Forty Hadith Summer 2010
Commentary on the 40 Hadith of al-Nawawi
An in-depth commentary on some of the most comprehensive statements of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
Prerequisite: NONE (all topics are independent of previous sessions)
Required Text: Commentary on the 40 Hadith of al-Nawawi by J. Zarabozo
Time: Sundays 4:40 - 5:40 pm PDT
Basic Outline of the Class
Topic 1: Hadith #21: “Say, ‘I believe in Allah and then Stand Firm and Steadfast to that’”
Topic 2: Hadith #11 “Leave that which makes you doubt...”
Topic 3: It time permits, “to be decided.”
2010-06-20 Class Notes
Hadith #21 recorded by Muslim. It is not recorded by Bukhari. It is recorded by Ahmad and Ibn Hibban and other collections.
On the authority of Abu 'Amrh others call him Abu 'Amrah Sufyan bin 'Abdullah, radiyallahu anhu, who said:
I said: "O Messenger of Allah, tell me something about Islam which I could not ask anyone about save you." He answered: "Say: 'I believe in Allah', and then stand firm and steadfast."
I said: "O Messenger of Allah, tell me something about Islam which I could not ask anyone about save you." He answered: "Say: 'I believe in Allah', and then stand firm and steadfast."
In one narration it says a statement that I will not ask any one after you or any one other than you. This difference is slight and it is still mentioned in Muslim. These kind of differences would not be noted by Imam Bukhari, however this hadith is not recorded by him.
Sufyaan asked what is the thing that you fear most for me and then prophet pointed to the tongue. This additional statement is not recorded by Nawawi. He just mentions the first part without mentioning the second part. Both of the narrations are authentic. We will comment on the other part of the narration as well. It is related to the concept of istiqaamah (remaining steadfast to tauheed).
Prophet is transmitting a great deal of knowledge in a minimal words. He is being asked something and he is conveying a summary of his mission. Foundation of Islam is tauheed and remaining steadfast to tauheed.
Adherence to la illaha illallah is willingness to act and live upon this statement, it is not something just to say the words. The companions would have known that the prophet meant adherence to it.
Allah swt has created human beings with a special fitra, one that accepts la illaha ... but some of us have strayed from it. This bounty of islam sometimes Muslims take it for granted and they don’t take the priority in their lives that it deserves, protecting it, and understanding it. It starts with proper belief in Allah swt in our heart and doing everything we can to stay steadfast on that belief.
When we say surah fatiha, we say ihdeenus sirat ... we are asking Allah swt for this istiqaamah, this is steadfastness. Being not mindful of preservation of our Deen is very dangerous.
In a very descriptive hadith, prophet said, one of you maybe doing the actions of jannah until there will be between him and jannah be an arms length, until what the book has written overtakes it and you will do the actions of the people of hell fire.
In another hadith, prophet (saw) said, someone performs the deeds of hellfire and in reality he is of the people of jannah and viceversa, the actions at the end of your life are important.
Every one should take this warning from the prophet to heart. Allah swt does not misguide unless the person is deserving of it. You have to take precautions and protect the heart (kalb). It is called kalb (heart) because it is unstable, some days you like something which is a fad and then after six months or a year it is no longer desirable.
We become complacent with our Imaan and Deen. Many Muslims think that I was born Muslim, raised a Muslim and I will die a Muslim, regardless of the steps taken by them to protect themselves. You have to take steps to help you to remain steadfast.
Even in our own lives we can see changes that are threats to our Islam. They are so clear, the rhetoric and the practices are different than 10 years ago. You can see compromises and changes in attitudes. Many people are afraid and want to show that they are moderate Muslims. This itself is a fundamental issue or problem. There is a fear of harm, there is a fear of loosing. In our own lives we can see Muslims have changed.
Prophet said, there will come a time when one is holding on to his Deen would be like holding on to a burning coal.
Another hadith, prophet said, there will come a time when..... the one who will hold on to his deen, he will get the reward of 50 people. The companions said reward of 50 people among their people, the prophet replied it will be reward of 50 people among you (meaning the sahaba).
Another hadith, prophet said, that this Deen has come as something strange (gharib) and it will return as something strange (gharib), so give glad tidings to the strangers.
In the eyes of the society, you have become strangers.
Tree in jannnah planted for strangers, prophet is promising a tree in jannah to those who remain steadfast on their deen and appear as strangers.
Question: Why will be people rewarded 50 times more than the sahaba?
Answer: A sin is magnified if someone is doing sin that he is not forced to do. For example a poor person who is arrogant, old person who is coming adultery, or a king who is a liar. These people will be punished more severely because there is no driving factor to commit the sin. And if you stay away from the sin because there is more driving factor, then if you stay away from the sin, you will be rewarded more.
The hadith #21 is narrated by Sufyan ibn Abdullah. He is a sahabi (companion), obviously because he went and asked the question directly to the prophet. We know who he is and we can identify him. He is from Taif and he accepted islam with delegation from ... He was in charge of collecting zakat during Umar’s lifetime. However he has not reported many hadith.
