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The Prophet’s Guidance for New Muslim Youth

The Prophet’s Guidance for New Muslim Youth

Prophet Muhammad came through with the message of Islam, and his target audience, so to speak, revolved around the youth of the time.

Prophet Muhammad came through with the message of Islam, and his target audience, so to speak, revolved around the youth of the time.

By Maria Zain

For new Muslims, it is vital to read up on how Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) kept the teenagers around him in good company, enjoining them in doing good deeds. Embracing Islam can be a life-changing experience.

Some new Muslims come to Islam alone, whereas others revert together with their whole family. If a couple decides to embrace Islam and have young children, it is most likely that their children will also become Muslims. For those with older children, especially those well in their teens, the transition can be trickier.

Some teenagers may very well follow in their parents’ footsteps whole heartedly, others may embrace Islam with a certain amount of wariness and there are probably many others who would prefer not to make the change.

However for family members who decide to come to Islam and who join them on their journey in becoming observing Muslims, it is worth to note the Sunnah on how Prophet Muhammad treated the youth. This will enable the transition to become smoother and more of a positive challenge for the family as a whole.

When Prophet Muhammad was given the first revelation in the cave of Mount Hira’, it was well known that he was 40 years old. As many men at that age, he had reached a certain pinnacle of leadership qualities. Men at the age of forty are often seen running their own corporations and enterprises, have attained successful marriages and raised teenage children.

What differentiates the Prophet’s leadership qualities, though, was that an important majority of followers were at the time new Muslim youth.

In the most important mission of any man’s plight, Prophet Muhammad was commanded to change the mindset of the pagan Arabs, to do away with waylay practices, oppressive behavior, corrupted attitudes, and to embrace Islam as their comprehensive way of life.

Islamic history relays that this was a gruelling attempt at changing the culture of stone-cold pagans who were deeply rooted in their traditions. Prophet Muhammad came through with the message of Islam, and his target audience, so to speak, revolved around the youth of the time.

Anas ibn Malik (may God be pleased with him) was one of the young men who grew very close to the Prophet. Anas mentioned that the Prophet never once uttered a word of disgrace upon him, neither any other member of the youth of society. He had worked for the Prophet and grew up observing and learning through the Prophet’s actions and behavior. Anas was recognized as one of the most fluent narrators of hadiths of his time.

Prophet Muhammad had other young companions who flocked with him like feathers of a bird. He often joked with them, calling ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (may God be pleased with him) ‘AbuTuraab’ (father of the dust), for sleeping on the dusty ground. He was also very close to his family members, in particular his youngest daughter Fatimah, and was known to show his affection for her in public.

On several occasions, when Fatimah entered a room where the Prophet was, he would rush over to her, take her by her hands, kiss her and offer her his seat. Fatimah was also known to reciprocate in kind. But as much as the Prophet kept affectionate and jovial relations with the youth, he continuously moulded them to be the leaders of the future.

There is no doubt that ‘A’ishah, Prophet Muhammad’s wife, rose to the ranks of leadership at a very young age and as she outlived her husband for half a century, she became a teacher like no other woman seen in history. Until this very day, Muslims around the world read of her narrations and regard her with the highest respect as one of the feistiest women of the companions. Another young wife, Hafsah, daughter of Umar, was appointed as the keeper of the Holy Qur’an, a grave responsibility for any youth. This shows that though many companions were teens during the Prophet’s lifetime, adulthood was only a stone-throw away.

 How the Prophet did it?

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was also adamant in protecting the youth in public, honoring their opinions during debates, even against the wisest of Muslims.

‘Ali once narrated that youth between the age of fourteen and twenty-one needed to be befriended – treated as friends. Do we teach the Muslim youth the same way? Do we earn their trust by befriending them, respecting their opinions and helping them through difficulty much like good friends would do? Or do we continue to berate them for their mistakes; chastise them for their ignorance; and ignore them when they are in need, with the excuse that they are just ’troubled teenagers’?

The youth face a plethora of social ills today. From drugs to prostitution, from school drop-outs to poor qualifications; from obsession with pop culture to over-indulgences in peer pressure– it can be difficult for the Muslim youth to stand by Islamic principles with so many distractions surrounding them.

