All Praise is due to Allah, we praise Him, and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah, the Most High, from the evils of our own selves and from our wicked deeds. Whomsoever has been guided by Allah, none can misguide him, and whomsoever has been misguided by Allah, none can guide him. I bear witness that there is no true god worthy of being worshipped except Allah, alone, without partner or associate. I further bear witness that Muhammad is His true slave and Messenger. May Allah, the Exalted, bestow His peace and blessings on the final Prophet Muhammad, upon his good and pure family, and upon all of his noble companions.
“O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He ordered and abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared, and die not except in the state of Islam (as Muslims with complete submission to Allah).”
“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (‘Adam) and from him He created his wife, and from them both He created many men and women; and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights) and (do no cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is ever an All Watcher over you.”
“O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth, He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed achieved a great success.”
Know that the most truthful speech is that of Allah’s Book (the Qur’an), and that the best of guidance is that of Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The worst of evils are innovations (foreign to the true teachings of Islam), and every innovated matter (in religion) is a bid’ah, and every bid’ah is a misguidance, and every mean of misguidance is in the Fire of Hell.
This is an introductory book for every Muslim. It is a summary of basic Islamic beliefs and acts of worship. We ask Allah by His Names and Attributes to accept this work and make it a benefit for those who read it and / or distribute it.
Khalid al-Awadh and Dr. Saleh As-Saleh, 24/2/1413 (8/12/1993)
The First Lesson – Memorise the Small Chapters of the Qur’an
Memorizing the opening surah (chapter) of the Qur’an, Al-Fatihah (the Opening) and some short passages and chapters from No. 99 (Az-Zalzalah) to 114 (An-Nas). Every Muslim must make an effort to memorize, recite and understand passages and/or chapters from the Noble Qur’an.
The Second Lesson – The Conditions of the Shahadah
Knowing the meaning and the conditions of the declaration of ash-shahadatan that, “There is no true God except Allah, and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is the Messenger of Allah”. The phrase that “there is no true God” negates anything or anyone that is being worshipped other than Allah, and the phrase, “except Allah”, confirms that all forms of worship, submission and adoration must be for Allah Alone, without setting up rivals with Him. The conditions needed to fulfill the meaning of ash-shahadatan are:
- Knowledge about what it means;
- Certainty about its meaning which dispels doubts and suspicions;
- Sincerity that purifies its declarer from any form of shirk (association);
- Honesty which negates hypocrisy;
- Love and attachment to the declaration of ash-shahadatan, which leads to the dispel of uneasiness, dislike, or hate to what it implies;
- Adherance – conducting what Allah has decreed regarding His worship;
- Accepting to obey Allah by this declaration; and
- Dissociating from anything or anyone being worshipped other than Allah.
The Third Lesson – The Six Fundamentals of Faith
The six fundamental articles of faith are:
- Believing in Allah (His Oneness);
- His Angels;
- All of His Messengers;
- All of His Scriptures (in their original and unaltered forms);
- In the Last Day (of Judgment); and
- Fate and Divine Decree (whether good or bad), which Allah Has measured and ordained according to His previous Knowledge and as deemed suitable by His Wisdom.
The Fourth Lesson – What is Tawhid and Shirk?
Tawhid (Faith in the Unity of Allah) is divided into three articles:
- Believing in the Oneness of Allah in the sense of His being the only Creator, Preserver, Nourisher, etc. This belief is called tawhid ar-rububiyah;
- Acknowledging that Allah Alone is the One and Only true God who deserves to be worshipped and thus abstaining from worshipping any other being or thing. This belief is called tawhid al-uluhiyah; and
- Having faith and belief in the Oneness of Allah’s Names and Attributes. This belief is called tawhid al-asma was-sifat.
As for shirk (associating anything or anyone in worship with Allah), it is divided into three types:
- Major shirk (ash-shirk al-akbar) which Allah does not forgive. Allah says regarding shirk:
“But if they had joined in worship others with Allah, all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them.”
“It is not for the mushrikin (polytheists) to maintain the Mosques of Allah (i.e. to pray and worship Allah therein, to looking after their cleanness and their building, etc.), while they witness against their ownselves of disbelief. The works of such bear no fruit, and in fire shall they dwell.”
The one who associate others with Allah and dies on this shirk will not be forgiven and Jannah (Paradise) is forbidden to him, as Allah, Most Mighty and Honored, says:
“Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him in worship, but He forgives anything else, to whom He pleases; and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.”
“Verily, whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, then Allah has forbidden the Jannah for him.”
Asking the dead or idols for help, slaughtering for them and making vows for them are examples of this shirk.
- Minor shirk (ash-shirk al-asgar) which is stated in the Qur’an or in the Prophet’s tradition but is not the same as major shirk. Riya (showing off) and swearing by other than Allah are examples of this kind of shirk. Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “Of which I fear for you the most is minor shirk.” When he was asked what was it, he said, “Riya.”He, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, also said, “He who swears by anything other than Allah commits minor shirk.”
The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, also warned, “Do not say, ‘Had Allah and such and such (person) willed’, but say, ‘Had Allah then such and such (person) willed.’ “. This kind of shirk does not necessarily lead to disbelief from Islam or an eternal stay in Hell. It negates, however, the completeness of faith.
- Hidden shirk. Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, explained, “Shall I not tell you of which I fear for you more than I fear of the Antichrist?” They said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah”, and he said, “Hidden shirk, where one beautifies his way of praying only because another one is looking at him.”
Alternatively, shirk could be divided into two kinds – major and minor. In this case, the hidden shirk encompasses both the major and minor kinds depending upon the act committed. It is major if it is the same as the shirk of the hypocrites who hide their false beliefs while showing off Islam out of fear. It is minor if it is the same as riya.
The Fifth Lesson – The Five Pillars of Islam
The five pillars of Islam are ash-shahadatan (bearing witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger), establishing prayers, paying the alms (zakah), fasting the month of Ramadhan, and performing pilgrimage (Hajj) if one can afford it.
The Sixth Lesson – The Nine Conditions of Prayer
The nine conditions of prayers are Islam, sanity, maturity, performing the ablution (wudu), cleanliness from impurities (on the body, clothes, and place of prayer), dressing properly, having the intention of prayers, facing the right direction of qiblah (direction of the Ka’bah at Makkah), and the praying at the proper time.
