LINEAGE OF OUR BELOVED PROPHET (pbuh) (Seerah X) Friday, Feb 23 2007 

What is Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)’s lineage? Arabs of the old were very preserving of their lineage. That is why if we open up the biography of any famous companion, we will find that his generation has been persevered sometimes up to 15-20 generations, the names of his fathers and forefathers all. Unfortunately, in our times it is not known.

As for our Prophet (pbuh), 21 of his forefathers’ names have been authentically preserved:

Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Abdulmuttalib ibn Hashim (banu hashim—founder of tribe) ibn Abdu Manaf ibn Qusai ibn Kilab ibn Murra Ibn Ka’ab ibn Lu’aie ibn Ghaalib ibn Fihar (he was Quraish so his descendants are known as Quraish, most respected tribe), Maalik ibn Nadhar ibn Kinana (famous person whom Prophet mentioned in a hadeeth) ibn Khuzaima ibn Mudrika ibn Ilyaas ibn Mudar ibn Nizaar ibn Ma’ad ibn Adnan (forefather of the vast majority of Arab tribes).

Even Imam Bukhari has this much lineage in his Saheeh. (more…)

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Three Major Events before Prophet’s Birth (Seerah IX) Friday, Feb 23 2007 

DIGGING OF THE WELL

SACRIFICING ABDULLAH IBN ABDULMUTTALIB

INCIDENT OF ELEPHANTS (FEEL) 

We all know the famous story of Ismaeel’s (AS) mother when she was left alone in the dessert where she ran between Safa and Marwa and water came out. She said, ‘zamzam, which means ‘stop stop’. The complete narration is in Bukhari.

The last tribe to leave Arabia was the tribe of Jurhum. They had to leave because of a war, but before they left, they hid the well so their enemies wouldn’t find it.

So the well had been lost for years. Later, Abdul Muttalib saw a dream when he was taking his nap, 4 times in a row. A handsome man will appear and called him to ‘dig up’ with 4 different names (dig up that which is good, dig up that which is beneficial) finally ‘dig up zamzam’. So he knew what the dream was about.

Abdul Muttalib only had his son Haarith at that time. He started digging up with his son until he found the well. When he discovered the well, the first thing to come out of his mouth was, ‘Allah Akbar’ because he still believed in Allah. (more…)

Story of Heraculus & Benefits of Preceding Posts (Seerah VIII) Tuesday, Feb 20 2007 

Heraculus was the Emperor of Rome who was one of the few, if not the ONLY one, who was a Christian scholar. It was not common for the rulers to be learned in their religion.

He saw in a dream that a king has been sent, a ‘king of circumcised people’ as he narrated to his governors. His wazeer/governors comforted him that it must be Jews, because Jews circumcise but Christians don’t. They asked him that why doesn’t he send out a command for a mass-slaughter of all the Jews. So, right when he was about to send the command, Prophet Muhammad’s letter came to him (Prophet used to send out letters to kings and emperors inviting them to Islam). The first thing Heraculus asked was to check if the Messenger was circumcised. So they checked and he was. So then Hearculus said, “This is my dream not the Jews’.

Then he called for any Arab tribe that was passing by and it happened so that Abu Sufyaan’s caravan was passing by Rome. They were stopped and brought to Heraculus. He asked Abu Sufyaan many questions and signs and characteristics of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) (the complete narration is in Bukhari) and he concluded, ‘If what you are saying is true, this is the Prophet that has been promised. And if what you are saying is true then he shall conquer and control the very land under my feet (at that time he was in Jerusalem—and truly Muslims did conquer and controlled that land shortly after, and even the capitol of Roman Empire Constantinople was conquered—in our times it is Istanbul in Turkey). He also told Abu Sufyaan, “I knew that a prophet is about to appear. But I didn’t assume that he will be of your race.” (more…)

Salman Al-Farsi (radiAllahu anhu) (Seerah VII) Sunday, Feb 18 2007 

Reason behind narrating his story and next Heraculus’ story is to show that the people of the Book (Jews Christians) were not only aware of the coming of a new Prophet rather they were anxiously waiting for his appearance.

Story of Salman Al-Farsi: His complete story is narrated in Musnad Imam Ahmad.

