. Attend the washing of the dead body.
3. Being present when the person is about to die
3a. Volunteer to work a few months at hospice, where people are at final stages or days of their lives. When you spend time at hospice, a verse from Quran will come to your mind, where Allah swt says that wealth and children are an adornment but ....
Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one's] hope.
At hospice you see that the individual has not even died yet but all of the material wealth amounts to nothing. He cannot benefit from it. The only thing that matter are the good deeds.
4. Attending a funeral and following the funeral procession
5. Reciting the Quran, throughout the Quran there are many verses that remind you about death.
6. As you get old, it should remind you of death.
someone once said “a good way to remember death is getting old”
7. Thinking about things that happen in this world such as earthquakes and tsunamis that bring death to many people, which reminds us of the fragility of this life and how death can come suddenly.
8. Reflecting about the people who have gone before us
These things will make death more of a reality and it will help you prepare for death.
Visiting the graves
It should have a specific purpose. Unfortunately the concept of visiting a grave has changed, and is not aligned with the sunnah of the prophet. Unfortunately the things have changed and you see this throughout the Muslim world. you will find shrines, graves of righteous people. Nowadays people go to these graves for specific purpose to benefit them, usually it is to seek barakah by touching these graves or beseaching the person in the grave to ask for something. In end instead of getting benefit, they are harming themselves by doing things that are very different than sunnah.
We don’t have dargahs in the US. There is a mosque in California, that wished that they could have done that (to build a mosque on grave), but the laws in the US do not allow it, so they have a fake grave in it.
It is not allowed for us to pray in a mosque that has a grave in it. So the fiqh question is it permissible to pray in a mosque that has a fake grave.
People are doing acts of bida’ or shirk. They go to touch the graves to get barakah from it, they pray towards the grave. All of these things are prohibited in shariah. They seek istighaatha from the person in the grave. They pray directly towards the individual in the grave. They are seeking help from somebody other than Allah swt.
Instead of going to the grave and making dua for the individual in the grave and reflecting on death, we are instead doing the opposite.
Prophet (saw) originally prohibited us from visiting the grave. He finally allowed them to visit the graves.
Ulema discuss why there were prohibited from visiting the grave.
This idea of going and doing acts of shirk are not unique to Muslims, it existed in Hindus, Catholics and at times of Jahiliayaah people were performing shirk when they visited the graves. The prohibition was to keep Muslims from committing the acts of shirk while they were new to Islam.
Prophet said, that “I used to prohibit you from visiting the graves.”
We should take a lesson from it and think about why it was prohibited. And we should think about what is going on at the graves today. If we see the same cause appearing in the ummah then we should take serious action. Muslim authorities know that people are going to perform shirk when they visit graves, then they should be warned and cautioned from doing this act.
Prophet explained what is the reason for visiting the grave. Prophet said, “I used to prohibit you from visiting the graves, go and visit them now for they are reminders (of the hereafter).”
(حديث مرفوع) أخبرنا أبو بكر محمد بن علي بن محمد النيسابوري , أنا عيسى بن أحمد بن وردان البلخي ، أنا الله بن وهب ، أنا أسامة بن زيد أن محمد بن يحيى بن حبان ، أخبره أن واسع بن حبان , أخبره أن أبا سعيد الخدري ، حدثه أن رسول الله قال : " نهيتكم عن زيارة القبور فزوروها , فإن فيها عبرة , ونهيتكم ، عن النبيذ ألا فانتبذوا ولا أحل مسكرا ونهيتكم عن لحوم الأضاحي فكلوا وادخروا " .
#1 Prophet said, in visiting the graves there is a lesson.
#2 Prophet told us to visit the graves, “it makes the heart soft, and tears your eyes. So visit them and do not say any words that are false or untrue (hujraa).
Hujraa means any words that are baatil, including acts/words of shirk, kufr etc
Dua when we visit the graves is a reminder that we will be joining them shortly.
(حديث مرفوع) حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ ، عَنْ عَلْقَمَةَ بْنِ مَرْثَدٍ ، عَنِ ابْنِ بُرَيْدَةَ ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ ، قَالَ : كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ يُعَلِّمُهُمْ إِذَا خَرَجُوا إِلَى الْمَقَابِرِ أَنْ يَقُولُوا : سَلامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الدِّيَارِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمِينَ وَإِنَّا إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ بِكُمْ لاحِقُونَ , أَنْتُمْ لَنَا فَرَطٌ وَنَحْنُ لَكُمْ تَبَعٌ نَسْأَلُ اللَّهَ لَنَا وَلَكُمُ الْعَافِيَةَ "
Peace be upon you the inhabitants of the graves among the believers we are inshaallah going to join you..... and we ask allah for your wellbeing.
If we combine the hadith #1 abd #2 quoted above then we know the reasons why we visit graves: It is a reminder about death and it softens our heart.
Ulema say that it is mustahab to visit the graves.
Ibn Hazm said that it is obligatory to visit the grave at least once during your lifetime, since it is a command from the prophet to visit the grave. (fazarooha)
Is it allowed for sisters to visit the graves?
The majority opinion is that it is haraam for women to visit the graves and it is based on a hadeeth.
Hadeeth: “Allah has cursed the zawwaraat (female visitors) to the grave.” (Laanallahu zawwaratu al-quboor)
Wailing and cursing Allah or saying things in an emotional state to question Allah is not allowed whatsoever. People go beyond what is allowed in shariah, there has to be patience at the times of clamities. Prophet saw said “the patience is at the first strike of the clamity”. One of the reasons why sisters are not allowed, is because they might start crying or wailing and these are beyond what is acceptable and is not among the manners of visiting graves in shariah.
However that is not the only opinion. Al Albaani has a lengthy discussion about it. He demonstrates that the permission that the prophet saws gave abrogates anything that came before. In the hadeeth prophet saws used a masculine form but it should cover females too, as discussed in the Arabic grammar class. This is in reference to the hadeeth where the prophet said that I used to prohibit you from visiting the graves....
The word that Prophet (SAWS) used in the hadeeth zawwaraat (زوّارات) is an intensive form rather than the regular form (زائرات), it signifies one who goes repeatedly, they are the ones who are cursed. Maybe you are putting yourself in a situation where in you are unable to control yourself and go beyond the limits of the shari’ah.
