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Imaam Ghazaali Rahmatullah Alayh mentions;
The matter of death is a very frightening and serious matter, yet people are very negligent of it. Firstly, they do not even remember death because of their engagements and occupations, and if they mention death then too, since they are pre-occupied in other things, this verbal utterance is of no benefit.
Instead, it is necessary to disengage the heart of everything else and then contemplate about death in such a way as if it is right in front of one. The manner of doing so is to ponder over the condition of those relatives, friends and acquaintances that have passed away…
Think how they were made to lie on the bier, taken to the graveyard and buried under the sand.
Think of their forms and features, their lofty posts and positions and then ponder that by now how the sand must have obliterated their beautiful features and their bodies must have disintegrated into pieces.
Ponder over how their children have become orphans, their wives widows and they have departed leaving their relatives and dear ones crying. They have left behind their wealth and clothes.
This will be my condition one day.
Think as to how they used to laugh aloud in their social gatherings – today they are silent.
How they were engrossed in their worldly enjoyments – today they are lying mixed with sand.
How they had forgotten death – today they have become its prey.
How they were in the arrogance of adolescence – today there are none to even enquire about them.
How they were always engaged in their worldly pursuits – today their hands have become detached, their feet have separated, and insects are clinging to their tongues,and their bodies have become infested with worms.
How they used to burst into laughter – today their teeth have fallen out.
What plans for years in advance were being contemplated and devised…
Whereas death was hovering above their heads…The time of death was drawing
close, yet they were oblivious of the fact that by tonight they will be no more…!
Think that this is my condition. I am making so many arrangements and plans for the future, but I know not what awaits me tomorrow. (Ihya).
On the twenty seventh of Rajab the Musjids will be full. People will gather to listen to talks being delivered regarding the great incident of Me’raj. After the talks are over, by and large we return home with the miracle of Me’raj and its message forgotten until the following year.
Unlike us, the Sahaaba (R.A.) and Tabi’een (those who came after the Sahaaba) never set aside any particular day for the discussion of the incident of Me’raj. Hence even the Fuqaha (jurists) of the first century differed with regard to the actual date when Me’raj occurred (see Fathul Bari-vol.7, pg.203 and Ruhul Ma’ani-vol.15, pg.6). The Sahaaba (R.A.) and the Tabi’een (R..A.) had no need to set aside any particular day for this discussion. They regularly and frequently discussed the Ahadith with regard to all aspects of the life of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). They lived the message of Me’raj every day of their lives.
While there are many aspects that are related to Me’raj, the most important thing that pertains to us daily is the gift that was granted to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) on the occasion of Me’raj. When Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) proceeded to the seven heavens and beyond and met His Rabb, Allah Ta’ala, he was granted the gift of Salaah. Such was the importance of Salaah that its injunction was not revealed while Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) walked on the earth. Rather it was saved for this special occasion beyond the seven heavens.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) also greatly explained its importance throughout his life – to the extent that his parting advice when he left this world was with regard to upholding the injunction of Salaah.
When we gather to discuss the occasion of Me’raj, we should take stock of our Salaah – the gift of Me’raj. Firstly, are we performing our five Salaah daily? Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “The one who misses one Salaah, it is as if he has lost all his family and property.” Thus, do I commence my day with
missing Fajr? Do I remember the gift of Me’raj at the time of Fajr? At the time of Fajr do I remember the impassioned plea of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as he parted from this world with regard to upholding the injunction of Salaah?
The same should be considered with regard to Zuhar and Asr – when the tills are ringing and with regard to Maghrib and Esha when other distractions are in the way.
Furthermore how do I perform my Salaah? Is it in the manner that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) performed it or is it performed haphazardly and in extreme haste? Have I gained concentration in Salaah? Also, do I perform it with Jamaat (which is waajib for adult males) in the Musjid? Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “By that Being who has control over my life, I intend gathering some firewood. I would then instruct somebody to call out the Azaan and perform the Salaah while I go and set fire to the homes of those people who perform their Salaah in their houses without any proper excuse” (Bukhari).
Hazrath Ibne Mas’ood (R.A.) says: “The one who wishes to meet Allah Ta’ala as a Muslim on the Day of Judgement should be punctual in the performance of his Salaah on hearing the Azaan. Allah Ta’ala has prescribed the clear ways of guidance for His Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). These Salaah too are among those ways of
guidance. If you too will adopt the way of those who perform their Salaah at their homes, you will be abandoning the way of Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), hence you would be led astray. The one who performs wudhu and leaves for the Musjid, for every step he takes he gets one reward, one of his sins are forgiven and his stages are elevated in Jannah. In the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) only an open hypocrite would not join the Jamaat. Even a sick person would be carried by two people and brought to the Musjid to perform his Salaah with Jamaat” (Ibid).
