Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Love of a Mother

A heart rendering story of a mother and her son. For those who would take heed.

My mum only had one eye, i hated her, she was such an embarrassment!
She cooked for teachers and students to support the family
There was one day during primary school where she came to say hello to me
I was so embarrassed, how could she do this to me!
I ignored her, threw a hateful look and ran out
The next day one of my class mates said "Eeww, your mum only has one eye!"
I wanted to bury myself, i also wanted my mum to disappear
So i confronted her and said, "If you're only going to make me a laughing stock, why don't you just die!"
My mum did not respond
I didn't even stop to think for a second about what i had said, because i was full of anger!
I was oblivious to her feelings, i wanted out of that house
So i studied really hard and got a chance to go to Singapore
Then i got married. I bought a house of my own. I had kids of my own and i was happy with my life
Then one day my mother came to visit me. She hadn't seen me in years and she didn't even meet her grandchildren!
When she stood by the door my children laughed at her
I screamed at her, "How dare you come to my house and scare my children! Get out fo here now!
And to this my mother quietly answered, "Oh, i'm sorry i may have gotten the wrong address."
One day a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house
So i lied to my wife that i was going on a business trip
After the reunion i went to the old shack just out of curiosity
My neighbours said that she died
I did not shed a single tear
They handed me a letter she wanted me to have
To the smile of my life
My dearest son i think of you all of the time
I'm sorry that i came to Singapore and scared your children
I was so glad when i heard you were coming for the reunion
But i may not be able to even get out of bed to see you
I'm sorry i was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up
You see... when you were little, you got into an accident and lost your eye
As a mother i could not stand watching you having to grow up with one eye
So i gave you mine
Seeing a whole new world for me in my place with that eye
With my love to you
Your Mother

A Small Verse From The Quran

We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents; in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth
Quran, Surah 46 Al Ahqaaf Verse 15

Friday, 17 January 2014

The Names They Gave Me By Tasbeeh Herwees

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Mevlana Rumi's poetry on the Quran

"The Qur'an is like a bride.
Although you pull
the veil away from her face,
she does not show herself to you.
When you investigate the Qur'an,
but receive no joy or mystical unveiling,
it is because your pulling at the veil
has caused you to be rejected.
The Qur'an has deceived you
and shown itself as ugly. It says,
"I am not a beautiful bride."
It is able to show itself
in any form it desires.
But if you stop pulling at its veil
and seek its good pleasure;
if you water its field, serve it from afar
and strive in that which pleases it,
then it will show you its face
without any need for you to draw aside its veil."

-trans. William C. Chittick

Shaykh Jihad Brown on the death of Shaykh Adib Kallas - On the passing of mountains

“God does not take away knowledge by stripping it from the breasts of men. Instead, He takes it away by taking away the scholars in death. Until there no longer remain scholars; and people take the ignorant as their leaders. They are asked, and they proceed to answer despite not having knowledge. They are misguided and they misguide others.” –Prophet Mohammed

It is the way of great men to travel on and leave behind gaps that cannot be filled. The Muslim world is currently experiencing the emptiness of such a gap. Sheikh Muhammad Adib Kallas died this week in Damascus. He was a master of theology and a jurist par excellence. Moreover, he was an example of a sage who inherited not just his knowledge, but his character, from the Prophet Mohammed through an unbroken chain of transmission.

Not only was he erudite and sharp-witted – he continued to read logic with students throughout his final illness just to keep his mind nimble – but he was exceedingly gentle. He was dedicated to both his students and his family, loved them dearly, and nurtured them. Tenderness and sagacity, that is how I remember Sheikh Adib. It is well known that he is the one who teaches ambitious students of knowledge in Damascus to say: “I don’t know.”

Born in 1921 in the heart of Old Damascus, in the shade of the Omayyad Mosque, Sheikh Adib began his pursuit of sacred knowledge in the early post-Ottoman period of the 1930s. He was understudy to some of the greatest names in recent Damascene history. He imbibed knowledge from them while learning was still organic in the Muslim World, well before it would become tainted by modernist reactionism. Between him and the Prophet Mohammed were only 18 masters.

Later, when the Soviets sent their atheist conundrums to Damascus, government ministries would forward the challenges to Sheikh Adib, who would, in turn, make short order of them.

He was courageous and humble all in the same moment, and inspired confidence as well as an ethical approach to law in his students and colleagues alike.

The scholars of Islam who have taken their knowledge in this way have a balancing effect on society. They combine a grounding in the authentic cultural identity of their people with a deep-seated sensitivity to the human condition and the well-being of community.