You can reconcile all of the reports and you can come to the conclusion that Albaani and Muqbil bin Haadi has come to and that it is permissible for women to visit the graves. (note: in this case the minority opinion is the strongest opinion)
The illa or legal reasoning is same for the men and women, it is a reminder about the death. We should behave properly and since women are more emotional by nature, they are highlighted in the hadeeth.
Following the funeral procession
The opinion that it is permissible for women to follow is split. Majority opinion is that it is permissible or slightly disliked for women to attend and follow the funeral and it is based on the hadith where prophet saw told the women to not attend the funeral but he said that not in a strict way. And if it is closer to the time of death, perhaps it is more compassionate for them and they are exempted from following the funeral procession.
Therefore it is best for women to not attend the funeral prayer or to follow it.
The main purpose for the above actions is to prepare for your death. When you prepare for death, then the grave and death becomes good for you.
Weak hadeeth: “The gift for believers is death”
Authentic hadeeth: The dunya is like a prison for muslims but Jannah for the kaafir.
Most of the slave American music is very sad. However the song “When saints go marching....” is an upbeat song, but it is a funeral march, because it is an expression of relief for the slaves that the place they are going is better than their current condition.
According to ibn Masud, whether or not you are pious or impious, the death is better than the life.
How is death better than life for any individual? For pious it is quite obvious, but how come it is better for impious?
If the individual was a pious individual then he says what is with Allah is better. And if the person is impious, then he quotes Surah al Imran verse 178. which implies that the respite given to the disbeliever is not better for them rather it is given to them so that they can increase in their sins and deserve sever torment. So for disbeliever death ends their chance to committ evil and sins and even more makes them escape an increase in their level of punishment.
(حديث موقوف) حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ سِنَانٍ الْوَاسِطِيُّ ، ثنا أَبُو مُعَاوِيَةَ ، ثنا الأَعْمَشُ ، عَنْ خَيْثَمَةَ ، قَالَ الأَسْوَدُ : قَالَ : قَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّه : " مَا مِنْ نَفْسٍ بَرَّةٍ وَلا فَاجِرَةٍ إِلا الْمَوْتُ خَيْرٌ لَهَا ، لَئِنْ كَانَ فَاجِرًا ، لَقَدْ قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى : وَلا يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ خَيْرٌ لأَنْفُسِهِمْ إِنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ لِيَزْدَادُوا إِثْمًا وَلَهْمُ عَذَابٌ مُهِينٌ سورة آل عمران آية 178 " .
When you reflect upon death and make death a reality, you will be prepared for it. Which is the point of another hadith from prophet saw
Someone once asked the Prophet (SAWS) about the hour and when will it be established. Prophet looked at the youngest among them and pointed to him and said, if this one grows to be old, then your hour will be already established.
Your hour is when you die. Your reckoning begins as soon as you leave this dunya, first in grave and then in the hereafter.
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، وَجَاءَهُ رَجُلٌ مِنَ الْحَرَّةِ ، فَقَالَ : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَتَّى السَّاعَةُ ؟ قَالَ : " مَاذَا أَعْدَدْتَ لَهَا ؟ " قَالَ : لَمْ أَعِدَّ لَهَا كَثِيرَ صَلاةٍ وَلا صِيَامٍ وَلا صَدَقَةٍ ، إِلا أَنِّي أُحِبُّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ . قَالَ : " الْمَرْءُ مَعَ مَنْ أَحَبَّ " .
Another person asked prophet about the hour, the prophet asked him what have you prepared for it.
One of the most important things is how to repent for your sins that you have committed, in particular:
i) If you have done wrong to other people, then you have to fix it (ask their forgiveness) before it is too late
ii) make tawbah to Allah swt
iii) Mend your ways (this is really important)
Sins are not just random things that happen, but many times they are the result of patterns of behaviour -- the result of things you do, or people you are spending time with. Usually they are the results of things you do in life. So all you need to do to rid yourself of some sins is to change your behaviour. Many times this takes reflection: what am I doing, why am I doing it? These things require reflection, and then working out how you can change.
Then to think about these sins to have remorse, and think about the resources Allah (SWT) has given you and you will be asked about how you used those resources. You have to think about your money and your time. Do you waste your money or time? Or do you do half and half? Do you spend money wastefully or on haram things? How are you spending your time? wasting it or benefitting from it. You also have to think about how you can improve yourself. There’s the getting rid of things that are bad, then the next thing is how to improve yourself. There’s one hadith that happened in the time of the Prophet (SAWS). It could be the case that there is something within us that needs to be fixed which is not obvious to us but someone honest to us can point it out for us. Abu Tharr was once told by the Prophet (SAWS) “you are an individual that has the characteristics of Jaahiliyyah.” This incidence happened when Abu Dhar had a dark skinned slave and he made racist statement against him. Also this happened when Abu Dhar was grown up and has all of the training in the company of Prophet saw
Abu Tharr then said “Even now when I am so old, I still have jaahiliyyah in me?” Even this kind of individual can have something that needs to be fixed. Obviously for us, when we take a strong look at ourselves, there is definitely things that need to be fixed.
Very important: the more you know the Quran and Sunnah, the better you will know what you need to do to fix yourself. The only way to know the qualities that a Muslim should have and not have is through good understanding of Quran and Sunnah. If you don’t even know these qualities you will not know how good or bad you are with respect to that standard. You have to examine yourself and see how can you improve yourself. It is very important to analyze yourself with respect to the foundations of Islam. E.g. How much you love Allah (SWT) and the Prophet (SAWS). What is your love? is it real love or something on your tongue? Is it exhibited in your actions?
In the earlier hadith about what have you prepared for the day of Judgement, the man said “I did nothing to prepare for it, except that I love Allah and His Prophet (SAWS).” The Prophet (SAWS) said “You are with whom you loved.” When you reflect upon death, and visit the grave, you will start to think about your imaan and what the level of your imaan is.
Death is all around us but we may not reflect on it. We should be working towards and preparing for the final destination of this journey.
Thinking about death leads to reflecting upon your life
When you choose a good time to think about death, it also leads you to reflect upon your life, what have you done with your life, what have you accomplished. People reach a mid-life crisis when they are 40 or 50 years old and it could lead to depression or change their life in ways which is not good.
