IMAM Ibn Al-Qayyim (Allah’s mercy on him) said: Du’aa and ta’awwudhat (prayers seeking refuge with Allah) are like a weapon, and a weapon is only as good as the person who is using it; it is not merely the matter of how sharp it is. If the weapon is perfect and free of faults, and the arm of the person using it is strong, and there is nothing stopping him, then he can lay waste the enemy. But if any of these three features is lacking, then the effect will be lacking accordingly.”
From this, it will be clear that there are etiquette and rulings that must be fulfilled in the Du’aa and in the person making the Du’aa. There are also things that may prevent the Du’aa reaching Allah or being answered these things must be removed from the person making the Du’aa and from the Du’aa. When all of the following conditions are fulfilled, then the Du’aa may be answered.
– Sincerity in making Du’aa. This is the most important condition. Allah has commanded us to be sincere when making Du’aa.
Sincerity in Du’aa means having the firm belief that the One upon Whom you are calling (Allah, may He be glorified and exalted) is alone able to meet your need, and it also means avoiding any kind of showing off in your Du’aa.
– Repentance and turning back to Allah. Sin is one of the main reasons why Du’aas are not answered, so the person who is making Du’aa should hasten to repent and seek forgiveness before he makes Du’aa. Allah tells us that prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) said:
“I said (to them): Ask forgiveness from your Lord, verily, He is Oft-Forgiving. He will send rain to you in abundance. And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.” (Nuh 71: 10-12)
– Beseeching, humbling oneself, hoping for Allah’s reward and fearing His punishment. This is the spirit, essence, and purpose of Du’aa. Allah says: Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret. He likes not the aggressors. (Al-A’raf 7: 55)
– Urgently beseeching and repeating the Du’aa without getting exasperated or bored; this is achieved by repeating the Du’aa two or three times. Restricting it to three times is preferable, in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) liked to say a Du’aa three times and ask for forgiveness three times. This was narrated by Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i.
– Making Du’aa at times of ease, and saying more Du’aas at times of plenty (of wealth). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Remember Allah during times of ease and He will remember you during times of hardship.” (Ahmad)
– Seeking to draw closer to Allah by calling upon Him by His Most Beautiful Names and Sublime Attributes at the beginning of the Du’aa or at the end. Allah says: “And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them . . . ” (Al-A’raf 7: 180)
– Choosing the clearest and most concise words and the best of Du’aas. The best of Du’aas are those of the Prophet (peace be upon him), but it is permissible to say other words according to the specific needs of a person.
Other aspects of the etiquette of making Du’aa, although they are not obligatory, are: to face the Qiblah; to make Du’aa in a state of purity; to start the Du’aa with praise of Allah and blessings upon the Prophet (peace be upon him). It is also prescribed to raise the hands when making Du’aa.
One of the things that help to bring a response to Du’aa is to seek the best times and places. Among the best times is the time just before Fajr (dawn), the last third of the night, the last hour of Jumu’ah (Friday), when rain is falling, and between the adhan and iqamah. Among the best places are mosques in general, and Al-Masjid Al-Haram [in Makkah] in particular.
Among the situations in which Du’aa is more likely to be answered are: when one is mistreated or oppressed, when one is traveling, when one is fasting, when one is in desperate need, and when a Muslim makes Du’aa for his brother in his absence.
Things which may prevent Du’aa from being answered include:
– When the Du’aa is weak in itself, because it involves something inappropriate, or involves bad manners towards Allah, may He be exalted, or it is inappropriate, which means asking Allah for something which it is not permitted to ask, e.g. when a man asks to live forever in this world, or he asks for a sin or something haram, or he prays that he will die, and so on. Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “A person’s Du’aa will continue to be answered so long as he does not pray for something sinful or for the breaking of family ties.” (Muslim)
When the person who is making Du’aa is weak in himself because he is faint-hearted in his turning towards Allah. This may be either because of bad manners towards Allah, may He be exalted – such as raising his voice in Du’aa or making Du’aa in the manner of one who thinks he has no need of Allah; or because he pays too much attention to the wording and tries to come up with unnecessarily ornate phrases, without paying attention to the meaning; or because he tries too hard to weep or shout without really feeling it, or he goes to extremes in that.
– The reason why his Du’aa is not answered maybe because he has done something that Allah has forbidden, such as having unlawful wealth, whether it be food or drink or clothing or accommodation or transportation, or he has taken an unlawful job, or the stain of sin is still in his heart, or he is following bid’ah (innovation) in religion, or his heart has been overtaken by negligence.
– Consuming unlawful wealth. This is one of the major reasons why Du’aas are not answered. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“O people, Allah is Good and only accepts that which is good. Allah commanded the pious to follow the same commandments as He gave to the Messengers. He says: [O ye messengers! Eat of the Taiyyabat [all kinds of Halal foods which Allah has made lawful . . .” (Al-Mu’minun 23: 51). Then he mentioned a man who has traveled on a long journey and is disheveled and covered with dust; he stretches forth his hands to the heaven, (saying) “O Lord, O Lord”, but his food is haram (unlawful), his drink is haram, all his nourishment is haram, so how can his Du’aa be accepted? (Muslim)
The man described by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had some of the characteristics which help Du’aas to be answered – he was traveling and he was in need of Allah, may He be exalted and glorified – but the fact that he consumed haram wealth prevented his Du’aa from being answered. We ask Allah to keep us safe and sound.
– Trying to hasten the response. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The Du’aa of any one of you, will be answered so long as he is not impatient and says not, I made Du’aa but it was not answered.‚” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
– Making the Du’aa conditional, such as saying, “O Allah, forgive me if You will” or “O Allah, have mercy upon me if You will.” The person who makes Du’aa has to be resolute in his supplication, striving hard and earnestly repeating his Du’aa. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Let not any one of you say, O Allah, forgive me if You will, O Allah, have mercy on me if You will. Let him be resolute in the matter, whilst knowing that no one can compel Allah to do anything.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
In order for Du’aa to be answered, it is not essential to adhere to all of these points and be free of all that could prevent one’s Du’aa from being answered. That is something which happens very rarely. But one has to try hard and strive towards achieving this.
Another important point is to realize that the response to the Du’aa may take different forms: either Allah will respond and fulfill the desire of the person who made the Du’aa, or He will ward off some evil from him because of the Du’aa, or He will make something good easy for him to attain because of it, or He will save it with Him for him on the Day of Resurrection when he will be most in need of it.
Someone who claims that he/she loves another will prefer that person to all others, he will also prefer what they like, if it were otherwise then he would be acting and his love would not be sincere. The following signs will be apparent in those who truly love the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam,
First: The first sign of love for the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, is that he/she will follow his example, apply his prophetic way in words, deeds, obedience to his commands, avoidance of whatever he prohibited, and adopt his manner in times of ease, hardship, joy, and disappointment. Allah says, “Say (Prophet Muhammad, ‘If you love Allah, follow me, and Allah will love you.” [Aal Imran : 31]
Second: The second sign is that he/she will set aside his own desires and appetite in preference to the law established and encouraged by the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam. Allah says, “Those before them who had made their dwelling in the abode (City of Medina), and because of their belief love those who have emigrated to them; they do not find any (envy) in their chests for what they have been given and prefer them above themselves, even though they themselves have a need.” [al Hashr : 9]
Third: The third sign is that a person’s anger toward others is only for the sake of seeking the pleasure of Allah. Anas, Malik’s son was told by the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, “My son, if you can refrain from holding a grudge in your heart from morning to evening, then do so.” He then added, “My son, that is part of my prophetic way. Whosoever revives my way has loved me, and whosoever loves me is with me in the Garden.” [Sunan Tirmidh, Kitab al-Ilm, Vol 4, Page 151]
If a person possesses this fine quality, then he/she has perfect love for Allah and His Messenger. If he is found to be slightly lacking in this quality then his love is imperfect, but not devoid of it. The proof of this is found in the saying of the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, when a person faced punishment for imbibing. As the person was about to receive his punishment a man cursed the offender, whereupon the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, said, “Do not curse him. He loves Allah and His Messenger.” [Sahih Bukhari, Kitab al-Hudood, Vol 3, Page 133]
Fourth: The fourth sign is that one mentions the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, in abundance – whosoever loves something, it is constantly upon his tongue. [Al Shifa bi Ta’reefi Huqooq al-Mustafa, Vol 2, Page 32]
Fifth: The fifth sign is yearning to meet the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam. Every lover yearns to be with their beloved. When the tribe of Ash’arites approached Medina, they were heard chanting, “Tomorrow, we will be with those we love, Muhammad and his Companions!” [Dalail an-Nabuwwah lil Bayhaqi, Vol 5, Page 351]
Sixth: The sixth sign is that as well as the remembrance of the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, someone who loves him will be found praising and respecting him whenever he is mentioned and displays humility, and lower himself when he hears his name. We are told by Isaac At -Tujibi that after the passing of the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, whenever the Companions heard his name they became humble, their skin trembled and they wept. As for the other followers of the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, some experienced the same out of love and yearning for him, whereas others did so out of respect and esteem. [Al Shifa bi Ta’reefi Huqooq al-Mustafa, Vol 2, Page 33]
Seventh: The seventh sign is the love expressed for the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, and the People of his House, and his Companions – the Emigrants (Muhajirun) and the Helpers (Ansar) alike for his sake. A person with this sign will be found hostile to those who hate them.
Of Al Hasan and Al Hussain, may Allah be pleased with them, the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, said, “O Allah, I love them, so please love them.”
Sahih Bukhari, Kitab al Manaqib, Vol 5, Page 23
Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Fadhail, Vol 4, Page 1883
Sunan Tirmidhi, Kitab al Manaqib, Vol 5, Page 327
Al-Hasan said that the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, also said, “O Allah, I love him, so love the one who loves him.” Of his two grandsons, the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, also said, “Whosoever loves them, loves me.” Then he said. Whosoever loves me, loves Allah. Whosoever hates them hates me and whosoever hates me hates Allah.”
Muqaddam Sunan Ibn Maja, Vol 1, Page 51
Majma’ az-Zawaid, Vol 9, Page 180
The Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, said, “Do not make my companions targets after me! Whosoever loves them, loves them it is because they love me, and whosoever hates them it is through their hatred of me. Whosoever harms them, harms me. Whosoever does something to hurt me does it is as if it is hurtful to Allah. Whosoever does something that appears to be hurtful to Allah is about to be seized.”
Sunan Tirmidhi, Kitab al Manaqib, Vol 5, Page 358
Musnad Ahmad, Vol 5, Page 54
Of his family, the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, said referring to Hadrat Fatima, may Allah be pleased with her, “She is part of me, whosoever hates her hates me.”
Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Manaqib, Vol 5, Page 24
Sahih Muslim, Kitab Fadhail as-Sahaba, Vol 4, Page 1903
The Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, told Hadrat Ayesha to love Osama, Zaid’s son because he loves him. [Sunan Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Manaqib, Vol 5, Page 342]
The Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, spoke of the Helpers (Ansar) saying, “The sign of certain faith is love for the Ansar, whereas the sign of hypocrisy is hatred for them.”
Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Manaqib, Vol 5, Page 27
Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Iman, Vol 1, Page 9
Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Iman, Vol, Page 85
Omar’s son tells us that the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, said, “Whosoever loves the Arabs loves them because he loves me. Whereas whosoever hates them hates them because of their hatred of me.” [Al Shifa bi Ta’reefi Huqooq al-Mustafa, Vol 2, Page 34]
The fact is when someone loves another, he loves everything that person loves, and this was indeed the case with the Companions. When Anas saw the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, eating a piece of pumpkin, he said, “From that day I loved pumpkins.” [Al Shifa bi Ta’reefi Huqooq al-Mustafa, Vol 2, Page 34]
Al-Hasan, the grandson of the Prophet, may the peace of Allah be upon them, went with Jafar to Salma and asked her to prepare some food for the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, used to eat. [Shamail Tirmidhi, Page 155]
Omar once saw the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, wearing a pair of yellow-coloured sandals, so he too wore a pair of the same colour.
Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al-Libas, Vol 7, Page 132
Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Hajj, Vol 2, Page 844
Eighth: The eighth sign is hatred of anyone who hates Allah and His Messenger, praise, and peace be upon him. Such people are those who show hostility towards Allah and His Messenger. Believers having this sign avoid all who oppose the prophetic way, and are in opposition to those who introduce innovations into the prophetic way (that are against the spirit of Islam) and find the law he established burdensome. Allah says, “You shall find no nation believing in Allah and the Last Day loving anyone that opposes Allah and His Messenger.” [al Mujadilah : 22]
Ninth: The ninth sign is found in those who love the Qur’an which the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, brought, by which the Prophet and they were guided. When asked about the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, Hadrat Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “His character was that of the Qur’an.” Part of the love of the Qur’an is listening to its recitation, acting according to it, understanding it, keeping within its bounds, and the love of Prophet Muhammad’s way. [Al Shifa bi Ta’reefi Huqooq al-Mustafa, Vol 2, Page 35]
Sahl, Abdullah’s son spoke of this sign saying, “The sign of loving Allah is love of the Qur’an. The sign of loving the Qur’an is the love of the Prophet. The sign of loving the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, is love of his prophetic way. The sign of loving the prophetic way is the love of the Hereafter. The sign of loving the Hereafter is hatred for this world. The sign of hatred for this world is that you do not amass any of it except for provisions and what you need to arrive safely within the Hereafter.” [Al Shifa bi Ta’reefi Huqooq al-Mustafa, Vol 2, Page 35]
Masood’s son said, “No one needs to ask himself about anything other than the Qur’an, if he loves the Qur’an then he loves Allah and His Messenger” praise and peace be upon him. [Bayhaqi fil Aadaab, Page 522]
Tenth: The tenth sign of love for the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, is to have mercy on his nation by advising them well, striving for the betterment of their interest, and removing anything that is harmful from them in the same way that the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, was “gentle and merciful to the believers.” [al-Taubah : 128]
Eleventh: The eleventh sign of perfect love is found in whosoever restricts himself through self-denial, preferring poverty to the attractions of the world. The Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, told Abu Sa’id Al Khudri, “Poverty for those of you who love me flows quicker than a flood from a mountain’s peak to its base.” [Sunan Tirmidhi, Kitab az-Zuhd, Vol 4, Page 7]
A man came to the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I love you.” The Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam, warned, “Be careful of what you say.” The man repeats his love for him thrice, whereupon the Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam told him, “If you love me prepare yourself quickly for poverty.” [Sunan Tirmidhi, Kitab az-Zuhd, Vol 4, Page 7]
O, Dear Almighty ALLAH! We ask you of filling our hearts with the true and immense Love of your Beloved Habeeb Kareem Alaihi afDalus Salati wat Tasleem. Keep us alive on His Sunnah and bless us with the death on Iman in the Beloved City of your Beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam and make our Cessation with Ahl al-Baqee’ ash-Sharif… Aameen!!
An absurd phenomenon among Muslims today is to wear the garb of Islam at some times and places and removing it off at other times and places. No, the garb is not mere physical appearance, but practices and characteristics that make us a Muslim.
For instance, you may meet a Muslim at the masjid who appears to be Masha Allah the best person you’ve met in your life. The warm smile, soft words, and loving character that you experienced in the masjid have no trace at all when you meet him at your workplace.
Another example: A Muslim boy grows up in a good household. He is taught the proper Islamic etiquette and manners. He knows the Halaal and the Haraam. He has lived a life that has helped him to implement Islam in all walks of life; in short, he is treading upon the path of success in this world and the hereafter.
The boy finishes his graduation and travels abroad for masters as a mature adult. The university where he is to study has a peculiar atmosphere, which is where the first test comes.
His classmates are involved in filthy deeds and have no proper etiquette towards the teachers and professors. The boy has two choices: One, he can live up to the ideals he grew up with or he can discard them for the “easier” filth he sees around him. The professors wouldn’t mind, because they aren’t used to dealing with good students; his classmates wouldn’t mind either, because the boy is just like them.