Sufyan comes to the prophet and asks him a question. He is asking a comprehensive question about the prophet’s mission.
According to shareeah, the definition of iman is amantu billah (the beginning of this hadith). Many secular jews and christians believe in god, they are not rejecting the idea of god, but their perception and understanding of god, is that god exists in some other realm and he has nothing to do with their lives. So this is the starting point of iman.
It is important that we have a correct belief in Allah, what does it mean, specifically that Allah is my ilah. When you have that starting point then you have to hold steadfast to that path. Islam is very simple. Is there anything else that you can add?
This is the minimum that has to be met, obviously you would be striving to reach higher heights.
There is a difference between virtue and reward which will have to be discussed in an aqeedah class. This is in response to question that later generations will face more hardships.
Sufyan is already a believer, he already has belief, so this statement of the prophet is for everybody to renew their faith. Allah swt says in the Quran, Oh you who believe, Believe in Allah and his messenger and the book that was sent to him... This command was sent to renew the faith. We should not be complacent of our deen, the idea of reconfirming, renewing and refreshing our imaan, we should be acting upon it.
Characteristic of Istiqaamah
In the previous hadith we studied hayaa and now we will study istiqaamah. It is described in number of places in the Quran.
Meaning of the word istiqaamah
Lexical meaning: right direction or tendency, continue on truth or right way, rightly guided, straight, straight way, undeviating, acted on right course
It means to follow the straight and proper path and not to deviate from it what so ever. It is just and proper way that avoids either kinds of extremes. Being lackadaisical is also an extreme. Someone who has istiqaamah avoids those extremes. But it also does not mean stay the course, it means to stay the sound and proper course. Refusing to change is not istiqaamah.
Importance of knowledge. You cannot stay on the proper path without knowledge. You have to know what is the straight path.
Root word is qiyam
Standing firm or steadfast.
Part of the implication is constant guarding and making sure that it is the right path. There is a vigilance involved.
Abu Baqr described istiqaamah as not turning away from Allah swt or the prophet.
Ibn Uthaymeen’s definition
A person to affirm himself in the path of Allah in a manner that has been described by Allah swt with complete sincerity.
Another definition: Performing all of the acts of obedience, both internal and external. And avoiding the forbidden acts.
In some ways it is a simple concept as well as a comprehensive concept and a difficult concept to implement.
2010-06-27 Class Notes
Continuing the hadeeth of Abu Amra Sufyan. We discussed the first part of hadeeth last week. How could we define istiqama?
Staying b/w two extremes on the sound path. Starts with having correct tawheed and correct belief in Allah (swt). Abu Bakr as-siddiq said, that istiqama means not associating any partners with Allah.
Ibn T said, that you remain steadfast to the love of Allah (swt) and servitude to Allah (swt), and you do not turn away even to the right or the left of that straight path.
Ibn rajab and other scholars have mentioned, istiqama encompasses all of the acts of obedience to Allah (swt). Internal and external acts and involved avoding the forbidden acts.
This advice Prophet (saw) gave to sufyan is comprehensive advice that’s covering all aspects of deen.
This book that Musa (as) received and the people of Musa (as), much similar to us (the people of Prophet (saw)). Very important to get lesson from them.
Allah (swt) gives the Prophet (saw) this command: “fastaqim kama umirta”. Allah (swt) is not just telling him to have the quality of istiqama but is saying that this is already what you have been ordered to do. Having this quality of istiqama. This command starts with the Prophet (saw).
Why would Allah ask the prophet to have Istiqama ? Istiqama is the most important quality when you think about it wrt our deen. Hence the prophet (saw) has to internalize and exemplify it in his life. He’s the most knowledgeable and has the most taqwa of Allah and definitely he’s the one who has to have this quality so command begins with him.
When we see Allah commanding prophet (saw), we also realize how important these kind of commands are for us. It is narrated from ibn Abbas, that no verse was revealed upon the Prophet (saw) that was difficult and harder on him than this verse. Istiqama is a challenge. This is not a light issue and there’ll be many issues and challenges facing us that will take us away from that path.
We see number of commands coming from Allah to the Prophet (saw). “adhere, cling to that which has been revealed to you, verily you are on the straight path” (ref?).
Allah (swt) says, “we have set you upon a shariah (straight way) and follow it and do not follow...” [jathiyah:18]
Istiqama, one of the keys to that is to avoid the ahwaa (desires/lust/ignorance) that is taking you away from the straight path. “And those who turn in repentence with you”. Should also have this quality of istiqama.
if you want to make sure that you don’t transgress those limits, try to put a barrier b/w that and which is haraam. Protect your self so that you don’t transgress the limts Try to give yourself some kind of buffer, that if you slip, you’d slip to something that is mubah.
“Innahu bi ma ta’maluna basir” --> that He sees all that you do. One of the keys of istiqama in our lives, is to have perpetual understanding and recognition that Allah is seeing everything and knows everything that you do. you cannot escape Allah’s vision. His Knowledge and so therefore there’s no vacation from having this quality of istiqama. Last part of the verse, is very much related to the first part of the verse.
