Archive for April, 2008

The Unavoidable Obstacle

Posted in Ibn al-Qayyim on April 30, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

In ‘Madarij as-Salikin’ (1/218-222), Ibn al-Qayyim has a section about the obstacles that Satan puts into the path of the one who chooses to live his life for Allah. He mentions the six commonly known obstacles in the order that they will be thrown into the path of the believer, such that whoever passes through one obstacle is then faced with the next (disbelief, followed by innovation in religion, followed by major sins, followed by minor sins, followed by permissible acts that distract one from acts of obedience, followed by acts of obedience that are of lower reward than others).

However, he mentions a seventh and final obstacle for the one who passes through the above six successfully:

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Physical Descriptions of the Four Imams

Posted in The Lives of the Salaf on April 21, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

Collected from adh-Dhahabi’s ‘Siyar A’lam an-Nubala”:

1 – Abu Hanifah an-Nu’man bin Thabit:

Abu Yusuf said: “Abu Hanifah was well-formed, was from the best of people in appearance, the most eloquent of them in speech, the sweetest in tone, and the clearest of them in expressing what he felt.”

Hamad bin Abi Hanifah said: “My father was very handsome, dark, had good posture, would wear a lot of perfume, was tall, would not speak except in reply to what someone else had said, and he – may Allah have Mercy upon him – would not involve himself in what did not concern him.”

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‘Abdullah ‘Azzam’s Immense Zuhd

Posted in 'Abdullah 'Azzam on April 18, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

“…Believe me when I tell you that I hate buying new things, new clothes, etc.

One day, I came home to find new sponge cushions with matching sheets. When I saw them, I lost my mind. I said: “By Allah, women have no religion. This must go…where did this come from?” They said: “It is a gift.” I said: “It must leave the house. It cannot remain in the house,” and I spoke such words to my wife that she was going to pass out. By Allah, she was going to pass out and lose consciousness, and she began to shake. I began to fear for her sanity, by Allah.

But, believe me, brothers, I did not enter the house. Really, I said: “Where did this gift come from?”

She said: “Why does it matter to you? Your guests are here day and night, coming in and out, and I wash the sheets of these mattresses and change them. I change them everyday because the cotton in these Pakistani sheets gets stuck in the creases of the cushions. I am tired, and I found some gold that I had, which I then spent on this to relieve myself a bit.”

I said to her: “While the Mujahidin are dying of hunger?”

She said: “I donated a third of the value to the Mujahidin.”

I said to her: “Even then, it cannot remain.”

From then until now, believe me when I tell you that I never enter the home and see these except that my chest becomes tight. Believe me, we tried removing them from the home in a way that would not result in her passing out again, and may Allah Forgive us all…”

A footnote to this story says that the Shaykh remained insistent upon this until he finally sold the cushions and sheets to a brother for less than their original price.

[‘Fi Dhilal Surat at-Tawbah’; p. 222]

The Scholars’ Love for Baghdad

Posted in Ibn Kathir on April 15, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

“…Yunus bin ‘Abd al-A’la as-Sadfi said that ash-Shafi’i said to him: “Have you ever seen Baghdad?” He replied: “No.” So, ash-Shafi’i said: “Then you have not seen the world.”

ash-Shafi’i also said: “I never entered a land except that I considered myself a visitor except Baghdad, for whenever I enter it, I consider it my home.”

Some of them said: “The whole world is wilderness, and Baghdad is civilized.”

Ibn ‘Alyah said: “I never saw anyone more intelligent in studying Hadith than the people of Baghdad, or anyone as friendly as they are.”

Ibn Mujahid said: “I saw Abu ‘Amr bin al-‘Ala’ in a dream, and asked him: “What did Allah do with you?” He replied: “Enough of this. Whoever remains in Baghdad and is from Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah and died will be moved from one paradise to another.”

Abu Bakr bin ‘Ayyash said: “Islam is in Baghdad, and it is like a hunter that hunts men, and whoever has not seen it has not seen the world.”

