Random Thoughts and Notes No. 426-450

426.    In previous eras of Islam, it was the case that everyone, scholars and laymen alike, would memorize the 40 Ahadeeth of an-Nawawi, and this was considered part of their normal education.

427.    An important maxim: “Ma’ani Qabla al-Mabaani”. One should build meaning and have clear purpose before constructing the physical buildings.

An example is the intention with regards to a child. We see Hannah the mother of Maryam (Alayhaa as-Salaam) and her intention to dedicate the child to the service of Allah, and that this intention itself had an effect on the child. And compare this with what happens today: No correct intention or action in choosing a good spouse, no Sunnah acts connected to intimate relations, or when the child is in the womb, or after the child is born (like ‘Aqeeqah, naming the child properly, etc.,). Yet, when the child has an identity crisis or serious doubts in high school, we dump the problem on the Masjid or on the weekend Islamic school.

428.    Wisdom is the lost property of the believer. Thus, if there is a piece of true information, of real knowledge from any civilization, the Muslim should be able to synthesize this into his worldview of Islam and of Tawhid.

429.    (As was mentioned) It is not enough to know “You should not envy” but also “why do we envy”; this gets into the technicalities of the sciences of the heart. We need to consider Ummahaat al-Fadhaail and how they connect to the rational, irascible, and appetitive faculties.

430.    In Islam we do not separate knowledge from worship and character. In secular institutions, yes, it is possible for one to be a total Faasiq and still get his PhD if he writes his dissertation and fulfills the theoretical requirements for the degree, but in Islam it is not like that, one must be righteous in order to be recognized for his academic achievements.

431.    Some people say they need to feel spiritual before they pray, but this is in fact irrelevant. The obligation towards Allah remains in all cases, whether one feels “spiritual” or “banal”. And it must be said, this is a severe trick of Satan, to make one deluded thinking some of the ephemeral spiritual joys one might sometimes attain in obligatory actions is the necessary achievement itself, without which the action is redundant.

432.    The subtlest of Iblis’ arrows is when he preoccupies the believer in doing less rewarding acts of worship so that he forgets the greater acts of worship. For example, getting involved in activism versus performing the obligatory prayers.

433.    One needs to see those living examples who have reached the end of the path, of those who are living at a higher level of existence, their hearts connected fully with Allah even if their outside is fully engaged with the world. Otherwise, someone might think that Islam is only about rules, or that love has no place in Islam, or that the ‘way of the Salaf’ is something found only in books and stories of old.

434.    An example is mentioned of Mauritania, they are Bedouins, yet some of the most civilized people on Earth. The moral is that if we take Islam away from a people like that, they are an insignificant dot on the face of the Earth, and totally forgotten by all – but with Islam they have produced well-known scholars.

435.    The Hadeeth of Jibreel is unique, in that it is as if the Sanad of this narration goes back to the Prophet (ﷺ) and to Jibril (Alayhi as-Salaam) as well, so it is stronger than any other chain in this regard. Also, we should consider the spiritual maturity of the Companions (RAA) that they were able to bear seeing an angel, albeit in a human form. Remember the story of the Prophet (ﷺ) when the first revelation came to him and the tremendous experience in that, yet fast-forward years later, and in the Madinan period, some of the Companions themselves can see the Angel of Revelation (Alayhi as-Salaam).

436.    An important issue: When we say a Hadeeth is Saheeh, we are also trusting someone like Imam Bukhari, Muslim (RA), etc., who passed a judgment on the chain of narrators – with regards to arguments with sectarianists, they cannot simply start placing one Hadeeth against another, since the whole issue is that we have trusted scholars like Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Muslim (RA), and so forth. If the sectarianists wish to argue about Hadith authenticity with true sincerity, the first step is to accept the judgment and scholarship value of these scholars, then we can start to discuss, it is this simple. [There will be a need to bring up the sectarianists’s own method and subject it to strict critique, but to begin with, we should not fall for this selective polemical-sectarian tactic].

437.    If one wishes to pass a judgment on something, he has to thoroughly know the truth of the situation before him. This is an issue that many Muslims, even scholars, might fail to address properly, and often it is not directly their fault, but rather too much expectation is placed on them (for example, expecting the Faqeeh to give an all-encompassing refutation or explanation of a biological or chemistry based topic). This is unrealistic to expect from them, but this situation occurs routinely in the Muslim world, many a times with embarrassing results.

438.    Consider, the Quraysh respected the sanctity of the Ka’bah so much that they made an announcement to the effect of not accepting anything but Halaal money for the reconstruction of the Ka’bah. And yet we see lots of indifference and apathy by the Muslims of today when in the presence of the Ka’bah and the Masjid al-Haraam – here I am talking about the situation of many normal people when in the presence of this place sanctified by Allah.