Salaah is not only an injunction of Allah Ta’ala and a responsibility and duty upon His servants, it is also a means of acquiring one’s worldly needs. It is a means of averting calamities and hardships. It is reported in a Hadith that whenever any matter perturbed Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) he immediately resorted to Salaah. The Sahaaba (R.A.) sought the solution to any problem by first resorting to Salaah. When discussing Me’raj, we need to take stock of how much we resort to the gift of Me’raj to solve our problems and difficulties.
SUMMITS AND SEMINARS
While there are many reasons for the present pitiful condition of the Ummah throughout the world, one of the main reasons is the neglect of this fundamental injunction of Deen. While our conferences, summits, workshops and seminars may come up with many worthy resolutions, it is of prior importance that an all out effort is made to bring the entire Ummah onto the punctual performance of the five daily Salaah (in the correct manner with all its etiquette being observed). Without this it will be wishful thinking to expect the degradation of the Ummah to change for the better. With the proper fulfilment of Salaah and all the other injunctions of Deen, the help of Allah Ta’ala will be with us. Then minimal effort will make us victorious and gain us the best of both worlds.
The word madhhab is derived from an Arabic word meaning “to go” or “to take as a way”, and refers to a mujtahid’s choice in regard to a number of interpretive possibilities in deriving the rule of Allah from the primary texts of the Quran and hadeeth on a particular question. In a larger sense, a madhhab represents the entire school of thought of a particular mujtahid imam, such as Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi, or Ahmad-together with many first-rank scholars that came after each of these in their respective schools, who checked their evidences and refined and upgraded their work. The mujtahid imams were thus explainers, who operationalized the Quran and sunnah in the specific sharia rulings in our lives that are collectively known as fiqh or “jurisprudence”. In relation to our Deen or “religion” this fiqh is only part of it, for the religious knowledge each of us possesses is of three types. The first type is the general knowledge of the tenets of Islamic belief in the oneness of Allah,in his angels,books,messengers,the prophethood of Muhammad ﷺ and so on. All of us may derive this knowledge directly from the Quran and hadith as is also the case with a second type of knowledge, that of general islamic ethical principies to do good, avoid evil,good works, and so forth. Every Muslim can take these general principles, which form the largest and utmost part of his religion from the Quran and hadith.
The third type of knowledge is that of the specific understanding of particular divine commands and prohibitions that make up the shari’a.Here, because of both the nature and the sheer number of the Qur’an and hadith texts involved people differ in the scholarly capacity to understand and deduce rulings from them. But all of us have been commanded to live them in our lives, in obedience to Allah, and so Muslims are of two types, those who can do this by themselves, and they are the mujtahid imams; and those who must do so by means of another, that is, by following a mujtahid Imam, in accordance with Allah’s word in Surat al-Nahl,
*Ask those who recall, if you know not” (Quran 16:43), and in Surat al-Nisa,
“If they had referred it to the Messenger and to those of authority among them, then those of them whose task it is to find it out would have known the matter (Qur’an 4:83),
in which the phrase those of them whose task it is to find it out, expresses the words “alladhina yastanbitunahu minhum”, referring to those possessing the capacity to draw inferences directly from the evidence, which is called in Arabic istinbat.
These and other verses and hadiths oblige the believer who is not at the level of istinbat or directly deriving rulings from the Qur’an and hadith to ask and follow someone in such rulings who is at this level. It is not difficult to see why Allah has obliged us to ask experts, for if each of us were personally responsible for evaluating all the primary texts relating to each question, a lifetime of study would hardly be enough for it, and one would either have to give up earning a living or give up ones deen, which is why Allah says in surat al-Tawba, in the context of jihad:
“Not all of the believers should go to fight. Of every section of them, why does not one part alone go forth, that the rest may gain knowledge of the religion and admonish their people when they return, that perhaps they may take warning”(Qur’an 9:122).
The slogans we hear today about “following the Qur’an and sunna instead of following the madhhabs” are wide of the mark, for everyone agrees that we must follow the Qur’an and the sunna of Nabi ﷺ. The point is that Nabi ﷺ is no longer alive to personally teach us, and everything we have from him, whether the hadith or the Qur’an, has been conveyed to us through islamic scholars.
