The Danger of Insincerity amongst the ‘Ulamā’

While discussing insincerity in Dīnī activities, Imām al-Ghazālī says:

‘The people most subject to this tribulation are the ‘Ulamā’ since the motive for most in sharing knowledge is the delight of being superior, and the joy of being followed, and the happiness of being praised and glorified, but the Shayṭān deceives them about this, saying: “Your motive is only to spread the Dīn of Allāh, and to defend the Sharī‘ah which the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) established.” You see the sermoniser mentioning the favour to Allāh of his advice to people and his admonition of kings, and he is overjoyed with people’s acceptance of his speech and their attraction to him, while claiming that he is happy because assisting the Dīn has been made easy for him. Yet, if one of his peers who is better than him at sermonising were to appear, and the people turned from him and moved towards him, this would hurt and worry him. Had his motive been Dīn he would have thanked Allāh (Exalted is He) since Allāh (Exalted is He) has sufficed him of this task using another. Thereafter, the Shaytān despite this does not leave him, and says: “You are only worried because the reward has ceased coming to you not because people’s faces have turned away from you to another, because if they received the reminder from your speech you would be rewarded – and your concern for missing out on reward is praiseworthy.” The poor individual (miskīn) does not realise that his submission to the truth and his handing over the task to someone better is greater in reward…’ (Iḥyā’ ‘Ulūm al-Dīn, Dār al-Minhāj, 9:71)

Sins do not Become Good Deeds Based on Intention

Imām al-Ghazālī states:

‘Sins do not change from their nature because of (good) intention. An ignoramus should not (mis)understand this from the general statement of the Prophet (upon him peace): “Actions are based on intentions”, and assume that a sin transforms into obedience based on intention – like someone who backbites a person in consideration of the feelings of another, or feeds a poor person using the wealth of another, or builds a madrasa or masjid or convent using unlawful wealth, and his intention is good. All this is ignorance, and intention has no impact in removing it from being injustice, transgression and sin. In fact, his intending good from evil against the demands of Sharī‘ah is another evil! If he knows this, then he has opposed the Sharī‘ah, and if he is ignorant of it, then he is sinful on account of his ignorance, since acquiring knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim. Virtues are only recognised as virtues from the Sharī‘ah – so how can evil possibly be good?! How very farfetched! In fact, that which propels this in the heart is hidden passion and concealed desire, since when the heart desires position, attracting people’s hearts and all other gains of the lower self, Shayṭān uses it to deceive the ignoramus. This is why Sahl al-Tustarī, Allāh have mercy on him, said, “Allāh is not disobeyed with a sin greater than ignorance.” He was asked, “Abū Muḥammad, do you know anything worse than ignorance?” He said: “Yes, being ignorant of one’s ignorance!”’ (Iḥyā’ ‘Ulūm al-Dīn, Dār al-Minhāj, 9:31-2)

Translations from I’la’ al-Sunan

The following are several translations from I’la’ al-Sunan, the famous compendium of Hanafi hadith proofs.

These translations were made available previously on different websites and are gathered here for ease of reference:

1. Introduction to I’la’ al-Sunan by Mufti Taqi Usmani

2. Al-Din al-Qayyim on the Necessity of Taqlid by Mawlana Habib Ahmad al-Kiranawi

3. Placing the Hands Below the Navel by ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-’Uthmani

4. Not Raising the Hands in other than the Opening Takbir by ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-’Uthmani

5. The Impermissibility of a Literal Joining of Salahs by ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-’Uthmani

6. The Obligation of Attending Salah in Congregation by ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-’Uthmani

7. The Prophetic Visitation by ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-’Uthmani

8. Refutation of “Composite Nationalism” by ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-’Uthmani

The Good Things that Last

The Good Things that Last:
The Most Beloved Words to Allāh

The Good Things that Last

The Qur’ān says:

المَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا 

Wealth and children are the embellishment of the worldly life, and the good things that last (al-bāqiyāt as-ṣāliḥāt) are greater with your Maker in reward and greater in expectation.Sūrat al-Kahf, 18:46

“The good things that last” are also mentioned in Sūrah Maryam, 19:76.

