LANTERNS OF GUIDANCE (33) NOTHING IS COINCIDENTAL

Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmāni Sahib حفظه الله has shared the advice of his illustrious father Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafee Sahib رحمه الله who used to say; “It is wrong to say (as people often exclaim) that it was a ‘coincidence’ because nothing in this world was a coincidence.” Everything happens as Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله desires it to happen. It is our habit to describe anything we do not expect as a coincidence. The fact is that Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله is the Master and Creator of this universe; He جل جلاله maintains and sustains it and everything happens as He جل جلاله wishes. Nothing can happen against His جل جلاله desire.
Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmāni Sahib حفظه الله states that we must not rely on our plans and strategies but the underlying factor is that we must have faith in مسبب الاسباب – Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله is the Preparer of means or causes.
REFLECTIONS: TURN TO ALLAH TA’ALA جل جلاله
Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmāni Sahib حفظه الله has stressed that we turn to Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله in our duaas. Even if we have the means and power, we are compelled to turn to Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله. We are forgetting to turn to Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله.
Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmāni Sahib حفظه الله has said that when Pakistan was created, there was great turmoil. At that time, the houses of the Muslims reverberated with the Āyate Kareemah:
لا اله الا انت سبحانك اني كنت من الظالمين
There was no appeal for anyone to recite this duaa but rather it was a spontaneous response from the Muslims. Even the women made duaa excessively for the welfare of the Muslims. The result was that Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله saved the Muslims.
But let us examine the turmoil today. We witness murders before our eyes but we are unmoved and we do not turn to Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله. There is no concern for duaa and we do not hear of any household that is making a practice of duaa daily. On the contrary, Muslims stay in their homes in negligence tied down to their televisions (in the current scenario, being absorbed by social media). In the prevailing circumstances, are we not inviting the punishment from Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله? We are not willing to desist from transgression.
For the sake of Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله, let us have mercy on ourselves. Turn to Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله; every Muslim can do it. Let us each offer two rakaats Salatul Hajah (for the fulfillment of our needs). This will take two to three minutes. Thereafter, make duaa for three minutes. Please! Let us give the suffering Ummah five minutes of our time daily. Can we not stand before Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله and implore Him جل جلاله for mercy and favourable conditions? If we cannot sacrifice a few minutes, then what right do we have to say that we are saddened by the pitiful plight of the Ummah?
It is essential that we make a daily practice of Salatul Hajah. Furthermore, let us be a source of mercy to ourselves and the Ummah by removing the objects of disobedience in our homes. For the sake of Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله, let us give up sins! Make it a habit to weep before مسبب الاسباب and recite the Āyate Kareemah:
لا اله الا انت سبحانك اني كنت من الظالمين
Also let us repeat يا سلام repeatedly imploring Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله for peace and security.
ayat-kareematasbeeh-yunus2
Instead of wasting our time on futile discussions, the need of the hour is to turn to Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله. May Allah Ta’ala جل جلاله grant each one of us the ability to fortify our ta’alluq with Him جل جلاله and invite peaceful circumstances through acts of obedience.
آمين يارب العالمين
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Opening of Bukhari Shareef by Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmani Saheb (Hafidhahullah)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Masjid Hidayah, Old Trafford – 14/04/2018

Background

Allah has granted this book a miraculous, wonderful and astounding status in terms of acceptance.

Imam Bukhari (Allah have mercy upon him) is buried in Uzbekistan, near Samarqand.

Ishaq ibn Rahwaye (Allah have mercy upon him) is the teacher of Imam Bukhari (Allah have mercy upon him), he authored a book, “Musnad Rahwaye” which is actually being published now. Once in class, Imam Ishaq stated, “I wish all the Saheeh Hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) were gathered together in one compilation.

There were already books gathered with Haidth, but contained Saheeh, Hasan and Dhaeef Hadith.

The Dream and Glad Tidings

This comment of his teacher, ignited a burning fire in the heart of Imam Bukhari (Allah have mercy upon him), and he had an ardent passion to fulfil this request. Immediately after, Imam Bukhari (Allah have mercy upon him) had a dream of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him). In the dream Imam Bukhari (Allah have mercy upon him) had a fan in his hand, through which he was sending coolness to the blessed and illuminous face of our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). The interpretation of which was, ‘I will gather Saheeh Hadith together, distinguishing them from the other unauthentic Hadith.’ He was very fortunate to be blessed with this honour. He would scrutinise and examine each Hadith carefully, sifting and picking out the authentic Hadith.

Scrupulousness and Diligence

For every Hadith, he would do Ghusl, pray 2 rak’ah and perform Istikharah. Mufti Saheb mentioned there are different narrtions as to how many Hadith in total are compiled in Bukhari Shareef. Some Ulama say, 7,000+ and some 8,000+ if we go with the minimum number, 7,000 Hadith – this would mean Imam Bukhari (Allah have mercy upon him) performed at least 14,000 rak’ah of Salah, performed Ghusl 7,000 times and then did Istikharah.

Thereafter he would show his Ustadhs; Abu Zur’ah (Allah have mercy upon him), Yahya ibn Mu’een (Allah have mercy upon him) and Ishaq Rahwaye (Allah have mercy upon him).

Islam and Arabs

The Arabs have pride and rightly so, they would have pride that Islam was established in Arabia. But Imam Bukhari (Allah have mercy upon him), was a resident of Bukhara. His Arabic wasn’t the most eloquent and articulate. He was accomplishing this task.

The weakest part of Bukhari Shareef in terms of linguistics is Kitabul Tafseer. This is evident, because Imam Bukhari (Allah have mercy upon him) wasn’t an expert of the Arabic Language. Hence some of words weren’t translated the best. For example,

يزاد في هذا الباب “هَمّ” هذا الحديث  instead of the word ايضاً

The word “هَمّ” is Farsi, but instead of ايضاً he wrote that word.

Thus, the Ummah has a consensus the most authentic book after the book of Allah is al-Jami al-Bukhari. A person cannot become an Alim without studying Bukhari Shareef.

The Student’s Enthusiasm

Allah opens ‘Uloom for the teacher upon the eagerness and zeal of the student. Just like a baby cries and milk draws forth from the chest of the mother.

Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (Allah have mercy upon him) once stated to his students, “Whatever you have achieved is through me, but if you did not have the burning desire in your souls I would not have had such inspirations and stimulus as well.”

Remember, in the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab were also present. But they had no zeal to learn and change.

Sanad/Chain

Our chain (sanad) is very important to us, this differentiates us from other religions. No other religions have such a system of “Sanad.” My Shaykh, Dr Abdul Hayy Arifi (Allah have mercy upon him) used to state a parable:

If there was a train that travelled from Karachi to Lahore, it was a fast train, very clean and travelled with speed. When it left the station at Karachi the station master attached a very old carriage at the end of this fast train, so that it can get “serviced.” When the train moved, the old carriage started squeaking! Somoene asked the old carriage, “Where are you going?” It replied, “You are lauhing at me, because my state is weak and poor. I may look deprived and pathetic, but the truth of the matter is when this new train reaches Lahore… so will I! Because my buffer and chain couplers are attached to this fast train.”

Likewise our connection to Ulama and pious people should be close and strong.

Imam Malik (Allah have mercy upon him) said: “If it were not for the Asnaad, people would say what they wanted.”

If we look at the Bible/Injeel and those people who sanctify this book, as Muslims we do as well to a certain extent. There is no chain to prove this book is still authentic. 300 years passed after Eesa (peace and blessings be upon him), there were many different variations of the Bible. In Nice, France, there was a conference in which all the priests decided we need to know which Bible is authentic. There was great dispute and disagreement. They decided to pray to God and fall in prostration and pray to Allah, at the same time they put all the Bibles on a table in a locked chamber. We pray that those Bibles which are fabricated, they fall on the floor. All night they did this, upon the crack of dawn they opened the door of the chamber. All the Bibles had fallen on the floor, except four. The historian who narrates this story further adds, they decided that four Bibles were authentic. But they had forgotten to write who had the keys to the chamber for that night!

