Learning the Qur’an – Both Wordings and Meanings: ibn Taymiyah

In part of a longer discussion about the qiraa’aat, sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah wrote:

فإن أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم تلقوا عنه ما أمره الله بتبليغه إليهم من القرآن لفظه ومعناه جميعا كما قال أبو عبد الرحمن السلمي – وهو الذي روى عن عثمان رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال : ” { خيركم من تعلم القرآن وعلمه } ” كما رواه البخاري في صحيحه وكان يقرئ القرآن أربعين سنة . قال – حدثنا الذين كانوا يقرئوننا عثمان بن عفان وعبد الله بن مسعود وغيرهما : أنهم كانوا إذا تعلموا من النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم عشر آيات لم يجاوزوها حتى [ ص: 403 ] يتعلموا ما فيها من العلم والعمل . قالوا : فتعلمنا القرآن والعلم والعمل جميعا .ـ

The Companions received the Qur’an – both its wordings and its meanings – from the Messenger (ﷺ) as Allah had commanded Him to convey it to them. This is just as Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami described it, and he was the one who relayed from ‘Uthman that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it“, as has been recorded by al-Bukhari in his Saheeh along with the comment that Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami had been a teacher of the Qur’an for forty years.

Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami also said, “Those under whom we learned the Qur’an – ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood, and others – told us that whenever they had learned ten ayaat from the Prophet (ﷺ), they used to not move forward past that until they learned the knowledge which those ayaat contained and actions which they entailed. They said, ‘We learned the Qur’an along with knowledge and deeds all together.'” Continue reading

Advertisements

The sad story of ‘Imran ibn Hittaan

There was an interesting individual from the time of the Tabi’een, whose name was ‘Imran ibn Ḥiṭṭān. Both Imam al-Dhahabi and Imam Ibn Kathir mentioned his biography in their historical works.

Ibn Kathir, in his massive work of history, al-Bidayah w’al-Nihayah, summarized ibn Ḥiṭṭān’s biography by writing:

عمران بن حطان الخارجي، كان أولا من أهل السنة والجماعة فتزوج امرأة من الخوارج حسنة جميلة جدا فأحبها. وكان هو دميم الشكل، فأراد أن يردها إلى السنة فأبت فارتد معها إلى مذهبها

“‘Imran ibn Ḥiṭṭān al-Khaarijee. He was originally among Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, but then he married a woman from the Khawaarij who was extremely beautiful, so he loved her. And he himself was ugly and misshapen. So he intended to return her to the sunnah, but she adamantly refused, so he apostatized with her to her way (i.e. became a Khaarijee after have been a scholar of Ahl al-Sunnah!).”

[al-Bidayah w’al-Nihayah 9/64]

Imam al-Dhahabi wrote about him saying: Continue reading

Those who tasted evil may love good all the more: Ibn Taymiyah

In part of his long discussion of the du’a of Dhu’l-Noon (Prophet Yunus), Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah wrote the following points concerning the relative merits of those born into Islam and those who enter into it later in life:

وما يظنه بعض الناس أنه من ولد على الإسلام فلم يكفر قط أفضل ممن كان كافرا فأسلم ليس بصواب ; بل الاعتبار بالعاقبة وأيهما كان أتقى لله في عاقبته كان أفضل . فإنه من المعلوم أن السابقين الأولين من المهاجرين والأنصار الذين آمنوا بالله ورسوله بعد كفرهم هم أفضل ممن ولد على الإسلام من أولادهم وغير أولادهم ; بل من عرف الشر وذاقه ثم عرف الخير وذاقه [ ص: 301 ] فقد تكون معرفته بالخير ومحبته له ومعرفته بالشر وبغضه له أكمل ممن لم يعرف الخير والشر ويذقهما كما ذاقهما ; بل من لم يعرف إلا الخير فقد يأتيه الشر فلا يعرف أنه شر فإما أن يقع فيه وإما أن لا ينكره كما أنكره الذي عرفه . ـ

What some people think that the one born upon Islam and does not commit kufr ever is better than the one who was a kaafir and then becomes a Muslim – this is not correct. Rather, the criteria is in the outcome, and the one who has more taqwa of Allah in his final end – he is better. That is because it is known that the forerunners from the Muhaajireen and the Ansaar who believed in Allah and His messenger after they had disbelieved are better than those who were born upon Islam and their children and other than their children. Rather, the one who knew evil and tasted it and then knew the good and tasted it, then his recognition of the good and his love for it and his recognition of evil and his hatred of it is more complete than the one who does not know good and evil and has not tasted it as he has tasted it. Rather, the one who does not know anything other than good, perhaps evil will come to him and he will not recognize that it is evil, and he may either fall into it or he may not reject it as the one who knew it would reject it. Continue reading