The material benefits of this world are short-lived and temporary. They don’t give us much and nor can we expect much from them. On the other hand, the “good things that last” will remain and endure forever. That is, their rewards will continue into the hereafter, and the hereafter is “far better and far more lasting” (Sūrat al-A‘lā, 87:17) than this life.

What are the “good things that last”? Continue Reading

A Sunnah of Immense Reward: 4 Rak‘āt after the Farḍ of ‘Ishā’

Imām al-Ṭabarānī (260 – 360 H) narrates in his al-Mu‘jam al-Awsaṭ:

حدثنا محمد بن الفضل السقطي، قال: نا مهدي بن حفص، قال: نا إسحاق الأزرق عن أبي حنيفة عن محارب بن دثار عن ابن عمر قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم

من صلى العشاء في جماعة، وصلى أربع ركعات قبل أن يخرج من المسجد كان كعدل ليلة القدر

Muḥammad ibn al-Faḍl al-Saqaṭī narrated to us: He said: Mahdī ibn Ḥafṣ narrated to us: He said: Isḥāq al-Azraq narrated to us from Abū Ḥanīfah from Muḥārib ibn Dithār from Ibn ‘Umar: He said: The Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) said:

Whoever prays ‘Ishā’ in congregation, and prays four rak‘āt before leaving the masjid*, it will be equal to [praying them on] Laylat al-Qadr.” (al-Mu‘jam al-Awsaṭ, 5:254) Continue Reading

Are Grandnieces one’s Maḥrams?

Question:

Are the granddaughters (son’s daughter/daughter’s daughter) of a man’s brothers or sisters included amongst his maḥrams?

Answer:

Yes, they are his maḥrams. [1]

[1]

فتحرم بنات الإخوة والأخوات وبنات أولاد الإخوة والأخوات وإن نزلن (رد المحتار، دار عالم الكتب، ج٤ ص٩٩

وكذا الأخوات من أي جهة كن وبنات الأخوات وإن سفلن (فتاوى قاضيخان، دار الكتب العلمية، ج١ ص٣١٦

فأما النسب فهو الرحم المحرم وهم أربعة أصناف…والصنف الثالث: الإخوة والأخوات من أي وجه كانوا: لأب وأم أو لأب أو لأم وأولاد جميعهم وإن بعدوا (النتف فى الفتاوى، مؤسسة الرسالة، ج١ ص٢٥

Is it Necessary to Sell Items Above One’s Needs to Perform Ḥajj?

Question:

A person does not have enough money to perform Ḥajj, but possesses gold and silver jewellery which if sold will be enough to cover the expenses of Ḥajj. Is it necessary to sell the jewellery and perform Ḥajj?

Answer:

The preferred view in the Ḥanafī madhhab is that if a sane and able adult Muslim, male or female, who has not yet performed the obligatory Ḥajj, has the wealth and means to safely travel and carry out the rituals of Ḥajj at the time of year when the pilgrims of his or her town normally leave for Ḥajj, it is wājib for him or her to perform Ḥajj in that year and to not postpone it. [1] For a woman, there is the added condition of a husband or maḥram willing to travel with her. Delaying it in such a situation without a valid excuse is regarded as makrūh taḥrīmī, and would amount to a minor sin if done once. However, a delay over several years would amount to a major sin. [2]

If a person of the above description possesses money or items besides his or her basic necessities (like house, conveyance, clothes, furniture etc.), and Ḥajj can be performed with that money or by selling those items, it will be wājib to perform Ḥajj in that year. [3] Gold and silver jewellery do not fall under basic necessities. [4] Hence, if one possesses enough jewellery to perform Ḥajj, it will be necessary to sell it and perform Ḥajj.

