[25:63] And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace!”;
[25:64] Those who spend the night in adoration of their Lord prostrate and standing;
[25:65] Those who say, “Our Lord! avert from us the Wrath of Hell, for its Wrath is indeed an affliction grievous,-
[25:66] “Evil indeed is it as an abode, and as a place to rest in”;
[25:67] Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just (balance) between those (extremes);
[25:68] Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god, nor slay such life as Allah has made sacred except for just cause, nor commit fornication; – and any that does this (not only) meets punishment.
[25:69] (But) the Penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to him, and he will dwell therein in ignominy,-
[25:70] Unless he repents, believes, and works righteous deeds, for Allah will change the evil of such persons into good, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful,
[25:71] And whoever repents and does good has truly turned to Allah with an (acceptable) conversion;-
[25:72] Those who witness no falsehood, and, if they pass by futility, they pass by it with honorable (avoidance);
[25:73] Those who, when they are admonished with the Signs of their Lord, droop not down at them as if they were deaf or blind;
[25:74] And those who pray, “Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous.”
[25:75] Those are the ones who will be rewarded with the highest place in heaven, because of their patient constancy: therein shall they be met with salutations and peace,
[25:76] Dwelling therein;- how beautiful an abode and place of rest!
May Allah guide us to follow His instructions truly. Aameen
From among the beautiful Surahs of the Holy Qur’an, there is one Surah that I would like to talk about today. This Surah happens to be the cure (Shifa) or treatment (Al-Ruqya) for any disease. I hope by now the readers must have guessed which Surah I am talking about. Indeed, this Surah is the one with which the Holy Qur’an begins and so does our Salah. It is none other than the great Surah, Surah Al Fatiha (the opening).
Surah Al Fatiha is also called as the Qur’an-e-Azeem (Bukhari). In a Hadith narrated by Tirmidhi, Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said, “Al-Hamdulillah is the Umm ul Qur’an (mother of the Holy Qur’an) and Saba’atul Mathani (the seven repeated verses).
Surah Al-Fatiha begins with the ‘hamd’ of Allah, i.e. His Praise. None but Allah has the right to be praised for He alone is the Lord of the worlds. It is He Who sustains and provides His creations and believers with innumerable blessings. He Alone is the Rabb, the Rahman, and the Raheem. Allah Alone is the Lord of the Day of Judgment and no one except Him has the power and sovereignty, and none would have the courage to open his mouth before Him. No injustice would be done on that day.
After the declaration of Allah’s praise verse number five places a duty on everyone — His creation to worship Him alone and turn only to him for help. This verse commands every worshipper to stay away from Shirk and dedicate his or her acts of worship like Salah, Dua, Sawm, Haj, etc. for Allah alone. Furthermore, it tells us to seek guidance and help only from Him. The sixth verse is then a dua where a believer asks for guidance because it is only Allah who guides us in the best way by telling us the difference between right and wrong.
The seventh verse specifies that the guidance should be sought from those who are blessed like the Noble Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), righteous people, Shuhada (martyrs), and the pious servants of Allah and not from those who were misguided and had to face His wrath.
Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “When the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was sitting with Angel Jibreel he heard a creaking sound above him. Angel Jibreel looked up and said, “This is the sound of a gate that has been opened in heaven today that has never been previously opened.” Then an angel descended and came toward Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) and said, “Rejoice our the good news of two lights that have been given to you as no Prophet before you have been given. They are Surah Al Fatiha and the concluding two verses of Surah Al Baqarah. You will never recite a word from them without being given the blessings they contain.” [Sahih Muslim]
There are many Ahadeeth that describe the virtues of Surah Al Fatihah. It is indeed a Surah full of blessings and its recitation brings peace and security to its readers. May Allah give us ‘Tawfiq’ (opportunities) to recite it in every Rakah of our Salah and in our daily life so that we can receive maximum blessings.
-By Nawal Aqil
Disclaimer: This article deals with the actual laws of Islam, showing that Islam is a simple religion and not burdensome. This does not mean that life will be easy for a practicing Muslim as Allah has promised to test each and every one of us. So keep in mind that although Islam is easy to practice if you commit yourself, your level of commitment will be tested by Allah.
