Monday, March 31, 2008

Ali Shariati's "Expectations from the Muslim Woman"

Category: WEAK

Here's a rare political/philosophical addition. Dr. Ali Shariati is an interesting figure. An Iranian sociologist inclined to Socialism yet also prominent in the field of contemporary Islamic political theory. He drew inspiration from the last major political thinker of the Sunni world, Allama Iqbal and the famous Sufi poet, Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi (the former also being heavily inspired by the latter).

Here is the Wikipedia article on him:

There are two things to take into account.

1) He was inclined to Socialist views. Wikipedia: "Shariati's worldview was shaped by the Marxism and Third Worldism he encountered as a student in Paris - ideas that class war and revolution would bring about a just and classless society. He sought to translate these ideas into cultural symbols of Shiism that Iranians could relate to."

2) He was Shi'ite. However, his forays into historical politics are usually kept seperate from his modern political views even within a work, he just uses Ahl-ul-Bayt as role models. As such, one can take his preoccupation with the Prophet (saw)'s family and easily include most of the Sahaba with mentions of Hazrat Ali (ra), Fatima (ra), and their family to further reinforce his original ideas even better.

These two points while also being weaknesses, wind up serving as strengths. The political orientation that Socialism gave him let loose his amazing mind on Western capitalism/civilization in awe-inspiringly, potently meaningful words that still hold a transcending sort of spiritual grace. To call these reflections of his sociological imagination simply "enlightening" would be an understatement. Keeping that in mind, I have pasted relevant excerpts from his lecture, Expectations from the Muslim Woman here, carefully excising any Shi'ite-Sunni political conflicts (which weighed down most of the latter half of the work). I have grayed the paragraphs which I felt were leaning too much towards either socialism or Shi'ite beliefs. I made the font slightly larger to distinguish where the good stuff starts.

Prior to beginning my lecture, I would like to propose some practical suggestions. Just speaking about women's rights, women's personality and Islam's view of women is very different from realising the actual value which Islam gives to human beings, and to women in particular. Most often, we are satisfied by pointing out that Islam gives great value to science or establishes progressive rights for women. Unfortunately we never actually use or benefit from this value or these rights. We could benefit from these if we were to act according to the understanding which we could acquire of them.

A great many people are acquainted with Islamic views of society, social relations, women's rights, children's rights and family rights, but these same people then actually follow non-Islamic, ancient cultural traditions and do not dare to base their lives upon Islamic values. That is, they do not practice what they preach. Thus we always remain at the stage of talking. We must complete Islamic views and intellectual discussions with practical solutions. We must find a way whereby we reach these values and rights in practice. After proposing my views, the question should be asked as to how we can actually put them into practice. Throughout history, the problem of women's rights and their role has always been considered to be an intellectual problem. Thus, various religious, philosophical and social systems have reached varying views in this respect.

Unfortunately the crisis of the problem of women's liberation which began in the West and has been strengthened by the ruling superpowers in the 20th century has influenced all human societies, even closed traditional and religious societies. There are only a few cultural, traditional and even religious societies which have been able to properly stand against this flood. Such societies have frequently been confronted by a particular kind of modernism, which they have adopted under the guise of the liberation of women, either by rejecting old traditions or by undertaking reckless struggles. None of them have succeeded in standing against this attack. In such societies the newly-educated class, the pseudo-intellectuals, who are in the majority, strongly and vigorously welcome this crisis. They themselves even act as one of the forces that strengthen this corrupting and destructive transformation.

In traditional religious societies, including Islamic communities, neither group could stand against the attack of the modern view of the liberation of women as announced by the West. The pseudo-intellectual and modern class of Islamic and non-Islamic societies in the East considered a modern style of dress to be the symbol of modern civilization, progress and awareness. The old, traditional group passed through and confronted this crisis with non-scientific and illogical tactics due to their lack of experience. It is a general law that when there is a fire resulting from a spill of oil, if someone tries to hurriedly and unskilfully put the fire out, it only spreads more rapidly and more vigorously! Thus such unskilled struggles against the West have frequently been carried on in a manner that has created complex and differing reactions inside such societies. In this way they have paved the way for acceptance of Western ideas and innovations. There are very few societies who have been able to stand against, to adequately resist, and to show an effective reaction to the modern West by consciously selecting their own manner and type of lifestyle.


Then suddenly the phenomenon of sexual liberation appeared. Women realized that under the banner of sexual liberation, all of the inhuman limits, restrictions, and bonds which restrained them could be destroyed. Women welcomed this change wholeheartedly to the extent that sexual liberation entered the arena of science! What is normally designated as the scientific understanding of religion is not a pure scientific and scholastic understanding. It is rather a bourgeois cognition. After the Middle Ages, Science, which had been in the service of religion and the Church, was made to serve the contempory ruling bourgeois system. If nowadays Science appears to oppose religion and moral values, it is not really Science that opposes these, but it is the ruling bourgeoisie which does so, just as in the Middle Ages, it was feudalism which defended aristocratic social-moral traditions in the name of religion. It was Christianity which was, in fact, defending feudalism, and now it is Science which, in fact, defends the bourgeoisie. It is intellectuals - those who believe that economic and materialistic social foundations are the basis of all social transformations - who will more easily accept my argument and logic. Up to the appearance of Freud (who was one of the agents of the bourgeoisie), it was through the liberal bourgeois spirit that scientific sexualism was manifested. It must be taken into consideration that the bourgeoisie is always an inferior class. Although feudalism was an inhuman system, it nevertheless relied on an aristocratic elite and their moral values, even though these moral values led to a decline. The bourgeois mentality denies all of the elevated, exalted human values, and believes in nothing except money.

