Sunday, March 30, 2003

Shaikh Sulaiman, a well known scholar from South Africa, once visited us and was asked to give some advice. He mentioned that the way sweetness cannot be sperated from honey, whiteness cannot be separated from milk and fragrance cannot be separated from a flower, the success of mankind cannot also be separated from following the religion of Islam. Our total success is in Islam alone. Then he told us to be mindful about keeping our duties to Allah. He gave an example that assume India sends an ambassador to Canada for improving relationships between the two countries. Now, if this ambassador becomes too busy with looking at the beautiful niagra falls and other landmarks of Canada and forgets about his duties then what will happen to him when he goes back to India? Yes, he will be fired from his job. Similarly, if we also don't carry out our duties while we are sent to this world then we will also not be appreciated in front of Allah on the Day of Judgement when we return to Him. As a result, let us be cautious about our responsibilities as being Muslims.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

The Muslim Woman and her Own self

Islaam encourages the Muslims to stand out among people, readily distinguishable by their dress, appearance and behaviour, so that they will be a good example, worthy of the great message that they bring to humanity.

According to the hadeeth narrated by the great Sahabi Ibn al-Hanzaliyyah, the Prophet (PBUH) told his Companions, when they were travelling to meet some brothers in faith: "You are going to visit your brothers, so repair your saddles and make sure that you are dressed well, so that you will stand out among people like an adornment, for Allaah (SWT) does not love ugliness."[1]

The Prophet (PBUH) considered an unkempt and careless appearance, and scruffy clothes and furnishings, to be forms of ugliness, which is hated and forbidden by Islaam.

Islaam encourages the Muslims in general to stand out among the people; the Muslim woman, in particular, is encouraged to be distinct from other people in her appearance, because this reflects well on her, and on her husband, family and children.

The Muslim woman does not neglect her appearance, no matter how busy she is with her domestic chores and the duties of motherhood. She is keen to look good, without going to extremes, because a good appearance is an indication of how well she understands herself, her Islaamic identity, and her mission in life. The outward appearance of a woman cannot be separated from her inner nature: a neat, tidy and clean exterior reflects a noble and decent inner character, both of which go to make up the character of the true Muslim woman.

The smart Muslim woman is one who strikes a balance between her external appearance and internal nature. She understands that she is composed of a body, a mind and a soul, and gives each the attention it deserves, without exaggerating in one aspect to the detriment of others. In seeking to strike the right balance, she is following the wise guidance of Islaam which encourages her to do so.

How can the Muslim woman achieve this balance between her body, mind and soul?

1 - Her Body
Moderation in food and drink
The Muslim woman takes good care of her body, promoting its good health and strength. She is active, not flabby or overweight. So she does not eat to excess; she eats just enough to maintain her health and energy. This is in accordance with the guidance of Allaah (SWT) in the Qur'an: ( . . . Eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for Allaah loves not the wasters.) (Qur'an 7:31)

The Prophet (PBUH) also advised moderation in food and drink: "There is no worse vessel for the son of Adam to fill than his stomach, but if he must fill it, the let him allow one-third for food, one-third for drink, and one-third for air."[2]

`Umar (RAA) said: "Beware of filling your stomachs with food and drink, for it is harmful to the body and causes sickness and laziness in performing prayers. Be moderate in both food and drink, for that is healthier for your bodies and furthest removed from extravagance. Allaah (SWT) will hate the fat man (one who revels in a life of luxury), and a man will not be condemned until he favours his desires over his religion."[3]

The Muslim woman also steers clear of drugs and stimulants, especially those which are clearly known to be haraam, and she avoids the bad habits that many women have fallen into in societies that have deviated from the guidance of Allaah (SWT) and His Messenger, such as staying up late at night to waste time in idle pursuits. She goes to sleep early and gets up early to start the day's activities with energy and enthusiasm. She does not weaken her energy with late nights and bad habits; she is always active and efficient, so that her household chores do not exhaust her and she can meet her targets.

She understands that a strong believer is more loved by Allaah (SWT) than a weak believer, as the Prophet (PBUH) taught, so she always seeks to strengthen her body by means of a healthy lifestyle.

She exercises regularly
The Muslim woman does not forget to maintain her physical fitness and energy by following the healthy practices recommended by Islaam. But she is not content only with the natural, healthy diet referred to above: she also follows an organized exercise program, appropriate to her physical condition, weight, age and social status. These exercises give her body agility, beauty, good health, strength and immunity to disease; this will make her more able to carry out her duties, and more fit to fulfill her role in life, whether it be as a wife or mother, young girl or old woman.

Her body and clothes are clean
The Muslim woman who truly follows the teachings of Islaam keeps her body and clothes very clean. She bathes frequently, in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH), who advised Muslims to take baths, especially on Fridays: "Have a bath on Fridays and wash your heads, even if you are not in a state of janabah (impurity, e.g. following marital relations), and wear perfume."[4]

"Whoever attends Friday prayer, man or woman, should take a bath (ghusl)."[5]
The Prophet (PBUH) placed such a great emphasis on cleanliness and bathing that some of the Imaams considered performing ghusl before Friday prayer to be obligatory (wajib).

Cleanliness is one of the most essential requirements of people, especially women, and one of the clearest indicators of a sound and likeable character. Cleanliness makes a woman more likeable not only to her husband, but also to other women and her relatives.

Imam Ahmad and al-Nisa'i report that Jabir (RAA) said: "The Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) came to visit us, and saw a man who was wearing dirty clothes. He said, `Could this person not find anything with which to wash his clothes?'"

The Prophet (PBUH) hated to see people come out in public wearing dirty clothes when they were able to clean them; he drew attention to the fact that the Muslim should always be clean, smart and pleasing to look at.

This teaching which is directed at men, is directed even more so at women, who are usually thought of as being more clean, the source of joy and tranquillity in the home. There is no doubt that the woman's deep sense of cleanliness reflects on her home, her husband and her children, because it is by virtue of her concern for cleanliness that they will be clean and tidy.

No researcher, of whatever era or country, can fail to notice that this teaching which encourages cleanliness and bathing, came fifteen hundred years ago, at a time when the world knew next to nothing of such hygienic habits. A thousand years later, the non-Muslim world had still not reached the level of cleanliness that the Muslims had reached.

In her book Min al-riqq ila'l-sayadah, Samihah A. Wirdi says: "There is no need for us to go back to the time of the Crusades in order to know the level of civilization in Europe at that time. We need go back no further than a few hundred years, to the days of the Ottoman Empire, and compare between the Ottomans and the Europeans to see what level the Ottoman civilization had reached.

"In 1624, Prince Brandeboug wrote the following on the invitations to a banquet that he sent to other princes and nobles: Guests are requested not to plunge their hands up to the elbow in the dishes; not to throw food behind them; not to lick their fingers; not to spit on their plates; and not to blow their noses on the edges of the tablecloths.'"

The author adds: "These words clearly indicate the level of civilization, culture, knowledge and manners among the Europeans. At the same time, in another part of Europe, the situation was not much different. In the palace of the King of England (George I), the ugly smell emanating from the persons of the King and his family overpowered the grandeur of their fine, lace-edged French clothes. This is what was happening in Europe. Meanwhile in Istanbul, the seat of the khilafah, it is well-known that the European ambassadors who were authorized by the Ottoman state be thrown into baths before they could approach the sultan. Sometime around 1730, during the reign of Sultan Ahmad III, when the Ottoman state entered its political and military decline, the wife of the English ambassador in Istanbul, Lady Montague, wrote many letters which were later published, in which she described the level of cleanliness, good manners and high standards among the Muslims. In one of her memoirs she wrote that the Ottoman princess Hafizah had given her a gift of a towel that had been hand-embroidered; she liked it so much that she could not even bear to wipe her mouth with it. The Europeans were particularly astounded by the fact that the Muslims used to wash their hands before and after every meal. It is enough to read the words of the famous English nurse Florence Nightingale, describing English hospitals in the mid-nineteenth century, where she describes how these hospitals were full of squalor, negligence and moral decay, and the wings of these hospitals were full of sick people who could not help answering the call of nature on their beds . . ."[7]

What a great contrast there is between the refined civilization of Islaam and other, human civilizations!

She takes care of her mouth and teeth
The intelligent Muslim woman takes care of her mouth, for no-one should ever have to smell an unpleasant odour coming from it. She does this by cleaning her teeth with a siwak, toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash after every meal. She checks her teeth and visits the dentist at least once a year, even if she does not feel any pain, in order to keep her teeth healthy and strong. She consults otolaryngologists ("ear, nose and throat" doctors) if necessary, so that her breath will remain clean and fresh. This is undoubtedly more befitting for a woman.

`Aa'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) used to be very diligent in taking care of her teeth: she never neglected to clean them with a siwak, as Bukhari and Muslim reported from a number of the Sahabah (RAA).

Bukhari reported from `Urwah (May Allah be pleased with her) via `Ata': "We heard `Aa'ishah the Mother of the Believers cleaning her teeth in the room . . ."[8]

Muslim also reports from `Urwah (May Allah be pleased with her) via `Ata': "We heard her using the siwak . . ."[9]

`A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said: "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) never woke from sleeping at any time of day or night without cleaning his teeth with a siwak before performing wudu'"[10]

The Prophet's concern for oral hygiene was so great that he said: "If it were not for the fact that I did not want to overburden my ummah, I would have ordered them to use the siwak before every prayer."[11]

`Aa'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) was asked what the Prophet (PBUH) used to do first when he came home. She said, "Use siwak."[12]

It is very strange to see that some Muslim women neglect these matters, which are among the most important elements of a woman's character, besides being at the very heart of Islaam.

They are among the most important elements of a woman's gentle nature, and they reveal her feminine elegance and beauty. They are also at the heart of Islaam because the Prophet (PBUH) urged cleanliness on many occasions, and he detested unpleasant odours and an ugly appearance. He said: "Whoever eats onions, garlic or leeks should not approach our mosque, because whatever offends the sons of Adam may offend the angels."[13]

The Prophet (PBUH) banned those who had eaten these pungent vegetables from coming anywhere near the mosque, lest the people and the angels be offended by their bad breath, but these smells pale into insignificance beside the stench of dirty clothes, filthy socks, unwashed bodies and unclean mouths that emanates from some careless and unkempt individuals who offend others in gatherings.

She takes care of her hair

The Prophet (PBUH) also taught Muslims to take care of their hair, and to make it look attractive and beautiful, within the limits of Islaamic rulings.

This is reported in the hadeeth quoted by Abu Dawud from Abu Hurayrah (RAA), who said: "The Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) said: `Whoever has hair, let him look after it properly.'"[14]

Looking after one's hair, according to Islaamic teaching, involves keeping it clean, combing it, perfuming it, and styling it nicely.

The Prophet (PBUH) did not like people to leave their hair uncombed and unkempt, so that they looked like wild monsters; he likened such ugliness to the appearance of the Shaytaan. In al-Muwatta', Imaam Malik reports a hadeeth with a mursal isnad from `Ata' ibn Yassar, who said: "The Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) was in the mosque, when a man with unkempt hair and an untidy beard came in. The Prophet (PBUH) pointed to him, as if indicating to him that he should tidy up his hair and beard. The man went and did so, then returned. The Prophet (PBUH) said, `Is this not better than that any one of you should come with unkempt hair, looking like the Shaytaan?'"[15]

The Prophet's likening a man with untidy hair to the Shaytaan clearly shows how concerned Islaam is with a neat and pleasant appearance, and how opposed it is to scruffiness and ugliness.

The Prophet (PBUH) always took note of people's appearance, and he never saw a scruffily-dressed man with untidy hair but he criticized him for his self-neglect. Imaam Ahmad and al-Nisa'i report that Jabir (RAA) said: "The Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) came to visit us, and he saw an unkempt man whose hair was going in all directions, so he said, `Could he not find anything with which to calm his head?'"[16]

If this is how he Prophet (PBUH) taught men to take care of themselves, then how much more applicable are his teachings to women, for whom beauty and elegance are more befitting, as they are the ones to whom men draw close and seek comfort, tranquillity and happiness in their company! It is obvious to the sensitive Muslim woman that the hair is one of the most important features of a woman's beauty and attractiveness.

Good Appearance

It is no surprise that the Muslim woman is concerned with her clothes and appearance, without going to extremes or making a wanton display of herself. She presents a pleasing appearance to her husband, children, mahram relatives and other Muslim women, and people feel comfortable with her. She does not put them off with an ugly or untidy appearance and she always checks herself and takes care of herself, in accordance with the teachings of Islaam, which asks its followers to look good in ways that are permitted.

In his commentary on the ayah: ( Say: Who has forbidden the beautiful [gifts] of Allaah, which He has produced for His servants, and the things, cleans and pure, [which He has provided] for sustenance? . . .) (Qur'an 7:32)

Al-Qurtubi said: "Makhul reported from `Aa'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her): `A group of the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH) were waiting at the door for him, so he prepared to go out to meet them. There was a vessel of water in the house, and he peered into it, smoothing his beard and his hair. (`Aa'ishah said) I asked him, "O Messenger of Allaah, even you do this?" He said, "Yes, when a man goes out to meet his brothers, let him prepare himself properly, for Allaah (SWT) is beautiful and loves beauty."[17]

The Muslim does all of this in accordance with the Islamic ideal of moderation, avoiding the extremes of either exaggeration or negligence: ( Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just [balance] between those [extremes].) (Qur'an 25:67)

Islaam wants its followers, and especially its advocates (da`is), to stand out in gatherings in an attractive fashion, not to appear unsightly or unbearable. Neglecting one's appearance to the extent of being offensive to one's companions in the name of asceticism and humility is not part of Islaam. The Prophet (PBUH), who was the epitome of asceticism and humility, used to dress in decent clothes and present a pleasant appearance to his family and companions. He regarded dressing well and looking good to be a demonstration of the Blessings of Allaah (SWT): "Allaah (SWT) loves to see the signs His gifts on His servant."[18]

Ibn Sa`d reports in al-Tabaqat (4/346) that Jundub ibn Makith (RAA) said: "Whenever a delegation came to meet the Messenger of Allaah (PBUH), he would wear his best clothes and order his leading Companions to do likewise. I saw the Prophet (PBUH) on the day that the delegation of Kindah came to meet him; he was wearing a Yemeni garment, and Abu Bakr and `Umar were dressed similarly."

Ibn al-Mubarak, Tabarani, al-Hakim, al-Bayhaqi and others report that `Umar (RAA) said: "I saw the Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) ask for a new garment. He put it on, and when it reached his knees he said, `Praise be to Allaah (SWT), Who has given me clothes with which to cover myself and make myself look beautiful in this life.'"[19]

So long as this taking care of one's outward appearance does not go to extremes, then it is part of the beauty that Allaah (SWT) has allowed for His servants and encouraged them to adopt: ( O children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for Allaah loves not the wasters.

Say, Who has forbidden the beautiful [gifts] of Allaah, which He has produced for His servants, and the things, clean and pure, [which He has provided] for sustenance? Say: They are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, [and] purely for them on the Day of Judgement. Thus do We explain the Signs in detail for those who understand.) (Qur'an 7:31-32)

Muslim reports from Ibn Mas`ud (RAA) that the Prophet (PBUH) said: "No-one who has even an atom's-weight of pride in his heart will enter Paradise." A man asked him, "What if a man likes his clothes and shoes to look good?" (Meaning, is this counted as pride?) The Prophet (PBUH) said: "Allaah (SWT) is beautiful and loves beauty. Pride means denying the truth and looking down on other people."[20]

This is the understanding adopted by the Sahabah and those who followed them sincerely. Therefore Imaam Abu Hanifah (RAA) always took care to dress well and to ensure that he smelled clean and fresh, and urged others to do likewise. One day he met a man who used to attend his circle, who was dressed in scruffy clothes. He took him to one side and offered him a thousand dirhams with which to smarten himself up. The man told him, "I have money; I do not need this." Abu Hanifah admonished him: "Have you not heard the hadeeth, `Allaah (SWT) loves to see the signs of His gifts on His servant'? So you have to change yourself, and not appear offensive to your friend."

Naturally, those who call people to Allaah (SWT) should be better and smarter in appearance than others, so that they will be better able to attract people and make their message reach they hearts.

Indeed they, unlike others, are required to be like this even if they do not go out and meet people, because those who proclaim the word of Allaah (SWT) should take care of their appearance and pay attention to the cleanliness of their bodies, clothes, nails and hair. They should do this even if they are in a state of isolation or retreat, in response to the call of the natural inclination of man (fitrah) which the Prophet (PBUH) told us about and outlined its requirements: "Five things are part of the fitrah: circumcision, removing the pubic hair, plucking hair from the armpits, cutting the nails, and trimming the moustache."[21]

Taking care of oneself in accordance with this fitrah is something encouraged by Islaam and supported by every person of common sense and good taste.

She does not go to extremes of beautification
or make a wanton display of herself Paying attention to one's appearance should not make a Muslim woman fall into the trap of wanton display (tabarruj) and showing her beauty to anyone other than her husband and mahram relatives. She should not upset the balance which is the basis of all Islamic teaching, for the Muslim woman always aims at moderation in all things, and is on the alert to prevent any one aspect of her life from taking over at the expense of another.

She never forgets that Islam, which encourages her to look attractive within the permitted limits, is also the religion that warns her against going to such extremes that she becomes a slave to her appearance, as the hadith says:

"Wretched is the slave of the dinar, dirham and fancy clothes of velvet and silk! If he is given, he is pleased, and if he is not given, he is displeased." [22]

Our women today, many of whom have been influenced by the international fashion houses to such an extent that a rich women will not wear an outfit more than once, have fallen into that slavery of which the Prophet (PBUH) warned and, as a result, they are trapped in the misery of that senseless enslavement to excessively luxurious clothing and accessories. Such women have deviated from the purpose for which humanity was created in this world

.One of the worst excesses that many modern Muslim women have fallen into is the habit of showing off expensive outfits at wedding parties, which have become fashion shows where competition is rife and is taken to extremes far beyond the realms of common sense and moderation. This phenomenon becomes clearest when the bride herself wears all her outfits, which may number as many as ten, one after the other: each time she changes, she comes out and shows it off to the other women present, exactly like the fashion models in the West. It does not even occur to the women among whom this habit is common, that there may be women present who are financially unable to buy such outfits, and who may be feeling depressed and jealous, or even hostile towards the bride and her family, and other rich people. Nothing of this sort would happen if brides were more moderate, and just wore one or two outfits at their wedding parties. This is better than that extravagant showing-off which is contradictory to the balanced, moderate spirit of Islam.

No doubt the Muslim woman who has surrounded herself with the teachings of this great religion is spared and protected from such foolish errors, because she has adopted its principles of moderation.

2 - Her Mind
She takes care of her mind by persuing knowledge
The sensitive Muslim woman takes care of her mind just as she takes care of her body, because the former is no less important than the latter. Long ago, the poet Zuhayr ibn Abi Sulma said:

"A man's tongue is half of him, and the other half is his heart; What is left is nothing more than the image of flesh and blood."[23]

This means that a person is essentially composed of his heart and his tongue, in other words what he thinks and what he says. Hence the importance of taking care of one's mind and supplying it with all kinds of beneficial knowledge is quite clear.

The Muslim woman is responsible just as a man is, so she is also required to seek knowledge, whether it is "religious" or "secular", that will be of benefit to her. When she recites the ayah ( . . . But say, `O my Lord! Advance me in knowledge.') (Qur'an 20:114) and hears the hadith, "Seeking knowledge is a duty on every Muslim,"[24 ]she knows that the teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah are directed at men and women equally, and that she is also obliged to seek the kinds of knowledge that have been made obligatory for individuals and communities (fard `ayn and fard kifayah) to pursue them from the time that this obligation was made known to the Muslim society.

The Muslim woman understands the high value that has been placed on knowledge since the earliest days of Islam. The women of the Ansar asked the Prophet (PBUH):

"Appoint a special day for us when we can learn from you, for the men have taken all your time and left nothing for us." He told them, "Your time is in the house of so-and-so [one of the women]." So he came to them at that place and taught them there."[25]

The Muslim women had a keen desire for knowledge, and they never felt too shy to ask questions about the teachings (ahkam) of Islam, because they were asking about the truth, and ( Allah is not ashamed [to tell you] the truth) (Qur'an 33:53). Many reports illustrate the confidence and maturity with which the early Muslim posed questions to the Prophet (PBUH), this great teacher, seeking to understand their religion more fully. `A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported that Asma' bint Yazid ibn al-Sakan al-Ansariyyah asked the Prophet (PBUH) about performing ghusl after a period. He said,

"Let one of you (who has finished her period) take her water and purify herself properly, then pour water over herself, then take a piece of cloth that has been perfumed with musk, and clean herself with it." Asma' (May Allah be pleased with her) asked, "How should she clean herself?" The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Subhan Allah! You clean yourself with it!" `A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) told her in a whisper, "Wipe away the traces of blood."

