Forgiveness, The Mark of a Muslim

[Majmoo’ Fataawaa (28/50-57) slightly abridged, al-Istiqaamah]

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.

Indeed Allaah – to whom belongs all praise – has bestowed upon me immense grace, great favours and generous blessings which necessitates immense gratitude, being firm upon obedience to Him, and becoming accustomed to having beautiful patience in that which He ordered. Indeed, a servant is ordered to have sabr (patience) in times of ease more so than in times of hardship. Allaah – the Most High – said:

“But if we let man taste the good favours after poverty and harm has touched him, he is sure to boastfully say: Harm has departed from me. Indeed he is exultant, boastful and ungrateful to Allaah, Except those who show patience and do deeds of righteousness and obedience to Allaah, for them will be forgiveness and a great reward.” [Soorah Hood 11:10-11].

And you all know that Allaah – the Most Perfect – has blessed this affair [1] with such blessings which contain the means to aid His Religion, raise high His Word, aid His Army, and grant honour to His Awliyaa (pious and righteous servants). It is also the cause for strengthening Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah and causing humiliation to the people of innovations and sectarianism. Likewise, it is also the cause for affirming that which has been affirmed by yourselves from the Sunnah (regarding the truth of this matter), and a cause for increasing this by opening up the avenues of guidance, victory and proofs: such that the truth becomes known to the people, who none but Allaah can enumerate. It is also a cause for the masses to begin to accept the way of the Sunnah and the Jamaa’ah; as well as countless other favours. All of this must therefore be accompanied by immense gratitude to Allaah, as well as having patience – even ii this patience is in times of ease.

And you all know that from the great principles which sum up the Religion is: Uniting the hearts, unifying the word, and reconcilination between each other, as Allaah – the Most High – said:

“So fear and obey Allaah, and reconcile the matters of differences between yourselves.” [Soorah al-Anfaal 8:10].

“And hold fast altogether to the rope of Allaah and do not split-up.” [Soorah Aal-‘lmraan 3:103].

“And do not be like those who split-up and differed after the clear proofs came to them. For those there will be a severe punishment.” [Soorah Aal-‘lmraan 3:105].

And other examples like this from the texts (of Revelation), which order us with the Jamaa’ah (unity upon the way of the Companions) and coming together, and prohibit splitting and differing. And the people who most exemplify this principle are Ahlul-Jamaa’ah (the people of the Jamaa’ah); just as the people who most exemplify leaving it are the people of sectarianism.

And that which sums up the Sunnah is: Obedience to the Messenger. This is why the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Indeed Allaah is pleased with three things: That you worship Allaah alone without associating any partner along with Him; that you holdfast all together to the Rope of Allaah and not to become split-up; and that you give sincere advice to whomsoever Allaah put in charge of your affairs.”[2]

And in the Sunan collections from the hadeeth of Zayd ibn Thaabit and Ibn Mas’ood – who were both great fuqahaa (Scholars of deep understanding) – who relate that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “May Allaah enliven whosoever hears my words, memorises them and then conveys them to others. Many a carrier of knowledge does not understand it, and many a carrier of knowledge conveys it to one who has better understanding. There are three things which the heart of a Believer has no malice about: Sincerity for Allaah in one’s action; sincere advice to those in authority and clinging to the Jamaa’ah.” [3]

And his saying: “has no malice” means not having any contempt for them. So the heart of a Muslim does not hate these characteristics. On the contrary, it loves them and is pleased with them.

So the first thing which I shall begin with regarding this principle is what is connected to myself. So you all know – may Allaah be pleased with you all – that I do not desire any harm at all – inwardly or outwardly – for anyone from the general masses of the Muslims, let alone our colleagues and companions. Nor do I harbour any ill-feeling towards anyone of them, nor do I blame them for anything at all. Rather, to me they are deserving of nobility, love, honour and respect, over and over – each in accordance with their level. And a person cannot be except (one of three types): Someone who sincerely strives to ascertain the truth; and is correct, or one who sincerely strives to ascertain the truth; but errs, or a sinful person. As for the first, then he is rewarded and thanked. The second is rewarded for his ijtihaad (striving to ascertain the truth), and is forgiven and excused for his error. As for the third, then may Allaah forgive us, and him, and all the Believers.