The Seventh Lesson – The Basic Elements of Prayer
The fourteen basic elements (arkan) of prayers are standing (if one is able), saying allahu akbar (Allah is the Greatest), reading the opening surah of the Qur’an (al-Fatihah), lowering the head and back down at the right angle (ruku’), resuming the initial standing position, prostrating with the toes of both feet, both knees, both hands and the forehead touching the ground (sujud), rising in a sitting position, a short rest in a sitting posture between the two prostrations, tranquility in all actions, performing the basic elements of prayer in order, the last tashahud (the second part), sitting for the last tashahud, exalting the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and turning the face to the right side and to the left one saying as-salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah (peace and mercy of Allah be upon you) one time on each side.
(Note: Salah is invalid if any of the above is missing.)
The Eighth Lesson – The Obligatory Acts of Prayer
The eight obligatory acts of the prayer are all the occasions of saying allahu akbar other than takbirat al-ihram (which is basic); saying samiallahuliman hamidah (Allah accepts any who are thankful to Him) by the Imam as well as the one who is praying alone, and saying rabbana wa laka al-hamd (Our Lord, praise be to You) for both the Imam and the individual; saying subhana rabbi al-athim (Glory to my Lord, the Most Great) in ruku; saying subhana rabbi al-a’la (Glory to my Lord, the Most High) in sujud; saying rabighfirli (Oh my Lord, grant forgiveness to me) between the two prostrations; the first part (at-tashahud al-awwal); and sitting for it.
(Note: if any of the above is missing, the Muslim needs to make sujud al-sahw).
The Ninth Lesson – The Contents of At-Tashahud
Knowing the contents of at-tashahud:
First Part: “At-tahiyyato lillahi was-salawatu wat-tayyibat. As-salamu alayka ayyuha an-nabi warahmatullahi wa barakatuh, as-salamu alayna wa ala ibadillahi as-salihin, ashadu an la ilaha illallah, wa ashadu anna muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluh.”
“Greetings, prayers ant the good things of life belong to Allah . Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the Mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be upon us all and on the righteous servants of Allah. I bear witness that there is no true God worthy of worship but Allah alone, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His true slave and Messenger.”
Second Part: “Allahumma salli ala muhammad wa ala ali muhammad kama sallayta ala ibrahima wa ala ali ibrahim. Wa barik ala muhammad wa ala ali muhammad, kama barakta ala ibrahima wa ala ali ibrahim, innaka hamidon majid.”
“Oh Allah! Exalt Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you did exalt Ibrahim (Abraham) and the family of Abraham. And bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you did bless Abraham and the people of Abraham, verily You are the Most Praised, The Most Glorious.”
Following the reciting of the tashahud, the slave asks Allah’s protection from the torment of Hell, the torment of the grave, the trials in life-time and after death, and from the impostor Anti-Christ. After that he may supplicate and ask Allah whatever he wishes, especially the type of invocation said by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:
“O Allah help me to perform remembrance of You and to give all due thanks to You and allow me to worship you in the good way (i.e. as ordained by Allah and His Messenger). O Allah I have inflicted a great deal of wrong upon myself and there is none other than You who can offer forgiveness. Grant me forgiveness from You and grant me your Mercy. You are the All-Merciful, The Oft Forgiving.”
The Tenth Lesson – The Sunan Acts of Prayer
The sunnan (supererogatory) acts of the prayer:
- The opening call of the prayer;
- Placing the right hand over the left one with both over the chest while in the standing position;
- Raising the hands up to the level of the shoulders or near the ears with the fingers being close together (not separated) when saying “allahu akbar” at the beginning of the prayer, when performing the ruku, when resuming the standing position after ruku, and when standing to begin the third unit of the prayer;
- Saying “subhana rabbi al-adhim” and “subhana rabbi al- a’la” more than once in ruku and sujud, respectively;
- Saying “rabighfer li warhamni wahdini warzuqni wa’afni, wajburni” (Allah, my Lord, grant me forgiveness, have mercy on me, guide me, provide me with your blessings and console me) more than once between the two prostrations;
- Bowing down, making the head and back on one level. This is the position of ruku;
- While prostrating, the arms should not be brought close to the sides nor the abdomen to the thighs or the thighs to the legs;
- Raising the arms in sujud;
- Praying for the Prophet and the family of Muhammad, Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim (as in tashahud);
- Performing the early morning prayer and the first two units of the sunset and the evening prayer with an audible voice;
- Sitting between prostrations on the outer side of the left foot (i.e. laying it flat) keeping the right foot erected with the internal parts of the toes touching the ground. The same position is to be taken while sitting in the first part of tashahud;
- Taking the position of tawartruk during the recitation of the full tashahud – the person sits on his left foot laid down with his right foot erected;
- Making du’a (to invoke Allah) following the recitation of the last tashahud;
- Whispering the recitation in the dhuhr (noon), ‘asr (late afternoon), the third raka’h of maghrib (sunset) prayer, and the last two raka’at of the isha’ (evening) prayer; and
- Reciting another passage from the Holy Qur’an after the opening surah of al-Fatihah.
The Eleventh Lesson – Invalidation of the Prayer
Any prayer is invalid and nullified if any of the following acts are committed – Intentional talking, laughing, eating, drinking, uncovering the parts of the body of which are not allowed to be uncovered during prayer, excessive alteration in the direction towards the qiblah, excessive moving outside the regular acts and movements of prayer, without a proper reason and nullifying the ablution.
The Twelfth Lesson – The Conditions for Ablution
The ten conditions for performing ablution are:
- … its continuity (i.e. the person should not intend to discontinue his ablution before its completion);
- If one performs istinja’ (cleaning the areas of natural discharges with water) or with stones, tissues, leaves etc. (istijmar) before ablution;
- Water must be pure and mubah (i.e. it is not stolen or taken by force);
- The removal of all things that prevent water from reaching the parts of ablution such as mud;
- Those who continually lose their ablution (for example due to release of gas, urine, or any reason that nullifies ablution), must make prior to prayers; and
- Causes that requires ablution (e.g. urine, eating camel meat, sleep, etc.)
The Thirteenth Lesson – The Obligatory Elements of Ablution
The obligatory elements of ablution are:
- Washing the face, including rinsing out the mouth with water and cleansing the nostrils of the nose;
- Washing the two hands up to and including the elbows;
- Wiping the whole head including the two ears;
- Washing the two feet including the heels; and
- Doing the ablution in the prescribed sequence, without delays.
The Fourteenth Lesson – The Six Nullifying Acts of Ablution
The six nullifying acts of the ablution are:
- Natural excretion, such as urine, feaces, gas, etc.;
- Any unclean substance excessively discharged from the body;
- Losing one’s reason due to sleep, loss of consciousness or otherwise;
- Eating camel meat (because the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ordered so);
- Rejection of Islam; and
- Touching the sexual organs with hand (without any barrier: clothes and so on).
Notice: Washing the dead does not nullify the ablution except for that the washer’s hand touches (without any barrier) the sexual organs. Kissing women with or without desire does not nullify ablution because the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, once kissed one of his wives and prayed without performing ablution. This holds as long as there is no associated sexual excretions (e.g. semen). As for the saying of Allah, Most Glorified:
” … or you have been in contact with women (by sexual relations) … “
The contact with women is the involvement in a full sexual relation as related by Ibn Abbas (companion) and others, and it is the correct opinion.
The Fifteenth Lesson – Recommend Morals
The recommended morals for every Muslim are truthfulness, honesty, abstinence, modesty, courage, generosity, loyalty, refraining from everything that Allah had made unlawful, being a good neighbor, helping the needy, and other morals stated either in the Holy Qur’an or in the Prophet’s, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, tradition.
The Sixteenth Lesson – Islamic Decencies
Islamic decencies – greeting, cheerfulness, eating and drinking with the right hand, adhering to the Islamic conduct in entering and leaving homes and mosques and while traveling, dealing kindly with parents, relatives, neighbors, the old man and the young; congratulating, lamenting, and other Islamic ethics.
The Seventeenth Lesson – Warning Others
Warning against shirk (association) and against other wrongdoing such as witchcraft, murdering, taking the money of the orphan, dealing with interest (riba), escaping on the day of Jihad (war), speaking evil of faithful women, disobeying parents, breaking up with one’s relatives, false witnessing, harming neighbors, committing outrage upon others, and other warnings as declared by Allah and His messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
The Eighteenth Lesson – The Funeral Prayer
Washing the dead body and performing the funeral prayer:
a) Washing the dead:
When a Muslim is confirmed dead his eyes must be closed and his jaws brought together.
When washing the dead body, the whole body beginning with the exposed parts of ablution must be washed. The abdomen is gently squeezed and followed by washing of the anus and the sexual organs using a wet piece of cloth. Normal ablution will then be performed. The body is washed starting with the head and beard using water mixed with the leaves of sidr (lote tree, if available). The right side must be washed before the left side and the body must be washed three times. Each time the abdomen is squeezed as above. The mustache and the nails are clipped, and when the body is clean, it is wrapped in three white cotton sheets covering all parts of the body and perfumed with incense. If the body is still unclean, ablution must be extended to 5-7 times after which the body is dried with a clean cloth. Men’s hair should not be combed while that of a woman is to be braided into three chains and left hanging down behind her (as done to the Prophet’s daughter).
It is preferred to shroud men with three white sheets without a gown or amamah (head cover); children in one up to three sheets and women in five sheets, these sheets are:
Dir’: a loose outer garment with sleeves slit in front.
Khimar: covering head and face.
Izar: a sheet wrapped around the waist, and
Two overall wrapping sheets.
Young girls can be wrapped with a gown and two sheets.
The one who has the most right to wash the dead body of a man is his chosen guardian (if any) then his father, his grandfather, then the closest of his relatives. The woman is best washed by her chosen female then the mother, the grandmother, then the closest one of her female relatives. The husband can wash the body of his wife and vice versa because Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was washed by his wife; and Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, washed his wife, Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with her.
b) The funeral prayer (salat ul-janazah):
Saying takbir (allahu akbar) four times. Reciting al-Fatihah after the first takbir. Following the second takbir, one prays for the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as he does in tashahud. Then after saying allahu akbar for the third time, one recites what is usually said in other prayers like asking Allah to forgive all Muslims or any supplications he knows, preferably this:
“Allahumma ighfir li hayyina wa mayyitina, wa shahidina wa ghaibina wa sagheerina wa kabeerina wa thakarina wa unthana. Allahumma man ahyaytahu minna fa ahyihi ala al Islam, wa man tawaffaytah u minna fa tawaffahu ala al-iman. Allahmma la tahrimna ajrah, wa la taftinna badah.”
“O Allah, grant forgiveness to our living and to our dead, and to those who are present and to those who are absent, and to our young and our old folk, and to our males and our females. O Allah, whomsoever you grant to live, from among us, help him to live in Islam and whomsoever of us you cause to die, help him to die in faith. O Allah, do not deprive us of the reward for patience on his (her, their) loss and do not make us subject to trial after him.”
Or one could say:
“Allahumma ighfir lah u warhamhu wa’afihi wa’fu anhu, wa’akrim nuzulahu wa wassi’ madkhalahu, wa’ghsilhu bil mae wathalgi walbarad, wanaqihi mina al-thunoubi walkhataya kama unaqa athawbo alabiado mina addanas, wa abdilhu daran khairan min darihi, wa ahlan khairan min ahlihi, wa adkhilhu al-jannah, wa aidhu min adhabi al qabr, wa adhabi an-nar; wafsah lahu fi qabrihi, wanawir lahu fehi. Allahumma la tahrimna ajrahu, wa la tudhlilna ba’dahu.”
“O Allah forgive him (her, them) and have your Mercy upon him; protect him and pardon him, receive him with honor and make his grave spacious; wash him with water, snow and hail, and clean him from sins and wrong-doings as is cleaned a white garment from impurity; requite him with an abode more excellent than his, and with a mate better than his mate. Admit him to the Garden, and protect him from the torment of the grave and the torment of the Fire; widen his space in his grave and bring him light therein. O Allah don’t deprive us from his reward and don’t let us go astray after him.”
Then after saying allahu akbar for the fourth time one turns his head to the right (making taslim) and thus ending the funeral prayer.
It is best to raise one’s hand while saying allahu akbar. In the case when the dead is a child or an infant, the following du’a is made:
“Allahumma ejalhu dhiktan liwalidayehi, washafeean mujaban. Allahuma thaqil bihi mawazeenahuma wa a’dhun bihi ujorahuma wa alhiqhu bi salih al-mu’minin, waj’alhu fi kafalati ibrahim alayhi as-salam, waqihi bi rahmatika adhaba al-jahim.”
“O Allah make him a preceding reward and a reserve treasure (on the Day of Judgment) for his parents; a one whose intercession would be granted. O Allah make of him an excess in the measures and in the rewards (granted by Allah) to his parents. Let him join the company of the righteous believers and make him under the care of Abraham (may the peace of Allah be upon him), and protect him, by Your Mercy, from the torment of the blazing Fire.”
The tradition is for the Imam to stand right next to the head of the body if it is a man, and to the middle of the body if it is a woman. If the dead were many, men, women, male and female children in one funeral, the following positions are to be taken:
The men right in front of the Imam. The women further towards the qiblah. The male children are between the men and women and more towards the men while the female children follow women further down in the direction of qiblah (all of the dead bodies are to be laid parallel to those praying). The bodies are to be arranged such that the head of the male child lies next to that of a man while the middle of a woman lies next to the head of a man. The head of the female child lies next to the head of a woman.
The followers of Imam are to stand behind him just as in other prayers. It is acceptable for one to stand to the right of the Imam if he finds no place behind him.
All praise is due to Allah and His blessings and peace be upon His Prophet, his family and his companions.
From a lesson given by Shaykh Abdul-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Baz, translation by Khalid A. al-Awadh, edited by Dr. Saleh as-Saleh. This is an unauthorized modification of the English translation of the booklet. For any comments or suggestions, please write to: Islamic Da’wah and Guidance Center, Dammam, Postal Code 31311, Saudi Arabia, Tel: 827-4800, 826-3535, Fax: 827-2772
Allah says in the Qur’an: “The creation of the Heavens and the Earth is indeed greater then the creation of mankind; yet, most of mankind know not.”
All praise is due to Allah. May His prayers and blessings be upon his Last Messenger and on all those who follow the path of righteousness until the Last Day.
Not just Muslims, but every single human being has to answer the most fundamental question at some point in his or her lifetime:
“Why was I created? Why am I here? What am I doing in this world? Why did God create me?”
These questions are questions which each and everyone of us reflects on at some point during their life. We have some answers, which are given generally but usually these answers don’t satisfy us – seeming somewhat simplistic. So, we still wonder: “Why me? Why here?” I know all of you (Muslims), are saying, “To worship Allah, khallas (finish). What more is there to say? Why do we need to have a big long talk on why we were created when we all know it is to worship Allah?!”
But wait. If this is presented to a non-Muslim, the next logical question would be, “Why does Allah want us to worship Him?” Then your stuck, which can only mean that in our own minds it is not really clear. Why did Allah create us to worship Him?
Addressing the question, “Why did Allah create us?”, we have to understand how to deal with those people we live with (in the West). Those who don’t consider there to be any purpose in man’s creation, firmly believing that they are just a product of evolution and that the forces of nature. Just as we don’t have apes, dogs or cows thinking about why they are here, then we also don’t have to think about it either. Following from this belief being the basis of the philosophy of Western society (that man is without purpose), the whole issue of government, morality, etc. has no basis for them in Revelation. The product of this attitude is, of course, the corruption that we are living in.
When a Muslim addresses this topic, we have to find our understanding from Divine Revelation and not human speculation. Because human speculation has no bounds; we can imagine all kinds of things and if any of you has studied philosophy of religion, you will know how many opinions there are about the creation of man and existence. Because of the variety of philosophies which are out there, no one can say this one is correct or that one is incorrect, because there is no guidance behind it. No Divine Revelation. It is only from Divine Revelation that we can determine the reality of our creation, because it is Allah who has created us and so He knows the purpose of our creation. We can hardly understand it ourselves, much less trying to understand the essence of things. So it is for Allah to inform us through the revelation in the Qur’an and the sunnah (the Prophetic traditions) which were brought to us by His Last Messenger and the Messengers before him.
Now if we are to look initially into revelation, to determine why was man created, there is a deeper question that we should be asking before that: “Why did God create?” This before we even get to man because man is not the greatest act of creation. Allah says:
“The creation of the Heavens and the Earth is indeed greater then the creation of mankind; yet, most of mankind know not.”
Each and every Prophet and Messenger of Allah was blessed with a perfect disposition. They were handsome and their lineage noble. Their character was good as was their behavior. This is because they all possess the attributes of perfection. They guided to the completed the code of human spiritual behavior which was to be completed by Prophet Muhammad Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him and practiced virtuous deeds on account of their rank being of the most noble and their degree being of the highest.
Allah tells us that He preferred some of the Prophets and Messengers over others with His words,
تلك الرسل فضلنا بعضهم على بعض منهم من كلم اللـه ورفع بعضهم درجات وآتينا عيسى ابن مريم البينات وأيدناه بروح القدس
“These are the Noble Messengers, to whom We gave excellence over each other; of them are some with whom Allah spoke, and some whom He exalted high above all others; and We gave Eisa (Jesus), the son of Maryam, clear signs and We aided him with the Holy Spirit” [Surah al-Baqarah : 253]
He also tells us,
ولقد اخترناهم على علم على العالمين
“And We knowingly chose them, among all others of their time” [Surah al-Dukhan : 32]
Prophet Muhammad Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him said,
إن أول زمرة يدخلون الجنة على صورة القمر ليلة البدر… على خلق رجل واحد ، على صورة ، أبيهم آدم ، طوله ستون ذراعاً في السماء
“The first group to enter the Garden of Paradise will be like the full moon… every man will be in the height of their father Adam who was sixty cubits (90 feet) tall.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Page 93 – Sahih Muslim, Volume 4, Page 2179]
The description of several of the prophets has been made known to us by Prophet Muhammad Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him who tells us,
رأيت موسى فإذا هو رجل ضرب ، رجل ، أقنى كأنه من رجال شنوءة و رأيت عيسى فإذا هو رجل ربعة ، كثير خيلان الوجه ، أحمر كأنما خرج من ديماس
“I saw Moosa (Moses), he was tall with curly hair. He resembled the men of Shanu’a. I saw Eisa (Jesus), he was of medium height with a reddish face just as if he had come out after having taken a hot bath.”
He further described him as being slender, like a sword. He gave additional information about Moosa saying,
مبطن مثل السيف
“He is like the best men you have ever seen with a dark complexion.”