What should be the criteria for evaluating your life?
Many times this leads to depression, or changing their lifestyles. Many times it has to do with what perspective you choose to examine your life. When you examine your life, you should examine it in terms of true values, and not necessarily the values that people think about. Many people only evaluate it from a dunyawi perspective: wealth they’ve gathered, or their career, etc. These are the kinds of standards that have been set for us. You’re important if you’ve accomplished from a dunya perspective. This is one of the traps of shaitan. When they think of life this way, they feel that they have not accomplished.
People are falsely measured by their wealth
For a number of years, for example, stay home mothers are looked down upon, if you are not bringing in any money it is now considered odd and people make you feel like it’s of no value. In recent times, many people are going back to basics, and recognizing that there is value even if you’re not in the marketplace. People as a whole are evaluated on how much money they make, their job, etc. If you allow this to be the perspective of your life, this can lead to depression.
Your success could be due to things that are not directly related to your actions
One thing you have to realize is that a lot of the very successful people are there because of things out of their control and they had nothing to do with it, family they were born in, color of their skin, etc. To judge yourself in the light of other people who may have had very good circumstances, this is very unfair. Of course everyone would like to be beneficial to others, e.g. finding cure to cancer, being first African American President :) And people who do that with the right intention, they will be rewarded for what they have done. But they are not the ultimate things you will be judged on.
You should evaluate your life with your imaan, your sincerity towards Allah and your actions for the sake of Allah (SWT).
The most important thing is your iman, your sincerity and the actions you have done for the sake of Allah (SWT).
These are the most important things, whether you are rich or poor. If you have sincerity to Allah swt, if you have done deeds for the sake of Allah swt then you are successful. This should be the standard by which you should measure your life. And this should lead you to evaluate your life and make changes. The rest of the things are for our test only.
Allah swt says in the Quran: Al-Mulk v1-2
Blessed is He in whose hand is dominion, and He is over all things competent -
[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed - and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving -
The whole point of life and death is to see which one of you is the best in deed, not the most in deed, but who is the best with respect to his deeds, and the best is the one who is sincerely submitting himself to Allah swt and doing it correctly according to the revelations. (The criteria is not the one who has amassed the most, but the true criteria is that all deed are done with Akhlasahu and Thawabahu)
When you start to reflect upon your life, all of your material possessions will not be important. If you have Imaan and have helped people or given in charity for the sake of Allah swt, or you did not back bite somebody for the sake of Allah swt, these are the things you have to concentrate and these are things that matter.
Allah swt says
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.
The most honorable among you is the one who has the most taqwa.
That is the key and that is what you have to think about. The one who have most taqwa, these might be people that when you look upon them you may not even think much about them.
The real people of worth are the ones who are weak
Prophet said, “shall I not tell you about the people of Jannah. and then he said, the people of the Jannah are the weak and poor and obscure persons, who people looked down upon but if they were to swear by Allah swt, then Allah would fulfill their oath.”
In a sense they have much more power than many in this world, because Allah will support them. The best people are the ones who are weak and are not going after this world. There are different interpretations of this hadith. Weak doesn’t mean weak in a physical or material sense. Weak in the sense that they don’t show themselves as prominent, but they are very significant in the eyes of Allah (SWT). If they were to swear for the sake of Allah (SWT) they put their complete trust in Allah. So if someone says to one of these persons “I will take your car tomorrow” then the person says “I swear by Allah you will not be able to do it”. Then Allah swt will help this person to make sure that his oath gets fulfilled. These are the people of worth in this world.
Our relationship with Allah swt is the most important criteria for measuring ourselves.
A proper attitude towards wealth
When we reflect on our life it has to do with our relationship with Allah swt, rich or poor are not essential criteria for that relationship. There is no problem with wealth. So long as you use it properly. You won’t be emphasizing how much money you’ve made, rather how to spend it wisely and the good you’ve done with that money. Part of the hadith of prophet saw “Those who have been given a lot in this world, they will be given very little in the Hereafter.....”. Many times we receive part of our reward from Allah (SWT) in this dunya and it will lessen our reward in the hereafter.
The problem is not wealth. It’s what you do with that wealth. If you use it correctly, you’ll have riches in this world and the Hereafter.
The hadith above continues, Prophet said, “those who are given a lot in the world, will have very little in the hereafter, except for the ones to whom Allah have given wealth and he gives in charity from his left and from the right, from front and back in good deeds.”
This kind of individual when he reflects upon his life the most important things is not about the wealth he gathered but how did he spend this, this is the key for leading good life. Thus when we think about death and reflect about the life what we have accomplished and what we failed to accomplish this will help us to put things in right perspective. This looking at death may sadden us if we are looking with a wrong perspective.
Reflect upon our shortcomings and ask forgiveness for our sins
We have a lot of baggage that we have to overcome, When we think about ourselves only thing we think is about financial aspect what we have achieved this will be beneficial only if we have acquired this in halal way if not then this is not going to benefit us in any way. We need to be honest with ourselves to understand our shortcomings and work to change that. Thinking about death, we will think about all of the good we have done and about all our bad and then take corrective measures. So we have to think about life we have to think in the right way which will benefit us.
It is not necessarily the case that if your concern is the Hereafter, that it should make you somber or depressing or mean individual. There are some people who are active in the field of dawah, they have this understanding that they have to be always somber and depressing. This is not correct whatsoever, and it would have a negative effect on the dawah. It may influence who responds to your dawah. Only the people who are negative might respond to your dawah.
Not all of the knowledge about the severity of hereafter was given to us in order to give us hope and love for Allah swt
It is true that Prophet (SAWS) on more than one occasion said “If you know what I know then you would laugh a little and cry a lot.”
(حديث مرفوع) حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ الْوَرْكَانِيُّ ، نا مَعْمَرُ بْنُ سُلَيْمَانَ ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ عَوْسَجَةَ ، أَنَّ أَبَا الدَّرْدَاءِ قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : " لَوْ تَعْلَمُونَ مَا أَعْلَمُ لَبَكَيْتُمْ كَثِيرًا ، وَلَضَحِكْتُمْ قَلِيلا ، وَلَهَانَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الدُّنْيَا ، وَلآثَرْتُمُ الآخِرَةَ " .