Acquiring Knowledge Under a Teacher

It is important to study with a teacher, because of the student’s passion Allah blesses the teacher with noor and uloom and barakaat. This isn’t possible when the student studies alone. The system of studying under a teacher is finishing, it is very rare in the world such Hadith books are taught from start to finish. It only exists in India/Pakistan, due to the blessings of our Akabir. Many times I have experienced, I have done my motala for the a Hadith lesson, looked at the commentary as well. But in the lesson such things came into my heart that I had not known or researched. Quran and Hadith has been made by Allah in such a way in cannot be studied alone.

Never Miss a Hadith

In Karachi, we have 400-450 students in the final year – Dawrah. At least 60 -70 have never missed a Hadith, let alone missing a lesson. We call them ‘sahib e tarteeb’.

“All actions are dependent upon their intentions.”

“انما الاعمال بالنيات”

This Hadith is abused many times by people, they use it for wrongful purposes. People perform wrong actions and say, “my intentions are good. My heart is clean!” This is wrong, knowledge is important.

E.g. Someone is praying Salah incorrectly, you went ahead and showed him his mistakes which could break his Salah. He ignored you and said, “All actions are dependent upon their intentions… so my Salah is okay and correct!” This is wrong. You cannot use this Hadith to justify your wrong actions and lack of knowledge.

My late father, Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ (Allah fill his grave with noor) went for Hajj. When he reached Mina he had some guests who were known to be religious and in the political field, they arrived to meet him. My father questioned them if they had performed Rami? One replied, “No! I have made a representative (wakeel) on my behalf to perform Rami (stoning).” My father reprimanded him saying, “This is not permissible when you have the capability. This is only for those people who are unable to perform Rami!” The man said, “انما الاعمال بالنيات” (all actions are dependent upon their intentions). To which my father laughed and said, “If that was the case, there is no need for a representative as well. Just make an ‘intention’ of Rami.”

A wrong action does not become correct because the intentions are good. E.g a person steals money to give in Sadaqah, this is wrong.

Niyyah (intentions) play a major role in our everyday life, a mubah action can be rewarded if the intentions are good. If a person eats food to gain strength for ‘Ibadah and to do shukr, he/she will be rewarded accordingly. It is the same for spending time with one’s wife, to please her and act upon the Sunnah – you will be rewarded. The Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) raced with his wife, showed her the Ethiopian slaves playing for entertainment. All of this can gain reward if your intentions are correct.

My late father went for Hajj when I was a young boy 12 or 13 years old. Upon his return, he gifted me with a watch. I was so happy as I had never worn a watch before this. He remarked, “I bought this watch so you can tell the times for Salah. That should be your intention for wearing it.” Just look at the intention and reward behind this.

My late brother Muhammad Zaki (Allah have mercy upon him) who passed away many years ago, he would sing Naats and Nasheeds. He also had beautiful writing. When he learnt to write my father said, “Your first letter will be written to Hadhrat Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allah have mercy upon him).” When Hadhrat Thanwi received the letter, he replied, “It is pleasing to see you can write in such a fashionable way. But make your intention to write in such a nice manner, that it makes it easy for people to read, I am making you into a Sufi.”

People have different definitions of ‘Sufis’, a true Sufi is he who does everything for Allah. Not the one who flies in the skies!

It is vital we correct our intentions on every action we carry out. Mufti Saheb then mentioned the Hadith of the first group of people being thrown into Hell; one of which will be Ulama, those who learnt Ilm and taught for other than Allah.

Allah save us. Ameen.

 

Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani Saheb (Hafidhahullah) is one of the leading Islamic scholars living today. He is an expert in the fields of Islamic Jurisprudence, Economics, Hadith and Tasawwuf.

Born in Deoband in 1362H(1943 CE), he graduated par excellence form Dars e Nizami at Darul Uloom, Karachi, Pakistan. Then he specialized in Islamic Jurisprudence under the guidance of his eminent father, Mufti Muhammad Shafi RH, the late Grand Mufti of Pakistan. Since then, he has been teaching hadith and Fiqh at the Darul-Uloom, Karachi.

Translation

My Lord, I come to Your door as a beggar complete indigence, bringing only my humility and shame. A beggar who has neither a joli nor a begging-bowl.A beggar slain by his desires and cravings. Having squandered the treasure of Deen and intellect at the hands of the ego; Having sacrificed contentment of heart at the altar of lust and pleasure.

Losing my wealth in the quick-sand of heedlessness and sin. I have come to seek refuge under the covering of your Kaabah. Through the stains of sin the heart’s world is suffering. Aspirations are weak, the will broken and hope is dead. From whence should I find the strength to express the heart truly?

For in this snare have I passed every moment of my life. In short, having been burnt at the stake of my own ill-deeds. In abject poverty due to the evil of my state. To you have I brought my ill-stricken fate. Empty-handed of any deed befitting your House.

This House of yours, which is your court of Love and Grace, O Lord Tis wholly Light and the repository of all Lights O Lord Being completely ignorant of the manners of your Doorstep. A beggar knowing not how to beg. My tongue fails to convey my heart’s feeling. O Lord, have mercy on this wordless speech! These eyes are dry, O Lord, knowing not how to weep Festering spots in the heart that can’t be cleansed out. O my Lord I have come to your door as a beggar wholly indigent, in abject humility and full of shame.

ADVICE FROM BAGHDAD REGARDING OUR MADARIS

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmani (  حفظه الله ) has written regarding his journey to Baghdad:
baghdad
“Baghdad is that city which for centuries had been at the center of the Islamic world. The mere sight of this city reminds one of the glorious days of the Abbāsi khilāfat.
Upon reaching Baghdad I enquired whether there were any Madāris (seminaries) present in which Islamic knowledge is imparted in accordance with the ways of the pious predecessors.
I was informed that all such Madāris had now been converted into schools and universities. Now, the knowledge of Deen can only be attained from university faculties, such places wherein Islam is taught as mere theory, similar to ancient philosophy. Islam can neither be seen in the lives of the students nor in the Ustādhs (teachers).  Forget bring religious scholars, on seeing their appearance, one wonders if they are even Muslim.
“This is just like how orientalists study Islam today, in the universities of America, Canada, and Europe. If you read their books and articles you will come across the names of such books that many of our Ulamā have never even heard about. It seems as if deep tahqīq (research) is being made. But [sadly], in spite of swimming in the ocean of Islamic knowledge from morning till evening, they return dry as bone. No effect of what they rigorously study can be seen in their lives. The soul of this knowledge has been destroyed. “
Mufti Taqi Uthmani thereafter asked if they could at least direct him to an Ālim (scholar) of the old school of thought, so that he could present himself at his service.
He was directed to a Masjid close to the tomb of Shaykh `Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlani (رحمة الله ), in which was a Maktab.
Here he met an old pious-looking man. Mufti Taqi Usmani described his meeting with him in the following words:
“On seeing him, I felt as if I was in the presence of a pious Allah-fearing Ālim. He was sitting on a straw mat, dressed in coarse clothing, and eating dry bread. The light of the Sharī`ah could be discerned on his forehead.
“After making salaam, he enquired regarding my name and the place from which I had come. He also asked about the condition of the Madāris of our country, their syllabus, and the manner in which the kitābs (books) are taught.
Tears flowed from his eyes as I mentioned the names of the kitābs found in the Dars-e-Nizami syllabus [the syllabus used by Islamic seminaries across the Indian subcontinent].
He asked, “Are these kitābs still being taught!?”
“I replied in the affirmative. He then explained, ‘Today, we have been deprived of even hearing the names of these kitābs.
These kitābs create Allah-conscious men, they create true Muslims. In our country these books are no longer taught.
I beg you to convey this message of mine to the Ulamā and the masses of your country, that for the sake of Allah عز و جل , they should bear everything , but should never allow the destruction of such Madāris wherein these kitābs are taught!’ ”
The enemies of Islam are fully conscious of the fact that as long as these simple Mawlānas, sitting on straw mats, are present in society, they cannot remove Īmān (faith) from the hearts of the Muslims.
Therefore the enemies of Islam are making all out effort to remove these Madāris.
iraq

Cure for Worries

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albert-s-633553-unsplash.jpgBy Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani Saheb (Hafidhahullah)

All praise for Allah. We praise Him and seek His help and His forgiveness and we believe in Him and rely on Him. We seek refuge with Allah from (the evils of our selves and the vices of our deeds. There is no one to misguide whom Allah guides and there is no one to guide whom Allah lets go astray. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah Alone. He has no partner. I also bear witness that our authority, our Prophet and our Master, Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger. May Allah have mercy on him, his household and on his Companions and bless them and send peace on them in great abundance.