So it is not a question of whether or not to take our deen from scholars, but rather, from which scholars. And this is the reason we have madhhabs in islam: because the excellence and superiority of the scholarship of the mujtahid Imams–together with the traditional scholars who followed in each of their schools and evaluated and upgraded their work after them–have met the test of scholarly investigation and won the confidence of thinking and practicing Muslims for all the centuries of Islamic greatness. The reason why madhhabs exist, the benefit of them, past,present, and future, is that they furnish thousands of sound, knowledge-based answers to Muslims questions on how to obey Allah.
Muslims have realized that to follow a madhhab means to follow a super scholar who not only had a comprehensive knowledge of the Qur’an and hadith texts relating to each issue he gave judgements on, but also lived in an age a millennium closer to Nabi ﷺ and his Companions, when taqwa or “godfearingness” was the norm-both of which conditions are in striking contrast to the scholarship available today.
While the call for a return to the Qur’an and sunna is an attractive slogan, in reality it is a great leap backward, a call to abandon centuries of detailed, case-by-case islamic scholarship in finding and spelling out the commands of the Quran and sunna, a highly sophisticated, interdisciplinary effort by mujtahids, hadith specialists,Qur’anic exegetes, lexicographers, and other masters of the Islamic legal sciences. To abandon the fruits of this research the Islamic Sharia or the following of contemporary sheikhs who, despite the claims, are not at the level of their predecessors is a replacement of something tried and proven for something at best tentative.
The rhetoric of following the shari’a without following a particular madhhab is like a person going down to a car dealer to buy a car, but insisting it not be any known make-neither a Volkswagen nor Rolls-Royce nor Chevrolet-but rather “a car, pure and simple”. Such a person does not really know what he wants, the cars on the lot do not come like that but only in kinds. The salesman may be forgiven a slight smile and can only point out that sophisticated products come from sophisticated means of production from factories with a division of labor among those who test, produce, and assemble the many parts of the finished product. It is the nature of such collective human efforts to produce something far better than any of us alone could produce from scratch even if given a forge and tools, and fifty years or even a thousand. And so it is with the shari’a whch is more complex than any car because it deals with the universe of human actions and a wide interpretative range of sacred texts. This is why discarding the monumental scholarship of the madhhabs in operationalizing the Qur’an and sunna in order to adopt the understanding of a contemporary sheikh is not just a mistaken opinion, it is scrapping a Mercedes for a go-cart.
What commercial and cultural propaganda presents as beautiful is rooted in ugly paganism but most blind followers do not know.
There is a group of practices that we can consider as the twin sister of bid’ah. Like bid’ah they flourish on the twin foundations of ignorance and outside influence. Like bid’ah they entail rituals. But unlike bid’ah the rituals have not been given an islamic face. They are followed because they are considered an acceptable cultural practice or the hottest imported “in” thing.
Most of those who indulge in them do not know what they are doing. They are just blind followers of their equally blind cultural leaders. Little do they realize that what they consider as innocent fun may in fact be rooted in paganism. That the symbols they embrace may be symbols of unbelief. That the ideas they borrow may be products of superstition. That all of these may be a negation of what Islam stands for.
Christianity tried to stop the evil celebration of Lupercalia. Its only success was in changing the name from Lupercalia to St. Valentine’s Day.
Consider Valentine’s Day, a day that after dying out a well deserved death in most of Europe (but surviving in Britain and United States) has suddenly started to emerge across a good swath of Muslim countries. Who was Valentine? Why is this day observed? Legends abound, as they do in all such cases, but this much is clear: Valentine’s Day began as a pagan ritual started by Romans in the 4th century BCE to honor the god Lupercus. The main attraction of this ritual was a lottery held to distribute young women to young men for “entertainment and pleasure”-until the next year’s lottery. Among other equally despicable practices associated with this day was the lashing of young women by two young men, clad only in a bit of goatskin and wielding goatskin thongs, who had been smeared with blood of sacrificial goats and dogs. A lash of the “sacred” thongs by these “holy men” was believed to make them better able to bear children.