So we should not try to dwell upon the words of those who opposed this fundamental; by saying that so and so is deficient, or so and so did not act, or so and so was the cause of harm to the Shaykh, or was the reason why all this occurred, or so and so used to speak about the plots of so and so; and other such similar statements which contain criticism of some of our colleagues and brothers. For indeed do not allow them to harm the brothers and colleagues in this manner, and there is no might, nor any power except with Allaah[4]
Rather, the likes of this criticism actually returns to the one who said it in the first place, unless he has good deeds by which Allaah will forgive him – if He wills – and indeed Allaah does forgive that which has preceded. And you also all know about the harsh treatment that was given to some of the brothers in Damascus, and that which occurs even now in Egypt. This – in reality – is not due to a deficiency or shortcoming in the brothers, nor has it occurred because we have changed our views and hate them. Rather, such people, after receiving such harsh treatment increase in the status, love and respect that we have for them. For indeed the likes of these trials are beneficial to the Believers, because Allaah corrects and improves them due to it. Since the Believer to another Believer is like each of a pair of hands, each washes the other. However, it sometimes happens that dirt cannot be removed except with a certain amount of roughness, but that brings about cleanliness and softness, for which that roughness is praised …

You (also) all know that much of what has occurred in this matter were lies, false accusations, false suspicions, and the following of false desires, the likes of which cannot be described. So all those lies and false accusations that were directed against me, are actually a source of goodness and blessing for me. Allaah – the Most High – said:

“Indeed those who brought forward the lie are a small group amongst you. However, do not think that it is an evil for you. rather, it is good for you. And every person amongst them will be paid the sin of what they earned. And as for the one who took on the leading role in this, his will be a severe punishment.” [Soorah an-Noor 24:11].

So through such trials, Allaah manifests the light of truth and its clear proofs, which repel the falsehood and lies. So I do not desire to take revenge upon any of those who lied against me, or oppressed me, or showed enmity and hatred towards me. For indeed I forgive every Muslim, and I love only the good for them, and I desire for every Muslim the good that I desire for myself As for those who lied and did wrong, then I have excused and forgiven them. However, whatever is connected to violating the Rights of Allaah in this affair, then they should seek tawbah (repentance). So if they turn to Allaah in repentance, then Allaah will turn to them in forgiveness, otherwise the Judgement of Allaah will apply to them. So if a person were to be thanked for his evil actions, then I thank all those who were the cause for this (trial) to happen to me – for it entails all the good of this world and the Hereafter. However, Allaah is thanked for His good blessings and favours by which no affair happens to a Believer, except that there is good for him in it. And the people of good intentions are thanked for their intentions, and the people of good actions are thanked for their actions. And as for those who did evil – then we ask Allaah that He turns to them in forgiveness. And you all know that this is from my nature and character.

Likewise, you all know that Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq radiallaahu ‘anhu, concerning the matter of al-lfq (the Lie against ‘Aaishah, his daughter, and wife of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم), about which Allaah revealed some Verses of the Qur’aan, so he swore that he would not give any more charity to Mistaah ibn Athaathah; because Mistaah was one of those who participated in the Lie. So Allaah revealed:

“And let not those amongst you who have been blessed with grace and wealth swear not to give any help or support to their relatives, or to the poor and needy, or to those who migrated in the path of Allaah. Rather, let them pardon and be forgiving. Do you not love that Allaah should forgive you? And Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Soorah an-Noor 24:22].

So when this Verse was revealed, Abu Bakr radiallaahu ‘anhu said: “Rather, by Allaah! I love that Allaah should forgive me.” So he continued to give to Mistaah the aid and charity that he used to give before. [5] So with forgiveness and kind treatment towards one another, and doing Jihaad (fighting and striving) in Allaah’s Path, then it is a must that:

“Allaah will bring a people whom He will love, and they will love Him; soft, humble and gentle with the Believers, stern towards the unbelievers, fighting in the path of Allaah, and never afraid of the blame of the blamers. That is the Grace of Allaah which He bestows upon whosoever He Wills. And Allaah suffices for the needs of His creation, the All-Knower. Indeed your Walee (protector and guardian) is Allaah, His Messenger, and the Believers; those who offer the Prayer correctly, and give Zakaah, and who bow down in obedience to Allaah. And whosoever takes Allaah, and His Messenger, and the Believers as protectors and guardians, then it is the party of Allaah who will be victorious.” [Soorah al-Maa’idah 5:53-55].