As parents of the youth of this chosen religion, we have to realize that education spans further than the walls of the classroom. The youth surrounding the Prophet were continuously surrounded by adults, not by their peers. They learned hands on how to deal with business transactions, travelling for da`wah (calling to God), teaching those who were illiterate (regardless of age) and engaged in household chores the way adults would do.

The Prophet would have frowned at those who removed the autonomy of the youth in making their own decisions, partaking in society, learning from real life scenarios and exploring their own interests and strengths that will eventually help them excel as adults in the real world. The Prophet was also adamant in protecting the youth in public, honoring their opinions during debates, even against the wisest of Muslims and allowing them to join him on even the most dangerous entourages. The youth surrounding the Prophet were definitely very involved in society.

Parents nowadays should not just categorize their teens as hormonal teenagers. For new Muslims, it is vital to read up on how Prophet Muhammad kept the teenagers around him in good company, always enjoining them in doing good deeds and encouraging them gently to ward off evil.

Embracing Islam as a family may be difficult, especially with elder children in tow, but showing how well they are appreciated within the realm of Islam, reinforces individualism, independence and autonomy in making decisions. The upside of a Muslim family coming together to Islam is that parents and children can learn together and teach each other as they journey along to becoming better Muslims. Even if older children decide not to follow their parents’ choice in faith, they still need to be treated with love and respect in light of the Sunnah, as in time they may open up to the beautiful faith and its stance on the importance of the youth.

Prophet Muhammad recognized the youth as important individuals of society. They were encouraged to learn and grow by participating in business trades, much like Anas ibn Malik; scholarly discussions, much like `Ali; and negotiations across nations, much like Usamah ibn Zayd; who led the Muslim army, including men who were old enough to be his grandfathers, at the tender age of fifteen.

The female youth of the time were not excluded from such responsibility. Ruqayyah (daughter of Prophet Muhammad) co-lead the first emigration to Abyssinia during the worst chapter of oppression upon the Muslims. Asmaa’ (daughter of Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with them all) risked her life during the Prophet’s and Abu Bakr’s plight to Madinah. She could have been killed, but due to her strong upbringing based on love for and fear of God, she took it upon her duty to protect the Prophet and her father when they were being hunted down by the Quraish.

Prophet Muhammad always perused kindness and patience in dealing with youngsters, treating them with respect, valuing their opinions and allowing them autonomy to make their own decisions.

Becoming a Muslim family, together, changes a person’s mindset on how they view teenagers. Instead of individuals who are either too young to make their own decision; or individuals who should be doing homework in order to earn straight A’s that will determine their success; or individuals who should be ‘enjoying’ life through partying and gossiping about celebrities, or being obsessed about reality television stars; the youth should be encouraged to be strong and active members of society.

The youth of today do not face the challenges of the youth of the companions. But they do definitely face a whole suite of fitnah (temptations) and conflicting identities in their own right. There are plenty of ways for the youth to become active members in the community; they just need to be befriended and encouraged by adults who wish to raise them as God-fearing adults rather than allow them to be trapped in the confusion of hormonal changes.

However, this has to be done in accordance with the Sunnah. Prophet Muhammad always perused kindness and patience in dealing with youngsters, treating them with respect, valuing their opinions and allowing them autonomy to make their own decisions.

For new Muslims, it is also important for their teenagers to find comrades of a feather, regardless of age and culture. As long as the new Muslim youth find a strong sense of belonging in Islam and a thriving Muslim community, their priorities as Muslims will be set on the right track and they will be able to achieve the same glory as the youth who surrounded Prophet Muhammad in the golden years of Islam.

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Source: islammessage.com

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Why Do We Worship and Obey God?

Why Do We Worship and Obey God?

nature way

By walking on the straight of God you will receive dignity in this world as well as in the Hereafter.

Brothers in Islam! I have frequently emphasized that ‘Islam‘ means total surrender to Allah and the Messenger, and that no one can become truly Muslim unless he gives up obedience to anyone or anything apart from God.

But why is so much stress laid on obedience to God and His Messenger? You may ask: Does God need our obedience so badly that He has to demand it so insistently from us? Is He, too, like the rulers of the world so power-hungry that He has to insist His rule cannot be sustained without subjugating us?

Let us try to examine these questions.

Our Well-being

Essentially, the demand for obedience to Allah is intended for the well-being and betterment of man himself. He is not like the rulers of the world. They subjugate people to benefit themselves, but Allah needs nothing from anybody.

He is not in need of taxes from you, nor does He require to build mansions, buy cars and amass luxury articles at your expense. He is not dependent on anyone for anything. Whatever is in the world belongs to Him alone and He alone is the Master of all treasures.

He demands obedience from you only because He does not want man – that creation of His whom He has declared to be the noblest – to be the servant of another man like him, or of Satan or bow his head before unworthy things.

He does not desire that His vicegerents on earth grope in the darkness of ignorance and, like animals, become slaves to their desires and thus degrade themselves to the level of the lowest of the low. Therefore He urges: You obey Me and walk by the light I have sent through My Messengers. You will find the straight path. By walking on it you will receive dignity in this world as well as in the Hereafter.

No coercion is there in religion. Distinct has become the right way from [the way of] error. So whosoever rejects false gods and believes in God has indeed taken hold of the most firm handle which shall never break. God is All-hearing, All-knowing. God is the Friend of those who have faith; He brings them out of darkness into the light. And the disbelievers their friends are false gods that bring them out of the light into darkness; those are the inhabitants of the Fire, therein to abide forever. (Al-Baqarah 2:256, 257)

Obeying Others Besides Allah

Why will a man plunge into darkness by obeying others besides Allah and why is it that only by obeying Allah can his life be illumined?

Let us look into this important question…

Our lives are made up of countless relations and transactions. Our first relationship is with our own bodies: these hands, these feet, these eyes, these ears, this tongue, this heart, the mind, this belly – all these have been entrusted to you by Allah to serve you. You have also been given freedom to decide to what end to employ them.

What to put in your bellies, and what to avoid. What to make your hands do, and what to keep them away from.

Where to let your feet walk, and when to hold back. What to let your eyes see and ears hear, and what to refrain from.

What to allow your tongues to say, and when to fall silent. What kind of thoughts to make your hearts and minds reflect upon, and what to shun. These servants of yours you can make do good work or bad, as you choose. In return, they can make you ascend great heights or plunge you into abysmal depths.

Then you have relationships with the members of your family; with your fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, wives, children and other relatives with whom you have to deal continuously.

You have to decide how to behave with these people, what rights you have over them, and what rights they have over you. Your comfort, your happiness and your success in this world as well as in the Hereafter depend very much on how correctly you behave with them. If you behave wrongly, you will make this world a Hell for yourselves. And in the Hereafter, too, you will have to answer to God.

You have relationships with many other people. They are your neighbours, friends and enemies. There are also many who work for you in various ways. To some you have to give something and from others you have to receive something.

Some entrust you with their works while you entrust Your works to others. You are in command over some people and others are in command over you. In this world, your happiness, your honour and your good names all depend entirely on your ability to maintain these relationships properly.

In the Hereafter, too, you can acquire places of honor near God only by scrupulously avoiding abusing the rights of others and doing them injustices. There, let no one charge you with having ruined his life or having illegally harmed his honour, life or property.

You therefore have to maintain these relationships in a proper manner; actions which may spoil or disrupt these relations should be avoided.

open book before the sun

If you try to find this knowledge with the help of your reason and feelings alone, you will not find it.

Following One’s Desires

Now consider: in order to maintain proper relationships with your own bodies, with the members of your families and with all other people, you need the light of knowledge at every step.

You have to know what is right and what is wrong; what is true and what is false; what is just and what is unjust; what rights you have over others and what rights others have over you; in what there is real benefit and in what lies real harm.

If you try to find this knowledge with the help of your reason and feelings alone, you will not find it. Because yourself is overpowered by the urge to immediate gratification of desires. Your reason and feelings are therefore ruled by physical pleasure and immediate temptations.

They will tempt you to earn money by doing illegal things, drink alcohol and commit adultery. They will lead you to usurp the rights of others and withhold things due to them on the grounds that such behaviour will profit you: take everything and give nothing. They will also make you exploit others to serve your ends while avoiding the doing of any service to anybody, arguing that this will make life easy and comfortable.

