Hujjat al-Islam Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali and Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah on Fanaticism

Hujjat al-Islam Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali d. 505 a.h [may Allah have mercy upon him.] said:

“Thus, if you see a scholar of law wading into declaring others infidels and misguided, shun him and do not busy your heart nor tongue with him! Indeed, provocations in knowledge are from people’s nature, and the ignorant one is not able to exercise patience with it. And because of this, differences have multiplied amongst people. And if the knowledge was forcefully taken from the ignorant, then differences would subside.”

Al-Hafidh al-Dhahabi [may Allah have mercy upon him] states, “I heard our Sheikh, Ibn Taymiyyah d. 728 a.h [may Allah have mercy upon him], say towards the end of his life, “I will never declare anyone from the people of the Qiblah (Muslim direction of prayer) as an infidel.”

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The Lost and Found Nation of Qur’an: Ust. Suhaib Webb

The Qur’an’s role in developing the right mindset and attitude towards life cannot be underestimated. Unfortunately the Qur’an, for many, has become a book of mere blessings. Let there be no doubt that its blessings cannot be fathomed nor its beauty and aroma captured. However, many have left a real, daily, practical relation with the Book of Allah and, instead, have settled for a mystical relationship whose outcomes are not easily measured nor understood. This is very dangerous and the outcomes of such an attitude have had paralyzing effects:
1. A chronic negligence of the Arabic language
2. Preference is given to other sources prior to the Qur’an
3. Dark depression that one, as a layman, is not able to comprehend nor understand the message of the Creator to Humanity

I would like to address the third point as I feel it is really the cause for points one and two. Many feel that they are unable to approach the Qur’an, draw conclusions from its lessons and articulate its beautiful message in their daily lives. Thus, we have an Ummah cut from it umbilical cord, frustrated, spiritually tired and on the verge of colapse. The further we draw back from our relationship with the Qur’an our reference for life is replaced by other sources. In my eyes this is one of the major reasons for the problems we see in our communities:

1. A brother who spent the majority of his pre-pubescent and early adult life listening to DMX, 50 Cent and Biggie is going to surely have issues when he gets married. When his wife trips his mind will not revert to the statement of Allah, “And live with them (your wives) in an honorable manner.” But instead, “Girl $#$%^*!” Or perhaps he will go back to his “Tommy Vercetti” and try to take manners into his own hands?

2. A sister who makes here seven circuits around the black elevator at her local mall once a week. Who busies herself looking at the Sunday news papers in order to get, “The Best deals” and “The finest clothes” and compounds that with a 62 ounce Big Gulp of films, songs and Internet sources that can only increase the desire to have and be, has to really start to ask some hard questions. What type of wife will she be to a brother involved in the struggle for dawa? I’ve seen many of the sisters involved in seeking knowledge and the dawa sell their fellow brothers out and opt for a high flying Muslim Donald Trump who doesn’t practice. Then after some time she’s gone from the work and we lose an important piece to the puzzle. They leave the brothers, who’ve made sacrifices for the din trying to find Condoleza Right, and settle for the comforts of this life. No doubt we should be taking care of our sisters, but those brothers involved in the Dawa are in need of the best sisters. But, if those sisters, leave those brothers on the front lines empty handed, then the dawa takes a hit (Before any sisters start to burn their Mothers of Believer Cds don’t worry the same applies to brothers who leave the sisters in the dawa and run after the latest Aishwarya Rai).

These are the outcomes, perhaps a bit over the top, of materialism and selfishness (look at the crazy cost of mahrs these days). If our constructs are based on revelation, strong tarbiyah and a correct understanding of community many of these problems would, not go away but, be addressed with the medication of revelation and communal support. However, we are constantly hounded with the fact that we are mere ‘Awam, Qur’anic illiterates lacking the basic skills to interpret the Creators message. In turn, this has led to another phenomenon:

hijrah from the Qur’an.