Of himself he said,
و أنا أشبه ولد إبراهيم به
“Among the descendants of Ibrahim, I am the one who most resembles him.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Page 122 – Sahih Muslim, Volume 1, Page 153]
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu tells us,
ما بعث الله تعالى من بعد لوط نبياً إلا في ذروة من قومه
“After Prophet Lot, Allah did not send a prophet who was not from the noblest class of his people.” In addition to this is that they were among the wealthy and powerful. [Mustadrak, Volume 2, Page 561]
Sayyiduna Anas ibn Maalik Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu tells us that
ما بعث الله نبياً حسن الوجه ، حسن الصوت ، و كان نبيكم أحسنهم وجهاً ، و أحسنهم صوتاً
Allah did not send a prophet without making his face and voice beautiful, and that Prophet Muhammad, may Allah praise and venerate him and grant him peace, had the most handsome face of all of them and also the best voice. [Shama’il al-Tirmidhi, Page 254]
During the cross-examination of Sayyiduna Abu Sufyan Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho by Heraclius, Emperor of Rome, Heraclius said,
و سألتك عن نسبه ، فذكرت أنه فيكم ذو نسب ، و كذلك الرسل تبعث في أنساب قومها
“I questioned you about his lineage and you said that he was of good lineage among you, and that is how all the Messengers have bee sent, from the noble families of their people.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Page 125]
Prophets and Messengers preferred by Almighty Allah
There are many references to the Prophets and Messengers who were preferred by Allah mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, some of which are mentioned below:
Of Prophet Ayyub Alaihis Salam, Allah says,
إنا وجدناه صابرا نعم العبد إنه أواب
“We indeed found him patiently enduring; what an excellent bondman! He is indeed most inclined.” [Surah al-Saad : 44]
Of Prophet Yahya Alaihis Salam, Allah says,
يا يحيى خذ الكتاب بقوة وآتيناه الحكم صبيا۔ وحنانا من لدنا وزكاة وكان تقيا۔ وبرا بوالديه ولم يكن جبارا عصيا۔ وسلام عليه يوم ولد ويوم يموت ويوم يبعث حيا
“O Yahya – hold the Book firmly”; and We gave him Prophethood in his infancy. And compassion from Ourselves, and chastity; and he was extremely pious. And was good to his parents and not forceful, nor disobedient. And peace is upon him the day he was born, and the day he will taste death, and the day he will be raised alive.” [Surah al-Maryam : 12-15]
He also tells us of the time Prophet Zakariyah Alaihis Salam was given the good news of a son,
أن اللـه يبشرك بيحيى مصدقا بكلمة من اللـه وسيدا وحصورا ونبيا من الصالحين
“Indeed Allah gives you glad tidings of Yahya (John), who will confirm a Word (or sign) from Allah, – a leader, always refraining from women, a Prophet from one of Our devoted ones.” [Surah Aal-e-Imran : 39]
He tells us,
إن اللـه اصطفى آدم ونوحا وآل إبراهيم وآل عمران على العالمين
“Indeed Allah chose Adam, and Nooh, and the Family of Ibrahim, and the Family of Imran over the creation.” [Surah Aal-e-Imran : 33]
Of Prophet Nuh He says,
إنه كان عبدا شكورا
“He was indeed a grateful bondman.” [Surah al-Isra : 3]
Of Prophet Eisa Alaihis Salam He says,
إذ قالت الملائكة يا مريم إن اللـه يبشرك بكلمة منه اسمه المسيح عيسى ابن مريم وجيها في الدنيا والآخرة ومن المقربين
“And remember when the angels said, “O Maryam! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him, whose name is the Messiah, Eisa the son of Maryam – he will be honourable in this world and in the Hereafter, and among the close ones (to Allah).” [Surah Aal-e-Imran : 45]
Allah quotes Prophet Eisa Alaihis Salam who said,
إني عبد اللـه آتاني الكتاب وجعلني نبيا۔ وجعلني مباركا أين ما كنت وأوصاني بالصلاة والزكاة ما دمت حيا
“I am Allah’s bondman; He has given me the Book and made me a Herald of the Hidden (a Prophet). And He has made me blessed wherever I be; and ordained upon me prayer and charity, as long as I live.” [Suran al-Maryam : 30-31]
and Almighty Allah warns,
يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا تكونوا كالذين آذوا موسى
“O People who Believe! Do not be like the people who troubled Moosa” [Surah al-Ahzab : 69]
Prophet Muhammad Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him tells us that Prophet Moosa Alaihis Salam was a modest man who covered himself. No part of his body was seen on account of his modesty. [Ash-Shifa, Volume 1, Page 136]
Allah quotes Prophet Moosa Alaihis Salam as saying,
فوهب لي ربي حكما وجعلني من المرسلين
“so my Lord commanded me and appointed me as one of the Noble Messengers.” [Surah al-Shu’ara : 21]
Several Prophets mentioned by Almighty Allah
Several of the prophets are mentioned by Almight Allah in the Holy Qur’an as saying to their people,
إني لكم رسول أمين
“I am indeed a trustworthy Noble Messenger of Allah to you.” [Surah al-Shu’ara : 107]
In reference to Prophet Ibrahim Alahis Salam, Almighty Allah says,
ووهبنا له إسحاق ويعقوب كلا هدينا ونوحا هدينا من قبل ومن ذريته داوود وسليمان وأيوب ويوسف وموسى وهارون وكذلك نجزي المحسنين۔ وزكريا ويحيى وعيسى وإلياس كل من الصالحين۔ وإسماعيل واليسع ويونس ولوطا وكلا فضلنا على العالمين۔ ومن آبائهم وذرياتهم وإخوانهم واجتبيناهم وهديناهم إلى صراط مستقيم۔ ذلك هدى اللـه يهدي به من يشاء من عباده ولو أشركوا لحبط عنهم ما كانوا يعملون۔ أولئك الذين آتيناهم الكتاب والحكم والنبوة فإن يكفر بها هؤلاء فقد وكلنا بها قوما ليسوا بها بكافرين۔ أولئك الذين هدى اللـه فبهداهم اقتده قل لا أسألكم عليه أجرا إن هو إلا ذكرى للعالمين
“And We bestowed upon him Ishaq (Isaac) and Yaqub (Jacob); We guided all of them; and We guided Nooh before them and of his descendants, Dawud and Sulaiman and Ayyub and Yusuf and Moosa and Haroon; and this is the way We reward the virtuous. And (We guided) Zakaria and Yahya (John) and Eisa and Ilyas; all these are worthy of Our proximity. And Ismael (Ishmael) and Yasa’a (Elisha) and Yunus (Jonah) and Lut (Lot); and to each one during their times, We gave excellence over all others. And some of their ancestors and their descendants and their brothers; and We chose them and guided them to the Straight Path. This is the guidance of Allah, which He may give to whomever He wills among His bondmen; and had they ascribed partners (to Allah), their deeds would have been wasted. These are the ones whom We gave the Book and the wisdom and the Prophethood; so if these people do not believe in it, We have then kept ready for it a nation who do not reject (the truth). These are the ones whom Allah guided, so follow their guidance; say (O dear Prophet Mohammed – peace and blessings be upon him), “I do not ask from you any fee for the Qur’an; it is nothing but an advice to the entire world.” [Surah al-An’aam : 84-90]
Prophets and Messengers as Possessors of Admirable Qualities
In the following Qur’anic quotations Allah describes the prophets and messengers as possessors of many fine and admirable qualities; right action, chosen, judgment and prophecy.