Surah Hud (v112-end of surah). There are lot of verses after this that are in reality related to the command of Allah. “Do not incline towards those people who have transgressed (alladheena dhalamu)”. We want to get away from this idea that Dhulm means oppression. If you read this kind of verse, and you think it’s only to people who commit oppression, you’ll miss the point Allah (swt) is making. Dhulm is anything that you do wrong. Dhulm in general, means the wrongdoers in general or the kuffar/munafiqeen. Sometimes in the Quran, it means kuffar.
“wa la tarkanu ilal ladheena dhalamu” --> to lean or incline, it’s not following, accepting or being like them but it’s just kind of leaning towards them. He starts speaking about some of the things that are the antithesis of istiqama. This expression has been discussed by some of the earlier scholars, qatada says, “do not give them love and do not obey them.”, Abu aliya, “do not be pleased with their deeds.”
What happens when someone inclines towards “al-ladheena dhalamu”? What Allah is describing is that if you’re not on guard and not careful, this is going to affect your deen. No question about it. You start obeying them, it’s going to affect your deen without question.
Goes back to what we covered in Surah Fatihah. The warning here though is very strong, “fa ta massakumun naar”. (for then you’ll be touched by the fire). “Fa” here means this will be the result of what you’re doing. One of the scholars fainted after reading this verse in salaah. If this is just the result of those who incline to them then what about those who do the dhulm.
“Ma lakum min dunillahi min awliya, thumman la tunsarun”. No one that will be able to help you. This is how Allah describes just those people who have leaning towards those who do dhulm.
Mufassireen are divided on “dhalamu” --> disbelievers or all those people who do wrong. Qurtubi uses this to say that we should avoid those who commit sin, bida’ and veer from the straight path.
Then Allah says to the Prophet (saw), “wa law la thabatnaka...” (Isra:74). In the following verse, Allah swt gives a very strong warning to the Prophet (saw), “...then if you have done that, we would have made you taste double punishment in this life and double punishment in the hereafter...”
When you see it directed to Prophet in that way, it could mean one of 2 things: 1) specific to if Prophet did it, 2) applies to general.
Hasan al-basri said, 2 main things that will take away from istiqama, going to extreme or inclining towards those who transgress.
And then Allah says, “Establish prayer...indeed good deeds do away with the evil deeds...dhalia dhikra lidhakireen”
One of the things that will keep us on Istiqama is that we should always be aware of the deeds that we are performing since Allah (swt) knows what we are doing. Even if we slip, it should not be permanent and then we should follow-up it up with good deeds so that we can recover from them.
What doee Sabr imply with respect to Istiqama, ?Impications of patient is to be patient during difficult times, difficult times are of different natures (types). 1) When it is difficult to implement your deen, and people are trying to influence yo u and prevent from doing your deen.
When we do have patience to establish the salaah and do the right deeds, Allah (swt) will not let any of our actions to go to waste, this is both for this dunya and the hereafter.
If we’re working for istiqama, inshaAllah Allah will not let those steps go to waste and will bless us in this life and the hereafter.
In the next few verses, Allah (swt) discusses the result of those people who commit wrong and those who have strayed from the straight path. How they are in this world and how Allah will deal with them in the hereafter. In that passge in v117. “your Lord is not about to destroy the village while it’s people are doers of good.” If you remember, there’s difference of opinion on who are “dhalamu”. For those who say that “dhalamu” are disbelievers and they make a conclusion from these verses and say, their is a difference b/w shirk and ma’sia and being unjust. Including Ibn T who supports this view, when Allah (swt) removes/destroys a people, Allah does not destroy them just because of shirk. But Allah destroys them because they start committing wrong to one another, they leave the aspect of justice (Adl) and this is when they’ll be deserving of destruction. As ibn T said, that Allah (swt) will support a kafir state if it’s not committing injustice and would give them preference over a Muslim state that is committing dhulm.
Unfortunately if we look at our communities and how we treat each other, we have this major issue of Muslims doing wrong to each other. With systems being corrupt. So until the Muslims go back to the right path, which includes how we treat others and deal with each other, it would be a long time before we get to this stage.
Allah (swt) goes back to the Prophet (saw) and tells him, “In all of the stories that we have conveyed to you, we conveyed to you in order to make your heart firm and this has come as a reminder for the believers.” This verse is clearly related to the issue of istiqama. Making your heart firm, thabaat, is related to issue of istiqama.
So going back to the stories of the Prophets, these are the things that will make our hearts stronger. When you’re facing difficulties and trial, go back to these stories, and you can see how Allah is with the believers and what this quran contains is the haqq and the truth.
Finally at the end of the surah, some very important principle are present here.
The whole passage goes back to fastaqim. Allah (swt) says, “and say to those who do not believe work according to your position and indeed we are working and wait and indeed we are waiting.” Basically saying to the Prophet (saw), don’t worry about the disbelievers. You have your own responsibility and perform those. Go ahead and do your deeds, don’t worry about them, don’t wait for their approval. A day will come, in this life and obviously in the hereafter when the truth will be revealed.
