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(1) Chapter: Your invocation means your faith ( باب دُعَاؤُكُمْ إِيمَانُكُمْ)

حَدَّثَنَا عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مُوسَى، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنَا حَنْظَلَةُ بْنُ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ، عَنْ عِكْرِمَةَ بْنِ خَالِدٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ بُنِيَ الإِسْلاَمُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ، وَإِقَامِ الصَّلاَةِ، وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ، وَالْحَجِّ، وَصَوْمِ رَمَضَانَ ‏”‏‏.‏
 
 

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):

1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ).

2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.

3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity) .

4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca)

5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.

 
 
 
Reference  : Sahih al-Bukhari 8
In-book reference  : Book 2, Hadith 1
USC-MSA web (English) reference  : Vol. 1, Book 2, Hadith 8
(deprecated numbering scheme)
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Sufism: Struggle With One’s Nafs

The behavioral absolutes of the shari’ah (Islamic law) set the outer limits that the Sufi must keep within. But the Sufi struggle with one’s nafs puts further curbs on the Sufi’s behaviour and consciousness. Usually this struggle is spoken of as having two dimensions: negation (nafy) and affirmation (ithbat), corresponding to the two components of the first shahadah (testification of faith), La ilaha (There is no deity) and illa Allah (except for God). In reference to the two kinds of effects of the dominance of the nafs mentioned above, the “negation” can be said to take the form of attempting
to control oneself from acting out one’s anger or gratifying addictions,
to negate the thought that one will find fulfillment through these means,
to negate the sense that one cannot escape one’s depression, and
to give up imagining that God is absent.
The “affirmation” can be said to take the form of embracing and engaging the presence of God in whatever form it may appear within one’s consciousness–even in the form of the thoughts that “God is absent,” “I am depressed, or “I am distant from God.” This unconditional embrace of the presence of God is simply called taslim in Muslim languages. This word is cognate with and is at the root of the word “Islam,” and in light of the meaning expressed here, I have translated it as “engaged surrender.”

In this regard, the struggle with one’s own nafs has been called the greater struggle or greater “holy war” (al-jihad al-akbar) in contrast to the lesser struggle (al-jihad al-asghar), which is against injustice and oppressors in this world. The concept derives from the popular hadith of the Prophet, in which he said to Muslims returning from a battle, “You have returned from the lesser struggle to the greater struggle.” And he was asked, “What is the greater struggle?” He answered, “The struggle against one’s self (nafs), which is between the two sides of your body.” Needless to say, in Sufism these two struggles are mutually reinforcing and occur simultaneously. In particular, the practice of “engaged surrender” in the “greater” struggle with one’s own nafs diminishes certain obstacles in the consciousness of the Sufi, obstacles that–if not stuggled against–will hinder the Sufi’s capacity to engage in the “lesser” struggle in their life in the world.

An early text on the struggle with one’s self is the treatise Jihad al-nafs, written by the al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi (d. 932). 

 

Another treatise on the struggle with the nafs is al-Ghazali’s jihad al-nafs. This is taken from his masterpiece Ihya’ ‘ulum al-din (The Revival of the Religious Sciences). Al-Ghazali (d. 1111) is one of the most well-known Islamic scholars and is often credited with establishing the orthodoxy of Sufism. A substantial biography of al-Ghazali  emphasizing his contribution to Islamic philosophy is by the scholar, Kojiro Nakamura. A short biography of Al-Ghazali is present in the online Encyclopedia Britannica (but only a few paragraphs are online unless the reader has a paid subscription to the Britannica, which libraries often have, or which individuals can obtain for free though a 14-day subscription). 

See also Jihad al-akbar, an except from the book Islamic Beliefs and Doctrine According to Ahl al-Sunna: A Repudiation of “Salafi” Innovations written by the contemporary Naqshbandi, Shaykh Hisham Kabbani. In this online article, the author discusses the idea of the struggle against one’s self, the “greater jihad” (al-jihad al-akbar), paying particular attention to the various evidence from hadith literature. Note that at the beginning of the excerpt a reference is made to the “above Hadith.” It is possible that the hadith in question is the hadith on the “greater jihad” that I have mentioned above.

