Archive for October, 2008

Living Together

Posted in 'Abdullah 'Azzam on October 16, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

“You cannot live alone. Do not live alone, as the wolf eats up the lone sheep, and Satan is close to the one who is alone and is farther from two who are together. So, if you live somewhere, live with at least one other person, and this one person should be righteous.

Friends are like a row of connected test tubes: if liquid overflows in one tube, the excess flows into the other tubes until there is an equal amount of liquid in all the tubes. Likewise, if you live with corrupt people, they will take away many of your good deeds, and you will decrease and decrease and decrease until you are all equal in status. You will definitely end up like these interconnected test tubes. A group of friends are all like each other, and the longer the friendship lasts, the closer the character and manners of each person in the group will be to the others. Do not believe that a good person can live for long with a corrupt person, unless the corrupt person improves and follows the example of the good person.

This is why you should look for the good people, and a friend is like a chain: he will either drag you into Paradise or drag you into Hell. He will either cause you problems or he will help you solve your problems…

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al-A’mash: One Interesting Character

Posted in The Lives of the Salaf on October 16, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

One of the scholars who is most interesting to read about is the Tabi’i Sulayman bin Mihran (died 148 H), also known as al-A’mash (one who has weak vision). al-A’mash had quite an interesting personality, as he was very pious and knowledgeable while also having a rough, sarcastic attitude that makes one smile constantly while reading through his tarjamah.

Here are some funny incidents of his collected from ‘Siyar A’lam an-Nubala” (6/419-434) and ‘Hilyat al-Awliya” (5/54-70):

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How the Believer Relaxes

Posted in 'Abdullah 'Azzam on October 15, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

…The stronger a person’s connection with his Lord becomes, the more he will feel relaxed. This is why they said to Ibn al-Mubarak: “Who are the kings?” So, he replied: “Those who abstain from the worldly pleasures.” They asked him: “Who are the lowest of people?” He replied: “Those who eat with their religion,” meaning they are hypocritical with the people. So, they do this for a bite of food or a badge of honor, or any other worldly gain. They asked him: “Who are the lowest of the low?” He replied: “Those who ruin their religion in order to gain wordly benefit for others.”

One of them would describe himself, saying: “We are in such a state of happiness that if the kings and their sons knew of it, they would fight us with swords over it.” So, our happiness is greater than the happiness of the kings! And if they knew of this happiness that we had, they would fight us with weapons for it!

When Ibn Taymiyyah came into conflict with the ruler, the ruler said to him: “I know that you see the people gathering around you, and this made you greedy for my kingdom.” So, Ibn Taymiyyah replied: “Listen! By Allah, I would not pay a single dirham for your kingdom!” Not a single one! But, the ruler is fearful for his throne, and Ibn Taymiyyah is relieving him by telling him that he would never buy his kingdom…

This is all the result of the happiness and honor that they were immersed in. Of course, the people of the dunya do not understand any of this. They only understand things in the context of the world they are living in, the cars they drive, the money they have, etc…

Then, in addition to the happiness that immerses such a person…why does a person become relaxed? A person becomes relaxed as the result of worship, because this fills the empty space inside. That empty space that is reserved specifically for worship becomes filled with it. So, a person becomes relaxed when he fills himself with worship, just like when a motor is filled with oil…”

[‘at-Tarbiyah al-Jihadiyyah wal-Bina”; 5/26-27]

Why Anas Rubbed His Hands With Oil

Posted in The Words of the Salaf on October 9, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

I sometimes see brothers doing this, and I thought it was nice to find this narration supporting it as a practice of the Companions. In al-Bukhari’s ‘al-Adab al-Mufrad’ (1012), it’s reported from Thabit al-Bunani that he said:

“When Anas would wake up, he would rub sweetly scented oil on his hands for when he would shake hands with his brothers.”

This was authenticated by al-Albani in ‘Sahih al-Adab al-Mufrad’ (774).

Husayn al-‘Awayshah commented: “This shows how eager they were to make their brothers happy and pleasant.”

The Rule of Interaction and Imitation

Posted in Ibn Taymiyyah on October 6, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

“…Allah fashioned the human, as well as every type of creature, to naturally interact with similar creatures. The closer these two creatures are, the more they will interact and become similar to each other in their manners and characteristics, to the point that one would be unable to distinguish between them except in terms of their physical appearance.

Since human beings are closest to each other, their interaction with and imitation of each other is the strongest. Although not as strong, the closeness of humans to animals is intermediate, and there must be interaction and imitation between them to a certain degree as well. Although extremely weak, there is also a degree of closeness between humans and plants, and there must also be interaction and imitation between them to a certain degree.

Due to this principle, human beings are affected by each other in obtaining certain manners and characteristics as the result of being close to and living with each other. So, if a human lives amongst a certain type of animal, he will eventually obtain some of that animal’s characteristics. This is why boastfulness is a characteristic of camel-herders, tranquility is a characteristic of sheep-herders, and those who raise mules eventually develop some repugnant characteristics of mules, and this is also the case with those who raise dogs. The same applies for animals that spend much of their time around humans: you will find that they obtain some of the characteristics of humans due their constantly being around them.

So, external closeness between creatures gradually and silently leads to internal closeness between them. I have seen how the Jews and Christians who live amongst the Muslims are not as severe in their kufr as those who don’t live amongst them. Likewise, the Muslims who live amongst the Jews and Christians are generally weaker in their faith than the Muslims who don’t…”

[‘Iqitida’ as-Sirat al-Mustaqim’; 1/220]

Keep Up the Qiyam al-Layl

Posted in Ramadan, The Words of the Salaf on October 3, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna
Ramadan came and went, and the smart ones are those who will use it to keep up the spirit of intense worship for the rest of the year. These are some narrations from Ibn Muflih’s ‘al-Adab ash-Shar’iyyah’
showing how the night prayer was an integral part of the everday lives of the people of knowledge in the past, whether it was in Ramadan or outside Ramadan, whether they were on a journey or at home.

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