Abu Bakr’s and Umar’s visit to Umm Ayman: Sharh al-Nawawi

In his chapter on the virtues on the sahaabah, imam Muslim mentions the following narration concerning the virtues of Umm Ayman:

عَنْ أَنَسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ رضى الله عنه بَعْدَ وَفَاةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لِعُمَرَ انْطَلِقْ بِنَا إِلَى أُمِّ أَيْمَنَ نَزُورُهَا كَمَا كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَزُورُهَا ‏.‏ فَلَمَّا انْتَهَيْنَا إِلَيْهَا بَكَتْ فَقَالاَ لَهَا مَا يُبْكِيكِ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لِرَسُولِهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏.‏ فَقَالَتْ مَا أَبْكِي أَنْ لاَ أَكُونَ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لِرَسُولِهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَلَكِنْ أَبْكِي أَنَّ الْوَحْىَ قَدِ انْقَطَعَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ ‏.‏ فَهَيَّجَتْهُمَا عَلَى الْبُكَاءِ فَجَعَلاَ يَبْكِيَانِ مَعَهَا

Anas reported that after the death of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) Abu Bakr said to ‘Umar, “Let us visit Umm Aiman as Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to visit her.” When we came to her, she was weeping. They (Abu Bakr and Umar) said to her, “What makes you weep? What is with Allah is better for the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).” She said, “I weep not because I do not know of the fact that what is with Allah is better for the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), but I weep because the revelation which came from the Heaven has ceased to come. This moved both of them to tears and they began to weep along with her.

[Saheeh Muslim #2454]

Imam al-Nawawi, in his commentary on Saheeh Muslim mentions the following points of benefit concerning the permissible and recommended activities which are derived from this hadeeth:

قوله : ( قال أبو بكر بعد وفاة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لعمر رضي الله عنه : انطلق بنا إلى أم أيمن نزورها ، كما كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يزورها ) فيه زيارة الصالحين وفضلها ، وزيارة الصالح لمن هو دونه ، وزيارة الإنسان لمن كان صديقه يزوره ، ولأهل ود صديقه ، وزيارة جماعة من الرجال للمرأة الصالحة ، وسماع كلامها ، واستصحاب العالم والكبير صاحبا له في الزيارة ، والعيادة ، ونحوهما . والبكاء حزنا على فراق الصالحين والأصحاب ، وإن كانوا قد انتقلوا إلى أفضل مما كانوا عليه . والله أعلم .

His statement, “Abu Bakr said to ‘Umar, ‘Let us visit Umm Aiman as Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to visit her.‘” This includes (the permission and/or recommendation of):

-visiting the righteous people and the virtue of that;
-the righteous person visiting those who are less (righteous) than him;
-people visiting those who their friends used to visit and (visiting) the dearly beloved people of their friend;
-a group of men visiting a righteous woman and listening to her speech;
-for the scholar or elder to bring along a companion with him in his visits, habitual activities, etc;
-weeping out of sadness over the loss of righteous people and companions [whether by death or separation], even if they have moved on to a better condition than that which they were previously in.

And Allah knows best.

[Sharh al-Nawawi ‘alaa Saheeh Muslim #2454]

“If he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels?”: Ibn al-Qayyim

Ibn al-Qayyim, while speaking about some of the events of the Battle of Uhud, mentions the following points of great benefit:

ومنها : أن وقعة أحد كانت مقدمة وإرهاصا بين يدي موت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فثبتهم ووبخهم على انقلابهم على أعقابهم إن مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أو قتل ، بل الواجب له عليهم أن يثبتوا على دينه وتوحيده ويموتوا عليه أو يقتلوا ، فإنهم إنما يعبدون رب محمد ، وهو حي لا يموت ، فلو مات محمد أو قتل لا ينبغي لهم أن يصرفهم ذلك عن دينه ، وما جاء به ، فكل نفس ذائقة الموت ، وما بعث محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم ليخلد لا هو ولا هم ، بل ليموتوا على الإسلام والتوحيد ، فإن الموت لا بد منه سواء مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أو بقي ،