In spite of strong arguments for the idea that the greater jihad is the jihad against the self, Muslim militants and Wahhabis resist such a concept and attempt to invalidate it on the basis of hadith criticism and the conviction that relegating warfare to the status of “lesser jihad” gives it far less significance than it should have in Islam. See the article Greater and Lesser Jihad by a certain Abu Fadl and on line originally at Nida ul-Islam (The Call of Islam), a website supportive of al-Qaeda.

A contemporary discussion of jihad from a Sufi perspective is expressed in the essay The Spiritual Significance of Jihad by Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr of George Washington University.

Sources: http://sunnah.org/tasawwuf/jihad003.html

                www.sunnah.org/tasawwuf/jihad002.html

                http://web.archive.org/web/20030607202630/http://islam.org.au/articles/26/jihad.htm

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Importance of Akhlaq

Ummati beauty is from their Akhlaq.

Allah’s Nabi(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) has intimated that each ummati of his is beautiful.

But this beauty is not due to colour or any such thing; rather the beauty of an ummati is from his (or her) akhlaq (character). Allah Ta’ala has said that a person’s akhlaq is a tremendous thing.

Akhlaq is that you do not cause the slightest suffering to the creation of Allah; Allah’s Nabi(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) himself gave a beautiful definition of it in the hadith:
“Like for your brother what you like for yourself.”

Wonderful akhlaq is that of Nabi Kareem (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam). He lived in this type of society – with Christians and Jews. And he showed what is good akhlaq – not even enemies could fault him for his akhlaq. To this day no writer or historian has been able to criticise Nabi Kareem(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) for his akhlaq. And this is the one sign of a good person – that their akhlaq is wonderful.

Allah Ta’ala has said, “If you take less from someone in this life then I will give you more in Paradise. If you ask someone to forgive you then I will give you a higher rank then them in Paradise.Quran is a cure for all humanity (not just the believers). And the Quran is there to cure our akhlaq.

 

Written By — Zubair Rafique

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Meraj (Night Ascension): Isra and Miraj (Night Journey), Shab-e-Meraj, Lailat-ul-Miraj, Miraj-un-Nabi

In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful.

On 27th Rajab, all the Muslim believers celebrate this as a grand day of Meraj as “Grand Eid” and all the Muslims should be proud to have such a prophet like Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny (Ahlul Bayt), to whom Almighty Allah (swt) was also proud and had invited him to visit and talked with very nearer distance as mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an (Qhaba Qhausain 53:9).

Also note that, the Meraj of the Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم , peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny has taken place more than once. However, it should be mentioned that Meraj in which the daily Salat was made incumbent, without doubt, occurred before the death of Hazrat Abu Talib (A.S), who passed away in the 10th year of Besat. Unmistakably, from the Ahadith and books of history, it is mentioned that on the night of Meraj, Allah (swt) gave the order of the five daily Salat as being mandatory upon the Islamic Nation.

The darkness of the night had spread across the horizon and silence reigned over the face of nature. The time had arrived when the living creatures take rest and sleep so that they might recuperate from their activities of the previous day. Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم , was also not an exception to this law of nature and he wished to take rest after offering his prayers (Salat) in the house of “Umm-e-Hani “, the daughter of his uncle and sister of Amir al-Mominin Ali (R.A) in the blessed city of Makkah. However, suddenly he heard a voice; it was the voice of the Archangel Jibreel (A.S) who said to him:

“This night you have to perform a very unique journey and I have been ordered to remain with you. You will have to traverse different parts of the world mounted on an animal named al-Buraq.”

Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny began his historical night journey, along with the trusted protector of the revelation, the Angel Jibreel (A.S) from the house of “Umm-e-Hani”, with the aide of his steed al-Buraq.

“After some time, Angel Jibreel (A.S) stopped Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and said to perform the Salat. Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم dismounted from al-Buraq and performed Salat. Jibreel (A.S) said, ‘Do you know where you just prayed?’ Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم replied to him in negative. Jibreel (A.S) said, ‘In Taibah (Madinah), that place where your travelers will go.’ After this, Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم got back onto al-Buraq and continued the journey.”

“Once again, Angel Jibreel (A.S) stopped Holy Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and said, ‘Perform the Salat.’ Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم once again dismounted al-Buraq, and performed Salat there. Jibreel (A.S) asked Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم ‘Do you know where you just prayed?’ It is the Mountain of Sinai – the place where Prophet Musa / Moses (A.S) spoke to Allah (swt).”

“Once again, Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny ascended al-Buraq and continued. Shortly afterwards, Angel Jibreel (A.S) said, ‘Get down and perform the Salat.’ Then again Jibreel (A.S) questioned, ‘Do you know where you just prayed?’ Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم replied in negative, to which he answered, In Bait al-Laham (Bethlehem) – the place which is near to Baitul Maqdis and this is the place where Prophet Isa al-Masih (A.S) was born.”

Then they reached Baitul Maqdis, which is located in today’s Zionist occupied Jerusalem and is also known as Masjid al-Aqsa (the Furthest Mosque) and Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم , proceeded to tie the reins of al-Buraq to the same ring that the great Prophets (before him) used to tie their animal to. After this Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم entered the Masjid and it was here that he met Ibrahim, Musa, Isa and the rest of the Prophets (A.S). They all gathered around him and they all proceeded to get ready for Salat. Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم , had no doubt that the Salat would be lead by Angel Jibreel (A.S), however when the lines for the Salat were being formed, Angel Jibreel (A.S) placed his hand on the shoulder of Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and pushed forward. Angel Jibreel (A.S) also took part in the Salat behind him along with the various Prophets (A.S).

On the second part of his journey, he proceeded from this spot to the skies (heavens). Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, then observed the stars and the systems of the world and conversed with the souls of the previous prophets, and also with the angels of the heavens, peace and blessing be upon them all. Holy Prophet Muhammadصلى الله عليه وسلم saw the centre of the tortures and the blessings (hell and heaven) and became fully aware of the secrets of creation, the extent of the universe and the signs of the Omnipotent Allah (swt).

Then Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم , continued his journey and reached Sidrat ul Muntaha (Beyond this point nobody has access including Angel Jibreel (A.S)). There he found it fully covered with splendor, magnificence and grandeur, and then he returned back by the way he had traveled. Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم , first came to Baitul Maqdis and then to Makkah. It was daybreak when he dismounted at the house of Umm-e-Hani from al-Buraq which had taken him into space. Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny related this matter to Umm-e-Hani and the following night, he made it known to the assemblies of Quraysh as well. The word of his travels spread from mouth to mouth amongst all the groups, and now more than ever, the Quraysh were upset (with him).

According to an old tradition, the Quraysh asked the account of its structure, and Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم , peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny, not only described the physical particularities of Baitul Maqdis, rather, he even informed them of the event that took place between Baitul Maqdis and Makkah. Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم said to them that he met the caravan of such and such tribe who lost their camel and he asked them to give him water and Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم drank water from their container. So they asked about the Quraysh caravan and he replied to them that he saw them at Taim. So Quraysh became very excited and it was not long after that the travelers (of that caravan) reported the exact events (as had occurred).

Proof of Isra and Miraj (Shab-e-Meraj, Lailat-ul-Miraj) in the Glorious Qur’an:

The Heavenly Journey of Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny has been straight forwardly explained in two Surahs of the Glorious Qur’an.

In the Surah al-Isra (Surah 17 – also known as Bani Isra’il), it is mentioned: Glory be to Him Who made His servant (Prophet Muhammad) to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) to the Farthest Mosque (Masjid al-Aqsa) of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (Glorious Qur’an, 17:1)

From this verse, we come to the conclusion that Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny traveled with his physical body (servant) through the worlds of Ascension. Further, by the greatness of the Hidden Power, Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was able to complete this journey in a very short span of time.

Allah (swt) starts His speech with the phrase (Subhan) which denotes the fact that Allah (swt) is free from all deficiencies – but He does not stop here. Rather, He makes the ascension the reason for His greatness by saying ‘made to travel’ (Isra) so that others do not imagine that the means of this journey was through causes of the natural world and with normal, ordinary means of transportation. This would have made his journey something that could have been denied. Rather, this journey was accomplished by relying upon the power of Allah (swt) and His specific and special blessings.

Although this verse states that the start of the journey was from Masjid al-Haram and ended at Masjid al-Aqsa, this does not contradict the fact that Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny in addition to this trip, also had other trips towards the higher world, since another part of the journey of Ascension of Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم is explained in verses of Surah an-Najm.

From the time Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny told the Quraysh, ‘I saw the angel of revelation (when he received the first revelation) in his original and pure state,’ all the Quraysh raised up to mock him. Glorious Qur’an, in response to the thoughts of the ignorant people replies: “Will you then argue with him about what he saw? He certainly saw him (Jibreel) during his other ascent to the Lote-tree (in the seven heavens) near which is Paradise. When the tree was covered with a covering, (Muhammad’s) eyes did not deceive him, nor did they lead him to falsehood. He certainly saw the greatest (signs) of the existence of his Lord.” (Glorious Qur’an, 53:12-18)

The object of this grand journey was to make known to Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny the various aspects of the existence of the great universe.

A person asked our 4th Imam, Imam Ali bin Hussain (as): “Is there a particular place for Allah (swt)?”

Imam Ali bin Hussain (as) replied: “no.”

The man said: “Then why did He make his Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny, journey through the skies?”

Imam Ali bin Hussain (as), replied: “He made him ascend so that he might become aware of the expanse of the universe and see and hear wonderful things, the like of which had not been seen and heard by the eyes and ears before.”

Meraj (Night Ascension) or Miraj-un-Nabi and Modern Science:

It has been an on going discussion and debate for hundreds of years concerning the method of travel of Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم , peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny during the Meraj. Many things have been said regarding this journey and its being physical or only spiritual even though from the Glorious Qur’an and the Ahadith there is no doubt that it was a physical ascension.

However, one problem from the point of view of science prevented some people in believing the reality and thus, the Meraj of Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم was recorded as being simply spiritual. Another group went a step further and believed that this complete event was simply a dream and that Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) experienced the Meraj during his sleep!

The heavenly journey went against the scientific and natural laws of today such as: the law of gravity of the earth; its speed of travel of 25,000 miles per hour; the weightlessness of an object that is outside of the airspace of earth; the fact that it is not possible to breathe the air that is outside our atmosphere; the various cosmic rays; meteorites and air pressure; and the speed of light that goes at the speed of approximately 300,000 kilometers a second; and other such examples.

Fortunately however, it must be known that through scientific research and investigation, the space scientists of the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world’s first artificial satellite was about the size of a basketball, weighed only 183 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path, on October 4, 1957. They were able to demonstrate to mankind with ease, that they could overcome such problems as the gravitational pull, cosmic rays, problems with breathing in space, and others, through various technologically designed and built equipment and instruments.

Even today, the space science research is ever increasing and the scientists and researchers are confident that in a matter of time, they will be able to place life on one of the planets in our solar system; just as today, they have opened up the exploration to the moon and the planet Mars.

These scientific progresses and advancements in technology and industry are a clear proof that such a celestial travel (that of Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny on the night of Meraj) is possible and can not be classified as something that was impossible. Meraj (Night Ascension)

Writer: Zubair Rafique

Source: http://www.ezsoftech.com/islamic/default.asp

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