The Historical Significance of Ashura

Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan (Radiyallahu ‘anh) relates: I heard the Messenger of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) say:

“It is the day of ‘Ashura. Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has not made fasting obligatory for you. But I am fasting. He who likes to observe fast among you should do so, and he who likes not to observe it (does not have to) observe it.”

[Sahih Muslim]

Abu Qatada (Radiyallahu ‘anh) relates that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) said that the fast on the 10th of Muharram atones for the sins of the preceding year. [Sahih Muslim]

Abu Huraira (Radiyallahu ‘anh) reports that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) said that after Ramadan, the fasts of Muharram have the greatest excellence. [Sahih Muslim]

Alhamdulillah, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has blessed us to see another year.

The first month of this year is Muharram. In this month is an excellent day—the day of ‘Ashura—which falls on the 10th of Muharram. The Holy Prophet Read the rest of this entry »

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THE MODE OF BAY’T

The bay’t is enacted by the Shaikh taking into his right hand the right hand of the mureed (disciple). If the group contracting the bay’t is large, the Shaikh uses a length of cloth onto which each member of the group holds with his right hand. Ladies who contract the bay’t do so from behind a screen. A mahram of the lady should also be present at the bay’t ceremony. Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) said:

“Rasulullah (Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam) never touched the palm of a woman, but he would make the (pledge-bay’t) upon her. Upon having made the bay’t he would say. ‘Go! Verify, I have already made bay’t with you.’ ” (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu-Dawood)

It is for this reason that in entering ladies into the bay’t, the Masha-ikh do so verbally or by means of a cloth which is spread from the Shaikh to the lady behind the screen. This is the method of bay’t when in the presence of the Shaikh. Those who are not able to present themselves personally to the Shaikh could contract the bay’t by means of a letter or through the agency of a responsible and trustworthy person. This form of bay’t is called bay’t-e-Uthmani. Rasulullah (Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam) on the occasion of bay’t-e-Ridhwan made the bay’t of Hadhrat Uthmaan in his (Uthmaan Radi Allahu anhu’s) absence. On this occasion, Rasulullah (Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam) placed his right hand on his left hand and announced that he has made bay’t of Uthmaan (Radi Allahu anhu). (The bay’t in absence of the mureed is therefore termed bay’t-e-Uthmaani,)

Bay’t (Mutual Pledge)

Bay’t is a mutual pledge relating to the striving, arranging, executing and adhering to the laws of A’male Zahiri and A’male Batini. This pledge is called Bay’t-e-Tareeqat which has been in vogue by authoritative transmission from generation to generation from the earliest time of Islam.

Rasulullah (Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam) had enacted bay’t of the Sahaabah not only on Jihad, but on Islam and the adherence of the Ahkam (Laws in general) as well on practical deeds (A’mal). This is established by numerous Ahadith. The following hadith is one such Hadith:

“Auf Ibn Maalik Ash-ja-ee (radhiyallahu anhu) said: We were with Nabi (Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam), seven, eight or nine (of us), when he (Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam) said:

‘Will you not make bay’t (pledge) to the Rasul (Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam) of Allah (Azzawajal) ?’

We stretched our hands and enquired: On what shall we make bay’t to you, O Rasul (Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam) of Allah (Azzawajal)? He said:

‘That you make the Ibaadat of Allah (Azzawajal); that you associate nothing with Him; that you perform the five Salaat; that you hear and obey.” (Muslim, Abu Dawood, Nisai)

On this occasion the bay’t which Rasulullah (Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam) took from the Sahaabah was neither Bay’t Imaani (Pledge of Imaan) nor Bay’t Jihaadi (Pledge to wage Jihad). This Hadith is categoric proof for the validity of the system of bay’t in vogue by the Masha-ikh of Tasawwuf. Like there are four Math-habs (Schools of Thought) in Fiqh, viz. Hanafi, Shafi, Maaliki and Hambali, so too are there four schools of thought in Tasawwuf, viz., Chishtiyya, Qaderiyyah, Naqshabandiyyah and Suharwardiyyah. Like the Hanafi Way is dominant in this area (India and Pakistan), the Chistiyyah Way too is dominant here. Our akabir (authorities in Tasawwuf) enter into (bay’t) in all the four Schools of Thought (Silsilah) so that respect for the four Silsilah is maintained although Chishtiyyat is dominant .

The founder of the Chishtiyyah Silsilah is Hadhrat Khwajah Mueenuddin Chishti Ajmeri (rahmatullah alayh); founder of the Qaderiyyah Order is Hadhrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (rahmatullah alayh); founder of the Naqshabandiyyah Order is Hadhrat Shaikh Bahauddin Naqshabuddin (rahmatullah alayh); and the founder of the Suharwardiyyah Silsilah is Hadhrat Shaikh Shahabuddin Suharwardiyyah (rahmatullah alayh).