Therefore, a scholar or scientist who lives, thinks and studies during the bourgeois age, measures collective cultural and spiritual values (the sacrifices of mankind, the martyrdoms, struggles, literature, art etc.), with only the scale of naked economy, with production and consumption and with nothing else. One who studies psychology or anthropology, looking at all the dimensions and manifestations of the mystic spirit of human beings, that which religion believes to be the spirit of God and the manifestation of metaphysical virtues, sees only unsatisfied sexual appetites. Belief, culture, mental illnesses all are related to the struggle to release an imprisoned and condemned sexual complex. The bourgeois social scientist looks at all of the delicate human sensations and feelings (even a mother caressing her child, or the worship of the beloved by the lover, and all other issues) in relation to sex. Freud, a modern bourgeois, armed himself against all moral and human values, against all elevated and exalted manifestations of the human soul, and called it "realism". Freud's realism was not that of the bourgeoisie, but rather that of the scientist, scholar, philosopher, psychologist, and anthropologist who serve the bourgeois class, for all of these bring the human being down to the level of a sexual and economic animal! Thus, the bourgeoisie, by alienating all values and virtues, made only one religion, one school, one temple and one messenger for all the miserable men of this age; a religion for which all must be sacrificed. This messenger was named Freud. His religion was sex. His temple was Freudianism, and the first to be sacrificed on the threshold of this temple was woman and her human values.

We who live in the East always speak about Western colonization, but I would like to explain that this does not mean that Western colonization only colonizes or exploits the East. It is a world-wide power representing a class of people that exploit and colonize both the East and the West. If I had the opportunity, I would explain that this power has alienated the European masses even more than the Eastern masses. The European has been overtaken by colonialism's legacy of unemployment and misery and will continue to be in the future. They will continue to be victims of anti-colonialism. This ruling colonial power influences Eastern people in many ways, such as placing emphasis upon unimportant, sensational and emotional matters; spreading rumors, discrimination, and hypocrisy; and sowing discord and pessimism, to keep Easterners occupied with mundane and unimportant issues. By these means Easterners are kept in a state whereby they are unaware of what Western colonization is doing to them, unaware of their fate and destiny. These conspiracies then cause young Europeans, likewise, to become alienated and destructive, and commit more deception and crime. All of these actions are taken in the name of the colonization of Eastern countries without the Easterners realizing it...

For example, we all know about the widespread international police network and the extensive intelligence services which observe even the minutest movement anywhere in the world. And yet there are tons and tons of narcotics which are freely transferred from the East to the West. They are distributed and sold by huge international organizations and transferred through their factories, planes, ports, ships and offices. Why is it that the international police cannot prevent the distribution of narcotics among the younger generation in Europe and the U.S.A.? Why? Because the ruling powers prevent the young generation from understanding what is going on in Europe and the U.S.A. The ruling powers prevent them from caring about who rules the destiny and fate of humanity. These are the same ruling powers which colonize both West and East; only their methods and relationships differ. At any rate, in both East and West, human beings are victims of this inhuman world-wide power.

One of the most important tools that has been created by this ruling power from the intellectual, social, economic and moral point of view, is Freudian sexualism. This has become the communal social spirit of our age and has become the substitute for all values, virtues and liberties. It is not accidental that Freud's view of sexuality came to prominence after the Second World War and became the fundamental basis and foundation of art. Most motion pictures are based on only two elements; violence and sexuality. Both of these are legacies of the war. Motion pictures are one of the most important examples of the relationship of art to Western capitalism because film production is the only art which cannot exist and develop without the aid of capital. Thus it differs from the arts of painting, literature, poetry and music. A poor painter, writer, poet or musician can create the greatest work of art, but a film producer must have capital of millions of dollars to create a saleable film. Thus, this art is unconsciously supporting capitalism. The pseudo-intellectuals and pseudo-scholars of the third and fourth worlds suppose that Freudism is really the science of the present age. Modern scholars research and record Freud's works in a special way. It is interesting to note that in underdeveloped countries, under the guise of intellectuality and modern scientific psychology, scholars and scientists serve these universal powers free of charge. In the name of Science, they freely propagate inhuman ideas among the intellectuals and the younger generation. How miserable are these thinkers and intellectuals who serve the capitalistic ruling powers! They really believe that they are serving humanity, freedom, liberty and science!

Thus, in order for the superpowers of bourgeois scientism to dominate, both the East and the West must be sacrificed. They must become the victims of narcotics as well as Freudianism. From Scientism's point of view, every young person who is still human and who still shows sympathy and sensibility towards the destiny of his or her nation and other nations, must be caused to change his or her mind, must be made indifferent to his or her destiny and the destiny of others. In order to accomplish this, any means is permissible and advisable, whether it takes the form of science, art, sports, literature, history, tradition, or religion. It does not make any difference. One must be amused by any form. One must be removed from the scene so that one takes notice of nothing. The best way is scientific and mental stupifaction and the strongest factor, particularly among the younger generation, is sex! Why sex? Because it can be logically explained. It is new. It can easily and freely be accepted. It is the most important factor that can attract the young generation, who, in turn, are the most important victims of Freudianism. Thus all of their intellectual, human, artistic, social, political and financial investments must strengthen this School of thought. It is not strange to see how rapidly it progresses and develops.

It must be noted that there is another group who co-operates, albeit unconsciously, in a most effective way with this world-wide power, to achieve the aim of attracting the younger generation, particularly women, to Freudianism and to sex. This group unskilfully fights Freud's innovations by relying on old, strict, illogical and inhuman traditions to create restrictions and produce psychological complexes in the young generation, particularly women. You may want to know how they co-operate in this inauspicious endeavor.

They co-operate by pushing the young generation towards pessimism. While Freudianism invites woman out of the house, this old group tries to hold her inside by creating bonds, obligations, and restrictions, and by depriving her of all her human and religious rights, thus unconsciously preparing the way for Freudianism. It is in this way that they co-operate with Freud. Statistics show that the insidious invitation of Freudianism has been most successful in traditional societies and countries where women have been most deprived. Thus we cannot fight and confront this universal illness and danger only by relying on ancient traditions, customs, restrictions, bonds, etc. which deny rights to women. There is only one solution; to give human and Islamic rights back to women. Yes! This is the only way! If the human and Islamic rights of woman are given back to her, you have armed her with the weapon whereby she can personally resist and confront Freudianism. But if you deprive her of her rights, you insure that this satanic invitation will ensnare her. You have pushed her towards it.