Concerning Ishaq Alahis Salam, Allah tells us that the angels said to Ibrahim Alahis Salam,
لا تخف وبشروه بغلام عليم
““Do not fear!”; and they gave him the glad tidings of a knowledgeable son.” [Surah adh-Dhariyat : 28]
And of Ismail Alaihis Salam Allah says,
فبشرناه بغلام حليم
“We therefore gave him the glad tidings of an intelligent son” [Surah as-Saaffat : 101]
Almight Allah says,
ولقد فتنا قبلهم قوم فرعون وجاءهم رسول كريم۔ أن أدوا إلي عباد اللـه إني لكم رسول أمين
“And before them We indeed tried the people of Fir’aun, and an Honourable Noble Messenger came to them. Who said, “Give the bondmen of Allah into my custody; I am indeed a trustworthy Noble Messenger for you.”” [Surah al-Dukhan : 17-18]
At the time when Prophet Ibrahim Alaihis Salam was about to fulfill his sacrificial vision of his son, Ismail Alaihis Salam told him,
يا أبت افعل ما تؤمر ستجدني إن شاء اللـه من الصابرين
“O my father! Do what you are commanded! Allah willing, you will soon find me patiently enduring!” [Surah as-Saaffat : 102]
Of Ismail Alaihis Salam, Almighty Allah says,
واذكر في الكتاب إسماعيل إنه كان صادق الوعد وكان رسولا نبيا
“And remember Ismail in the Book; he was indeed true to his promise and was a Noble Messenger, a Prophet.” [Surah al-Maryam : 54]
Allah speaks of the devotion of Moosa Alaihis Salam saying,
إنه كان مخلصا وكان رسولا نبيا
“He was indeed a chosen one, and he was a Noble Messenger, a Herald of the Hidden.” [Surah al-Maryam : 51]
قال ستجدني إن شاء اللـه صابرا ولا أعصي لك أمرا
“Said Moosa, ‘Allah willing, you will soon find me patient and I will not do anything against your instructions.'” [Surah al-Kahf : 69]
Allah tells us that Sulayman Alaihis Salam was,
نعم العبد إنه أواب
“what an excellent bondman! He is indeed most inclined.” [Surah al-Saad : 30]
Allah calls upon us to remember,
واذكر عبادنا إبراهيم وإسحاق ويعقوب أولي الأيدي والأبصار۔ إنا أخلصناهم بخالصة ذكرى الدار۔ وإنهم عندنا لمن المصطفين الأخيار
“And remember Our bondmen Ibrahim, and Ishaq, and Yaqub – the men of power and knowledge. We indeed gave them distinction with a genuine affair – the remembrance of the (everlasting) abode. And in Our sight, they are indeed the chosen ones, the beloved.” [Surah al-Saad : 45-47]
Of Prophet Dawud Alaihis Salam, He says,
عبدنا داوود ذا الأيد إنه أواب
“Our bondman Dawud, the one blessed with favours; he is indeed most inclined (towards His Lord).” [Surah al-Saad : 17]
وشددنا ملكه وآتيناه الحكمة وفصل الخطاب
“And We strengthened his kingdom and gave him wisdom and just speech.” [Surah al-Saad : 20]
Of Prophet Yousuf Alaihis Salam, Almighty Allah says,
قال اجعلني على خزائن الأرض إني حفيظ عليم
“Said Yusuf, ‘Appoint me over the treasures of the earth; indeed I am a protector, knowledgeable.'” [Surah al-Yousuf : 55]
Allah mentions the saying of Prophet Shu’aib Alaihis Salam,
ستجدني إن شاء اللـه من الصالحين
“Allah willing, you will probably find me of the righteous.” [Surah al-Qasas : 27]
ما أريد أن أخالفكم إلى ما أنهاكم عنه إن أريد إلا الإصلاح ما استطعت وما توفيقي إلا باللـه عليه توكلت وإليه أنيب
“I do not wish that I myself act against it; I only intend to make improvements as far possible; my guidance is only from Allah; I rely only upon Him and towards Him only do I incline.” [Surah al-Hud : 88]
Of Prophet Loot Alaihis Salam, Allah tells us,
ولوطا آتيناه حكما وعلما
“And We gave Lut the kingdom and knowledge” [Surah al-Anbiya : 74]
Of Zakariyah and Yahya Alaihim as-Salam, Allah tells us,
إنهم كانوا يسارعون في الخيرات ويدعوننا رغبا ورهبا وكانوا لنا خاشعين
“indeed they used to hasten to perform good deeds, and pray to Us with hope and fear; and used to weep before Us.” [Surah al-Anbiya : 90]
Sayyiduna Sufyan Ath-Thawri Alaihir raHma draws our attention to another aspect of the characteristics and qualities found in the prophets, which is their continuous sorrow, this is an indication of their perfection and there are many prophetic quotations that endorse this fact.