Some of the commentators like Ibn Hajr said it is part of Mercy of Allah that he did not give us this knowledge, someone like Prophet can handle this knowledge rightly and he was able to continue. For example if we knew what actually hell fire was and if this was always in front of us then we would be incapacitated. But we always should have fear of Allah at the same time we should have hope and love of Allah. Obviously Allah swt did not give us all the knowledge that He has given to Prophet (saw). On the other side we have the teachings of Prophet (saw), one of the ways of pleasing Allah is to bring joy to others and not depression and hardship.
We should bring joy to our fellow Muslims
Prophet (sas) said “One of the most beloved deeds to Allah (swt) is to bring some kind of joy and happiness to other Muslim or to remove some kind of distress from him or to fulfill debt he has or to feed him”, These kind of things, to remove worries, hardship and bringing happiness, are actions that are pleasing to Allah swt. If you are thinking about death and grave, this should make you do the deeds which are pleasing to Allah (swt), bringing happiness to others is one of the way to attain forgiveness as stated in one of the Hadeeth where Prophet (Saw) said “One of the things that guarantee forgiveness is to bring happiness to other Muslim”. When Prophet (saw) sent Muaadh and Jabir to Yemen, Prophet (saw) said to him “To treat the people with ease and not treat them with hardship, to bring happiness and glad tidings to the people and do not bring them worry”. Allah (swt) said similar thing in Surah Ale-Imran, V159
So by mercy from Allah , [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah . Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].
Allah (swt) “Wa shaviru hum fil امر” Prophet was very linient with the people and he would pardon them and show forgiveness to them.
It is characteristic of the believer that he tries to bring happiness to other Muslims and it is part of pleasing Allah swt. When he internalise the iman this is going to bring the joy and you are tasting the sweetness of Iman this is going to reflect on how you interact with people. This is clearly seen with Prophet saw, that whenever he met people he used to smile, there are many narration where Prophet (saw) would smile. There are narrations that after fajr prayer they used to talk about some of the things that they used to do at the time of Jahiliyyah and laugh, Prophet (Saw) used to smile at this. Also Prophet (SAW) said “Do not belittle any kind of good that you can do even if you are meeting your brother with cheerful face”.
Remembering Hereafter and thinking about death this by no way mean that you have to be sober and get the people down. The reality is that you have to prepare for the death and please Allah thus you have to bring happiness to others.
There are situations when you need to be harsh but these are exceptions
It doesn’t mean there aren’t times when you should be harsh. There were occasions when prophet saw was harsh, and this was the case on occasions when someone did or said something and prophet saw wanted to make a point that someone like him should know better. Or when you are speaking in general like a maw’idhah -- he would raise his voice to emphasize. But they are exceptions to the rule. And it is because people need it. There still has to be balance. You may be harsh under specific circumstances even when you are involved in amr bil maroof and nahi anil munkar.
Beware of inauthentic hadeeth that states that work for this life as if you are going to live forever
There’s one hadeeth we haven’t mentioned yet. “work for this world as if you are going to live forever and work for the hereafter as if you are going to die tomorrow”. This is definitely not a hadeeth of Prophet (saw). This has been narrated as a statement from Abdullah Ibn Amr. Sometimes a hadeeth might be weak and you reject it as these words cannot be attributed to prophet saw, but is the meaning of this sound? Is there any moderation in this hadeeth?
Perhaps even entering into the idea of living and working in this duniya as if you live for ever as recommendation this may never be a good recommendation. At the same time isn’t there a hadeeth “If the hour is happening and in your hand you have a small plant and if you are able to do it then go ahead a plant this”. This is authentic hadeeth. There is also something special about this hadeeth as Prophet also said “If any Muslim plants a tree or sows a seed and if a bird or person or animal eats from this, this will be considered as sadaqa for the person who did this”. Thus this action of planting is an act thinking about Hereafter. Thus there is no evidence to say even the meaning of the Abduallah Ibn Amr’s statement is right?
Question: Did the Prophet (SAWS) smiled at women when addressing them?
There is a book that has a collection of 100 hadeeth of the prophet smiling. Shaikh Jamaal refused to answer a question without researching the collection of these hadeeth.
Q: Planting a small tree when the hour is happening, should it be taken litterily?
A: Your hour is when your death is approaching, and if you have a chance to do good, then go ahead and do that. Getting fruits of that tree in this world is not the thing that matters, your intention is that which matters the most.
Next part of Hadeeth is the statement of Ibn Umar
Statement of Ibn Umar is it marfoo, is it idraaj, something that is inserted to make it look like statement of Prophet?
A lesson on the books of hadith: A lot of them are not very well known and one of the reasons is that the Quality of these works is not good. In some of those books they have this statement of Ibn Umar in Marfoo form. In uloom ul hadeeth this is known as Idraaj (ادراج) i.e. something which is not a statement of Prophet (SAWS) is added as the statement of Prophet (saw), when you study the hadeeth in depth and compare it with other chains which are stronger then you come to conclusion that this is idraaj and this is type of weak hadith.
Conclusion: It is statement of ibn Umar and not a statement of the Prophet
As the statement of the Prophet (SAWS) this hadith is weak. But as a statement of Ibn Umar is sound.
The translation says “If you survive until the late afternoon, do not expect to survive to the morning …”
Does this statement sound strange ?
Instead of survive you can say “if you reach late afternoon”. As “Asbaha” means to reach the morning and “Amsaeeta” means to reach the late afternoon. Sh. now would have changed the translation. These words that are used in ibn Umar’s statement are quite common in Arabic language “sabahan” and “massaan”. In Arabic language if you say “sabahan wa masahan” this means that you are doing it all the time. Prophet (saw) “If an individual in the sabah of everyday and massah of everyday (and said dua) the person will not be harmed”. Thus for the terms sabah and masah, other than Arabic language meaning, there is some fiqh implication. Thus when Sh translated he tried to give exact meaning in the translation.
What do the words sabaah and massah mean?
Shaikh Jamaal in his book the forty hadeeth of Nawawi had translated massah as meaning late afternoon, or time after Asr and before Maghrib. At that time Shaikh was following the translation based on Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Qayyim’s opinion, according to them masaa is after Asr untill maghrib.