The essential and important problem, which we have confused, is the distinction between culture and religion. Culture and religion have mixed with each other throughout history. They make up the collection of ideas, tastes, behavior, feelings, customs and legal relationships which are sacred and honored in a society. For example, in Islamic societies, Islamic rights, values, precepts and laws relating to the economy, the family, the community and even the social system have been mixed with local and tribal traditions formed over the centuries. These are certainly not related to Islam. They are only ancient tribal and local traditions and customs supported and protected by society. Thus an intellectual wishing to be released from such ancient, local, tribal traditions, must fight a combination of religion and custom in order to be free of both. Thus, both groups who defend religion and those who do not, must defend the mixture of ancient customs. Those who fight against traditions also confront the living and uplifting values of Islam. None of these groups, neither the progressive modern intellectuals nor the old traditional religious group, can distinguish between religion and culture. Why should they be separate and distinct from each other? Because we Muslims believe Islamic rights and laws are derived from the essence of humanity and the essence of nature, and are made by the Will of the Creator of the laws of nature. The laws of nature are stable and never grow old. Thus laws which are based on the general dignity of creation never grow old. On the contrary, social traditions based on production and consumption (in cultural systems where they are not fixed laws) have to change.

Religion, a living, permanent phenomenon which could be effective in the present age, can no longer play an effective role in the social life of a community, a society or a generation, because Religion has been captured by ancient, declining, ossified, deviated traditions, and thus can no longer effectively confront the danger of the superpowers. An aware intellectual is a historian, traditionalist, Islamologist, chronologist and sociologist whose most important cultural mission and responsibility is to distinguish Islam as a living faith, removed from the old traditional moulds which are not Islam but rather tribal customs, and to put the true Islamic ideas and faith into new moulds which match the necessities of the present age. The everlasting, living, moving, progressive Islamic contents must be protected, and put into new moulds which meet the challenges of each age. Based on my own experience, I have to say that even the most progressive, intellectual, rebellious and revolutionary thinker, when confronted by pure Islamic values and virtues, (once these values have been separated from inherited, tribal, ancient, ignorant customs), will be attracted to them and submit easily to them.

The visage of Fatima; the visage of the woman who existed, who spoke, who lived, who played a role in the mosque, in society, in the home training her children, in her family's social struggles and in Islam; a woman whose role should be made clear in all its dimensions to the present generation (not only to Muslims, but to any human being, man or woman, who has human feelings, who believes in human values, and who is faithful to real freedom) should be accepted as the best and most effective role to be imitated by the present generation. I myself have experienced this. I have seen so-called religious histories which lack religious feelings, which have no idea about religion, which even deny and oppose religion. When a proper picture of the Prophet's family, all of whom showed humility and submission, emerges, we feel that they are really living personalities. When I say that Islam is living, I mean it is a collection of living thoughts and ideas. It is alive because of its living social laws and rights. It is alive because exemplary, living personalities have been trained by it.

When the beautiful image of Hossein is presented, no human society, no matter what form of production it may have, no matter what social system it may use, no matter at what cultural stage it may be, can deny his unique and exceptional personality. No one can deny he is an eternal human symbol who should be followed, admired and praised. All accept him.


Such people are living. They are symbols of Islam. To be alive means to be effective, to show the right way, to guide humanity in whatever stage it may be, in whatever land it may live, and to whatever race it may belong.

But, unfortunately, customs and religion have been mixed together. This mixture of customs (which are changeable, and vary from one social, tribal, and local system to another, and which are related to and produced by economic and social relationships), and Islamic values (which are unchangeable, eternal and related to inspiration, revelation and the prophetic mission) is defended in the name of religion. The intellectual, seeing the deprivations and abuse of women on one hand and the semblance of social freedom, class advantages and sexual liberty on the other hand, becomes confused. When the religious group in a community (who are acquainted with religion and believe it), are unable to distinguish between the religion and the local, tribal, cultural customs, how can we expect young, modern intellectuals (who are willing to fight against ancient customs) to make a distinction between religion and customs? If the distinguished scholars of Islam, who are acquainted with Islamic truths, do not perform this task, then what organization, what power, will do so?

The Prophet of Islam, who was such an elevated personality and one before whom history is humbled, when he entered his home was kind, lenient and gentle. When his wives quarrelled with him, he left his home and made a place for himself in the storage area without showing any harsh reaction against them. This behaviour of the Prophet of Islam must be considered as an Islamic example, in contrast to the behaviour of a supposedly religious, but in reality an abusive, man. Such un-Islamic, abusive behaviour was based on an ethnic, cultural tradition. Therefore, distinctions should be drawn between ethnic, cultural customs and Islamic religious instructions. The Prophet's behaviour was so humane that it amazes us....

In the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, there was a porch used for social affairs. Each corner of it was devoted to a different social purpose. In one corner was the tent of Ruqiya who, at the Prophet's command, had established a tent inside the Prophet's mosque, Islam's place of prayer, to hospitalize, care for, and nurse the war-wounded. Sad ibn Maaz (the Islamic chief officer who was wounded in the Battle of Khandaq by a spear) was hospitalized there. This tradition of looking after the sick and nursing them, continued for many centuries afterwards in Islam. I personally read about this in Ibn Yamin's book in which he praised Aladdin, the governor of Sabzevar, and mentioned that Aladdin built a hospital in a very large paradise-like garden in a village near Sabzevar. Describing the hospital, Ibn Yamin says that there were beautiful girls, like angels, who looked after the patients and nursed them.

When there was such a hospital, with such staff, in a remote village near Sabzevar in the 7th and 8th Islamic centuries, there must certainly have been more important and well-equipped hospitals in larger cities like Rey, Tus, Balkh, Bukhara and Baghdad. But we see that our ethnically-oriented intellectuals announce that a European or American woman serving in the First World War established Nursing in the world. They deny and denigrate the nurses who worked in the early phase of Islam, because it is a religious tradition. Therefore, you can see how facts may be confused, how rights are abolished, how great talents are sacrificed in the name of religious traditions, and how many great religious values and Islamic virtues are forgotten in the name of intellectualism and opposition to traditional religious beliefs!