INTRODUCTORY WORDS
This Hadith is narrated by Abdullah bin Abu Aufa (ra), who was a jurist companion of the Prophet (saws). He quotes the Messenger of Allah (saws) as saying. “If anyone needs something from Allah, or from a fellow man then he must first perform ablution punctiliously and offer two rakat prayer’. Then he should praise and glorify Allah and invocate blessings on the Prophet (saws). Then he must make a supplication in these words:

There is no one worthy of worship except Allah, the element, the Bountiful. Glory to be Allah, Lord of the Magnificent. Throne! I do seek all causes of the (grant of) Your mercy, and the purposes of (securing) Your forgiveness, a full share of all virtuous deeds, a safety from every sin. Leave none of our sins unforgiven. no anxiety unrelieved and no need, wherewith you are pleased, unfulfilled. O you, the Most merciful of those who show mercy!”

The Holy Prophet (saws) has described the method of a prayer which in common parlance is called Salah Al Hajah or ‘prayer for fulfillment of a need’ whenever a Muslim has a need or faces an anxiety or desires something which seems difficult to achieve then he must ffollow the advice of the Holy Prophet (saws) and offer the salah Al-Hajah, and make the supplication of his Hajah, then he may present his need or desire before Allah in his own words. If there is good for him in that, the merciful Allah will surely fulfill his Hajah. or need. Thus, it is the sunnah, (practice) of the Holy Prophet (saws) to offer the Salah Al-Hajah, at the time of need.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MUSLIM AND A DISBELIEVER
When a man needs something. He employs the worldly means available to him and there is no bar in Shariah to use such means. However, a Muslim and a disbeliever differ in their faith, for an unbeliever relies wholly on the means he employs to achieve his end.

SEEKING A JOB
Let us take the example of a man who is unemployed and tries to get himself an employment. He would look out for job opportunities and submit his applications there and he would’ request someone to. recommend him. These are the apparent means that he uses to achieve his objective. An unbeliever places all his reliance on these means and sees to it that his application is well written and the recommendation worthy.

On the other hand, a muslim also sends in an application and gets someone to recommend him in a proper way but he does not rely entirely on these means. He knows that his application and the recommendation are meaningless unless Allah makes them effective. He uses the means available and then begs of Allah and says to Him, “O Allah! It is your command, so I have adopted the means but only you can make them effective. I ask you alone to fulfill my desire.”

THE CONTRIVANCE OF THE SICK
Let us take another example. A person gets sick. The apparent means that he will adopt are to get the advice of a doctor and follow his prescription. Again, a disbeliever who does not believe in Allah will place reliance on the doctor and the medicine he has suggested. However, the advice of the Holy Prophet (saws) to a believer is that although he may adopt all the means available to him yet he must not depend on them to cure him. He must place his faith in Allah who is the one to cure. If he will not make the medicine and other means effective then these will not cure him. We know that a medicine cures a sick person but the same medicine is detrimental to another patient who suffers the same sickness as the first. This is because only Allah makes the medicine effective. If he wills, he may put cure in a pinch of dust, and if he wills he may render the most costly medicine inefficacious.

The Holy Prophet (saws) has taught us, as we have seen, that while we may employ the means, we must not count on them to help us out but we must have full faith in Allah. We must pray to Him:

“O Allah! I have done the best I could by contriving as I could. O Allah! Only You can give efficacy to my efforts. Only You can make me successful. 0 Allah! Make them efficacious and make me successful.”

abele-gigante-633088-unsplash.jpgEFFORT COMBINED WITH SUPPLICATION
A very appropriate and brief phrase of supplication is known from the Holy Prophet (saws) which he made after employing available means or even if those means were in the form or even if those means were in the form of supplications. “O Allah! This is the effort but reliance is placed in You alone”

VIEW POINT MUST BE CORRECTED
Mawlana Doctor Abdul Hayy (rah) used to say that religion is actually to correct one’s angle’ of observation. Change the angle a little bit and that is religion, otherwise it is materialism. For instance, every religion requires a patient; to get treatment; even Islam tells us that if we are ill, we must get a doctor to treat us. However, it depends on how we observe it. While we must treat ourselves when we are unwell, we must not put faith on the treatment but we must trust in Allah to cure us.

HE IS THE CURER
This is what had prompted earlier Muslim physicians to write Hua Ash Shafi (He is the one to cure) ‘ on the prescriptions they wrote down. It is a practice of the Muslim. In those times, they were very careful to observe minutest details of Islamic belief and teachings in all their actions and in what they said. A physician when he begins to write down his prescription with Hua Ash Shafi, actually confides that the treatment he prescribes would not give the results unless the one who cures gives the cure. The believing doctor thus confesses his inability on the very first step. Besides, by writing Hua ash Shafi, he is also credited with an act of worship of Allah.

THE CURES OF WESTERN CULTURE
However, ever since we have imposed on ourselves the standards of western culture, we have forgotten our Islamic identity. The physician, today, docs not trouble himself to write the words (In the Name of Allah) before writing down the prescription, neither does he need to write Hua Ash Shafi. He examines his patient and prescribes the medicine. The reasons for this attitude is that our knowledge of science is taught to us by the unbelievers who have no concept of Allah as the one who cures. They rely on the medical means and their theories, and they only employ their ideas.

PROTECTING ISLAMIC VALUES
Allah has not disallowed us to acquire knowledge of science. Knowledge is not the property of any people or religion. Muslims too must learn science, but they must preserve the Islamic values and symbols. They must protect their faith and creed and reflect Islamic belief in their lives. A man who qualifies as a physician is not forbidden to begin writing the prescription with Hua Ash Shafi and it is not improper for him to concede that Allah is the only one who cures. He should also not fear being classed as a backward person if he writes Hua Ash Shafi on the prescription, neither is it against medical ethics to do so. Rather, he must realise that he is a Muslim doctor who believes in Allah, so he must make it known beforehand that whatever he does is not helpful if Allah does not make it efficacious.

ANYTHING AGAINST A PLAN IS COINCEDENCE!
Almost every day recognised physicians come across cases which go against their expectations. They concede that the treatment that they were giving to their patients brought results quite contrary to what they had expected. Their plans go haywire but they term what happens in this way as a ‘coincidence.’

NOTHING IS EVER COINCIDENTAL
My respected father, Mawalana Mufti Muhammad Shafi (rah) used to say, “It is wrong to say – as people often exclaim – that it was a coincidence because nothing in this world was a coincidence.” Everything happens, as Allah desires it to happen. It is our habit to describe anything that we do not expect as a coincidence. The fact is that He who is the Master and the Creator of this universe maintains and sustains it and every thing happens as He wishes. Nothing can happen against His wish. So, the truth is that the medicine has no curing power by itself. Only when Allah gives it that power does it provide relief but when He does not give it the curing ability. It is not advantageous. What then is the meaning of
“coincidence?”