As usual, Christianity tried, without success, to stop the evil celebration of Lupercalia. It first replaced the lottery of the names of women with a lottery of the names of the saints. The idea was that during the following year the young men would emulate the life of the saint whose name they had drawn. (The idea that you can preserve the appearance of a popular evil and yet somehow turn it to serve the purpose of virtue, has survived. Look at all those people who are still trying, helplessly, to use the formats of popular television entertainments to promote good. They might learn something from this bit of history. It failed miserably) Christianity ended up doing in Rome, and elsewhere, as the Romans did.
How can anyone in his right mind think that Islam would be indifferent to practices seeped in anti-Islamic ideas and beliefs? The only success it had was in changing the name from Lupercalia to St. Valentine’s Day. It was done in CE 496 by Pope Gelasius, in honor of some Saint Valentine. There are as many as 50 different Valentines in Christian legends. Two of them are more famous, although their lives and characters are also shrouded in mystery. According to one legend, and the one more in line with the true nature of this celebration, St. Valentine was a “lovers” saint, who had himseif fallen in love with his jailer’s daughter.
Due to serious troubles that accompanied such lottery, French government banned the practice in 1776. In Italy,Austria,Hungry, and Germany also the ritual vanished over the years. Earlier, it had been banned in England during the 17th century when the Puritans were strong. However in 1660 Charles II revived it. From there it also reached the New World, where enterprising Yankees spotted a good means of making money. Esther A. Howland, who produced one of the first commercial American Valentine’s Day cards called—what else-valentines, in the 1840s, sold $5,000 worth—when $5,000 was a lot of money–the first year. The valentine industry has been booming ever since.
It is the same story with Halloween, which has otherwise normal human beings dressing like ghosts and goblins in a reenactment of an ancient pagan ritual of demon worship. Five star hotels in Muslim countries arrange Halloween parties so the rich can celebrate the superstitions of a distant period of ignorance that at one time even included the shameful practice of human sacrifice. The pagan name for that event was Samhain (pronounced sow-en). Just as in case of Valentine’s Day, Christianity changed its name, but not the pagan moorings.
Christmas is another story. Today Muslim shopkeepers sell and shoppers buy Christmas symbols in Islamabad or Dubai or Cairo to engage in a known religious celebration of another religion is bad enough. What is worse is the fact that here
is another pagan celebration (Saturnalia) that has been changed in name –and in little else–by Christianity.
During joys and sorrows, during celebrations and sufferings, we must foilow the one straight path–not many divergent paths.
Even the celebration considered most innocent might have pagan foundations. According to one account, in pagan cultures,
people feared evil spirits – especially on their birthdays. It was a common belief that evil spirits were more dangerous to a person when he or she experienced a change in their daily life, such as turning a year older. So family and friends
surrounded the person with laughter and joy on their birthdays in order to protect them from evil.
How can anyone in his right mind think that Islam would be indifferent to practices seeped in anti-Islamic ideas and beliefs?
Islam came to destroy paganism in all its forms and it cannot tolerate any trace of it in the lives of its followers.
Further, Islam is very sensitive about maintaining its purity and the unique identity of its followers. Islamic laws and teachings go to extra lengths to ensure it. Salat is forbidden at the precise times of sunrise transition, and sunset to eliminate the possibility of confusion with the practice of sun worship. To the voluntary recommended fast on the tenth of Muharram,Muslims are required to add another day (9th or 11th) to differentiate it from the then prevalent Jewish practice. Muslims are forbidden to emulate the appearance of non-Muslims.
A Muslim is a Muslim for life. During joys and sorrows, during celebrations and sufferings, we must follow the one straight
pain — not many divergent paths. It is a great tragedy that under the constant barrage of commercial and cultural propaganda from the forces of globalization and the relentiess media machine, Muslims have begun to embrace the Valentines, the Halloween ghost, and even the Santa Claus. Given our terrible and increasing surrender to paganism the only day we should be observing is a day of mourning. Better yet it should be a day of repentance that could liberate us from all these days. And all this daze.
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
بسم اللّه الرّحمن الرّيم
The following intentions are supposed to be made before starting any dars:
1- To seek the pleasure of اللّه.
2- To make Nabi -e- Kareem صلّى اللّه عليه وسلّم happy.
3-To acquire the ilm of Deen.
4- To make amal on the ilm.
5-To spread the ilm in the four corners of the world.
6-To fill my heart with the love of اللّه and the love of Nabi-e-Kareem صلّى اللّه عليه وسلّم.
7-So that the ilm can come into MY heart, and it can make it easy to purify MY heart.
InshaAllah let’s all make these intentions before commencing any dars.