‘You Must Be a Millionaire By Now Anyway!’

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I briefly met one of my former students today, and he began by asking about my car.
It’s funny how the student-teacher relationship evolves into mutual friendship outside the class setting, yet amazing in a way too. It’s got quite a lot to do with the way the teacher treats his/her students in the classroom.

Anyway, during the course of our brief conversation, he jokingly asked, ‘Why didn’t you get a Lambo instead?!’ To which I retorted, ‘Yeah, if you’d have been willing to pay for it!’
He then went on to ask me the approximate price of a Lamborghini (which he genuinely had no clue of), and so was shocked when I told him. The light-hearted conversation continued, and it became apparent to me that he was slightly out of touch with financial matters in general life. He said (pretty seriously), ‘Being a teacher, you must be a millionaire by now anyway.’

At this point we had reached the Masjid, and Ṣalāh had commenced, so we ended the conversation. However, his last sentence struck me. Although it was said out of pure innocence and naivety, it was a true reality check.

Being a teacher of Islamic studies is no insignificant occupation. Granted, the pay may not be enough for me to be able to afford a Lamborghini even if I saved up a lifetime for it, but the benefit I could potentially gain in the Hereafter due to it is immense. Imagine, for every single thing I teach the students and which they then implement in their lives, I’ll get a share of the reward. This is due to the ḥadīth of the Prophet ﷺ wherein he said, “One who leads a person to goodness, will receive the same reward as the doer.”[1] Not to mention their knowledge of Dīn which will help them over the course of their lives, and will ultimately lead them to Jannah.

Added onto that is the statement of the Prophet ﷺ: ‘That a single person is guided due to you is better for you than red camels.’[2] – Red camels were the best means of transport at the time; one of the most valuable commodities (that’s my Lambo right there!), and his ﷺ statement: ‘Indeed Allāh, His Angels, the inhabitants of the Heavens and the Earth, to the ants in their nests and the fish, pray for the person teaching people goodness.’[3]
And as if that wasn’t enough, the Prophet ﷺ also said, “The best amongst you are the ones who learn the Qur’ān and teach it.”[4]

I don’t need a Lamborghini anymore. I mean, I’d love to own one no doubt, but I don’t need it to gain respect or success in this world or the Hereafter. Alḥamdulillāh, Allāh has blessed me with the avenues to achieve success and put me on that path. I pray He grant me that success, and everyone else too. Āmīn

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[1] Abū Dāwūd #5129 and At-Tirmidhī #2670

رواه أبو داود في سننه: كتاب الأدب: أبواب النوم: باب في الدَّالِّ على الخَير كفاعِلِه: حدَّثنا محمدُ بنُ كثيرٍ، أخبرنا سفيانُ، عن الأعمشِ، عن أبي عمرو الشيبانيِّ عن أبي مسعودٍ الأنصارىِّ، قال: جاءَ رجُلٌ إلى النبي -صلى الله عليه وسلم-، فقال: يا رسولَ الله ِ، إني أُبدِعَ بي فاحمِلْنِي، قال: “لا أجدُ ما أحمِلُكَ عليهِ، ولكنِ ائتِ فُلاناً، فلعلَّه أن يحمِلَكَ” فأتاه، فحمَلَه، فأتى رسولَ الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم -، فأخبرَه، فقال رسولُ الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم-: “مَنْ دلَّ على خَيْرٍ فلهُ مِثلُ أجرِ فَاعِلِه”

ورواه الترمذي أيضاً في جامعه: أبواب العلم: بَابُ مَا جَاءَ الدَّالُّ عَلَى الخَيْرِ كَفَاعِلِهِ: قال: حَدَّثَنَا نَصْرُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ الكُوفِيُّ قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ بَشِيرٍ، عَنْ شَبِيبِ بْنِ بِشْرٍ، عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، قَالَ: أَتَى النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رَجُلٌ يَسْتَحْمِلُهُ، فَلَمْ يَجِدْ عِنْدَهُ مَا يَحْمِلُهُ فَدَلَّهُ عَلَى آخَرَ فَحَمَلَهُ، فَأَتَى النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَأَخْبَرَهُ فَقَالَ: «إِنَّ الدَّالَّ عَلَى الخَيْرِ كَفَاعِلِهِ» وَفِي البَابِ عَنْ أَبِي مَسْعُودٍ البَدْرِيِّ، وَبُرَيْدَةَ: «هَذَا حَدِيثٌ غَرِيبٌ مِنْ هَذَا الوَجْهِ مِنْ حَدِيثِ أَنَسٍ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ»

[2] Al-Bukhārī #3498

روى البخاري في صحيحه: كتاب الجهاد والسير: باب دعاء النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم الناس إلى الإسلام والنبوة، وأن لا يتخذ بعضهم بعضا أربابا من دون الله: قال: حدثنا عبد الله بن مسلمة القعنبي، حدثنا عبد العزيز بن أبي حازم، عن أبيه، عن سهل بن سعد رضي الله عنه، سمع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، يقول: يوم خيبر: «لأعطين الراية رجلا يفتح الله على يديه»، فقاموا يرجون لذلك أيهم يعطى، فغدوا وكلهم يرجو أن يعطى، فقال: «أين علي؟»، فقيل: يشتكي عينيه، فأمر، فدعي له، فبصق في عينيه، فبرأ مكانه حتى كأنه لم يكن به شيء، فقال: نقاتلهم حتى يكونوا مثلنا؟ فقال: «على رسلك، حتى تنزل بساحتهم، ثم ادعهم إلى الإسلام، وأخبرهم بما يجب عليهم، فوالله لأن يهدى بك رجل واحد خير لك من حمر النعم»

[3] At-Tirmidhī #2685

روى الترمذي في جامعه: أبواب العلم: باب ما جاء في فضل الفقه على العبادة: قال: حدثنا محمد بن عبد الأعلى الصنعاني، قال: حدثنا سلمة بن رجاء، قال: حدثنا الوليد بن جميل، قال: حدثنا القاسم أبو عبد الرحمن، عن أبي أمامة الباهلي، قال: ذكر لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم رجلان أحدهما عابد والآخر عالم، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: فضل العالم على العابد كفضلي على أدناكم. ثم قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إن الله وملائكته وأهل السموات والأرضين حتى النملة في جحرها وحتى الحوت ليصلون على معلم الناس الخير.قال الترمذي: هذا حديث حسن صحيح غريب سمعت أبا عمار الحسين بن حريث الخزاعي، يقول: سمعت الفضيل بن عياض، يقول: عالم عامل معلم يدعى كبيرا في ملكوت السموات

[4] Al-Bukhārī #5027

روى البخاري في صحيحه: كتاب فضائل القرآن: باب خيركم من تعلم القرآن وعلمه: قال: حدثنا حجاج بن منهال، حدثنا شعبة، قال: أخبرني علقمة بن مرثد، سمعت سعد بن عبيدة، عن أبي عبد الرحمن السلمي، عن عثمان رضي الله عنه، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: «خيركم من تعلم القرآن وعلمه»، قال: وأقرأ أبو عبد الرحمن في إمرة عثمان، حتى كان الحجاج قال: وذاك الذي أقعدني مقعدي هذا

A Few Islamic Teachings Regarding ‘Īsā (Jesus) عليه السلام

  1. He was born miraculously without a father. (Sūrat Maryam)
  2. He was the slave and Messenger of Allāh, not His son. (4:171)
  3. He was not crucified nor killed, but was raised to the heavens by Allāh. (4:157)
  4. He would perform miracles by the Will of Allāh: giving life to the dead, curing the leper and the blind, among others. (5:110)
  5. He will descend before the Day of Judgement and live out the remainder of his life on Earth. (Al-Bukhārī)

Quranic Wonders: ‘You are the Independent and ‘Ḥamīd’’

Another amazing choice of wording I came across today was in the following āyah of Sūrat Luqmān:

وَلَقَدۡ ءَاتَيۡنَا لُقۡمَـٰنَ ٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ أَنِ ٱشۡكُرۡ لِلَّهِ‌ۚ وَمَن يَشۡكُرۡ فَإِنَّمَا يَشۡكُرُ لِنَفۡسِهِۦ ‌ۖ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَنِىٌّ حَمِيدٌ (31:12)

Allāh narrates the wisdom of Luqmān, and in doing so states that whoever is grateful to Allāh benefits only himself, and as for the one who is ungrateful, Allāh is independent and ‘Ḥamīd’.

The word Ḥamīd is generally translated as ‘Worthy of Praise’, or ‘Praiseworthy’. Fellow students of the Arabic language will know that any word coming on the scale of ‘فَعِيْلٌ’ can portray the meaning of ‘فاعل’ or ‘مفعول’. Hence, the word حَمِيْدٌ can either mean حَامِدٌ – the One who praises, or مَحْمُودٌ – the Praiseworthy. Allāh however, is both in that He praises His righteous servants, and those who do good in general, and He is also praised excessively by His creation.

In the āyah quoted above, Allāh mentions that as for those who are ungrateful to Him, Allāh is independent; He is not in need of their gratitude as their gratitude or ingratitude does not benefit Him in the slightest. He is Ḥamīd: deserving of all praise that the rest of the creation continue to praise Him with, yet He also acknowledges and praises those who praise Him and are grateful to Him. The attribute Ḥamīd here can express both meanings, and Allāh chose to praise Himself at this point in the āyah with this very attribute, which again expresses the brilliant choice of words used!

May Allāh grant us all the ability to show true gratitude to Him, and we seek His refuge from ingratitude.

Quranic Wonders: Meticulously Amazing Choice of Wording

The Qur’ān is a miracle in many ways. One of these ways is how each word, in each āyah, is so apt and unique in expressing its meaning.

One such example we came across today was the term ‘نَجَّيْنَاكُم’ in the āyah:

وَإِذۡ نَجَّيۡنَـٰكُم مِّنۡ ءَالِ فِرۡعَوۡنَ يَسُومُونَكُمۡ سُوٓءَ ٱلۡعَذَابِ يُذَبِّحُونَ أَبۡنَآءَكُمۡ وَيَسۡتَحۡيُونَ نِسَآءَكُمۡ ‌ۚ وَفِى ذَلِكُم بَلَآءٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمۡ عَظِيمٌ

In this āyah, Allāh reminds the Banū Isrā’īl (Children of Israel) how He saved then from the tyranny of Fir‘awn (Pharaoh). The āyah is generally translated as: ‘And remember when we delivered you from the people of Fir‘awn…’. The term ‘نَجَّيْنَاكُم’ is translated as ‘we delivered you’, but its beauty is lost in translation, and to many a reader.

The dictionary translation of ‘نَجّى’ is ‘to deliver, save, rescue, bring to safety’[1]. Imām Al-Qurṭubī writes that the word originated from ‘نَجْوَةٌ’ which means an elevated place, and therefore ‘نجّى’ was originally used as ‘to place someone/thing on an elevated place’. Thereafter, it developed into the meaning that is now the dictionary term, as placing someone or something on an elevated platform usually saves them from the dangers lurking below it figuratively.[2]

Let us now ponder over how Allāh saved the Banū Isrā’īl from Fir‘awn: Mūsā عليه السلام was instructed to strike his staff upon the water. Consequently, twelve paths appeared which each of the twelve tribes of the Banū Isrā’īl traversed[3] and were saved. Fir ‘awn and his people pursued the Banū Isrā’īl on the same paths, but when they reached the middle, Allāh drowned them. Going back to the term ‘نَجَّيْنَاكُم’, did not Allāh effectively place the Banū Isrā’īl on an elevated ground, while the Fir‘awn and his army drowned in the depths of the river, thus saving delivering them to safety?

Any word synonymous to ‘saving, rescuing, delivering’ could have been used to express that meaning, yet the term ‘نَجَّيْنَاكُم’ was used. Subḥānallāh!

May Allāh grant us the true understanding of His Words!

[1] Hans Wehr

[2] قال القرطبي: ومعنى “نجيناكم” ألقيناكم على نجوة من الأرض وهي ما ارتفع منها هذا هو الأصل ثم سمي كل فائز ناجيا. فالناجي من خرج من ضيق إلى سعة

[3] قال ابن كثير: وقال ابن عباس: صار البحر اثني عشر طريقا، لكل سبط طريق

Allah’s Sustaining of His Creation

Allāh’s sustaining of His creation is of two types:

  1. General: His creating them, providing for them, and guiding them to everything that they need for their survival in this world.
  2. Exclusive: His sustaining His friends, by blessing them with Īmān, giving them the ability to accept it, and work fully to its demands. This, together with protecting them from those threats which endanger their Īmān, In other words, granting them the ability to do all that is good, while protecting them from all evil. Perhaps this is why the vast majority of the du‘ās of the Prophets عليهم السلام started off with Rabb/Rabbana, because all their aspirations fell under this exclusive type of ربوبية (Sustainment).

(Paraphrased from the tafsīr of Shaykh ‘Abdur Raḥmān ibn Nāṣir As-Sa‘dī رحمه الله)

Kalimahs – A Concerning Observation

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In many classes I have taken, I found myself probing the students, trying to determine whether they fully understand the importance and meanings of the Kalimahs. Unfortunately, I have come to face the reality that despite the students having been taught the Kalimahs from the very beginning right up until the advanced years, their relationship with them does not go beyond memorising the Arabic and their translations.

When I ask students why they are made to learn these Kalimahs, I receive answers like, ‘So we can read them at night’, or ‘because the Mawlānās tell us to’, from the sharper students, with the majority completely taken by surprise at the question. Another question I ask is, ‘What are the basic things a Muslim should believe in?’ Very rarely have I received an answer beyond stating the Shahādah.

The kalimahs were formulated and are taught to ensure the basic beliefs of a Muslim are always at the tips of the students’ tongues. Yet today, the achievement of this purpose is found wanting. Almost all students will be able to say them fluently, with their translations, but will not understand them or be able to explain them. We need to ensure the students not only learn the Kalimahs, but fully understand them and are able to relate to them in their day-to-day lives. This can be done by referring to them frequently when the opportunity presents itself. For example, if the teacher is teaching the student about Allāh and His Qualities, it would be extremely beneficial if he/she referred pointed out these qualities where they have been mentioned in the Kalimahs, like Allāh’s dominance (له الملك), His giving life and causing death (يحيي ويميت), etc.

It upsets and worries me that a teenage student who has been in Islamic education throughout his/her childhood and learnt the Kalimahs and their translations repeatedly, cannot explain the basic beliefs a Muslim should have. A Muslim child much younger should be able to explain that with ease! This, despite having learnt the Kalimahs and their translations for years on end! We as teachers and parents seriously need to address this concern. May Allāh grant us all the understanding. Āmīn.

It’s A Sunnah: Feeding People

IMG_20150308_192514بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

It is very common these days for people to go out for a meal with friends and/or family; order some takeout and gather somewhere to eat; or even go for a dessert. This presents a great opportunity to practice upon a Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ and a very rewarding good deed: feeding people.

‘Abdullāh ibn Salām رضي الله عنه relates that when the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ arrived at Al-Madīnah, people rushed to him, and it was announced, ‘The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ has arrived!’, so I joined the people to catch a glimpse of him. When I fixated on the face of the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ, I realised that his face was never a face of a liar, and the first thing I heard him say was, “O people! Spread [the greeting of] salām, feed food, and perform ṣalāh whilst the people are asleep; you shall enter Jannah in peace.” (At-Tirmidhī)[1]

Note how one of the first advices the Prophet ﷺ imparted to the people in Al-Madīnah was to feed food? This indicates how important it was to him. The commentators also mention that the Prophet ﷺ did not mention who to feed, nor what food to feed. He left the sentence open-ended, indicating that the main deed is to feed; feed whoever you can, whatever is within your capability, and you shall be rewarded.

With the growing number of ḥalāl takeaways and restaurants available now, it has become very easy to practice upon this Sunnah. You may think, ‘Well, aren’t we already doing that?’, but it’s our outlook I’d like to address in this piece.

Firstly, we need to recognise and acknowledge that this action we are doing is a Sunnah and rewarding. Therefore, our intentions before, during, and after doing it should include this factor. This will pave the way for blessings and barakah.

Secondly, by understanding the reward, we shall inshā’Allāh increase in this good. Let us look at a few virtues on the topic:

  1. Sa‘d ibn Abī Waqqāṣ رضي الله عنه narrates that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, “You will never spend anything seeking the Pleasure of Allāh, except that you will be rewarded for it; even for that which you place in your wife’s mouth.” (Al-Bukhārī)[2]
  2. Anas ibn Mālik رضي الله عنه reports that the Prophet ﷺ said, “The most virtuous charity is satiating a hungry liver.” (Al-Bayhaqī)[3]
  3. Anas ibn Mālik رضي الله عنه narrates that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, “Indeed Allāh loves a servant who satiates a hungry liver.” (Ad-Dawlābī)[4] Aṭ-Ṭabarānī has recorded a similar narration.[5]

From these three narrations, we learn a few different things about feeding people. Firstly, feeding our own families is rewarding, yet it is something we’re obliged to do anyway. Not only that, every morsel that reaches their mouths through us facilitating it is rewarded for. Secondly, feeding anything that has a liver – anything that lives; human or animal, is a charitable deed and worthy of such reward that results in the Love of Allāh and His Pleasure.

Finally, I leave you with an anecdote of a great Tābi‘ī, Sa‘īd ibn Al-Musayyib رحمه الله. He regarded the virtue and importance of feeding people such that he is reported to have said, “That I satiate a hungry liver is more beloved to me than perpetual Ḥajj.” (Ad-Dāramī)[6]

May Allāh make us hospitable, welcoming people who do not hesitate to feed hungry stomachs. Āmīn

[1] وروى الترمذي قال: ٢٤٨٥ – حدثنا محمد بن بشار قال: حدثنا عبد الوهاب الثقفي، ومحمد بن جعفر، وابن أبي عدي، ويحيى بن سعيد، عن عوف بن أبي جميلة الأعرابي، عن زرارة بن أوفى، عن عبد الله بن سلام، قال: لما قدم رسول اللهصلى الله عليه وسلم المدينة انجفل الناس إليه، وقيل: قدم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، فجئت في الناس لأنظر إليه، فلما استبنت وجه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عرفت أن وجهه ليس بوجه كذاب وكان أول شيء تكلم به أن قال: «يا أيها الناس، أفشوا السلام، وأطعموا الطعام، وصلوا والناس نيام تدخلون الجنة بسلام»: «هذا حديث صحيح»

[2] روى البخاري في صحيحه قال: ٥٦ – حدثنا الحكم بن نافع، قال: أخبرنا شعيب، عن الزهري، قال: حدثني عامر بن سعد، عن سعد بن أبي وقاص، أنه أخبره أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: «إنك لن تنفق نفقة تبتغي بها وجه الله إلا أجرت عليها، حتى ما تجعل في فم امرأتك»

[3] روى البيهقي في شعب الإيمان قال: ٣٠٩٥ – أخبرنا أبو الحسن علي بن أحمد بن محمد بن داود الرزاز ببغداد، حدثنا أبو عمرو عثمان بن أحمد الدقاق، حدثنا أبو قلابة، ح وأخبرنا أبو علي الروذباري، حدثنا أبو طاهر المحمدآباذي، حدثنا أبو قلابة، حدثنا عبد الصمد بن عبد الوارث، حدثنا زربي، مؤذن هشام بن حسان، قال: سمعت أنس بن مالك، يقول: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: ” أفضل الصدقة أن تشبع كبدا جائعا “

[4] وروى الدولابي في الكنى والأسماء قال: ٢٠٨١ – حدثنا إبراهيم بن يعقوب، قال: حدثنا سهل بن حماد، قال: حدثنا زربي أبو يحيى، قال: سمعت أنس بن مالك يقول: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: «إن الله جل ثناؤه يحب عبدا يشبع كبدا جائعة»

[5] وروى الطبراني في مكارم الأخلاق: ١٦٥ – ثنا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، ثنا أَبُو عُبَيْدَةَ بْنُ فُضَيْلِ بْنِ عِيَاضٍ، ثنا أَبُو سَعِيدٍ، مَوْلَى بَنِي هَاشِمٍ، ثنا زَرْبِيُّ أَبُو يَحْيَى قَالَ: سَمِعْتُ أَنَسَ بْنَ مَالِكٍ يَقُولُ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يُحِبُّ عَبْدًا بَرَّدَ كَبِدًا جَائِعَةً»

[6] وروى الحافظ بن حجر في إتحاف المهرة: ٢٤٣٣٥ – حب – /حديث: لَأَنْ أُشبع كبداً جائعاً أحب إلي من حجة بعد حجة. حب في روضة العقلاء: ثنا أحمد بن عمرو الزِيْبَقي بالبصرة، ثنا الحسن بن مُدْرِك، ثنا عبد العزيز بن عبد الله، ثنا سعيد، عن قتادة، عنه، بهذا، قوله.

والرواية من روضة العقلاء للدارمي: حدثني أَحْمَد بْن عمرو الزنبقي بالبصرة حَدَّثَنَا الحسن بْن مدرك السدوسي حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّه القرشي حَدَّثَنَا سَعِيد عَن قَتَادَة عَن سَعِيد بْن المسيب قَالَ لأن أشبع كبدا جائعة أحب إلي من حجة بعد حجة