REMEMBER THE PREPARER OF MEANS
We must not, therefore, count on our strategy or the means available to us but we must put faith in Musabbib al Asbab (is an epithet of Allah which means Appointer of Preparer of Means or causes, or causer of causes.[Lane’s Dictionary])’ Not only has He allowed us to plan and employ means but He has actually ordered us to use them. He is the one Who has created them for us. He examines us and sees whether we depend on our plans and the means available to us. Or we depend on their Creator, too. The Prophet (saws) had trained the companions (ra) in such a way that they always counted on the Musabbib Al-Asbab. They used the means only because Allah had commanded them to do so and when anyone evinces perfect faith in Him and unflinching reliance. He displays unique miracles to them.

KHALID BIN WAL1D TAKES POISON
Sayyidina Khalid bin Walid (ra) had once laid siege to a strong fort in Syria. When the people inside the fort had grown exhausted of the siege, they sent their chief to Khalid bin Walid (ra) to negotiate peace. He carried a small phial in his hands which Khalid bin Walid (ra) observed and asked him about its contents. He said that there was a very strong poison inside the phial and he would consume it and commit suicide if the talks failed for he could not return to his people with the bad news. The foremost aim of all the Companions (ra) was to preach Islam and Khalid bin Walid found an ideal opportunity to further the objective. He asked the chief of the enemy, “Are you confident that you will die immediately you swallow the poison?” He replied, “I am sure of that. This poison is so strong that no one has so far described its taste because the moment anyone sips it, he dies. He does not live long enough after that to say how it tastes. So, I am very sure that I will die immediately after I put it on my tongue”.

Khalid bin Walid (ra) requested him to let him have the vial. Taking it into his hands he remarked, “Nothing in this world is efficacious unless Allah provides it with efficacy” He took the name of Allah and made this-supplication:

“In the name of Allah with which nothing on earth or in the heaven can harm. And he is All hearing, All-knowing”.

And he said, “I swallow this poison and you observe whether I die or not.”The chieftain exclaimed, “You are tormenting yourself. The poison is so strong and rapid that if a little of it is placed on the tongue. The man will perish, while you intend to swallow all of it. “Sayyidina Khalid bin Walid said, “Insha Allah, nothing will happen to me. “So saying he washed down his throat the contents of the vial and Allah revealed His Power. The chieftain observed the miracle of Allah’s Power and submitted himself before Allah, that is, he embraced Islam.

EVERYTHING DEPENDS ON THE WILL OF ALLAH
The companions (ra) had a firm belief that whatever happened in this world happened because Allah willed it to happen. Nothing happens without His will. They had grown such a strong faith that the means and strategies were meaningless in their eyes. When any one shows this degree of faith then Allah lets him observe. His marvelous Power. It is the way of Allah: “the more you depend on the means and agencies, the more He will leave you tied to them, and the more you rely on Him the more He will relieve you of those things and show you the marvels of His Power”. “The lives of the Holy Prophet (saws) and his companions (ra) were a practical demonstration of this fact.

AN INCIDENT IN THE LIFE OF THE PROPHET (saws) 
Once the Prophet (saws) had returned from a battle and had broken journey in transit. There, he rested himself in the shade of a tree and no one was with him. An unbeliever happened to find him alone and with his sword drawn he stood over the Prophet (saws) head, he said, “O Muhammad who will save you from me today? ” He had imagined that the Prophet (saws) would be alarmed on seeing him with the sword and finding no one around. But, there was no sign of alarm on the Prophet’s countenance and he replied calmly. “Allah! He will save me”. The unbeliever was taken aback and Allah caused him to be overwhelmed by the Prophet’s composure. His hands shook and the sword fell down from his hand. The Prophet (saws) picked it up and asked him, “Tell me now. who will protect you?” In this way, the Prophet (saws)let him realise that while he relied on his sword, the Prophet relied on the Maker of the sword who provides it with its potency. It was this way of life that the Prophet (saws) presented before his companions (ra). The result was that every companion although he employed the means available to him yet relied on Allah.

MEANS BEFORE RELIANCE
One of the companions asked the Prophet (saws), Messenger of Allah! I go to the forest on my camel. When the time of prayer approaches, should I tether the animal or leave it to itself, placing trust in Allah? The Prophet (saws) said:

“Tie its legs with a rope and trust in Allah.” Once, the animal is tied, rely on Allah and not on the rope which might snap.

Mawlana Roomi has expressed this idea in his poetry.

That is bind the legs of the camel on tawakkal A believing man, therefore, adopts available means as well as placing reliance on Allah. He uses the means and says to Allah:
“O Allah! I have adopted the means and put in the efforts as far as I could but beyond that I trust in You.”

RELY EVEN WHEN THE MEANS ARE AVAILABLE
Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanavi (rah) used to say, “People suppose that one relies on Allah only when the chances of his wish being fulfilled through apparent means are equal either way – he might or might not get what he wants. In that case, he may adopt the means and pray to Allah. But, they imagine that when anyone is confident of getting what he wants then he need not pray to Allah for his wishes or rely on Him. For instance, when food is laid before anyone, he is sure that he would eat that and so he does not pray to Allah to feed him and he does not rely on Him.”

THAT IS THE REAL TIME TO RELY ON ALLAH
However, Mawlana Thanavi (rah)., has said that was the real time to place reliance on Allah and the true opportunity to pray to Him. Such an attitude will confirm that he does not rely on apparent means that are within his grasp. He would seem to be saying, “I have faith in You as a Sustainer and Nourisher, as a Creator and in Your Power and Mercy. “When food is before anyone, he should make this supplication, “O Allah! Feed me and give me health through it”. For, although it seems possible to consume food easily yet it will be possible to eat it only if Allah so wills. There have been innumerable instances of men who were about to partake of food before them but failed to do so because of one or other obstacle or accident. So, even when food is ready one must pray to Allah to feed him.

In short one must always pray to Allah to help him out even if it seemed obvious what he would get what he wants.

ASK ALLAH TO FAVOUR IN EITHER CASE
We have read the words of the Prophet (saws) in the every first hadith “If you need something from Allah or from a fellow man”. There are times when there is no intermediary and we get something from Allah directly, children, for instance. Be that as it may, whether we require something from Allah or from a fellow man, we must ask Allah for it, in either case.

PERFORM ABLUITION PUNCTILIOUSLY
If we have enough time with us and that task we desire is not very urgent then we must offer Salah Al Hajah, for that. The Prophet (saws) has instructed us to perform ablution, and perform it very carefully paying attention to every detail. We must not perform ablution merely to discharge an obligation but we must realize that it is the first step to an important form of worship. The Prophet (saws) has recommended certain etiquette’s and sunnah, procedures in ablution which we must take care of. Often, we perform ablution in a hurry and although the obligation is discharged, we miss the blessings that accrue from a carefully performed ablution.

SINS ARE OBLITERATED THROUGH ABLUTION
We learn from a Hadith that the Prophet (saws) said, “When “a servant of Allah performs ablution and washes his face, the sins committed by him through the face are washed away. When he washes his right hand, the sins committed -by him with his right hand are washed away and when he washes the left hand his sins with the left hand are washed away. Similarly on washing the other limbs, his minor sins perpetrated by that limb are washed away”.

My mentor. Mawlana Doctor Abdul Hayy (rah) used to say, “When you perform ablution, imagine to yourself: I am washing my face and the sins attached to it are washed away according to the glad tidings of the Prophet(saws). I wash my hands now and their sins are obliterated. Imagine in the same manner when you wipe your head and then wash the feet. There is a gulf of a difference between an ablution performed in this manner and one which is performed without such imagination. You will sense the blessings of the former kind.”