The other choice would be to stick to his principles. Live his faith and continue practicing what he grew up with. It would be going against the norm, but it may have good results. His classmates may realize and feel ashamed of their deeds when they come across the boy’s morals, and they may actually mend their ways. The professors would come across the way of life that teaches students to not only respect but also serve their teachers.
Honor, respect, and victory come by practicing Islam and implementing its teachings, not the other way round. The story of Umar Bin Al-Khattab, the second rightly-guided caliph, always comes to mind. When Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) was on his way to take over Al-Quds (Jerusalem), he would take turns with his slave to ride the camel. Al-Quds was near, the city’s gates were almost in sight, and it was the slave’s turn to ride the camel. While Umar walked, he passed through a pool of mud, so his clothes got soiled.
Abu Ubaidah Bin Al-Jarrah, commander of the Muslim army, was worried. He came to Umar and suggested that he rode the camel as they were about to enter the city. He thought the Romans, who are used to pomp and glory, will not respect his leader if he entered with such simplicity.
Umar’s reply (may Allah be pleased with him) is worth engraving in stone. He said, “We were a people who lived in humiliation before. Allah gave us honor through Islam. If we sought honor through anything else (at the cost of Islam) then Allah will humiliate us again.”
It is reported that when he entered Al-Quds, people burst out in tears at seeing the simplicity of Umar. Early Muslims, when they went abroad for trade, told their customers the defects of their products. This “business model” astonished people who were used to cheating traders. The point is Muslims could have done what other traders were doing in foreign lands without having to worry about going to a Shariah court, but they didn’t.
They chose to be truthful and sincere to other people. This was the Iman of the early generations and this is why they were successful. They lived the Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Fear Allah wherever you are and follow up a bad deed with a good one and it will wipe it out, and behave well towards people.” (Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi)
In contrast, is the present generation of Muslims. We are eager to discard the garb of Islam – our principles – for filthy alternatives. The expert advice we receive nowadays is how to be treacherous; how to manipulate, cheat, and win. Sadly, some even boast of their cunningness and cleverness. This is a sure recipe for failure in this world and the hereafter.
The intention behind everything we do in our diverse roles – as a son, daughter, husband, wife, father, mother, employer, or employee – should be to please Allah alone. Ask yourself before every action: Is this good? Will Allah be pleased with this? If the answer is no, then leave it and do deeds that will please Him.
If Allah gave us talents like knowledge, maturity, and power, the responsibility that comes with them is to utilize them in the worship of Allah and in ways that are beneficial to women who stood up to Pharaoho people. Do we not realize that we have to return to Allah and give an account of our deeds.
Almost all early chapters of the Qur’an that were revealed in Makkah when Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had just been appointed as a messenger of Allah had short but profound verses. Despite their size, the verses had deep meanings.
One such chapter or Surah is Al-Muddaththir (74), which gives an interesting set of instructions to the overwhelmed Prophet who was lying wrapped up in his garments trembling with fear after meeting Archangel Gabriel for the first time.
For a caller to Islam, these compact, meaningful instructions carry a deep, important message as to what his or her priorities should be when conveying the message of Islam to the world.
“O you (Muhammad) enveloped in garments! Stand up and warn!”
Al-Bukhari and Muslim confirm that this short Surah was revealed when the Prophet returned to his family after seeing Angel Gabriel in his real form and size. He came home trembling and asked his family to wrap him up in garments.
Allah instructs His Prophet (peace be upon him) to stand up and warn those around him. The first lesson for the Da’ee who embarks on this noble mission is that he or she should stop fearing people. Take a stand and start warning others confidently. Low self-confidence, shyness, and fear are but obstacles in the way of Da’wah.
“And magnify your Lord!”
To proclaim the greatness of Allah is essential for the Da’ee since it reminds him or her of who he or she is doing this work for. Allah is the Greatest and He doesn’t need anyone’s worship or submission; He doesn’t even need anyone to convey His Deen to others. However, by magnifying our Creator, we acknowledge our position as utter slaves before Him and in return, we feel confident enough to deliver His message to others.
“And purify your garments!”
To convey Islam to others, one needs to appear before them at some point or the other – either by engaging in a discussion or by delivering a lecture. Also, a representative of Islam must wear garments that are thoroughly clean, as the essence of this faith lies in spiritual and physical cleanliness. Clean clothes are also a prerequisite for worship such as prayer. Sa’eed Bin Jubayr said concerning this verse, “This means to purify your heart and your intentions.’”
“And keep away from Al-Rujz (idols)!”
The meaning of the word Rujz, when prefixed by “Al”, points towards the impurity of polytheism or shirk. Ibn Abbas said, “Al-Rujz are idols, so keep away from them.” This view was supported by Mujahid, Ikrimah, Qatadah, Al-Zuhri and Ibn Zayd.
A Da’ee of Islam should be free from any kind of affinity, proximity, or sympathy – either spiritual or physical – for Shirk. Therefore, figures, faces, or idols of any form that are venerated or whose attributes are equated with those of Allah should be permanently and irreversibly abolished from the hearts and minds.
“And give not a thing in order to have more.”
The next instruction for the proactive caller towards Islam is to never seek some material benefit in return for the Da’wah. The Da’ee should do his work only for the sake of Allah and should never remind the people of his or her favors in order to amass wealth or beget other favors. The stories of the prophets in the Qur’an underscore sincerity. Even if the preaching of some Prophets won few – or no – followers, they never gave up the mission. Rather, they continued selflessly for the sake of Allah.
“And be patient for the sake of your Lord!”
Last but not least, the Da’ee must bear the inevitable opposition, antagonism, hatred, evil plotting, and downright harmful endeavors of his enemies with patience. Da’wah is a path that is thorny and difficult, dotted with tests of the caller’s sincerity towards Allah and his steadfastness in facing the obstacles that his opponents throw his way. Again, his patience must be solely for Allah’s sake, not for the sake of gaining people’s approval or pleasure.
The Qur’an is a guide and light for every being to come till the Day of Judgment. Its message and meanings are deep and worthy of reflection. Even though this Surah was revealed to our Prophet Muhammad centuries ago, the message lives on for us to ponder on and incorporate into our lives.
– By Sadaf Farooqi
Ref: Tafsir Ibn Kathir
Imam Bukhari is a name that creates a sense of reverence and respect in every Muslim’s heart. He was one of the greatest scholars of Islam and the founder of Hadith science. His prestigious compilation named Jame Al-Sahih is regarded as the second authentic book of Islam after the Holy Qur’an.
It was in the second century Hijrah when most of the Sahaba who had learned Islam from the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) directly were diminishing one after another. The last of the Prophet’s companions passed away in 110 A.H. Subsequently, a possibility of misquoting the Prophet (peace be upon him) by some people with vested interest was quite apparent. So it was essential to collect and authenticate true Hadiths without the sponsorship of any ruling authority, regional or national. It was a gigantic work to collect all the prevailing statements and to classify them into the relevant categories, as authentic, good, poor, and false.
This was a great task, which Imam Bukhari, a non-Arab from Khorasan, shouldered. He spent 16 years searching, collecting, and refining the material of Hadith. Not only this, he fixed the most rigid rules to evaluate and authenticate any circulating Hadith. Thus he is known as the Founder of Hadith science. The rest of his life was spent teaching and propagating the Hadith literature. One of his students, Imam Muslim, rose to the second position in the world in the Hadith compilation.
Imam Bukhari was born in Bukhara in 196 A.H. (810 A.D.) now in Uzbekistan). His father died when he was still young. He had lost his sight in infancy but his mother’s prayers and invoking blessed him a sharp sight and sharp memory that enabled him to read and write in the moonlight and if he had read or heard something, it would remain in his memory forever.
He memorized the Holy Qur’an at the age of 9. Then began to learn Hadith from scholars of his region. At the age of 18, he traveled to Makkah and stayed there for 16 years collecting Hadiths. He visited Egypt and Syria twice, Basra four times, spent many years in Hijaz, and went to Kufa and Baghdad many times. It is said that he learned about 600,000 Hadith from more than 1,000 scholars.
While returning to Bukhara after 16 years he began to compile Jame Al Sahih. He judged 7,275 Hadith from his large collection and arranged them in 93 chapters. Though Imam Bukhari wrote many books, he shot to prominence because of Tarikh Al-Kabeer, Adab Al-Mufrad, and Sahih Al-Bukhari. The first one he wrote in full moon nights at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. Imam Bukhari had a very sharp memory. He memorized 70,000 Hadiths at an early age and later in his life, this figure reached 300,000. Among those 100,000 Hadiths were Sahih and 200,000 were Hasan, Da`îf, etc.
In 250 A.H. he settled at Neshapur where he met Muslim ibn Al Hujjaj as his disciple who compiled Sahih Al-Muslim which is regarded only second to Bukhari in the Muslim world.
Imam Bukhari’s book on Hadith is regarded as the top of Sahah Sitta which are the most authentic six books of Hadith collected during 200-300 AH. These are:
• Sahih Bukhari by Imam Bukhari (D. 256 A.H.),
• Sahih Muslim by Muslim ibn Al Hujjaj (D. 261 A.H.),
• Sunan Al-Sughra by Al-Nasa’i (D. 302 A.H.)
• Sunan Abu Dawood by Abu Dawood (D. 274 A.H.)
• Jami Al-Tirmidhi by Al-Tirmidhi (D. 278 A.H.)
• Sunan ibn Majah by Ibn Majah (D. 273 A.H.)
Hafiz Ahmad bin Adi has described that when Imam Bukhari reached Baghdad, the leading scholars tried to test him and mixed 100 Hadith between the narrators’ chain and the text and gave to 100 persons to ask the authenticity of such Hadiths. Imam Bukhari said he never heard any Hadith like this. Then he repeated the incorrect Hadith as quoted by each questioner and then recited the corrected Hadith for each person separately. The people were astonished at the depth of his knowledge and paid great respect to him.
Imam Bukhari was a rich person but he lived the life of a very simple man giving most of his income to the poor. Mohammed Hatim Warraq, one of his disciples said that when Imam was establishing a Sarai (inn) near the city of Bukhara, he was laying bricks with his own hands. When Warraq said to him, leave this job for me, he replied, “On the Day of Judgment this work will be of benefit to me.” Regarding his worship, it is said that Imam recited the entire Qur’an daily in Ramadan and recited one-third of it in the night prayers.
In 250 A.H., Imam Bukhari moved to Neshapur where he was well received. Imam Muslim Neshapuri said he had never seen such a grand reception given to any scholar or ruler. Imam Bukhari began his lectures, which were attended by thousands. His popularity irritated the local ruler and Imam Bukhari decided to leave Neshapur for Bukhara where again he was received with great enthusiasm. He began his lectures and also established a school for regular teaching. But after some time due to differences with the local ruler, he decided to leave his hometown for Samarqand.
But when he was still a few miles away from the city he was prevented from entering it. When he found he had no place to go, he prayed to Almighty Allah saying, “O Allah, the Earth despite its grandeur is becoming narrow for me and is troubling me greatly. So take me back to You.” His prayers were answered and he died at Khartang, a place between Samarqand and Bukhara. It was on the night of Eid Al-Fitr, the first night of Shawwal 256 A.H. He is buried in Muhammad Al-Bukhari mausoleum at Khartang near Samarkand, in Uzbekistan
“Abd Al-Wahid ibn Adam Awaysi states: ‘I saw the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) in a dream standing with a group of Sahaba and asked, ‘For whom are you waiting?’ He replied, ‘For Bukhari.’ After a few days, I heard the news of Imam Bukhari’s death. He had died at the very moment that I saw the Prophet (PBUH) in my dream.”
Sahih Al Bukhari is regarded as the most authentic collection of Hadiths, which covers almost all aspects of human life in providing proper guidance from the Holy Prophet. As for piety, Imam Al-Bukhari never wrote any Hadith in this book without performing two rakah salat of guidance from Allah and when he was sure of its authenticity, only then he wrote it in the book.
Imam Bukhari lived for 62 years only but during his span of life, he did a marvelous work, which has been guiding the Ummah for the last 1,200 years. Tens of commentaries have been written on his treatise and hundreds of scholars are teaching Bukhari to thousand of students daily around the world. May Almighty Allah grant him the best reward.
– by ABU TARIQ HIJAZI