Allah (swt) knows everything that’s going on and all matters are returning to Him. So there’s no reason to work for anything other than the pleasure of Allah (swt). “fa’budhu wa tawakkal alayh” Command goes in line. Worship him alone and put your trust and reliance on Him. This is istiqamah.
Iyyaka na’budu -- this is our goal and this is what we want to achieve. And Allah (swt) is not heedless of what you do. Allah (swt) is completely aware of what you do. This is here addressed back to the believers.
All these passages relate back to the one initially mentioned, “fastaqim kama umirt”.
The above covers Surah Hud:117 to the end.
Allah (swt) in other places as well, points us to the importance of istiqama. Shura v15. “Unto this religion invite people, stand steadfast as you’re commanded and do not follow their desires.” When you think of istiqama and staying the course, one of the most obvious time the concept comes into play is during the time of trial/fitan.
Another important time when Istiqama is important is when making dawah, calling people to Allah (swt). If an individual is engaged in dawah, there’s something that he has to be conscious of. He’s calling people to leave what they’re upon, to change their ways and follow something different. Whether you’re making dawah to disbelivers or to other Muslims, by inclination many people don’t like change and they don’t like to be told to change. There’s a resistance. You’re dealing with institutions, vested interests. These vested interests are not interested in the word of Allah.
So when you’re making dawah, your opponent is really a formidable opponent. Especially right now, from materialistic point of view, they’re very strong and formidable. So if you are not ready to have qualities of istiqama, it can be a very difficult time for you. So when the Prophet was commanded to make dawah, it was directly followed by the command, “fastaqim”. And then followed by, “do not follow their desires”. Istiqama can be juxtapose (can be equated/compared) to ahwa everytime.
2010-07-04 Class Notes
Last time we discussed a passage from Surah Hud related to istiqamah and in the end we discussed another passage from the Quran related to it. We will discuss a couple more before moving on.
Allah swt makes it clear that Quran is one of the keys to istiqamah (staying on the sound and proper course, from shariah perspective it also includes staying away from shirk).
Surah Takweer verse 27 and 28
Allah swt says: It is not accept a reminder for whoever wills to take the right path.
If we want a reminder or key to remain on the straight path, then that key or reminder is the Quran.
External and Internal - Mind and Heart. Dhikr rememberance will bring you back to reality of your purpose of your existence. Quran is important for both the internal and external aspects of istiqamah.
Rewards of Istiqamah
Allah swt is stating what is the consequence of accepting this reminder from the prophet (the hadith that we are discussing) in Surah Fussilat verse 30 and 32.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ
Indeed, those who have said, "Our Lord is Allah " and then remained on a right course - the angels will descend upon them, [saying], "Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised.
Verily, those who say: "Our Lord is Allah (Alone)," and then they Istaqamu , on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): "Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!
According to scholars the angels will descend on the death. Allah swt says do no fear for what will happen in the future and also do not grieve for what has happened in the past.
نَحْنُ أَوْلِيَاؤُكُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ ۖ وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا مَا تَشْتَهِي أَنفُسُكُمْ وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا مَا تَدَّعُونَ
We [angels] were your allies in worldly life and [are so] in the Hereafter. And you will have therein whatever your souls desire, and you will have therein whatever you request [or wish]
"We have been your friends in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have (all) that your inner-selves desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask for.
On top of that Allah swt is reminding that angles were you auliya in this life and in the hereafter. This is something that we forget about when we go about our lives and we always consider that grass is greener on the other side. If we have belief in ALlah and if we have istiqamah then we have this auliya in this life and in the hereafter.
Allah swt says in Surah Ahqaf verse 13 and 14
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
Indeed, those who have said, "Our Lord is Allah ," and then remained on a right course - there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.
Verily, those who say: "Our Lord is (only) Allah," and thereafter Istaqamu (i.e. stood firm and straight on the Islamic Faith of Monotheism by abstaining from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allah has forbidden and by performing all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained), on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا جَزَاءً بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
Those are the companions of Paradise, abiding eternally therein as reward for what they used to do.
Such shall be the dwellers of Paradise, abiding therein (forever), a reward for what they used to do.
The result of istiqamah is to be in jannah forever.
Istiqamah does not mean that you do not make mistakes which we will discuss later.
Istiqamah of the heart and the tongue
If the heart is filled with belief of Allah swt and trust in Allah swt, repenting towards Allah, all of these important qualities that we know in Islam, if the individual has it in the heart, then it will lead a person to istiqamah.
The main thing is to remove shirk from the heart. The removal of various shades of shirk is very difficult. To have love for Allah swt above and beyond everything else, until he does that he does not remove all of the shades of shirk from the heart. What is your ultimate aspiration and goal? This is what every Muslim has to think about. When you go through trials and tribulations you have to think about it.
How many text of the Quran and Sunnah are related to the question of the tongue and yet people take what they say very lightly.
What is it that you fear the most for me, oh prophet? The prophet pointed to the tongue.
