Archive

Archive for December, 2010

Intellectual Humility – Noman Ali Khan

December 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Have some shame… Yes, it can be good for you.

December 23, 2010 Leave a comment

8 vs 20?

December 8, 2010 3 comments

8 rakah vs 20 rakahs. This is a common debate that bombards from masajid across the globe, all the way from Alaska to Makkah and down to Sydney. Come Ramadan time and it is not farfetched to find even family members disputing about the correct number of rakahs to offer for Taraweeh prayers, the superogatory prayers after Isha during the month of Ramadan. It looks like almost everyone has a different opinion on this matter, ranging from top scholars in Saudi Arabia, where the imams in the grand masajid of the holy cities, Makkah and Madinah, offer 20 units, while most imams in most of the other masajid in Saudi offer  8 units; to different Islamic centers in USA and Europe. This conflict of opinion has also promulgated hatred and division of communities and religious organizations in some areas. Is this issue really worth dividing homes and communities over? How would the sahabas deal with conflicting opinions? What is the prophetic proof on this matter? What is the significance of unity of the ummah?

 

During the life of Prophet Muhammad, there were hardly any differences as the foundation of the religion was being laid via revelation by Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Whenever differences would arise, it was typically resolved by The Prophet. The reasoning or ijtihad utilized to resolve issues was used as training for the sahabas to deal with future issues.[1] During the time of the righteous caliphs, although the sahabah differed and debated various issues, it hardly led to discord as the caliphs utilized shura or consultations to reach a ruling. The proximity of the sahabas also played a key factor in facilitating the ease of reaching an ijma or consensus. Furthermore, the sahaba were reluctant to issue legal rulings for fear of error and redirected to better qualified sahabees.[2] Although different opinions arose, it did not lead to factionalism and once a decision was reached, it was generally accepted despite differences.

 

After the time of the last of the righteous caliphs (Ali bin Abi Talib RA), the ease of reaching consensus or ijma on issues eroded with the geographic dispersion of the sahabas and knowledgeable scholars of the ummah. It became virtually impossible to reach an ijma, so different centers of knowledge yielded religious scholars who issued verdicts, more or less independently from knowledgeable scholars in other areas. The slight variation in methodologies and differences in availability of authentic hadith led to the increase of different rulings on issues. Despite the stern warnings by the four major imams to not follow their rulings blindly, but overrule their position on an issue, if there is conflicting evidence from authentic revelation (Quran & Sunnah); later generations started following the madhabs blindly (taqleed).[3] This blind following coupled with focus on arguing and debating against focusing on the overarching goals of unity and cohesion mandated by Allah Azzawajal is the reason of the fierce arguments and global fault lines on issues like the number of units to offer for Taraweeh salah.

 

The differences should be looked in the light of Quran and authentic Sunnah, as they are the ultimate sources for deriving rulings and not only positions of a certain scholar. The root cause of the different number of rakahs for Taraweeh arises as there is no authentic narration in which Prophet Muhammad (SAW) specified the number of rakahs for Tarawih salah nor is the number specified in the few tarawih salahs that he led, before refraining from leading the salah due to fear of it becoming an obligation.[4] The following evidence, with similar narrations from other narrators, is cited to support the 20 rakahs opinion:

“It was narrated that Saa’ib ibn Yazeed said: ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) gathered the people together in Ramadaan to be led by Ubayy ibn Ka’b and Tameem al-Daari in praying twenty-one rak’ahs, and they used to recite hundreds of verses, and they dispersed before dawn broke.”[5]

However, many renowned scholars such as Albany, who favor the 8 rakahs opinion cite the following evidence: the hadeeth of Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmaan, who asked ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), “How did the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) pray during Ramadaan?” She said: “He did not pray more than eleven rak’ahs in Ramadaan or at other times. He would pray four, and do not ask how beautiful and long they were, then he would pray four, and do not ask how beautiful and long they were, then he would pray three. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, will you sleep before you pray Witr?’ He said, ‘O ‘Aa’ishah, my eyes sleep but my heart does not.’”[6] This view is that prophet Muhammad is clearly noted to have prayed only a maximum of 11 or 13 rakahs of Taraweeh / Tajajjut prayer on any given night and he has instructed us to “pray as you see me pray.” Furthermore, the hadith supporting the 20 rakahs opinion is criticized as unauthentic upon careful analysis such as by Al-Suyooti and Albany.

 

There are many scholars who favor the opinion that it is sunnah to pray 8 rakahs, while holding that the hadith of Aa’ishah (RA) does not place an upper limit on the number of Rakaahs and it is ok to pray 20. At the end of the day, the worse the person might be doing is not getting the reward for following a sunnah, so it should not sow the seeds of discord in the blessed month of Muslim unity, peace and tranquility: Ramadan. I will end with a quotation from Shaik Uthaimeen on this issue: “It grieves us deeply that we find in the Muslim ummah a group which differs concerning matters in which differences of opinion are acceptable, and they take these differences as a means to cause division. Differences within the ummah existed at the time of the Sahaabah, yet they remained united. The youth in particular and to all those who are committed to Islam must remain united, because they have enemies who are laying in wait.”[7]


[1] Dr. Bilal Philips, The Evolution of Fiqh, pg. 52

[2] Dr. Bilal Philips, The Evolution of Fiqh, pg. 58-59

[3] Dr. Bilal Philips, The Evolution of Fiqh, pg. 138

[4] Muslim (1780) [3/283] and Al-Bukhari (1129) [3/14]

[6] al-Bukhaari, 1909; Muslim, 738

 

Categories: Fiqh Tags: , ,

Difference between Muslims saying we don’t describe the “hows” of Allah’s attributes and Christians saying the same about the Trinity?

December 8, 2010 18 comments

Bismillah Hir Rahmaan Nirraheem

When a man came to Imam Malik and questioned how Allah ascends on His throne, Imam Malik responded, “The settling above is known, and how it is so is unknown, and asking about it is a form of innovation. So expel this man, for he is an innovator.” This is a well known response describing the position of The Salaf in not getting into the “hows” of Allah’s attributes. Is this position different from the Christians refraining from getting into the “hows” of the concept of Trinity and telling their followers to blindly follow that God is one but exists simultaneously in three forms – The Father (God), Son (Jesus) and the Holy Ghost?

In order to answer this question, let us look at the sources of these two positions. The Muslims derive their positions on names and attributes of Allah from the authentic revealed knowledge of the Noble Quran and authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). There are countless evidences confirming the prophet-hood of Muhammad (SAW) and the authenticity of the Quran as Allah’s speech revealed to Muhammad (SAW) through angel Jibreel (AS). To name a few, there is an open challenge from Allah to produce a single chapter like the Quran, which is unmet to this day. There are many science related ayahs in the Quran, all of which modern science has either already confirmed or not discovered yet. These scientific proofs are documented in many books such as Maurice Bucaille’s “The Bible, The Quran and Science” confirming the scientific accuracy of the Quran and the scientific fallacies of the Bible. Similarly, recommendations of Prophet Muhammad have and are being confirmed by modern science. The linguistic perfection of the Quran conveyed by an unlettered prophet is sufficient evidence by itself. Other proofs include the predictions in the Quran and Sunnah materializing, among many others.

Furthermore, Allah has promised to preserve the Quran, We have sent down the Reminder, and We will preserve it” and true to that promise, the Quran remains preserved in written form as well as in memory, passed through generation without a single error. Furthermore, the rigorous authentication and classification process of the science of Hadith (narrations of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)), has ensured preservation of this secondary form of revealed guidance.

The concept of Trinity on the other hand is a major deviation from Prophet Jesus’ (AS) original teachings – the message of unity of Allah conveyed by the previous prophets of Allah and the last prophet, Muhammad (PBUH). The Bible is not the word of God, rather it is penned by humans claimed to be the inspiration of God. Although it may contain some original revelations and teachings of Jesus (AS), it is corrupted with infusion of thoughts of the various authors and editors of the different versions of Gospels. The concept of trinity was preached by one such author, Paul, and this dogma was codified in the council of Nicaea in 323 AD for strategic reasons by the Roman emperor.

Having established the authenticity of the Quran and Sunnah as revealed knowledge, now let us assess why the Muslims do not go to the ‘hows’ of Allah. The implication of names and attributes is in accordance with their intended obvious meanings and changing them is prohibited as Allah has commanded in the following verse: “Say: Indeed my Lord, has forbidden external and internal corruption,…, and that you speak about Allah without knowledge.” [7:33] Shaik Al Uthaimeen has also noted that “All of Allah’s attributes are transcendent, attributes of perfection and praise, without any deficiency in any respect,” as stated in the following Quranic verse: “And to Allah belongs the supreme example.” [Surah Nahl 16:60]

Having established that Allah’s names and attributes are in accordance with their obvious intended meanings in revelation and that Allah’s attributes are perfect, it is impossible for human beings to go into the hows of Allah because Allah The Almighty says: “Their knowledge cannot encompass Him.” Hence it is not possible for the finite, imperfect human mind to conceive and comprehend the infinite and perfect attributes of Allah. While there might be resemblance in name, such as Allah’s ‘hands’, the similarity ends at that; and it is impossible to imagine what Allah’s hands might look like. The imaginary description is forbidden as it is not based on knowledge but the human mind’s imagination is an amalgamation of observations from creation.

Therefore the Islamic position is to accept the obvious meanings of Allah’s attributes as revealed in the Quran and authentic Sunnah, acknowledging that they are attributes of perfection and not delving into the ‘hows’ as it is incomprehensible by the human mind. The concept of ‘Trinity’ on the other hand is not based on any authentic revealed knowledge, rather it is conspired and codified by humans, so it becomes mandatory to delve into such concocted concepts to separate truth from falsehood and to guide humanity to the salvation that is accepted by The Lord of the Universe.

References:

Quran [Al-Hijr 15: 9]

Quran [Surah Taahaa 20:110]

The Radiance of Faith, Dr. Bilal Philips

“The Historical Jesus”, Khalid Yasin [Video Lecture]

Overview of Dinar Movement

December 7, 2010 3 comments





Categories: Money Tags: , , ,
%d bloggers like this: