Archive for the Ibn 'Uthaymin Category

Qur’an in Ramadan: Read or Memorize?

Posted in Ibn 'Uthaymin, Ramadan on August 12, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

Q: What is better in Ramadan – to recite the Qur’an by reading visually or to work on memorization?

A: Your priority is to read the entire Qur’an visually, while also preserving what you have already memorized in order to avoid forgetting it. This is because the entire Qur’an is beneficial for the person to read, as the reader will come across all of the Words of Allah and benefit from the rulings and stories that are contained in its verses. You’ll miss out on all this if you limit yourself only to the chapters that you’d memorize.

By limiting yourself to the specific chapters you memorize, you’ll benefit from them in that your attachment to them will grow. However, this isn’t something you’ll miss out on if you do it at another time because you can recite what you’ve memorized at home, at the mosque, or anywhere else you go.

So, your priority is to make sure you read the entire Qur’an, and then put in extra effort in regards to what you had been memorizing.


When the Shar’i Cure Doesn’t Work!

Posted in al-Qurtubi, Ibn 'Uthaymin on July 8, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

Khawlah bint Hakim narrated that Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever arrives somewhere and says: ‘I seek refuge with Allah’s complete Words from the evil He has Created (أعوذ بكلمات الله التامات من شر ما خلق),’ nothing will harm until he leaves that place.”

This was reported by Muslim (2708).

In ‘Taysir al-‘Aziz al-Hamid’ (p. 146), Sulayman bin ‘Abdillah relates that al-Qurtubi commented on this by saying:

“And this is true and real, and I believe in it due to the textual proof as well as my own experience. Since I heard this narration, I would constantly act upon it and nothing was able to harm me until I left it. One night, I was stung by a scorpion in al-Mahdiyyah (a province in Tunisia). So, I thought to myself until I realized that I had forgotten to seek refuge using these words.”

In ‘al-Qawl al-Mufid’ (1/155), Ibn al-‘Uthaymin commented on this hadith:

“This protection is from all human and jinni devils – whether they are visible or invisible – until the person leaves that place. And there is no way that what is described in this narration will not take place, as these are the words of the truthful one who is believed (i.e. the Messenger of Allah)! However, if what is mentioned in this narration does not take place, it is because of a preventative factor and not because of a deficiency in the method itself or the narration. This also applies to anything that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) mentioned as a Shar’i method in which the desired outcome is not achieved. So, this is not because of a fault in the method, and is rather because of the presence of an obstacle that is blocking the desired outcome.

For example, reciting ‘al-Fatihah’ for a sick person is a form of healing. Some people recite it and find that the sick person is not healed. This is not because of a deficiency in this method, and is instead because there is something present that is preventing this method from bringing about its desired effect. Another example is mentioning Allah before having sexual intercourse in order to prevent Satan from harming the future child. Some people will mention Allah and find that Satan still ends up harming the child due to something that is preventing this effect from being achieved.

So, you should check yourself to figure out what the obstacle is so that you can remove it and experience the effect of the method.”

Being Positive and Cheerful

Posted in Ibn 'Uthaymin, Original & Misc. on June 24, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

In the first chapter of ‘Kitab at-Tawhid,’ Muhammad bin ‘Abd al-Wahhab mentions the hadith of Mu’adh where the Prophet said to him: “The right of Allah upon the servants is that they worship Him and associate none with Him, and the right of the servants upon Allah is that He will not punish them if they do not associate anything with him,” and Mu’adh said: “O Messenger of Allah, shall I not give the people the good news?”

In the 17th comment on this chapter, he refers to this hadith and how it shows “the virtue of giving the Muslim good news that will make him happy.”

In ‘Taysir al-‘Aziz al-Hamid’ (p. 46), Sulayman bin ‘Abdillah commented on Mu’adh’s question “…shall I not give the people the good news?” by saying:

“It shows the practice that the Companions were upon of giving each other cheerful news.”

