Saturday, January 26, 2019

Shafa’ah: 'Intercession' in Islam

A. Dead Saints Cannot Intercede 

Intercession (Shafa’ah) in Islam takes many forms. But unfortunately, some people have wrongly interpreted the verses of the Holy Quran to mean that dead saints or prophets can intercede for human beings while they are still alive on earth. And that is why they go forward for saint-worship, by setting up Dargas (mausoleums) of saints everywhere.

[Huzur (atba) then related about an important tabligh he did during the course of this week with a very rich Muslim family who lost everything, yet whenever they incurred losses, instead of turning to Allah, they approached Mullahs, Mawlawis. The latter misguided them, and took fees upon fees from them supposedly to pray for them and instead of advising this family to turn to Allah, they preferred to direct them to pray to dead Pirs on Dargas. Huzur (atba) said that when he heard about this and also about a friend of his who donated lots of money for the construction of a Darga, when he preached to him the right teachings of Islam, guiding him to the worship of Allah, all these people (including his friend) were annoyed. Huzur (atba) said that he had to deliver his message, whether they were annoyed or not, because he himself was very angry (not the fighting type of angry) because they have deviated from the way of Allah to put their trust in others besides Allah. And they wonder why they were still incurring so much losses! They kept on losing their wealth like running water, and those Mullahs were enriching themselves while this Muslim family were getting poorer and accumulating debts. These people did not even pray their five daily prayers, and despite that there is a mosque near their place, they prefer to frequent all kinds of Dargas! They don’t even know what is Tahajjud prayer. Huzur (atba) said that had this family turned sincerely to Allah, Allah would have helped them, but they chose others over Him.]

B. The Requirement of Divine Approval

It is very important to understand that Allah is the Best Interceder/ Intercessor for His servant. He is the Best Being who can waive away all the sins or faults of someone, forgive him and make him taste His pleasure and paradise. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “Say: ‘To Allah belongs all intercession’.” (Az-Zumar, 39: 45).

Moreover, Allah shall allow some of His special servants on the Day of Judgement to intercede in the favour of His other servants. The Holy Quran calls our attention to it in the following verse: “And they say, ‘The Most Merciful has taken a son.’ Exalted is He! Rather, they are [but] honoured servants. They cannot precede Him in word, and they act by His command. He knows what is before them and what will be after them, and they cannot intercede except on behalf of one whom He approves. And they, for fear of Him, are apprehensive.” (Al-Anbiya 21: 27-29).

Saturday, January 19, 2019

The 'Ruh' and the 'Nafs': A Commentary

The 'Ruh' and the 'Nafs'

Today, it gives me great pleasure to present before you all a very important explanation on the “Ruh” and the “Nafs” which several of my disciples have respectfully asked me to give. This is indeed a very important and deep subject which I specially delivered to you some years back, specifically during the Mubahila period with Abdul Ghaffar Janbah and his disciple Mansoor Ahmed dated 15 August 2011 and which I shall put again before you during the course of my sermon.

Very often, when calling attention to one’s ego, we refer to the “nafs” of that person being manifested, which is partly true in the fact that its real meaning is that its “Nafs-e-Ammara” (Soul prone to passion, ego and also all kinds of evils) is being manifested. The words “Nafs-e-Ammara” is shortened to “nafs” to reflect the ego of man in certain contexts.

In the Arabic language, more specifically in the Quranic context, the word Nafs refers to the human soul and also to self-attribution, or self-identification whether used by humans, angels or Allah Himself. We say: I, Me and Myself, the three reflexive pronouns used by the Creator Himself, his angels and us, humans.

For example, Allah says in the Holy Quran:

Wazkur Rabbaka fee nafsika…Meaning: “And remember your Rab (Lord/ Allah) inside yourself...” [Al-Arraf 7: 206]

Moreover, Allah says in the Holy Quran, addressing to Hazrat Musa (as): Wa-sh-tana’tuka li-Nafsi Meaning: I have chosen you (Istana’tuka) for Myself (Li-Nafsi).” [Surah TaHa 20: 42]

Referring to this specific verse, we see that Allah has used the key word “Nafs” to define Himself, yet we all know that the ego of Allah is egoless. The Self of Allah is selfless. It is beyond creation and any created thing, yet Allah says: “Li-Nafsi” (for Myself). Allah verily does not account to anyone. When He manifests His words and emphasizes them on His own importance, we cannot and should never dare to call Him arrogant or that He is such a Being which is filled with Himself (Vain or Proud). God Forbid! He is the only Being who can do whatever He likes without accounting to anyone.

That is why, we are the creatures and He is the Creator, and we cannot also create anything without His prior permission. He gives knowledge to whomsoever He wants and removes knowledge and the ability to think to whomsoever He wants.