There is a misunderstanding among many people that Islam is difficult and a burden to follow. Such people either have an incorrect understanding of Islam or do not realize how easy the rules of Islam are to follow. Let us look at the basic teachings of Islam and see how simple, natural, and easy it is to practice Islam.
The scholars of Islam have agreed that the general principle regarding things of this world is that everything is permissible unless proven otherwise. So the burden of proof actually falls on those who say that anything is prohibited. This applies to all worldly things. As for religious deeds, the deed must be proven or it will be considered an innovation.
Proof for this principle can be found in the following verses, “Allah wishes to make things easy for you, and not to make things difficult for you,” (Qur’an, 2:185) and “We did not place difficulty in this religion.” (Qur’an, 22:78)
The following Hadith is also proof of this principle: “Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but aim to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded, and gain strength by worshipping in the mornings and the nights.” (Al-Bukhari, 1/2, no.38) In fact, Imam Bukhari has a chapter in his Sahih called “The chapter of the religion being easy” and ample proof for this point can be found there.
Firstly, the fact that everything worldly is permissible unless prohibited by sacred texts or deduction from them is proof that the number of things that are permissible to do is far more than the obligations or prohibitions. Islam is not an ascetic religion that expects people to abandon the world and meditate all day in a cave. In fact, Islam prohibits such behavior and encourages us to interact with society and live normal lives within the boundaries set by Allah, fulfilling our rights to Allah, to ourselves, and to the rest of creation.
Islam has given rights to all creation. We are not to harm any human, animal, plant, or even ourselves unjustly. We must stay away from all sources of vice and whatever leads to them and we must fulfill our basic obligations. We can enjoy the permissible things of this world like spending time with the family, spousal relations, physical sports, or whatever we enjoy doing as long as we do not break the rules of Islam.
Islam is a natural religion. It appeals to our inner nature (Fitrah) and fulfills its basic needs without asking us to do anything unnatural. Not one ruling in the Qur’an and Sunnah goes against human nature.
Islam does not ask us to do anything that we are incapable of doing. We are not required to give up our personalities, social lives, or money. We are not required to pray all night or fast every day. In fact, such things are prohibited. Islam emphasizes that we live a balanced life fulfilling our obligations to Allah as well as our obligations towards people and even our own selves. Try and find one command or prohibition in Islam that is beyond human ability. There is no such ruling.
One reason many people find Islam difficult to practice is because Satan beautifies evil deeds and makes good deeds look boring and difficult. Thus we become lazy. Yet if one overcomes this obstacle he will find that the deeds emphasized by Islam bring true inner peace and are not difficult. He will begin to see the evils and wastage involved in committing sins. Take that first step and see for yourself.
Islam obliges us to worship Allah only, pray five times a day, fast one month a year, give the two-and-a-half percent of our excess wealth in charity, make Haj once in our lifetime if possible, and in general to be good to the rest of creation, stay away from the prohibited matters and have a good character. None of these things are beyond the human capability or unnatural. There is nothing prohibited that is necessary for our lives. Only that which is harmful to human life is prohibited.
Another important point to remember is that Allah is Ar-Rahman (Most Merciful) and Al-Ghafoor (Most Forgiving) which means that if we try our best to practice Islam, and still fall into error due to our human nature and own weakness, the door to Allah’s forgiveness is always open for those who repent.
The basics of Islam are simple to understand and practical to implement, making Islam a universal religion that can be practiced by anyone regardless of his or her intellectual or physical capabilities. It is this pure simplicity of Islam that makes it so universally appealing and it is one of the many reasons that so many people around the world from different backgrounds convert to Islam.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu’s) real name was Abdullah, and he was given the title of “As Siddique” or “Testifier to the Truth.” His father, ‘Uthman, was known as Abu Quhafah and his mother, Salma, was known as Ummul Khair. He was two and a half years younger than Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).He was the first among the Sahaba to accept Islam. He accompanied Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) during the Hijrah to Madinatul Munawwarah. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) was a merchant. He freed many slaves, including Sayyiduna Bilal (radi Allahu anhu) and Sayyiduna Umayyah bin Qahaf (radi Allahu anhu). He participated in all the battles in which Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) had to fight the Kuffar.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) loved his faith more than anything else. At the Battle of Badr, his son, Sayyiduna Abdur Rahman (radi Allahu anhu), was fighting on the side of the Kuffar. After accepting Islam, Sayyiduna Abdur Rahman (radi Allahu anhu) said to his father, “O Father, at Badr, you were twice under my sword, but my love for you held my hand back.” To this, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) replied, “Son, if I had you only once under my sword, you would have been no more.” He was so uncompromising in his faith.
At the time of the Battle of Tabuk, he donated all his wealth to the war effort, and when Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) asked him, “What have you left for your family,?” he replied, “Allah and His Rasool (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).”
After his election as the Caliph, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) addressed the Muslims with these words: “O People! I have been chosen by you as your leader, although I am no better than any of you. If I do any wrong, set me right. Listen, truth is honesty and untruth is dishonesty. The weak among you are the powerful in my eyes, as long as I do not give them their dues. The powerful among you are weak in my eyes, as long as I do not take away from them what is due to others.
“Listen carefully, if people give up striving for the Cause of Almighty Allah, He will send down disgrace upon them. If people become evil-doers, Almighty Allah will send down calamities upon them.
“Obey me as long as I obey Allah and His Rasul (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). If I disobey Allah and His Rasul (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), you are free to disobey me.”
Such was the first Caliph of Islam. Indeed, the world would be a better place to live in, if we had leaders like Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu).Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) now sent Sayyiduna Usamah (radi Allahu anhu) on the expedition to Syria to fight the Romans, even though he had to attend to all the internal problems of the Islamic State.
The news that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) had passed away, made some new Muslims think that the Islamic State would crumble and they refused to pay the Zakaah. These new Muslims could not yet get used to their faith and its requirements until then. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) declared, “By Allah! Even if a single thread is due from a man, he must give it. If he refuses, I will declare war against him.”
Rengades And Imposters
Some others became imposters and renegades. Tulaiha, Musailimah, Maalik bin Nuwairah, Aswad Ansi, and a woman named Sajah claimed that they were prophets and caused a great deal of confusion. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) was quick to take action against these imposters.
Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu) was sent to deal with Tulaiha who fled to Syria and later became a Muslim. Maalik bin Nuwarah was killed. Sayyiduna Ikramah (radi Allahu anhu) and Sayyiduna Surahbil (radi Allahu anhu) were sent to take action against Musailimah, but they were defeated. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) sent Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu) to tackle the notorious Musailamah who married Sajah. In the fight that followed, Sayyiduna Wahshi (radi Allahu anhu) killed Musailamah. Musailamah and Aswad Ansi also claimed to be prophets while Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) was alive. Aswad was killed by the Muslims of Yemen.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu’s) swift and bold steps saved the Islamic State from the serious danger of chaos and confusion. He could now attend to other urgent problems.
Era of Conquests
During his Khilaafat, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) had to take action against the Iranian Empire. The Emperor of Iran, Khusrou Parvez, was killed by his son, Shirooya, and the whole empire fell into chaos and disorder. Hurmuz, the Persian governor of Iraq, was very hostile to the Arabs and he was also cruel to the Muslims living in that area.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) sent Sayyiduna Muthamia (radi Allahu anhu) to take action against the Iranians in Iraq. His forces were not enough and Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu) was then sent with reinforcements. The Muslim army captured vast areas of the Iranian Empire in several battles.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) then turned his attention to the Romans who were causing trouble in the North-West frontier. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) sent 4 separate armies under Sayyiduna Ubaidah bin Jarrah, Sayyiduna Amr Ibnul As, Sayyiduna Yazid bin Abu Sufyaan and Sayyiduna Surahbil bin Hasnal (radi Allahu anhumul ajma’in) to deal with the Roman power.