SUPPLICATIONS DURING ABLUTION

Anyway, we must perform ablution very carefully and observe its sunnah and etiquettes. For instance, we must sit facing the Qiblah, wash each limb three times carefully, and make the recommended supplications during ablution.

“O Allah, forgive me my sins and make my home spacious for me and bless what you provide me of sustenance.

I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is the warshipper and His Messanger.

“O Allah, cause me to be among those who repent and cause one to be among those who purify themselves.”

NO SET PATTERN FOR SALAH AL-HAJAH
The Prophet (saws) is then quoted in the hadith as advising us to offer two rak’at prayer called Salah Al-Hajah, which is no different than any other prayer in observation. Some people have suggested methods of observing it and prescribed surah, that should be recited in different rakaat, but this is no more than their own innovation. The Prophet (saws) has not prescribed any distinct method of its observation or any surah, to be recited.

Nevertheless, some of our righteous elders have suggested from their experience that certain chapters (surah) of the Quran produce extra blessings. But, we must not consider that as sunnah, and follow it because if we adopt it as sunnah, then we will be guilty of innovating a practice. Thus although Mawlana Doctor Abdul Hayy suggested surah Ai-Inshirah, for the first rak’at and Az ‘Ziizal for the second yet he made it clear that it was not sunnah, to do so it was only the experience of elders that they are more beneficial. If anyone recites these chapters without believing that to be sunnah, or he recites any other chapter then he is not violating the sunnah.

In short, there is no special procedure to offer the Salah Al Hajah, and one may begin it by forming an intention.

THE INTENTION
It is common notion these days that the intention differs from prayer to prayer and unless particular words are repeated the prayer is not valid. This is why they ask often how they may form an intention for each prayer. They regard the intention as part of the prayer. It must be understood that intention is not repetition of a set of words, but it is the resolve in the heart to offer prayers. When anyone goes out of his home to offer the Zuhr, (afternoon) prayers, for instance. Then that is his intention, and when he prepares to offer the Salah Al Hajah, then that is his intention. To repeat the words by the tongue is neither Wajib, (obligatory) nor sunnah, or mustahabb, at the most one can say is that it is allowed to do so. Thus, not only is there any particular procedure to offer the Salah Al Hajah, there is also no prescribed intention to be repeated.

PRAISE AND GLORIFICATION

After the two rak’at are offered, we must make a supplication. The Prophet (saws), has taught us the etiquettes of making a supplication. It is not that the supplication is made straightway after completing the prayers. We must first recount the praises of Allah and glorify Him ,”O All all! All praise belongs to You. Thanks are due to You and we are indebted to You for Your favours.”

WHY PRAISE & GLORIFY HIM?
The question arises, why must we praise and glorify Allah? The scholars point out to us that when anyone presents, a petition to an authority in the world, he begins by lauding him in the hope that he would be pleased and approve his petition. Thus, when this is done for a mortal, it must also be done for the most just of the judges. “O Allah! Praise belongs to You. I am grateful to You for your favours. Grant me my wish!”.

Another reason for praising Allah is that man is selfish and a slave to his own desires. What he needs is all he thinks of and he asks Allah for that. There is the risk that he might become ungrateful and show that in his supplication. At that time, therefore, he must remember the blessings of Allah which have submerged him deeply.

Anyway, we have the advice of the Prophet (saws) that we must ask Allah to give us what we need. But before we ask Him, we must look about and see how many of His bounties He has showered upon us which we cannot count. We must acknowledge them before we present our supplication, “O Allah! I am grateful for Your bounties and favours, which you have bestowed on one through Your mercy. I praise You for that. I have one more need, one more desire! O Allah! Be bountiful to me and grant me my desire”. This will offset possibility of our being ungrateful.

GRIEF AND DIFFICULTY IS ALSO A BLESSING
Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (rah) said to a gathering of his disciples that the sorrow, grief and hardships which a man encounters are – if he thinks about that – actually blessings of Allah. Sickness is a blessing from Allah and so is poverty and need. If man observes with an examining eye, he will realize that these things are blessings of Allah.

We are told in a hadith that when, on the day of judgement, Allah will reward without limit and without reckoning those people who were patient in the face of affliction then those who had not suffered much difficulty and hardship in the world would wish that their skins were peeled off with scissors in the world and they had endured that patiently. They would then have received the reward which the patient would get on that day. So, the hardships are a blessing in disguise which our weak sights do not distinguish.

A STRANGE SUPPLICATION OF HAJI IMDADULLAH
When he was delivering this sermon, a handicapped man arrived in the assembly. The unfortunate man was afflicted with a number of maladies. He appealed to the honourable Mawlana to pray to Allah to relieve him of his affliction. Mawlana Thanavi (rah) who was one of those who were listening to the sermon said that they were all surprised that while Haji Imdadullah (rah) had spoken about the blessings of affliction this man asked him for his affliction to be removed. “If the mentor prays for the removal of his hardship, it would be tantamount to be asking for removal of blessings.” But, the mentor raised his hands in prayer and made this supplication,”O Allah! These hardships and afflictions are truly blessings, but, O Allah, we are weak, look at our weakness and change this blessing of hardship into a blessing of health!”

RECALL BLESSINGS WHEN IN DIFFICULTY
It is the nature of man that when he is in difficulty, he forgets the bounties he enjoys. For instance, if he has a stomach-ache, he will complain loudly about it but will not be grateful for the blessings he enjoys for he has no difficulty with his eyes, his ears, his tongue, his teeth -nay, the entire body. He has only a stomach ache. He will surely pray for the pain to be removed but he should remember to praise and thank Allah before making the supplication, “O Allah! You have granted me innumerable blessings. I am thankful to You for that. And, O Allah, there is this pain now. I beg of You to remove it.”

GRATITUDE FOR FAVOURS

My respected father, Mawlana Mufti Muhammad Shafi (rah) had a teacher, Mian Asghar Husayn (rah) He was a born wail (friend of Allah, a man of Allah). He was a very marvelous religious man. My respected father recalled an incident about him. “He was taken ill once, and had a fever. I paid him a sick-visit and found him burning with high temperature. He was restless because of the high fever. I greeted him and asked how he was. He replied, ‘Praise be to Allah! My eyes are sound, my ears can hear well, my tongue is faultless. “And he recounted all things that were sound in him. He said that he only had fever and asked me to pray that Allah cure him of fever.”” This is how a grateful slave of Allah remembers His favours even in difficulty and because of this attitude the pain mitigates.

THANKFULNESS FORBLESSEVGS RECEIVED
Hence, the Prophet’s (saws) advice that we must praise and glorify Allah before we make our supplication means that we must recoil His blessings on us that we continue to enjoy and we must thank Him for those.

INVOKING BLESSINGS ON THE PROPHET(saws)
After we have offered praise to Allah, we must invocate blessings on His Messenger (saws). The wisdom in invocating the blessings is that the Prophet (saws) is very compassionate and kind to his Ummah and he wishes that. The supplication of anyone of his people is not rejected. Of all the supplications, it is only the invoking of blessings on the Prophet (saws) that is assured approval at all time. What do the words of invocation mean when we say.

They mean:

“ O Allah shower blessings on Muhammad and on the family of Muhammad, the unlettered Prophet.”

There is no possibility of this prayer being rejected. Allah has given assurance of approving it. Mercy is already being showered on the Holy Prophet (saws) and they continue to be showered so he is no need of our efforts in this regard.

SUPPLICATION ACCEPTED WITH INVOCATION OF BLESSIN
The prophet (saws0 wishes that his people invoke blessings on him before they make their supplication. When the invocation of blessings will gain approval, the supplication of the person will also be approved. It is not expected of Allah that He grant a part of anyone’s supplication and reject another. Hence, the supplication that is made after the invocation of blessings stands more chance of approval.