Moreover, the word “Ruh” is a treasure of knowledge. The “Ruh” is principally linked to the spiritual essence of man and his faculty to receive Divine Revelations, to perfect himself spiritually and physically to become wholly apt to be called a Man of God (Allah), a Friend of God and His Representative on earth. That is why, Allah calls the Essence or Aura or Spirit of Divine Revelations, as Ruh-il-Qouddouss (Holy Spirit) [Al-Baqara 2: 88 & 254; Al-Maida 5: 111 & An-Nahl 16: 103], or Ruh’ul-Ameen (The Trustworthy Spirit) [Ash-Shu’ara 26: 194] in the Holy Quran.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

'Future Belongs to the Truly Humble'

Poverty, Silence and Faith

There are people who have higher status in the sight of Allah, those who are VVIPs (i.e. Very Very Important Persons). They love Allah and Allah loves them. They are people who are oppressed by men and are (crushed) under the domination of others. We must always treat these people well. 

This was the advice of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) to his representative, Mu’az bin Jabal (ra), as the governor of Yemen. It is reported that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) took the reins of Mu’az’s (ra) horse and gave him some advices. He (pbuh) urged him to beware of the curse of the oppressed! For there is no veil between this invocation and Allah. (Bukhari & Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “The supplication of the oppressed is answered, even if he is wicked for his wickedness is only against himself.” (Ahmad)

It is reported by Ibn Hibaan that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said that Allah (swt) will call the poor on the Day of Judgement and bring them into Paradise first without accountability. As for the rich and the chiefs, they will have to wait and then account (for their deeds). Our Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, “The poor will enter paradise five hundred years before the rich.” (Tirmidhi)

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, “Seek me among the poor and the weak. Truly, you are given victory and provided for on account of the poor and weak among you.” (Abu Dawud)

Hold patience: Avoid vain disputes 

Allah Ta’ala defends those who do not defend themselves. Self-defence is permitted, but the nobility of Islam teaches us to withdraw from discussions (vain discussions/ disputes) in silence. He who shows such nobility of soul, then Allah Ta’ala Himself defends himself.

Allah Ta’ala took the defence of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) with pigeon eggs and spider webs in the Cave of Thaur. Allah Ta’ala gave patience to the people of Moses. Allah says in the Holy Quran:

And We caused the people who had been oppressed to inherit the eastern regions of the land and the western ones, which We had blessed. And the good word of your Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel because of what they had patiently endured.” (Surah Al-Arraf, 7: 138)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Prophet Muhammad: The Perfect Human

A Role Model for Mankind

The Messenger of Allah, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) is certainly the most perfect man of all times. He is the perfect example of humanity and he is also the best and the seal of the prophets. The degree of his mercy is beyond compare and invaluable. He surpasses all men as an individual.

Allah says in the Holy Quran: “And We have not sent except as a giver of glad tidings and a Warner to all mankind, but most people do not understand.” (Surah Saba, 34: 29).

To better understand the degree of perfection of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh), the Seal of the prophets, one must first know the situation of his country, i.e. pre-Islamic Arabia, well before his advent on earth.

Long before the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the pagan Arabs who were idol worshipers lived in ignorance (Jahiliya) and discord. They were torn apart by tribal wars (i.e. wars/ fights between tribes) and lived under the rule of the powerful. Immorality invaded the society. It was everywhere; there was no faith, no law. Alcoholic drinks, games of chance, dancing, usury (i.e. the action or practice of lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest), prostitution, the killing of little girls - at a very young age; in short, the worst of cruelties and brutality were practiced. Moreover, they worshiped idols of different forms, forgetting the One True God, the God of their ancestors, Hazrat Ibrahim and Ismail (as). In the course of time, they abandoned the worship of Allah, and implored statues called Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and many others, believing that they (i.e. these false gods) had the capacity to give everything to them: children, healing, fortune etc.

When the general, physical, moral and spiritual situation of the Arabs and humanity as a whole reached the zenith (the peak) of decadence, then God the Almighty, Allah (swt) sent the most perfect and the most noble of the prophets in this world to bring back those humans who had become like animals towards humanity, morality and spirituality.

As a result, around the year 570 of the Christian era, a great little human being was born - Muhammad (pbuh), the Messenger of Allah. He lit by the Grace of his Unique Creator, Allah, the torch of piety and salvation. He broke the chains of this absurd (stupid) ignorance and provided the whole world with a beneficial message.

Muhammad (pbuh) was a man with a noble and exalted mission. His only mission was to unite men behind the worship of one God (Allah) and teach them the way to an honest and upright life according to the laws and commandments of God. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) took into account all stages of the life of man and governed human life from the cradle to death.