Thus the responsibility of those who understand both present society and Islam (and who live in the present century) is very heavy. They must bear the burden of many centuries of emotions, ideas and faith. It is not an easy task to travel such a long distance and discover the truth which exists beyond it.

As I mentioned, one of the most important factors that enables Islamic communities to stand against and resist the insidious invitation of pseudo-scientific Freudianism and its dreadful use of sexuality is the presence of exemplary religious models in a humane culture. In the same way that Western world-wide colonialization stupefies the minds of its own youth through narcotics, Western colonialism designs and promotes Freudianism and sexual liberty for Eastern countries. Western colonialism exports sexual liberty to the Eastern countries in exchange for their raw materials. In return for the oil, diamonds, gold, rubber, etc. which the West takes from the East, it gives them sexual liberty. When a young man or woman is introduced to sexual liberty, he or she will become pre-occupied with it and will not think about other things, such as the problems of freedom. And when such young people have matured, they will be so involved with installment payments, sexual obsessions, etc. that they will never come to look at or think about other problems! The most important weapon of Islamic youth against this insidious invitation from the West is the possession of symbols leading the mind to genuine spiritual experiences. The spiritual symbols made available to the present generation, which is unwilling to be enslaved either by hollow, conservative, anti-human, anti-Islamic ethnic traditions or by the stupefying culture of indecent Western modernism, are the best weapons against the West's attack.

The woman of the Third World must be one who selects, who makes a choice. She is the woman who neither accepts the inherited mould nor the imported novelty. She recognizes both of them. She knows and is aware of both of them. The one which is imposed upon her, in the name of tradition which she inherits, is not related to Islam at all but is related to the ethnic customs of the period of paternalism and even slavery. And the one which is imported from the West is not science, not humanity, not freedom and not liberty. It is not based on sanctity and respect for women at all. Rather it is based on the low tricks of the bourgeoisie, stupefying consumerism and mindless self-indulgence. She wants to select, to choose, but what role-model should she choose? She wants neither the model of the traditional, strict woman, nor the model of the modern degraded woman. She wants the face of a Muslim woman. Fortunately both the material and history are available to construct this third figure. And even more authentic than history, more logical than scientific arguments are the objectively exemplary personalities who are symbols from our Islamic history....


Thus it is sufficient for any intellectual woman to read a book about Fatima (or about other distinguished Islamic women like Khadija or Zeinab), to know these figures and compare them with figures who are introduced in the name of modernism. When the Prophet migrated to Madinah, Fatima bore the difficulties of the period of migration. Even in marrying Ali, she showed social commitment. Any women comparing Fatima with women who are introduced through modern magazines will recognize significant differences and reach the proper and inevitable conclusions. Therefore the most important duty of the aware, responsible, writers and preachers is to introduce these figures clearly, enthusiastically, responsibly and accurately, to the present generation, thus holding up the most efficient, responsible, humane role-models, to defend against and resist the West's attack.


Thus when a woman, a thinking and responsible, committed woman, sees such heroics from a woman who belonged to Fatima's family, she understands where she must look, how she must be. She realizes that a woman of any epoch and any century can emulate this model. These are the values that will not change or grow old, nor do they depend upon the customs of the social, cultural or economic systems. These are stable and permanent values which will be destroyed only when there is no longer any humanity in existence.

At this point, I'd recommend reading the previously posted Stories of Sahabi Women.

Obeying the Prophet (saw), Moar Quotes

Category: SOUND

On obeying the Holy Prophet (saw):

"And it behoves not a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should exercise their own choice in the matter concerning them. And whoso disobeys Allah and His Messenger, surely, strays away in manifest error."
-Qur'an (33:36)

"Whomever obeys the Messenger has surely obeyed Allah."
-Qur'an (4:80)

"Whomever disobeys Allah and his Messenger, and steps beyond the limits, Allah will cause him to enter the fire, in it shall he abide, and he shall have an abasing chastisement."
-Qur'an (4:14)

"Whomever obeys Allah and his messenger; Allah will admitehim in the gardens beneath which rivers flow; and whomever turns away, Allah will chastise him with a painful chastisement."
-Qur'an (48:7)

"If only we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger!"
-Qur'an (33:66)

"O you who believe! Do not step ahead of Allah and his Messenger. Surely Allah is Hearing, all knowing."
-Qur'an (49:1)

"If anyone contends with the Messenger even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that becoming to men of Faith, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell,- what an evil refuge!"
-Qur'an (4:115)

"But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you (O’ Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept them with full submission."
-Qur'an (4:65)

Sufyaan Ath-Thawree (ra), said: "The excellence of knowledge is due only to the fact that it causes a person to fear and obey Allaah, otherwise it is just like anything else." [Related by ibn Rajab]

"In the West, they say that love is a madness that ends with marriage. But in Islam, we say that love is a madness that only begins with marriage."
-Shaykh Ahmad Talal

Abu Sa’id and Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with them both) narrate that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Whoever has a child, he should give him a good name and teach him how to read and write. And when he matures, he should marry him off. When he matures and the father does not marry him off, then if the boy commits a sin, the sin will be on the father.” (Shu’ab al-Iman of al-Bayhaqi)

Umar ibn al-Khattab and Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with them both) narrate that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “It is written in the Tawrah that: Who’s daughter reaches the age of twelve years and he fails to marry her off, then if she commits a sin, the sin will be on the father.” (ibid. Also see: Mishkat al-Masabih, 2/939, no. 3139)

"I will mislead them, and I will create in them false desires (false hopes); I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and to deface the (fair) nature created by Allah."
-Shaitan, from Qur'an (4:119)

“Know that Sufism is compliance with Allah’s command and avoidance of His prohibitions, externally and internally, with regard to what pleases Him, not what pleases you.”
-Qutb al-Maktum Sayyid Abu Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Tijani

Ibne Abba(ra) narrates: Rasulullah (saw), on seeing the Ka'ba said (with over whelming joy and fondness): La ilaha illallah (O Ka'bah!) how Atyab (superlative degree of being pure and clean) you are, and how Atyab is your fragrance, and how great is your honour! (But) the honour of a Mu'min (believer) is far exceeding yours. Indeed, Allah (sw) has made you respectable; like wise the wealth, the blood, and the honour of a Mu'min has been made respectable. And (because of this respect, Allah has) forbidden to suspect (a Mu'min without reason) of wrongdoing. [Tabarani and Majma-uz-Zawaid]

The Prophet (saw) said, "Whoever has (the following) four characters will be a hypocrite, and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy until he gives it up. These are: (1 ) Whenever he talks, he tells a lie; (2) whenever he makes a promise, he breaks it; (3) whenever he makes a covenant he proves treacherous; (4) and whenever he quarrels, he behaves impudently in an evil insulting manner."

