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Role of women in preserving Islamic knowledge

A very good article on women scholars of hadith. Further giving weight to the argument that women have the right to be fully participating members of society – not to encourage isolation. Not to be holed up in the 4 walls of her home only to resurface for necessary needs.

During the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him) women were transmitters of prophetic traditions (hadith) and after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him), many female Companions, particularly the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were viewed as vital custodians of the huge treasure chest of knowledge that they had obtained during their time with the Prophet (peace be upon him). They readily dispensed this rich knowledge when approached for instruction by other Companions. The names of Hafsah, Umm Habeebah, Umm Salama and A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with them) are very familiar to every student of hadith. In fact A’ishah is regarded as one of the most important figures in the whole of hadith literature as both one of the earliest reporters of the largest number of hadiths and also one of their most careful interpreters.
Women also held important positions as scholars of hadith during the time of the Righteous Caliphate. A few traditionists (muhadiths – scholars of hadith) during this time include Hafsah, the daughter of Ibn Seereen, Um ad-Darda and Amrah bint Abdir-Rahman. Iyas ibn Mu’awiyah an important scholar of hadith of the time and a judge, considered Umm Darda to be superior to all other scholars of hadith of the period including famous scholars such as al-Hasan al-Basri and Ibn Seerin. Furthermore, Amrah was considered the greatest authority of traditions related by A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her). The Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz once ordered Abu Bakr ibn Hazm, a judge in Madinah (and also her fellow student) to write down all the hadiths known to her.
This transmission and preservation of hadith continued with devout women coming from diverse backgrounds to excel and rise through the ranks of Islamic scholarship. For example, Abidah al-Madaniyah started life as a slave and learned a large number of hadiths. She later married Habeeb Dahhoon, a great muhadith (traditionist) of Spain who took her back to Andalusia. There she related over ten thousand hadiths of the Prophet (peace be upon him) on the authority of her teachers from Madinah.
Zaynab bint Sulayman on the other hand was born into a royal household and had obtained a fine education gaining a mastery of hadith sciences. She enjoyed a reputation as one of the most distinguished muhadithats (woman scholars of hadith) of her time and even counted many important male muhaditheen among her pupils.
To read the full article the link is available here
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Which Aqeedah to follow? – the most useless debate of our time

the most useless debate of our timeI was flicking through tv channels whilst sipping my tea and paused at the ‘Ummah Channel” to hear someone go on and on about Istighatha  along with ruthless criticism of his opponents as if his discussion holds the solution to humanity’s problems.

Aqeedah wars are obviously not new, rather something we inherited when Muslims met philosophy around the 8th and 9th Century. When translating and answering complex theological questions influenced by the Greek Philosophy, Muslim scholars took several different positions as proponents and exponents of philosophy.

First came the Muslim philosophers who gave birth to various schools of thought Qadariyyah, Jabriyyah, Jahmiyah (all extinct now). In their refutation came the Mu’tazilah, who despite being valiant defenders also flopped paving the way for the Mutakallimoun (Muslim theologians) mainly the Ash’aris and Maturidis.

These remaining schools of Aqeedah (Ash’ari and Maturdi) were founded to counter the erroneous methodology of the Mu’tazilah gaining acceptance and popularity due to the growing interest in philosophy. The people were asking questions never asked before, about God, and the Muslim theologians presented carefully constructed arguments which were rational yet having textual (kitab and Sunnah) basis. Although they were the Islamic defenders of their time against the onslaught of deviant sects and the influence of foreign philosophies, they too, along with all other sects became problematic and ended up contributing towards the decline of Islamic thought.

Aside from the decline in thought, one of the problems they left Muslims with was the unnecessary Aqeedah debate and the consequent codification of Aqeedah leaving Muslims with a text book version of the very basis of their belief.  A text book Aqeedah, with text book proofs, occupying Muslim minds in a fruitless debate over various interpretations rather than forming an independent intellectual belief based on definitive rational and textual proofs.

The Asharis and Maturdis came in response to the Mu’tazila. We don’t have Mu’tazila anymore, so when we don’t have the problem why debate over the solution? Why not return to the basic teachings of the Sahabah, tabi’een and the salaf as-Saliheen who taught pure Islam free from the influence of philosophy and kalam?

Why not return to the true representatives of Ahlasunnah wal Jammah; Imam Abu Hanifah, Malik, Shafi’ , Ahmed ibn Hambal, Laith ibn Sa’ad, al-Awzaee, Sufyan al-Thawri (may Allah ta’ala be pleased with them all) away from the Brelawis, Deobandis, Wahabbis, and the Sufis who are full of blind hatred and can’t see that the Mu’tazili problem is long gone, but there are new problems like secularism, modernism, and host of socio-political problems faced by Muslims throughout the world.