Sh. Muhammad al-Hassan Walid al-Dido al-Shanqiti [may Allah preserve him] stated that the Qur’an’s verses were divided by the scholars into the following:

1. Those verses who’s meanings are only known to Allah (for example alif lam mim)
2. Those verses who’s interpretation must be done by those who are specialized scholars, have finished a sound curriculum of study and are recognized by the fellow contemporaries
3. Those verse that can be explained by the serious students of knowledge who have access to scholars and resources
4. Those verses that are understood by the common person. For example, “Say He is Allah the unique.” or “And there is nothing lik Him.”

Verses found under the fourth category are understood by all. They are clear and offer a treasure of lessons for those who sit and ponder on them. We must bring back this understanding to Western Muslims who are struggling to uncover the true essence of their identity, role and purpose. If the common Muslim is disconnected from the roots of his identity then it is not fair for religious leaders to blame them, nor chastise them for something those very religious leaders forbade them from. The Prophet’s [may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] companions [May Allah be pleased with them], if they lost the rope that tied their camel, would seek the answer in the Book of Allah. Then what can we say about those who are trying to find the answers to their purpose and identity?

Action Items:

1. Start a weekly halaqa of Qur’an in your home. Read a few verses and discuss them as a family or by yourself (if by yourself keep a diary of what you’ve read and your thoughts. Then, when you have a family, you can use what you’ve written)

May Allah bless us to love the Qur’an, read it and act on its profound lessons

Akukum Suhaib

The Answer to the Heat Wave of Fitnah. Grab the Umbrella of Taqwa (Advice for Summer): Ust. Suhaib Webb

Asalamu alaykum,I hope all of you are well and pray that everyone is in a state of being close to Allah. Just 10 short years ago I was struggling as a new convert to Islam and one of the greatest hurdles was the ladies. My college days were rough in many regards. Before my conversion I was a successful DJ (I had just got my hands on a really nice four track mixer. Okay so you know I’m old school. But, in those days I could make it fly) and was about to walk the Burning Sands and pledge Alpha Phi Alpha. All praise be to God that instead I became Muslim and slowly started to pull out of those things. It was rough but the most difficult part was dealing with the other gender.

Young brothers and sister I feel your pain man. It is difficult and as the summer months roll up it gets more and more difficult to manage as the clothes roll up as well. We all know the routine: “Lower the gaze! Lower the gaze! Lower the gaze!” But, if the heart is not lowered in awe of Allah’s magnificence and His tremendous bounties, then how can we expect the eyes to lower?

Tonight I attended a reading of the Shamil Muhamadiyah with Sh. Ibrahim al-Khalifa from Saudi Arabia. He is visiting Egypt for a few weeks and I had just finished my exam and decided to go and listen to his dars. The streets in Cairo are a mix of cars, buses, donkeys, cows and pollution that, seriously, when you make wudu slides off your face. I can only liken the air to a full vacuum bag that spews its contents creating a small cloud of dust. However, in the heat I remembered the homies in the West: My Boyz in Chicago, the brothers in L.A and most importantly the brothers in the Bay. I miss them all. The love for brothers is something that we should cherish and hold on to like we hold on to our checkbooks.

Anyways, after reading from the Shamail, the Sheikh moved on to al-Muhasibi’s Risalat Mustarshidin with the tahqiq by Sh. Abdul Fatah Abu Ghuda who is considered one of the greatest scholars of hadith from the last century. The Sheikh was talking about worshiping Allah as though you see the Hereafter close and understand that your time is up. “Be ready! Don’t let this life delude you! Be good people. Treat others with respect and worship your Lord as though you are going to leave this life soon.” It was a real masterpiece to watch the Sheikh tie vice with the rope of responsibility and knowing that one is going to die one day and answer for his time. Imam al-Muhasibi’s texts is intense and I felt a buzz in my chest as the Sheikh started to get into the flow.

This is for the all the young brothers and sisters struggling:

The Sheikh, after talking about this responsibility linked it to a very interesting story. That, for me, is the sign of a good Imam,teacher or Sheikh that they can tie things into our daily lives. Thus, such a style gives the din fresh legs, opens up one’s heart and soothes the coals of sin. He said that during the time of ‘Umar there was a young man who’s desires got the best of him. It all started with the look and the next thing the young man was alone with a woman. Suddenly, as the clock was starting to turn, the young man heard a verse of Qur’an being recited that reminded him of Allah’s greatness. He left the young woman, stood up shaking from the fear of Allah and fell dead from this fear. ‘Umar (may Allah have mercy on him) buried this youth and after hearing how he died walked over to the fresh grave and recited the following verse from Surah al-Rahman, “And for the one who fears the meeting with Allah there are two gardens.” Suddenly a response came from the grave reciting the verse, “We have found the promise of our Lord to be true.”

Dear brothers and sisters,

The summer is upon you and it is no joke. Statistics show that as the barometer rises that evil rise as well. One of the most important things you can take with you is Allah’s awesome nature and bounties. Reflect! Turn of the PS3! Put down the I-Pod and think for a minute! Put handcuffs on your Internet use and know that you will be asked about your youth. Where are you headed? What are you doing and how are you going to use this summer? Take sometime away from the gadgets and turn on your heart. Make some goals for yourself to do some good things in your community. Remember that when you see something that causes your temperature to fly that Allah is watching you. He knows what is in your heart and understands that it ain’t easy. Ask Him for His help and try to withstand the attacks of Iblis. I have a lot of faith that our young brothers and sisters can do loads of wonderful things in their communities!

Cool the heat of summer with the following:

1. Good friends who take you to good places. The Prophet (sa) said, “A person is on the faith of his friend.” One nice note about the hadith of the three people stuck in the cave. If they had not been together then they would have not been able to help each other get out. However, since they were all decent guys they were able to work together and use their good to remove the rock from the cave.

2. Have some goals for this summer:

1. Community (volunteer with any number of Muslim/Non-Muslim organziations and do something good for your neighborhoods
2. Spiritual (get those five prayers rocking and if you are real with it you will through in some night prayers and extra fasts)
3. Educational (try and attend some lessons or educational programs that will boost your faith)
4. Family (spend some time with the wife/husband (find one) kids and close relatives

3. Have some nice activities:
1. Qiyam
2. B-Ball tourneys (all nighters) followed by Qiyam, Fajir and some Aunties phat spicy eggs
3. Sleep overs
4. Camping
5. Weekly ‘Itikaf (inshallah, when I’m back in the stats I’m down)

I ask Allah to help us, bless us and let us use our time well. I would appreciate it if whoever reads this could help us generate a list of things to do this summer.

Suhaib

The Seven Conditions Related to Successful Dawa: Ust. Suhaib Webb

The Seven Conditions Related to Successful Dawa: Ust. Suhaib Webb

Things are distinguished by their characteristics. The caller to Allah should have the best attributes and qualities as the message he/she brings is from his/her Lord. Inshallah, this article will touch on seven conditions for successful dawa. But first, a few words on the importance of dawa.

Dawa is so important that Allah (swt) described His Prophet [may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] as a “caller to Allah.”

Allah [the Most Exalted] says:

“And a caller to Allah and a torch spreading light.”
Surah al-Ahzab 46

In fact, Sheikh Muhammad al-Hassan Walid Dodo al-Shanqiti said, “The importance of dawa can be seen the even Allah [the Exalted] describes Himself as a caller!”

Allah [the Exalted] says:

“Allah calls you to Paradise and forgiveness by His leave.”
Surah al-Baqara 221

The role of the caller is no less great when met with a number of challenges and difficulties. Although there are a large number or external obstacles, the greatest challenges are those from within the Muslim community. Thus, the caller must juggle many different objects and, at the same time, maintain his/her own balance.

This article is one of grave importance and it is hoped that it will be used by MAS, YM and other organizations, studied, built upon and developed so it can serve as an important piece in the total tarbiyah process. I’ve left things out on purpose hoping that you will fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle with your own ideas and thoughts.

    The Seven Conditions Related to Successful Dawa

These conditions for success are found in the following verses:

“Say: This is my Way: I call on Allah with sure knowledge. I and whosoever follows me – Glory be to Allah! – and I am not of the idolaters.”
Surah Yusuf 108

And:

“Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way.”

    The First Verse [Four conditions]

“Say: This is my Way: I call on Allah with sure knowledge. I and whosoever follows me – Glory be to Allah! – and I am not of the idolaters.” Surah Yusuf 108

1. The statement of Allah, “With sure knowledge”
This entails knowing what one is calling to, who one is calling to and the environment which one lives in and taking time to understand its norms, customs and cultural nuances.

2. The statement of Allah, “I and whoever follows me”
One cannot go it alone. One of the greatest challenges of dawa work is to listen to others ideas, share and put up with peoples stuff. However, there is a blessing in group work and this makes it one of the conditions for successful dawa

3. The statement of Allah, “Glory be to Allah”
This is an interesting clause that seemingly comes out of nowhere to rattle the reader. However, the scholars have stated that a few points can be taken from this:

The caller does not rely upon anyone other than Allah
The caller does not expect rewards from any other than Allah
The caller is a Rabbani (person connected to Allah). Meaning after the knowledge and the group work there is still a strong spiritual presence about this person. They mind their prayers, stand in the night while others are sleeping and weep for Humanity’s guidance. It could also imply that they don’t get caught up in the means forgetting the ultimate objective. Many movements lost their course when they were intoxicated with attracting the large crowds. However, the truth is the truth and it must stay the ultimate goal. Let us not forget that some Prophet’s had 0 followers. Thus, this principle insures quality over quantity. Allah says, “Who created life and death as a test for you to see which of you is best in actions.” Commenting on this a scholar said, “Allah said, “Best in actions” not most in actions.”

4. The Statement of Allah, “And I am not of the idolaters”
Thus the caller is does not engage in acts which are immoral or seen as repulsive. No, he/she is different in his/her moral standing. He/she is not ostentatious, but the caller’s righteousness is like a merciful spring that makes others around better. Recently rookie Daniel Gibson said, after the Cavs closed out the Pistons, that Lebron James told him, “Just keep shooting” the result was a 31 point game and a 19 point 4th quarter. The caller is not a indicter but an inviter. He/she give others strength and motivation; building others.

    The Second verse [Three conditions]

“Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way.”

1. The statement of Allah, “With wisdom”
Wisdom, according to the Arabic language, means to put something in its proper place. Thus, when it is time to be soft, one is soft, when it is time to be firm one is firm, when it is time to play, then it is time to play, and when it is time to work, it is time to be serious. The Prophet [may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him] said, “There is a time for this and a time for that.”

2. The statement of Allah, “With fair exhortation”
It is important to communicate in a way that others can understand and appreciate. In addition, methods style and body language all play and essential role in delivering a good message.

3. The statement of Allah, “And reason with them in a better way.”
Here reasoning in a way that is better is not related to style alone as that was addressed by the previous condition. Here reasoning in a better way is related to the content of one’s argument. Insuring that one has sound knowledge and proofs related to the discussion at hand.

    Thus, the conditions for successful dawa are:

1. Knowledge
2. Team effort
3. Rabaniyah (Connected with Allah)
4. Sincerity in doing what one says and distinguished character
5. Wisdom
6. Fair preaching (style and method)
7. Reason in the best way (content and knowledge)

It would be great if MAS and YM could discuss this article and fill in the areas that I left blank. Practical examples, stories and other verses and hadith are awaiting your discovery. Also, anyone is free to comment or add any points they feel will enhance the post.

Suhaib Webb