Their learning is beyond reproach, operating in accordance with systematic intellectual principles, wholesome spirituality, and lofty aims and purposes. The purposes that guide them are the preservation of life, intellect, religion, human dignity, and private property, as delineated by the Andalusian al Shatibi and al Ghazali before him. These men inspire our citizenry to be ethical human beings who combine education with compassion.

It is my contention that the sustainability of wholesome and balanced society is contingent on our ability to maintain the organic methods of learning and spiritual development that these men continue to leave behind them.

Shaykh Jihad Hashim Brown is director of research at the Tabah Foundation. He delivers the Friday sermon at the Maryam bint Sultan Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Hadith Specialization Curriculum Advice by Shaykh Muhammed Daniel

Ilm al-hadith is divided into two categories:

Ilm al-Riwayah

It is the knowledge of what is connected to the Prophet of Allaah (salalahu alayhi wa salam) concerning his sayings, actions, tacit approvals, and descriptions.These are to be found in two main sources:

1) The first source is to be found in the original and earliest books of Sunnah and these include the following compilations:The books of al-Saheeh, al-Sunan, al-Jami, al-Muwatta, al-Musannaf, al-Mustakhraj al-Masaneed

2) The second source is in the subsequent books of the Sunnah and these include the following compilations:al-Ma’ajim, al-Zawa’id, al-Mukhtasar, al-Muntakhab

Ilm al-Dirayah

This is the knowledge of the principles related to the condition of the narrators and narrations in order to define that which is accepted from that which is rejected.This is divided into three categories:

a) Ilm Mustalah al-Hadith (Nomenclature of Hadith)

b) Ilm al-Rijal (Science of Men) which includes Ilm Tarikh al-Ruwaat (Science of Narrators’ History) Ilm al-Jarh wa al-Ta’deel (Science of Narrator Criticism and Evaluation)

c) Ilm al-Takhreej (Science of Hadith Verification) which covers areas such as Ghareeb al-Hadith, Mukhtalaf al-Hadith, I’raab al-Hadith etc. Now that we are aware of these we can move on to talking about the approach one may adopt in order to master the field of Hadith. (I will only talk about the texts in the Arabic language as I do not have much experience studying through English.

Phase one for the student of Hadith:

Start with the study of the basic primers in the field of Mustalah:The Manzoomah (34-couplet poem) of Imam al-Bayquniyyah (RA) is useful as it will give you a taste of the subject and can be memorized within a day. There are numerous shourouh (exegesis) on the text and these can be read through self-study within a few days to give you a very basic outline. Having said that, the study of this text it is not compulsory and it can be omitted in favour of studying Nukhbat al-Fikar directly and under the guidance of a teacher. Nukhbat al-Fikar fi Mustalah Ahlil Athar of Imam Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani (RA) with its Sharh by the same author Nudhat al-Nadhr is a concise, yet invaluable text in this field. I think the best print is that of Shaikhy Nuruddin ‘Ettar (HA) and that is a wholly unbiased opinion. Along with the Nukhbat, you could benefit from Tayseer Mustalah al-Hadeeth of Shaikh Mahmood al-Tahaan, another Syrian scholar. It is a modern text designed to ease the understanding of Mustalah and follows Nukhbat in many ways.

Phase two:

Having focused on Ilm al-Dirayah I would like to now focus dedicate on Ilm al-Riwayah.

First of all the student should start by reading the Arba’eeniyaat to become familiar with how the Ulama would compile these short texts and to see the different styles. The most important of these is the collection of Imam al-Nawawi (RA)[1] with the addition of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (RA). The student should read these first cover-to-cover and then should start again, but this time should focus on memorising the text adeptly which can also be done simultaneously with the Sharh (exegesis) of the text at the hands of a qualified scholar.

Once the student has studied the text and has fully understood what is contained in the text, they may move up to a larger text that deals with ahkaam (rulings) and many believe that the best text for the beginner is Umdat al-Ahkaam[2] which contains approximately 425 hadith. (depending on print) If a student intends to dedicate himself to teaching Hadith full-time for the rest of his life, then this text should be memorized.

Once the student has studied this text with a scholar, they can move onto other texts of a similar size. My personal favourite is the Shama’il of Imam al-Tirmidhi[3] (RA). The main focus would be to get practice in reading the text and to become familiar with the tabweeb (chaptering) of the muhaddith as well as numerous other benefits.