Asma' also asked him about performing ghusl when one is in a state of janabah. He said,

"You should take your water and purify yourself with it properly, and clean yourself all over, then pour water on your head and rub it so that the water reaches the roots of the hair, then pour water all over yourself."[26]

`A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said,

"How good are the women of the Ansar! Shyness did not prevent them from understanding their religion properly."[27]

Umm Sulaym bint Milhan, the mother of Anas ibn Malik, came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said,

"O Messenger of Allah, Allah (SWT) is not ashamed (to tell) the truth, so tell me, does a woman have to perform ghusl if she has an erotic dream?" The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Yes, if she sees water (i.e., a discharge)." Umm Salamah covered her face out of shyness, and said, "O Messenger of Allah, could a woman have such a dream?" He said, "Yes, may your right hand be covered with dust, otherwise how could her child resemble her?"[28]

Muslim reports that Umm Sulaym came to the Prophet (PBUH), when `A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) was with him, and when Umm Sulaym asked this question, `A'ishah said,

"O Umm Sulaym, you have exposed women's secret, may your right hand be rubbed with dust!" The Prophet (PBUH) said to `A'ishah, "Rather your hand should be rubbed with dust; O Umm Sulaym, let a woman perform ghusl if she saw such a dream."[29]

The women of that unique generation never hesitated to strive to understand their religion; they would put questions directly to the Prophet (PBUH) about whatever happened to them. If they doubted a person's opinion (fatwa), or were not convinced of it, they would enquire further until they were sure that they understood the matter properly. This is the attitude of the wise and intelligent woman. This was the attitude of Subay`ah bint al-Harith al-Aslamiyyah, the wife of Sa`d ibn Khawlah, who was from Banu `Amir ibn Lu'ayy and had been present at Badr. He died during the Farewell Pilgrimage; she was pregnant, and gave birth shortly after his death. When her nifas ended, she prepared herself to receive offers of marriage. Abu'l-Sanabil ibn Ba`kak (a man from Banu `Abd al-Dar) came to her and said,

"Why do I see you preparing to receive offers of marriage? By Allah (SWT), you will never get married until four months and tens days have passed." Subay`ah (later) narrated: "When he said this to me, I got dressed and went to see the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) in the evening. I asked him about it, and he told me that my `iddah had ended when I gave birth to my child, and said that I could get married if I wished."[30]

Subay`ah's efforts to understand the shar`i ruling precisely represent a blessing and benefit not only for Subay`ah herself, but for all Muslim women until the Day of Judgement. Her hadith was accepted by the majority of earlier and later scholars, above all the four Imams, who said that the `iddah of a widowed woman, if she is pregnant, lasts until she gives birth, even if she were to give birth so soon after her husband's death that his body had not yet been washed and prepared for burial, and it becomes permissible for her to re-marry.[31] What a great service Subay`ah did to the scholars of the Muslim ummah by seeking to understand the shar`i rulings precisely and tto reach a level of certainty about this issue.

Islam has made the pursuit of knowledge obligatory on women and men alike, as the Prophet (PBUH) said:

"Seeking knowledge is a duty on every Muslim."[32]

In other words, it is a duty on every person, man or woman, who utters the words of the shahadah, so it comes as no surprise to see Muslim women thirsting for knowledge, devoting themselves to its pursuit. Muslim women of all times and places have understood the importance of seeking beneficial knowledge, and the positive effects this has on their own characters and on their children, families and societies. So they seek knowledge enthusiastically, hoping to learn whatever will benefit them in this world and the next.

What the Muslim woman needs to know
The first thing that the Muslim woman needs to know is how to read the Qur'an properly (with tajwid), and to understand its meaning. Then she should learn something of the sciences of hadith, the sirah of the Prophet (PBUH), and the history of the women of the Sahabah and Tabi`in, who are prominent figures in Islam. She should acquire as much knowledge of fiqh as she needs to ensure that her worship and daily dealings are correct, and she should ensure that she has a sound grasp of the basic principles of her religion.

Then she should direct her attention to her primary specialty in life, which is to take proper care of her house, husband, family and children, for she is the one whom Allah (SWT) has created specially to be a mother and to give tranquillity and happiness to the home. She is the one to whom Islam has given the immense responsibility of raising intelligent and courageous children. Hence there are many proverbs and sayings nowadays which reflect the woman's influence on the success of her husband and children in their working lives, such as, "Look for the woman," "Behind every great man is a woman," and "The one who rocks the cradle with her right hand rocks the world with her left," etc. No woman can do all of that unless she is open-minded and intelligent, strong of personality and pure of heart. So she is more in need of education, correction and guidance in forming her distinct Islamic personality.

It is unwise for women's education to be precisely the same as that of men. There are some matters that concern women only, that men cannot deal with; and there are matters that concern men only, that women cannot deal with. There are things for which women were created, and others for which men were created, and each person should do that for which he or she was created, as the Prophet (PBUH) taught. When the Muslim woman seeks to learn and specialize in some field, she should bear in mind the Islamic teaching regarding her intellectual, psychological and social make-up, so that she will prepare herself to fulfil the basic purpose for which she was created, and will become a productive and constructive member of her family, society and ummah, not an imitation of men, competing with them for work and taking up a position among men, as we see in those societies which do not differentiate between males and females in their educational curricula and employment laws.

Whatever a woman's academic specialty is, she tries to understand it thoroughly and do her work perfectly, in accordance with the teaching of the Prophet (PBUH):

"Allah (SWT) loves for any of you, when he does something, to do it well."[33]

Muslim women's achievements in the field of knowledge
The gates of knowledge are open to the Muslim woman, and she may enter whichever of them she chooses, so long as this does not go against her feminine nature, but develops her mind and enhances her emotional growth and maturity. We find that history is full of prominent examples of remarkable women who sought knowledge and became highly proficient.

Foremost among them is the Mother of the Believers `A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her), who was the primary source of hadith and knowledge of the sunnah, and was the first faqihah in Islam when she was still a young woman no more than nineyears of age.

Imam al-Zuhri said:

"If the knowledge of `A'ishah were to be gathered up and compared to the knowledge of all the other wives of the Prophet (PBUH) and all other women, `A'ishah's knowledge would be greater."[34]

How often did the greatest of the Sahabah refer to her, to hear the final word on matters of the fundamentals of Islam and precise meanings of the Qur'an.

Her knowledge and deep understanding were not restricted only to matters of religion; she was equally distinguished in poetry, literature, history and medicine, and other branches of knowledge that were known at that time. The faqih of the Muslims, `Urwah ibn al-Zubayr, was quoted by his son Hisham as saying:

"I have never seen anybody more knowledgeable in fiqh or medicine or poetry than `A'ishah."[35]

Imam Muslim reports that she heard her nephew al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr (RAA) make a grammatical mistake, when he and his (paternal) cousin were talking in front of her, and she told him off for this mistake. Imam Muslim commented on this incident: "Ibn `Atiq said: `Al-Qasim and I were talking in front of `A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her), and al-Qasim was one who made frequent mistakes in grammar, as his mother was not an Arab. `A'ishah said to him,

"Why do you not speak like this son of my brother? I know where the problem comes from: he was brought up by his mother, and you were brought up by your mother . . ."[36]

Among the reports in which the books of literature speak of the vast knowledge of `A'ishah is that which describes how `A'ishah bint Talhah was present in the circle of Hisham ibn `Abd al-Malik, where the shaykhs of Banu Umayyah were present. They did not mention any point of Arab history, wars and poetry but she did not contribute to the discussion, and no star appeared but she did not name it. Hisham said to her, "As for the first (i.e., knowledge of history etc.), I find nothing strange (in your knowing about it), but where did you get your knowledge about the stars?" She said, "I learnt it from my (maternal) aunt `A'ishah."[37] `A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) had a curious mind and was always eager to learn. Whenever she heard about something she did not know, she would ask about it until she understood it. Her closeness to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) meant that she was like a vessel full of knowledge.

Imam Bukhari reports from Abu Mulaykah that `A'ishah, the wife of the Prophet (PBUH) never heard anything that she did not know, but she would keep going over it until she understood it. The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Whoever is brought to account will be punished." `A'ishah said: "I said, `But does Allah (SWT) not say ( `Soon his account will be taken by an easy reckoning') (Qur'an 84:8)" He said, "That refers to al-`ard (when everyone is brought before Allah (SWT) on the Day of Judgement); but whoever is examined in detail is doomed."[38] In addition to her great knowledge, `A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) was also very eloquent in her speech. When she spoke, she captured the attention of her audience and moved them deeply. This is what made al-Ahnaf ibn Qays say:

"I heard the speeches of Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, `Ali and the khulafa' who came after them, but I never heard any speech more eloquent and beautiful than that of `A'ishah." * Musa ibn Talhah said: "I never saw anyone more eloquent and pure in speech than `A'ishah."[39]

Another of these brilliant women were achieved a high level of knowledge was the daughter of Sa`id ibn al-Musayyab, the scholar of his age, who refused to marry his daughter to the khalifah, `Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, and instead married her to one of his righteous students, `Abdullah ibn Wada`ah. `Abdullah went in to his wife, who was one of the most beautiful of people, and one of the most knowledgeable in Qur'an, Sunnah and the rights and duties of marriage. In the morning, `Abdullah got up and was preparing to go out. His wife asked him, "Where are you going?" He said, "To the circle of your father Sa`id ibn al-Musayyab, so that I may learn." She said, "Sit down; I will teach you what Sa`id knows." For one month, `Abdullah did not attend Sa`id's circle beacuse the knowledge that this beautiful young girl had learned from her father (and was passing on to him) was sufficient.

Another of these prominent female scholars was Fatimah, the daughter of the author of Tuhfat al-fuqaha', `Ala' al-Din al-Samarqandi (d. 539 AH). She was a faqihah and scholar in her own right: she had learned fiqh from her father and had memorized his book al-Tuhfah. Her father married her to his student `Ala' al-Din al-Kasani, who was highly distinguished in the fields of al-usul and al-furu'. He wrote a commentary on Tuhfat al-fuqaha' entitled Bada'i` al-sana'i`, and showed it to his shaykh, who was delighted with it and accepted it as a mahr for his daughter, although he had refused offers of marriage for her from some of the kings of Byzantium.. The fuqaha' of his time said, "He commentated on his Tuhfah and married his daughter." Before her marriage, Fatimah used to issue fatwas along with her father, and the fatwas would be written in her handwriting and that of her father. After she married the author of al-Bada'i`, the fatwas would appear in her handwriting and that of her father and her husband. Her husband would make mistakes, and she would correct them.[40] `A'ishah, the other wives of the Prophet (PBUH), the daughter of Sa`id ibn al-Musayyab, Fatimah al-Samarqandi and other famous women scholars were not something unique or rare among Muslim women. There were innumerable learned women, who studied every branch of knowledge and became prominent in many fields. Ibn Sa`d devoted a chapter of al-Tabaqat to reports of Hadith transmitted by women, in which he mentioned more than seven hundred women who reported Hadith from the Prophet (PBUH), or from the trustworthy narrators among the sahabah; from these women in turn, many prominent scholars and imams also narrated Hadith.

Al-Hafiz ibn `Asakir (d. 571 AH), one of the most reliable narrators of hadith, who was so trustworthy that he was known as hafiz al-ummah, counted eighty-odd women among his shaykhs and teachers.41 If we bear in mind that this scholar never left the eastern part of the Islamic world, and never visited Egypt, North Africa or Andalusia - which were even more crowded with women of knowledge - we will see that the number of learned women he never met was far greater than those from whom he did receive knowledge.

One of the phrases used by scholars in the books of hadith is: "Al-shaykhah al-musnidah al-salihah so-and-so the daughter of so-and-so told me . . ." Among the names mentioned by Imam Bukhari are: Sitt al-Wuzara' Wazirah bint Muhammad ibn `Umar ibn As`ad ibn al-Munajji al-Tunukhiyyah and Karimah bint Ahmad al-Maruziyyah. They are also mentioned by Ibn Hijr al-`Asqallani in the introduction to Fath al-Bari.[42]

The position of these great women is enhanced by the fact that they were sincere and truthful, far above any hint of suspicion or doubt - a status that many men could not reach. This was noted by Imam al-Hafiz al-Dhahabi in Mizan al-I`tidal, where he states that he found four thousand men about whose reports he had doubts, then follows that observation with the comment: "I have never known of any woman who was accused (of being untrustworthy) or whose hadith was rejected."[43]

The modern Muslim woman, looking at the magnificent heritage of women in Islamic history, is filled with the desire for knowledge, as these prominent women only became famous and renowned throughout history by virtue of their knowledge. Their minds can only be developed, and their characters can only grow in wisdom, maturity and insight, through the acquisition of useful, beneficial and correct knowledge.

She is not Superstitious
The knowledgeable Muslim woman avoids all the foolish superstitions and nonsensical myths that tend to fill the minds of ignorant and uneducated women. The Muslim woman who understands the teachings of her religion believes that consulting and accepting the words of fortune-tellers, soothsayers, magicians and other purveyors of superstition and myths is one of the major sins that annul the good deeds of the believer and spell doom for him or her in the Hereafter. Muslim reports from some of the wives of the Prophet (PBUH) that he said:

"Whoever goes to a fortune-teller and asks him about anything, his prayers will not be accepted for forty days."[44]

Abu Dawud reports the hadith of Abu Hurayrah in which the Prophet (PBUH) said:

"Whoever goes to a fortune-teller and believes in what he says, has disbelieved in that which was revealed to Muhammad."[45]

She never stops reading and studying
The Muslim woman does not let her household duties and the burdens of motherhood prevent her from reading widely, because she understands that reading is the source which will supply her mind with nourishment and knowledge which it needs in order to flourish and grow.

The Muslim woman who understands that seeking knowledge is a duty required of her by her faith can never stop nourishing her mind with knowledge, no matter how busy she may be with housework or taking care of her children. She steals the odd moment, here and there, to sit down with a good book, or a useful magazine, so that she may broaden her horizons with some useful academic, social or literary knowledge, thus increasing her intellectual abilities.

3 - Her Soul
The Muslim woman does not neglect to polish her soul through worship, dhikr, and reading Qur'an; she never neglects to perform acts of worship at the appointed times. Just as she takes care of her body and mind, she also takes care of her soul, as she understands that the human being is composed of a body, a mind and a soul, and that all three deserve appropriate attention. A person may be distinguished by the balance he or she strikes between body, mind and soul, so that none is cared for at the expense of another. Striking this balance guarantees the development of a sound, mature and moderate character.

She performs acts of worship regularly and purifies her soul
The Muslim woman pays due attention to her soul and polishes it through worship, doing so with a pure and calm approach that will allow the spiritual meanings to penetrate deep into her being. She removes herself from the hustle and bustle of life and concentrates on her worship as much as she is able to. When she prays, she does so with calmness of heart and clearness of mind, so that her soul may be refreshed by the meaning of the words of Qur'an, dhikr and tasbih that she is mentioning. Then she sits alone for a little while, praising and glorifying Allah, and reciting some ayat from His Book, and meditating upon the beautiful meanings of the words she is reciting. She checks her attitude and behaviour every now and then, correcting herself if she has done anything wrong or fallen short in some way. Thus her worship will bring about the desired results of purity of soul, cleansing her of her sins, and freeing her from the bonds of Shaytan whose constant whispering may destroy a person. If she makes a mistake or stumbles from the Straight Path, the true Muslim woman soon puts it right, seeks forgiveness from Allah (SWT), renounces her sin or error, and repents sincerely. This is the attitude of righteous, Allah-fearing Muslim women:

( Those who fear Allah, when a thought of evil from Shaytan assaults them, bring Allah to remembrance, when lo! They see aright.) (Qur'an 7:201)

Therefore, the Prophet (PBUH) used to tell his Companions:

"Renew your faith." He was asked, "O Messenger of Allah, how do we renew our faith?" He said, "By frequently repeating la ilaha ill-Allah."[46]

The Muslim woman always seeks the help of Allah (SWT) in strengthening and purifying her soul by constantly worshipping and remembering Allah (SWT), checking herself, and keeping in mind at all times what will please Allah (SWT). So whatever pleases Him, she does, and what angers Him, she refrains from. Thus she will remain on the Straight Path, never deviating from it or doing wrong.

She keeps company with righteous people and joins religious gatherings
In order to attain this high status, the Muslim woman chooses righteous, Allah-fearing friends, who will be true friends and offer sincere advice, and will not betray her in word or deed. Good friends have a great influence in keeping a Muslim woman on the Straight Path, and helping her to develop good habits and refined characteristics. A good friend - in most cases - mirrors one's behaviour and attitudes:

"Do not ask about a man: ask about his friends, / for every friend follows his friends."[47]

Mixing with decent people is an indication of one's good lineage and noble aims in life:

"By mixing with noble people you become one of them,/ so you should never regard anyone else as a friend."[48]

So it is as essential to choose good friends as it is to avoid doing evil:

"If you mix with people, make friends with the best of them,/ do not make friends with the worst of them lest you become like them."[49]

The Muslim woman is keen to attend gatherings where there is discussion of Islam and the greatness of its teachings regarding the individual, family and society, and where those present think of the power of Almighty Allah (SWT) and His bountiful blessings to His creation, and encourage one another to obey His commandments, heed His prohibitions and seek refuge with Him. In such gatherings, hearts are softened, souls are purified, and a person's whole being is filled with the joy of faith.

So `Abdullah ibn Rawahah (RAA), whenever he met one of the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH), used to say, "Come, let us believe in our Lord for a while." When the Prophet (PBUH) heard about this, he said, "May Allah have mercy on Ibn Rawahah, for he loves the gatherings that the angels feel proud to attend."[50] The rightly-guided khalifah `Umar al-Faruq (RAA) used to make the effort to take a regular break from his many duties and the burden of his position as ruler. He would take the hand of one or two men and say, "Come on, let us go and increase our faith," then they would remember Allah (SWT).[51] Even `Umar (RAA), who was so righteous and performed so many acts of worship, felt the need to purify his soul from time to time. He would remove himself for a while from the cares and worries of life, to refresh his soul and cleanse his heart. Likewise, Mu`adh ibn Jabal (RAA) would often say to his companions, when they were walking, "Let us sit down and believe for a while." [52] The Muslim is responsible for strengthening his soul and purifying his heart. He must always push himself to attain a higher level, and guard against slipping down:

( By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it; and by its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right - truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it!) (Qur'an 91:7-10)

So the Muslim woman is required to choose with care the best friends and attend the best gatherings, so that she will be in an environment which will increase her faith and taqwa:

( And keep your soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not your eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds.) (Qur'an 18: 28)

She frequently repeats du`a's and supplications described in Hadith
Another way in which the Muslim woman may strengthen her soul and connect her heart to Allah (SWT) is by repeating the supplications which it is reported that the Prophet (PBUH) used to say on various occasions. So there is a du`a' for leaving the house, and others for entering the house, starting to eat, finishing a meal, wearing new clothes, lying down in bed, waking up from sleep, saying farewell to a traveller, welcoming a traveller back home, etc. There is hardly anything that the Prophet (PBUH) did that he did not have a du`a' for, through which he asked Allah (SWT) to bless him in his endeavour, protect him from error, guide him to the truth, decree good for him and safeguahim from evil, as is explained in the books of hadith narrated from the Prophet (PBUH).[53] He used to teach these du`a's and adhkar to his Companions, and encouraged them to repeat them at the appropriate times.

The true Muslim woman is keen to learn these du`a's and adhkar, following the example of the Prophet (PBUH) and his distinguished Companions, and she keeps repeating them at the appropriate times, as much as she is able. In this way, her heart will remain focused on Allah (SWT), her soul will be cleansed and purified, and her iman will increase.

The modern Muslim woman is in the utmost need of this spiritual nourishment, to polish her soul and keep her away from the temptations and unhealthy distractions of modern life, that could spell doom for women in societies which have deviated from the guidance of Allah (SWT) and sent groups of women to Hell, as the Prophet (PBUH) indicated: "I looked into Hell, and saw that the majority of its inhabitants were women."54 The Muslim woman who understands the teachings of her religion looks where she is going and strives to increase her good deeds, so that she may be saved from the terrifying trap into which the devils among mankind and jinn in all times and places try to make women fall.

1 Reported by Abu Dawud, 4/83, in Kitab al-libas, bab ma ja'a fi isbal al-izar; its isnad is sahih.

2 A sahih hasan hadith narrated by Ahmad, 4/132, and Tirmidhi, 4/18, in Kitab al-zuhd, bab ma ja'a fi karahiyyah kathirat al-akl.

3 Kanz al-ummal, 15/433. See also the valuable article on the harmful effects of over-filling the stomach on a person's body, mind and soul, by Muhammad Nazim Nasimi MD in Hadarah al-Islam, Nos. 5, 6, Vol. 15.

4 Fath al-Bari, 2/370, Kitab al-jumu'ah, bab al-dahn li'l-jumu'ah. Note: the command to wear perfume applies to men only; it is forbidden for women to wear perfume when they go out. [Translator]

5 A hadith narrated by 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar and recorded as sahih by Abu 'Awanah, Ibn Khazimah and Ibn Hibban. See also Fath al-Bari, 2/356, Kitab al-jumu'ah, bab fadl al-ghusl yawm al-jumu'ah.

7 See Samihah A. Wirdi, Min al-riqq il'al'sayadah, Damla Yayinevi No. 89, p. 28ff.

8 Fath al-Bari, 3/599, Kitab al-'umrah, bab kam a'tamara al-Nabi (r).

9 Sahih Muslim, 8/236, Kitab al-Hajj, bab 'adad 'amar al-Nabi (r) wa zamanihinna.

10 A hasan hadith, narrated by Ahmad (6/160) and Abu Dawud (1/46) in Kitab al-taharah, bab al-siwak.

11 Fath al-Bari, 2/374, Kitab al-jumu'ah, bab al-siwak yawm al-jumu'ah; Sahih Muslim, 3/143, Kitab al-taharah, bab al-siwak.

12 Sahih Muslim, 3/143, Kitab al-taharah, bab al-siwak.

13 Sahih Muslim, 5/50, Kitab al-masajid, bab nahi akil al-thum wa'l-basal 'an hudur al-masjid.

14 Reported by Abu Dawud, 4/108, in Kitab al-tarajjul, bab fi islah al-sha'r; its isnad is hasan.

15 al-Muwatta', 2/949, Kitab al-sha'r, bab islah al-sha'r.