However recently Shaikh read a book which dealt with those two words. In the introduction the author says that “all my life I thought masaa’ meant late afternoon.”
There are a number of opinions regarding this and due to the adhaan we were unable to discuss them.
Conclusion is that sabaah starts at the time of Fajr and ends at Zawaal (just before Dhuhr time) and Al Massah is after Maghrib until the half of the night (not midnight but true middle of night) or it could also mean until Fajr??. The limit for Isha is until the middle of the night. There are about 3 or 4 different opinions on this, but this is the strongest opinion.
Discussion about sabaah and masaa
In ibn Umar’s statement the exact meaning of sabaah and massah is not needed, as you get the impact of the meaning through his statement. However their meaning is important for certain dhikr, so we can say that their understanding has some fiqh implications. There are many different opinions about the exact meaning of sabaah and massah, Abdul Bari Sharifi wrote 100 page booklet on this topic. He writes in his introduction that he was under the impression that Masaa begins after Asr, and that is common understanding based on statements of ibn Taymiyyah and ibn Qayyim. However the author researched this topic and came to different conclusions about these words.
Different opinions about the meaning of the word Sabaah
Opinion #1 (ibn Taymiyyah and ibn Qayyim):
Sabaah begins at Fajr and ends at sunrise. Same as the time for Fajr prayers.
Opinion #2: (ibn Uthaymeen and fatwa of lajnatal daeema’
Continues from the time of Fajr until the time of Zawaal (when the sun passes the true meridian). Once the Sheikh was praying jumuah and someone said that they were praying it before the Zenith and brought Sheikh’s book on Jumaa’ as evidence, Shaikh told him he knows the author and he did not mean zenith, but meant the meridian. The person refused to accept the argument.
Opinion #3: Ibn Al Jazari and Al-Shawkaani
Goes from Fajr until Maghrib
Author’s conclusion: opinion #2 (fajr untill zawal)
Different opinions for meaning of the word Masaa
Opinion #1 (bin Baz and the Lajnat Al-Daa’imah).
From zawaal until sunset.
Opinion #2 (Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn al-Qayyam, Al-Nawawi, Albaani and the Sheikh)
Asr until Maghrib
From after Maghrib until Fajr
From after Fajr until the middle of the night. (exact half point between maghrib and fajr)
Author’s conclusion: From Fajr until middle of the night. He brings lot of pieces of evidence. There is a hadith which I.T and I.Q quote as well, “no one individual says in the morning of everyday and masaa of every night ….” The author, who is a scholar of hadith in a university and he took his finding to some of his colleagues, and they said: Don’t you know that Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyam knew the same points you made? It is difficult for people to accept that these shuyookh can be wrong out of respect for them.
Even our shaikhs can make mistake and our ultimate authority rests with Allah swt and the Prophet
But Ibn Taymiyyah discussed thousands and thousands of points -- his majmooa’ fatawa was 36 volumes without minhaaj al Sunnah, which is his bigger work. It is possible that he can mistake in some of these fatawas, so if you disagree with one of the tens of thousands of points, there is nothing wrong with that.
We love our Shuyookh, but we have to love Allah swt and Prophet (SAWS) more than them. So if something comes from the Sunnah, we have to accept it. We won’t be held responsible whether we followed Ibn Taymiyyah or Ibn Qayyim, but if we followed Allah (SWT) or the Prophet (SAWS).
And it is strange that some of the same people who oppose taqleed of madhaahib, are making blind taqleed of their own scholars. They claim that they are doing something different, and they give it a different name (ittiba’) because they are basing their opinions on the Quran & Sunnah. Clearly Abu Hanifa was following Quran & Sunnah as well.
Scholars have to make taqleed of each other all the time, because there is so much knowledge, you cannot search each possible hadith on one topic let alone every topic related to sunnah. So you have to sometime rely on research done by others on certain topics. It doesn’t belittle their excellence and it shouldn’t be a big issue.
Statement of ibn Umar in the hadith
It is clearly tied in to what the hadith is all about especially with the part about considering yourself among the inhabitants of the graves. One of the things that afflicts human beings is that we have lots of goals and aspirations and if these goals are with respect to this world we put our time and effort into it, while neglecting our ultimate goal, to be prepared for hereafter. The prophet (SAWS) in another hadith described the situation of human beings. Prophet (SAWS) drew something and he drew from right to left (Arabs way), but the shaikh is drawing from left to right.
He drew a line with branches off it and he said that those branches are hopes and dreams. He drew a box around the branches and he said that is the individual’s life span. And his dreams and goals will be beyond his lifespan.
Plan and prepare for an event that you know will occur, your death
Prophet and the sahaba planned, they did not wake up every morning and started from scratch. The point he was making is that you are going to make plans and preparations for your goals, and you might make effort for something that might never materialize. But one thing you know for sure is that your end is going to come, and you have to prepare for that eventuality. Death is going to come and interrupt your plans. You can spend all of your time in panning for things that may never come to fruition as death comes unannounced.
Your end could be very soon. You should prepare for it. You cannot postpone it. This is the message and warning that ibn Umar is giving us. Ibn Umar’s statement is telling us that don’t assume that you are going to live for ever. Don’t take for granted the time you have. You should not say I don’t need to this now as I have plenty of time, no Muslim would do this conciously but by their actions (lisan al-haal) they do this all of the time.
One of the tricks of the shaitan is he makes us procrastinate our good deeds. If you are conscious of the fact that your time will be up and you will not be putting off doing the good deeds.
Hadith of the prophet that describes how shaitan ties three knots at the base of our neck. And he comes to us when we try to get up for late night prayers (not Fajr prayers) and tells us the night is long and go ahead and sleep. And if the person wakes up one of the knots is released. When he makes wudu the other knot is released …. Shaitan comes to you and convinces you to put off good deeds. It has to be a conscious struggle on your part to do good deeds.
Concept of doing good deeds urgently
For each [religious following] is a direction toward which it faces. So race to [all that is] good. Wherever you may be, Allah will bring you forth [for judgement] all together. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.
Go forth and do the good deeds quickly, ( فاستبقوا الخيرات)
If you put off things, death may come to you or other things come to you, there is no way to go back and undo things that you missed. Don’t let the shaitan make you lazy about good deeds. If you take ibn Umar’s advice to heart, then you will realize that this may be the only time you have left to do good deeds.