Was-salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu.

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1. The affair being referred to is the first of Ibn Taymiyyah’s unjust imprisonment – a period of one and a half years, in the year 705H – which occurred due to some lies and false accusations against him.
2. Related by Muslim (3/1340) and Ahmad (2/367).
3. Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (4/80) and Ibn Maajah (no.230). It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in as-Saheehah (no.404).
4. This is in reference to some of their colleagues and brothers in Damascus, who weakened during this ordeal, and did not remain firm upon the correct methodology. So Ibn Taymiyyah is prohibiting any of his students and collegues from harming them in any way, and makes an excuse for them, and explains that he bears no ill-feeling or hatred in his heart towards any of them. Rather, he makes it clear that he has respect for them, and loves them for the sake of Allaah.
5. Related by al-Bukhaaree (no.4757)

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How to Properly Practice Ikhlaas

Reference: Al Fataawaa al Kubraa: 2/272

…and similar to this is an account that is mentioned, that a person came across the statement of the Messenger – صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم:.

“Whoever practices sincerity for Allaah for forty mornings, the springs of wisdom would spring forth from his heart to his tounge.” [1]

So this person practiced sincerity – according to him – for forty mornings, in order to attain wisdom, so he didn’t attain it. He complained to a wise scholar who told him; ‘You did not practice sincerity for [attaining the pleasure of ] Allaah the Exalted, you only practiced sincerity for attaining wisdom.’

Meaning that sincerity to Allaah the Glorified and Exalted, is seeking His Face, if you attain this you would attain wisdom as a consequence, but if attaining wisdom is what is intended to begin with, then sincerity for Allaah the Glorified would not have taken place, the only thing that took place is the notion that you are practicing sincerity for Allaah the Elevated.

Likewise is the statement of the Messenger – صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم:

”No person would practice humility for Allaah except that Allaah would raise him.” [2]

So if someone practices humility in order to be raised by Allaah amongst the people, then he is not practicing humility, because his intent is to be raised and that is contradictory to humility.

The source of this article in a treatise on Ikhlaas by Shaykh Farkoos.
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[1] This Hadeeth was declared as inauthentic by al Albaanee in ‘As Silsilah ad Da’eefah’: #38 and ‘Da’eef at Targheeb wat Tarheeb’: #2

[2] Collected by Muslim 12/141.

(Translator: Abu Abdul-Waahid, Nadir Ahmad)

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The Varying Forms of Wrongful Backbiting

Source: Majmoo’ al-fataawaa Shaikh ul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah vol 28 pages 236-238

There are found amongst the people those that will backbite in accordance to his gathering and his companions and his associates. Whilst his knowing that the one being backbitten is free of what it is they say – or of some of what they say. However; he sees that if he were to forbid them then the sitting will cease and the people of the sitting would become sullen with him just as they would become estranged from him. So he sees compliance with them through good social relations as well as good companionship; so when they become angered then he likewise becomes angry due to their being angered – so he takes it up with them.

Then there are those that take backbiting out into many forms. So at times it would be in the form of Religion and rectification, so he will say: ‘I am not in the habit of mentioning anyone except in good; and I neither like backbiting nor lies. However I shall inform you of his affairs.’ So He will say: ‘By Allaah – he is Miskeen (weak/pitied) – or he is a good man; however he has in him such and such.’ Or he may say: ‘let us leave off him; may Allaah forgive him and us.’ Whilst his intent is to belittle him as well as causing a wrong to his flank. Thus taking the backbiting out from the form of rectification and Religion. They seek to deceive Allaah with that just as they deceive the creation. For we have seen this and its like from them in many varying colours.

Then there are those that will elevate other than himself out of showing off – and then raise himself. So he will say: ‘If I had supplicated for so and so last night in my prayer; then there would have reached me from him such and such.’ So as to raise himself whilst putting him down with the one that may have faith in him. Or he may say: ‘so and so is dull in intelligence and has little understanding.’ So his intent is the praise of himself and establishing his awareness of him – and that he is better than him.