Perhaps it’s time to re-focus attention to more pressing matters instead of idle useless debates which only breed hatred and intolerance.

Film Review: Fetih 1453

Fetih 1453The Prophet of Islam,  Mohammed (saw) said, “Verily, Constantinople shall be conquered, its commander shall be the best commander ever and his army shall be the best army ever.”

Sultan Mehmet Khan II (Mohamed al-Fateh) conquered Constantinople in 1453 dragging 70 naval ships for 5 km over land on greased tree trunks in one night, landing in the sea right in front of the city walls by dawn. He camped outside the fortified unbreached walls of the city for days planning and scheming his strategies to victory.

After the emperor’s refusal to handover the city, the Sultan ordered the powerful cannons bombarding the city’s walls facing the Golden Horne, followed by diggers trying to breach the fortification from underground and skirmishes on the walls. However, unsuccessful the Sultan despairs and seeks council from his Shaykh Shamsuddin and his generals.

On 27th May 1453, through an accumulative effort, a night of Dhikr, morning of congregational prayer lead by the Sultan along with a powerful speech, an all-out attack on the city was launched. The Shahi Top devastated the walls, the diggers entered the city through under ground tunnel and the companies climbed the walls whilst chanting “Allahu Akbar”. Finally, Agha Hassan planted the Osmanli Flag over the city proclaiming victory.

All this was brilliantly captured in the CGI packed film with details in mind. A Must watch for anyone wanting a glimpse of the Muslim conquest of this marvellous city and the courageous ‘blessed’ army fighting behind its shield – the Sultan.

“Fetih 1453” (The Conquest 1453), a Turkish spring blockbuster that glorifies the Ottomans and their conquest of İstanbul, is breaking viewership records in Turkey these days.

Over 5 million Turks have already seen the movie, making it the country’s most popular film of all time. The film’s popularity sheds light on Turkey’s emerging preoccupation with its Ottoman past: Ottomania is all the rage in Turkey today.

In recent years, the Turks have re-engaged with their Ottoman past to the point of abandoning the early 20th-century thinking of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, Atatürk recreated Turkey in a European mold, in the hopes of completely separating it from its Ottoman history. Atatürk’s thinking, termed “Kemalism,” dictated that Turkey could become a great country only if it abandoned its Ottoman past. Source

A sign of changing times!

Also see the trailer

Acquiring Wealth and life of ease in Islam

Reading an excerpt from Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s book on ‘The Evil of Craving for Wealth and Status’ left me wondering if there is a balance between craving and acquiring of wealth. Islam teaches us to acquire wealth in order to provide for those under our responsibility, yet orders us to restrain our hunger and thirst for wealth should it alone become the purpose of our life. Wealth, status,  luxury can no doubt become source of arrogance and haughtiness but does that mean if one has the gift and ability to acquire wealth and luxury should give it all away??

Here is an excellent example from the best of the Men including those amongst the Asharan Mubasharah (10 promised Jannah) as recorded by Imam Ibn Khaldun.

{Al-Mas’udi says: “In the days of ‘Uthman, the men around Muhammad acquired estates and money. On the day ‘Uthman was killed, 150,000 dinars and 1,000,000 dirhams were in the hands of his treasurer. The value of his estates in Wadi I-Qura and Hunayn and other places was 200,000 dinars. He also left many camels and horses.

The eighth part of the estate of az-Zubayr after his death amounted to 50,000 dinars. He also left 1,000 horses and 1,000 female servants. Talhah’s income from the ‘Iraq was 1,000 dinars a day, and his income from the region of ash-Sharah was more than that.

The stable of ‘Abd-ar-Rahman b. ‘Awf contained 1,000 horses. He also had 1,000 camels and 10,000 sheep. One-fourth of his estate after his death amounted to 84,000.

Zayd b. Thabit left silver and gold that was broken into pieces with pickaxes, in addition to the (other) property and estates that he left, in the value of 100,000 dinars. Az­Zubayr built himself a residence in al-Basrah and other residences in Egypt and al-Kufah and Alexandria. Talhah built one in al-Kufah and had his residence in Medina im­proved. He used plaster, bricks, and teakwood.

Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas built himself a residence in al-‘Aqiq, (a suburb of Medina). He made it high and spacious, and had balustrades put on top of it. Al-Miqdad built his residence in Medina and had it plastered inside and out.

Ya’la b. Munyah left 50,000 dinars and estates and other things the value of which amounted to 300,000 dirhams.” End of the quotation from al-Mas’udi.

