Sunday, November 27, 2005

Imam an-Nasa'i (r.a)

Ahmad ibn Shu'aib an-Nasa'i (r.a) - [215 - 303 A.H.]

Imam an-Nasa'i was born in the town of Nasa' in the Persian province of Khorasan. After gaining hadith from the teachers his own city, Imam an-Nasa'i travelled through Khorasan, Iraq, the Hijaz Syria and Egypt gaining ahadith. Egypt was where Imam an-Nasa'i settled and established his center for teaching and studies here.

Imam an-Nasa'i was said to have exhausted many of his days and nights in prayers, repeatedly performed Hajj and also joined the Muslim army to participate in battle. He was very particular of the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), had a hatred for deviation and avoided the circles of kings and nobles.

His status
Ibn Khallikan writes 'He was the Imam of hadith of his age.'
Daraqutni says 'He was more distinguished than all the muhaddithun of his time.'
He is well known for Sunan an-Nasa'i which is a collection of 5751 sound ahadith. In it he also describes the flaws of a hadith, exposes any disagreements on the title, names and kunyat of narrators and clarifies the variations between different versions of a hadith.

His teachers are many, the first being Muhaddith Qutaibah ibn Sa'id al Balkhi. Some others are Ishaq ibn Rahawaih, Muhammad ibn Nasr, Muhammad ibn Bishr and the famous Abu Dawud.

His students came from all over the Muslim world, and some of the more famous of them are Ali ibn Jafar at-Tahawi, Abul Qasim at-Tabrani, Muhammad ibn Mu'awiyah al Andalusi, Abu Jafar at-Tahani and also his own son.

Imam an-Nasa'i travelled to Damascus, Syria in 302 A.H. where he noticed people displaying some hostility towards Hazrat Ali (R.A). He therefore wrote a book to honor the character of Hazrat Ali (R.A) and started lecturing from it in a Masjid. He had only read a few lines when he was accused of being a Shi'i and was beaten badly by a crowd, such he received severe injuries to his body. In this state he requested some admirers to take him to Makkah, and it was after reaching Makkah Imam an-Nasa'i passed away.

May Allah Ta'ala fill his Qabar with Noor.
Source: Scholars of Hadith by Syed Bashir Ali

Related posts
Imam Bukhari (r.a)
Imam Muslim (r.a)
Imam Tirmizi (r.a)
Abu Dawud (r.a)
Imam ibn Majah (r.a)
Abdullah ibn Mubarak (r.a)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Human Kindness in Islam

Nasiruddin was the slave of a king, and very fond of hunting. One day he came across a very pretty baby deer and picked it up and rode away. The mother deer saw Nasiruddin take her baby and followed him anxiously. Nasiruddin, pleased with the baby dear, was thinking about presenting it to his children to play with. After a time, he chanced to look back and saw the mother deer following him, her expression full of grief. He noticed too that she did not seem to care about her own safety. Moved to pity, Nasiruddin set the baby deer free. The mother deer nuzzled and licked her baby fondly and the two deer leapt happily away into the forest. But many times the mother deer looked back at Nasiruddin, as if to express her thanks.

That night Nasiruddin dreamt that the revered Prophet (pbuh) was addressing him:
‘Nasiruddin, your name has been entered in the list of Allah, and you will one day have a kingdom. But remember that when you are king you will also have many responsibilities. Just as you have shown mercy to the deer today, you should be merciful to all Allah’s creatures. You should not forget your people by falling into a life of luxury.’

This dream came true and Nasiruddin did become king, Amir Nasiruddin Subaktagin, father of Sultan Muhammad.

The moral of the story is that if we wish Allah to be merciful to us, we must be eager to show mercy to all the living creatures of the earth.

When a flower blooms, its colour and scent first touch the garden near it, and then spread. In the same way, a Muslim’s acts of human kindness should first touch those nearest to him, his family and his neighbours.

Source: Muslim Manners by Iqbal Ahmad Azami

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Shaikh Shah Jalal

Shah Jalal is one of the most revered legendary Islamic heroes of Bangladesh and one of the key founding fathers of Islam in the country. He was a great saint and a great warrior. Along with his disciples, he made a unique contribution in liberating the people of Sylhet region.

His full full name is Sheikh-ul Mashaek Mokhdum Sheikh Shah Jalal Mozorrodh Bin Muhammed. His father was the contemporary of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi. Losing his parents early in his life he was brought up by his maternal uncle who was also a pious saint. After completing his education, his uncle gave him a handful of earth and told him to travel to a land, in Hindustan, where earth of the same colour can be found. There he should settle down and establish the religion of Islam.