Likewise from them are those that are carried by envy upon backbiting; and so will gather between two ugly affairs: backbiting as well as envy. So when an individual is praised, then he will try to remove that from him through showing his deficiencies in the form of Religion and rectification – or in the form of envy and immorality and dispraise – in order to remove that from him.

Then there are those that take backbiting out into the form of mockery and play; in order to bring laughter to other than himself through his joking and his mimicry and his belittling of the one he is joking about.

Then there are those that take backbiting out into the form of amazement; so he will say: ‘I am amazed at so and so at how he does not do such and such?! And from so and so as to how he fell into such and such; and how he did such and such.’ Thus pronouncing his name during the course of his amazement.

There are those from them that show sorrow; so he will say: ‘so and so is weak/pitied, it has caused me sorrow for what has happened to him and what the outcome was for him.’ So he who hears him thinks that he has sorrow for him and that he is regretful and that his heart is covered in the attainment of recovery for him; and if it were possible then he would add to that which was with him. He may also mention him in front of his enemies so that they may profit from it. So this; and other than it is from amongst the greatest of the sicknesses of the heart as well as deceitfulness to Allaah and His creation.

From them are those that make apparent backbiting through the form of anger and disapproving something abominable. So there becomes manifest in this aspect certain things from the adornment of speech which contains fallacies. Whilst his intent was other than what he made apparent. And Allaah’s aid is sought.

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10 Causes That Remove Punishment For A Sin

Shaykh ul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

The punishment for a sin committed by a believer is removed in ten ways:

1. He repents to Allah (taubah), so Allah accepts his repentance, for the one who repents from sin is like the one who has no sin.

2. He seeks forgiveness from Allah (istighfar), so Allah forgives him.

3. He does good deeds that erase his sin for good deeds erase bad ones.

4. His believing brethren pray for him or seek forgiveness for his sins during his life or death.

5. Or they [ask Allah] to bestow on him as gift from the reward for their deeds, with which Allah benefits him.

6. His Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, intercedes for him.

7. Allah tests him with trials in this world which expiate his sin.

8. Allah tests him in al-Barzakh (the intermediate life in the grave, between the death and the Day of Judgment) which expiates his sin.

9. Allah tests him in the various stages of the Day of Judgment which expiates his sins.

10. Or the Most Merciful of those who have mercy has mercy on him.

Whoever, then, is missed by these ten cannot blame anyone but himself.

Majmoo` al-Fatawa 1:45, 7:487
Translated by Islaam.com

What are the best righteous deeds after the obligatory duties?

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah was asked the following question:

I asked the Shaykh, who followed in the footsteps of the earlier generations and was the example for the later generations, the most knowledgeable man I have ever met in the east or the west, Taqiy al-Deen Abu’l-‘Abbaas Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah, to point out to me what is the best righteous deed after the obligatory duties.

He (may Allaah have mercy on him) replied as follows:

What you have asked about, the best deed after the obligatory duties, varies from one person to another, depending on what they are able to do and what is best at any given time. So it is not possible to give a comprehensive, detailed answer that suits everyone. But what those who have knowledge of Allaah and His commands are agreed upon is that constantly remembering Allaah (dhikr) is the best thing with which a person may occupy himself in general. Therefore the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah narrated by Muslim says: “ ‘The mufridoon have gone ahead.’ They said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, who are the mufridoon?’ He said, ‘Those men and women who remember Allaah much.’” And Abu Dawood narrated from Abu’l-Dardaa’ (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Shall I not tell you of the best of your deeds and that which is most pure in the sight of your Lord, that which raises you more in status and is better for you than giving gold and silver (in charity), and better than your meeting your enemy and striking their necks and they strike your necks?’ They said, ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allaah.’ He said, ‘Remembering Allaah (dhikr).’”