Many of the sins are going to be related to the tongue. Acts of Dhulm, acts of oppressions, backbiting, lying, deceiving are originated in the tongue.
The amount that he controls the tongue is a sign of the level of istiqamah that the individual has. It is a strong statement but it is based on the hadith, The prophet said, that the faith of imaan of the person will not have istiqamah until his heart will have istiqamah, and his heart will not have istiqamah until his tongue will have istiqamah.
If you don’t have qualities in your heart and mind that are unable to control the tongue. It takes more energy to speak then to refrain from speaking. If you make it a point to control the tongue, it is the easiest thing to control. Praying requires energy while refraining from speaking does not.
You need to have desire and strong resolve, and stronger the resolve, the greater the reward. People train for years, hours in a day, because it is something that they want. They overcome obstacles to accomplish the goal. Until we have the resolve that we want istiqamah to lead our lives to the best of the ability and to please Allah swt requires resolve and understanding of the deen, to know what is the straight path and what are the obstacles to the straight path.
Even though this hadith sounds simple, it is difficult to achieve.
If we had not made you firm you would have inclined to ....
Hadith: My hair has become white because of surah hud and its sister surahs. Because of the concept of Istiqamah.
Sahaba said this was the harshest surah revealed to the prophet.
Surah Fussilat verse 6
قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُكُمْ يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَٰهُكُمْ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ فَاسْتَقِيمُوا إِلَيْهِ وَاسْتَغْفِرُوهُ ۗ وَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُشْرِكِينَ
Say, O [Muhammad], "I am only a man like you to whom it has been revealed that your god is but one God; so take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness." And woe to those who associate others with Allah -
Say (O Muhammad SAW): "I am only a human being like you. It is inspired in me that your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God - Allah), therefore take Straight Path to Him (with true Faith Islamic Monotheism) and obedience to Him, and seek forgiveness of Him. And woe to Al-Mushrikun (the disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah, polytheists, idolaters, etc. - see V.2:105).
This ayat is telling us that we will have shortcomings on this path, and when we have shortcomings, Allah swt has opened the door of forgiveness and repentance. We should ask Allah swt for forgiveness.
Hadith: O! people you will not be able to do all that you are ordered to do, so instead try to be upright and have glad tidings or according to another narration, stay on the straight path or as close to it as possible.
We have to stay firm on the straight path and if we stray then we can ask for forgiveness and repentance, we have to strive to be on the straight path. Allah swt is not asking for perfection, but he is asking for us to be sincere and to be honest with ourselves. This is where the biggest shortcoming comes. Judge ourselves fairly and objectively. Are we having the intention in our hear, We know when we failed, when we did not try. We try to fool ourselves but we know that.
There should be remorse for our weakness, if we don’t have remorse then there is something wrong with ourselves and we have bigger issues, we then cannot even help ourselves.
2010-07-18 Class Notes
Means to istiqamaah
Your environment is going to influence you and your ability to adhere to islam, and as a consequence it will impact your istiqamah.
Not all forms of relaxation and enjoyment are haraam. But comparing act of brother and sisters years ago and today are much different. We now spend collectively lots of time on activities that are not of benefit to us. Amount of time and energy and priority is now consuming a lot of life of muslim individuals. You don’t have time and resources for other activities.
Argument: If we don’t do this activity, then we will loose the muslim youth.
However we are not raising our youth properly. We do not have a serious tarbeeah. We don’t want them to be cultural muslims. Just having comedy nights, sports activities, carnivals is not going to be sufficient. What is the goal of all these activities?
Most of the conversation in groups would be discussion related to movies, tv shows, video games, sports. This is the biggest differences today and years ago. Nowadays people who are active are interested in these activities.
Internet has produced a different environment. It has completely open the door to discussion that would have been left to the ulema. And now everyone has an opinion.
Getting involved in these controversies is going to affect our deen. There are ways we can control ourselves.
Opportunity cost is a good guide for muslims. When we are engaged in activities that are not beneficial to us, we are loosing out on the opportunity to do actions that are beneficial to muslims. What we are giving up by engaging in activities that are frivolous.
Develop an awareness of how people, actions, activities effect us? Are they impacting us positively or negatively. If our ultimate goal is to preserve our deen. Imaan is volatile, hearts can change. Dua of the prophet: Oh you who turns hearts, affirm my heart upon your deen. Ya muqallib ul qulub, thabit qalbi ala deenik.
The norm among muslim brothers today and 15 years ago has changed. Muslims have changed. It is a sad reflection. We have to learn how to change our focus. Let’s not worry about the masses, we have to worry about the active brothers or leaders.
Sheikh is planning to deliver a lecture on My history of Islam in America, where he plans to present how muslims have changed.
We have to recognize that something is going on. If our ultimate goal is isteqamah, then we have to re-prioritize our goals.
2010-07-25 Class Notes
There are lot of aspects that influence us on whether we can remain steadfast on the straight path. Are there signs that show us weakening on our ability to remain firm along that straight path.