He was very intriguing companion. He was a fire worshipper from Persia. His father was the caretaker of the church and his job was to make sure fire never burns out. Salman was responsible to keep the main fire lighten up all the time. Once Salman passed by a church and he was very intrigue by their religion. So, he accepted Christianity. When his father found out he was very upset, and tried every possible way to force him to revert back from Christianity, so much so that he locked Salman in his rooms, tied with chains. Salman managed to run away.

He joined a group of monks going towards Syria, the birth place of Christianity. There Salman dedicated himself at a place of a monk/hermit to the worship of Allah. Salman later narrated that this monk/hermit was a very evil person. He would gather people’s money and use it upon himself and hide it for himself. He wasn’t a pious worshipper of Allah. So when this monk died, Salman told people about him and showed his hidden treasure. Exactly what Allah said in Qur’an about most of the priests that they gather up the money:

“You who believe! Many of the rabbis and monks devour people’s property under false pretences and bar people from access to the Way of Allah. As for those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in the Way of Allah, give them the news of a painful punishment.” (9:34) (more…)

STORIES OF AHNAAF (Seerah VI) Sunday, Feb 18 2007 

However, there were exceptions to the general rule that Meccans were mushrikeen (pagains). Not all the Arabs were upon shirk, very few, a very small minority rejected this shirk and refused to worship the idols. They were called the ‘haneefs’ or ‘hunafa’— meaning, ‘turned away’ and they had turned away form shirk and inclined themselves to only Allah.

Qis ibn Sa’aadah—famous poet who used to come to Meccan and warn Arabs against shirk. Once a year, all Arab tribes would get together, compete and boast and say their poetry to see who would be the best of them. Qis would come regularly and remind them of the Day of Judgment and used to warn them against their shirk. Prophet Muhammad saw him as a young child or a teenager (we don’t know the exact age). He (pbuh) remembered what Qis said very vaguely and after many many years later when the tribes of Qis came to give bay’ah (pledge) in Medina, he asked for Qis. Qis had died. So the Prophet asked his tribesmen to narrate of what Qis had said and when they narrated, Prophet (pbuh) approved of it.

Another incident narrated by Ibn Hishaam in his book of Seerah, was the incident of 4 men. One of the celebrations of Jahiliyya Arabs was when all tribesmen went out to celebrate to their gods, to do tawaf and sacrifice. During this event, 4 men stayed behind and realized that they had something in common. They agree with Arabs’ shirk. So they decided to stay close and become close friends. They realized that this was not the religion of Ibraheem but they didn’t know the truth either. So they decided to travel in search for truth and inform each other about what they found. These four men were:

Waraqa ibn Naufil

Obaidullah ibn Jahash

Uthman ibn alHowairith

Ziad ibn ‘amr ibn nufail (more…)

THE RELIGIOUS STATUS OF ARABIA BEFORE MUHAMMAD (pbuh): (Seerah IV) Tuesday, Feb 13 2007 

Each and every nation had a prophet. And the prophets sent to Arabs before Muhammad (peace be upon him) were Ibraheem and Ismaeel (peace be upon them). They were Arabs’ original prophets.

Religion of Ismaeel was practiced by Arabs. Many “remnants” from Ismaeel were still practiced. Of these practices:

* Respecting ka’bah, respecting the places of Muzdalifa, Mina and Arafat.

* Garlanding the sacrificial animals, decorate them in a beautiful way! It is a part of our shareeah as well [those who have been overseas may recall this practice still happens in Muslim lands]

* They would do tawaf around the ka’bah. They would uphold the sacred months etc.

However, they used to commit shirk. How did shirk start?

It started from one individual by the name of Amr ibn Luhair from the tribe of Khuz’a. He was a warrior, a chief, extremely rich and extremely generous. It is said that at the time of pilgrim he would sacrifice 10,000 animals to feed the pilgrims.

So we can well imagine the respect he had amongst the people. It is narrated in the books of Seerah, that he went to Syria (lands of Syria) and he saw ‘Amaleeq’. Amaleeq were the children of Saam, who was the son of Nuh (peace be upon him).

They were very mighty and powerful nation, physically, very tall. They were very daunting and frightening to look at. So Amr saw them worshipping idols. He asked them what were they doing because this was the first time he saw ‘shirk’. So they told him,

“These are our gods, when we ask them for rain, it rains, and when we are in trouble we ask them for help and they help us”. He said, “what a good idea, can you give me an idol to take back with me to Mecca.”

So they gave him an idol by the name of ‘hubal’. And he took it back and placed it in front of the ka’bah.

And this was the first time shirk occurred on that land and because of who he was [his respect and influence in Arabia] people were silent and didn’t object to the evil practice he had started.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “I saw Amr ibn Khuzai dragging his intestines around a well in the Fire of Hell, his intestines all spilling out.” This was the punishment he was getting for the evil practices he introduced.

He also introduced a few more evil practices. Like sacrificing animals for the ‘gods’ [this is mentioned in the Qur’an, by the name of those animals]

He also changed the talbiyyah from ‘labbaik Allah humma Labaik’ to ‘labbaik la shareeka lak shareekan howa lak tamliku howa malak’

This was an added phrase meaning, “You have no partners oh Allah except partners whom you control and you control what they control as well.’ (So you do have partners now oh Allah)

Ancient idols were incorporated in Arab culture as well. Laat, Uzza, Manta were the main tribes of Arabs. Idolatry continued to increase to the extent that one of the companions narrated, Abu Rajj’ah al ‘Utaaridhi:

“We would worship any stone that we found, and when we would find a more beautiful stone, we would take the stone away and start worshipping the more beautiful one. When we would find a more beautiful stone we would worship that stone instead of the previous one. And if we couldn’t find a stone we would gather up the dust, bring out goat, milk it so the dust solidifies and do tawaf around this dust.”

This was the state of affairs reached by Jahilliya (ignorant) Arabs. Even worse was the incident of Naila wal Assaf.

Naila and Assaf were two lovers of Mecca. They committed adultery inside the ka’bah [iyyadhobillah]. As a punishment for their sin, Allah (swt) transformed them to stones so that everyone could learn a lesson. But imagine what Arabs did when they saw this.

They put the stones on the mounts of ‘Safa’ and ‘Marwa’ and started worshipping them!! This was the mentality and level of ignorance of Jahiliyyah Arabs.

 

Why Arabs were special to Inherit the Best Prophet (pbuh)? (Seerah III) Monday, Feb 12 2007 

(this is a continuation of previous post)

CHARACTERISTICS OF ARABS:

Another aspect that made Arabia special was its people, Arabs. Although they had a lot of internal fighting and a lot of evil, still they had characteristics that made them, in general, better then other nations of their time. The evils they had of rape, plunder, women and wine, etc. all other societies were guilty of. All non-Muslim societies had these evils, including Romans and Sassinads. Do we presume, Romans were any less in drinking and womanizing?!

But Arabs had some characteristics that made them the best race in which to send a Prophet. Of these characteristics:

  • First and foremost, purity of spirit: They were living uncultured, even uncouth in a desert. They were not effected by sophistries of the philosophers nor by superstitious or ideologies of other religions. NO. They were illiterate race which means they were still pure and simple. So they could accept the religion of Islam much easier then the other religions. They wouldn’t be that tainted, or cultural impediment.
  • The Arabs were very brave, extremely courageous and they valued bravery.
  • They were also generous and this was something they inherited from Ibraheem (as). (Qur’an 51:21-34)

Ibraheem (as) was the first human being to show hospitality to guest. Before him it was not something known to offer food or drink to the guests. Ibraheem was the first one to start the beautiful sunnah of being hospitable, as the Qur’an mentions it too.

So, Arabs inherited this from Ibraheem. They would go hungry themselves in order to feed their guests. It was something very well-known.

  • Another good characteristic that they had was honesty. Abu Sufyan (before he converted to Islam) when he was being questioned by Heraculus about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), he could have lied because at that time he was the enemy of Prophet Muhammad and hated Islam. Yet he said, “by Allah, if I could lie I would have but I was scared that my people behind me would have accused me of being a liar so I spoke the truth.’

He was a mushrik (pagan), the people with him were mushrkeen, they all hated Islam, but their hatred could not make them fall into the sin of lying. Look at that characteristic as a mushrik.

  • They were experts in horsemanship and arts of war of their time, archery, spears etc. and Muslim Ummah needed a generation like that as you know.
  • They were true to their promises. Even though they were mushrkeen, if they would give their words they would keep it. The famous story of AbdulMutallib, when he was about to be killed by his tribesmen for digging up and finding the lost well of zamzam, he made du’a that if Allah gave him 10 sons, he would sacrfice one of them in front of Ka’bah for Allah. Later, he was granted 10 strong sons by Allah but even 20-30 years after making that promise, he still remembered and kept his words. He had made that promise and he was going to live up to it. [This long story will be narrated in details in later notes, inshaAllah]
  • Arabs were used to rough lives. They were not spoiled by materialism and luxuries of this world. One of the greatest impediments for a person to become better or for a person to accept Islam is that he/she will have to leave the luxuries of this life.