Some famous Sufis/scholars of the subcontinent:

Regarding Dr. Abdul Hai Arifi (ra) (shaykh to Mufti Taqi Usmani):

"Shaykh Dr Abdul-Hai (RA)'s wife wrote about her husband that during their 55 years of marital life he NEVER asked her for anything including a cup of tea. She (RA) said, "In extreme cases when he was too tired and wanted tea he would say, "Are you in the mood for some tea?" She continues that in the beginning she never understood this, so many times she'd just reply "No not really, I'm OK" and he would just drop the subject."

Regarding Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (ra):

After I had written Tafsir Bayan al-Qur'an (his unique Urdu exegesis of the Noble Qur'an) an Englishman met me very eagerly. He asked, “How much money did you get for this work?” I informed him that I had obtained nothing. Expressing surprise, he said “Then what benefit did you get?” I replied, “Here in this world my Muslim brethren benefit from this work and in the hereafter is the pleasure of the true Lord.

Hakim al-Ummah Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanwi was the most prolific author of his time. Some one thousand or so works are attributed to him but he did not use any of his books as a means of income.

There are countless incidents from the life of Hakim al-Ummah which illustrate his strict adherence to the law of countries/authorities, even if they be non-Islamic countries. One of our teachers in the Jami'ah Dar al-'Ulum (Karachi) once related an incident from the life of Hakim al-Ummah to illustrate this. A khalifah-e-mujaz (and not 'majaz' as many tend to say!) of Hakim al-Ummah once came to Thana Bhavan to visit him. He had travelled by train from another part of India to get to the khanqa in Thana Bhavan. When he met Hakim al-Ummah, the latter, when asking the former of how he was etc, asked him how old his son who was accompanying him was. The khalifah replied that he was x number of years old. Hakim al-Ummah then asked him whether he had bought him an adult's ticket for the train journey. He replied in the negative justifying it (as many people would) by saying that though the boy was not eligible to travel on a child's fare due to his age, he appeared to be a child. Upon hearing this Hakim al-Ummah exclaimed "Inna lillahi wa inna ..." and stripped the khalifah of his khilafah or ijazah in suluk (tasawwuf).

There is another incident regarding Hakim al-Ummah when he once went to a train station in order to board a train, his luggage turned out to be beyond the allowable weight limit. The station master, knowing very well who Hakim al-Ummah was, assured him that it did not really matter as he (the station master) was giving him permission to take the overweight luggage on board the train. Hakim al-Ummah refused to do so asking him that though he was helping him on this journey, would he (the station master) help him (Hakim al-Ummah) in the ultimate journey - the journey of the hereafter?

These incidents are illustrations of sublime taqwa in a modern context - when you know that no one except Allah knows that you are committing a wrong and it is easy for you to justify that wrong. May Allah ta'ala bless us with such taqwa and sincerity and honesty. Àmin

Regarding Shah Waliullah (ra):

“The final will of this humble servant of Allah is that always hold tightly to the Qura’an and Sunnath in your beliefs and acts. Regularly evaluate yourself against them. Read them regularly and if you can’t, then find someone who can and listen to at least a couple of pages everyday.”

"Once on a full moon night the Prophet (SAAS) asked Fatima (RA) whether she had noticed how beautiful the full moon on that night was; In reply she said that she had considered it against haya to look at the moon as there would have been hundreds of gazes of non mahrams on the moon that night!"
-From SunniForum (unverified by me)

"If two people are walking on the road and one of them is carrying a huge bundle of money in his pocket while the other has nothing , it is obvious that the one carrying money is going to walk extremely cautiously , avoid going into crowds etc, will go on checking his pockets and would like to pass unnoticed till he reaches his destination safely. On the other hand the man having nothing to lose walks in a carefree manner, going wherever he wants, not bothering about who pushes or nudges him etc. etc. Same is the case with our imaan. Since we as muslims possess this wealth so our gait and decisions are not carefree like those who do not have this wealth. We at all times make our decisions such that our imaan does not fall into danger."
-From a sister on SunniForum

"If one feels alone and isolated from friends, family or co-workers, let him reflect on the loneliness of Yusuf in the ditch.

If one feels the heat of tests, trials and challenges, let him reflect on the fire that engulfed our father Ibrahim (as)

If a believer feels sad and overcome by the anxiety of sins let him reflect on the story of those who Allah forgave at the end of Surah Taubah."
-From SunniForum

"When Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala ordered the Pen to write, it asked, "What shall I write?" and Allah said, "Write LA ILAHA ILLALLAH." The Pen wrote "LA ILAHA ILLALLAH" for seventy-thousand of Allah's years and then it stopped. One of Allah's days is equal to one thousand of our years. Then Allah ordered it to write again, and the Pen asked, "What shall I write?" Allah answered, "Write Muhammad-un RASUL-ALLAH." And the Pen said, "O Allah, who is this Muhammad that You have put Your name next to his name?" Allah said, "You must know that if it were not for Muhammad I would not have created anything in Creation." So the Pen wrote Muhammadun RASUL - ALLAH for another seventy-thousand years."
-From a blog (unverified by me)