In al-‘Uthaymin’s ‘al-Qawl al-Mufid ‘ala Kitab at-Tawhid’ (1/32), he commented on the same phrase, saying:

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Accustom Yourself to Harsh Conditions

Posted in Ibn 'Uthaymin on March 31, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

Commenting on Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd’s words in ‘Hilyat Talib al-‘Ilm’:

“…and do not indulge in luxury and comfort…”

Shaykh Muhammad bin ‘Uthaymin (may Allah have Mercy upon them both) said:

“This is a piece of advice that should be given to both the student of knowledge and other than the student of knowledge. This is because indulging in these things contradicts the guidance of the Prophet, as he used to forbid excessive luxury, and would sometimes enjoin others to be barefoot. The person who becomes accustomed to comfort will find it difficult to face various situations, as he will face things that do not correspond to the luxury and comfort that he is used to.

Let us take an example, and it is the example we mentioned of the hadith enjoining occasionally being barefoot. Some of the people do not leave their feet bare at times. They always have to have socks, khuffs, or shoes, and you never find them walking much. Such a man, were you to suggest to him that he walk 500 meters without anything protecting his feet, you would find this to be extremely hard on him. His feet might even start bleeding from the harshness of the ground! However, if he makes himself accustomed to harsh conditions and avoids constant comfort, you would find that he would be blessed with much good.

If the body is not accustomed to such conditions, it will not have immunity to pain. So, you would find such a person feeling pain from anything, while if he possessed immunity, he would pay it no mind. This is why you find the hands of laborers to be much stronger and firmer than the hands of students of knowledge. There is nothing to deter or prevent a laborer from doing anything since his hands have become accustomed to these conditions. This is to the point that if you touch the hands of a laborer, it is as if you are touching a rock because of the roughness and harshness, and if he were to wrap his fingers around your hand, it would hurt a lot. This is due to his long hours handling mud and bricks, and because he has accustomed himself to this.

So, when a person accustoms himself to comfort and luxury, there is no doubt that this will harm him greatly…”

[‘Sharh Hilyat Talib al-‘Ilm’; p. 43]

The difference between a picture and a photograph

Posted in Ibn 'Uthaymin on February 9, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

“…Any pictures that are carved out of wood or rock, or made of mud or clay or anything similar, are all forbidden if they are images of living creatures that have souls because of their imitation of the Creation of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic. And in the authentic hadith is that the Messenger of Allah cursed the image-makers, and to be cursed is to be expelled and far-removed from the Mercy of Allah. And in the hadith qudsi also is that Allah – the Exalted – said: “And who is more oppressive than the one who went and created as I have Created! So, let them create an atom, or let them create a mustard seed, or let them create a fiber.” And also, in the authentic hadith: “The people who will be tortured most on the Day of Resurrection are the image-makers who imitate the Creation of Allah. It will be said to them: ‘Bring life to what you have made.'” And the proofs for this are many, and from the image-making that this warning applies to – according to the strongest opinion – is that which takes place when a human being draws an image of a creature with a soul by hand. This falls under the image-making that is warned against, and it is a sin from amongst the major sins.

As for the image-making that takes place using instant cameras, this does not appear to fall under this, because the photographer does not draw out or try to imitate the Creation of Allah. Because of this, if some people are presented with a photograph that has been taken, you will not find them saying: ‘How good is this photographer! How excellent is he!’ But, if they are presented with a hand-drawn picture that closely resembles what was being drawn, they will say: ‘How good is this artist! How excellent is he!’ So, this proves that there is a difference between drawing the picture by hand and taking it using a camera.

And this is also proven by the fact that if a person writes something by hand and a photocopy is made of it, the people will not ascribe this writing to the one who made the photocopy of it. Rather, they will ascribe it to the one who originally wrote it, and people still preserve copyrights in this manner. They would not say that this person who made the photocopy did a good job of copying the writing precisely using this innovative technology. In fact, a blind man can be given this task, or a man can perform this task in the dark.

However, if a man copies the handwriting of the original writer by hand so that the people think that it was the original writing itself, the people would then say: ‘How innovative he is! How excellent he is! How did he copy this handwriting so precisely?’ And with the likes of these examples, it becomes clear that photographic imagery is not image-making that can be truly ascribed to the one who took the picture, and it cannot be said that this is imitation of the Creation of Allah because he did not create anything.

And to in order to say that photographs are allowed, a condition must be met that they do not lead to what is forbidden, because the permissible things that lead to the forbidden are in turn forbidden. The means have the ruling of the ends. So, for example, we do not see that it is allowed for a person to take these pictures in order to preserve memories because of what this contains of possession of a picture that we fear might fall under the saying of the Prophet: “The Angels do not enter a house in which there is a picture.”

Original Arabic