16 A sahih hadith reported by Ahmad (3/357) and al-Nisa'i (8/183) in Kitab al-zinah, bab taskin al-sha'r.

17 See Tafsir al-Qurtubi, 7/197.

18 A hasan hadith narrated by Tirmidhi, 4/206, in Kitab al-isti'dhan, bab athar al-ni'mah 'ala'l-'abd.

19 See Al-Targhib wa'l-Tarhib, 3/93, Kitab al-libas wa'l-zinah.

20 Sa hih Muslim, 2/89, Kitab al-iman, bab tahrim al-kibr.

21Fath al-Bari, 10/334, Kitab al-libas, bab qass al- sharib; Muslim, 3/146, Kitab al-taharah, bab khisal al-fitrah.

22 Fayd al-Bari, 6/81, Kitab al-jihad, bab al-hirasah fi'l-ghazw fi sabil-Allah.

23 See Hashimi (ed.), Jumharah Ash'ar al-'Arab, 1/300, published by Dar al-Qalam, 1406 AH.

24 A hasan hadith narrated by Ibn Majah, 1/81, in al-Muqaddimah, bab fadl al-'ulama' wa'l-hath 'ala talab al-'ilm.

25 Fath al-Bari, 1/195, Kitab al-'ilm, bab hal yuj'al li'l-nisa' yawm 'ala hidah fi'l-'ilm.

26 Fath al-Bari, 1/414, Kitab al-hayd, bab dalk al-mar'ah nafsaha idha tatahharat min al-muhid; Sahih Muslim, 4/15, 16, Kitab al-hayd, bab istihbab isti'mal al-mutaghasilah min al-hayd al-misk.

27 See Fath al-Bari, 1/228, Kitab al-'ilm, bab al-haya' fi'l-'ilm; Sahih Muslim, 4/16, Kitab al-hayd, bab ghusl al-mustahadah wa salatiha.

28 Fath al-Bari, 1/228, Kitab al-'ilm, bab al-haya' fi'l-'ilm; Sahih Muslim, 3/223, 224, Kitab al-hayd, bab wujub al-ghusl 'ala'l-mar'ah bi khuruj al-maniy minha.

29 Sahih Muslim, 3/220, Kitab al-hayd, bab wujub al-ghusl 'ala'lmar'ah bi khuruj al-maniy minha.

30 See Fath al-Bari, 7/310, Kitab al-maghazi, bab istifta' Subay'ah bint al-Harith al-Aslamiyyah; Sahih Muslim, 10/110, Kitab al-talaq, bab inqida' 'iddah al-mutawafa 'anha zawjuha wa ghayruha.

31 See Sharh al-Nawawi li Sahih Muslim, 10/109, Kitab al-talaq, bab inqida' 'iddah al-mutawafa 'anha zawjuha bi wad' al-haml.

32 A hasan hadith, narrated by Ibn Majah, 1/81, in al-Muqaddimah, bab fadl al-'ulama' wa'l-hathth 'ala talab al-'ilm.

33 A hasan hadith reported by al-Bayhaqi in Shu'ab al-iman, 4/334, from 'A'ishah

34 al-Isti'ab, 4/1883; al-Isabah, 8/140.

35 Tarikh al-Tabari: Hawadith 58; al-Samt al-Thamin, 82; al-Isti'ab, 4/1885.

36 Sahih Muslim, 5/47, Kitab al-masajid, bab karahah al-salat bi hadrat al-ta'am.

37 Al-Aghani, 10/57.

38 Fath al-Bari, 1/196, Kitab al-'ilm, bab man sami'a shay'an fa raji' hatta ya'rifuhu.

39 Reported by Tirmidhi, 5/364, in Kitab al-munaqib, bab min fadl 'A'ishah; he said that it is hasan sahih gharib.

40 Tuhfat al-fuqaha', 1/12.

41 Tabaqat al-shafi'iyyah, 4/273.

42 Fath al-Bari, 1/7.

43 Mizan al-i'tidal, 3/395.

44 See Sahih Muslim, 14/227, Kitab al-salam, bab tahrim al-kahanah wa ityan al-kahan.

45 A hasan hadith narrated by Abu Dawud, 4/21, in Kitab al-tibb, bab fi'l-kahin.

46 Reported by Ahmad (2/359) with a jayyid isnad.

47 See 'Adiyy ibn Zayd al-'Ibadi by the author, 172.

48 Anonymous.

[The above reading is as beneficial for men as it is for women insha Allah. And subhanAllah, the part regarding 'ilm was the most enlightening I would say]

Friday, March 28, 2003

Ahadeeth of the Day

`Abdullah bin `Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with them) narrated that: He heard Messenger of Allah (PBUH) as saying: "Three men, amongst those who came before you, set out until night came and they reached a cave, so they entered it. A rock fell down from the mountain and blocked the entrance of the cave. They said: `Nothing will save you from this unless you supplicate to Allah by virtue of a righteous deed you have done.'

Thereupon, one of them said: `O Allah! I had parents who were old, and I used to offer them milk before any of my children or slaves. One day, I went far away in search of grazing and could not come back until they had slept. When I milked as usual and brought the drink I found them both asleep. I hated to disturb them and also disliked to give milk to my children before them. My children were crying out of hunger at my feet but I awaited with the bowl in my hand for them to wake up. When they awoke at dawn, they drank milk. O Allah! If I did so to seek Your Pleasure, then deliver us from the distress caused by the rock'. The rock moved slightly but they were unable to escape.

The next said: `O Allah! I had a cousin whom I loved more than any one else (in another version he said: as a man can love a woman). I wanted to have sexual intercourse with her but she refused. Hard pressed in a year of famine, she approached me. I gave her one hundred and twenty dinars on condition that she would yield herself to me. She agreed and when we got together (for sexual intercourse), she said: Fear Allah and do not break the seal unlawfully. I moved away from her in spite of the fact that I loved her most passionately; and I let her keep the money I had given her. O Allah! If I did that to seek Your Pleasure, then, remove the distress in which we are.' The rock moved aside a bit further but they were still unable to get out.

The third one said: `O Allah! I hired some labourers and paid them their wages except one of them departed without taking his due. I invested his money in business and the business prospered greatly. After a long time, he came to me and said: O slave of Allah! Pay me my dues. I said: All that you see is yours - camels, cattle, goats and slaves. He said: O slave of Allah! Do not mock at me. I assured him that I was not joking. So he took all the things and went away. He spared nothing. O Allah! If I did so seeking Your Pleasure, then relieve us of our distress.' The rock slipped aside and they got out walking freely".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1. It is permissible to pray through our virtuous deeds. But to make someone a medium for it, is an innovation in Deen which should be avoided for two major reasons. Firstly, there is no evidence in Shari`ah to support this. Secondly, it is against the practice of Khair-ul-Qurun, the best of generations. (This term is used for the first three generations of Muslims, the one in which the Prophet (PBUH) lived and the two following).

2. Preference should be given to the service of parents, even over the service of one's own wife and children.

3. To abstain from sins out of fear of Allah is a highly meritorious act.

4. Labourers should always be treated fairly. If someone has paid to a labourer less than his due, it should be paid to him in a decent manner.

5. Any supplication which is made sincerely, and with real sense of humbleness is granted by Allah.

6. Allah sometimes helps His pious men even in an unusual manner, which is termed as Karamat (wonder or marvel). Thus, like the miracles of the Prophets, wonders of the righteous people are also true. But miracles and wonders both appear with the Will of Allah.


Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Prophet of Allah (PBUH) said: "There was a man from among a nation before you who killed ninety-nine people and then made an inquiry about the most learned person on the earth. He was directed to a monk. He came to him and told him that he had killed ninety-nine people and asked him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted. He replied in the negative and the man killed him also completing one hundred. He then asked about the most learned man in the earth. He was directed to a scholar. He told him that he had killed one hundred people and asked him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted. He replied in the affirmative and asked, `Who stands between you and repentance? Go to such and such land; there (you will find) people devoted to prayer and worship of Allah, join them in worship, and do not come back to your land because it is an evil place.' So he went away and hardly had he covered half the distance when death overtook him; and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of torment. The angels of mercy pleaded, 'This man has come with a repenting heart to Allah,' and the angels of punishment argued, 'He never did a virtuous deed in his life.' Then there appeared another angel in the form of a human being and the contending angels agreed to make him arbiter between them. He said, `Measure the distance between the two lands. He will be considered belonging to the land to which he is nearer.' They measured and found him closer to the land (land of piety) where he intended to go, and so the angels of mercy collected his soul".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

In another version: "He was found to be nearer to the locality of the pious by a cubit and was thus included among them". Another version says: "Allah commanded (the land which he wanted to leave) to move away and commanded the other land (his destination) to draw nearer and then He said: "Now measure the distance between them.' It was found that he was nearer to his goal by a hand's span and was thus forgiven". It is also narrated that he drew closer by a slight movement on his chest.

1. One comes to know from this Hadith that the gate of Taubah is open even for the worst of the sinners; and Allah forgives everyone provided he repents sincerely, the conditions for such repentance have already been discussed.

2. It is the duty of a religious scholar that while discussing a problem, he should keep in mind the psychological aspects of the questioner and adopt a policy which neither causes a change in the Injunction of Allah nor make the sinner reckless in his sins out of frustration.

3. When a situation warrants, angels appear in the form of men on Orders of Allah.


Abdullah bin Ka`b, who served as the guide of Ka`b bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) when he became blind, narrated: I heard Ka`b bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) narrating the story of his remaining behind instead of joining Messenger of Allah (PBUH) when he left for the battle of Tabuk.

Ka`b said: "I accompanied Messenger of Allah (PBUH) in every expedition which he undertook excepting the battle of Tabuk and the battle of Badr. As for the battle of Badr, nobody was blamed for remaining behind as Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and the Muslims, when they set out, had in mind only to intercept the caravan of the Quraish. Allah made them confront their enemies unexpectedly. I had the honour of being with Messenger of Allah (PBUH) on the night of `Aqabah when we pledged our allegiance to Islam and it was dearer to me than participating in the battle of Badr, although Badr was more well-known among the people than that.

And this is the account of my staying behind from the battle of Tabuk. I never had better means and more favourable circumstances than at the time of this expedition. And by Allah, I had never before possessed two riding-camels as I did during the time of this expedition. Whenever Messenger of Allah (PBUH) decided to go on a campaign, he would not disclose his real destination till the last moment (of departure). But on this expedition, he set out in extremely hot weather; the journey was long and the terrain was waterless desert; and he had to face a strong army, so he informed the Muslims about the actual position so that they should make full preparation for the campaign. And the Muslims who accompanied Messenger of Allah (PBUH) at that time were in large number but no proper record of them was maintained.''

Ka`b (further) said: "Few were the persons who chose to remain absent believing that they could easily hide themselves (and thus remain undetected) unless Revelation from Allah, the Exalted, and Glorious (revealed relating to them). And Messenger of Allah (PBUH) set out on this expedition when the fruit were ripe and their shade was sought. I had a weakness for them and it was during this season that Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and the Muslims made preparations. I also would set out in the morning to make preparations along with them but would come back having done nothing and said to myself: 'I have means enough (to make preparations) as soon as I like'. And I went on doing this (postponing my preparations) till the time of departure came and it was in the morning that Messenger of Allah (PBUH) set out along with the Muslims, but I had made no preparations. I would go early in the morning and come back, but with no decision. I went on doing so until they (the Muslims) hastened and covered a good deal of distance. Then I wished to march on and join them. Would that I had done that! But perhaps it was not destined for me.