RECIPROCATE A GIFT.
Mawlana Doctor Abdul Hayy (rah) used to say that it was the life long practice of the Holy Prophet (saws) that he reciprocated a gift in some way. Then, the invocation of blessings on his is also a gift. A hadith tells us that the Prophet (saws) said:

“If anyone invokes blessings on me from a far off place, that blessing is brought to me. If anyone comes to my grave and offers one salutation and invokes blessings on me then I hear him.

The invocation is a gift of the person that the Prophet (saws) receives. So, when it had always been the practice of the Prophet (saws) to reciprocate a gift, it is hoped that when he receives the gift in the Barzakh (the intervening period between death and resurrection.) he will reciprocate as was his habit. It will be in the form of a supplication for the person concerned. He will pray to Allah to grant the person his desire. So, we must praise Allah and invoke blessings on His Prophet^ before making our supplication.

WORDS OF THE SUPPLICATION
Then, the substance of the supplication begins with: The names of Allah have within them tremendous glow and mysteries. Only Allah and His messenger know about them and we cannot fathom their secrets which Allah has concealed in them. Therefore, the Prophet (saws)has not asked us to recite them without purpose, and we must repeat only those words to get what we want. They mean: “There is no one worthy of worship besides Allah, the Clement, the Bountiful. “The attributes of Allah -clemency and benevolence – are recounted as a confession from the supplicant that he is not worthy of getting his supplication approved by Allah because of the number of his sins and lapses but Allah Himself is Clement. He overlooks the sins when He judges and it is expected of Him that he will forgive. Allah is also bountiful and benevolent. Not only will he forgive but He will also grant (blessing and favours). The supplicant, therefore, beseeches Allah on the basis of these two attributes. He then says:

“Allah is without blemish, the Lord of the Great Throne.”

“And all praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the worlds”.

These were words of praise. He then makes the supplication:

“I do seek all causes of the (grant of) Your mercy, “and the purposes of (securing) Your forgiveness:

“a full share of all virtuous deeds:

“a safety from every sin”

“Leave none of our sins unforgiven, “No anxiety unrelieved”

“and no need, wherewith You are pleased, unfulfilled. O You the Most Merciful of all”

This supplication can be found in books of supplications. [List of Duas] Every Muslim must memorise it. After making this supplication, the supplicant must present his petition in his own words. We hope Allah will grant him his request.

OFFER SALAH AL-HAJAH, FOR ALL NEEDS
The Prophet (saws), when he faced a worrying situation, would hurry, first of all, towards prayer. He offered the Salah Al Hajah, and made the supplication. “O Allah! There is this problem. Do remove it.” Thus a Muslim must offer this prayer often.

IF THE TIME IS SHORT
The foregoing procedure is recommended when a person has enough time on hand to offer prayers and decide but if he is pressed for time and cannot offer the two rak’at, then he must only make the supplication and ask of Allah. Nevertheless, he must present all his needs before Allah, minor or major. The Prophet && has said, “Ask Allah for all your needs even for the thong of your sandal when it is cut.” Thus, we must ask Allah for our major needs often. The fact is that something is minor or major in our perspective, the thong of the shoe is minor, Kingdom is major. But, in the sight of Allah, there is no difference and everything is minor. Our most major demand is small in His eyes (surely, Allah is Able to do all things). His ability, His power is uniform and nothing is difficult for Him.

OUR WORRIES AND OUR REACTION
Our city (Karachi) is going through difficult times these days. Every one is worried and restless. Almost every house faces a problem either directly or indirectly. In spite of that our position is that we only discuss the situation and comment on it. But, are there any among us who are really concerned and who turn to Allah and pray to Him to correct the situation? “O Allah! We are faced with difficulty. The consequences of our sins have overwhelmed us. O Allah! Be merciful to us and remove the worrying condition from us”.

NO POINT IN COMMENTING
In 1971. East Pakistan was lost and Pakistani Muslims suffered an unparalleled disgrace. Ninety thousand of their army were taken captive. They surrendered arms before the Hindus. All Muslims were sad because of that. At that time, I had the honour to visit Mawlana Doctor Abdul Hayy (Rah) with my elder brother Mawlana Mufti Muhammad Rafi Usmani (rah). We found there that people who were present discussed the situation and passed comment blaming someone or other. When they had discussed the situation for some time. Mawlana Doctor Abdul Hayy (rah) asked them if they had arrived at a decision. Did the discussion provide them any advantage in this world or the next?

INSTEAD, MAKE A SUPPLICATION
He said to them, “You could have spent the time making a supplication to Allah – O Allah! We face a difficulty because of our misdeeds. O Allah! Foregive us! Remove this difficulty from us! Remove the consequences of our misdeeds from us! Convert the ignominy into an honourable situation – If you had made the supplication, it is not unexpected of Allah that He would have approved your petition. Even otherwise, you would have earned reward for making the supplication, and a blessing for the Hereafter. You only wasted your time.”

It was then that we realised that we are involved in this wasteful behaviour every day. We only discuss and comment. We have forgotten to pray to Allah for our needs. How many of us can we count who turned to Allah and implored Him to remedy the situation, how many offered the Salah Al Hajah, the prayer for fulfillment of need, and petitioned Him:

“O Allah! I offer my prayers. Let your Mercy remove the punishment from us.” Perhaps, someone may have done that. Most of us are involved in commenting and in backbiting and slander. As a result, we are being more sinful.

TURN TO ALLAH
In such circumstances, we must all turn to Allah and make our supplications. If anyone has any means in his power and authority then he must employ that. If he does not have authority over the means then let him pray to Allah. That is within the ability of all of us. We are forgetting to turn to Allah. We must recall that when Pakistan was being created, there was much turmoil and mischief in the land. At that time, in every house in Deoband and other cities people recited the verses of the . Quran (the ayateKarimah)[LaLailaha illa anta subhanaka inni khuntu min Az Zalimeen] without any one having appealed to them to do so. Every Muslim did it on his , own finding it necessary to do that. Women recited the verses and made supplications within their homes, “O Allah! Let the Muslims come out of this difficulty!”

The result was that Allah rescued the Muslims from their predicament.

WE DO NOT OPEN OUR EYES
We see today turmoil in our city. Dead bodies lie before our eyes. But, we are unmoved. We do not turn to Allah. We do not know of people reciting the verses of the Quran within their homes or making supplications to Allah. On the contrary, dead bodies are everywhere, death is before us, but our Muslims are in their homes, ties down before their television sets.

Under the circumstances, are we not inviting punishment from Allah? We arc unwilling to stop sinning, and reluctant to give up disobedient behaviour.

BE MERCIFUL TO YOURSELVES AND DO IT

For the sake of Allah, have mercy on yourselves. Turn to Allah, every Muslim can do it. Let each of them offer two rak’at, prayer for the fulfillment of needs’, ft will not lake much time, say two minutes. Then, it will take another three minutes to make the supplication. Let us” give these five minutes for our people, our nation and stand before Allah. If we cannot do that, why do we say that we are saddened by the situation?

Let us resolve to continue praying two raka’at Salah Al Hajah, and making supplication to Allah as long as this situation lasts. Further, let us be merciful to ourselves and remove the instruments of disobedience from our homes and save ourselves from sin. Let us stop disobedience and sin, and pray to Allah humbly weeping. Let us recite the noble verse of the Quran: O Allah, there is no god but You. You are without blemish. I have been of the wrong doers. Let us, repeat again and again,

“O Peace”

Instead of wasting our time on discussing the situation and commenting on it, let us turn to Allah. May He grant us that ability! Aameenl

Taken From: Discourses on Islamic Way of Life ( Vol:10)

InterestED or not InterestED?

http://www.albaraka.co.za/Islamic_Banking/Prohibition_of_interest/Has_Islam_really_prohibited_interest.aspx 

Has Islam really prohibited interest?

bogomil-mihaylov-633910-unsplash.jpgInterest or Ribâ: Which is Prohibited?