In the course of his journey he met Khwaja Gharibnawaz Moinuddin Hasan Chisty and Shaikh Nizam ud din Auliya. After a while he reached Sylhet, Bengal where he found a Shaikh, Burhan ud din was being persecuted by Raja Gaur Govinda, the king of the Sylhet. Shaikh Shah Jalal and his travelling party of 300 plus auliyas joined the army which had been sent by the Sultan of Gaur against the King. Alhumdulillah, they were able to defeat the King despite two previous failed attempts.

After the conquest Shaikh Shah Jalal found a match for the earth his uncle had given him and he settled in Sylhet and remained there until his death. He and his disciples travelled as far as Mymensingh and Dhaka to preach the message of Islam.

Ibn Battutah who met Shaikh Shah Jalal in Sylhet says of him:
‘he was numbered among the principal saints, and was one of the most singular of men. He had done many noteworthy acts, and wrought many celebrated miracles. He used to remain standing (in prayer) all night. The inhabitants of these mountains received Islam from his hands, and it was for this reason that he stayed among them.
Ibn Battutah also narrates several miracles of the saint, and reports the date of his death as 1347.

May Allah swt accept the efforts of Shaikh Shah Jalal for the cause of Islam, Ameen.

Take a look A Good Death over on Islamic Poetry blog.

Friday, November 18, 2005

If I should Speak

I just wanted to write a quick post to tell you about a couple of novels I've had in my collection of books for some time now which I think might appeal to the you, but for sure to the younger generation of Muslims.

'If I should Speak' by Umm Zakiyyah
ISBN: 097076670X
description from Amazon
The author promises to revolutionize story telling in this powerful story about three college students, one Christian and the others Muslim, who find themselves unlikely roommates at a small, private American university. Tamika, the main character of this novel, is a sophomore in college who dreams of becoming a famous singer. After a fight with her roommate, she is forced to move out of her room and ends up living with two Muslims, one who is religious, while the other is becoming discontented with the religion. Tamika is immediately drawn to Durrah, the latter, who shares her love for singing. Durrah is emerging as a successful model and singer in her own right and enjoys a growing level of prominence in her career, which has earned her many admirers, Tamika being one. Captivated by Durrah's magnetic personality, breathtaking beauty, and powerful singing voice, Tamika has found both a friend and mentor in life. As the seeds of friendship are sown between them, the doors of fame are beginning to open for Tamika. But she is unprepared for the one obstacle that stands in her way to success...

My own personal opinion is that Mashallah this book is a great read for all, especially those who want to attend University. I got so stuck into this book that I found it hard to put down.
In fact I even brought the sequel 'A Voice' by Umm Zakiyyah (ISBN: 0970766726). Both books are rather like an islamic lecture but with a fictional story context attached to it, making them very interesting to read. I brought both mine from Amazon though I think they may be more easily available in shops now. Waterstones might be able to order them for you if you give them the ISBN.

Onto a more recent book I read during Ramadan 'Hazrat Shaykhul Hadith and I...' a translation of the original written by Maulana Yusuf Motala. In this book we are given glimpses into the life of Maualana Zakariyya (r.a) and subhanallah its amazing to read of such pious personalities and the sacrifices and concern they had for the religion of Islam. Moreso amazing is that such personalities were dwelling upon Allahs earth just a few years ago. Anyway given I still havent been able to read Aap Beeti I found this a brilliant substitute.

I'd like to hear suggestions or recommendations of books that the readers of this blog might have, through the comments link. It goes without saying Qur'an should be at the top of each Muslims list, and we should devote time daily to at least recite a portion of it.
Anyhow its been a year since this blog started, read the first post Salams, ignore the first paragraph though please!
Off topic, the comments function is now moderated, so those comments I deem unfit to publish wont be accepted. Inshallah, this will make this site a more friendlier site.
Remember me in your duas.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Instant messaging with the opposite sex


I'm in high school and I am trying my best to avoid temptations of this western world. Like many high schoolers, I too go on msn and my question was that are we allowed to talk to the opposite sex through msn? Could you expand on the guidelines when talking to the opposite sex.

In the name of Allah, the most Merciful, the most Compassionate.

In our days and time, the traditional face-to-face interaction between men and women is no longer the only method of interaction. The Shari`ah rulings that apply to gender interaction, such as lowering the gaze, covering one's nakedness and avoiding khalwa with the opposite sex are not a concern for people whose interaction takes place on the internet.

However, as situations change, new rulings apply to accommodate them. MSN, or instant messaging is one of these new situations, and although this didn't exist in the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, this does not give people a license to behave however they wish.

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, "The adultery of the tongue is speech." And the ruling of intermixing in the Shafi'I school is, as stated in the Reliance of the Traveller (r32.6): It is offensive for a male to speak without need to a young woman who is not a member of his unmarriageable kin (mahram).

Now, although instant messaging is not direct speech with the tongue, it is nevertheless a clear form of expression and interaction. As you know, this type of interaction is so quick and easy that long-distance relationships and marriages have even been formed through it.

My advice to you is that you MSN with the opposite sex only when it is necessary. An example of this would be when working with someone on aproject for school, or trying to ask a scholar of the opposite sex a fiqh question. You may also find that it is necessary to send a kind e-mail to someone that you feel you may have wronged or offended.

Although it may seem impossible to convey real emotion through the net, it is, as you know, very possible. With the aid of smiley faces, exclamation marks and popular expressions, the other side can get the wrong idea, so be cautious in how you use them.

Having said this, don't think that you have to be cold to the opposite sex, for Muslims that hold contempt for one another does not make for a unified ummah. You should always be cordial and make other Muslims feel comfortable, but still set limits so you don't leave any room for fitna, attraction, or long and unnecessary chats.

Finally, have a good intention and in sha Allah, Allah will help to steer you clear of the impermissible. Take a look at the answers in the SunniPath QA to help you learn more about gender interaction.

And Allah alone knows best.
by Shazia Ahmad (Source:

Also see my post on A Bad Death over at poem blog.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Snake Catcher

Jalaluddin Rumi (rahmatullahi alaiyh)
There was once snake catcher who once went to the mountains. Due to the winter cold and heavy snow, many very big snakes lay motionless, as if they were dead.

The snake-catcher picked up one of these seemingly lifeless snakes and took it to Baghdad, with the purpose of using it for a show. Showing it off, he made big claims as to how he had brilliantly captured the snake.

However, when the sun began to shine and its warmth cloaked the snake, the coldness in its body disappeared. The signs of life were soon apparent and when the snake began to move, the snake-catcher and all those around, fled.

Our Nafs is like that snake. With Tazkyia (purification), Mushaqqat (effort), our nafs (self) becomes frozen. It appears to be dead. But give it a little heat from the fire of sin and it will bite again. A little exposure to some past sins and the nafs swings back to life.

We should not think that we have killed our nafs and thus become unmindful. Yes, with some mujahadah (striving), suhbat (company) of the Sheikh, tilawat (recitation) of the Qur'an, Dikrullah, following Deen and Shariah and in building up that contact and love for Allah Ta'ala and Rasulullah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam), the nafs can be frozen. However, a little taste of sin revives the evil nafs.

Just a quick note to say that blogging on my part might not be so regular over the next couple of months, for the reason being that I've set myself some goals with regards to deen that I would really like to meet. Please make dua I am able to accomplish them. The other major reason is that I will be going to perform Hajj this year inshallah and as its my first Hajj I have lots to learn before I depart. I already have a few books/ guides which I need to get through.
Take alook at The Ultimate Computer Virus post on poem blog.
Remember me in your duas please.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I want to Learn Arabic

I want to learn Arabic. How would you recommend that I proceed? What Arabic literature would you recommend for beginners?

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
As-Salamu Alaykum,

There are a few things that one should do when trying to learn the Arabic language:
1. Understand that this is the language of revelation. Thus, it's study should be taken very seriously. The signs of this understanding are the following: 1. A checked intention; meaning, constantly observe your inner state. I've seen a lot of Western students show off their latest understanding of tamyiz, hal and 'alam. Beware of this quality because the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, said about this type of person, "The Fire! The Fire."

2. Have a lot of patience. Ibn Malik, Allah have mercy upon him, the great scholar of grammar, began his famous book Alfiya (a thousand line poem on grammar) with the line, "Kalamun Lafdhun Mufidun Kastaqim."
"Kastaqim." Means to be firm and upright. He opened his blessed poem with that line to say to the student, "Istaqim upon the learning of this language." In other words Arabic, if you really want to grasp its secrets,is not hard, but takes time. The Ulema used to say, "The entrance to Arabic is hard and it's exit is easy." Thus, don't try and over-do things. Once aman had studied for 19 years. He said, "I've failed to become a scholar. What have I learned?" Finally, he decided to leave being a student of knowledge and went back to his village. He sat on a stone well and noticed the rope that held the bucket had warn its way through the stone well. Suddenly he realized something and said to himself, "Seeking knowledge is like this rope. It takes time, but with patience and focus, a rope can rub through stone."

3. A lot of supplication: Allah says, "He (Allah) taught men expression."Thus, you must beg Allah to give you this language. Remember that learning this language is a means of improving your servitude to Allah. Thus, implore Allah to give it to you.

4. Learning Arabic has a few components:
i, Grammar (Nahw), Rhetoric (Balagha) and Morphology (Sarf) (these are the internal organs of the language), however, know, may Allah have mercy on you, that learning these sciences will give you a technical understanding of the language. Especially if you learn from the classical texts (mutun) in the beginning. Thus, most teachers advise students to start with more basic books, which are current in content, and then later move on to the mutun.

ii, Speaking, writing and expression: This is usually the last thing to come. But, once one has it, they should praise Allah in abundance because they are expressing themselves in the language of the Qur'an, the language of the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, and the language of Ahl al-Janna.

I would advise our brother to began and communicate with others as often as possible. Although you'll make mistakes, and we all do, keep trying. Once, I was sitting with a group of Malaysian students from Al-Azhar. The were very strong in the Arabic and I noticed that they only spoke Arabic. I asked one of them, "Mashallah, what is going on with you brothers?" He told me, "We love to make mistakes in Arabic more than speaking our own language correctly." Thus, you must practice, practice, practice. What you fail to use, will fail you when you need it.

As per your study I would do the following:
1. Leave the classical books until you can understand them and read them with a teacher. The best books I've found for learning how to talk are, believe it or not, children's books. Their language is always great and there are a lot of conversations which will serve as a great assistant for you in the future.

2. Use a common text book that teaches Arabic such as Kitabul Asassi, the University of Medina series and many others.

3. Try to study in a center in an Arab country. It is very important to remember that a language is a culture. Thus, while living in the culture you will learn the expression of the language in its natural state.

4. Work hard

Finally, I would try and memorize some Qur'an and Hadith. Both, and the Qur'an more so, are a means of giving you eloquence (fasaha).

Allah knows best
Suhaib Webb

Sunday, November 06, 2005

How did you do?

Life provides us with many challenges - sometimes they come as a surprise and at other times we know they're coming and we get the chance to prepare for them. Ramadan belongs to the second group. We have the whole year to prepare ourselves and thirty days to prove ourselves and then, we have the final chance to evaluate ourselves.

So before we can evaluate ourselves we need to know what we should have done. Perhaps you would like to ask yourself a few simple questions and then you can get an idea about whether or not you have grown in any way throughout this blessed time.

· Do you feel closer to Allah?
· Do you feel less nervous and stressed?
· Do you feel the desire to do good deeds and enrich yourself spiritually?
· Do you feel more mercy for people generally?
· Have you healed any estranged relations with family members and friends?
· Do you feel that your life now has a clear aim and you feel the ability to meet the challenges?

Ramadan is a time of spiritual renewal and strength. It is well-known that the spirit controls so many aspects of the self, including the body. So if you really want to do something in your life and your desire is sincere and determined, your body will simply follow.

There are three possible conclusions to the fast of this Ramadan. Either you:
· had a wonderful successful Ramadan, (congratulations and may Allah accept all your good deeds),
· had a reasonably good Ramadan but there were times you got angry or did bad deeds (hmmm, now is a good time to do more good deeds to cover those slip-ups),
· or it was a disaster, meaning you missed Fajr Prayer most of the time, over-ate and over-slept, were grumpy and moody and couldn't wait till it was over (needs heavy re-thinking about yourself and what you do)!
But as long as there is life, there is hope to change, be better, and improve your relation with Allah Most High.

Most of the time people fail to perform well in Ramadan because they don't really understand what it is all about. Allah Most High has enjoined fasting on all people throughout time through their respective prophets (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon them all). It is an act of worship that draws the person closer to Allah and helps to purify the heart and mind and teach him to focus on life and what is important and what is not. Fasting softens the heart and makes the person feel more compassion and generosity toward the poor and needy. All these things will take place if the servant of Allah does this act for His sake, seeking to be close to Him, and receive the reward of fasting.

However, if someone fasts only because it is a habit to do so and a part of one's culture and family practice, then obviously the effects of fasting will not be felt in the same way. The essence of acts are found in the intentions behind them. You are the best one to know the answer to this question. Why did you fast in Ramadan? Was your intention solely to obtain the pleasure and mercy of Allah Most High? If your intention was anything other than this, and the outcome of fasting was not that of spiritual renewal and closeness to Allah, then you have to know that your intention did not hit the target.

On a brighter note, be sure that Allah Most High is the Most Merciful and He loves to forgive! So if you have, for any reason, fallen short this Ramadan, turn to Him and seek His forgiveness and ask for guidance to better yourself and then start to prepare for next Ramadan.....
sent by email by Zaheer Mahomed

Wednesday, November 02, 2005