Ibn ‘Umar’s instructions are better described in another hadith of the Prophet (SAWS)
Take advantage of health and life before they are gone. We will not talk about the statement of Ibn Umar but another hadith of the Prophet (SAWS) where in he said something very similar to what he said.
عن بن عباس رضي الله عنهما قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لرجل وهو يعظه : " اغتنم خمسا قبل خمس شبابك قبل هرمك وصحتك قبل سقمك وغناءك قبل فقرك وفراغك قبل شغلك وحياتك قبل موتك "
Take advantage of five before five. Your youth before your old age, your heath before your illness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied and your life before your death.
In this hadith prophet (SAWS) is describing various states we go through. Some of these states almost everybody goes through them. Most people if they live long enough they will go from health to sickness, from riches to time when they might not have the means, and from going to free time to being preoccupied and from your life to your death.
All of the above are depletable resources. Once you loose them you cannot reclaim them. They are there for you to use at the right time, also you can use them in good way or you can waste them on insignificant things.
If something is readily available such as a bakery may have 100’s of breads, and you don’t have to hurry to get a piece of bread. On the other hands there are things that will not stay for ever. Hence Prophet saw used a carefully selected word, ightinam.
The word ightanam (اغتنم) is asking us to hurry, to take advantage of these things now because the five will go very quickly. You wake up one day and realize that you are old. Ightinaam also signifies that you will have to make an effort and it also carries a sense of urgency, it captures both meanings. Ightinaam carries with it both the connotation of effort (you have to work for it) and urgency (grab it before it goes).
Advantages of youth
Plenty of advantages of youth, however as the famous saying goes “youth is wasted on young”. It is wasted on people who don’t realize the value of the thing that they have. It entails, energy, enthusiasm, zeal, strength, ability, willingness to learn, willingness to change. And sometimes you have less strings attached, and less conflicts of interest. Almost all of the major movements in the world have been started by young people, and they are always at the forefront of these movements. Also true for the Prophet’s mission (SAWS). When Islam required that people break from the old ways, there were few who were older. The vast majority of those who embraced Islam were young. In Arabic Shabab (youth) means the age up to 40 years. It is very important that we take advantage of these characterestics before we lose them.
Youth need proper guidance
But unfortunately, young people aren’t well equipped to make decisions. (Footnote: Students in Germany have to decide as early as fourth grade whether they will follow vocational or scholarly career, and who makes this decision for them, their guardians.) The youth need guidance from their parents, and the leaders of society. With that, they can be directed to use their energies appropriately. It is a heavy responsibility on the guardians of the youth. Last thing we want is to loose this valuable resource.
Memorization is easy when you are young
There are different kind of learning for different ages. Memorization is better before the age of 14. Also learning new languages is easier before this age. Linguists claim that proper pronunciation is easy before you reach the age of 14 and then it becomes difficult, you will always have an accent.
Go beyond memorization
We have many young people who have memorized the Qur’an based on the encouragement from their parents and community, but it is not the only step. You have to understand the Qur’an and internalize it and implement it. But it is those steps that they are missing. And we need to get them to internalize the Qur’an. If you’re still young e.g. in 20’s it is important that the person takes on more responsibility. And on their own, they start looking for good things to do and to increase the knowledge on their own.
In this society, youth is also a time for experimentation (Manzil bain manzalatain) and you do not have any responsibilities thrust upon you. You can find Americans who are in the mid 20s who are still going to fraternities and enjoying themselves. They are wasting their valuable time without getting serious or learning anything useful.
(Haramak) As you get older, you don’t have the energy to do many of the things that you used to do. Don’t think that you will become righteous when you are older. You don’t have the energy or the capability to do those things.
Even your heart, if you don’t protect your heart, then it can become rusted. As Allah swt says in Quran your heart get rusted because of the things we do:
No! Rather, the stain has covered their hearts of that which they were earning.
If something gets rusted, sometimes you can remove the rust, sometimes you can’t; so even when you’re young you have to take your life seriously. When you are older and incapable, Allah will reward you for what you used to be capable of.
Health vs Sickness
Prophet saws also told us. “There are two bounties that many people loose, one is health and the other one is free time.”
عن أنس بن مالك قال : قال رسول الله - صلى الله عليه وسلم - : " نعمتان مغبون فيهما كثير من الناس : الصحة والفراغ "
These are bounties or ni’mah. All of us have been sick and even when we have flu we are out of it, it is difficult even to pray the five daily prayers, as you are fighting the illness and are weak. We have all gone through it. You feel weak and depleted. And you wont be able to perform the additional acts of worship. This could be a taste of what is to come. Important point behind these small ailments is that what kind of lesson we get from that, it is a taste of a state that may eventually become permanent.
A good medical system in an advanced society means that you have a longer life but under the influence of medicine. Advanced medical system does not mean elimination of deceases, rather there are more deceases as we are able to survive longer from what would have been fatal illness a while back. So these should be a wake up call.
Allah SWT sometimes makes us sick to realize how precious our health is. Similar to the above, you will be rewarded when you are sick for the deeds you did when you were healthy. In Quran Allah swt mentions statements of a variety of people who would ask for a second chance, but Allah swt’s answer is very clear that you will do the same thing if given a second chance, because your failure to do anything in the first place shows that in reality when you had the opportunity, you didn’t take advantage of it.
Free time vs being preoccupied or being busy
The idea of time, and thinking about what an important resource time is, as the earlier hadith points out it is one of the ni’maa of Allah swt. Throughout the Qur’an Allah (SWT) is reminding us that time is ticking away and it is not stopping for anybody.
Indeed, in the alternation of the night and the day and [in] what Allah has created in the heavens and the earth are signs for a people who fear Allah
Allah swt reminds us in a short surah the importance of time.
According to mufassireen the Al-Asr is referring to al-zaman, the time in which human actions take place. The concept of time is important and that we take the time and use it properly.
Ibn Masud said “I hate to see someone who is just doing nothing”. (not for this dunya or the hereafter).
Urwa ibn Zubayr was asked what do you hate, and he said al-bataalah (or people being idle).