Duties of Creditors

As Islam lays special stress towards satisfaction of debts and loans, it does not forget to regulate the duties of creditors towards debtors. The debtors who are unable to pay should be shown absolute leniency; and in fit cases, the entire debt should be remitted.  The Holy Quraan says: “And if the debtor is in straitness, then let there be postponement until he is in ease, and if you remit it as alms, it is better for you if you know.” (2:280)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Holy Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “There was a man who used to give loan to the people. He used often to say to his son, “When you come to a needy man, grant him remission, so that Allah may remit us (of sins)”. He said that he then met Allah and He granted him pardon.” (Agreed)

Sayyiduna Abul Yassar (radi Allahu anhu) reported: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) saying, “Whoso grants respite to a debtor or grants him remission, Allah will give him shade under His Shade”. (Muslim)

Sayyiduna Abu Qetadah (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoso gives respite to a debtor or grants him remission. Allah will save him from the calamities of the Resurrection Day.” (Muslim)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that a man demanded of Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) for repayment of a loan and was greatly harsh to him. His companions were about to attack him, but he said: “Leave him, as the creditor has got a demand. Buy a camel for him and give it to him.” They said: “We don’t but find senior to it in years.” He said: “They buy it and give it to him, and verily the best of you is he who is the best of you in repayment of loan.” (Agreed)

Usury and Interest

The Holy Quraan says: “Believers! Fear Allah and waive what remains outstanding of usury, if you are truly believers. If you do not, then take notice that you are at war with Allah and His Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). If you repent, you may have only your principal loans, neither inflicting nor suffering injustice.” (2: 278,279)

The Quraanic verse is clear in requiring a lender to get back only what he has advanced. (It takes into account all usury, regardless of the extent; whether nominal or exorbitant.) The Holy Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has disapproved of selling two measures of low quality dates for one measure of high quality dates, because he considered that as usury. He told his companions to do each transaction separately for cash, so that there is no element of usury in the deal.

Usury means an addition over and above the principal thing lent. In other words, it is excess, according to legal standard of measurement and weight, in one of two homogenous articles in which such excess is stipulated as an obligatory obligation on one of the contracting parties. Usury includes all kinds of interest whether the rate is high or low and whether the interest is or not added to the principal sum after fixed periods.

The following are, therefore, the ingredients of usurious transactions:

Read the rest of this entry »

HOUSE

Sayyidah Ayesha (radi Allahu anha) reported that Sayyiduna Jibra’eel (alaihis salaam) made a promise with Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) to come at a definite hour. The hour came but he did not visit him. The Prophet of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) had a staff in his hand which he threw on the floor and said: “Never has Allah or His Messengers (Angels) ever broken their promises”. Then he cast a glance and by chance found a puppy under his cot and said: “Ayesha (radi Allahu anha), when did this dog enter here?” She said: “By Allah, I don’t know.” He then commanded and it was turned out. Then the Angel came inside and Allah’s Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said to him: “You promised me and I waited for you, but you did not come.” He said: “It was the dog in your house which prevented me to come, for we Angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or picture.” (Muslim)

Sayyiduna Abu-Talha (radi Allahu anhu) reported that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Angels do not enter a house in which is found a dog or a statue.” (Muslim)

Sayyidah Ayesha (radi Allahu anha) reported: We had a curtain on which were portraits of birds. Whenever a visitor came, he found them in front of him. Thereupon, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said to me, “Change them, for whenever I enter the room I see them and it brings to my mind the pleasures of worldly life.”

PICTURES AND PAINTINGS

Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn-e-Omar (radi Allahu anhuma) reported that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: ‘Those who paint pictures would be punished on the Day of Resurrection and it would be said to them, “Breathe soul into what you have created.” (Muslim)

The Hadith pertaining to the preparation of pictures whether with the help of colour, paint or pencil or photographic cameras, declare this art to be unlawful in Islam. The reasons of the Sharee’ah are so eloquent and clear in regard to the prohibition of making pictures that they need no comment and elucidation.

That person is missing the mark who says that this prohibition comes under the category of disapproval and is not absolutely unlawful and the stress which had been laid upon its prohibition was because of the fact that idolatry had been quite recently curbed, but now when idolatry has been exterminated and Islam has spread everywhere, the is no need of stressing its forbiddance with full force. This reason for adopting a lenient attitude toward preparation of pictures is quite invalid for in the Hadith the treason put forward for the unlawfulness of the pictures is this: Those who prepare pictures would be asked to breathe soul on the Day of Resurrection in these pictures made by them. And when they would not be able to do this, they would be punished. In the above-mentioned Hadith, the reason for the forbiddance of preparing the pictures of living bodies has been given and that is the vain ambition of the artist in competing with Almighty Allah in His act of creation.

The other reason for the forbiddance of pictures is that it has led to the cult of idolatry in the past and the present too though with a variation of name. There is a Hadith reported on the authority of Sayyidah Ayesha (radi Allahu anha), which explains the attitude of mind that paves the way for idolatry. Sayyidah Ayesha (radi Allahu anha) reported that the Beloved Nabi (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said about the people of the Book: “Whenever any pious person amongst them died they built a house of worship at the place of his grave and then made his picture. These are the most wretched creatures in the sight of Allah.”

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