Safeguarding Purification

Purification is the key to prayer. The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said,

“None safeguards the ablution save a believer.” (Ahmad)

This is because a servant could well invalidate his state of purification with our even being aware of it, therefore safeguarding the state of ablution for prayer is a proof that faith has settled firmly in the heart.

The Legacy of the Prophet Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali p 26

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Safeguarding the Prayers

One of the greatest of matters that require safeguarding is the five daily prayers, Allah, Most High, says,

“Safeguard the prayers – especially the middle one.” (al-Baqarah 2:238)

“… those who safeguard their prayer.” (al-Ma’arij 70:34)

The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said,

“Whoever safeguards them has a promise from Allah that He will grant him entry into Paradise.” (Malik)

Another hadith has,

“Whoever safeguards them, they will be a light, a proof and deliverance for him on the Day of Rising.” (Ahmad)

The Legacy of the Prophet Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali p25

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Third Juz’

Contents

The third juz’ of the Qur’an starts from ayah 253 of Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow) and continues to ayah 92 of the third surah, Ali Imran (Family of Imran).

Revelation

The ayat of this section were largely revealed in the early years after the migration to Madinah.

From the Virtues of Surah Ali Imran

‘Abdullah bin Buraydah narrated from his father: “I was sitting with the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and I heard him say…“Learn Surah Al-Baqarah and Al Imran because they are two lights that shade their people on the Day of Resurrection, just as two clouds, two spaces or two lines of (Flying) birds. The Qur’an will meet its companion in the shape of a pale-faced man on the day of Resurrection when his grave is opened. The Qur’an will ask him, ‘Do you know me?’ The man will say, ‘I do not know you.’ The Qur’an will say, ‘I am your companion, the Qur’an, which has brought you thirst during the heat and made you stay up during the night. Every merchant has his trade but this day you are behind all types of trade.’ Kingship will then be given to him in his right hand, eternal life in his left hand and the crown of grace will be placed on his head. His parents will also be granted two garments, that the people of this life could never afford. They will say, ‘Why were we granted these garments?’ It will be said, ‘Because your son was carrying the Qur’an.’ It will be said (to the reader of the Qur’an), ‘Read and ascend as long as he recites, whether reciting slowly or quickly.” (Recorded in Ahmad 5:352)

Select Quotations

“Allah! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His permission? He knows what happens to them in this world, and what will happen to them in the Hereafter. And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. And he is the Most High, the Most Great.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:255)

“The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, is that of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills, and Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures needs, All-Knower.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:261)

“(Remember) when the angels said, ‘Oh Maryam! Verily Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him, his name will be Al-Masih, Isa, the son of Maryam, held in honor in this world and in the Hereafter, and he will be of those near to Allah.” (Surah Ali Imran 3:45)

Themes

Near the beginning of this juz’ we find Ayat al-Kursi (2:255) which is confirmed in saheeh hadith as the greatest ayah in the Qur’an. It had tremendous virtues associated with it including praise of Allah and protection from Shaytan.  You can find a detailed tafsir of this ayah here.

The remainder of Surah Al-Baqarah reminds believers that there is to be no compulsion in matters of religion. Examples are given of people who questioned Allah’s existence or were arrogant about their own importance on earth. Long passages are devoted to the subject of charity and generosity, calling people to humility and justice. It is here that usury/interest transactions are condemned, and guidelines for business transactions given. This longest chapter of the Qur’an ends with reminders about personal responsibility: that everyone is responsible for themselves in matters of faith.

The third chapter of the Qur’an Surah Ali Imran is named for the family of Imran, the father of Maryam (Mary), mother of Prophet Isa (Jesus), peace be upon them all. The chapter begins with the claim that this Qur’an confirms the messages of previous Prophets and Messengers of Allah and that it is not a new religion. One is reminded of the strict punishment facing unbelievers in the Hereafter, and the People of the Book (i.e. Jews and Christians) are called upon to recognise the truth – that this revelation is a confirmation of what came before to their own Prophets.

