Archive for the Original & Misc. Category

The Boy and the Cookie

Posted in Original & Misc. on October 11, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

“…I knew him myself. I knew him, and I don’t say he was from the Children of Isra’il. No! He was from the sons of this land. I knew him personally.

He would weep intensely. He would weep intensely, and he would never have the Qur’an recited in his presence except that he would cry, and become humble and soft. He was an amazing, strange person.

He memorized the Qur’an when he was only twelve! However, he was older due to the Words of Allah and his knowledge of Allah, and I don’t place him higher in status than Allah would.

I tell you about him while I have placed a condition on myself that I don’t tell you other than what I saw with my own eyes. The second condition I placed on myself is that I don’t exaggerate in anything I say about him.

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Thoughts on a Statement of al-Miqdad

Posted in Original & Misc., The Words of the Salaf on August 4, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

‘Abd ar-Rahman bin Jubayr bin Nufayr related that his father said:

“We were sitting with al-Miqdad bin al-Aswad one day, and a man came by and said: “How fortunate those two eyes of yours are that have seen the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم). I wish I had seen what you have seen and witnessed what you witnessed.”

So, al-Miqdad became angry, and I was surprised! The man only said something good!

He then walked over to the man and said: “What makes this man wish to be where Allah made him absent when he has no idea how he would’ve acted there? By Allah, there were people who saw the Messenger of Allah who will be dragged by Allah on their noses in Hell because they didn’t respond to his call and did not believe in his message. Will you not thank Allah that you were born knowing only your Lord, believing in what your Prophet came with, and have been relieved of trials that others had to go through?””

This was reported by Ahmad (6/2), Ibn Hibban (1684), and al-Albani declared it authentic in ‘Sahih as-Sirah an-Nabawiyyah’ (p. 141).

Here are a couple of points on this statement:

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The Man Behind the Armor

Posted in Ibn Kathir, Original & Misc., The Lives of the Salaf on July 10, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

Salah ad-Din al-Ayyubi.

He defied the odds in an era of darkness. He set aside the criticism of those who called him crazy for wanting to do the seemingly impossible: uniting the Ummah, standing up to the Crusaders, and returning honor where it belonged. He was respected by both his friends and foes, and is perhaps one of the few men whose name evokes feelings of honor and pride in the minds of so many people in every era and place. Even the generally anti-Muslim film industry in America could not help but portray the honor and righteousness that Salah ad-Din was known for.

We all know of how he laid waste to the Crusaders and had them chasing their tails in the battles of Alexandria, Hittin, Acre, Tyre, Beirut, Nablus, Haifa, Tiberius, Gaza, ‘Asqalan, Jerusalem, and dozens of other cities and towns across Sham and North Africa. We know of Salah ad-Din the warrior.

But, who was the man behind the armor? What was he like as a person? What was he like as a Muslim? What personality does it take to carry out such heroic feats and achieve such a status?

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The Best Thing to Do

Posted in Ibn al-Qayyim, Original & Misc. on May 27, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

One problem many of us face is that we want to do so much at once, and thus become overwhelmed in our thoughts trying to establish exactly what we should be doing and what our obligations are at a given point in time. This leads us to focus on what we can’t accomplish moreso than what we can accomplish. This can be well and good, and as Ibn al-Jawzi said, a person can be rewarded for his intentions more than for his actions. However, the point of intending is to be productive and extract something physical from that intention.

Part of being productive is to have a methodical approach as to when to focus on what. For example, if your worship and intentions for specific efforts are organized and you properly place your focus where and when it should be, you’ll find yourself accomplishing much more as a Muslim, no matter if you’re a scholar who teaches, a caller to Allah who motivates, or a general worshipper who simply wants to get closer to your Lord.

Without wanting to get into immense detail, I thought it sufficient to present a few words to to illustrate this that Ibn al-Qayyim had written in ‘Madarij as-Salikin’ (1/188):

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Fighting Your Nature

Posted in Original & Misc., The Words of the Salaf on May 11, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

In ‘Hilyat al-Awliya” (10/287), it’s related that al-Junayd said:

الإنسان لا يعاب بما في طبعه إنما يعاب إذا فعل بما في طبعه

“A person is not to be blamed for his nature. Rather, he is to be blamed if he acts according to his nature.”

This is a very deep statement.

A person should not bring his status as an imperfect human being to serve as an excuse for manifesting blameworthy characteristics and actions. Yes, we were fashioned with varying degrees of negative attributes within us, such as envy, greed, lack of gratitude, arrogance, the desire to commit certain sins, etc.

However, we were also fashioned with the ability to repel, change, and strive against the inclinations to openly manifest them.

It is possible to abandon negative traits you find in yourself and change your character for the better. You just have to know what you want to become, and want it badly enough to put up a fight whenever the negative traits that get in the way begin to surface.

Winter: The Best Season

Posted in Original & Misc. on January 30, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

It is said that winter is a time when people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as ‘the Winter Blues’ or winter depression. However, it is interesting to see how the early Muslims welcomed winter, as it is clear that they saw it in a totally different light.

Here are four ways that they would benefit from winter:

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After Gaza: How the Prophet Coped With Loss

Posted in Original & Misc. on January 21, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

In the Name of Allah, we invoke peace and blessings upon His Messenger.

Going back and thinking of the emotions felt over the last 25 days, one word which found a constant presence in our hearts was ‘helpless’ – the reality that we were helpless, and that we were silently witnessing a helpless people – our helpless people – trapped as Israeli killers patiently bombed them to bits while seated comfortably in the cockpits of American F-16s, as if to fulfill former IDF Chief of Staff Raphael Eitan’s April 1983 wish to see them “scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.”

The images of the charred bodies of infants, blood-soaked hijabs of sobbing mothers, mosques turned into rubble, stockpiles of food being fed to white phosphorous flames instead of the starving people they were meant for, fathers frantically and tearfully pulling corpses of family from the remains of bombed out homes – these images will forever remain in our conscience. From a material perspective, this was defeat and loss at its worst. What befell our brethren in Palestine has caused, and will continue to cause, much pain, anxiety, and sorrow in our hearts.

This reality mirrors one experienced by none other than the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and his Companions 1,427 years ago following their military defeat at Uhud. When reviewing the events surrounding this defeat, one cannot help but be affected by the helplessness felt by the Muslims the moment they realized just how deep their material loss was in this battle, just as we are feeling at this moment when reflecting on what was taken from us as a result of the Israeli attack on Gaza.

However, in reviewing these events, one can also not help but to take his feeling of helplessness and despair and transform it into firmness and strength.

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