Time is the most precious resource that we have and it is a very limited resource. When you thing about time and how we spend our time, you will realize that you can use it on (1) something which is beneficial for the hereafter or (2) or beneficial for this world (3) or neutral (mubaah) (4) or harmful (haraam).
Much of how we use our time, unfortunately, is in the third and fourth category (e.g. video games, watching sports). In the long run, how will that benefit you? You’re using your health, youth, etc for amusement.
“Amused Ourselves to Death - by Neil Postman” -- all the things we do to lose time and lose this resource that we could use for something more important.
Even watching news or discuss affairs of the world, which used to be serious subject, are now mixed with entertainment and celebrity news. We are using it in such a way that we are not benefiting from it, it is even harming us.
We are probably busy later in time than earlier in life. Grad students and TAs complain about not having time. Parents who have kids have more responsibilities than them.
This is the final class for the quarter and we will finish our discussion of this hadith.
We were discussing the statement of ibn Umar, but since we have a hadith of Prophet saws that captured the essence of statement of ibn Umar, we are discussing that hadith instead.
عن بن عباس رضي الله عنهما قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لرجل وهو يعظه : " اغتنم خمسا قبل خمس شبابك قبل هرمك وصحتك قبل سقمك وغناءك قبل فقرك وفراغك قبل شغلك وحياتك قبل موتك "
Take advantage of five before five. Your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied and your life before your death.
We covered taking advantage of youth, health and free time in the last lecture. We will continue our discussion of free time.
Sometimes we are truly busier than previous times, we have less time and how do we use our free time.
People sometimes go through periods of their lives when they have free time, and other times when they are very busy. Youth and health usually go together; and free time and youth. Many time youth think they are busy, but once you have a family and you have to take care of them, and work, and classes. So those who are young and less tied up and have their health, they are the ones who should be listening to this hadith because they are not always going to be in that state.
Youth is the best time to learn and build habits. And as they get older, it becomes difficult to change.
When you are busy, you still have some free time and how do we deal with this free time. Shariah is not against rest and relaxation. If you relax in order to energize and do things for the sake of Allah swt, then your rest would be rewarded. Salafs said that their rest was ibaadah, because they could then energize and do deeds for the sake of Allah swt.
In particular, the Qur’an tells us faitha faraghta fansab
So when you have finished [your duties], then stand up [for worship].
, so when you are finished and you have some free time, this is the time for you to take advantage and get closer to Allah (SWT). Rest and relaxation is one thing, but we don’t use it in a positive or beneficial way.
This is one of the things the early scholars of Islam went to some trouble to justify.
Once the moment is gone, a part of you is gone. They were very keen of taking advantage of every moment that they had.
Ibn Qayim said that human beings should take the time to contemplate. And one of the most important things you should think about is the obligation of time and to think about the best way so to use it so you do not lose it.
Imaam Al-Shafi’i said: “I spent some time with Sufis and did not get any benefit from it except that time is like a sword either you will kill it or it will kill you; and that your nafs … either you are going to use it for haqq or you will use it for falsehood”
In another work IQ talks about the concept of gheera. He talks to gheera with respect to time: you don’t want to waste your time and you don’t want people to come and waste your time.
Al Hasan al Basri a tabbie who met a number of sahaba, who said that there were people who protected their time more than you protect your gold and silver.
Ibn Masud said he felt more remorse when he spent a day and benefited nothing and did not increase his deen.
We have lots of distractions that take up our time in ways that our not beneficial, it can take hours of our time and not realize it. TV is an example of 2 or 3 hours gone without any benefit, it is pure wasted time. Nowadays the time sinks follow you everywhere, you can take them everywhere with you. Even a mosque is no longer a sanctuary for you.
Now because of these sources of distraction, they can follow you everywhere.
Allah swt warns us about wasting our time, which is known as lahu (لهو).
Competition in [worldly] increase diverts you
Until you visit the graveyards.
You are just getting just ahead in worldly things and they are distracting you from .... until you finally reach the grave. And then you will see the reality and you will be asked about the bounties that you had.
The time that we have our part of our bounties and we will be asked about it on the day of judgement.
And the worldly life is not but amusement and diversion; but the home of the Hereafter is best for those who fear Allah , so will you not reason?
Allah swt describes dunya as lahu in numerous places, you are using it without any benefit. People who dont have right purpose and goals, and this dunya is just a source of amusement for them. In the long run we will feel a great deal of remorse for the time that we have lost.
Our culture which is entertainment driven has affected our ability to think. People who grow up with these type of lectures will be bored and will not be able to sit and listen. Their thinking has changed a lot.
Amusing ourselves to death by Neal Postman, in the last lecture we got the title wrong. He talks about TV and entertainment and its influence on politics. When Abraham Lincoln and Steven Douglas debated one another in the presidential elections, they could discuss and get to the core of the matter, and it is no longer feasible. Debates have become entertainment. Steven Douglas spoke for 3 hours and they broke for dinner and then Abraham Lincoln spoke for 4 hours.
Theoretically, the question of who is the president is a very important question. Even if it takes hours. Partially the influence of TV where news becomes entertainment.
Our obligations to time
Lastly with respect to time, Shaikh Jamaal will mention nine points that cover a Muslim’s obligations to time.
1. To make sure that you benefit from time.
2. Making sure that you utilize your leisure time.
3. Racing to perform good deeds. So when you have time to do a good deed you don’t procrastinate and miss the opportunity.
4. To learn from the passage of time. Allah swt speaks a lot and asks us to reflect on time and think about time and get lessons from time
5. Seeking the favourable times -- e.g. maximizing the benefit from times, e.g. to take maximum advantage of opportunities e.g. late at night to make tahajjud, or fasting for ‘aashura.
6. Planning and organizing time. If anyone should know about the timportance of time, it should be a Muslim, becuase we are obligated to pray during specific time intervals.
And when you have completed the prayer, remember Allah standing, sitting, or [lying] on your sides. But when you become secure, re-establish [regular] prayer. Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.
7. Fulfillment of time commitments -- meeting any agreement with other people.
8. Being aware of what wastes your time
9. Having a general awareness of how you should use your time. In general you should know about seeking knowledge, helping others, studying how our prophet spent his time and trying to emulate him.