"It is vain for eloquent atheists to talk of the great truths that will be revealed once we see free thought reign. We have seen it end. It has no more questions to ask; it has questioned itself. You cannot call up any wilder vision than a city in which men ask themselves if they have any selves. You cannot fancy a more skeptical world than that in which men doubt if there is a world…Free thought has exhausted its own freedom. It is weary of its own success. If any eager freethinker now hails philosophical freedom as the dawn, he is only like the man in Mark Twain who came out wrapped in blankets to see the sun rise and was just in time to see it set…We have no more questions to ask. We have looked for questions in the darkest corners and on the wildest peaks. We have found all the questions that can be found. It is time we gave up looking for questions and began looking for answers. "(1990 Image edition, p. 37)
-G.K. Chesterton

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ten Ways To Increase Love of Allah

Category: SOUND

By Imam ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah
Taken from Madarij as-Saalikeen, Vol. 3, pp. 17-18

Imam Abu Abdullah, Shamsuddin Muhammad, ibn Abu Bakr, ibn Ayyub, ibn Sa`d, ibn Hurayz, al-Jawziyyah, al-Hanbali mentioned ten causes that result in Allah's love for His slave and the slave's love for his Lord. [These ten are:]

First, reciting the Qur’aan while pondering over its meanings and what is meant by it.

Second, getting closer to Allah by performing voluntary deeds after completing obligatory deeds. This is as is stated in a Hadeeth Qudsi: "My slave continues getting closer to Me by performing voluntary deeds until I love him." [Saheeh al-Bukhari]

Third, continual remembrance of Allah under all circumstances, with one's tongue, heart and actions. The extent of one's love of Allah is determined by this.

Fourth, giving precedence to what He loves over what you love when you are overtaken by your desires.

Fifth, the heart being avid of Allah's Names, and Attributes and the heart roaming in that garden of knowledge.

Sixth, observing Allah's kindness, goodness and bounties, both hidden and open.

Seventh, and this is the most wonderful, the heart being soft, subdued and meek before Allah.

Eighth, being alone with Allah during the time when the Lord descends during the last portion of the night while reading His Book and ending that by asking for forgiveness and repenting.

Ninth, sitting with the beloved and sincere, benefiting from the most fruitful of their speech. And not to speak unless speaking is more beneficial and you know that it will improve your state and be beneficial to others.

Tenth, remaining away from every cause that comes between the heart and Allah.

These ten causes take the lovers to the station of true love and bring them to their Beloved.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Random Anecdotes (Hadiths, Quotes, Stories)

Category: SOUND

“Has the time not come for the believers that their hearts become tender for the remembrance of Allah and for the Truth which has been revealed?”
-A quote of a verse from the Qur'an that is heard often in various forms in stories from and about old saints and pious Muslims at the time of the reawakening of a person's Iman.

"Say : The truth is from your Rabb [Lord]. Therefore, whoever wishes should accept Iman [faith] and whoever wishes should commit kufr [disbelieve]."
-Qur'an, Surah al-Kahf

"Do not be misled by a person's prayers and fasting look to his sincerity and Wisdom."
-Hazrat Amir-ul-Mumineen Umar Ibn Khattab (ra)

"The doors of success have been closed upon the creation because of six things: Their busying themselves with the blessings of Allaah instead of thanking Allaah for them, their desire for knowledge while they abandon actions, the hastiness to sin and delaying repentance, the deception of having righteous companions and not taking them as examples, the turning away of the dunya from them while they chase it, and the approach of the afterlife towards them while they turn away from it."
-Shaqeeq Ibn Ibrahim

"The understanding of Islam in the courtroom is also clouded by the crisis of authority in the religion itself. For centuries, the Koran was rarely translated out of Arabic, giving authority to those—usually religious scholars, or ulama—with command of the language. In the past half century or so, the Koran has been more widely translated—or “interpreted,” since Muslims don’t believe it can be literally translated—and that has opened its interpretation to the layperson. The Internet, meanwhile, allows anyone to disseminate texts, opinions, and fatwas—and gain a following. And clerical authority has waned as places like Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, the heart of Islamic learning, have put themselves in the service of secular state interests."

"The debates within Islam also concern who has the right or authority to do the interpreting. Men like bin Laden—who lacks religious credentials—now issue or order up a fatwa. Extremists proclaim their right to interpret Islamic texts. And clerics no longer have the authority to repudiate such interpretations."

“A falcon came to me, but I did not catch it. Thereafter, I spent 40 years trying to catch a falcon, but in vain.”
-Shaykh Abi Muhammad Hariri (ra)

“Riches does not mean having a great amount of property; real wealth is self-contentment.”
-Prophet Muhammad (saw) (Bukhari)

“Sometimes one may utter a word without thinking whether it is right or wrong and because of that he may slip down in the Fire as far away as the East is from the West.”
Hadith No. 837, Narrated by Hazrat Abu Huraira (ra) Sahih Bukhari Book 81, Chapter 23

Hadrat Saad bin Abi Waqas [radhiallaahu anhu] said, "O Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] make dua that Allah Ta'ala, makes me of those whose prayers will be answered." Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] replied: "O Saad keep your food pure and halaal and you will become of those whose prayers are answered. I swear by Him, in whose hand Muhammed[sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]'s life lies, that when a man casts one morsel of Haraam food into his stomach, The righteous deeds of his shall not be accepted for forty days."

Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (rahmatullahi alayh) said:
“I heard from Hadhrat Ja`far Saadiq (rahmatullahi alayh) that safety has almost disappeared so much so that searching for it has become obscure. If there is safety in anything, it is in anonymity. If it is not in anonymity then it is in solitude, but this is not equal to anonymity. If it is not in solitude then it is in silence, but this is not equal to solitude. If it is not in silence, then it is in the discourses of the pious people of bygone times. A fortunate man is he who finds solitude in his heart.”

During the Battle of Bait Lihya, the Muslim Commander Zarrar(ra) was captured by the Byzantine forces. Word was sent to Khalid Bin Walid (ra) for further help.

Leaving the command of Damacus to Abu Ubaida (ra), Khalid (ra) set off to Bait Lihya with his mobile contingent of 4000 horsemen. As Khalid (ra) approached the battle-field, he saw a muslim rider with a masked face gallop off towards the Byzantine front. This warrior would kill a number of the enemy soldiers, and then withdraw. He would after some time pounce on the enemy again and kill everyone who came his way. He was striking fear in the ranks of the enemy soldiers.