Towards the end of this juz’, the story of the family of Imran begins, telling us about the Prophets Zakariya (Zechariah) and his son Yayah (John), and Maryam (Mary) and the birth of her son, the Prophet Isa (Jesus).

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Second Juz’

Contents

The second juz’ of the Qur’an starts from ayah 142 of Surah Al-Baqarah and continues to ayah 252.

Revelation

Surah Al-Baqarah was revealed in its entirety in Madinah. It was one of the first Surahs to be revealed there.

From the Virtues of Surah Al Baqarah

The Messeneger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Read the Qur’an, because it will intercede on behalf of its people on the Day of Resurrection. Read the two lights, Al-Baqarah and Al Imran, because they will come in the shape of two clouds, two shades or two lines of birds on the Day of Resurrection and will argue on behalf of their people on that Day.”

Then the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Read Al-Baqarah, because in having it there is blessings, and in ignoring there is a sorrow and the sorceress cannot memorise it.” (Recorded in Ahmad 5:249)

Select Quotations

“O you who believe! Seek help in patience and prayer. Truly, Allah is with As-Sabirin (the patient).” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:153)

“O you who believe! Fasting was prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may acquire Taqwa.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:183)

“And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad concerning me, then answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:186)

Themes

This section provides reminders of different aspects of faith as well as practical guidance for running the newly established Islamic community. It starts by identifying the Ka’aba in Makkah as the center of Islamic worship and symbol of Muslim unity (Muslims had previously been praying while facing towards Jerusalem).

Following reminders of faith and characteristics of believers, the section gives detailed, practical advice on several social matters: food and drink, criminal law, wills and inheritance, fasting Ramadan, Hajj, treatment of orphans and widows, and divorce are all mentioned. The section also includes a discussion of jihad and what in entails.

We are told of what happened to Talut (Saul), Shamwil (Samuel), Dawud (David) and Jalut (Goliath) to remind believers that no matter what the numbers look like, and no matter how aggressive the enemy, one must be brave and fight back to preserve one’s existence and way of life.

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First Juz’

Contents

The first juz’ of the Qur’an starts from the first ayah of the Surah Al-Fatiha (1:1) and continues to partway through Surah Al Baqarah (2:141) the second surah.

Revelation

Surah Al Fatihah was revealed in Mecca before the migration to Madinah. Most of the ayat of the Surah Al Baqarah were revealed in the early years after the migration to Madinah, as the Muslim community was setting up its first social and political centre.

From the Virtues of Surah Al Fatihah

It is recorded that Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

“While Jibril (Gabriel) was with the Messenger of Allah, he heard a noise from above. Jibril lifted his sight to the sky and said, `This is a door in heaven being open, and it has never been opened before now.’ An angel descended from that door and came to the Prophet and said, `Receive the glad tidings of two lights that you have been given, which no other Prophet before you was given: the Opening of the Book and the last (three) Ayat of Surat Al-Baqarah. You will not read a letter of them, but will gain its benefit.”’ (This is the wording collected by An-Nasa’i (Al-Kubra 5:12) and Muslim recorded similar wording (1:554).)

From the Virtues of Surah Al Baqarah

Sahl bin Sa’d, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“Everything has a hump (or high peek) and Al-Baqarah is the high peek of the Qur’an. Whoever recites Al-Baqarah at night in his house, the Shaytan will not enter that house for three nights. Whoever recites it during the day in his house, the Shaytan will not enter that house for three days.” (Recorded in At-Tabarani 6:163)

Select Quotations

“And seek help in patience and prayer and truly, it is extremely heavy and hard, except for those who are humble (Al-Kashi’in). (They are those) who are certain that they are going to meet their Lord, and that unto Him they are going to return.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:45-46)

“Say (O Muslims): ‘We believe in Allah, and that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sent down to Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma’il (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Yaqub (Jacob) and Al-Asbat (the offspring of the twelve sons of Yaqub), and that given to Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jesus), and that given to all Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (in Islam).’” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:136)

Main Themes

Surah Al Fatihah is known as ‘The Opening’, ‘Mother of the Book’, ‘The Praise’, ‘The Prayer’,  ‘The Cure’ and ‘The Remedy’ which gives us an insight into it vastness and power. It is the surah with which prayers are begun and it sums up the relationship between humans and Allah in worship. We begin by praising Allah, and seeking His guidance in all matters of our lives.

