Archive for the Scholarly Selections Category

Hardship Isn’t the Point

Posted in Ibn Taymiyyah on September 12, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

“…And it should be known that Allah’s Pleasure and Love are not dependent on you torturing yourself and going through hardship, such that something is better simply on account of how hard it is. It is assumed by many ignorant people that the reward is obtained in accordance with hardship in everything. No! Rather, the reward is in accordance with the benefit of the act and how much it manifests obedience to Allah and His Messenger.

So, the more beneficial an act and the more obedient its doer, the more virtuous it is. Actions aren’t virtuous due to their quantity. Rather, they are virtuous due to the effect they have on the heart.

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Being Generous: A Source of Relaxation

Posted in Ibn al-Qayyim, Ramadan on September 7, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

“…The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was the most generous person in giving away what he owned, and he would never look at something as being either too big or too insignificant to give up for the sake of Allah.

Nobody would ask him for anything except that he gave it to them, regardless of how big or small it was.  He gave things away in a way that made it seem that he never feared poverty, and generosity and charity were the most beloved things to him. His happiness and joy in giving something away was more than that felt by those who would accept his gifts. He was the most generous person, and his generosity was like the blowing wind.

If a person in need would approach him, he would always prefer that person to himself. This was sometimes in the form of food, and was sometimes in the form of clothing.

He would have variety in terms of how he would give things away:

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Recommendations for Qur’an Recitation

Posted in Hasan Ayyub, Ramadan on September 1, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

“…It is recommended to use miswak and to clean your mouth before reciting the Qur’an, as well as to cleanse your body using some kind of pleasant scent in order to respect the time in which you are reading.

Wear the clothes that you would wear in front of others to look good, because you are in front of the Bestower despite this privacy. The one who recites someone else’s words is like one who is speaking on his behalf, and this is the pinnacle of honor from Allah.

It is recommended to be sitting and to be facing the Qiblah. Sa’id bin al-Musayyab was asked about a hadith while he was leaning back. So, he sat up and said: “I hate to relay the words of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) while I’m leaning back,” and the Words of Allah are even more deserving of such an attitude.

And it is recommended to have ablution…”

['al-Hadith fi 'Ulum al-Qur'an wal-Hadith'; p. 67]

Better than a Martyr’s Blood

Posted in Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, Ramadan on August 28, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:

“By the One in Whose Hand my soul is, the breath of the fasting person is more pleasant with Allah than the smell of musk.”

In ‘Fath al-Bari’ (4/138), Ibn Hajar commented:

“What can be gained from this is that the fasting person’s breath is better than the blood of a martyr. This is because the martyr’s blood was likened to the smell of musk,* while the fasting person’s breath was described as being even better than the smell of musk. And this doesn’t necessitate that fasting is better than shahadah, for obvious reasons…”

* In a hadith reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim

Overeating During Iftar

Posted in al-Ghazzali, Ramadan on August 25, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

“…One should not overeat while breaking the fast to the point that he fills his stomach, as there isn’t any container that Allah hates more than a full stomach. How can one benefit from fasting and subdue this enemy and break this desire if he breaks his fast by making up for it through eating everything that he missed out on during the day? In fact, some even eat more than they usually would during the day! This habit has continued to the point that so many types of food are prepared for Ramadan that more food is eaten in this month than in any other month.

It is known that the whole point of fasting is discipline and to break one’s desire in order to strengthen the soul with taqwa. So, if you prevent your digestive system from food all day long until night such that its desire and longing for food goes wild, and you then feed it what it wants until it is fully satisfied, this will only increase its desire and multiply its energy, and it will manifest a longing that wouldn’t have been there had it been left to its usual intake.

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Tarawih: Home or Masjid?

Posted in Ramadan, The Words of the Salaf on August 24, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

al-Marwazi mentioned in ‘Mukhtasar Qiyam al-Layl’ (p. 231) that a man asked al-Hasan al-Basri:

“O Aba Sa’id! This Ramadan has come upon me while I have read (or memorized) the Qur’an. What do you think I should do: pray alone, or join a congregation of Muslims and pray with them?”

He replied:

“You should look to what benefits you most. So, look to which of the two places will make your heart more tender and your concentration better, and that is where you should go.”

The Virtues of Fasting in the Summer

Posted in Ibn Rajab, Ramadan on August 18, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

Ibn Rajab has a section in ‘Lata’if al-Ma’arif’ (p. 272-273) about the virtues of fasting during hot days. Since Ramadan will start in the summer this year, this will be a good encouragement:

“…And from the acts of worship whose reward is multiplied during the heat is fasting, and this is because of the thirst that one experiences in the mid-day heat.

This is why Mu’adh bin Jabal expressed regret on his deathbed that he would no longer experience this mid-day thirst, as did other early Muslims.

And it was related that Abu Bakr would fast in the summer and not fast in the winter, and ‘Umar advised his son ‘Abdullah on his deathbed: “Try to obtain the characteristics of faith,” and the first one he mentioned was fasting in the intense summer heat.

And al-Qasim bin Muhammad said that ‘A’ishah would fast in the intense heat, and he was asked: “What drove her to do this?” He replied: “She would take advantage of the days before death.” And some of the righteous women would choose the hottest days and fast them, saying: “If the price is low, everyone will buy,” meaning that she wanted to do those actions that only a few were capable of due to how hard it was to do them, and this is indicative of the high aspirations these women had.

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