Thursday, August 11, 2022

Three important books on Islamic history


Understanding the Impact that Conflict between Parents Has on Children

 By Umm Ahmed

A young child begins to display emotions such as happiness, distress, and abhorrence within the first few months of life. This is based on the evidence that emotional development begins to occur during infancy and gradually, emotions start to become distinct as the child matures through different stages of life. Recon your child crying a pool of tears for having you out of sight for too long?

Most of all, it is in those prime years when children begin to make sense of their surroundings and of the relationships that are in it. And, it comes as no surprise that a great deal of learning that typically happens for an average child during these early years, is through their observation and interaction with their parents. In other words, this implies that parents have a tremendous influence on their children's overall development, which includes mental and emotional health. too.  


Verify before you amplify: Quoting from unauthentic sources is a disservice to Islam

Article source 

Any discussion on the spreading of Hadith cannot be left void of the warning against passing on unauthentic narrations. This is due to the grave warnings about fabricated Hadiths.

There are approximately 200 Sahabah (radiyallahu ‘anhum) that have reported these warnings.

(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 110 and Tadribur Rawi, vol. 5 pg. 207)

The Message of Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah)

In fact, Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) has done the same in his Sahih. After the chapter which discusses the Hadith: “Let those present convey to those who are absent” (chapter no. 38 of the Chapter of Knowledge) Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) cites the following chapter:

“Chapter on the sin of one who lies about Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam)”

By first encouraging the reader to convey the message and following it up with the caution against fabrications, Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) has passed a subtle message to those involved in spreading Hadith, that such people be cautious and avoid quoting unauthentic narrations.

(See ‘Umdatul Qari, vol. 2 pg. 207)

Strict Criteria

Any piece of information will always need to pass a specific criteria which would exonerate it from being a fabrication or a mistake, as these are the only two reasons for rejection. The illustrious Muhaddhithun (Hadith Scholars) have a strict set of conditions for authenticating the Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam)

This system of verification was triggered as a response to attacks of deviant sects and their followers. Imam Ibn Sireen (rahimahullah) says:

لم يكونوا يسألون عن الإسناد، فلما وقعت الفتنة قالوا سموا لنا رجالكم، فينظر إلى أهل السنة فيؤخذ حديثهم، وينظر إلى أهل البدع فلا يؤخذ حديثهم

“They (Sahabah and Tabi’un) never had the habit of questioning one’s source until the fitnah (innovation) appeared. They would then ask for a source and only accept the narratives from the ahlus sunnah.”

(Recorded by Imam Muslim in the Introduction to his Sahih, pg. 11)

The Evil Motives of the Fabricators

Fabricators had several other motives for making up Hadith. The following are some of them:

  1. To gain political support.
  2. To defame the image of Islam.
  3. To impress others in exchange of financial assistance.
  4. Patriotism for one’s tribe or city.

Therefore there exists -till this day- numerous statements that were motivated by the above factors, and are falsely attributed to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

When we share an email, tweet or WhatsApp message etc. that contains a Hadith without verifying its authenticity, we could be aiding the cause of one of the above deviants!

In some cases the enemies of Islam forged “Hadiths” to confuse the masses by mocking at Islam and defaming its image. Do we really wish to be a part of this?!

Shaykh ‘Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah (rahimahullah) has cited examples of narrations that make a mockery of Islam, among them are the following:

‘The rooster is my friend’!

‘Lentils have been blessed on the tongues of 70 000 Ambiya’!

‘If any of you spares a good thought for a stone even, it will benefit him’!

(Lamahat min Tarikhis Sunnah wa ‘Ulumil Hadith, pg. 102)

We seek Allah’s protection against such drivel being attributed to our Beloved Nabi (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam)

Shaykh ‘Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah (rahimahullah) writes further: ‘The harm of spreading fabricated narrations extends to many facets of Din, like: beliefs, acts of worship, ideologies etc….

..Many of these narrations pave the way for the enemies of Islam to ridicule our Din as well as Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam).’

(Lamahat min Tarikhis Sunnah wa ‘Ulumil Hadith, pg. 232)

Imam Rabi’atur Rai (rahimahullah) says:

‘Quoting from unauthentic sources is a disservice to Islam.’

(Adabul imla wal istimla, vol. 1 pg. 300)

Unfortunately, in our era, people hardly ever bother to verify the information they receive or pass on. This has fatal consequences. We shouldn’t be so naive as to accept everything that is thrown at us, unless the sender is a reliable authority in the field that pertains to that piece of information. This caution is not restricted to religious information only.

We most definitely need to check the status of whatever we are reading, be that in a book, on a screen or on social media.

The Social Media Pitfall

Social media has undoubtedly put a world of information literally at people’s fingertips. In addition to its benefits, mass-misinformation is just one of its many pitfalls.

Many of us are gullible, and believe whatever we read. Some of us merely see the sender, and suffice with that. As if to mean that the one who sent it is the original source!

The sender probably also thought the same when he received it.

The ‘Copy and Paste’ Trend

It is no secret that people ‘copy and paste’ all the time without quoting their original source. This is wrong in itself, as will be discussed under point number nine.

Just one evil outcome of the ‘copy and paste’ trend is that by the time it reaches the third or fourth recipient, the original source is forgotten, thus removing real credibility from that statement. That is if the source is really credible, but how would we know that? The message we are reading could just be some bogus drivel.

I would like to end this point with a Hadith recorded by Imam Muslim (rahimahullah) in the introduction to his Sahih, wherein Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:

كفى بالمرء كذبا أن يحدث بكل ما سمع

“It is sufficient to render a person a liar when he quotes everything he hears.”

The reason for this is that people generally hear all kinds of information; that which is true, as well as lies. Therefore, when all of what is heard is passed on, it will undoubtedly include lies as well.

(Fathul Mulhim, vol.1 pg.351)

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Aisha's age at the time of nikka and consummation: The question of apologetics and defeatism among Muslims

Working towards achieving inner peace

By S N Smith -- August 9, 2002

I probably have a lot of nativities resident within me, but I am not so naive as to believe that any of us will achieve total inward peace and tranquility in this lifetime.

My goal here is not to tell you how to arrive at a peaceful and blissful state of being to the point you will never experience inward disturbances again, but rather to offer words that will assist you in working towards calming that inward storm that rages in all of us.

And this, my dear readers, is a work in progress which never really finishes.

It is essential, if you wish to work towards a state of inner peace, that you narrow in on the things you deem important and let go of the rest; and only you can determine what that is.

It is important also to set boundaries around yourself and know when to say yes to people and when to say no.  

You must also be careful regarding the kinds of people you associate with because some people can bring you down, while others can lift you up. 

You must also learn to control those feelings of jealousy and envy that we all have to contend with because if you feed them they will literally destroy you.

On that point, I highly recommend the three-part series Envy: The Inferno Within by  Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq.

I am going to warn you in advance that this talk is going to make you feel very uncomfortable as he offers some very strong medicine. 

You also have to stop fretting over what people think of you for such a mindset will rob you of your inward peace.

Entertain the thought they people may not be thinking about you at all and that your thoughts and feelings may just be a projection on your part and not an accurate assessment of what anyone is thinking about you.

If you are guided in life by what other people think about you, this will be a type of imprisonment for you and you will continually have the sensation of being caged in and end up developing a bad feel bad about yourself.

Be honest and fair in your dealings with everyone you encounter even if they don't reciprocate.

Know when to stay away from matters or conversations that don't concern you.

Try not to draw attention to yourself.

Be quick to forgive others and think well of them.

You must stop trying to interpret what other people mean because doing so will drive you to distraction. 

Take people at face value and give them the benefit of the doubt. 

Pray for those people that inwardly you don't care for that much.

Try to notice how you have internalized the values of the society in which you live and sift through the bad and the good to the best of your ability.

Love the skin you are in and don't compare yourselves to others. 

Foster a positive body image. 

I highly recommend the book  Body of Truth: How Science, History, and Culture Drive Our Obsession with Weight -- and What We Can Do about It  by Harriet Brown. 

There are many excellent resources on fostering a positive body image, and Brown's book is one of many. 

Be mindful of the books you read, the movies you watch, the music you listen to and the news you consume on a daily basis because all of these have the potential to negatively affect your inward state.

Try to mentally and emotionally remain in the moment, which a lot of us struggle with. 

We continually dwell on the past, which makes us sad, angry and bitter, or we think about the future, which causes us to worry and be in a state of fretfulness.

None of these things, however, exist in the current moment. 

Adopt an attitude of gratitude for everything you have been given in life -- or even denied -- and notice how much you complain about the most trivial things and work on that.

Grow where you are planted and learn to accept Allah's decree even if it is, at times, unpleasant because He knows what is best for us and we only think we do. 

Avoid saying "if only I had done this" or "if only I had not done that," for such talk is useless.

What has happened to you or what you have done in the past is all part of Allah's decree which cannot be altered in the least. 

Ubadah b. al Samit said to his son :

Son! You will not get the taste of the reality of faith until you know that what has come to you could not miss you, and that what has missed you could not come to you. I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: The first thing Allah created was the pen. He said to it: Write. It asked: What should I write, my Lord? He said: Write what was decreed about everything till the Last Hour comes. Son! I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say : He who dies on something other than this does not belong to me. (Source: Abu Daood)

Most of all, seek to establish a solid relationship with your Creator through acts of worship and doing good to others. 

You will feel better about yourself, and when you come to that state of being, you will have a lot more peace on the inside and have a more positive image of how you see yourself as a person. 

These are things we all must work on for the entirety of our earthly existence and the attempt is worth it because the nobility is not merely in the achievement, but in the little efforts that are made on a daily basis.

Monday, August 8, 2022

We as a community can do better when addressing social problems

By S N Smith -- August 8, 2022

For the most part, in our Muslim communities, there is an avoidance of any discussion, beyond a very superficial level, regarding the most pressing social, economic and political issues of the day. 

This is so despite the fact that in many ways Muslims are victimized by these issues.

Why is it, for example, that for most of our Friday sermons or teaching circles (halaqah) these issues are rarely addressed and put into proper Islamic context? 

Why is it that we almost exclusively dwell on the past but never seem to be able to address the present? 

Don't get me wrong, we study the past in order to glean lessons from it, but it is essential that we don't stop there.

Our scholars and speakers should not only be reading Islamic texts and scholars who wrote centuries ago but also keep abreast of the issues of the day so that they can properly address them within the framework of sound Islamic scholarship just like these scholars of the past did when they were writing. 

For example, how many people reading this article have ever heard a khutbah (sermon) on homelessness even though it is a pressing social issue that affects a lot of people?

How about a talk on ableism, which refers to discrimination against people with disabilities in favour of nondisabled people?

These are real issues that many people, including Muslims, have to live with on a daily basis but where is the discussion in our communities regarding these matters? 

Here is a small list of social problems I found online, but which we never hear much about from the mimbar (pulpit). 

AbleismAccess to Education
Air QualityAnimal Rights
Anti-Competitive PracticesBullying
Child WelfareChildren's Rights
CivilityClimate Change
Consumer ProtectionCorporate Accountability
Cost of EducationCrime
Criminal Justice ReformCronyism
Culture ChangeDebt Bondage
DiseaseEconomic Development
Environmental DestructionEnvironmental Justice
Epidemics & PandemicsExtinctions
Food QualityFood Security
Genetically Modified FoodGlobalization & Trade
Government SpendingHealthcare
High Interest LendingHuman Rights
Indigenous RightsInflation
Information SecurityLGBT Rights
Living ConditionsMental Health
Minimum WageMisinformation
Modern SlaveryMonopolies
Natural DisastersNatural Resources
Nuclear WeaponsObesity
Political AccountabilityPolitical Stability
Prisoners' RightsPrivacy
Public DebtPublic Safety
Quality of LifeRacism
Recessions & DepressionsRefugees
Right to KnowRights
SexismSocial Inequality
Social Safety NetSocial Stability
Substance AbuseTaxation
Technological ChangeTerrorism
Tobacco & Nicotine ProductsToxic Waste
UnemploymentUrban Development
WarWomen's Rights / Abuse 
Working ConditionsWorkplace Safety

There are two terms worth considering when reflecting upon these issues: bikeshedding and virtual signalling. 

Bikeshedding, also known as  the Parkinson's law of triviality,  which was originally formulated by Cyril Northcote Parkinson, a British Naval historian and author, refers to the act of wasting time on trivial details while important matters are inadequately attended to. 

In other words, it refers to the human tendency to devote a great deal of time to addressing and focusing upon unimportant details while crucial matters go unattended. 

I think, as a community, we do this a lot. 

Virtue signalling, on the other hand, refers to the practice of using social issues as a tool of self-promotion.

In other words, social issues that are most trendy, obtain the most funding, get the most attention or appear to be the most virtuous,  are attended to while issues that actually inflict more human suffering are ignored. 

You may read about 12 examples of virtue signalling here and see if this applies to anything we as a community are doing.

My point here is that many issues which are of a pressing nature and need to be addressed, are rarely talked about within a religious context, while other issues which are not as important are given more attention, and I think that has a negative impact on our community. 

The other practice we have which, in my opinion, has a negative impact on our communities, is that only certain people get to speak while others are essentially silenced.

There is no one person who can absorb all that needs to be known about these various social ills, yet week after week the same person, or small group of persons, delivers a message which is many times totally unrelated to our lived realities.

The Imam does not, nor should he be required to, have to deliver the Friday sermon every week. 

Why not give the opportunity to people in our communities who work and possess expertise in these fields a chance to speak?  

If these Imams and khateebs are unwilling to give up their place on the pulpit, then they should at least consult with various community members to gain knowledge from them instead of passing themselves off as people who know everything about every topic when in fact they don't.

All of that talent and knowledge, which could be used for our benefit, is simply put to waste.

In every one of our Mosques we have highly trained professionals and experts in dozens of fields, yet none of that knowledge is shared with us. 

What we get instead, week after week, as passive recipients, are sermons which have almost no relation to the world in which we live and this leaves the impression that Islam is not relevant at all, but only concerns itself with matters of the hereafter.

We can do better, and we must do better because until we die we have to live in this world and deal with its many problems. 

History of Imam Ḥusayn and His Martyrdom

The following pages are based on a report of an address which Abdullah Yusuf Ali. delivered in London at an Ashura Majlis on Thursday the 28th May 1931 (Muharram 1350 A.H.), at the Waldorf Hotel. The report was subsequently corrected and slightly expanded. The Majlis was a notable gathering which met at the invitation of Mr. A. S. M. Anik. Nawab Sir Umar Hayat Khan, Tiwana, presided, and members of all schools of thought in Islam, as well as non-Muslims, joined reverently in doing honor to the memory of the great Martyr of Islam. By its inclusion in the Progressive Islam Pamphlets series, it is hoped to reach a larger public than were able to be present in person. Perhaps, also, it may help to strengthen the bonds of brotherly love, which unite all who hold sacred the ideals of brotherhood preached by the Prophet in his last Sermon. 

This article is a shorter version and has been excerpted from Progressive Islam Pamphlet No. 7, September 1931.