Is interest prohibited in Islam? This question is often repeated at different social gatherings because some people tend to argue that it is ribâ which has  been prohibited by Islam and that ribâ is not equivalent to interest.

There is no doubt that what has been prohibited by both the Qurân and the hadîth is ribâ. The Qurán has prohibited it in four different revelations, the first of which (30:39) was in Makkah, and the other three (4:161, 3:130-2 and 2:275-81) were in Madinah. The last of these (2:275-81) came near the end of the Prophet’s life, peace and blessings of God be on him. It severely censured those who took ribâ, and declared them to be at war with God and His Prophet. It also established a clear distinction between trade and ribâ, and enjoined Muslims to forego all outstanding ribâ, enjoining them only to take the principle amount, and to remiss even this in case of the borrower’s hardship.

The Prophet, peace and blessings of God on him, also prohibited ribâ in the most unambiguous words, and condemned not only those who take it, but also those who give it, those who record the transaction, and those who act as witnesses to it. He even equated the willful taking of ribâ with committing adultery thirty-six times or being guilty of incest with one’s own mother.2

Since Ribâ has been censured severely by both the Quran and the Sunnah it is difficult to believe that it would be left so undefined that even after fourteen centuries some people would fail to understand its meaning clearly. Hence, it is necessary to go back to the classical sources of Islam to determine what the term ribâ really stands for.

Ribâ literally means increase, addition, expansion or growth.3IT is, however not every increase or growth which has been prohibited by Islam. Profit also leads to an increase in the principal amount, but it has not been prohibited. So what has been prohibited?

The best person to answer this question is the Prophet himself, peace and blessings of God be on him. He prohibited the taking of even a small gift, service or favour as a condition for the loan.4This answer of the Prophet equates ribâ with what is commonly understood to be interest. This meaning of ribâ has become reflected in the writings of all scholars in Muslim history. There is hardly any classical Qur’an commentary or Arabic dictionary which gives a different meaning. For example, al-Qurtubi (d.671AH/1070AC), indicates that “Muslims are agreed on the authority of their Prophet that the condition for an increase over the amount lent is ribâ, irrespective of whether it is a handful of fodder, as indicated by Ibn Mas’ud, or a particle of grain.”5Ibn Manzur (d.711AH./1311AC) also clearly states in his authoritative dictionary of the Arabic language (lisan al-‘Arab) that “what is prohibited is the extra amount, benefit or advantage received on any loan”.6The term ribâ has, thus been understood from the earliest times to stand for the ‘premium’ that the borrower is requires to pay to the lender along with the principal amount as a condition for the loan or for an extension in its maturity.7This is also the unanimous verdict of a number of international conferences of fuqaha’ held in modern times to discuss the question of ribâ, including the Mu’tamar al Fiqh al-Islami held in Paris in 1951 and in Cairo in 1965, and the OIC and the Rabitah Fiqh Committee meetings held in 1985 and 1986 in Cairo and Makkah resectively.8In the presence of such an overwhelming consensus there is no room for arguing that interest is not prohibited in Islam? A few isolated opinions expressing a different view do not, therefore, create a dent in the consensus.

This gives rise to the question of what is it that confuses some people about its meaning. The reason may perhaps lie in the terms ribâ being used in the Shariah in two different senses, and the difficulty of some people in clearly understanding the meaning and implication of both. The first is ribâ al-nasi’ah and the other is ribâ al-fadl.

Ribâ al Nasiáh

The term nasi’ah comes from the root nasa’a (äÓA) which means to postpone, defer, or wait, and refers to the time that is allowed to the borrower to repay the loan in return for the ‘addition’ or the ‘premium’. Hence ribâ al-nasi’ah is equivalent to the interest charged on loans. It is in this sense that the term ribâ has been used in the Qur’an in verse 2:275, which states that “God has allowed trade and forbidden ribâ (interest).” This ribâ is termed as ribâ al-Qur’an (ribâ specified in the Qur’an) or ribâ al-duyun (ribâ on loans).

The prohibition or ribâ al-nasi’ah essentially implies that the fixing in advance of a positive rate of return on a loan as a reward for waiting is not permitted by the Shari’ah. It makes no difference whether the rate of return is small or big, or a fixed or variable per cent of the principal, or an absolute amount to be paid in advance or on maturity, or a gift or service to be received as a condition for the loan. The point in question is the predetermined positiveness of the return. It is important to note that, according to the Shari’ah, the waiting involved in the repayment of a loan does not by itself justify a positive reward.

There is no room even for arguing that the prohibition applies only to the consumption loans and not to business loans. This is because the borrowing during the Prophets’ times was not for consumption purposes but rather for financing long distance trade. Accordingly, the late Shaykh Abû Zahrah, one of the most prominent Islamic scholars of this century, has rightly pointed out that:

There is absolutely no evidence to support that the ribâ of al-jâhiliyyah [re-Islamic days] was on consumption and not on development loans. In fact the loans for which a research scholar finds support in history are production loans. The circumstance of the Arabs, the position of Makkah and the trade of Quraysh, all lend support to the assertion that the loans were for production and not consumption purposes.9

Even Professor Abraham Udovitch, Ex-Xhairman of the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the Princeton University, has clarified that “Any assertion that the medieval credit was for consumption only and not for production, is just untenable with reference to the medieval Near east.” 10

There is, thus, absolutely no difference of opinion among all schools of Muslim jurisprudence the ribâ al-nasi’ah stand for interest and, is harâm or prohibited. Then nature of the prohibition is strict, absolute and unambiguous. However, if the return on the principal can either be positive or negative, depending on the final outcome of the business, which is not known in advance, it is allowed provided that it is shared in accordance with the principles laid down in the Shari’ah.

Ribâ al-Fadl

While Islam has prohibited interest on loans and allowed trade, it has not allowed everything in trade. This is because it wishes to eliminate not merely the injustice that is intrinsic in the institution of interest on loans, but also that which is inherent in all forms of dishonest and unjust exchanges in business transactions. Anything that is unjustifiably received as ‘extra’ by one of the two counterparties to a trade transaction is ribâ al-fadl, which may be defined in the words of Ibn al-‘Arabî as “all excess over what is justified by the counter-value.”  12

The prohibition of ribâ al-fadl is intended to ensure justice, to remove all forms if exploitation through ‘unfair’ exchanges, and to close all back-doors to ribâ because, according to the unanimously accepted legal maxims of Islamic jurisprudence, anything that serves as a means to the unlawful is also unlawful. Since people may be exploited or cheated in several different ways, the Prophet warned that a Muslim could indulge in ribâ in seventy (= several) different ways. 13This is the reason why the Prophet, peace and blessings of God on him, said: “Leave what creates doubt in your mind in favour of what does not create doubt”, 14and Caliph ‘Umar was inspired to say: “Abstain not only from ribâ but also from ribâh.”15Ribâh is from rayb which literally means “doubt’ or ‘suspicion’ and refers to income which has the sembance of ribâ or which raises doubts in the mind about its rightfulness. It covers all income derived from injustice to, or exploitation of, others.

The Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, has indicated, by way of example, at least four different ways of indulging in ribâ al-fadl. The first of these is the exploitation that may take place in trade through the use of unfair means even though trade is by itself allowed. He equated with ribâ even the cheating of an unsophisticated entrant into the market (ghabn al-mustarsil) and the rigging of prices in an auction with the help of an agent (al-najash).16Analogically one may conclude that the extra money earned through such exploitation and deception falls within the ambit of ribâ al-fadl.