[1]

على الفور في أول سنى الوجوب وهو أول سنى الإمكان على القول الأصح عندنا، وهو قول أبي يوسف وأصح الروايتين عن أبي حنيفة (غنية الناسك

الحج واجب على الأحرار البالغين العقلاء الأصحاء إذا قدروا على الزاد والراحلة فاضلا عن المسكن وما لا بد منه وعن نفقة عياله إلى حين عوده (القدوري

فيه إشارة إلى أنه على الفور، قال فى الهداية: هذا عند أبي يوسف وعن أبي حنيفة ما يدل عليه، وعند محمد على التراخي، ورجح دليل الفور، وقال القدوري: وكان مشايخنا يقولون: هو قولهم، واعتمده المحبوبي والنسفي (التصحيح والترجيح، ص٢٠٨

وروى الحسن بن زياد عن أبي حنيفة قال: يجب الحج على كل مسلم موسر من الرجال والنساء إذا كان له ما يحج به – سوى المسكن والخادم ومتاع البيت – دراهم أو دنانير أو عروض يساوي ما يحج به ذاهبا وجائيا راجبا (عيون المسائل، ص٤٣-٤

[2]

التأخير صغيرة لأنه مكروه تحريما، وبارتكاب الصغيرة مرة لا يصير فاسقا بل بالإصرار عليها بحر (غنية الناسك

[3]

 وإن كان له مسكن فاضل لا يسكنه أو عبد لا يستخدمه أو متاع لا يمتهنه أو كتب لا يحتاج إلى استعمالها وهي من العلوم الشرعية وما يتبعها من الآلات العربية أو ثياب لا يحتاج إلى لبسها أو أرض لا يحتاج إلى غلتها أو كرم زائد على قدر التفكه بها أو حوانيت أو نحو ذلك مما لا يحتاج إليها يجب بيعها إن كان به وفاء الحج (غنية الناسك

وكذا في مناسك القارئ، ص١١ والبحر العميق ص٣٨٤ والمحيط البرهاني ج٣ ص٣٩٣ عن القدوري في شرح المختصر الكرخي وفى الهندية ج١ ص٢٤٠ ناقلا عن قاضيخان

[4]

 الحلي مال فاضل عن الحاجة الأصلية إذ الإعداد للتجمل والتزين دليل الفضل عن الحاجة الأصلية (بدائع الصنائع

An Explanation of Tasawwuf and its Practices

The following article is a translation of a section from the Urdu work, Tasawwuf Kiyā He, by Mawlānā Manzūr Nu’mānī. It comprises of a group of essays written by the author on his observations on Tasawwuf and, in particular, the practices (ashghāl) prescribed by the Sūfī guides (mashāyikh). He offers a strong argument for the need for Tasawwuf and a rationale for the specific practices designed by the scholars of Tasawwuf for spiritual reform. Although the original work comprises of essays by other authors, only those by Mawlānā Manzūr Nu’mānī are presented in this translation. His discussion and analysis is concerned mostly with the practical dimensions of Tasawwuf as they have been observed throughout history amongst its orthodox champions and handed down to its true inheritors in the present time. The other essays (which are not included in this translation) deal with Tasawwuf from its historical and academic/philosophical dimensions also. Continue Reading

Imām al-Bayhaqī’s Letter to ‘Amīd al-Mulk on Imām Abu l-Hasan al-Ash‘arī

In his comprehensive hagio-biography of Imām Abu l-Hasan al-Ash‘arī (260 – 324 H) Tabyīn Kadhib al-Muftarī, Hāfiz Ibn ‘Asākir (499 – 571 H) quotes a lengthy letter written by Imām al-Bayhaqī (384 – 458 H) to the grand vizier of the Seljuk Empire, ‘Amīd al-Mulk (415 – 456 H), on his views about the personality and theology of Imām al-Ash‘arī. Tāj al-Dīn al-Subkī reproduces most of the letter in his Tabaqāt al-Shāfi‘iyyah al-Kubrā[1] with his chain via Ibn ‘Asākir.

Below we present a translation of the letter, which demonstrates Imām al-Bayhaqī’s great respect for Imām al-Ash‘arī and his appreciation of the efforts he made to defend the ‘aqīdah of Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah. Continue Reading