439.    We Muslims should be conduits to convey the truth of Islam, and not let our own Nafs get in the way of this conveyance. We know the Ayah in Surah al-Israa’ (in translation): ‘Say, the truth has come and falsehood is vanished’. Besides, the world is being polarized into Western and Islamic civilizations/worldviews, we should facilitate the choice for those who are sincere in finding the truth, and put no artificial barriers to their search.

440.    The Prophet (ﷺ) and his Companions (RAA) were not all the time in one big “Islamic Lecture” – they led their normal lives, but with full God-consciousness. In fact for the normal Muslim, it is much better to have a moderate yet essential amount of Islamic knowledge but with God-consciousness, than to be very knowledgeable theoretically but fail in the implementation of that knowledge. There are many reasons for this, one of them being that one will be called to account for failing to follow through on the knowledge he acquired.

441.    Bid’ah may be obligatory, like the compilation of the Mushaf, or taking Muallafaati Qulubuhum out of the categories of Zakat recipients. [Writing this as was heard, while acknowledging some may not agree; yet this disagreement depends on a number of things, such as the definition of Bid’ah, is there a distinction between its linguistic and technical usages, what the Prophet (ﷺ) intended when he equated Bid’ah with deviance, etc.]

442.    In classical Islamic societies, the ‘child’ at the age of 7-10 years was already treated like an adult, because it was at this time that crucial metaphysical concepts started to be properly grasped by them; for example, consider that the very important Hadith narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas (RAA) about Qadr [foreordainment] was told to him by the Prophet (ﷺ) when this Sahaabi was about 10 years old.

Thus, when we read that the marriage of ‘Ayesha (RAA) took place at 9 years (or whatever early age), we need to consider this angle seriously, since the mental development of people is not really based on assuming their long-term (sometimes lifetime) infantile grasp of reality. We cannot simply suppose bad things about the early Muslims (of course, the opponents of Islam will seek to dirty the name of Islam, but we should not be sucked into this trap.)

By the way, for many Muslims even today, this concept is not to do with the Ahadith being Sahih or Da’eef, rather it is Qat’i and Hissy (i.e. indubitable experiential knowledge they have grown up with and know first-hand).

443.    In comparison with the early scholars, all the scholars of today are lay-people, this is one reason why new Madhaaahib cannot arise, or it would be very difficult for them to arise.

444.    Some people say that if the rulings for everything were known in Islam, this would have been much better. But consider two matters: The Quran is only about 6000 Ayaat, if everything conceivable would have been included, it would have been a huge book. And also, the Ahaadeeth are only about 50 thousand in their totality, and some say 10 thousand – this after taking away repetitions, etc. – and thus even the Ahaadeeth in spite of their numerousness, still do not even remotely contain all minute conceivable cases.

445.    From the incident of those Companions (RAA) who remained behind in Tabuk, we learn that the person’s seeking Tawbah is itself a sign that Allah has forgiven the person, because Allah gave the Baseerah (spiritual insight) to that person to see his sins as such and make the commitment for a sincere Tawbah. The maxim then is not: “I will do Tawbah and hopefully Allah will forgive me” but rather to look at it as: “Allah has forgiven me, thus I was led to make Tawbah”.

446.    It is true that we have the effects of Allah’s Jalaal (Majesty) in this world. However, it is never without some of Allah’s Jamaal (Mercy, Beauty) as well, for otherwise it would be intolerable for the creatures.

447.    The Islamic religion has the glory of containing both Jamaal and Jalaal. One challenge in today’s day and age is to keep this balance and propagate this balance to the world, since there are extremists on both sides (Muslim and non-Muslim) who wish to ‘amputate’ the Islamic tradition in this regard, saying that Islam is definitely one or the other.

448.    The Inward (Baatin) truth of all the troubles the Muslim world is going through is Rahmah (Mercy). We strive for justice outwardly while recognizing what the Baatin is.

449.    One guideline for supplications is that we should supplicate based on the situation we are in: If we are drinking Zam Zam water we should mention a supplication based on the flowing of the water and the opening up of the constriction in our hearts, since what occurred was that the Zam Zam gushed forth and ‘sucked up’ the dryness of the earth in Makkah (so we wish it to suck up the dryness of our hearts and replace it with flowing of spiritual goodness). The same applies when we are in the Multazam (at the door of the Ka’bah,  and what can be said about going all the way to the door of Allah’s Mercy and clinging to the Ka’bah in order to be forgiven by Allah), or in Madeenah al-Munawwarah, or other areas, as per the situation and circumstances.

450.    When we relate narrations about the Prophet’s (ﷺ) prayers, or his (ﷺ) hunger or his (ﷺ) crying, we should not imagine these as based on “our” standards, but we should upgrade and see them as much better and above what we would commit of comparable actions.