The four armies joined into one unit to face the Romans more effectively. The Romans had amassed 150 000 soldiers, but the total Muslim army was only 24 000. Reinforcements were requested. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) asked Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu) to take charge of the Iraqi front and Sayyiduna Muthanna (radi Allahu anhu) to rush to the Syrian front to help fight the huge Roman army. The armies met in Yarmuk after Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) passed away. In this battle, the Romans were totally defeated.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) fell ill at this time and passed away on the 21st of Jamadi-ul-Aakhir 13 A.H. (22 August 634). His rule lasted 2 years and 3 months. He was 63 years old.
One of the many contributions of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) was the collection and compilation of the Holy Quran.
He lived a very simple, pious, and upright life. He was a true servant of Almighty Allah and a meticulous follower of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). He wore ordinary clothes and his meals were very simple. He attended house-hold work and would go out at night and seek the poor and destitute. Humility and modesty were the keynotes of his character. He felt embarrassed when people showered praises on him or showed him immense respect. He often fasted during the day and spent the whole night in Salaah and meditation. He was a great orator and a master of genealogy (one who can trace a person’s family line). In his personal life, he was a Saint. He used all his powers to promote the interest of Islam and the good of people.
Many verses of the Qur’an and practices of the early Muslims bear witness to the fact that woman is, at least, as vital to life as a man is, and that she is not inferior to man in any way. Islam never belittles women or underestimates her role in society. Allah has made this clear in the Glorious Qur’an, by stating shining examples of some women for the believers — male and female — to emulate. In this context, the Glorious Qur’an discusses the issue in detail in Surah At-Tahrim 66 Verses 11-12.
Thus, we’d like to make it clear that no Hadith depicts a woman as inferior; not at all. As it is a fact that man has been given a form and nature by Allah which is distinct from that of woman, it is also a fact that the form and nature of man and woman is complementary.
This indicates that the distinction in form and nature must not be equated with an intellectual pre-eminence on the part of man.
Based on this, we’d like to stress that the issue of having a woman’s testimony corroborated by another woman does not imply a sign of gender superiority. One will get this point clear by bearing in mind that shyness is a specific feature of woman as compared to a man. In this case, she needs another woman to stand by her side and corroborate the evidence.
There is nothing wrong with having a witness’s testimony corroborated by another witness if the statement of the former falls short of being admissible as conclusive evidence. So the main issue here is how to make justice run its course.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) explained that women’s mental deficiency is reflected in their weak memory, the fact that makes Shariah stipulate that a woman’s testimony must be corroborated by another woman. Thus, this injunction does not imply woman’s inferiority to man; rather it has more to do with justice than with gender.
As for the shortcoming in religion, this stems from the fact that when menstruating or having post-partum bleeding, women neither pray nor fast, and they do not have to make up for their prayers. As we know, women have no hand in the obstacles that disrupt their religious performances. This is something divine, which reflects Almighty Allah’s overflowing mercy to them, for it will be extremely hard for a woman to be tasked with religious obligation while she is having menstruation or post-partum bleeding. That’s why she is exempted from fasting or praying, as a sign of mercy on her. Also, they do not make up their prayers. This is because if they were ordered to make up their prayers, it would be extremely hard for them, given that prayers are performed five times a day. Menses may last for a number of days, up to seven or eight or more. Post-partum bleeding lasts for forty days. It’d be definitely hard for women to be obliged to make up the prayers missed while responding to the demands of nature.
So, in the light of the above-mentioned facts, the Hadith does not have any indication of disparagement of women or considering them as inferior, especially when we know that some women excel men in many matters. Yes, no one can deny the fact that a woman may perform many good deeds and exceed many men in virtue, morality, etc. Islamic history abounds with examples of great women who have made a great contribution to the progress of mankind.
This is very clear to anyone who is well-informed about the status of women during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the early generations.
In addition, the Hadith in question does not disqualify women from being narrators of Ahadith, and there is nothing that prevents a woman from being one of Allah’s pious servants if she is steadfast in her religion even with her being excused from fasting or praying during menstruation or post-partum bleeding.