Archive for June, 2009

The Backbone that Never Breaks

Posted in Ibn Kathir, Sayyid Qutb on June 20, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

{“And from the people is he who worships Allah as if he were on an edge. If good befalls him, he is content with it. And if a trial befalls him, he turns back on his face. He loses both this world and the Hereafter. That is the clear  loss.”} [al-Hajj; 11]

Commenting on this verse, Ibn Kathir said in ‘Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Adhim’ (3/279):

“This means that he enters the religion on an edge. So, if he finds what he likes, he sticks with it. Otherwise, he retreats. al-Bukhari reported…that Ibn ‘Abbas said: “A man would come to Madinah. If his wife gave birth to a son and his mare gave birth to foals, he would say: “This is a good religion.” If his wife didn’t give birth and his mare didn’t either, he would say: “This is a terrible religion.”” And Ibn Abi Hatim reported…that Ibn ‘Abbas said: “Some bedouins would come to the Prophet and become Muslims and then they’d return to their homelands. If they returned to a year of rain, produce, and good children being born, they would say: “This religion of ours is good. So, stick to it.” If they came back to a year of hunger, bad children being born, and drought, they would say: “There is no good in this religion of ours.” So, Allah revealed this verse.”

…And ‘Abd ar-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said: “This is in regards to the hypocrite. If everything is going well for him in his life, he is consistent in his worship. If things change and go bad for him, he goes back and wavers in his worship except when things are going good. So, if a trial, hardship, test, or inconvenience befalls him, he abandons his religion and returns to kufr.””

In ‘Fi Dhilal al-Qur’an’ (4/2412), Sayyid Qutb commented on this verse by saying:

“Even if this addresses the Islamic call back then, it is an example that is repeated in every generation – this person who weighs his belief using the scales of profit and loss, thinking that he is engaged in some sort of business deal…

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Only for the Lovers of Knowledge…

Posted in Ibn al-Qayyim on June 10, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

There are a number of verses in the Qur’an showing that the inhabitants of Paradise will visit and remind each other of what they had between them and what they used to occupy themselves with during their time in this life (see as-Saffat; 50-51 and at-Tur; 25-28).

Ibn al-Qayyim, in his book ‘Hadi al-Arwah’ (p. 338), concludes a chapter on this topic by describing the state of those who loved to read, discuss, and otherwise occupy themselves with Shar’i knowledge during their time in this world while everyone else was doing their thing:

“…And if they will discuss the things that happened between them, then discussing what they were curious about in this world related to knowledge, understanding the Qur’an and Sunnah, and the authenticity of ahadith is even more likely and appropriate. This is because discussing these things in this life was more pleasurable for them than eating, drinking, and sex.

So, discussing this in Paradise would be even sweeter, and this is a pleasure that only the people of knowledge experience, and it’s what distinguishes them from everyone else…”

True Men Are Known in Times of Hardship

Posted in 'Abdullah 'Azzam on June 8, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

“…Those who gave Bay’at ar-Ridwan beneath the tree at Hudaybiyah were 1,400 men. When was this? It was in Dhu al-Qi’dah 6 AH. When the treaty was solidified and Quraysh stood aside and held back from fighting the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم), only then did people begin entering Islam, as they had previously been afraid of Quraysh. So, Quraysh had a treaty with the Messenger of Allah and held back from fighting him, and waves of people saw this as their chance to become Muslims even if Quraysh didn’t like this. So, they became Muslims. Those who came did so 21 months after the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. What happened after this? The conquest of Makkah. Those who came to conquer Makkah with the Messenger were 10,000. This means that how many people had become Muslim in the time leading up to this? At least 8,500 or 8,600 in the two years of peace had decided to enter Islam.


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Our Inner vs. Outer Condition

Posted in 'Abdullah 'Azzam on June 6, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

“…And the believer – subhan Allah, glory be to You, O Lord – is liked by everyone no matter what.


The believer isn’t fake. There is nothing you can hold against him. What he does in secret is what he does openly. There aren’t secret acts and public acts. He doesn’t have a personality in secret and a different one in public. They are both the same. So, if you were to peek into his life when he’s alone, you’d find him even better than he is in public. If you were to see him at home at night, you’d find him either praying, sleeping, eating suhur, or reciting the Qur’an. There is nothing you can hold against him. There is no girl he has snuck in to his home to commit indecent acts with, nor does he have stolen money that he is counting.

His outer condition is like his inner condition. In fact, his inner condition is even better than his outer, and the early Muslims would say ‘O Allah, make our inner condition better than our outer condition, and make our outer condition good.’ There is nothing you can hold against him. He has inner confidence, is sure of himself, and is relaxed.

As for the hypocrite, he fears that everyone will discover his faults and that they are privy to his sins. This is why it’s as if the suspicious person wants to tell people ‘Take me away, take me away.’ Why? He is filled with faults, and he suspects that this person knows of them, that person found out, etc. So, his whole life is full of anxiety and constriction.

As for the believer, ‘Umar bin al-Khattab nullified his ablution while on the pulpit. He said: “O people, I’ve passed gas, and I am going to make ablution and return.” He is sure of himself. So, why would he care what people think? On a day other than Friday, he ascended the pulpit and gathered the people and said: “O people, a few years ago, I used to herd sheep for people in Makkah for a few copper coins.” So, ‘Abd ar-Rahman bin ‘Awf took him aside and said to him privately: “Commander of the Believers, you did nothing but belittle yourself in front of everyone.” So, ‘Umar said: “That was exactly my intention. I felt impressed with myself, and therefore wanted to humble myself in front of everyone.””

[‘Fi Dhilal Surat at-Tawbah’; p. 489]