After the departure of Messenger of Allah (PBUH) whenever I went out, I was grieved to find no good example to follow but confirmed hypocrites or weak people whom Allah had exempted (from marching forth for Jihad). Messenger of Allah (PBUH) made no mention of me until he reached Tabuk. While he was sitting with the people in Tabuk, he said, `What happened to Ka`b bin Malik?' A person from Banu Salimah said: "O Messenger of Allah, the (beauty) of his cloak and an appreciation of his finery have detained him.' Upon this Mu`adh bin Jabal (MatAllah be pleased with him) admonished him and said to Messenger of Allah (PBUH): "By Allah, we know nothing about him but good.' Messenger of Allah (PBUH), however, kept quiet. At that time he (the Prophet (PBUH)) saw a person dressed in white and said, `Be Abu Khaithamah.' And was Abu Khaithamah Al-Ansari was the person who had contributed a Sa` of dates and was ridiculed by the hypocrites.''

Ka`b bin Malik further said: "When the news reached me that Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was on his way back from Tabuk, I was greatly distressed. I thought of fabricating an excuse and asked myself how I would save myself from his anger the next day. In this connection, I sought the counsels of every prudent member of my family. When I was told that Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was about to arrive, all the wicked ideas vanished (from my mind) and I came to the conclusion that nothing but the truth could save me. So I decided to tell him the truth.

It was in the morning that Messenger of Allah (PBUH) arrived in Al-Madinah. It was his habit that whenever he came back from a journey, he would first go to the mosque and perform two Rak`ah (of optional prayer) and would then sit with the people. When he sat, those who had remained behind him began to put forward their excuses and take an oath before him. They were more than eighty in number. Messenger of Allah (PBUH) accepted their excuses on the very face of them and accepted their allegiance and sought forgiveness for them and left their insights to Allah, until I appeared before him.

I greeted him and he smiled and there was a tinge of anger in that. He then said to me, 'Come forward'. I went forward and I sat in front of him. He said to me, `What kept you back? Could you not afford to go in for a ride?' I said, 'O Messenger of Allah, by Allah, if I were to sit before anybody else, a man of the world, I would have definitely saved myself from his anger on one pretext or the other and I have a gifted skill in argumentation, but, by Allah, I am fully aware that if I were to put forward before you a lame excuse to please you, Allah would definitely provoke your wrath upon me. In case, I speak the truth, you may be angry with me, but I hope that Allah would be pleased with me (and accept my repentance). By Allah, there is no valid excuse for me. By Allah, I never possessed so good means, and I never had such favourable conditions for me as I had when I stayed behind.' Thereupon, Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, 'This man spoke the truth, so get up (and wait) until Allah gives a decision about you.'

I left and some people of Banu Salimah followed me. They said to me, `By Allah, we do not know that you committed a sin before. You, however, showed inability to put forward an excuse before Messenger of Allah (PBUH) like those who stayed behind him. It would have been enough for the forgiveness of your sin that Messenger of Allah (PBUH) would have sought forgiveness for you.' By Allah, they kept on reproaching me until I thought of going back to Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and retract my confession. Then I said to them, 'Has anyone else met the same fate?' They said, 'Yes, two persons have met the same fate. They made the same statement as you did and the same verdict was delivered in their case.' I asked, `Who are they?' They said, 'Murarah bin Ar-Rabi` Al-`Amri and Hilal bin Umaiyyah Al-Waqifi.' They mentioned these two pious men who had taken part in the battle of Badr and there was an example for me in them. I was confirmed in my original resolve.

Messenger of Allah (PBUH) prohibited the Muslims to talk to the three of us from amongst those who had stayed behind. The people began to avoid us and their attitude towards us changed and it seemed as if the whole atmosphere had turned against us, and it was in fact the same atmosphere of which I was fully aware and in which I had lived (for a fairly long time). We spent fifty nights in this very state and my two friends confined themselves within their houses and spent (most of their) time weeping. As I was the youngest and the strongest, I would leave my house, attend the congregational Salat, move about in the bazaars, but none would speak to me. I would come to Messenger of Allah (PBUH) as he sat amongst (people) after the Salat, greet him and would ask myself whether or not his lips moved in response to my greetings. Then I would perform Salat near him and look at him stealthily. When I finish my Salat, he would look at me and when I would cast a glance at him he would turn away his eyes from me.

When the harsh treatment of the Muslims to me continued for a (considerable) length of time, I walked and I climbed upon the wall of the garden of Abu Qatadah, who was my cousin, and I had a great love for him. I greeted him but, by Allah, he did not answer to my greeting. I said to him, `O Abu Qatadah, I adjure you in the Name of Allah, are you not aware that I love Allah and His Messenger (PBUH)?' I asked him the same question again but he remained silent. I again adjured him, whereupon he said, `Allah and His Messenger (PBUH) know better.' My eyes were filled with tears, and I came back climbing down the wall.

As I was walking in the bazaars of Al-Madinah, a man from the Syrian peasants, who had come to sell food grains in Al-Madinah, asked people to direct him to Ka`b bin Malik. People pointed towards me. He came to me and delivered a letter from the King of Ghassan, and as I was a scribe, I read that letter whose purport was: `It has been conveyed to us that your friend (the Prophet (PBUH)) was treating you harshly. Allah has not created you for a place where you are to be degraded and where you cannot find your right place; so come to us and we shall receive you graciously.' As I read that letter I said: 'This is too a trial,' so I put it to fire in an oven.

When forty days had elapsed and Messenger of Allah (PBUH) received no Revelation, there came to me a messenger of the Messenger of Allah and said, `Verily, Messenger of Allah (PBUH) has commanded you to keep away from your wife.' I said, `Should I divorce her or what else should I do?' He said, `No, but only keep away from her and don't have sexual contact with her.' The same message was sent to my companions. So, I said to my wife: 'You better go to your parents and stay there with them until Allah gives the decision in my case.' The wife of Hilal bin Umaiyyah came to Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and said: 'O Messenger of Allah, Hilal bin Umaiyyah is a senile person and has no servant. Do you disapprove if I serve him?' He said, `No, but don't let him have any sexual contact with you.' She said, 'By Allah, he has no such desire left in him. By Allah, he has been in tears since (this calamity) struck him.' Members of my family said to me, `You should have sought permission from Messenger of Allah (PBUH) in regard to your wife. He has allowed the wife of Hilal bin Umaiyyah to serve him.' I said, 'I would not seek permission from Messenger of Allah (PBUH) for I do not know what Messenger of Allah might say in response to that, as I am a young man'. It was in this state that I spent ten more nights and thus fifty days had passed since people boycotted us and gave up talking to us.

After I had offered my Fajr prayer on the early morning of the fiftieth day of this boycott on the roof of one of our houses, and had sat in the very state which Allah described as: `The earth seemed constrained for me despite its vastness', I heard the voice of a proclaimer from the peak of the hill Sal` shouting at the top of his voice: 'O Ka`b bin Malik, rejoice.' I fell down in prostration and came to know that there was (a message of) relief for me. Messenger of Allah (PBUH) had informed the people about the acceptance of our repentance by Allah after he had offered the Fajr prayer.

So the people went on to give us glad tidings and some of them went to my companions in order to give them the glad tidings. A man spurred his horse towards me (to give the good news), and another one from the tribe of Aslam came running for the same purpose and, as he approached the mount, I received the good news which reached me before the rider did. When the one whose voice I had heard came to me to congratulate me, I took off my garments and gave them to him for the good news he brought to me. By Allah, I possessed nothing else (in the form of clothes) except these garments, at that time. Then I borrowed two garments, dressed myself and came to Messenger of Allah (PBUH) On my way, I met groups of people who greeted me for (the acceptance of) repentance and they said: 'Congratulations for acceptance of your repentance.'

I reached the mosque where Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was sitting amidst people. Talhah bin `Ubaidullah got up and rushed towards me, shook hands with me and greeted me. By Allah, no person stood up (to greet me) from amongst the Muhajirun besides him.'' Ka`b said that he never forgot (this good gesture of) Talhah. Ka`b further said: "I greeted Messenger of Allah (PBUH) with `As-salamu `alaikum' and his face was beaming with pleasure. He (PBUH) said, `Rejoice with the best day you have ever seen since your mother gave you birth. 'I said: `O Messenger of Allah! Is this (good news) from you or from Allah?' He said, `No, it is from Allah.' And it was common with Messenger of Allah (PBUH) that when ever he was happy, his face would glow as if it were a part of the moon and it was from this that we recognized it (his delight). As I sat before him, I said, I have placed a condition upon myself that if Allah accepts my Taubah, I would give up all of my property in charity for the sake of Allah and His Messenger (PBUH)!' Thereupon Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, `Keep some property with you, as it is better for you.' I said, 'I shall keep with me that portion which is in Khaibar'. I added: 'O Messenger of Allah! Verily, Allah has granted me salvation because of my truthfulness, and therefore, repentance obliges me to speak nothing but the truth as long as I am alive.''

Ka`b added: "By Allah, I do not know anyone among the Muslims who has been granted truthfulness better than me since I said this to the Prophet (PBUH). By Allah! Since the time I made a pledge of this to Messenger of Allah (PBUH), I have never intended to tell a lie, and I hope that Allah would protect me (against telling lies) for the rest of my life. Allah, the Exalted, the Glorious, revealed these Verses:

'Allah has forgiven the Prophet (PBUH), the Muhajirun (Muslim Emigrants who left their homes and came to Al-Madinah) and the Ansar (Muslims of Al-Madinah) who followed him (Muhammad (PBUH)) in the time of distress (Tabuk expedition), after the hearts of a party of them had nearly deviated (from the Right Path), but He accepted their repentance. Certainly, He is unto them full of kindness, Most Merciful. And (He did forgive also) the three who did not join [the Tabuk expedition and whose case was deferred (by the Prophet (PBUH)) for Allah's Decision] till for them the earth, vast as it is, was straitened and their ownselves were straitened to them, and they perceived that there is no fleeing from Allah, and no refuge but with Him. Then, He forgave them (accepted their repentance), that they might beg for His Pardon [repent (unto Him)]. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful. O you who believe! Be afraid of Allah, and be with those who are true (in word and deeds).'' (9:117,118).