There is a great deal of Qur’aanic evidence to support this. The least that a person should do is to persist in reciting the adhkaar (pl. of dhikr) which have been narrated from the teacher of good and the leader of the pious (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), such as the adhkaar to be recited at certain times, at the beginning and end of the day, when going to bed and waking up from sleep and after the prescribed prayers; and the adhkaar to be recited on certain occasions, such as that to be said when eating and drinking, when getting dressed, when having intercourse, when entering or leaving the home, the mosque or the washroom, when it rains, when thunder is heard, and so on. Books have been compiled on this topic called ‘Aml al-Yawm wa’l-Laylah (Actions of the Day and Night). One of the best books written on this topic is the small book entitled Saheeh al-Kalim al-Tayyib, which is derived from the book by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah called al-Kalim al-Tayyib; this has been edited by al-‘Allaamah al-Albaani.

Then one should persist in remembering Allaah in general, the best of which is Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah.

There may be some situations where certain kinds of dhikr are preferable, such as saying Subhaana Allaah wa’l-hamdu-Lillaah wa Allaahu akbar wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa Billaah.

Moreover, one should realize that everything that the tongue utters or the heart imagines that may bring one closer to Allaah, such as seeking knowledge or teaching, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, is a kind of dhikr or remembering Allaah. Hence the one who occupies himself in the pursuit of beneficial knowledge after performing the obligatory duties, or who joins a gathering in order to learn or teach, which Allaah and His Messenger have called fiqh or understanding, is also doing something which is one of the best forms of remembering Allaah (dhikr).

If you think about it, you will not find much difference of opinion among the earliest generation concerning what is the best of deeds. Whenever a person is confused he should pray istikhaarah as prescribed in sharee’ah, for the one who prays to Allaah asking Him for that which is best (istikhaarah) will not have any regrets. He should do that a lot, and make a lot of du’aa’, for that is the key to all goodness. He should not be hasty and say “I prayed but I did not get an answer.” He should seek out the times of special virtue, such as the end of the night, the times immediately following the prescribed prayers, the time of the adhaan, when rain is falling, and so on.

Quoted from the essay al-Wasiyyah al-Jaami’ah li Khayr al-Dunya wa’l-Aakhirah, by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allaah have mercy on him), published by al-Maktabah al-Salafiyyah, Cairo.
Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid

Seclusion vs. Mixing

Q: Is it better for one to seclude himself from the people, or to mix with them?

A: This issue – even though the people have differed over it, either partially or entirely – the reality of it is that mixing with the people is sometimes obligatory or recommended. The same individual can sometimes be commanded to mix with others, and can at other times be commanded to seclude himself.

Mixing, if it involves cooperation upon good and piety, is obligatory, and if it involves cooperation upon sin and transgression, is forbidden. Mixing with the Muslims for the purpose of congregational acts of worship, such as the five prayers, the Friday prayer, the ‘Eid prayer, the eclipse prayer, the prayer for rain (istisqa’), etc., is from what Allah and His Messenger commanded…

…likewise, a gathering in which the worshipper can increase his faith – either because of it benefiting him, or his being of benefit to it – is of the same category.

However, a person must have time by himself to engage in supplication, remembrance, prayer, reflection, taking himself to account, and rectifying his heart. These are issues that nobody else can participate with him in, and these are affairs that need to be seen to on an individual basis, whether that be at home or otherwise, as Tawus said: “How excellent of a refuge is the home! In it, one can restrain his gaze and his tongue.”

So, choosing to mix with people unrestrictedly is wrong, and choosing to seclude yourself from people unrestrictedly is wrong.

[‘Majmu’ al-Fatawa’; 10/218]

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Unconditional Obedience

by Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah

(Translated by Abu ‘Abdis-Salam)

“Indeed the people of Truth and the Sunnah do not follow anyone [unconditionally] except the messenger of Allaah SAW, the one who does not speak from his desires – it is only revelation revealed to him.
Belief in all that he narrated is obligatory, as is his [unconditional] obedience in all that he commanded. This rank is not given to anyone other than him, [whether] from the Imaams [or other than them]. Rather, statements of every individual are taken and left, except the messenger of Allaah SAW [whose statements are always taken].

So whoever makes a person other than the messenger of Allaah SAW [a criterion] such that whoever loves him and stands by him becomes from Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, and whoever opposes him becomes from the people of innovation and splitting – as that is found in the groups following the leaders of kalaam with regards to the religion – then he is from the people of innovation, misguidance and splitting!”

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