After this the student continues to progress onto longer texts such as Riyadh al-Saliheen[4] and al-Adab al-Mufrad[5] all the while becoming more and more familiar with new and strange words, thus improving one’s receptive vocabulary of the Arabic Language and common words used in Hadith.

Phase Three:

Now we return to talking about furthering our studies on the side of al-Dirayah.

After finishing the study of Nukhbat al-Fikar and Tayseer al-Hadith with the commentary of Nudhat, I would recommend moving onto Imam al-Dhahabi’s (RA) al-Muwqidha which is a very beneficial yet short Risala based on the work of Ibn Daqeeq al-Eid (RA). At this point the talib al-ilm will find some repetition which is good for cementing their understanding, but they will also find some extra points that are well worthy of notice. It is also possible that the talib skip this step and move straight onto the study of Ibn Katheer’s (RA) al-Baa’ith al-Hatheeth Sharh Ikhtisaar Uloom al-Hadith which is a medium sized text for the intermediate level student. After this, I usually recommend that the student of Hadith take a short break from the intense study of Mustalah and read a short text like the Muqadimmah of Imam Muslim (RA) or the Risala of Abu Dawood (RA) to the people of Makkah. After studying these with the explanation of a qualified scholar the student will be in good stead to study arguably the most essential text in Mustalah, the masterpiece of Ibn al-Salah al-Shahrazuri (RA) entitled Kitab Ma’rifat anwa’ ilm al-Hadith and popularly known as the Muqadimmah of Ibn Salah (RA). After studying this text one may extract extra benefit from the study of Ibn Hajr’s (RA) al-Nukat which is based on the Muqadimmah of Ibn Salah (RA) and provides further detailed information that proves invaluable to the student of Hadith. One may then conclude their study of Mustalah by studying al-Iraqi’s (RA) al-Durar fi Ilm al-Athar which is more commonly known as the Alfiyyah of al-Iraqi and its exegesis by the same author or that of Imam al-Sakhawi (RA) known as Fathul Mugheeth fi Sharh Alfiyyat al-Hadith.

This is my recommendation in regards to the study of Mustalah and I acknowledge that there are many works that I have not included in this list and that one may derive benefit from. However, I feel that one who studies the above will have a firm grasp of the essentials in this science and there will be very few things that they will be unaware of.

A talib may also derive benefit from the following classical books in Mustalah:

al-Muhadith al-Fasil (al-Qadi al-Ramahurmuzi)

Ma’rifat Uloom al-Hadith (al-Hakim)

al-Kifayah (al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi)

al-Jami al-Akhlaq al-Rawi (al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi)

al-Ilmaa’ (Qadi Iyaad al-Yahsubi)

Shuroot al-Aimma al-Khams (al-Hazimi)

al-Irshaad (Imam al-Nawawi)

al-Taqyeed wal-Idaah (al-Iraqi)

Sharh Tabsira wa tazkira (al-Iraqi)

Tadreeb al-Raawi (al-Suyuti)

Tawdeeh al-Afkaar (al-Sanani)

They may also benefit from the contemporary works of the following amongst others:

Shaikh Mohammed Mustafa al-Azimi

Shaikh Abdul Fatah Abu Ghuddah

Shaikh Saeed Ahmed Palanpuri

Shaikh Mahmood al-Tahaan

Shaikh Tariq Awadullah

Shaikh Hatim al-Awni

Shaikh Nour Uddin Itr

The Prophetic Sandal

Upon this universe’s head is the sandal of Muhammad
It has ascended, thus all of creation is beneath its silhouette
At Tur Musa was addressed with “Cast off” whereas Ahmad
Despite proximity wasn’t directed to remove his sandals
A likeness representing a sandal of the noblest of prophetic messengers
Wishing for the place of its dust are the loftiest stars
As co-wives to it, are all the seven heavens altogether
Jealous and envious, as are the crowns of kings
The likeness of the sandal of the Chosen one; it has no parity
For my soul it is solace, for my eye antimony
How noble it is! An impression of a revered sandal
For it, every head wishes it was a foot
Since I realised the passage of time wages war on mortals
I made for myself its master’s sandal a stronghold
I fortified myself in its wonderful likeness
In an impenetrable enclosure I attained in its shade, safety
Verily I have served the likeness of the Chosen One’s sandal
That I live in both worlds beneath its shade
Ibn Mas’ud became felicitous by serving his sandal
And I am felicitous by my serving its likeness
Upon this universe’s head is the sandal of Muhammad
(Allah bless him and grant him peace)
by Imam Yusuf al-Nabahani