Friday, January 25, 2019
By Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah (Translation by Qays Arthur)
Now some people wrongfully allege, without properly grasping the texts nor giving them their due, that the Sunnah is to begin with whomever is to the immediate right of the host based on the hadiths that mention the virtue of beginning on the right.
Yet that only pertains to when those present are peers with respect to their traits, virtues, or age. In that case the host begins with whomever is to his right. Otherwise if one of the guests is distinguished from the others, by age for example, then one would begin with him by virtue of that noble trait.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
By Qays Arthur
Firstly, one should try as much as possible to avoid excessiveness in food and drink. By that I mean to avoid eating for “comfort” and/or to relieve stress, and rather eat only when one is hungry and in moderation. This is the Sunnah and many of our books mention that it is the foundation of good health. If one snacks, avoid processed foods (which are often consumed without checking the ingredients) and do so with moderation and gratitude to Allah for his favor, and to gain strength and encouragement to worship.
Secondly, it is generally a good idea to ensure that one's diet includes dates, honey, and black seed as these are mentioned in the Sunnah as being generally conducive to good health.
But again, moderation is key.
The Sunnah doesn't recommend "alot" of anything except dhikr (remembrance) of Allah, Most High. Those who are not already consuming these foods and are on medical treatment regimens should check with their health care professional before adding them just as a precaution.
Finally, for pain in the body it is authentically related that the Prophet (ﷺ) prescribed the following for a companion who was in pain:
“...place you hand on the part of the body where the pain is and say,
أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ وَقُدْرَتِهِ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا أَجِدُ وَأُحَاذِرُ
“a’uthu billahi wa qudratihi min shari ma ajid wa uhadhir”
“a’uthu billahi wa qudratihi min shari ma ajid wa uhadhir”
(seven times – wiping the area each time).” (Muslim)
“Bismillah” means "in the name of Allah". “A’uthu billahi wa qudratihi min shari ma ajid wa uhadhir” translates roughly as “I seek refuge in Allah and in His omnipotence from the evil (pain) that I find, and I seek to avoid it.”
Of course, if one experiences persistent pain one should visit a qualified health care professional, yet the Prophet's (ﷺ) advice, being a supplication, can be followed before or after such a visit and can accompany other kinds of treatment.
One should do the three things above with the intention of gaining the pleasure of Allah, Most High, and drawing nearer to Him even in pain and adversity for that is our entire purpose in the world and the very reason we experience pleasure and pain, and ups and downs, in the first place. With that intention one should persist with the first two even after Allah brings relief and have recourse to the third measure whenever needed. We ask Allah for acceptance, well-being, and success.
This article was also published on MuslimVillage.
Saturday, January 12, 2019
By Qays Arthur
Jarir bin 'Abdullah (Allah be pleased with him) said:
"I asked the Messenger of God (ﷺ) about the inadvertent glance and he instructed me to avert my gaze."Commenting on this hadith, Imam Al-Nawawi (13th century C.E.) says in his explanation of Sahih Muslim:
"The meaning of the 'inadvertent glance' is when a man's gaze falls upon on an unrelated woman, by accident. He does not sin immediately though it becomes necessary for him to immediately avert his gaze. Once that is done sin does not occur. But if he continues looking he thereby sins given what this hadith indicates. This is so because the Prophet (ﷺ) instructed Jarir to avert his gaze in accordance with the command of Allah, Most High, 'Say to the believing men to lower their gazes...' (Quran 24:30)
Qadhi Iyadh (11th century C.E.) remarked that the scholars say:
'This is evidence that the woman is not obligated to conceal her face as she goes about her affairs, rather that is a sunnah that is recommended for her. Instead, it is obligatory on the men to avert their gazes from her in all circumstances except when there is a legitimate, legally-countenanced purpose such as when giving testimony, seeking medical treatment, seeking marriage, purchasing a bondwoman, when buying and selling, and so on. Yet even in those circumstances, it is only permitted to the extent of the need and no more. Allah knows best.'" (Sharh al-Nawawi 'ala Muslim)So it may be said that the default position in the Sharia is that, under normal circumstances, men must avert their gazes from women, while women may cover their faces from men.