Our own lives are prime examples, what stops us from becoming better Muslims: the enjoyment of this world!

Early sahaba (companions of the Prophet) couldn’t afford this type of hesitancy. So Allah chose them from a nation that didn’t know luxury, form a nation that lived off hunger, from a nation that would travel long distances with just one pack of dates and water. They didn’t need to be spoiled by the luxuries of this world and this is what Muslims needed at that time.

  • Arabs had special language, Arabic. As far as we know all other books were revealed in Semitic languages. Hebrew, Aramaic, Seraic, Arabic, they are all sister tongue. These are all, truly, divine languages in many ways. Firstly, because Allah (swt) spoken them and secondly because Allah (swt) revealed His books in them. Torah, Zaboor, Injeel, Qur’an were all in Semitic tongues.

Whoever studies Arabic and any other language would realize the beauty and complexity of Arabic language is unparalleled.

Why Arabia was so special?! (Seerah II) Sunday, Feb 11 2007 

These are notes from Friday Classes I give:

POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS STATUS OF ARABIA:

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came at the end of 6th century of the Gregorian calendar.

There were two major super powers of the world, Roman (eastern Byzantine empire) and the Persian Empires (sassinads—sassinad dynasty).

Roman empire was a Christian empire. Constantine had converted to Christianity in 320. And the emperor at the time of Prophet was Heraculus, who was very learned and pious Christian, a scholar, which was very rare especially among the rulers. He knew that a prophet is about to come.

Sassinads had two major religions.

Zarasosthra (Zoroastrian—Parsis of our time) and the leader of Sassinads were upon this religion. They considered themselves walking gods and divine children of gods.

Manicunism, were from Prophet Mani. Their religion was very hidden, not much is known about them.

Arabia was in the dead center between Rome and Persian Empires. And this is one of the reasons, we can venture, and Allah knows best, that Arabia was chosen to be the cradle of Islam.

What made Arabia so special that Allah chose to send the Prophet from this place?

 

  • It was in between the major superpowers of the earth. Geographically it was, literally, the center of the earth. And ironically, when the maps are printed in our time, dead center is the Arabia.

 

  • Arabia didn’t have any history of colonialism or of aggressiveness. It was a passive country in general. They had internal problems, but never anyone else came and conquered them.

 

So it was a perfect reason to send a prophet in this land because no one will think that there are colonial reasons why Arabs are expanding. If Romans had a prophet people would say ‘this prophet is a hoax because Romans want to expand their kingdom’. Similarly with Persians. But by sending a prophet in Arabia, there were never such hopes nor were ever such aspirations that Arabia will become politically strong.

 

  • Secondly, since Arabia was so backward, both the Roman and the Sassinads never considered that Arabia will ever pose a military threat. They never thought of attacking and conquering Arabia. They thought Arabians were backward people, fighting among themselves.

 

That is why when Heraculus met Abu Sufyan, he said (after confirming the signs of Prophet Muhammad ) “I knew that a Prophet was about to come but I never thought he would come of you.”

Similar statement was said by Yuzdajaj—Sassinad Emperor to the companions when they went to speak to him.

 

Why? Because Arabs were a backward nation and no one could imagine that a Prophet will come form among them.

 

So by sending a prophet form this country was a complete, unexpected surprise which helped and aided them as well in what they were about to do.

 

  • Also, there was a religious reason too. Mecca was the cradle of Islam. When we say Islam, we refer to the ‘original’ Islam and not just the Islam at the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

 

  • The first house built to worship Allah was Ka’bah. Narrations say that Adam (as) built the ka’bah and then Ibraheem came and revived It. So the first house ever built to worship Allah was in Mecca. And it is only befitting that the last prophet who was sent to seal all the Prophets is sent to where the first house of Allah was.

 

  • Also, religiously Mecca was also the sanctuary of Ibraheem and Islmaeel (AS). And Ibraheem and Ismaeel were the prophets of Arabs. So it was befitting that Muhmmad (pbuh) also comes from the same city that Ibraheem and Ismaeel settled in and built the ka’bah in.