Khalid (ra) was struck by the bravery of this warrior, and asked him to identify himself. The Warrior however, dashed to the front again. As he returned from the attack after killing a number of the enemy, Khalid (ra) wanted the warrior to halt and identify himself. The Warrior signaled to Khalid (ra) with his hands not to ask him his identity.

Khalid (ra) shouted "I ask In the name of Allah, oh courageous one who are you?" From behind the mask on the warriors face a female voice was heard " I am Khaula , sister of Zarrar (ra). I have come to liberate my brother from the clutches of the enemy, by Allah I shall not rest until he is freed." Saying this she plunged straight in to the ranks of the enemy again.

The Muslims gained a substantial victory and Zarrar (ra) was liberated, and Khaula (ra) was highly praised for her bravery, by Khalid Bin Walid (ra).
The above is from "Life of Hazrat Umar Farooq (RA)" by Prof Masud ul Hasan.
A muslim traveler arrived at the court of a Pious King, he informed the king as to how his people were being oppressed by a tyrant, he begged the King for assistance. The King being deeply moved, ordered a battalion to be sent, The Commander put in charge was the Kings oldest son the Prince.

A few weeks later news arrived that the Muslims had been defeated, and that the Prince who was in charge of the forces, had actually abandoned his own troops and was killed fleeing from battle.

The King was deeply grieved,and felt humiliated, not only were the troops defeated but his son had committed a grave sin by fleeing from the battle,and therefore dying an accursed death. He went and informed the Queen as to what had happened. The Queen replied " Do not be grieved, for the news you heard is untrue. The King said "The entire Kingdom is talking about it,and I have received news from the front line confirming you're sons cowardly demise, woman you seem to be blinded by Motherly love." Saying this the King angrily marched away.

However a few days later a messenger arrived confirming the Queens belief, the Prince with his forces had defeated the enemy. The earlier news had been enemy propaganda.

The King being very overjoyed and surprised, asked the Queen how she had been so certain that the earlier news had been false. She said " Oh my beloved, it was not motherly love that caused me to deny that story. When our son was a child, before I used to breast feed him I would do Wudu ,and as he was suckling I would recite the Darood Ibrahimi. I had firm conviction that a child who had drank milk, that had the sacred names of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), and his father Ibrahim(Alaihi Salaam) recited with it. Could not betray his deen."

Paradise indeed does lie at the feet of such pious mothers, and such is the power of Darood.
The above was transcribed from an Urdu lecture by Maulana Masud.
There was once a pious old maid servant, who worked for the King. One day she was cleaning the Royal bedroom, feeling extremely tired, she looked at the Kings bed, covered in silken, sheets, and pillows stuffed with feathers. She thought to herself I wonder what it feels like to, sleep in such a luxurious bed. She decided that she would take a short nap, after all who was going to see her, The King and his courtiers were away on a hunting trip.

The bed was so comfortable that she fell a sleep straight away. Lo and behold five minutes later the King returned, entering his chambers, he was extremely angry, to find the old maid servant asleep in his bed. She apologised profusely, "Your Majesty I am sorry, I had only laid to rest for five minutes." The King was in no mood to listen he said "old Woman for sleeping five minutes in the bed of the King, and transgressing the boundaries, the punishment is fifty lashes, how dare you behave so impudently."

The poor old Woman was strung up in chains, the King ordered one of his officers to carry out the punishment. As she was being lashed, she burst out in laughter, the King getting angrier told his officer to strike her even harder, but the more she was struck the greater her laughter.

The King and his courtiers were perplexed by the Old maid servants behavior .
He said " Old woman you're being punished yet you laugh uncontrollably, truly you are insane." The old woman replied, "you're Majesty the reason I am laughing is that a thought came in to my head as I was being struck. For being neglectful, and becoming enamored with the charms of the Duniya, and sleeping in the bed of the King, for just five minutes my punishment is fifty lashes. You have spent you're entire life in neglect, and transgression, what will be the punishment , for your impudence when you stand before the King of Kings on the day of reckoning. She further said, " truly the one who has fallen in love with the charms of such a disloyal maiden as the Duniya is the one who is insane." Upon hearing this the king was struck with fear and started trembling profusely.
A saint commented:

“A man cannot save himself from the snares of the nafs by his own efforts. He is saved by the aid of Allah Ta`ala, from the evil of the nafs.”

Seek comfort from Allah. Do not attempt to seek comfort without Allah. Whoever derives comfort from Allah, has been saved. Whoever sought comfort by abandoning Allah, was destroyed.

The heart derives rest in the Thikr of Allah. Searching for rest besides Allah is a sign of perpetual ghaflat (obliviousness).

Sheikh Abu Abdullah Muhammad Bin Ali Tirmizi Hakeem (rahmatullah alayh) said: “The Thikr of Allah moistens the heart and cultivates tenderness in it. When the heart is bereft of Thikrullah, the heat of the nafs overtakes it; the fire of lust reaches it; the heart becomes barren and hard, and all the limbs refrain from obedience to Allah Ta`ala.”

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Fadhl (rahmatullah alayhi)said: “Lamentable is the condition of the person who goes through numerous difficulties and hardships travelling through the wilderness to reach his family at his home, but he does not cut asunder his nafsaani desires to reach the heart in which the signs of his Friend (Allah Ta`ala) are manifest.”

Sheikh Abu Turaab Bakshi (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Whoever turns away from Allah Ta`ala after being engrossed with Him (with His Remembrance), he will immediately become involved in the Wrath of Allah Ta`ala.”
A man asked a buzrug to teach him something which will benefit him. The buzrug said: “Flee from people and dissociate from them. You will then meet Allah Ta`ala. Your union with Him will then be perfect.”