If you allow yourselves to be led by a self which gropes in such darkness, it will drag you down to the level of selfish, depraved, and corrupt persons and your lives both on earth and in the Hereafter will be ruined.

Alternatively, instead of following the self, you may rely on other human beings like yourselves, and place yourselves in their hands to take you in whichever direction they like.

The dangers in such a course are obvious: selfish persons may make you slaves of their own desires, and ignorant men, who have themselves gone astray, may mislead you also. Tyrants may use you to perpetrate oppression and injustice on others.

From human beings like yourselves, too, you cannot get that light of knowledge which can guide you to distinguish between right and wrong, between good and bad, and direct you on the right path.

_________________________

The article is an excerpt from the author’s book Let Us Be Muslims.

 

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The Story of Salah or Prayer and How to Perform it!

The Story of Salah or Prayer and How to Perform it!

Salah (Prayer) is the second pillar of Islam and the first practical one. Here is a video about the story of Prayer and how to perform both the Prayer and Ablution. It will greatly help you perform your first Prayer.

First, the story began in Makkah where the Archangel Gabriel (peace be upon him) visited Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace). Next, they both set off for Jerusalem where they started the second journey, Ascending to the Heavens or the Night Journey. It was in the heavens where Allah made Prayer or Salah obligatory for Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and the whole ummah.

After that, the video moves on to speak briefly about the Night Journey to highlight how important Salah is. It also covers the following topics:

1. Prerequisites of Salah (Prayer)

These prerequisites include clothing, purification of the body, clothing and place of prayer, etc.

2. The Wudu’ (Ablution) and what nullifies it

3. Step by step guide to Prayer from A to Z

 

 

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Prostration of Recitation (Sujud At-Tilawah)

Prostration of Recitation (Sujud At-Tilawah)

By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan

The Wisdom of Sujud Al-Tilawa (the Prostration of Recitation)

The prostration of recitation is one of the Prophetic practices and it is thus called as it relates to the recitation of the Quran. It is an act of worship that is ordained by Allah and His Messenger to be done when reciting the verses of the Quran or listening to them, as a means of drawing near to Allah, subjecting oneself to His Majesty and showing submissiveness to Him.

There are 15 verses of the Gracious Quran the Prophet (PBUH) prostrated upon reciting. Muslims are recommended to do the same during and outside the prayer.

Its Legal Ruling

This act of prostration is enacted as an act of the Sunnah (Prophetic Tradition) for both the one who recites and the one who listens to the Quran. Scholars unanimously agree on its legality. Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“When the Prophet (PBUH) recited a sura of the Quran that contained the prostration, he would prostrate and we would do the same and some of us (because of the heavy rush) could not find a place for prostration.” (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Imam Ibnul-Qayyim, the great scholar (may Allah have mercy on him), said, “Positions of prostrations are what is reported to us and what is commanded for us to do.” That is, Allah tells us about the prostration of His creatures generally or at specific situations. So it is enacted, for the one who recites the Qur’an and the one who listens to it, to act like them (Allah’s creatures) when reciting or listening to the verses of prostration, and with greater reason the verses that actually command prostrating.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated as a marfu’ (traceable) hadith that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“When the son of Adam recites a verse of prostration and then falls down in prostration, Satan goes into seclusion weeping and saying, ‘Woe unto me!’ The son of Adam is commanded to prostrate and he has prostrated, so Paradise is entitled to him, and I was commanded to prostrate, but I refused, so I am doomed to Hell.’ “ (Related by Muslim and Ibn Majah)

Who May Perform Sujud Al-Tilawa?

The prostration of recitation should be performed by both the one reciting and the one listening (to the Quran). What is stated in the previously mentioned hadith of Ibn ‘Umar, namely “When the Prophet (PBUH) recited a sura of the Quran that contained the prostration, he would prostrate and we would do the same,” proves the legality of the prostration of the one who is listening. As for the hearer (i.e. the one who is not attentively listening) it is not obligatory upon him to perform the prostration of recitation.

Al-Bukhari related: ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) passed by a reciter who recited a verse involving prostration to make ‘Uthman perform prostration along with him, but ‘Uthman did not perform prostration and said, “The prostration should be performed by him who listens to it.” There was other Companions who were reported to have done the same.

How Many Suras That Contain Verses of Prostration?

The suras of the Quran that involve verses of prostration are Surat Al-A’raf(the Heights), Surat Al-Ra’d (the Thunder), Surat Al-Nahl (the Bees), Surat Al-Isra’ (the Night journey), Surat Maryam (Mary), Surat Al-Hajj (the Pilgrimage), Surat Al-Furqan (the Criterion), Surat Al-Naml (the Ants), Surat Al-Sajdah (the Prostration), Surat Fussilat (the Lucidly Distinct), Surat Al-Najm (the Stars), Al-Inshiqaq (the Rending), and Al-‘Alaq (the Clinging Clot). Concerning the prostration in the Sura of Sad, there is disagreement between scholars, whether it is a prostration of thankfulness or recitation; and Allah knows best.

How to Perform the Prostration of Recitation?

On performing the prostration of recitation, one should pronounce takbir (saying, “Allahu-Akbar” i.e. “Allah is the Greatest”). This act is stated according to the Hadith of Ibn ‘ Umar in which he said:

“Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) used to recite the Quran to us and whenever he recited a verse that contained a prostration, he used to say takbir and prostrate, and we also used to prostrate along with him. (Related by Abu Dawud)

One should say in prostration, “Subhana Rabbiyal-A’la” (Glory be to my Lord, the Most High), the same as one says when prostrating during performing prayer. If one says, “My face has prostrated before Allah, Who created and fashioned it, created in it hearing and vision by His Power and Might, O Allah! Reward me for it (the act of prostration), remove sins from me by it, reserve it for me, and accept it from me as You did from Your servant Dawud (David),” it will be acceptable. To perform the prostration of recitation from the position of standing is better than performing it while sitting.

O Muslim, you should know that there are many ways of doing good acts, so make your best to follow them, and be loyal and faithful in both actions and words, that Allah may record you among the happy people.


The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence” with some modifications.

Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.

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Rulings of Istihadah and Postnatal Bleeding

Rulings of Istihadah and Postnatal Bleeding

By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan

Istihadah is an irregular vaginal bleeding other than menstruation. It is caused by a vein called in Arabic ‘Al-‘Adhil’. The case of mustahadah[i] is so confusing, for the blood of menstruation resembles that of Istihadah.

The question here is: Since the mustahadah is legally considered pure, how can she distinguish between menstruation and bleeding of istihadah when her bleeding continues all the time?

Istihadah is an irregular vaginal bleeding other than menstruation. It is caused by a vein called in Arabic ‘Al-‘Adhil’.

In fact, there are three cases of the mustahadah:

1. Regular Period

When a woman used to have a stable, regular menstrual period (i.e. having certain duration of menstrual period) before she had istihadah. In such a case, a woman can distinguish between both states relying on her stable menstrual period, (i.e. the bleeding that contradicts the duration of her menstrual period is regarded as that of istihadah).

Thus, such a woman can wait until her usual period ends, then deem any other bleeding as istihadah, as the Prophet (PBUH) said to Umm Habibah in this regard:

“Remain away (from prayer) equal (to the length of time) that your menstrual period used to prevent you. After that (after the period of usual courses), bathe yourself and perform prayer.” (Muslim)

Moreover, the Prophet (PBUH) said to Fatimah Bint Abu Hubaysh:

“This (i.e. istihadah) is from a blood vein, not (usual) menstruation. So, when your real menstrual period begins, give up performing prayer.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

2. Distinguishable Blood

When a woman does not have a regular menstrual period, but her bleeding is always distinguishable; sometimes she bleeds malodorous, thick, and black blood (i.e. having the characteristics of menstruation blood), and some other times she bleeds red blood which is neither thick nor malodorous.

Such a woman is to consider the former kind of blood as that of her menstrual period, during which she gives up prayer and fasting, regards the other kind of blood as that of istihadah, the period in which she can perform prayer and observe fasting, for she is considered ritually pure in this case.

3. The Perplexed Woman

When a woman has neither a regular menstrual period nor a distinguishable kind of blood (e.g. the perplexed woman).

Such a woman must follow the prevalent womanly menstrual period (i.e. average of six or seven days a month) and deem whatever discharge after this period as istihadah.

To sum up, we can say:

  • A woman with a stable, regular menstrual period distinguishes istihadah according to her habit.
  • A woman with a distinguishable blood depends on her own judgment and her ability to distinguish between her menstruation and istihadah.
  • A woman that has neither (a regular period nor distinguishable blood) is to consider six or seven days a month and then take a ritual path.

Obligatory Acts to Be Observed by a Mustahddah in Case She Is Deemed Ritually Pure

  1. She has to take a ritual bath when her estimated period for menstruation ends, as mentioned above.
  2. She has to wash her vulva upon every performance of prayer, put a piece of cotton or the like in there to prevent bleeding, tie it well so as not to fall, and perform ablution for every prayer. Narrated `Aisha:

    Fatima bint Abi Hubaish asked the Prophet, “I got persistent bleeding (in between the periods) and do not become clean. Shall I give up prayers?” He replied, “No, this is from a blood vessel. Give up the prayers only for the days on which you usually get the menses and then take a bath and offer your prayers.” (Al-Bukhari)

Women also can use the sanitary napkins available nowadays.

Postnatal Bleeding

The ruling on a woman in a state of postnatal bleeding is like that of a menstruating one concerning the permissibility of the husband to enjoy her without sexual intercourse.

They also have the same rulings regarding the prohibition of sexual intercourse, observing Fast, performing prayer, divorce, performing tawaf,  and staying in a mosque.

Moreover, the rulings on both cases are the same regarding the obligation of taking a ritual bath when bleeding stops, and making up for the missed days of Fast, but not the missed prayers, just like the menstruating women.

The womb of a woman in a state of postnatal bleeding discharges blood during and after giving birth, and this is the blood accumulated during pregnancy. The maximum period of postnatal bleeding is forty days, according to the majority of scholars. At-Tirmidhi slates:

“People of religious knowledge among the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH) and their successors uniformly agree that a woman in a state of postnatal bleeding must give up prayer for forty days unless her bleeding stops before that; in this case, she has to take a ritual bath and perform prayer.”

So, if the bleeding of a woman in a state of postnatal bleeding stops before the fortieth day, her period of postnatal bleeding ends, and she must have a ritual bath, perform prayer, and practice all acts of worship that have been prohibited for her during her postnatal bleeding period.

Miscarriage

If a pregnant woman miscarries and starts discharging, and the stillborn has reached a distinctively recognizable form, she is considered a woman in a state of postnatal bleeding. An embryo takes about eighty-one days to three months in order to have a distinctively recognizable shape.

If the embryo is a mere lump of flesh or a clinging clot (without a distinctively recognizable form), the woman is not considered in a state of postnatal bleeding, even if she starts discharging; she is not to give up prayer or fasting, and none of the rulings on postnatal bleeding is applicable in this case.

Taking Medicine to Delay Your Period

It seems suitable to thoroughly complete our discussion at this point by mentioning that some women may take some kinds of medicine that prevents menstrual bleeding in order to observe fasting in the month of Ramadan, or to perform Hajj (Pilgrimage).

Such medications are permissible if they prevent blood only for a period of time, not forever. If this medicine prevents menstruation forever, a woman is not permitted to take it without her husband’s permission, since her ability to give birth is also prevented as a result of taking this medicine.


[i] Mustahadah: A woman in a state of istihadah (i.e. a woman having vaginal bleeding other than menstruation)


The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence” with some modifications.

Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.

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Examples of Righteousness

Examples of Righteousness

 Aisha Stacey

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) who said: the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

Whoever relieves the grief of a believer in this world, God will relieve his grief in the Hereafter.  Whoever relieves the difficulties of a person in debt in this world, God will relieve his difficulties in this world and the Hereafter.  Whoever conceals the faults of a believer, God will conceal his faults in this world and the Hereafter.  God will aid His servant so long as the servant aids his fellow believers.  Whoever follows a path to seek knowledge, God will make the path to Paradise easy for him.  When people gather together, in one of the houses of God, to recite the Book of God and study it, tranquility descends upon them, mercy covers them, the angels surround them, and God mentions them to those who are in His presence.  Whoever is slowed down by his deeds will not be hastened forward by his lineage. (Muslim)

This is a hadith from among a collection of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, compiled by Imam An-Nawawi.  It is a very famous and well-studied collection of forty-two hadiths known as An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith.  Its value lies in the fact that the hadiths in this collection cover fundamental aspects of the religion of Islam.  Hadith number thirty-six is often referred to as the hadith of righteousness.