Prophet Muhammad, may Allah praise and venerate him and grant him perfect peace, described for himself,
إنما الكريم ابن ا لكريم ابن الكريم ابن الكريم يوسف بن يعقوب بن إسحاق بن إبراهيم ،نبي ابن نبي ابن نبي ابن نبي
“Verily! without a doubt, I am Generous, son of the Generous, son of the Generous. The noble son of a noble son, of a noble son of a noble man, Yousuf, son of Ya’qub, son of Ishaq, son of Ibrahim the prophet, son of a prophet, son of a prophet, son of a prophet.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Page 119 – Mustadrak, Volume 2, Page 571 – Ash-Shifa, Volume 1, Page 139]
He also said,
و كذلك الأنبياء تنام أعينهم و لا تنام قلوبهم
“The eyes of the prophets slept, but their hearts did not sleep.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Page 152]
Prophet Sulayman Alaihis Salam who was given a great kingdom, never raised his eyes to the heavens because he was humble and feared Allah. As for his diet, he would eat coarse bread made from barley but would serve others with fine food. [Az-Zuhud wa Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Page 91]
It was revealed to him, “O leader of worshipers and goal of the abstinent.” The story has reached us of how one day when he was riding on the wind with his armies, an elderly woman complained to him, whereupon he commanded the wind to stop so he might attend to her need before he continued on his way. [Ash-Shifa, Volume 1, Page 140]
When Prophet Yousuf Alaihis Salam was asked, “Why are you hungry when you are in charge of the treasures of the earth?” He replied, “I am fearful that I might become full and thereby forget those who are hungry.” [Ash-Shifa, Volume 1, Page 140]
Abu Hurayrah heard the Prophet Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him say,
خفف على داود القرآن ، فكان يأمر بدوابه ، فتسرج ، فيقرأ القرآن قبل أن تسرج ، و لا يأكل إلا من عمل يده
“Recitation was made easy for Dawud. He would order his mount and turn it loose, and would finish his recitation before his mount wandered off.” [Ash-Shifa, Volume 1, Page 140]
Prophet Dawud Alaihis Salam ate only from the labor of his own hands and would ask Allah to provide for him from the work of his own labor so that he would not need to take anything from the treasury. Almighty Allah tells us,
ألنا له الحديد ۔ أن اعمل سابغات وقدر في السرد
“and We made iron soft for him. ‘Make large coats of armour and keep proper measure while making;'” [Surah Saba : 10-11]
Prophet Muhammad Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him told his Companions,
أحب الصلاة إلى الله صلاة داود ، وأحب الصيام إلى الله صيام داود : كان ينام نصف الليل ، و يقوم ثلثه ، و ينام سدسه ، و يصوم يوماً و يفطر يوماً و كان يلبس الصوف ، و يفترش الشعر ، و يأكل خبز الشعير بالملح والرماد ، و يمزج شرابه بالدموع ، و لم ير ضاحكاً بعد الخطيئة ، ولا شاخصاً ببصره إلى السماء ، حياء من ربه ، و لم يزل باكياً حياته كلها . و قيل : بكى حتى نبت العشب نت دموعه ، و حتى اتخذت الدموع في خذه أخدوداً . و قيل : كان يخرج متنكراً يتعرف سيرته ، فيستمع الثناء عليه ، فيزداد تواضعاً
“The prayer Allah loves most is that of Dawud, and the fast He loves most is that of Dawud. He would sleep for half of the night, stand up for a third and sleep for a sixth. He would fast alternate days. He wore wool and slept on hair. He ate barley bread mixed with salt and ashes. His drink was mixed with tears after his error of inaccurate judgment in which he had passed judgment before hearing from the second party. He was never seen to laugh nor look upwards to the sky because of his shyness before his Lord and he wept continuously until he died. It is said that he wept until plants sprang up from his tears and until the tears formed a crease on his cheeks, and that when he went out he would disguise himself to learn what people thought of his justice, and upon hearing people praise him, he became more humble.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Page 128 – Sahih Muslim, Volume 2, Page 816 – Kitab az-Zuhud, Page 71 – Ash-Shifa, Volume 1, Page 140]
Eisa Alaihis Salam was asked, “Why don’t you ride a donkey?” He replied,
أنا أكرم على الله من أن يشغلني بحمار
“I exalt Allah so much to be occupied with tending to a donkey.” [Musannaf Abi Shayba as stated in Manabil as-Safa of Imam Suyooti, Page 87]
His clothing was made from hair and he ate from the trees. He did not have a house and would sleep wherever sleep overtook him. The name he most liked to be called by was “the very poor”. [Kitab az-Zuhud]
Prophet Muhammad Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him spoke of the trials of previous prophets saying,
لقد كان الأنبياء قبلي يبتلي أحدهم بالفقر و القمل ، و كان ذلك أحب إليهم من العطاء إليكم
“Some of the prophets before me were tested with poverty and lice. They preferred those trials to gifts.” [Mustadrak, Volume 4, Page 307]
Mujahid tells us that Prophet Yahya’s food was that of herbs and he wept so much on account of his fear of Allah that puffed-up folds formed on his cheeks. To avoid people he would eat in the company of wild animals. [al-Bidaya wa an-Nihaya, Volume 1, Page 149]
Tibri narrated from Wahb Ibn Munabbih that Moosa sought shelter in a hut. He ate and sipped from a stone with a hollow in it. In humility he sipped in a way similar to that of an animal because of the honor Allah had shown him by speaking to him. [Ash-Shifa, Volume 1, Page 141]
These reports have all been recorded and the perfect attributes of the prophets and messengers together with their good character, handsome features and qualities are well known so we will not linger any more on them. Should you read contrary to these reports in other books, know that the historian or commentator is among the ill-informed.
Al-Shifa bi Ta’rifi Huqooqil Mustafa, Part 1, Section 2
By Imam Qadhi Iyad al-Maliki Alaihir raHmah wa ar-Ridwan
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.
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
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
Labels: In the light of the Seerah
By Maulana Muhammad Yusuf
Before dealing with the subject we must bear in mind that a description of the Prophet’s life and Seerah should not be treated as a matter of theoretical importance or as a philosophical discourse or even as a mere devotional act. It has in fact a great lesson, which is of immense value for all Muslim brothers and sisters. It brought about a refreshing and righteous thorough change in the lives of early converts to Islam possesses even now the capacity and capability of transforming the character and conduct of the Muslims of to-day, provided they are determined to take a lesson from the life of the Prophet.
But if there is no such resolve then we shall go on in the usual way without realizing what the mission of the Prophet was, what was its significance and importance for the world, what is its relevance today, what beneficial role it can play in solving the problems confronting the humanity in the twentieth century, how it would go on benefiting the future generations of man till the end of this world, how the early converts to Islam fulfilled that noble mission, and what is the responsibility of the present day Ummah in regard to that noble message of Tauheed. If we have the firm determination like that of the early converts to Islam, to benefit from the Seerat of the Prophet and then only then it will certainly mould all departments of our life, like those of the companions of the Prophet, and no aspect thereof shall remain outside the purview of the Prophet’s life sketch.
We should bear in mind that the Quran is the mirror in which the full-fledged life-picture of the Prophet can be seen. No other book in the world is so authentic and genuine as the Quran in giving a faithful description of the life and Seerat of the Holy Prophet. It is admitted on all hand – seven by the worst enemies of Islam – that the Quran has come down to us as complete as it was revealed to the Holy Prophet and not even a syllable thereof has been changed or tampered with during the last fourteen centuries. It is as intact today as it was during the lifetime of and at the time when the Prophet passed away from this world. Nothing has been subtracted from and nothing added to the original version. Hence there is not the least possibility today of any error creeping in the Quran which might tarnish the beautiful image of the Prophet described therein.
The saying of Hazrat Aisha (R.A.) fully corroborates the statement made by me that the Quran faithfully mirrors the life of the Prophet and it also establishes the fact that the Seerat of the Prophet and the Quran are essentially synonymous. It is therefore the Quran that we must turn to for guidance in every matter, individual or collective, social, economic, political etc, if we want to study and benefit from the life of the Prophet; By sincerely following the Quran in its entirety we shall be following the Holy Prophet, if we overlook the Quran or recite it for the sake of reciting or study just as some non-Muslims also do, and not with the sole object of metamor phasising ourselves, then we shall go astray from the path shown and treaded by the Prophet. The importance of the Quran vis-a-vis the life and Seerat of the Prophet must therefore be clearly understood and appreciated.
A study of the Quran will however show that Allah has emphasized:
“Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If you love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you and forgive your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (3:31)
Is there any Muslim who can dare say that he does not love Allah? But the test given in the Quran for loving Allah is that he should follow the Prophet. A study of the Quran also shows that the Quran does not furnish us with details about many things mentioned therein. For example the Quran lays great stress on Salat and Zakat but it does not say how many Rakats there are in each of the five times prayers etc. or what percentage is to be spent as Zakat and so many other details about Salat and Zakat. These were supplied by the Prophet under the direct guidance and supervision of Allah and the Quran exhorted the Muslims:
“So take what the Apostle assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you. And fear Allah; for Allah is strict in punishment”. (59:7)
The companions of the Prophet accepted this exhortation with sincerity. They faithfully did what the Prophet ordered them to do and shunned scrupulously what he forbade them, for they had implicit faith in the Divine statement.
“Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) desire” (53:3)
They had also implicit faith in the Quranic verse:
“Whoso obeyed the messenger obeyeth Allah, and whoso turneth away. We have not sent thee as a warder over them”. (4:80)
They also bowed their head in submission to the Divine injunction.
“Obey Allah and His Apostle, if you do believe”. (8:1)
Thus it is clear that after the Quran it is the collection of genuine Ahadith that is to be relied upon as the second source of the Life and Secret of the Holy Prophet. The collection of genuine Ahadith supplements explains or corroborates the statements made in the Quran. Nowhere in the world have people gathered so meticulously and preserved so faithfully the correct facts about any personality as the Muslims have done in the case of the Prophet. The Quran and the Hadith will therefore supply us with the genuine material about the noble and grand performances of the Prophet during the twenty-three years of his prophetic mission.
The Quran gave the clarion call to the Believers.
“There is indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in remembrance of Allah”. (33:21)
It is certainly not an ordinary individual or an extraordinary personality or a king or sovereign or president of a republic who is making this extraordinary statement, but It is Allah Himself the Creator and the Lord of all that is in the Heavens and the Earth, Who tells us that those whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day and who engages much in His remembrance, only for such persons is there a good pattern of conduct in the life of the Prophet. If one is not conscious, and/has no hope of meeting Allah, nor is he conscious of the fact that he will have to give an account on the Day of Judgment of all good and bad that he has done in this world and will be rewarded for good deeds and punished for wrong deeds and is oblivious of the omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence and other qualities and attributes of Allah, also being forgetful of what Allah has ordained and what He has forbidden, then such a person cannot benefit by the good pattern of the Prophet, no matter how many books on Seerat he may have read and no matter how many lectures, symposia,discussions etc. he may have attended. It is only when we are ever-conscious of meeting Allah, and are conscious of our accountability before Him on the Day of Judgment and remember Him and always keep His commandments in mind that we can benefit from the Seerat of the Prophet and can be able to follow in his footsteps.
The Quran exhorts us:
“And celebrate the praise of Allah often (and without stint) that you may prosper.” (62:10)
So in fact success depends upon remembering Allah very much.
Now Iet us have a cursory glance at the life of the Prophet. Allah is a witness to the fact that the Prophet was:
“Ardently anxious is he over you: to the Believers he is most kind and merciful”. (9:128)
Are our Muslim rulers imitating the Prophet and behaving with their people in the manner that he did?
It is not that the Prophet was Rauf and Rahim to believers only. His image as portrait in the Qur’an encompasses the whole universe. He is Rahmatui Lil-alimeen, a mercy to all mankind just as Allah is Rabbul Alameen, Lord of all people, and not the Lord of Muslims only. Similarly the Prophet is a mercy to the whole of mankind. Now the Muslims should ask themselves: Are we behaving as “compassionate amongst each other” and a mercy to all people?
Another beautiful portrait of the Prophet is given in another passage of the Quran which reads:
“Allah verily hath shown grace to the believers by sending unto – them a messenger of their own who reciteth unto them His revelations, and cause them to grow, and teacheth them the Scripture and wisdom, although before (he came to them) they were in flagrant error” (3:164)
It was this process adopted by the Holy Prophet which brought out men from darkness into light by shedding their ignorance. If we want the present-day world surrounded by darkness, superstition and ignorance to gain lightsplendor we would have to do the same as the Prophet did.
Look at another magnificent portrait of the Prophet when the whole of Arabia was under his sway and he was the master of all he surveyed, was at the zenith of glory and victory and when delegation after delegation visited him and accepted Islam, a wonderful revelation came to him in the form of :
“When comes the help of Allah, and victory, and thou dost see the people enter Allah’s religion in crowds, celebrate the praises of your Lord and pray for His forgiveness for He is oft-Returning (in grace and mercy)” (1:10)
Look at the difference between a worldly ruler and the Prophet! The former would have on such an occasion rejoiced beyond measure and there would have been rejoicing, dancing, music, cultural shows and what not in his kingdom if he had achieved such a signal success as the Prophet did. But the Holy Prophet carried out the Divine command in letter and spirit. History records that when he received this revelation after reaching the pinnacle of glory he engaged himself continuously and ceaselessly in celebrating the praises of Allah and praying for His forgiveness. Is not this worthy of imitation by our Muslim rulers on whom Allah has bestowed His bounties and who will meet Him one day when He will ask them about those favors:
“Then shall you be questioned that Day about the joy (you indulged in!)” (102:8)
What will be their reply on that fateful Day when no one will be able to help them? They will succeed on that Day only if they have followed the Holy Prophet in all their activities.
In the end, I would say that you and I, all of us, should follow the teachings of the Prophet sincerely and follow the code of life laid down by him as directed by ‘Allah if we want success in this world and the Hereafter. We must go in asking ourselves all the ‘time how far arc we complying with the Divine commands in our daily life and how far have we neglected them. If one overlooked them one must repent sincerely and ask forgiveness of Allah for one’s shortcomings and should resolve that in future one will not in any event do anything, which would be contrary to the Divine injunction. Only then can a person benefit from the Seerah of the Holy Prophet.
“Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom They find mentioned In their own (scriptures),- In the Torah and the Gospel;- for He commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; He allows them As lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe In him, honour him, help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him,- it is They who will prosper.”
(The Holy Qur’an: 7: 157)