Ka`b said: "By Allah, since Allah guided me to Islam, there has been no blessing more significant for me than this truth of mine which I spoke to Messenger of Allah (PBUH), and if I were to tell a lie I would have been ruined as were ruined those who had told lies, for Allah described those who told lies with the worst description He ever attributed to anybody else, as He sent down the Revelation:

They will swear by Allah to you (Muslims) when you return to them, that you may turn away from them. So turn away from them. Surely, they are Rijsun [i.e., Najasun (impure) because of their evil deeds], and Hell is their dwelling place - a recompense for that which they used to earn. They (the hypocrites) swear to you (Muslims) that you may be pleased with them, but if you are pleased with them, certainly Allah is not pleased with the people who are Al-Fa'siqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah)". (9:95,96)

Ka`b further added: "The matter of the three of us remained pending for decision apart from the case of those who had made excuses on oath before Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and he accepted those, took fresh oaths of allegiance from them and supplicated for their forgiveness. The Prophet (PBUH) kept our matter pending till Allah decided it. The three whose matter was deferred have been shown mercy. The reference here is not to our staying back from the expedition but to his delaying our matter and keeping it pending beyond the matter of those who made their excuses on oath which he accepted".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Another version adds: "Messenger of Allah (PBUH) set out for Tabuk on Thursday. He used to prefer to set out on journey on Thursday.'' Another version says: "Messenger of Allah (PBUH) used to come back from a journey in the early forenoon and went straight to the mosque where he would perform two Rak`ah prayer. Afterwards he would seat himself there".

Commentary: This Hadith contains many aspects of warnings and advices, some of which are given below:

1. A Muslim should always speak the truth even if he has to face troubles and turmoil for it because the Pleasure of Allah lies in truth.

2. One must avoid at all costs the attitude of hypocrites because eventually one is ruined by it.

3. In spite of hardship and stringency, one must take part in Jihad.

4. For the admonition and exhortation of others, it gives justification for the economic boycott of even sincere Muslims who adopt wrong methods.

5. One must face with forbearance the difficulties which come in the way of Deen.

6. It is not praiseworthy that one gives in charity all the property he has. One must keep what is needed for the lawful needs.

7. It is lawful to give something by way of gift and reward to a person who congratulates in the events of happiness.

8.The ability to seek pardon is a gift from Allah for which one must express gratitude to Him.

9.Any promise that one makes must be kept, etc. etc.


Suhaib (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "There lived a king before you and he had a court magician. As he (the magician) grew old, he said to the king: `I have grown old, so send me a young boy in order to teach him magic.' The king sent him a young boy to serve the purpose. And on his way (to the magician) the young boy met a monk to whom he listened to and liked it. It became his habit that on his way to the magician, he would meet the monk and sit there and would come to the magician (late). The magician used to beat him because of this delay. He complained about this to the monk who said to him: 'When you feel afraid of the magician, say: Members of my family detained me. And when you fear your family, say: The magician detained me.'

It so happened that there came a huge beast and it blocked the way of the people, and the young boy said: 'I will know today whether the magician or the monk is better.' He picked up a stone and said: `O Allah, if the way of the monk is dearer to You than the way of the magician, bring about death to the animal so that the people be able to move about freely.' He threw that stone at it and killed it and the people began to move about freely. He then came to the monk and told him the story. The monk said: `Son, today you are superior to me. You have come to a stage where I feel that you would be soon put to a trial, and in case you are put to a trial, do not reveal me.'

That young boy began to heal those born blind and the lepers and he, in fact, began to cure people from all kinds of illnesses. When a courtier of the king who had gone blind heard about him, he came to him with numerous gifts and said, `If you cure me, all these things will be yours.' He said, `I myself do not cure anyone. It is Allah, the Exalted, Alone Who cures; and if you affirm faith in Allah, I shall also supplicate to Allah to cure you.' This courtier affirmed his faith in Allah and Allah cured him. He came to the king and sat by his side as he used to sit before. The king said to him, `Who restored your eyesight?' He said, `My Rubb.' Thereupon he said, 'Do you have another lord besides me?' He said, `My Rubb and your Rubb is Allah.' So the king kept torturing him untill he revealed the young boy.

The young boy was thus summoned and the king said to him, 'O boy, it has been conveyed to me that you have become so much proficient in your magic that you cure the blind and the lepers and you do such and such.' Thereupon he said, `I do not cure anyone; it is Allah Alone Who cures,' and the king took hold of him and began to torture him until he revealed of the monk. The monk was summoned and it was said to him: `You should turn back from your religion.' But he refused. The king sent for a saw, placed it in the middle of his head and cut him into two parts that fell down. Then the courtier of the king was brought forward and it was said to him: `Turn back from your religion.' He, too, refused, and the saw was placed in the midst of his head and he was torn into two parts.

Then the boy was sent for and it was said to him: `Turn back from your religion.' He refused. The king then handed him over to a group of his courtiers, and said to them: `Take him to such and such mountain; make him climb up that mountain and when you reach its peak ask him to renounce his Faith. If he refuses to do so, push him to his death.' So they took him and made him climb up the mountain and he said: `O Allah, save me from them in any way you like,' and the mountain began to shake and they all fell down (dead) and that young boy came walking to the king. The king said to him, `What happened to your companions?' He said, `Allah has saved me from them.' He again handed him to some of his courtiers and said: `Take him and carry him in a boat and when you reach the middle of the sea, ask him to renounce his religion. If he does not renounce his religion throw him (into the water).' So they took him and he said: `O Allah, save me from them.' The boat turned upside down and they all drowned except the young boy who came walking to the king. The king said to him, `What happened to your companions?' He said, `Allah has saved me from them,' and he said to the king: `You cannot kill me until you do what I command you to do.' The king asked, `What is that?' He said, `Gather all people in one place and tie me up to the trunk of a tree, then take an arrow from my quiver and say: With the Name of Allah, the Rubb of the boy; then shoot me. If you do that you will be able to kill me.'

`The king called the people in an open field and tied the young boy to the trunk of a tree. He took out an arrow from his quiver, fixed in the bow and said, `With the Name of Allah, the Rubb of the young boy,' he then shot the arrow and it hit the boy's temple. The young boy placed his hand upon the temple where the arrow had hit him and died. The people then said: `We believe in the Rubb of this young boy.' The king was told: `Do you see what you were afraid of, by Allah it has taken place; all people have believed.' The king then commanded that trenches be dug and fire lit in them, and said: `He who would not turn back from his (the young boy's) religion, throw him in the fire' or `he would be ordered to jump into it.' They did so till a woman came with her child. She felt hesitant in jumping into the fire. The child said to her: `O mother! Endure (this ordeal) for you are on the Right Path".

1. The most important lesson of this Hadith is that whatever difficulties one has to face on the path of Deen, he should endure it with patience and determination; and if interest of the Deen requires, one should sacrifice his life for it.

2. The wonders displayed by righteous people are true. When Allah's Will and Wisdom requires, He manifests these wonders through His slaves.

3. It is a proof of the truth of the Qur'an that it has retold the great historical event like Ashab-ul-Ukhdud which, buried in the dust of ages, had long been forgotten.

4. It is not possible to explain and interpret the Qur'an without the help of Ahadith. The event of Ashsb-ul-Ukhdud mentioned in the Qur'an is an instance in point. It is the Hadith that has brought into light the details of the event and clarified its ambiguity.

5. Such incidents are a source of strength for the faith of true believers.

Thursday, March 27, 2003


KH. Abdullah Gymnastiar

Ada empat tipe manusia berkaitan dengan harta dan gaya hidupnya :

Pertama, orang berharta dan memperlihatkan hartanya.
Orang seperti ini biasanya mewah gaya hidupnya, untung perilakunya
ini masih sesuai dengan penghasilannya, sehingga secara finansial
sebenarnya tidak terlalu bermasalah. Hanya saja, ia akan menjadi hina
kalau bersikap sombong dan merendahkan orang lain yang dianggap tak
selevel dengan dia. Apalagi kalau bersikap kikir dan tidak mau
membayar zakat atau mengeluarkan sedekah. Sebaliknya, ia akan
terangkat kemuliaannya dengan kekayaannya itu jikalau ia rendah hati
dan dermawan.

Kedua, orang yang tidak berharta banyak, tapi ingin
kelihatan berharta. Gaya hidup mewahnya sebenarnya diluar
kemampuannya, hal ini karena ia ingin selalu tampil lebih daripada
kenyataan. Tidaklah aneh bila keadaan finansialnya lebih besar pasak
daripada tiang. Nampaknya, orang seperti ini benar-benar tahu seni
menyiksa diri. Hidupnya amat menderita, dan sudah barang tentu ia
menjadi hina dan bahkan menjadi bahan tertawaan orang lain yang
mengetahui keadaan yang sebenarnya.

Ketiga, orang tak berharta tapi berhasil hidup bersahaja.
Orang seperti ini tidak terlalu pening dalam menjalani hidup karena
tak tersiksa oleh keinginan, tak ruwet oleh pujian dan penilaian
orang lain, kebutuhan hidupnya pun sederhana saja. Dia akan hina
kalau menjadi beban dengan menjadi peminta-minta yang tidak tahu
diri. Namun tetap juga berpeluang menjadi mulia jikalau sangat
menjaga kehormatan dirinya dengan tidak menunjukan berharap
dikasihani, tak menunjukan kemiskinannya, tegar, dan memiliki harga

Keempat, orang yang berharta tapi hidup bersahaja. Inilah
orang yang mulia dan memiliki keutamaan. Dia mampu membeli apapun
yang dia inginkan namun berhasil menahan dirinya untuk hidup
seperlunya. Dampaknya, hidupnya tidak berbiaya tinggi, tidak menjadi
bahan iri dengki orang lain, dan tertutup peluang menjadi sombong,
serta takabur plus riya. Dan yang lebih menawan akan menjadi contoh
kebaikan yang tidak habis-habisnya untuk menjadi bahan pembicaraan.
Memang aneh tapi nyata jika orang yang berkecukupan harta tapi mampu
hidup bersahaja (tentu tanpa kikir). Sungguh ia akan punya pesona
kemuliaan tersendiri. Pribadinya yang lebih kaya dan lebih berharga
dibanding seluruh harta yang dimilikinya, subhanallaah.

Perlu kita pahami bahwa zuhud terhadap dunia bukan
berarti tidak mempunyai hal-hal yang bersifat duniawi, semacam harta
benda dan kekayaan lainnya, melainkan kita lebih yakin dengan apa
yang ada di tangan Allah daripada apa yang ada di tangan makhluk.
Bagi orang yang zuhud terhadap dunia, sebanyak apapun harta yang
dimiliki, sama sekali tidak akan membuat hatinya merasa tenteram,
karena ketenteraman yang hakiki adalah ketika kita yakin dengan janji
dan jaminan Allah.

Andaikata kita merasa lebih tenteram dengan sejumlah
tabungan di bank, saham di sejumlah perusahaan ternama, real estate
investasi di sejumlah kompleks perumahan mewah, atau sejumlah
perusahaan multi nasional yang dimiliki, maka ini berarti kita belum
zuhud. Seberapa besar pun uang tabungan kita, seberapa banyak saham
pun yang dimiliki, sebanyak apapun asset yang dikuasai, seharusnya
kita tidak lebih merasa tenteram dengan jaminan mereka atau siapapun.
Karena, semua itu tidak akan datang kepada kita, kecuali ijin Allah.
Dia-lah Maha Pemilik apapun yang ada di dunia ini.