And from the benefits: That the Battle of Uhud was like a precursor and prelude before their very eyes of the (actual) death of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). So Allah fortified them (for that eventually), and rebuked them for their having turned back on their heels in the event that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had died or been killed. Rather, it was obligatory upon them to remain firm upon his Deen and his (message of) tawheed and for them to die or be killed upon that. For verily they were only worshipping the Lord of Muhammad, and He is alive and does not die. So if Muhammad died or was killed, it is not appropriate for that to change them from his deen. And he did not come for that, for every soul will taste death, and Muhammad (ﷺ) was not sent to remain alive forever – neither he nor they. Rather, in order that they could die upon al-Islaam and al-Tawheed, for death is inevitable, whether it is the death of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) or anyone else. Continue reading

The story of ‘Aṭāʼ ibn Yasār and the bedouin woman

Ibn al-Jawzi, in his famous work iffah al-afwah, mentions the following story about the taabi’ ‘Aṭāʼ ibn Yasār. ‘Abdur-Rahmān bin Zayd bin Aslam narrated:

 وعن عبد الرحمن بن زيد بن اسلم قال خرج عطاء بن يسار وسليمان بن يسار حاجين من المدينة ومعهما أصحاب لهم حتى إذا كانوا بالأبواء نزلوا منزلا فانطلق سليمان وأصحابه لبعض حاجتهم وبقي عطاء بن يسار قائما في المنزل يصلي  قال فدخلت عليه إمرأة من الأعراب جميلة فلما رآها عطاء ظن أن لها حاجة فأوجز في صلاته ثم قال ألك حاجة قالت نعم قال ماهي قالت قم فأصب مني فإني قد ودقت ولابعل لي فقال إليك عني لاتحرقيني ونفسك بالنار

‘Aṭāʼ and (his brother) Sulayman bin Yasār went to run an errand outside al-Madinah along with some companions of theirs. When they reached the outskirts of the city, they stopped at a house to rest. Sulayman and his companions went to see to some of their needs, and ‘Atāʼ stayed in the house alone, praying. Suddenly, a beautiful bedouin woman entered upon him, so when ‘Aṭāʼ saw her, he assumed that she needed something from him, so he sped up his prayer a little and then asked her, “Is there something you need?” She answered, “Yes.” He said, “And what is that?” She replied, “Come and have your share of me, for I am filled with desire and I am without a spouse.” So, he said to her, “Get away from me, and do not cause me to burn in the Fire along with you!” Continue reading

Two qualities which Allah loves: Sharh al-Nawawi

In Saheeh Muslim, Ibn ‘Abbaas narrated that the Prophet said to al-Ashajj ‘Abd al-Qais that:

إِنَّ فِيكَ خَصْلَتَيْنِ يُحِبُّهُمَا اللَّهُ الْحِلْمُ وَالأَنَاةُ

“Indeed there are two traits in you that Allah loves: Forbearance, and deliberateness.”
[Muslim #17]
Imam al-Nawawi, in his commentary on this hadeeth, writes:
وأما الحلم فهو العقل ، وأما الأناة فهي التثبيت [أو التثبت] وترك العجلة وهي مقصورة

As for ilm (forbearance), then it is ‘aql (intellect). And as for anaah (deliberateness), then it is proceeding with care and exactness and abandoning haste, and that is reigning oneself in. Continue reading

Balancing between seeking knowledge and softening the heart: Ibn al-Jawzi

Imam abu’l-Faraj ibn a-Jawzi, in his book Sayd al-Khaatir, wrote the following on the importance of softening the heart in the midst of talab al-’ilm (seeking knowledge):

رأيت الاشتغال بالفقه وسماع الحديث لا يكاد يكفي في صلاح القلب إلا أن يمزج بالرقائق والنظر في سير السلف الصالحين‏.‏ لأنهم تناولوا مقصود النقل وخرجوا عن صور الأفعال المأمور بها إلى ذوق معانيها والمراد بها‏.

I feel that occupying oneself with fiqh and acquiring narrations is hardly enough to rectify the heart, unless one mixes with that the study of al-raqaa’iq (heart-softening narrations) and examining the biographies of the salaf al-saaliheen, because they [i.e. the Salaf] realized the intended purpose of those narrations and extracted the commanded actions from them, perceiving their intended meanings and desired understandings thereby.

‏ وما أخبرتك بهذا إلا بعد معالجة وذوق لأني وجدت جمهور المحدثين وطلاب الحديث همة أحدهم في الحديث العالي وتكثير الأجزاء‏.‏ وجمهور الفقهاء في علوم الجدل وما يغالب به الخصم‏.‏ وكيف يرق القلب مع هذه الأشياء‏.‏

And I do not inform you of this except after personal trials and error, because I have found that the majority of the muhadditheen and students of hadeeth are primarily concerned with the shortest chain of narration and increasing the number of narrations. And that the majority of the fuqahaa’ (jurists) are primarily concerned with knowledge of debate, argumentation and how to win an a dispute. And how can hearts by softened with these things?

Continue reading

Ask that his eemaan be preserved!

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, in his monograph Noor al-Iqtibaas fi Mishkaat Wasiyyah al-Nabi l-Ibn ‘Abbaas wrote the following:

ودعا رجل من لبعض السلف بأن يحفظه الله فقال : يا أخي ، لا تسأل عن حفظه ، ولكن قل يحفظ إيمان . يعني :  أن الهم هو الدعاء بحفظ الدين ، فإن الحفظ الدنيوي قد يشترك فيه البر والفاجر ، فالله يحفظ على المؤمن دينه و يحول بينه وبين ما يفسده عليه بأسباب قد لا يشعر العباد ببعضها وقد يكون يكرهه

A man once said to one of the Salaf, “May Allah preserve him.” So he replied, “O my brother! Do not ask that he be preserved. Ask instead that his eemaan be preserved!” Meaning: to stress the importance of supplicating for the preservation of one’s religion. This is because worldly preservation could be conferred on both the righteous and the sinner, but Allah only safeguards the religion of the believer, and comes between it and anything that would corrupt it via numerous means, some of which the slave is unaware of, and yet others he may dislike.

وهذا كما حفظ يوسف – عليه السلام – < كَذَٰلِكَ لِنَصْرِ‌فَ عَنْهُ السُّوءَ وَالْفَحْشَاءَ ۚ إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُخْلَصِينَ > [يوسف ٢٤] فمن أخلص الله خلصه الله من السوء والفحشاء وعصمه منها من حيث لا يشعر ، وحال بينه وبين أسباب المعاصي المهلكة

And this is like how He preserved Yusuf (‘alaihis salaam), “And thus [it was] that We should avert from him evil and immorality. Indeed, he was of Our chosen servants“. So whoever is sincere to Allah, Allah will safeguard him against evil and indecency. He will guard him against them via means that he is not even aware of, and He will come between him and the routes leading to destructive disobedience.

[Majmoo’a Rasaa’il ibn Rajab 3/106]

See also: We preserved these limbs in our youth, so Allah preserved them for us in old age

“Mukhayreeq is the best of the Jews”

In his monumental book chronicling the entire span of human existence, al-Haafidh ibn Kathir mentions the following in his coverage of the battle of Uhud:

قال ابن إسحاق‏:‏ و كان ممن قتل يوم أحد مخيريق، وكان أحد بني ثعلبة بن الغيطون، فلما كان يوم أحد قال‏:‏ يا معشر يهود، والله لقد علمتم أن نصر محمد عليكم لحق‏.‏ قالوا‏:‏ إن اليوم يوم السبت‏.‏ قال‏:‏ لا سبت لكم، فأخذ سيفه وعدته وقال‏:‏ إن أصبت فمالي لمحمد يصنع فيه ما شاء‏.‏ ثم غدا إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقاتل معه حتى قتل، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فيما بلغنا‏:‏ ‏(‏‏(‏مخيريق خير يهود‏)‏‏)‏‏.‏

Ibn Ishaaq said: One of those who was killed on the day of Uhud was Mukhayreeq, and he was a member of the Banu Tha’labah ibn al-Ghaytoon clan. So on the day of Uhud, he said, “O Jewish people! By Allah, you well know that aiding Muhammad is a duty upon you!” They said, “Verily today is the day of the Sabbath (a day of rest for the Jews)” He replied, “May there be no rest for you,” then he took his sword and his accoutrements and said, “If I am killed (during the battle), then my wealth goes to Muhammad, who may do with it what he wishes.” Then he went out to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and fought alongside him until he was killed. So the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said about him, “Mukhayreeq is the best of the Jews.”

قال السهيلي‏:‏ فجعل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أموال مخيريق – وكانت سبع حوائط – أوقافاً بالمدينة لله‏.‏

al-Suhayli said: Then the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) made the wealth of Mukhayreeq – and it was a significant amount – as a waqf (charitable trust) for the sake of Allah in al-Madinah.

قال محمد بن كعب القرظي‏:‏ وكانت أول وقف بالمدينة‏.‏

Muhammad ibn Ka’b al-Qarthi* said: That was the first waqf in al-Madinah.

[al-Bidayah w’al-Nihayah 4/42] Continue reading