Seerah–Why Study It? Part I Sunday, Feb 11 2007 

InshaAllah I will be posting my notes on Seerah from Sh. Yasir Qadhi’s lectures here. Based on those notes, I hold a class for high-school & college girls on Fridays.

WHAT IS SEERAH?

Saarah comes from the Arabic word ‘sara’ or ‘yaseero’ means journey or traveling. Therefore ‘seerah’ is to discuss the journey of a person’s life. Islamically, Seerah is the study the life of Prophet of Mercy, Muhammad (peace be upon him).

WHY STUDY SEERAH?

  1. So we can learn from his examples as we are commanded to follow the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

“Certainly, there is an excellent example for you in the Messenger of Allah, for him who looks forward to Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.” (33:21)

2. Without a doubt, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a perfect model of human being in all areas of life, as a father, husband, cousin, brother, political leader, militant leader, imam, and friend.

3. It increases our love for our Prophet (pbuh). In fact it is a sign of our love that we study this seerah.

4. It educates us about the meaning of the Qur’an itself. We cannot understand the book of Allah without the seerah, like why a certain verse was revealed etc.

5. It raises our hopes and gives us optimism especially in the time of trouble and turmoil. We are not the only ones suffering rather it has happened before and in more extreme manners. Prophet (pbuh) was persecuted more then anyone in this world today.

In fact, Allah (swt) reminds Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Qur’an that he is being told of the prophets of before in order that his iman (faith) increases. Hence, if the stories of the previous prophets can strengthen our prophet’s iman, then imagine what the story of the best of mankind should do to our iman.

6. Seerah in and of itself is a miracle of the Prophet (pbuh). This is the point that not many Muslims appreciate. One of the greatest miracle that the Prophrt (pbuh) has been given is his own life.

Muhammad’s (pbuh) life shows that he indeed is a prophet of Allah and he had no motivation to lie. When we see his life style, how he lived, what he preached, the fact that he himself gave up everything he had, what possible motivation could he have?

Ibn hazm said, ‘If Prophet (pbuh) were only given the miracle of his seerah, he would not have needed any other miracle to prove his prophethood’.

One of the incidents which was a very strong incident was the death of his son, Ibraheem. Ibraheem was the only male son to be born after his prophethood (all other sons had died before). He lived a year and a half which is the sweetest age of a child and that is when Allah willed that his soul be taken. And the Prophet was left without any sons. That day the sun eclipsed. Men being the nature of superstious, took that as a ‘sign’, even the companion of the Prophet (pbuh) fell into this, saying, “Even the sun and the mood are crying because of the death of Prophet’s son.”

Imagine if Muhammad (pbuh) was not the prophet of Allah, what greater sign did he need to ‘prove’ his prophethood to mankind then the fact that a solar eclipse taking place within the hours after his son’s death. But he is the TRUE prophet of Allah. His duty was to proclaim the message to worship Allah and not himself. So he called the Muslims to the masjid, and he stood up to give a speech. He praised Allah and said:

“The sun and the moon are the miracles of Allah’s creation, they do not eclipse or show themselves because of the birth or death of any human being.”

What greater indication can there be of his prophet-hood!! He was not calling to his own aggrandizing, or his own following. No! He was calling the mankind to their true Lord and to His worship alone!

7. Seerah lays out a precise methodology of the revival of Muslim Ummah. How to bring about the honor and glory that once was. How did the Prophet (pbuh) start in the middle of the most illiterate society in the face of earth of that time and within two decades he controlled all of Arabia. And by another two decades, after his death, Muslims controlled all from Spain to china! How did that happen, what were the stages that it went though?

8. We learn how Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) trained the sahabah (companions). What was his tarbiyyah. How did they become the best of all nations? What methodologies did Prophet use in order the make them from the worst of the worst, from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high.

9. It brings about comfort and peace to the heart. Each person enjoys what his heart is conditioned to. If a person’s heart is evil, he enjoys evil. If a person’s heart is pure, he enjoys pure.

10. Studying Seerah is the primary way of defending the honor of our beloved Prophet (pbuh). Defending his honor is an obligation upon us. How can we defend him when we don’t even know him!

So to summarize the blessings of the seerah:

“It is the study of the best matters, of the best human being, of the best time frame and the study of the evolution of the best religion.”