Begitulah. Orang yang zuhud terhadap dunia melihat apapun
yang dimilikinya tidak mejadi jaminan. Ia lebih suka dengan jaminan
Allah karena walaupun tidak tampak dan tidak tertulis, tetapi Dia
Mahatahu akan segala kebutuhan kita, dan bahkan, lebih tahu dari kita

Ada dan tiadanya dunia di sisi kita hendaknya jangan
sampai menggoyahkan batin. Karenanya, mulailah melihat dunia ini
dengan sangat biasa-biasa saja. Adanya tidak membuat bangga, tiadanya
tidak membuat sengsara. Seperti halnya seorang tukang parkir. Ya
tukang parkir. Ada hal yang menarik untuk diperhatikan sebagai
perumpamaan dari tukang parkir. Mengapa mereka tidak menjadi sombong
padahal begitu banyak dan beraneka ragam jenis mobil yang ada di
pelataran parkirnya? Bahkan, walaupun berganti-ganti setiap saat
dengan yang lebih bagus ataupun dengan yang lebih sederhana
sekalipun, tidak mempengaruhi kepribadiannya!? Dia senantiasa
bersikap biasa-biasa saja.

Luar biasa tukang parkir ini. Jarang ada tukang parkir
yang petantang petenteng memamerkan mobil-mobil yang ada di lahan
parkirnya. Lain waktu, ketika mobil-mobil itu satu persatu
meninggalkan lahan parkirnya, bahkan sampai kosong ludes sama sekali,
tidak menjadikan ia stress. Kenapa sampai demikian? Tiada lain,
karena tukang parkir ini tidak merasa memiliki, melainkan merasa
dititipi. Ini rumusnya.

Seharusnya begitulah sikap kita akan dunia ini. Punya
harta melimpah, deposito jutaan rupiah, mobil keluaran terbaru paling
mewah, tidak menjadi sombong sikap kita karenanya. Begitu juga
sebaliknya, ketika harta diambil, jabatan dicopot, mobil dicuri,
tidak menjadi stress dan putus asa. Semuanya biasa-biasa saja.
Bukankah semuanya hanya titipan saja? Suka-suka yang menitipkan, mau
diambil sampai habis tandas sekalipun, silahkan saja, persoalannya
kita hanya dititipi.

Rasulullah SAW dalam hal ini bersabda, "Melakukan zuhud
dalam kehidupan dunia bukanlah dengan mengharamkan yang halal dan
bukan pula dengan memboroskan kekayaan. Zuhud terhadap kehidupan
dunia itu ialah tidak menganggap apa yang ada pada dirimu lebih pasti
daripada apa yang ada pada Allah. Dan hendaknya engkau bergembira
memperoleh pahala musibah yang sedang menimpamu walaupun musibah itu
akan tetap menimpamu." (HR. Ahmad).***

(Sumber : Jurnal MQ Vol.1/No.3/Juli 2001)

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Setulus mana cintaku

Renung dan fikirlah wahai sahabatku sekelian..

Sejauh mana kita mencintai Allah .. Tuhan yang Maha Agung ??

Suatu pagi aku terbangun dan berpeluang melihat mentari terbit.

Aaah... kecantikan alam ciptaan Allah memang tiada tolok bandingnya. Sedang aku memerhati, aku puji Tuhan atas segala keindahan yang telah Ia disajikan itu. Aku duduk dan terasa kehadiranNya di sisiku. Dia bertanya kepadaku, "Adakah kamu mencintai Aku?" Aku menjawab, "Sudah tentu! Engkaulah Penciptaku, masakan aku tidak mencintaiMu." Kemudian Dia bertanya lagi, "Jika kamu ditakdirkan cacat anggota, adakah kamu akan mencintaiKu?"

Aku tergamam seketika. Aku lihat tangan, kaki dan seluruh anggotaku; aku teringat pelbagai kerja yang mustahil aku lalukan tanpa anggotaku ini yang selama ini tidak kusedari kepentingannya. Kemudian aku jawab, "Tentunya ia amat sukar bagiku, tetapi aku akan tetap akan mencintaiMu."

Kemudian Dia bertanya lagi, "Jika kamu ditakdirkan buta, adakah kamu akan menyayangi segala ciptaanKu?" Bagaimana mungkin bagiku untuk mencintai sesuatu yang ditak mampu kulihat?
Kemudian aku terfikir... ramai orang yang ditakdirkan buta di dunia ini, dan mereka masih mencintai Allah dan segala ciptaanNya. Lantas aku menjawab, "Amat sukar bagiku membayangkan keadaanku yang sedemikian rupa, namun begitu, aku akan tetap menyintaiMu, ya Allah."

Dia bertanya lagi, "Jika kamu ditakdirkan pekak, adakah kamu akan tetap mendengar kepada kata-kataKu?" Bagaimana mungkin bagiku mendengar jika aku pekak? Kemudian aku tersedar bahawa mendengar itu tidak semestinya menggunakan telinga; tetapi menggunakan hati. Aku jawab, "Walaupun amat takdir itu amat berat bagiku, namun aku akan tetap menyintaiMu."

Dia menyambung lagi persoalannya, "Jika kamu ditakdirkan bisu, adakah kamu akan terus memujiKu?" Aku tertanya lagi, bagaimanakah aku boleh memuji tanpa suara? Aku terfikir kemudian yang Allah mahu kita memujiNya dari dalam hati dan jiwa kita; tidak penting bagaimanakah bunyinya. Kemudian aku menjawab, "Sungguhpun aku tidak mampu untuk membunyikan pujian bagimu, aku tetap akan memujiMu."

Dan Dia terus bertanya lagi, "Adakah kamu benar-benar menyintaiKu?" dengan nada yang tegas dan penuh keberanian. Aku jawab dengan yakin, "Ya, benar Tuhanku, Aku menyintaimu kerana Engkaulah satu-satunya Tuhanku dan Tuhan yang sebenar!"

Aku fikir jawapanku tadi sudah cukup bagus untuk menjawab soalanNya tadi., tetapi Dia terus bertanyakanku lagi, "Kalau begitu, mengapa kamu masih melakukan dosa?" Aku jawab, "Kerana aku cuma manusia biasa yang selalu lalai; aku tidak sempurna... aku bukan maksum."

"Kalau begitu, kenapa ketika kamu senang dan gembira... kamu lupakanKu; kamu lari jauh daripadaKu? Dan kenapa ketika kamu susah atau mahukan bantuan... kamu terus ingat kepada Aku; kamu datang dekat dan merayu kepada Aku?" Aku tidak mampu berkata apa-apa. Yang kusedari.. titisan panas turun membasahi pipiku.

Dia sambung lagi, "Mengapa kamu buat begini... kadang kala sujud menyembahKu, dan kemudian membelakangiKu; tidak pedulikanKu? Mengapa kamu hanya datang mencariKu hanya ketika kamu mengingatiKu? Mengapa kamu meminta dengan penuh tamak dan mementingkan diri sendiri? Mengapa kamu meminta kepadaKu sedang kamu tidak setia kepadaKu?" Kurasakan titisan panas mengalir deras membasahi pipiku tanpa henti.

Mengapa kamu malu kepadaKu? Mengapa kamu tidak mahu menyebarkan suruhanKu? Mengapa ketika kamu dizalimi, kamu adukan kepada yang lain sedang Aku sedia mendengar segala
rintihanmu? Mengapa kamu sering membuat alasan ketika Aku memberimu peluang untuk berkidmat di jalanKu?"

Ku gagahi bibirku untuk mengucapkan patah-patah perkataan bagi menjawab segala soalan yang bertubi-tubi diajukan kepadaku. Tetapi, aku tidak punyai jawapan bagi persoalan-persoalan tadi. Lidahku yang selama ini lancar berkata-kata, kini kelu. Otakku ligat mencari jawapan.. atau alasan... namun tiada apa yang kutemui sebagai jawapan.Dia berkata-kata lagi...

"Kamu diberikan sebuah kehidupan. Aku jadikan dalam dirimu keistimewaan dan kelebihan berbanding orang lain untuk kamu berjuang di jalanKu, tetapi kamu tetap berpaling dari jalanKu. Aku tunjukkan kepadamu kata-kataKu sebagai panduan kamu dalam hidup ini, tetapi kamu tidak mahu mempelajar atau menghayatinya. Acap kali Aku berkata-kata kepadamu, tetapi kamu tutup telingamu. Acap kali Aku berikan pelbagai rahmat dan nikmat kepadamu, tetapi kamu berpaling daripada melihatnya.

Aku turunkan kepada kamu PesuruhKu, tetapi kamu tidak ambil peduli ketika sunnahnya ditinggalkan. Aku dengar segala permintaan dan rayuanmu kepadaKu... dan semuanya telah Aku perkenankan dengan pelbagai cara. " Sambungnya lagi, "Kini... adakah kamu menyintaiKu?"

Aku tidak mampu menjawabnya lagi. Bagaimana harus aku jawab persoalan ini? Dalam tak sedar, aku malu dengan segala apa yang telah aku lakukan selama ini.Aku tidak lagi punya alasan bagi menyelamatkan diriku. Apa yang bolehku jawab bagi persoalan itu?

Ketika hatiku berteriak menangis, dan bercucuran air mata mengalir turun di kedua-dua belah pipiku, aku merintih, "Oh Tuhanku... ampunkanlah segala dosaku. Aku tak layak menjadi hambaMu ya Allah..." Kemudian Dia menjawab, "Sifatku pengampun... barangsiapa yang memohon keampunan dariKu, nescaya Aku ampunkannya. Dan... Aku ampunkan kamu wahai hambaKu."

Aku bertanya kepadaNya, "Mengapa Engkau tetap mengampunkanku sungguhpun aku melakukan kesalahan berulang kali dan memohon ampun berulang kali? Sampai begitu sekalikah cintaMu terhadapku?" Dia menjawab, "Kerana kamu adalah ciptaanKu. Aku sekali-kali tidak akan mengabaikan kamu. Apabila kamu menangis, Aku akan bersimpati kepadamu dan mendengar segala rintihanmu. Apabila kamu melonjak kegirangan, Aku akan turut gembira dengan kegembiraanmu. Apabila kamu berasa gundah dan kesepian, Aku akan memberikanmu semangat.

Apabila kamu jatuh, Aku akan membangkitkanmu. Apabila kamu keletihan, Aku akan membantumu. Aku akan tetap bersama-samamu hinggalah ke hari yang akhir Dan Aku akan menyayangimu selama-lamanya." Seingat aku... aku tidak pernah menangis sebegini. Aku sendiri tidak mengerti mengapa hatiku ini begitu keras; tidak mampu menangis menyesali
segala dosaku selama ini. Dan... buat kali pertamanya dalam hidupku ini... aku benar-benar solat dalam ertikata yang sebenar.

[terima kasih to my dearest sister irah (nadhirah) sbb forwardkan faiz email ni .. mar .. lama tak dgr cerita?]