By normal circumstances I mean in places/societies where both genders generally dress and conduct themselves in a modest and decent manner by the standards of the Sharia. The point is that, in those circumstances, the moral and legal obligation is on men while women need not take extra steps like covering their faces.
Yet in works of jurisprudence we find statements like the following:
"The young woman is to be prevented from revealing her face in the presence of men not because of (issues related to) nakedness but rather due to fear of impropriety (i.e. sexual assault or lust)..." (Hashiya Rad al-Muhtar, Ibn 'Abidin)Such directives clearly indicate an obligation on the part of women to cover their faces. That obligation is due to "fear of impropriety" i.e. when the circumstances are no longer normal/decent and might entail sexual assault (الفجور بها) or lust (الشهوة).
The upshot, or life lesson as some say, is that legal and moral responsibility can and does change with circumstance. When society degenerates to the point where men are in fact not modest and decent with women, such that the integrity of women is threatened, it becomes binding on women, as independent legal agents, to protect their integrity by taking measures that would not ordinarily be required of them.
While both are required, prevention is always better than cure, which is to say, #NotMe is always better than #MeToo.
We ask Allah, Most High, to bless us with sincerity in our obedience to Him.
This article was also published at MuslimVillage.
Friday, January 11, 2019
While we may look for advice in the form of directives, concerning what to "do" to "produce" good children, that old adage, "The apple never falls far from the tree." seems to be persistently true.
Children are pure human beings, uncomplicated by those things that make adults less genuine and lucid. They are like mirrors and their conduct may tell us a great deal more about ourselves as adults than we may be comfortable with.
A man may go to great lengths to assume the appearance of one who lives in comfort, but if he is poor you will know from his children. A woman may assume the manner of a gracious hostess but if she is in fact troubled it will be reflected in her child- in simple, uncomplicated ways. I've come to appreciate that this reflective-ness of the child is very much connected to the way the child learns and to the veracity of that old adage.
The simple fact is that there is very little a parent can purposely say to a child that will make them better human beings than their parents. Sometimes parents are puzzled by children's ability to detect hypocrisy or injustice even though they may be quite easily duped by what adults would recognize as obvious lies.
That ability on the part of the child might be connected to the fact that young children learn mostly by imitation and interaction and less to by verbal instruction. That may be why when a parent is being hypocritical the child senses it immediately whereas the parent may say something hypocritical or even untrue and it may well evade the child altogether. What this means is that how a parent is has a far, far more profound effect on a child than what the parent says.
So a parent who is concerned with cultivating good character for themselves in private and public is much more likely to raise children of good character. For we are seldom aware when our children are absorbing our states from our natural actions, words, and reactions in the home. Children first internalize our unguarded natures evident in, for example, comments we may make assuming, mistakenly, they are in another room. They see what disgusts us and what we laugh at. They note our priorities from our decisions and reactions more than our words.
They look at our expressions when we talk about white people, or black people, or rich people, or poor people and they learn. Then when a little one does or says some objectionable thing, that we scarcely realize was merely copied from our own ways, we launch grand sanctimonious lectures (perhaps to be triumphantly recounted later to friends).
Yet the child will sense, based on our daily conduct, when there is a disconnect between our sayings and doings while we are left wondering what it was that so soundly convinced them to the contrary of our high-minded exhortations.
One could therefore say that arguably the most important rule of "parenting" has nothing at all to do with the child. And that rule is what was mentioned by Imam Abi Abdillah Al-Muhasibi (Allah shower him in mercy) when he said:
"Know, may God grant you mercy, that genuineness (sidq) and sincerity (ikhlas) are the basis of every (sound) condition."