Allah swt in the Quran says, in the creation of heavens and earth and alteration of day and night are signs for people of understanding. In another verse, he swears by the passing of time (al asr).
Firstly, time is part of the creation of Allah (SWT) that is part of the cosmos, and like all things, it has a limit. It will be destroyed and what happens when time passes. All that they built up meant nothing because they did not direct their efforts into the proper arenas. They refused to change and their time came to end. This is true for every human being. We have fixed time and we have been given opportunity to repent and ask for forgiveness before it is too late.
Take advantage of wealth before poverty
Prophet told us to take advantage of our wealth before our poverty.
Our wealth is a fitna for us. Allah swt says know that your wealth and your children are a fitna. Prophet said the fitna of this umma is wealth.
Unique aspect of wealth is that you desire more wealth and they don’t know the limits and when is it enough.
John Bogle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bogle) who started the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group, which is non-profit investment group. It might be the only one of its kind. He emphasizes that people have no clue when enough is enough. This is plaguing our society now and cause of the economic collapse right now. This is a non Muslim perspective but we are falling in the same trap.
Prophet told us that if a human being who had a valley of gold, they want one more valley of gold.
Funnily enough, the people who ask for fatwas for riba etc are frequently the ones who have money. The most important thing is what you do with your wealth.
O you who believe don’t let your wealth take you away from Allah.
[Are] men whom neither commerce nor sale distracts from the remembrance of Allah and performance of prayer and giving of zakah. They fear a Day in which the hearts and eyes will [fearfully] turn about -
Allah describe the believers as “men who are not distracted by commerce .....”
It can make you forget to do good and use it for good purposes. One way of taking advantage of wealth is to use it for your benefit in the hereafter. Because you will beg for an opportunity to do so.
And spend [in the way of Allah ] from what We have provided you before death approaches one of you and he says, "My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous."
But never will Allah delay a soul when its time has come. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
Allah swt commands us to spend from your wealth before death comes to you and you will ask to delay your death in order to go and spend it in the sake of Allah swt and death will not be delayed.
You buy things just for the purpose of buying, The object that you purchased might not benefit you at all, but you still purchase it for the purpose of buying.
Consumption without justification or need has been brought to people. Laurence Shames: The hunger for more (http://books.google.com/books/about/The_hunger_for_more.html?id=3P1GAAAAMAAJ) You are just consuming without getting anything out of it.
If you think about all of the things that you bought and it was not necessary, it was an impulse purchase.
We are using this wealth in improper ways that Allah swt gave us as a means of support for us, but we run out of it when we need it the most.
There is a hadith of Prophet which describes when people are into riches. A number of scholars claim it is sahih.
(حديث مرفوع) حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ بْنِ بَسَّامٍ ، قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ ثَابِتٍ ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الْحَمِيدِ بْنِ جَعْفَرٍ ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ الْحَسَنِ ، عَنْ أُمِّهِ ، عَنْ فَاطِمَةَ بِنْتِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ، صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، قَالَتْ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : " شِرَارُ أُمَّتِي الَّذِينَ غُذُّوا بِالنَّعِيمِ ، الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ أَلْوَانَ الطَّعَامِ ، وَيَلْبَسُونَ أَلْوَانَ الثِّيَابِ ، وَيَتَشَدَّقُونَ فِي الْكَلامِ " .
Prophet said the worse of my nation are the ones who are born into luxury and all of their concerns are clothes and different colors and types.
When ulema commented on this hadith, most people would go through time when you have wealth and not have wealth. It will not be a single progression, but there might be alternating periods of wealth and poverty, time and no time.
You have to make your children realize the value of money and that it is a great bounty of Allah swt and it could be taken away from you. They have to appreciate it and it is not there for you to use it any way you want. It is a heavy responsibility.
Another hadith, the less you have, the less you will be questioned about it.
Unfortunately begging has been abused. Many times it is a scam and some people use it for purchasing alcohol. Sometimes it is better to help organizations that are helping them, since there is a better chance that the money will be used properly.
Taking advantage of your life before your death
Blessed is He in whose hand is dominion, and He is over all things competent -
[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed - and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving -
Only Allah swt can give us life and death. The whole issue of life and death and the reason why it is given is to use it properly.
Even if the actions are simple and few, that is what we are here to do. If we spend our lives not thinking about our lives to work towards the hereafter -- this doesn’t mean not taking care of this dunya, but taking care of this dunya in the proper way.
Everything then will be a means of good for you and Allah swt will take care of you.
Three things follow an individual to his grave, and two of them come back, his family and his wealth will return and the only thing that will remain will be his deeds.
So you have to invest for the hereafter. Allah swt warns us over and over again to prepare for that day, when this life will no longer be available for you. And then Allah swt will not give it back.
O you who have believed, fear Allah . And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow - and fear Allah . Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
Allah swt tells us, O you who believe, fear Allah and be aware of what you sent forward. and fear Allah.
If you use these depletable resources (five), if you use them properly in this world, then Allah swt will reward you with a state in the hereafter when your youth that will not go way, .......... your tr
If you use these properly, then Allah will grant you them eternally.
Two final points: when the Sh thinks about this hadith, he is forced to think Imaam An-Nawawi’s life.
He was a simple man. He lived in a small room that was full of books. When people visited him, they would have to sit on books. At one time he was attending 12 lectures a day on different Islamic topics and he would not sleep until sleep overtook him. And he would not waste any moment. Even when walking in the street he would still be reviewing his notes. One person concluded that Allah swt blessed him with time .......
Imaam Nawwawi has written some of the most important books and also most comprehensive books, such as his explanation of Imam Muslim, and his majmoo which was 15 volumes. Yet he died at the age of 44. He wrote the book in 10 years. And during that time the act of writing would itself require a lot of effort.
There are four keys
1. Priorities and purpose of life.
By saying you are a traveller, you are saying that your purpose and goal is not this dunya.
2. Balance in this dunya
There is still a role for this dunya -- even the Propeht (SAWS) used to partake of this life . Scholars speak in terms of absolutes. There has to be a balance.
3. Make sure you use the means and resources that Allah (SWT) has given you while you are here.
4. Beware of distractions. If your morning is the most important part of the day to you, you’ll use it to maximum advantage.
This hadith was an inspiration for the Shaikh when he was writing a book about purification of soul.