The Qur’an then continues with the longest surah of the revelation, Al Baqarah or The Heifer (Cow). The title of the surah refers to a story told in this section (beginning at ayah 67) about the followers of the Prophet Musa, peace be upon him. The early part of this section lays out the situation of human beings in relation to Allah. Allah, all praises be to Him, sends Guidance and Messengers, and people choose how they respond. They  either believe,  reject faith altogether, or become hypocrites, feigning belief on the outside while harbouring doubts or evil intentions on the inside.

The story of the creation of human beings is told  to remind us about the many bounties and blessings of Allah. We also learn about previous peoples and how they responded to Allah’s Guidance and Messengers. Particular reference is made to the Prophets Ibrahim, Musa and Isa, peace be upon them all, and the struggles they undertook to bring guidance to their people.

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Safeguarding Allah

The saying of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him,

“Safeguard Allah and He will safeguard you,”

means to safeguard the limits of Allah, His rights, His commands and His prohibitions. These are preserved by meeting His commands with compliance. His prohibitions with avoidance, and His limits by not overstepping or transgressing them such that one leaves what has been prescribed and encroaches on the proscribed.

Hence this sentence covers the performance of all obligations and the abandonment of all prohibitions just as is mentioned in the hadith of Abu Tha’labah that the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said,

“Allah had obligated various duties so do not be lax in them, He has prohibited various things so do not encroach on them, and He has set limits so do not transgress them.” (Tabarani)

All of the above is included in the term, ‘preserving the limits of Allah’ and as such is subsumed by the sayings of Allah, “…those who preserve the limits of Allah” (al-Tawbah 9:112) “This is what you were promised; it is for every pertinent and heedful one: those who fear the All-Merciful in the Unseen and come with a contrite heart.” (Qaf 50:32-33)

The term, ‘heedful one’ in this verse has been explained to mean one who safeguards the commandments of Allah and it has also been explained to mean a person whose solicitude for his sins leads him to repent and desist. The verse encompasses both meanings and, moreover, anyone who safeguards the legacy of Allah to His servants and follows it is also included within the scope of the verse. All of these aspects revolve around one and the same fundamental meaning.

 

Therefore his, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, commanding ibn Abbas to safeguard Allah comprises all that has been mentioned above.

The Legacy of the Prophet ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali p22-24

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The Legacy of the Prophet

Today dear Reader, on the eve of this first night of Ramadan 1439, we begin a new book, The Legacy of the Prophet by Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali.

He begins:

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds, a pure and blessed praise as our Lord loves and is pleased with, a praise that behoves the nobility of His face and accords with His magnificence. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon Muhammad, the Unlettered Prophet, his family and his Companions.

Imam Ahmad records the hadith of Hanash al-Sana’ani on the authority go ibn Abbas who said, ‘I was sitting behind the Prophet when he said,

‘Young man, should I not teach you some words through which Allah will occasion benefit for you?’

I said, ‘Of course!’ He said,

‘Safeguard Allah and He will safeguard you. Safeguard Allah and you will find Him in front of you. Know Allah in times of ease and He will know you in times of hardship. When you ask, ask Allah. When you seek aid, turn to Allah. The pen has dried (after having written) all that will occur. If the whole of creation, in its entirety, was to try and effectuate some benefit for you through something that Allah had not ordained, they would not be able to do so; and if they wished to harm you through something that Allah has not decreed, they would not be able to do so. Know that great good lies in bearing with patience what you dislike, that victory comes with patience, that relief comes with distress, and that with hardship comes ease.’ (Recorded in Ahmad)

This hadith comprises pieces of advice of paramount importance and universal principles that deal with the greatest and most noble aspects of the religion.

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Over the coming days, we will study ibn Rajab’s commentary in detail, striving to draw closer to Allah during this blessed month by deepening our knowledge of Him, our love of Him, our trust in Him and our worship of Him alone.

Please join me for the journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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