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Love for the People of Knowledge

Posted in 'Abdullah 'Azzam on April 10, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

“…I admit that the gratitude is for Allah firstly and lastly. However, Shaykh Nasir ad-Din al-Albani had a great effect on my thinking, in my beliefs, in clarifying my beliefs, in my extracting the authentic texts, in researching. I cannot write a weak hadith in a single one of my books. So, I am Salafi in my belief and thought…”

[‘Fi Dhilal Surat at-Tawbah’; p. 51]

“…So, I presented the fatwa to Shaykh Ibn Baz, and he agreed with it. May Allah bless his life. Shaykh Ibn Baz, Allah has truly given him insight, if He Wills, and Allah Knows best. Allah has benefited Islam and the Muslims through him more than most people, and Allah Knows best. I do not think that anyone on Earth has benefited – other than the rulers, those who possess millions – has benefited the Afghan Jihad like Shaykh Ibn Baz has, yes.”

[‘Fi Dhilal Surat at-Tawbah’; p. 171]

“As for the noble Shaykh Ibn Baz and Ibn ‘Uthaymin, by Allah, I love them from the depths of my heart. I know their virtue in many of the affairs, especially Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baz. I mean, he had a long hand in many of the affairs of Islam…By Allah, the truth is that I love Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baz more than I love my own mother and father, and this is what I said to him…”

[‘al-As’ilah wal-Ajwibah al-Jihadiyyah’; p. 95]

The Sweetest and Most Beneficial Thing

Posted in Siddiq Hasan Khan on April 4, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

“…Know that the nobility of something is either inherent or indirect. Knowledge encompasses both types of nobility, since it is a delight in and of itself and is therefore sought after for itself, and it is also indirectly delightful and is therefore sought after due to what it brings about.

It is not a secret to its possessors that there is no delight greater than its delight because it is a pure and spiritual delight. As for physical delight, it consists of nothing but warding off pain, such as the delight of food warding off the pain of hunger, and the delight of sex warding off the pain of desire.

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Tawriyah Is Not Allowed When it Comes to Issues of ‘Aqidah

Posted in 'Abdullah 'Azzam on April 3, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

“Some of Sayyid Qutb’s students asked him: “Why were you so bold and straightforward in front of the court despite the fact that your neck was between the noose?” He replied: “For two reasons. The first is that we are speaking about issues of belief, and it is not allowed to use deceptive double-talk (tawriyah) when it comes to issues of belief. Deceptive double-talk is not allowed! Deceptive double-talk is not allowed!”

This is when someone says to you: ‘What do you think about this ruling?’ and you reply: ‘By Allah, praise be to Allah, it is good,’ while you deceptively intend with your words to say ‘You are good,’ or ‘Some of the people are good’ – this type of deceptive double-talk is not allowed when it comes to issues of ‘Aqidah.

Because of this, there is a huge difference between the stand of Ahmad bin Hambal regarding the creation of the Qur’an and the stand of others. When they asked one of the scholars – and it is said to have been ash-Shafi’i – “What do you think of this Qur’an? Is it created?” He replied, counting on his fingers: “The Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel, the Qur’an – these four are created,” and he meant that his fingers were created. This is deceptive double-talk (tawriyah). What a difference between this stand and the stand of al-Imam Ahmad.

al-Maruzi said that he entered upon Ahmad when they had prepared him to be whipped, and said to him: “O Ahmad! Allah Said: {“…and do not kill yourselves…”}, and these people have prepared you to be killed!” He replied: “O Maruzi! Step outside this prison and tell me what you see.” So, he stepped outside to see thousands of people holding papers and pens. He asked them: “What do you want?” They replied: “We await the reply of Ahmad bin Hambal.” So, al-Maruzi returned and told Ahmad what he saw, and Ahmad said: “O Maruzi! That I die is more beloved to me than that I betray those people you saw.”

So, Sayyid Qutb would say that there is no tawriyah allowed when it came to issues of ‘Aqidah, and his second reason was that those whom the people look up to and follow are not allowed to speak a word of kufr. To legitimize jahiliyyah, Socialism, nationalism, etc. is only allowed for the follower {“…except if he is coerced while his heart is secure with faith…”}

As for the one who is followed, this is not allowed for him. The likes of ‘Ammar bin Yasir: ‘Ammar was a follower, not one who was followed. Would it have been allowed for the Messenger to do what ‘Ammar did?”

[‘Fi Dhilal Surat at-Tawbah’; p. 19]