Means of achieving istiqamah
The points are obvious, but we need reminders
1. Turning to the Quran and benefiting from the Quran
Allah swt says in Surah Takwir - It is not accept as a reminder ... who wants to remain on the straight path
إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
It is not except a reminder to the worlds
Verily, this (the Quran) is no less than a Reminder to (all) the 'Alamin (mankind and jinns).
لِمَن شَاءَ مِنكُمْ أَن يَسْتَقِيمَ
For whoever wills among you to take a right course.
To whomsoever among you who wills to walk straight,
Allah swt mentions Quran as dhikr, since it implies that it is in the front of our thoughts. It is easy to forget our purpose and our true goals and to get engrossed in things for hours that keep us away from our goal.
Deep down in the heart of every believer is a desire to become a true believer and things come that distract him. So he needs a reminder.
When you pray Fajr, Maghrib, Isha at the masjid, you hear the Quran. You hear Surah Fatiha. Does Quran have the effect of having dhikr or remembrance on them? If it does not, then I can assure you that the weakness is not in the Quran.
We should read Quran with the goal of gaining istiqamah.
How to approach and understand the Quran is one of the keys to istiqamah.
2. Continuously checking oneself and reviewing one’s deeds - Muhasaba
Allah swt says in Surah Hashr verse 18 and 19
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَلْتَنظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ
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.
O you who believe! Fear Allah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you do.
وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
And be not like those who forgot Allah , so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient.
And be not like those who forgot Allah (i.e. became disobedient to Allah) and He caused them to forget their ownselves, (let them to forget to do righteous deeds). Those are the Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).
You have to do this introspection every night before you go to sleep or after Fajr prayers. You have to be honest with your selves. Only you are aware of your sincerity and what is driving force behind all of your actions. The only one who can evaluate your actions is your self. See what kind of person you are? If you do a lot of wrong, you will be disgusted with yourself. It takes will power and strength. And you should make the correct intention to turn towards Allah swt.
Categorize your deeds, what is good and what is useless. If you are doing halaal activities with true intention then none of your deeds will be useless. This should be a motivating factor for you to change yourself.
There should be a desire to improve yourself. The ultimate thing we are trying to do is to please Allah swt. If you say that you have done enough to please Allah swt, then there is something wrong with your aqeedah.
Jannah is not a reward for our deeds, in the sense that our actions are so great that they are deserving of jannah. In reality it is from mercy from Allah which will allow us to enter Jannah, this is true for the prophet also. If we are trying to get close to Allah swt, then Allah swt will try to help us.
There is a difference in those who are satisfied with themselves and those who are striving to truly please Allah swt.
A lengthy classroom discussion about if we do the minimum will we enter jannah and the hadith of the bedouin. I did not capture the classroom discussion.
3. Sound islamic knowledge based on Quran and Sunnah is one of the keys to istiqamah. It shows us what is the right path. What is the proper steps to correct yourself, if you happen to make a mistake.
We always feel that our situation is unique and no one has faced our situation before. It is not true. History is our guide, our ullemahs have discussed various situations that the muslims have faced before and how to follow the straight path.
Tricks and traps of shaitan. It is captured in the hadith and the situations faced by the various prophets. Knowledge does not come without striving to acquire it.
4. Dua to ask Allah swt to keep our heart turned continually towards Allah swt.
This is what we are doing when we say ihdeenus seeratul mustakeem when we say Surah Fatiha 17 times a day.
5. Taking advantage of the Muslim community and sticking with the muslim community.
Hadith of the prophet that wolf devours a sheep that is left alone.
Jamaah that is following the right path who have understanding of the deen and benefit from them.
It is important for every Muslim to be aware of his environment and the different environments that he comes across every day and how it influences the individual.
What kind of positive or negative influence the environment has upon you? If it is negatively impacting your deen, then you must make an attempt to change your environment.
We will discuss Naseeha for different categories of people to remain on the straight path next time.
2010-08-01 Class Notes
Hastiness and its effect on Istiqamah
Avoid hastiness, take measured steps, is important with respect to establishing istiqamah. If you take a look at extremism that appears today, it is because of hastiness to achieve his goals. He starts to accept flimsy arguments to achieve his goals. His reasoning is clouded because of his hastiness. It is important to analyze every step of the goal, even the best shariah goal, the acheivement is not in our hands, we are not held responsible for achievemement of the goals, we just have to strive and work hard.
When we make dawah, it is wonderful if they accept it, but that change of heart is from Allah swt, the best we can do is to make dawah.
People sometimes make grandiose statements are not true or sometimes the way the audience hears it is different than what is meant by the speaker. For example when speaker talks about women’s rights and how western audience perceives it and what Islam says about women’s rights. The speaker has to understand this before speaking about it in front of a western audience.
Hastiness takes them away from the path of Istiqamah. Because of their hastiness they resort to practices that are not shariah compliant.
We must have patience.
Does it make sense to deceive people to follow the religion of truth? Marketing is not based on honesty. You put something out which you can relate to. There are some marketing principles that are neutral.
Prophet did not deceive people when he made dawah. If we are going to take him as our role model, then we cannot use deception at all.
Abdul Aziz Al Julayn - Fastiqama al ...... short principles from the quran and how we should apply. Towards the end of his book, he gives naseeha to different kinds of people. Sheikh liked the categories of naseeha but not the content.
1. People stray from the straight path and people are dragged away for whatever reason and he gives them naseeha. People who are dragged away by the fassad, if all of them are doing it, then it is okay for me to do it.
They should be reminded that when they met Allah swt, they are going to meet as an individual and they will be held responsible for their deeds. You cannot use the defense of others doing the fassad as an excuse
Prophet said, .... Are you going to please Allah swt or please the people, if you please people at the expense of Allah swt, then Allah swt will leave you, if you please Allah swt, Allah swt will protect you. ... Sahih ibn Habban ... isnaad is sahih.
If you go against the fassad then you become an outsider, a stranger. During the times of fassad, you will become a stranger. Islam will become something strange ...... Family members might question you, why you pray, why do you grow a beard, why do you wear hijab.
Are you going to please Allah swt or please the people.
Those people who imitate others or following others in doing wrong, the only thing they can do is ask Allah swt to punish the people who they imitated greater punishment. Think about it. Allah swt said in Surah Araf verse 38, for each of you it is doubled but you do not know, speaking about somebody else as an excuse on day of judgement for their misdeeds.
قَالَ ادْخُلُوا فِي أُمَمٍ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِكُم مِّنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ فِي النَّارِ ۖ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَتْ أُمَّةٌ لَّعَنَتْ أُخْتَهَا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا ادَّارَكُوا فِيهَا جَمِيعًا قَالَتْ أُخْرَاهُمْ لِأُولَاهُمْ رَبَّنَا هَٰؤُلَاءِ أَضَلُّونَا فَآتِهِمْ عَذَابًا ضِعْفًا مِّنَ النَّارِ ۖ قَالَ لِكُلٍّ ضِعْفٌ وَلَٰكِن لَّا تَعْلَمُونَ
[ Allah ] will say, "Enter among nations which had passed on before you of jinn and mankind into the Fire." Every time a nation enters, it will curse its sister until, when they have all overtaken one another therein, the last of them will say about the first of them "Our Lord, these had misled us, so give them a double punishment of the Fire. He will say, "For each is double, but you do not know."
(Allah) will say: "Enter you in the company of nations who passed away before you, of men and jinns, into the Fire." Every time a new nation enters, it curses its sister nation (that went before), until they will be gathered all together in the Fire. The last of them will say to the first of them: "Our Lord! These misled us, so give them a double torment of the Fire." He will say: "For each one there is double (torment), but you know not."
Even if there is bidah in the mosque, you are supposed to go to mosque, since it is beneficial to your soul and your deen.
Question about how to decide whether to go with jamaah or not
1. If you feel it is haraam, then you advice the jamaah or group in gentle manner and try to not please them at the expense of Allah swt. Even if there is difference of opinion among some whether it is haraam or not, If you know that it is haraam then you have to stay away from it.
2. If you think it is makrooh, ...... use hikmah ........
Don’t speak the pleasure of people at the expense of anger of Allah swt.
Nifaaq or hypocricy - one of the point the author makes - Am I Muslim worshipping Allah swt or am I just a muslim in name - this kind of event will occur at least once in a person’s life. They should not have to wait to make this decision - don’t do just because everybody else is doing it. It takes courage and true devotion, true jihaad, sacrfice to live up the promise that you are worshipping Allah swt.
2. One of the reason’s why people don’t wake up, is that people who are calling them, sometimes are compromising too. Second category is people who are making compromise in the name of islaah or making things good.
Dwah should never be a popularity contest. It is not about numbers. You can get numbers by presenting to people what they want to hear. Goal and purpose of dawah is to show the truth. Quality versus quantity.
We cannot do dawah like the anbiyaat. They were people of integrity, honesty .... yet there will be some anbiyaat who did not have any followers. It is because the people were not interested in following the truth.
In dawah there is no compromise if you are inviting them to Allah swt. Of course you should do dawah in the most pleasing way as described by the prophet. But you never compromise. Because you are calling people to Allah swt and that is the way of Allah swt.
In this field, the shaitan is definitely going to try to mislead you. Shaitans ultimate goal is to mislead as many people as possible and lead them to hellfire. You have to be prepared for the onslaught from shaitan.
3. Even bigger burden falls on the people of knowledge. So the third category of people is the people of ilm.
2010-08-08 Class Notes
We are discussing naseeha to different groups of people. The categories that were mentioned in the book were good but the naseeha is from Sheikh Jamaal Zarabozo.
3. People of ilm or knowledge
One of the first naseeha for people of knowledge and it applies to people who seek and those who have attained knowledge, the knowledge becomes a responsibility on your shoulder.
Prophet said that Quran is either a proof for you or against you.
If you say that I don’t want to attain knowledge, then you will fall upon another category. Fitnah nowadays is based on ideas, they are on many different levels. You have to be people of knowledge and students of knowledge. You cannot follow the straight path if you do not know the straight path.
