In his chapter entitled ‘The Betrayal of Tradition’ in ‘With God on Our Side’, Aftab Malik stresses that violence was “neither systematic nor justified by Islamic doctrine”. He quotes Bernard Lewis who confirms that violence was rare and atypical; no one was obliged to make a choice between faith and death as happened in the reconquered Spain and there were no subjection to “any major territorial or occupational restrictions” (p. 144).
The long history of Islam is rich with examples of peaceful co-existence where a variety of faiths, races, communities, intellectual trends and other life choices lived side by side and used the power of the word; rather than the tip of the sword to settle differences. From the early days of Islam where in the heat of the Meccan desert Bilal, the believing slave was tortured and his only response was a confirmation of his faith and perseverance, ‘Ahadun, Ahad’ meaning ‘I only worship the One, the Only One’ up until the last hundred years or so, this tradition of non-violence was the defining feature of Islamic history.
Every year, the month of Rajab carries to us the memory of the Prophetic night journey to Jerusalem and ascension to the realms of the highest heaven. We live in a world that tends to make many earthly celebrations; sometimes knowing their meanings and sometimes not. We actually invent reasons to celebrate in order to change the routine of our life, the miserable tone of the news of killing and natural disasters. Even when we try to celebrate, we are not free from individuals who try to annoy us by questioning why and on what basis are we celebrating.
In Islam, what is important is the meaning and the means; the occasion which we celebrate and the way we celebrate it. Why do we celebrate is the first question and how we celebrate it is another important question. Celebration is a kind of promotion, a form of reinvigorating an occasion and mentally and socially rejuvenating its characters and events. Since we cannot resurrect the characters physically, what we are actually reviving are the meanings and the lessons. Many events we pass by in life but none of them turns into an icon of inspiration; only those that leave a massive effect are to be celebrated and commemorated.
The Musalsalat in Ḥadīth: Linking the Present to the Past
A Treatise on Definition, Value, Significance and Categories of
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious Most Merciful
At a time when a lot of people claim following the Prophet ^ , it is very important to know that trying to benefit his Ummah is one of the ways for being good and connected to him. He ^ said: ‘The best of people are those who are most beneficial to people.’ And as narrated by Ibn ‘Umar that a man came to the Messenger of Allah ^ and asked: O Messenger of Allah, who is the most beloved by Allah amongst people and which action is the most beloved to Allah? He ^ said: ‘Of people, the most beloved by Allah are those with the most benefit to people and the most beloved action to Allah is to make a Muslim happy, relieve him from a plight, pay a debt on his behalf or to protect him from hunger (i.e. by feeding him) and it is dearer to me to accompany a brother to fulfill his need than to seclude myself in this mosque i.e. the Mosque of Madinah for a month. And whoever withholds his anger, Allah will cover his faults and whoever holds back his rage which he is able to let go, Allah will fill his heart with serenity on the day of resurrection and whoever accompanies his brother to fulfill his need, Allah will make him firm on the path on the day when feet will slip.’
Yaḥya b. Mu‘ādh Ar-Rāzi once visited Al-‘Alawi Al-‘Umari who asked him: What do you say about us Ahlul-Bayt[i]? He replied: What can I say about plants watered by the water of revelation, clay mixed with the water of Divine Message? Nothing will emanate from them except the musk of guidance and the amber of righteousness.[ii]
This is exactly what we expect when we read or write about any member of the blessed Ahlul-Bayt or the family of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Even the term Ahlul-Bayt which literally means; ‘the household’ or ‘the family’ and can thus refer to any family; it has become uniquely referring to them when used in this absolute and general form indicating that they are ‘the family’ or ‘the household’. Just like their leader or father, the Best of Creation is the Prophet, they are the Family. Ahlul-Bayt have always been the guides of this community since the demise of the Prophet (peace be upon him); they are the rope to salvation and the ship that delivers the ummah to safety. Jabir b. ‘Abdillah narrated, “I saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) at the back of his camel Al-Qaṣwā’ on the day of ‘Arafah in his Hajj and heard him saying: ‘O People! I will leave after me things which if you attach yourself with, you will never go astray; the Book of Allah and my close family who are my household.”[iii]
Shaykh Ahmed Saad