Such were the gains people made. Their religion did not blame them for (amassing so much), because, as booty, it was lawful property. They did not employ their property wastefully but in a planned way in (all) their conditions, as we have stated. Amassing worldly property is reprehensible, but it did not reflect upon them, because blame attaches only to waste and lack of planning, as we have indicated. Since their expenditures followed a plan and served the truth and its ways, the amassing (of so much property) helped them along on the path of truth and served the purpose of attaining the other world…” (Maqaddamah, Ibn Khaldun).

Imam Ibn Khaldun also presents an example of the striking balance between enormous wealth and arrogance:

“…They took away the royal authority of (the Persians and the Byzantines) and confiscated their worldly possessions. They amassed enormous fortunes. It went so far that one horseman obtained, as his share in one of the raids, about 30,000 gold pieces. The amounts they got were enormous. Still, they kept to their humble way of life. ‘Umar used to patch his (sole) garment with pieces of leather. ‘Ali used to say: “Gold and silver! Go and lure others, not me!” Abu Musa refrained from eating chicken, because chickens were very rare among the Arabs of that time and not (generally) known to them. Sieves were altogether non-existent among (the Arabs), and they ate wheat (kernels) with the bran. Yet, the gains they made were greater than any ever made by other human beings….”

“Say: Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has brought for His servants and the good things of His provision?” [Al-A’raf: 32]

At-Tirmidhi narrated from Abdullah ibn Amr who said:

‘The Prophet said, “Allah likes to see the signs of His favour (bounties) on His servant…'”

Allah ta’aala allows for His servants to enjoy His favours and enjoy the good things from His provisions acquired through permissable means. But Allah ta’ala prohibits the life of ease if it produces haughtiness, transgression, arrogance and tyranny. Since a life of ease and comfort by the abundant wealth could lead some people to arrogance, tyranny and haughtiness; Islam prohibited that type of luxury. So Islam prevented corruption if it resulted from the abundance of wealth, making people arrogant and tyrannical. Islam prohibited that strongly.

There is a great misconception that desert lifestyle or complete isolation from ‘dunya’ is the ideal Muslim lifestyle, when in reality this ‘dunya’ is a test and we have to live it, face it and make the most of it whilst preserving our Imaan.

They took away the royal authority of (the Persians and the Byzantines) and confiscated their worldly possessions. They amassed enormous fortunes. It went so far that one horseman obtained, as his share in one of the raids, about 30,000 gold pieces. The amounts they got were enormous. Still, they kept to their rude way of life. ‘Umar used to patch his (sole) garment with pieces of leather.302 ‘Ali used to say: “Gold and silver! Go and lure others, not me!” 303 Abu Musa 304 refrained from eating chicken, because chickens were very rare among the Arabs of that time and not (generally) known to them. Sieves were altogether non-existent among (the Arabs), and they ate wheat (kernels) with the bran.304a Yet, the gains they made were greater than any ever made by other human beings.

Useless Anti Terror Fatwa launches in London

Tahir-ul Qadri, the leader of Minhaj al-Quran will be launching a 600 page fatwa tomorrow prohibiting terrorism and suicide bombing at a press conference in Westminster, London. The fatwa will be aimed at suicide bombers, condemning them to hell-fire.

Shahid Mursaleen, spokesman for Minhaj ul Quran’s British wing, described the fatwa as an attempt to sow doubt in the minds of wannabe extremists.

“[Shaikh Dr Qadri] has hit hard on the terrorists as it prevents Islamists from considering suicide bombers as ‘martyrs’. This fatwa injects doubt into the minds of potential suicide bombers. Extremist groups based in Britain recruit the youth by brainwashing them that they will ‘with certainty’ be rewarded in the next life and Dr Qadri’s Fatwa has removed this key intellectual factor from their minds.”

The Quilliam Foundation, an anti-extremist think thank comprised of former Islamists, described it as a “significant step” in countering Saudi and extremist rhetoric.

“Fatwas by Wahabi-influenced clerics and Islamist ideologues initiated modern terrorism against civilians,” a spokesperson said. “Terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda continue to justify their mass killings with self-serving readings of religious scripture. Fatwas that demolish and expose such theological innovations will consign Islamist terrorism to the dustbin of history.”

Source: The Independent

So much controversy over nothing. How hard is to write a 600 page thesis on prohibition of killing innocent people? Common sense really. And what are the chances of any so called ‘extremist’, ‘Islamist’ type Muslims giving Tahir-ul Qadri the time of day especially when he’s being praised by menaces like the Quilliam Foundation? We all know what Quilliam Foundation is but here is a glimpse of Tahirul Qadri being entertained by his followers (which also goes to show the kind of followers he has).

Youtube Video : Watch the very last minute to see this individual break all rules of Sufism – money thrown at him, he throws money at singers, walks over a man with complete public display of arrogance and extravangance.

Who will take this individual and his crazy followers seriously?? Giving Tahirul Qadri this kind of platform is a complete waste of time and resources.