Prophet described all of the duniya is curse except the dhikr of Allah and .... the scholar and one seeking knowledge
Knowledge should have an affect upon us. You should be a different person after you attain knowledge compared to before attaining knowledge. If you are the same person then there is some question about your attaining the knowledge. It should affect your ultimate purpose. The more knowledge you gain, it should lead you to attain higher and higher levels of your ultimate purpose.
Others are going to look at you and see how you behave. Specially in times of fitnah, if the people of knowledge are themselves swayed and compromising, then the people who follow them will do the same.
This is one of the biggest tests for the people of knowledge, if they compromise. People will use it as hujjah if they compromise.
One of the obligations for people of knowledge is to make it clear and not hide any of it.
Allah swt says in Ali Imran verse 187
وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَاقَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ لَتُبَيِّنُنَّهُ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَكْتُمُونَهُ فَنَبَذُوهُ وَرَاءَ ظُهُورِهِمْ وَاشْتَرَوْا بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۖ فَبِئْسَ مَا يَشْتَرُونَ
And [mention, O Muhammad], when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture, [saying], "You must make it clear to the people and not conceal it." But they threw it away behind their backs and exchanged it for a small price. And wretched is that which they purchased.
(And remember) when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) to make it (the news of the coming of Prophet Muhammad SAW and the religious knowledge) known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it, but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And indeed worst is that which they bought.
And, mention, when God made covenant with those who had been given the Scripture, that is, the pledge [taken] from them in the Torah, ‘You shall expound it (read tubayyinunnahu, or yubayyinunnahu, ‘they shall expound it’) the Book, to people, and not conceal it’ (read taktumūnahu, ‘you shall not conceal it’, or yaktumūnahu, ‘they shall not conceal it’). But they rejected it, they discarded the covenant, behind their backs, and so they did not act in accordance with it, and bought with it, they took in its place, a small price, of this world from the debased among them, enjoying supremacy over them in knowledge, and they concealed it, lest it [the supremacy] escape them; how evil is what they have bought, [how evil is] this purchase of theirs!
Not conceal or hide any of it. Some people took the covenant and threw it behind their backs and buying with it a measly prize.
There was a famous daiee who visited California and in the fatwa session, he made some strange fatawa. Sheikh Jamaal went and asked him about it. And Sheikh Jamaal asked him why is his fatwa not based on strong opinion, the daiee replied I don’t give fatwa based on strong opinion but what makes it easy for the people.
Dawah is not a popularity contest. At the very least, you should tell people that this is a weaker opinion and the strong opinion is such and such. At least make them aware of the strong opinion and now you have closed the door on them.
Remember this is not sanctioned by the Sharieeh.
Hadith narrated by Ayesha, prophet choose the easiest path if there were two options available but if something is sinful or wrong then he stayed away from it.
This is a problem that people only mention half of the hadith and not state the reason where he did not choose the easiest path.
Let’s take the question of music. Music has an effect upon an individual. It was the opinion of Sahaba and Tabieen. When this sheikh said that music is halaal. He said to Sheikh Jamaal that this is a weak opinion but does not mention this in any of his books.
You cannot conceal the truth. You can try to explain the truth by explaining the concepts gradually in terms that the audience can understand, for some you can just jump to the point directly but for others you explain them gradually.
Illiteracy is a big problem in the Muslim world. Here we have people who capable of understanding the concepts and they should work hard to increase it. Not every one has the capability to bear the burden. For example when prophet said to Abu Darr that I am afraid that you do not have the capability to lead (or something similar, I did not capture it correctly).
If you have shortcomings that does not excuse you from giving others naseeha or advice. You do your best to correct yourself, it is an obligation upon you. And if you fail and weak in those things, and you recognize it and when you are working towards it, then it is not hypocrisy if you give naseeha to others. But if you are not making an attempt to correct yourself, then it is hypocrisy.
4. Another category of people is towards those people who are influenced by rationalists (those people who use their akal).
Since the first gulf war, the aklaniyoon or modernists have gained political strength. And they have used their position to influence people.
By definition the modernists movement is antithetical to istiqamah, since by defintion the modernists are trying to follow whatever is the most popular thing at the time.
Quran is revealed for all of mankind until the day of judgement. There is no need for a new path.
Modernists say that the path that people should follow should be according to the demands of the time and what is considered good and proper for the time.
Let’s take the case of homosexuality. During the sixties it was frowned upon. No one in the right mind would have said that homosexuality is allowed by the shareeah. The modernist of the time would not think about speaking about it at that time.
Haqq is what is the quran or sunnah, it is not the opinion of the people or culture of the time, specially if it conflicted with the Quran or Shareeah.
Now the modernists would say that they don’t have problem with it. It changed because of the hawa or desires of the people. The reality has not changed but the taste or desires of the people have changed.
Other two groups he mentioned is naseeha to the muslim women who are suffering of the pressure of the time and naseeha to people who are on the path of istiqamah.