Today's Reminder

December 05, 2021 | Rabiʻ II 29, 1443

Living The Quran

Al-Naziat (The Setting Stars)
Chapter 79: Verses 40-41

True Remembrance
"But unto him who shall have stood in fear of his Lord's presence, and held back his inner self from base desires, paradise will truly be the goal."

How numerous the tongues that move with the name of Allah! But how meagre the benefit! An how rare the hearts that become genuinely humble at the mention of Allah! Yet how desperate the need of the world for those rare hearts!

Undoubtedly, the ruin of religion comes about when it digresses into empty words and forms. And the mission of religion will not have been accomplished until the day it creates in all men living conscience, pure mind and hearts that aim in awe at countenancing the divine. That is what true dhikr is!

Accounted among the influences of this kind of dhikr is that it curbs man's appetite for wealth. Thus, those who remember Allah are never obsessed by greed for more and more, and are certainly never demeaned by greedy or covetous constitutions. Rather, they earn their money honourably, and spend it on their legitimate needs without ever thinking to hoard or accumulate it.

"Remembrance And Prayer" - Muhammad Al-Ghazali, p. 159

From Issue: 467 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Amending Wrongs

"Fasting on the day of Arafat amends the sins of two years, and [fasting] on the day of Ashura amends [the sins of] one year." [Muslim]

About this, some have asked, 'If someone always fasted on the day of Arafat and the day of Ashura, then how could three years of sins be amended every year?' To this others have responded, 'Whatever is added beyond amending his sins, raises him in rank.'

Would that it were true! If only one could make amends like this for all of one's wrongs, from first to last. But making amends is bound to certain conditions and depends on the removal of certain obstacles both within and without the action itself. If the servant could be certain that he had met every condition and eliminated every obstacle, then [certainly] such an act would atone for the sin.

But what about an action which is [itself] entirely or mostly enveloped in negligence, lacking in the sincerity which is its core and spirit, and performed without respect for its requirements or value? What can this action amend? In fact, there are countless things which invalidate or spoil devotional practice. It is not so much the action itself as the effort to keep it pure of the things that spoil and annul it.

He could hope for atonement if in undertaking a devotional act the servant were sure of its outward and inward requirements had been fulfilled; that there were no obstacles to the act's atoning quality; and that he himself did not annul it with feelings of self-importance, ostentation, or the expectation of something in return [from people].

Compiled From:
"The Invocation of God" - Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, p. 8

From Issue: 610 [Read original issue]


Solitary Hadiths

Abu Hanifah was accused of violating the Sunnah, although he denied the charge. When Abbasid Caliph Abu Jafar al-Mansur wrote to him saying, "Word has it that you place a higher priority on analogical reasoning (qiyas) than you do on the hadiths!" Abu Hanifah replied:

"It is not as you have heard, O Commander of the Faithful. Rather, I work first on the basis of the Book of God. I then turn to the Sunnah of the Prophet and, after this, to the legal rulings issued by Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali. Lastly, I look at the legal rulings issued by the other Companions of the Prophet. Only if there is disagreement among these do I resort to analogical reasoning. And God remains exalted above His creatures."

In the Hanafites' view, a hadith that has not gained wide circulation (and has thus not been classified as mashhur or mustafid) is of only tentative value. As such, it neither specifies what is stated generally in the Quran nor qualifies what the Quran has stated in absolute terms. Abu Hanifah would reject a solitary hadith (ahad) if: (1) its content was in conflict with the overall message or apparent meaning of the Quran; (2) it contradicted other, widely circulating hadiths; (3) the narrator of the hadith was not a jurist or scholar of Islamic jurisprudence; (4) the narrator, after passing on the hadith, acted in a manner contrary to the hadith's content; (5) it dealt with punishments or means of atoning for serious offenses, since such measures lose their validity if they are subject to the slightest doubt, and the narrator may have lied or been mistaken in what he said; (6) some of the pious early Muslims had challenged its reliability; and (7) it had ceased to be employed in argumentation due to disagreement over it among the Companions. (The last condition was sufficient basis for rejection of a solitary hadith by some early Hanifite scholars, and most later ones).

Compiled From:
"Reviving The Balance: The Authority of the Qur'an and the Status of the Sunnah " - Taha Jabir Alalwani, p. 147

From Issue: 1014 [Read original issue]