The man asked for more naseehat. The buzrug said: “Take hold of Sidq (truth) and taqwa (piety); abandon ujub (vanity) and riyaa (show); be dominant over the nafs and its desires. You will then reach your goal.”
"May Allah Ta`ala bestow on us the wealth of fikr (reflection) and the affection of ibrat (i.e. to take lesson). May He bestow success to us in the love of khalwat (solitude) and keep us ever alert against ghaflat (indifference, obliviousness)."
A former Majusi (Fire-worshipper) narrated the following story to a Buzrug.

“I had purchased a slave girl. I paid a huge sum for her on account of her intelligence , beauty and piety. She devoted herself to the worship of our god (the fire). I was enamored and in love with her.

One day a man of your religion (i.e. a Muslim) came to our home and recited something from your Scripture (Qur`aan). When the slave girl heard the recitation, she shrieked loudly. Her loud shriek instilled fear in us. She lapsed into a state of bewilderment. She would not answer when we spoke to her. She abandoned us and our god. She abstained from our food. During the night she would face the Qiblah and pray like you.

I sternly prohibited her, but she ignored all my warnings. The glitter of her beauty faded and her entire condition underwent a complete change. No longer did we derive any benefit from her, nor did we succeed in bringing any change in her.

One day when I came home, I saw the slave girl sitting on a chair and lecturing on the thikr and unity of Allah, and warning my family against fire-worship. She was praising Jannat. I was shocked to see her reviling our religion. I consulted with a friend who advised me to give a bag with some money to her for safe-keeping. I should then remove the bag from her custody without her knowledge. When she will obviously be unable to produce the bag on demand, I will then have a valid reason for beating her. He advised me to give her a thorough beating.

I followed the advice of my friend. When she had become engrossed in Salaat as had become her practice, I surreptitiously removed the bag. She was completely unaware. I then appeared and demanded the bag. She quickly went to the place where she had put the bag and brought it to me. I was dumb-founded. I could not believe it as I, myself, had taken away the bag. I now realized the truth of her religion. I had no doubt that the Deity she worshipped was indeed Almighty. We all- my friend, my family and I- embraced Islam.

We set the slave girl free in fulfillment of her desire. She spent her days in concealment absorbed in the love and worship of Allah Ta`ala.”
Good lesson:
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Ahnaaf (rahmatullah alayh) relates that Isa Bin Yunus Misri (rahmatullah alayh) said to him:

“In a certain place you will find an old man and a young man. Both are perfect in their contemplation of Allah (i.e. muraqabah). If you just cast a glance on them, it will benefit you throughout your life. Do meet them.”

I journeyed to the wilderness where the two Buzrugs were. I was hungry and thirsty and I had nothing to protect me against the intense heat. I found them both sitting, facing the Qiblah, absorbed in contemplation. I greeted them and spoke, but they did not respond. I persisted and begged them to say something.

The old man said: ‘O son of Ahnaaf! How little intelligence have you! You are free of encumbrances, hence you came to disturb us.’

He then lowered his head and became absorbed in contemplation. I, however, remained in front of them. We performed Zuhr and Asr. My hunger and thirst disappeared. I said to the young Buzrug: ‘Give me some naseehat which will benefit me.’ He said: ‘We are in a calamity. Our tongues lack the ability for naseehat.’

I stayed 3 nights and 3 days by them. None of us ate anything during this time. On the third day as I resolved to speak to them, the young man said: ‘Be in the association of a man who reminds you of Allah when you look at him and you gain admonition (naseehat) from his actions, not from his speech.’ When I again looked both had instantaneously disappeared from my sight.”
After a pious lady had died, her friend saw her in a dream. She saw the deceased lady seated on a throne. Below the throne was a utensil of Noor (celestial light) which was covered. She asked her deceased friend about the covered utensil. The deceased replied:

“In it is the gift of my husband, which he sent for me last night.”

The next day the woman related her dream to the deceased’s husband. He said: “I had recited the Qur`aan Shareef and bestowed the thawaab of it to her.”

Even a dog is better than some of our rulers today:
Once a dog found a dead animal on the outskirts of the town. He returned to the town and brought 20 dogs with him. All the dogs devoured the dead animal while the leader sat one side looking on. When they all had eaten and left, there remained only some bones. The leader came and ate whatever had remained.
Once Hadhrat Saalik Mirri (rahmatullahi alayh) was passing through a qabrustan on a Friday night. He sat down by a grave and fell asleep. He dreamt that the Ahl-e-Quboor were emerging from their graves. Soon they gathered and sat in a circle talking amongst themselves. A youth in dirty clothes and with a sad countenance was sitting aloof.

Suddenly a group of Angels descended carrying trays of Noor. They distributed these to all those who were seated in the circle. Each one returned to his/her grave with his/her tray. Only the youth received nothing. He was shattered with grief. As he was about to enter his grave, Hadhrat Saalih exclaimed: “O servant of Allah! Why are you sad? What is happening here?”

The youth said: “The trays contain the gifts of Sadaqah , Dua, Tilaawat, etc. which the living have sent for their dead relatives and friends. Every Jumuah these gifts reach the dead. But, I have a mother who has remarried. She is engrossed in the world and has completely forgotten me, hence there is no gift for me.”

Hadhrat Saalih enquired about the whereabouts of his mother. The youth informed him in the dream of his mother’s exact address. In the morning Hadhrat Saalih hastened to the address. From behind a screen he explained the plight of the youth to his mother. She broke down crying confessing her error. She resolved never to forget her son again. She gave Hadhrat Saalih 1000 dirhams requesting him to distribute it as Sadaqah so that the thawaab is transmitted to her son.

The next Friday Hadhrat Saalih again passed through the same qabrustan. He set next to a grave and fell asleep. In a dream the same scene was re-enacted. However this time he saw the youth dressed in beautiful garments. He too had received his mother’s gifts. He approached Hadhrat Saalih and said: “O Saalih! May Allah Ta`ala reward you wonderfully. The gifts have reached me.”

Hadhrat Saalih: “Do you (the Ahl-e-Quboor) recognise Jumuah?”

The youth: “Yes. Even the birds know Jumuah. When Jumuah arrives they sing: ‘As salaam, As salaam O Day of Jumuah!’

O Saalih! May Allah Ta`ala repeatedly bestow the Barkat of Jumuah to us.”