However, while it does list comprehensively a number of qualities one would expect to find in a righteous person, it also deals with virtues, rulings, principles, and manners.  There are several lessons embedded in this hadith, and each sentence adds an in-depth feature to one very basic principle; that believers are like family to one another.  There are certain obligations that believers have towards each other and this hadith, in a different version, states it very succinctly as, ‘Whoever is fulfilling the needs of his brother, God is fulfilling his needs.’ (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

1. Relieving the grief of a believer

‘Whoever is fulfilling the needs of his brother, God is fulfilling his needs.’

This is a lesson in how to attain the help of God by helping one of His servants. Sometimes when a person feels as if he is swamped with difficulty, God, in answer to his supplication, will send help from an unexpected source. Often this source is in the form of another Muslim. The word grief in this hadith refers to a great difficulty or a hardship. If a believer relieves the grief of another believer, God recognizes that act and will reward the person in the Hereafter by relieving the grief, fear, and distress that he or she feels on the Day of Judgment.

2. Alleviating the difficulties of those in debt

Being indebted to somebody is a terrible feeling. That debt is usually of a financial nature and Prophet Muhammad explains to us that alleviating the debt of somebody, who is having difficulties meeting the terms of his debt is an act that is loved by God, so much so that He says He will alleviate that person’s difficulties in this world and in the Hereafter. Helping those in debt can be achieved in several ways, including giving extra time or canceling the debt completely.

3. Concealing the faults of a believer

The general rule that scholars derive from this section of the hadith is that believers should not reveal the faults of their fellow believers. Nowadays we often see or hear some people taking other’s faults as a type of amusement. They mock and ridicule, revealing perceived minor transgressions that may or may not be true. As Muslims, we should be concerned about our own faults not the faults of others and constantly try to improve ourselves. The one who conceals faults rather than reveals them will have his or her own faults concealed by God in this world and in the Hereafter.

4. God will come to the aid of the one who aids his fellow believer

Coming to the aid of fellow believers is something that Muslims should take very seriously.  Prophet Muhammad reminded us many times that we should love for our brother or sister what we would love for ourselves.(Al-Bukhari)

If we truly cared about each other, there would be very few needy people in Muslim communities.

5. Seeking knowledge

Seeking beneficial knowledge is a very rewarding act.  God might make the path to Paradise easy for those seeking knowledge in several ways.  They might be guided to Paradise through knowledge, or God might make it easy for a person to benefit what they learn, thus they will walk a path to Paradise, or make crossing the bridge above the Hellfire easy and thus enter Paradise.[1]  There are many people who seek knowledge but find no blessings in the knowledge they gain.  Therefore the believer should seek knowledge with good and sincere intentions.

6. The virtue of gathering in the mosque

This lesson informs us about a very rewardable and preferred act; gathering in the mosques to recite, listen and study the Quran or to attend lectures and classes. This can result in very specific rewards.  They are imbued with tranquility, resulting in relief from the stress and strife that plague modern-day societies, the mercy of God descends as the angels surround them, and God mentions them to whoever is in His presence. 

7. Lineage is of no benefit to the one who lags behind in his good deeds

Behaving well and doing good deeds and actions is the key to rewards leading to Paradise.  If the believer is lacking in this area, his lineage, meaning his family name, tribe or ancestry will not be of any benefit regardless of their wealth or status.

This hadith a very comprehensive and contains at least seven important lessons.  It outlines the morals and manners that should be embedded in the behavior of every believer.  It outlines some of the obligations we have towards each other and emphasizes that Islam expects us to treat one another as if we were close family members.  Whatever we can do to alleviate the difficulties of another person we should do, with the pure intention to please God.


[1] There is a bridge that will be established over Hell extending to Paradise that everyone has to cross. Some will not make it and fall into the Hellfire whilst others will successfully cross it.

Source: islamreligion.com

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