Another way of being guilty of indulging in ribâ al-fadl is by accepting a reward in return for making recommendation in favour of a person. This implies that the performance of an apparently charitable act with the intention of making money surreptitiously is also prohibited. The rationale behind this may be that such money-motivated recommendation might give benefit to a person who does not deserve and, thereby, indirectly deprive others who are more deserving.17

A third way of indulging in ribâ al-fadl is through barter transactions because of the difficulty of measuring the counter-values precisely in such transactions. The Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, therefore encouraged barter in a monetized economy and required that the commodity to be exchanged on the basis of barter be sold against cash and the proceedings used to buy the needed commodity.

This leads to the fourth way of indulging in ribâ al-fadl which has received the maximum attention of the fuqaha’. A number of authentic ahadith stipulate that if the same genus of commodity is exchanged against each other than the same weight of the commodities should be exchanged (sawa’an bi sawa’in and mithlan bi mithlin or equal for equal and like for like) hand-to-hand (yadan bi yadin). If the commodities exchanged are different, it does not matter if there is difference in weight and quantity, provided that the exchange takes place hand to hand. One of the implications of this requirement is the elimination of the backdoor to ribâ (which is referred to in fiqh as sadd al-dharî’ah). Another implication of these ahadith, as understood by the fuqahâ’, is the prohibition of futures transactions in foreign exchange. However, whether hedging, which is one way of managing the risks involved in exchange rates fluctuations, is possible within the constraints of the Sharî’ah is a question which need the attention of the fuqahâ.

Ribâ al-nasî’ah and ribâ al-fadl are, thus, essentially counterparts of the verse “God has allowed trade and prohibited ribâ “(2:275). While ribâ al-nasiah relates to loans and is prohibited in the second part of the verse, ribâ al-fadl relates to trade and is implied in the first part. Because trade is allowed in principle, it does not mean that everything is allowed in trade. Since the injustice inflicted through ribâ may also be perpetuated through transactions in commodities and currencies, ribâ al-fadl refers uncertainty and speculation. It demands a fair knowledge of the prevailing prices and the quality of goods being purchased or sold on the part of both the buyer and the seller. It necessitates the elimination of cheating in prices or quality, and in measures or weights. All business practices which lead to the exploitation of the buyer or the seller must be effectively eliminated.18

While ribâ al-nasî’ah can be defined in a few words, ribâ al-fadl, interspersing a vast array of business transactions and practices, is not so easy to specify. This what may have prompted ‘Umar, the Second Caliph, to say: “The Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, was taken without elaborating it to us.”19The attempt to justify ribâ al-nasî’ah or the interest on loans on the basis of this saying of ‘Umar is absolutely fallacious because the reaction of ‘Umar, by way of caution, was to give up not only ribâ but also ribâh.

It is true that the Prophet specified only a few ways of indulging in ribâ al-fadl and did not indicate all the different ways, as one may have desired. However this was not necessary and not even feasible. Form of injustice and exploitation in trade and exchange of currencies have changed over the centuries and it was not possible for anyone to foresee and specify them all 1400 years ago. The Qur’ân and the Sunnah are there to provide the principles on the basis of which the Ummah can do so. This is the ongoing challenge to all Muslims – to examine their economic practices continually in the light of Islamic teachings and to eliminate all shades of injustice. This is a more difficult task than eliminating ribâ al-nasî’ah. It requires a total commitment and an overall restructuring of the entire economy within the Islamic framework to ensure justice. This was, and is, the unique contribution of Islam. While ribâ al-nasî’ah was well-known in the Jâhiliyyah, the concept of ribâ al-fadl was introduced by Islam and reflects the stamp of its own unflinching emphasis on socio-economic justice.

Concluding remarks

The principal reason why the Qur’ân has delivered such a harsh verdict against interest is that Islam wishes to establish an economic system where all forms of exploitation are eliminated, and particularly the injustice perpetuated in the form of the financier being assured of a positive return without doing any work or sharing in the risk, while the entrepreneur, in spite of his management and hard work, is not assured of such a positive return. Islam wishes to establish justice between the financier and the entrepreneur.

Under these circumstances it is difficult to see how anyone could justify interest in an Islamic society. The difficulty to understand the prohibition comes from lack of appreciation of the whole complex of Islamic values, and particularly its uncompromising emphasis on socio-economic justice and equitable distribution of income and wealth. Any attempt to treat the prohibition of ribâ as an isolated religious injunction and not as an integral part of the Islamic economic order with its overall ethos, goals and values is bound to create confusion.

 

Notes

1Narrated by Muslim from Jâbir and also by al-Tirmidhî and Ahmad. For the full texts and complete references to the ahâdith quoted in this paper, see Chapra 1985, pp. 236-40
2The first hadîh is narrated by Ahmad and Al-Dâraqutnî from Abdallah ibn Hanzalah, while the second is narrated by Ibn Mâjah and al-Bayhaqî (Shu’ab al-Îmân) from Ibn ‘Abbâs.
3See the word Ribâ in Ibn Manzur’s Lisan al-‘Arab; 1968; al-Zabidi’s Taj al-Arus; and Raghib al-Isfahani’s al-Mufradat. The same meaning is also unanimously indicated in all classical Qur’an commentaries.
4The Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, said: “If a man extends a loan to some one he should not accept a gift”(Bukhari in his Tarikh and Ibn Taymiyyah in al-Muntaqa). In another hadith the Prophet said:”When one person grants a loan to another and the borrower offers him a dish [of food] or a ride on his camel, he should not accept unless the two of them have been previosly accustomed to the exchange of such favours mutually”(Sunnan al-Bayhaqi, Kitab al-Buyu, Bab Kullu qardin jarra manfa’atan fa huwa ribân). Is it possible to conceive a lower rate of interest than a plate of food or a ride in one’s car?.
5Tafsir al-Qurtubi, 1967, Vol.3, p.241.
6Ibn Manzur, 1968, p.304. See also the commentary on verse 2:275 in Tafsir al-Kabir of Fakhruddin al-Razi, Akham al Qur’an of Abu Bakr al-Jassas, and Akham al-Quran of Ibn al-‘Arabi.
7See, al-Jaziri, Vol. 2, p.245
8See al-Sanhuri, 1953, Vol.3, pp.241-2 and al-Qaradawi, 1994, pp.129-42. See also Abdel Hamid al-Ghazali, 1990, pp.35-60, for verdicts about ribâ geven from 1900-89.
9Abû Zahrah, 1970, pp.53-4.
10Udovitch, 1970, p.86.
12Ibn al-‘Arabî, Ahkâm al-Qur’an, 1957, p.242.
13Reported byIbn Mâjah and al-Bayhaqî – (Shu’ab al-Îmân) from Abû Hurayrah.
14Cited by Ibn Kathîr in his commentary on verse 2:275.
15Reported by Ibn Mâjah and al-Dârimî from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattâb.
16The first hadîth is reported by al-Bayhaqî and al-Suytî (al-Jâmi’al Saghîr) from Anas ibn Mâlik. The second hadîth is reported from Abdallah ibn Abî Awfâ by al-‘Asqalanî in his commentary on al-Bukhârî and by also al-Bayhaqî in his Sunan from Anas ibn Mâlik.
17Reported from Abû Umâmah by Bulûgh al-Marâm on the authority of Ahmad and Abu Dâwûd.
18Several types of sales have been prohibited in the Shariah with the objective of safeguarding the right of both buyers and sellers. Examples are: najash (rigging and collusion), ghabn al-mustarsil (chaeting of an unsophisticated entrant into the market), bay’al-hâdir li al-bâdî and talaqqî al-rukbân (both implying monopsonistic or monopolistic collusion or exploitation to munâbadhah, mulâmasah and muzâbanah (sales involving uncertainty and speculation or gambling). See, for example, al-Jaziri, Vol.2, pp. 273-8 and 283-91).
19Reported by Ibn Mâjah from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattâb