CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS AND THE CHRISTIAN NEW YEAR

The ornamented Christmas tree

[ أعياد رأس السنة الميلادية دين وليس عادة ]

Celebrations of the Christian New Year are religious

in nature and not customary

ولا يجوز شرعًا الاحتفال به .

And it is not permissible according to the Revealed Law to celebrate it.

نعيش في زمن تحريف الشريعة ، تارة باسم المصلحة ، وتارة باسم المقاصد ، وتارة أنه من العادات والأعراف .

We live in an era of corruption of the principles of the Revealed Law where it one point people call things “maslahah” and at another point they call it “higher objectives” and still another point they call it “customs and higher objectives”

وكل ما يستدلون به المصلحيون والمقاصديون ينقضه أصحاب أعياد رأس السنة الميلادية بقول ( اساقفتهم ) وبالرغم من ذلك يعاندون حتى لو قيل لهم أن التحريم هو قول المذاهب الأربعة المعتبرة .

And all of what is sought for proof by the claimants to “maslahah” and “higher objectives” negates the celebration of the “New Year’s Holidays” and these people continue on stubbornly even if it is said to them that this is forbidden as collected in the books of the Four Madhhabs.

إن تحريم التهنئة بأعياد غير المسلمين عامة ، لا يتنافى مع التعايش السلمي الذي يزعمه ( المصلحيون والمقاصديون ) ، فالمسلمون يتبايعون ويشترون من غير المسلمين ، وهذه من أحكام الشريعة عند المسلمين مثل ما لغير المسلمين من أحكام تحرم عليهم تهنئة المسلم بعيده .

So the prohibition of celebrating and sending celebratory cheer on the holidays of unbelievers is general and has no contradiction with living peacefully among the unbelievers as is claimed by the claimants to “maslahah” and “higher objectives”. The Muslims buy and sell with unbelievers and these matters are from the judgements in the Revealed Law according to the Muslims just like it is also from the Revealed Law that they are forbidden from celebrating and sending celebratory cheer to them on their holidays.

إن الاتكاء على عكاز التشدد الهش الذي يزعمه من يريد تمييع شريعة الله تعالى ، لن ينفعه ، لأن الله تعالى هو حافظ هذا الدين وما نحن إلا ونزعم الدفاع عنه لعلنا نصيب من ذلك حسنة يوم القيامة .

These people often lean on the claim of “extremism” or “rigidity” against opposition to the celebration when such a one seeks to negate the Revealed Law of Allah, Exalted be He, and such a thing shall never benefit him. And this is the case as Allah, Exalted be He, is the One who preserves this Religion. And we only seek to defend it so that we might have a reward for that on the Day of Resurrection.

وأما المصلحيون والمقاصديون فيكذبهم قول هذا القسيس ، يبين في هذا الشرح معاني رموز الشجرة التي تعتبر من أبرز معالم الاحتفال بعيد رأس السنة الميلادية. 👇

As far as the claimants to “maslahah” and “higher objectives”, they are negated by the very word of this priest. He makes clear in this explanation the very meaning of the ornamented tree that is utilised as part of the markers for celebrating the `eid on Christmas and the beginning of the Christian New Year.

فارس الخزرجي

As written by the Shaikh, Faaris ibn Faalih Al-Khazraji

THE DEFINITION OF “WORSHIP”

So what is the definition of “worship” (Ar. Al-`Ibadah)

تعريف العبادة عند الحنابلة

The definition of worship according to the Hanbalis

فكل ما كان طاعة لله تعالى، أو قربة إليه، أو امتثالا لأمره، ولا فرق بين أن يكون فعلًا أو تركًا العدة للقاضي (1 / 163 )

Al-Qadi Abu Ya`la Al-Baghdadi (d.458), may Allah have mercy upon him, said, “All of what constitutes obedience to Allah, Exalted be He, an act gaining nearness to Him, discharging a command of His is worship. And there is no difference between the said thing being an action or abandoning something”.[1]


[1] Al-`Uddah fi Usul il-Fiqh, vol.1, pp.162-163

BOOK REVIEW: ARAB AND JEW: WOUNDED SPIRITS IN A PROMISED LAND

The cover of the book Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land

It smiled at me from the bookshelf and demanded my attention. I had just submitted my article for the Oregonian when someone had brought me the book.

“Hey, check this out. You might like it. I took a lot of edification from it”, Connie gave me a winsome smile. She worked with me at the restaurant and as a faithful Catholic, her and I often had interesting conversations while in the kitchen preparing salads, pastas or soups for customers.

From 4:30pm to 1am she was the most trusted companion in the kitchen after the head chef. Connie often shared her reading list with me from the Catholic book club she was part of in Oregon. A lot of the books were certified hits but every now and then, she would hit me with a miss.

“C.S. Lewis? Is this what we’re doing, Connie? So maybe I’ll bring you Ibn Kathir to read?!” She gave a strange smile at the time. “Don’t know who that is but if you gave it, I’d read it”.

After the late afternoon and night rush at the café we worked at, she and I would have conversations, sometimes agreeing, other times not agreeing about topics. It was not all religion. Sometimes it was sports, sometimes it was politics.

But this book piqued my interest. It showed an Arab with a Jew both sitting down with noticeable space between them. The very symbol of the Palestine/Israel issue to the news watcher who savoured to hear the news from CNN or NBC about how “they’ve been fighting each other for THOUSANDS of years”. (My Lord! How I tire of hearing that lazy canard!)

After the café after hours clean up finished and I had gathered my tips and wages for the night, I took a walk home with the book under my arm. Once I used the crosswalk that brought me in front of the building that contained my apartment, I was walking up Commercial Street, went two doors down and was now on 249th.

The heavy iron doors creaked open as I slid the key in and pulled them apart. With a thud I watched them close and walked up the two flights of stairs to Apartment 2. Once inside, I sat the book down on my floor bed and appraised the cover again.

What did Connie give me, I thought while half rolling my eyes. Is this going to be a hit or miss? I had the weekend off so maybe I would consume a few chapters. What started with a few chapters turned out to be the entire book.

I devoured this entire work in two days. Man, that was fast. I can’t believe I let this thing get me that intrigued. This was the same amount of time it took for me to finish Stephen King’s The Shining or his other masterpiece, Pet Cemetery.  

The book was nothing of what I presumed it to be. My first thought was that it was going to be some puff piece about how the Arabs need to “get over it” and just join the Hora line with the Israelis and celebrate the State of Israel.

The author, David K. Shipler, was overall balanced. It was clear that he leaned towards the Jewish nationalist claims but he also gave good counters from the Arabs that lived there and authentically struggled with the fact that the Jews did not come to an empty land but rather there were people there.

This put boots to the head of the idea that Palestine and the Jews were “a land with no people for a people without a land” and similar tooth rotting sugary refrains that were made easy to memorise in couplets for a mush brained populace.

The land had not been empty (as Mark Twain lied) any more than North America had been empty (as the Plymouth Brethren lied) or South Africa (as the Dutch invaders lied) or even the part of India where the English started (as the British Empire lied).

His citation of uncensored statements from Palestinians and Israelis was refreshing as he did not make statements about what he felt they should believe but rather only cited what their positions were.

The bomb attacks carried out by Palestinian groups were balanced against Israeli incursions and his avoidance of calling this a “Palestinian/Israeli War” was both refreshing and honest. My only real criticism was with the last three chapters which I felt should have been in the middle or closer to the beginning in terms of theme and material.

This is not the book to solve the world’s problems or establish who blame ultimately lies with but it is a great sample of the issue at hand along with political, religious and social ramifications.

All these years later, some 25 in total, I still have solid memories of its yellowed pages, the vivid cover and the blurb on the back. It’s worth a read. The sourcing and bibliography in the back also gives a good selection of books for further reading.

It looks like Connie didn’t set me up this time. Here’s to good reading!

Until next time,

Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali

MANDATING FACE MASKS FOR ENTRANCE INTO AL-MASJID UL-HARAM AND WHETHER FIDYAH IS REQUIRED

The Aal Sa’ud government has mandated face masks for entrance into Al-Masjid ul-Haram

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله يا شيخنا،هذا أخوك في الله الأخ أبو جعفر الحنبل

As-Salaamu `Alaikum wa Rahmatullah, our dear Shaikh. This is your brother in Islam, br. Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali

عندي سؤال عن دخول المسجد الحرام. سمعت من بعض إخواننا أن يجب العسكر على أبواب المسجد الحرام لبس الكمامة قبل دخول المسجد. فإذا يلبس الرجل أم المرأة الكمامة هل الفدية تجب عليه؟

I have a question about entrance into Al-Masjid ul-Haram. I heard from one of our brothers that the army personnel at the gates of Al-Masjid ul-Haram are requiring people to wear face masks before they can enter the Masjid. So when the man or woman should wear the face mask, is fidyah[1] required on such a one?

وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته، لا أخي الكريم للضرورة أحكام، وهذا من أجل الوقاية ولا حرج بلبسها

Wa `Alaikum us-Salaamu wa Rahmatullah, No, noble brother. The principle of darurah[2] has rulings.[3] And this requirement of face masks is on account of a safety measure[4] and there is no hardship that comes to one wearing it.

ولا يوجب فدية على ذلك، لان الضرورات تبيح المحظورات

Thus in that situation, fidyah[5] is not required as matters or darurah allow things that would normally be prohibited.

كتبه الشيخ عبد الله بدران

As written by the Shaikh, `Abdullah Badran[6]


[1] Imam Mansur Al-Buhuti (d.1051), may Allah be pleased with him, said the following, “So in discussing the fidyah, it is according to what is necessary and deserves to be taken and one chooses the fidyah for something such as shaving or removing more than two hairs, cutting or trimming more than two nails, the man covering his head, wearing sewn clothes. When one commits a violation such as this, one must choose between either fasting three days, feeding six poor people – and for every poor person is one double handful of wheat or a half of a sa` of dates or barley – or slaughtering one sheep. All this is based upon the statement of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, when he said to Ka`b ibn `Ajarah, ‘Do you have a scalp ailment?’ He said, ‘Yes, Messenger of Allah.’ He said to him, ‘Shave your head and then fast either three days, or feed six poor people or sacrifice one sheep.’ This is collected by Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim and agreed upon by them as authentic.” Ar-Rawd ul-Murbi` bi-Sharhi Zad il-Mustaqni`, pp. 214-215

[2] This refers to the fact that the ruling of darurah is that one may carry out an action that might normally be impermissible to the most minimal degree to avert harm if it is certain beyond a reasonable doubt that he will (1) lose his life, (2) lose a limb or (3) be indefinitely detained and undergo trials that go with that. Please see Al-Futuhi’s (d.972), may Allah have mercy upon him, Mukhtasar ut-Tahrir for further details.

[3] And keep in mind this ruling of darurah is in effect since (1) the government of Arabia was taken by the cults, (2) the Holy Land fell into captivity from cults and false religion and (3) the Hajj was impacted by them not citing the moon on the correct days and thus jeopardising the Day of `Arafah. In all such cases, Muslims are under the principle of darurah and do their utmost to the best of their degree, knowing that they shall not be held accountable for these issues that are the responsibility of those above them.

[4] This is in reference to (1) those who are infirm or old that might be in danger of getting the flu, (2) those who have a pre-existing health condition that might expose them to it and (3) those who are ill and their illness might be worsened due to weaker immune system at that time. Further to this, outside of the darurah circumstance it is not the case that a man would be under fidyah for face covering as his ihram restricts covering of the head in the case of the `imamah and similar head gear. In the case of the woman (who has her ihram restriction in her face and hands regarding attached clothing), her case could be resolved by wearing a face covering that is not attached to the face, known as the غِطَاءٌ. The woman is supposed to be wearing this anyway as per the Sunnah in addition to the fact of respect for the sanctity and holiness of the Noble Ka`bah and thus would not fall into any issue. If the face covering was to be attached, this might bring in issues that would have to be considered based on what type of face mask was utilised.

[5] Imam Mansur Al-Buhuti (d.1051), may Allah be pleased with him, said the following, “So in discussing the fidyah, it is according to what is necessary and deserves to be taken and one chooses the fidyah for something such as shaving or removing more than two hairs, cutting or trimming more than two nails, the man covering his head, wearing sewn clothes. When one commits a violation such as this, one must choose between either fasting three days, feeding six poor people – and for every poor person is one double handful of wheat or a half of a sa` of dates or barley – or slaughtering one sheep. All this is based upon the statement of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, when he said to Ka`b ibn `Ajarah, ‘Do you have a scalp ailment?’ He said, ‘Yes, Messenger of Allah.’ He said to him, ‘Shave your head and then fast either three days, or feed six poor people or sacrifice one sheep.’ This is collected by Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim and agreed upon by them as authentic.” Ar-Rawd ul-Murbi` bi-Sharhi Zad il-Mustaqni`, pp. 214-215

[6] This is the son of the Imam who is a shaikh in his own right and currently domiciled in Riyadh, Arabia, may Allah bring it out of captivity.

THE EXPLICIT AND INFERRED MATTERS COVERED IN SUMMARISED TEXT AND THE UTILITY TO THE STUDENT

The last book of Imam Al-Buhuti (d.1051), may Allah have mercy upon him, entitled `Umdat ut-Talib Li Nail il-Ma’arib.

عدد مسائل المنطوقة في المختصرات  الحنبلية:

The explicit issues covered in the summarised works in Hanbali fiqh

عمدة الفقه: 1569

`Umdat ul-Fiqh by Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah (d.620), may Allah have mercy upon him, covers 1,269 explicit issues.[1]

‏التسهيل في الفقه: 1835

At-Tashil fil-Fiqh by Imam Asbaasalaar Al-Ba`li (d.777), may Allah have mercy upon him, covers 1,835 explicit issues.

‏أخصر المختصرات: 2015

Imam Al-Balbani (d.1083) in his Akhsar ul-Mukhtasarat covers 2,015 explicit issues.

‏دليل الطالب: 2503

There are 2,503 explicit issues covered by Imam Mar`ii ibn Yusuf Al-Karmi (d.1033), may Allah have mercy upon him in Dalil ut-Talib.

عمدة الطالب: 2801

Imam Mansur ibn Yunus Al-Buhuti (d.1051), may Allah have mercy upon him, covers 2,801 explicit issues in his work `Umdat ut-Talib.

‏زاد المستقنع: 3170

Zad ul-Mustaqni`, authored by Imam Musa ibn Ahmad Al-Hajjawi (d.968), may Allah have mercy upon him, references some 3,170 explicit issues.[2]

‏وفي شرحه الروض المربع: 5489

And in Ar-Rawd ul-Murbi` – the commentary on Zad ul-Mustaqni` – as written by Imam Mansur ibn Yunus Al-Buhuti (d.1051), may Allah have mercy upon him, covers 5,489 explicit issues.[3]

‏قيل إن مسائل عمدة الطالب المفهومة تفوق على زاد المستقنع ب900 وبضع ومسائل الزاد المفهومة حوالي 3000 وقيل بأكثر من ذلك وهو غلوفي الحقيقة

It has been said that the inferred points of `Umdat ut-Talib are some 900 and more than the 3,000 inferred issues of Zad ul-Mustaqni`. It has been said that it is even more but that is exaggeration of the reality.

‏وزاد المستقنع مخالف لمذهب المتأخرين في ٣٧ مسألة إن لا أخطأ

If I am not mistaken, Zad ul-Mustaqni` differs with the madhhab of the latter-day scholars in some 37 points.[4]

‏وفي أخصر المختصرات 14 أو 15 مخالفة فقط (لم أتذكر تحديدا)

And Akhsar ul-Mukhtasarat differs with the latter-day scholars in 14 or 15 issues but I can remember the exact number it was but it is one of these.

‏وفي عمدة الطالب علي بالمراجعة فأظنها نادرة جدا  لأنه آخر مؤلفات البهوتي

As for `Umdat ut-Talib, upon examination I believe that there are only minor and rare points that differ with the madhhab as it is last thing written by Imam Al-Buhuti (d.1051).[5]

وكتابا عمدة الطالب وكافي المبتدي لم يخدما كما ينبغي منقول

The two books, `Umdat ut-Talib and Kafi ul-Mubtadi do not serve this issue of explicit and inferred issues as is necessary as they are smaller works for the task and their differences with the School are not plentiful.[6]

As written by the Shaikh, Mustafa Hamdu `Ulayyan


[1] Explicit issues are those mentioned that are supported by a text or stated as covering a matter and stated as such. Inferred issues are those that are not spoken of but can be taken from explicit texts when they are understood in more detail.

[2] This would explain why this is the preferred text of the School in Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain and atleast referenced alongside of Dalil in northern Sham.

[3] And this is one of the reasons why it has become a matan in his own right in the last two centuries or so, especially considering footnotes provided by Imams Ibn Fairuz (d.1206), Muhammad ibn `Abdullah Al-Hussain (d.1273),  Ibn Badran (d.1346) and others.

[4] This differing comes about due to the ijtihad practiced by the marja` people as well as new issues that get built on top of the previous or current ones.

[5] This is because he intended it to be a manual for students and not to introduce wider discussions. This has been done in detail in his other six books on the topic.

[6] This is because the point of these books is not to introduce discussion inside of the school in detail but rather to provide a groundwork that the worshipper will work with in his daily worship and responsibilities.

AN EXPOSITION ON THE SIRAH

What is Sirah?

The Arabic word سِيرَةٌ, refers to:

 وَالسِّيرَةُ: اَلطَّرِيقَةُ يُقَالُ سَارَ بِهِمْ سِيرَةً حَسَنَةً وَالسِّيرَةُ: اَلْهَيْئَةُ. وَفِي التَّنْزِيلِ الْعَزِيزِ (سَنَعِيدُهَا سِيرَتَهَا الاُوْلَى) وَسَيَّرَ سِيرَةً: حَدَّثَ أَحَادِيثَ الأَوَائِلِ.

The meaning of this statement is, “So the word sirah means the way. It is said in conversation, ‘He travelled a good way with them.’ Sirah also means the form of something. He has mentioned in the Mighty Revelation, We will surely return it to its previous form.[1] And one can also say, ‘He travelled a way,’ which means that he narrated news and events of times before”. [2]

But in the language of the scholars of the Revealed Law, the word sirah signifies writing down, detailed biographical accounts of people. These biographical accounts serve as sound, historical and chronological works that give the reader a full knowledge of the subject within its pages. This will often include family histories, poetry, birth and death records (when present), genealogies and accounts of major or noteworthy events.

When Did Sirah Begin?

Sirah was not invented at any one point in time. Rather, importance began to be placed upon systematising it after the death of the Prophet.

        Allah has told us that the Prophet was a noble person in the first order, as everything about him was inspired and noble. He has revealed,

)لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلْيَوْمَ ٱلآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيراً(

You have in the Messenger of Allah a noble example. [3]

And as Allah has called him the noble example in the Qur’an, then it behoves us to follow him in every way which includes the revelation and how he acted this out in his historical life. We also see in the Sunnah, the second revelation, the importance of dates, history and times. The Prophet Muhammad said,

((اَلْخِلاَفَةُ بَعْدِي فِي أُمَّتِي ثَلاَثُونَ سَنَةً ثُمَّ مُلْكٌ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ)).

The khilafah after me in my Ummah will be thirty years, then a kingdom will come after that.” [4]

In this statement is the indication that history and dates are important, as the fulfilment of that hadith hinges on us being familiar with what shall happen when the thirty years passes. History is thus paramount for us to know.

The Companions, may Allah be pleased with all of them, also understood this well and preserved information about people, places and things germane to the revelation and its understanding at the time of revelation. The battles of Badr, Uhud, Hunain, the treaties of Al-Hudaibiyyah and others mentioned in the Qur’an directly or alluded to frequently lead us to understanding that we should know about these matters.

Shortly after the death of the Prophet, Abu Bakr (also known as As-Siddiq)[5] was chosen by the Companions to be the first successor, followed by `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (also known as Al-Faruq).[6] The 124,000 and more companions emptied out of Arabia in droves, some being dispatched by `Umar al-Faruq to some of the 4,000 or more newly built cities he had designed. Companions taught, lectured, trained students and scholars in established cities such as Madinah and Makkah, but also in newly built cities, the most significant in the latter stages of sirah being Al-Basrah in today’s Iraq.

Al-Basrah was built in fulfilment of a prophecy of the Messenger of Allah when he said,

((يَنْزِلُ النَّاسُ مِنْ أُمَّتِي بِغَائِطٍ يُسَمُّونَهُ الْبَصْرَةَ)).

“The people from my Ummah will come down to a low lying area and name it Al-Basrah.” [7]

Commissioned, designed and excavated by `Umar al-Faruq, the second khalifah gave specific instructions that this city must be built in a place that was never a permanent home to idols. After digging deep and in all directions, it was found that the land fit the edict and construction began in 15[8] and ended 16/7.[9]        Shortly after the order to populate it was delivered and people flocked to the new location. Teachers, soldiers and other people of merit and standing were sent with the sole purpose of passing on knowledge, including senior Companions such as Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari,[10] Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas,[11] `Utbah ibn Ghazwan[12] and others. These were in turn succeeded by students like Jabir ibn Zaid,[13] Muhammad ibn Sirin[14] and his sister Hafsah,[15] al-Hasan al-Basri,[16] Rabi`a Al-`Adawiyyah,[17] Qatadah ibn Da’imah, Abu Ayyub As-Sakhtiyani,[18] `Amr ibn Abd al-Qais,[19] Muslim ibn Yasir among others, who focused on creed and fiqh.

Historians such as Muhammad ibn Sa`d[20] and Khalifah Ibn Khayyat Al-Laithi[21] paved the way for codifying the sirah by streamlining the subjects and giving them chapter headings to make for easy reading.   

But none of this would have been possible without the Companions of the Messenger of Allah. Whether they were sent on a permanent basis or merely just to visit and teach, the number of teaching Companions assigned to Basrah was between 3-10,000, including no less than `A’ishah,[22] Al-Hasan,[23] Al-Husain,[24] `Ali ibn Abi Talib,[25] may Allah be pleased with all of them, and a galaxy of other greats.

The life that the Prophet Muhammad spent with his wives gave us snapshots of his personal life, domestic mannerisms and things that could only be known by women. The other Companions that focused on the things done in public recorded matters diligently and put them into practice. Whether it was the way he spoke, his eating manners or even instructions about use of the toilet, all was recorded. Prophecies, important dates in history, including the reset of the lunar calendar, were all things taken seriously. Therefore the passing on of incidents, as eyewitnesses to the revelation, makes their witness all that more compelling and reputable.

The step of actually writing down sirah alone, not for the purpose of deriving rulings-but for the merit of historicity-was begun by Abban, [26] the son of `Uthman ibn `Affan,[27] Az-Zubair ibn Al-`Awwam[28] and his son `Urwah,[29] Abu Hurairah,[30] Ibn `Abbas[31] and Anas ibn Malik,[32] to name a few. Other Companions often recounted specific episodes, such as war, end time prophecy, theology, but the aforementioned took the holistic approach, which made them more sought after by later authorities such as Ibn Ishaq, who shall be mentioned later.

The followers of the companions wrote down the words with great care, checking dates, crucial events, second opinions from other eyewitnesses not to mention the etymology of certain words that were fast losing usage as the Arabic language became diffused among non-native speakers. So in the students of the students, commentaries on sirah began to appear. Ibn Hisham, Az-Zuhri, Wahb ibn Munabbih[33] and his brother Hammam,[34] Ka`b ibn Al-Ahbar[35] and legions more sought to preserve the meaning of the Arabic words and their application through recording the actual language of the sirah. Points of erudition, poetry, rare words used were not seen to them as slight. These were included in the rich tapestry while at the same time preserving the primal integrity of the sirah text, that of history.

The Different Types of Sirah

Sirah scholars broadly fall into the following types when covering the subject, although there may be slight overlap:  

  1. Historicist. This is history in its simpler form, referring to people, events and places and without heavy coverage of other circumstances. This is especially the case in war literature or details regarding Makkah at the birth of the Prophet Muhammad as expressed in works such as Kitab ul-Maghazi [36]by Imam Ibn Ishaq.
  2.  Phenomenal. This gives some of the life story of the Prophet Muhammad but focuses more exclusively on his miracles, relation to other prophets, prophecies, parables and things based around his miraculous nature. Although historical, these forms of sirah do not always give the date for these occurrences, which leaves the reader to research. This would include Ash-Shifa’ bi Ahwal il-Mustafa[37]by Al-Qadi `Iyad[38] and its commentaries, Al-Mawahib ul-Laduniyyah wal-Minah ul-Muhammadiyyah[39] by Imam Al-Qastallani.[40]
  3. Descriptive/Proscriptive. Imam Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi,[41] in his Ash-Shama’il ul-Muhammadiyyah wal-Khasa’il ul-Mustafawiyyah,[42] is the best example of this, by giving a complete description of the physical characteristics, gestures, clothing, complexion and day to day habits of the Prophet.
  4. Inclusionist. This form of sirah is the most complete and often the most gratifying of the methods used by the scholars, for it combines all the above. Works such as these are not usually small and are long reading, but for a patient reader a wealth of knowledge. This includes As-Sirat un-Nabawiyyah [43] by Ibn Hisham, Al-Fiqh us-Sirah[44] by Muhammad ibn Sa`id Ramadan Al-Buti.[45] 

This is what makes us able to understand revelation, the meanings of words, how it is understood and that our Lord speaks in history.

Why is Sirah Important?

 Let us take for example the statement of Allah when He revealed,

)لَقَدْ صَدَقَ ٱللَّهُ رَسُولَهُ ٱلرُّءْيَا بِٱلْحَقِّ لَتَدْخُلُنَّ ٱلْمَسْجِدَ ٱلْحَرَامَ إِن شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ آمِنِينَ مُحَلِّقِينَ رُءُوسَكُمْ وَمُقَصِّرِينَ لاَ تَخَافُونَ فَعَلِمَ مَا لَمْ تَعْلَمُواْ فَجَعَلَ مِن دُونِ ذَلِكَ فَتْحاً قَرِيباً. (

        Allah has fulfilled the vision for His Messenger in truth indeed. You will enter Al-Masjid ul-Haram, if Allah has willed, secure, having your hair shaved and cut, without fear. But He knows what you do not know. And He has given a near victory to you besides that.[46]

When someone reads this ayah in its context, a question comes to mind: has this prophecy been fulfilled yet? If so, when was it fulfilled? And how was it fulfilled? It is only the study of revelation and the example of the sirah that will answer these and other questions.

Ibn Ishaq

This author is Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Yasar ibn Jabbar, born in the year 85[47] in the city of Madinah from freed slaves brought by Khalid bin al-Walid. Ibn Ishaq began striving hard to collect sirah, historical reports, war history and all narrations related to the life of the Prophet.

As a student of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with him, Ibn Ishaq was blessed with the company of Anas ibn Malik, Sa`id ibn Al-Musayyib,[48] Al-Qasim,[49] Abban, Muhammad ibn `Ali al-Baqir,[50] Abu Salamah,[51] `Abdur-Rahman ibn Hurmuz,[52] Nafi`,[53] Ibn Shihab Az-Zuhri,[54] `Urwah ibn Az-Zubair and so many others that a separate research could be written on his scholarly lineage alone.

Imam Ibn Ishaq left us four books as a treasury of Islamic history, one of which is the Siratu Rasulillah,[55] his second most well known work. There is no preserved text of this work except in Imam Ibn Hisham’s As-Sirat un-Nabawiyyah. Thus although the autographas are no longer with us, they have been preserved by Ibn Hisham, who was a student of one of the students of Ibn Ishaq.  His most sought after work was Kitab ul-Maghazi,[56] a detailed account of all the battles and military engagements made by or witnessed by the Prophet Muhammad.

There is another text, Kitab ul-Mabda’i wa Qasas il-Anbiya’,[57] a historical account of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, from the Beginning of Creation and terminating at the time of the Migration of the Prophet.

Ibn Ishaq’s final work, Kitab ul-Khulafa’,[58] is a history of the first khalifah after the Messenger of Allah up until the rulers contemporary to himself. It is a well known work, but only in manuscript form.    

The students of Ibn Ishaq are no less than one hundred, including names like Sufyan Ath-Thawri,[59] Ibn Juraij,[60] Sufyan ibn `Uyainah,[61] Yunus ibn Bukair,[62] Ziyad ibn `Abdullah Al-Bakka’ii[63] and a multiplicity of other highranking judges, historians, theologians, and the like.

This great personality finally died in the year 151[64] in the city of Baghdad and was buried next to Imam Abu Hanifah,[65] may Allah be pleased with both of them.

Ibn Hisham

He is the author of the work under study, namely `Abdul Malik ibn Hisham ibn Ayyub Al-Humairi Al-Ma`afiri Al-Basri.

He was born in the great city of Basrah in today’s Iraq, but we have no details of his exact day, month or year of birth. At a young age, he set out to Egypt to learn knowledge and to teach. He had already by this time been known as a scholar of genealogy, sirah, grammar and even authored works on these subjects that are still in manuscript form.

He narrated from teachers such as Ziyad ibn `Abdullah Al-Bakka’ii, Wahb ibn Munabbih and many others. He died in Fustat in the year 213.[66]


[1] Surah TaHa (20), ayah 21

[2] Please see Imam Ibn al-Mandhur in Lisan ul-`Arab, vol.4, pp. 450-451

[3] Surat ul-Ahzab (33), ayah 21

[4] Collected by Imam Jalal ud-Din As-Suyuti in his Al-Jami` us-Saghir waz-Ziyadah, hadith #3341

[5] 51 BH-13 (AD573-634). Scholar, teacher, preacher and the first ruler of the Muslim world after the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, he was the khalifah (11-13 (AD632-634) for only two years before his succumbing to poisoning by a Jew.

[6] 42BH-24 (AD581-644). Merchant, companion and ruler of the Muslim world, he was the second khalifah (13/4-24 (AD634-644) and brought in such inventions as street lights, hanging lamps and four month campaigns and pensions for soldiers. He was assassinated by a lone man while leading the Muslims in the daybreak prayer in the masjid.

[7] Collected by Imam Abu Dawud in his Sunan, Book of Tribulations under the chapter of the Mentioning of Basrah.

[8] AD 637

[9] AD 638/9

[10] d.63 (AD672). One of the great companions, he settled in Basrah and taught full time, many comparing him in knowledge to his most beloved contemporary Ibn `Abbas.

[11] 23BH-55 (AD584-664). One of the ten promised the Paradise by name, he was the first cousin of `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf and was known as one of the earliest converts to Islam.

[12] d.18 (AD639). One of the first seven Muslims, he was an outstanding teacher in Basrah and one of the most influential scholars of fiqh and creed. He stands as a giant amongst all the Companions. He had emigrated to Ethiopia, then returned and went to Madinah and was declared the governor of Basrah after he helped commission and build it.

[13] 19-93 (AD640-711). The jurist of Basrah, a scholar of such rank, some say he was greater than Imam al-Hasan al-Basri, he made hajj 40 times for the reward but also for the opportunity to meet more Companions and take knowledge from them. Ibn Zaid is reputed to have met 70 of the Badr fighters as well as `A’ishah, mother of the believers, may Allah be pleased with all of them. He learned further from `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, `Abdullah ibn `Umar and others, who all praised his ability. Ibn `Abbas, when the Basrans used to debate with him or question him, would advise them to go back and ask Jabir ibn Zaid who would have the answer.

[14] 33-110 (AD653-728). A great scholar even though he was deaf, he learned from companions such as Abu Hurairah, Anas ibn Malik and `Abdullah ibn `Umar. He was such an authority, that Companions sometimes referred to him due to his deep piety and love for the sunnah.

[15] d.100 (AD718). A scholar who memorised the Qur’an at the age of twelve, her brother Muhammad ibn Sirin and her father, Sirin, used to seek her advice on matters of creed, tafsir and recitation of the Book of Allah. She is considered one of ‘the three greatest scholars who were students of the Companions,’ living to the noble age of 90 years.

[16] d.110 (AD729). One of the great saints, a top student of `Ali ibn Abi Talib and a writer on many subjects, he was the first to confront the Mu`tazilah cult by refuting its founder, Wasil ibn `Ata. He was famed for his beautiful black head coverings and noble demeanour.

[17] 96-187 (AD714-801). This great woman was a contemporary of Imam al-Hasan al-Basri, was a scholar of Ihsan, fiqh and other disciplines. It is from her that we know so much about the ways of teaching Ihsan utilised by women in the first three generations. We can see from her that in reality, female scholars of Ihsan had and have no tariqah as their state is more disposed to that than that of men.

[18] d.131 (AD753). A great scholar of the students of the Companions, he was a tireless campaigner in favour of righteousness.

[19] d. 59 AH (AD 680). One of the great scholars of Ihsan, he was given the responsibility by `Uthman of reciting and teaching the people from the standardised Arabic writing of the Qur’an sent to Basrah. Amir was one of the greatest reciters in the history of Islam but was humble to all those who met him.

[20] 168-230 (AD784-865). Historian, traveller and celebrated author, he was one of the greatest scholars that Basrah produced in the field and is a major source of knowledge about the scholars, culture and practices of the first three generations.

[21] c.161 (AD777). The grandson of a hadith scholar, he was one of the teachers of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and the leading Basran authority on history in his time. 

[22] d.58 (AD678). Mother of the believers and scholar par excellence, she was held as possessing half of all available knowledge on Islam, narrating 2,210 statements from the encyclopaedic knowledge on the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. There was no science she did not speak in and no area she did not have some expertise to rule on amongst men and women.

[23] 3-50 (AD625-670). The first grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, he was only the khalifah for six months before succumbing to poison put into his food by arch enemies. Even though he died  in his forties, he passed numerous rulings and was famous for his patience and reserve. His grave still stands today in Madinah.

[24] 4-61 (AD626-680). The second grandson of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, Al-Husain was fearless and a foremost scholar of hadith, creed and tafsir. He was martyred resisting oppression from tyrannical rule.

[25] 24 BH-40 (AD600-661). He is the fourth khalifah and at times known as the ‘Lion of Allah,’ the ‘Qadi of the Ummah’ and numerous other titles. In the beginning, he desired to marry Fatimah but was so poor, he could not muster the courage. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, received revelation of this and revealed it, then the marriage was contracted. He was martyred while entering into his masjid. He is buried in Iraq.

[26] d.105 (AD723). He is the son of `Uthman ibn `Affan, the third khalifah.

[27] 50 BH-36 (AD569-656). The third khalifah of the Muslims and the first to invent a unified postal system, he also made one unified script for the Qur’an, put a hard back case and cover on it and set in place the beginning of a vowelling system to enable non-Arabic speakers to read the text. He was martyred in his house while reading the Qur’an.

[28] 77 BH-36 (AD596-656).One of the ten companions promised the Paradise by name, he was married to Asma bint Abi Bakr and his son `Abdullah was the first child of the Muslims to be born in Madinah after the emigration. He was martyred in Iraq and the place where he fell is named after him today.

[29] d.94 (AD714). A student of `A’ishah, teacher of Az-Zuhri and many others, he is known as ‘one of the seven great fiqh scholars of Madinah’ and one of the greatest of all time.

[30] d.59 (AD678). He is `Abdur-Rahman ibn Sakhr, one of the greatest hadith narrators and one of the most popular of companions (particularly those hailing from Yemen). He began as an orphan and quickly became one of the greatest hadith scholars of Islam.

[31] 3 BH-66 (AD619-687). Lauded the world over as, ‘The Translator/Commentator of the Qur’an,’ he is the most famous source for Imam Ash-Shafi`ii’s fiqh and practice. Ibn `Abbas wrote books on tafsir, fiqh in different categories and was held in such esteem by the people of Madinah, they would often refuse rulings from any scholars coming from outside of Madinah due to him. His preaching to the Khawarij cult resulted in 5,000 of them coming back to Muslim Orthodoxy.

[32] 9 BH-91 (AD612-712). Among the last of the companions to die, he was one of the early Muslims and used to learn numerous ahadith as a child simply by just being present. He witnessed some of the worst atrocities committed by tyrants against the Companions but was able to continue teaching in Basrah and made the city his permanent residence until his death. In AD2006, Shi`ah members attacked and defiled his grave.

[33] d.107 (AD725). Originally coming from a family of Jewish scholars, his father, Munabbih ibn Kamil, converted to Islam and brought the whole family with him. Wahb went on to be tutored by his brother Hammam, Abu Hurairah, Anas ibn Malik, `Abdullah ibn `Umar, Jabir ibn `Abdullah and others.

[34] d.132 (AD750). He is the brother of Wahb ibn Munabbih and a scholar of comparative religion and theology. He compiled tracts on fulfilled prophecies in Judaism by the coming of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

[35] d.32 (AD653). Former Rabbi (his name means, ‘Capstone of the Temple Priests’), student of the Companions and commentator on prophesy and eschatology, he helped with the excavation of the site of Masjid al-Aqsa and learned from prominent Companions such as `Umar ibn Al-Khattab, `Uthman ibn `Affan and other great scholars. Ka’b’s coming from a family of Rabbis and former priests (Hebr. Cohanim) gave him unique insight when he studied fulfilled prophecies and preached to other Jews.

[36] Eng. The Book of Wars

[37] Eng. Healing by Means of the States of the Chosen One

[38] 476-544 (AD1083-1149). He is `Iyad ibn Musa ibn `Iyad ibn `Amr ibn Musa ibn `Iyad, one of the greatest scholars of Maliki fiqh and fought the Khawarij when they began destroying Spain and Portugal and killing Muslims. He became serious about his Islam at 43 and subsequently became a judge and leading preacher in the entire Iberian Peninsula. He was later poisoned by a Jew and died from the incident.

[39] Engl. The Enduring Gifts of Excellence from the Way of Muhammad.

[40] 851-923 (AD1448-1517). He is Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr Al-Qutaybi, a great Shafi`ii scholar and considered one of the greatest latter-day authorities on the science of the sirah and history. He wrote commentaries on hadith collections, the sirah, fiqh works and was known for his humility and attention to detail.

[41] 209-279 (AD824-892). He is Muhammad ibn `Isa ibn Surat ibn Musa ibn Ad-Dahhak At-Tirmidhi. Considered by Imam al-Bukhari to be his successor in hadith memorisation and knowledge, he wrote nine voluminous works on hadith and sirah. He is one of the most trustworthy narrators all around according to scholars from his age up until our very own today.

[42] Eng. The General Traits of Muhammad and the Specific Characteristics of the Chosen One

[43] Eng. The Prophetic Life

[44] Eng. Understanding the Sirah

[45] b.1348 (AD1929). He is Muhammad Sa`id Ramadan Al-Buti. One of the greatest scholars of this age, this ‘Jewel of the Kurds’ followed in his father’s footsteps by studying the religion since adolescence and became an expounder, a jurist and finally a judge. He teaches to this day at his seminary in Damascus, attended by thousands. 

[46] Surat ul-Fath (48), ayah 27

[47] AD704

[48] 16-94 (AD637-715). A student of many companions, he particularly benefited from `Ali ibn Abi Talib, `Uthman ibn `Affan and Abu Hurairah, whose daughter he married. He was an accepted Basran authority in creed, fiqh, tafsir and other sciences.

[49] d.108 (AD726) Al-Qasim was the grandson of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq and together with Imams Sa`id ibn al-Musayyib, `Urwah ibn Az-Zubair, Abu Bakr ibn `Abdur-Rahman, `Ubaidullah ibn `Abdullah ibn `Utbah ibn Mas`ud, Sulaiman ibn Yasar and Kharijah ibn Zaid ibn Thabit is classed as one of the seven greatest fiqh scholars of all time and one of the seven fuqaha’ of Madinah.

[50] 57-114 (AD676-743). He is the great grandson of `Ali ibn Abi Talib. Widely considered one of the most knowledgeable in his time, Imam Al-Baqir was one of the two teachers of Imam Abu Hanifah, may Allah be pleased with both of them.

[51] 122 (AD740) This is the son of `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf, a great teacher and historian.

[52] d.148 (AD765). He is Abu Bakr ibn Yazid Al-Asamm. He was known for his quiet manner and was taken by Imam Malik ibn Anas as a personal role model.

[53] d.117 (AD735). A freed slave and student of `Abdullah ibn `Umar, he was known for his piety, knowledge of the sunnah and wisdom.

[54] d.124 (AD742). He is Muhammad ibn Muslim ibn `Ubaidullah ibn ash-Shihab az-Zuhri. This Imam was a star pupil of Imams Sa`id ibn al-Musayyib and `Urwa ibn az-Zubair and was reputed to have memorised some 500,000 ahadith from this travels and studies.

[55] Eng. The Life of the Messenger of Allah

[56] Eng. The Book of Wars

[57] Eng. The Book of the Beginning of Things and the Stories of the Prophets

[58] Eng. The Book of the Successors of the Prophet

[59] d.161 (AD778). Theologian, judge and jurist, this scholar was sought by the authorities consistently, but always eluded them and rejected their offers and favours. He even refused to give them advice when they sought it as he knew how corrupt they were in reality. He was a close friend of Abu Ayyub as-Sakhtiyani and spent much time in Basrah.

[60] d.150 (AD767). Imam Ibn Juraij was known for his knowledge of hadith, sirah and many other subjects. He is counted by hadith scholars as reliable and is numbered among one of the greats.

[61] d.198 (AD814). One of the teachers of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Imam Sufyan narrated from over 80 students of Companions and wrote several books on the topic of the sunnah and its application.

[62] d.199 (AD721). He was one of the great scholars of the time and noted for his piety and voluminous writing.

[63] d.183 (AD799). He was one of the teachers of Imam Ibn Hisham and a tireless scholar of hadith, sirah, fiqh, creed and ihsan. Imam Al-Bakka’ii was known for his charity, constant prayer and contemplation.

[64] AD768.

[65] 80-150 (AD700-767). One of the greatest of students of the Companions and one of the greatest scholars of Kufah, he had 40 Qadis under his tutelage.

[66] AD828

IMAM MAR`II IBN YUSUF AL-KARMI’S STATEMENT ON THE WAY OF THE FIRST THREE GENERATIONS

The Imam gives a noble and thought provoking statement on the way of the First Three Generations

قال مرعي الكرمي :::

Imam Mar`ii ibn Yusuf Al-Karmi (d.1033),[1] may Allah have mercy upon him, said the following:

وجمهور أهل السنة منهم السلف وأهل الحديث على الإيمان بها وتفويض معناها المراد منها إلى الله تعالى ولا نفسرها مع تنزيهنا له عن حقيقتها…. اقاويل الثقات.

“The vast majority of Muslim Orthodoxy – among them the First Three Generations and the People of Hadith – are upon the position of having Iman in the Names and Attributes while consigning their intended meaning to Allah, Exalted be He. We don’t explain any of it under the guise of declaring Him free of need and negating the reality of the Attributes”.[2]

وقال ايضا …

The Imam mentioned at another point:

وذكرت في كتابي البرهان في تفسير القرآن عند قوله تعالى

“I previously mentioned in my book, Clear Proof in Explaining the Qur’an after reciting the ayah:

{هل ينظرون إلا أن يأتيهم الله في ظلل من الغمام} البقرة 210

Are they waiting except that Allah shall come to them in the clouds?[3]

وبعد أن ذكرت مذاهب المتأولين أن مذهب السلف هو عدم الخوض في مثل هذا والسكوت عنه وتفويض علمه إلى الله تعالى.

“And after that point, I mentioned the madhhabs of ta’wil of the ayah and that the way of the First Three Generations is refraining from debate in things like this, silence regarding it and attributing to meaning of it to Allah, Exalted be He”.

وقال ايضا: ::

The Imam also said:

وجمهور أهل السنة منهم السلف وأهل الحديث على الإيمان بها وتفويض معناها المراد منها إلى الله تعالى ولا نفسرها مع تنزيهنا له عن حقيقتها

“So the vast majority of Muslim Orthodoxy – among them being the First Three Generations and the People of Hadith – are upon the position that one is to have Iman in the Names and Attributes, consign the intended meaning of them to Allah, Exalted be He, while we also do not explain any of it while claiming to clear Him of any likeness to the creation and deny the reality of the Names and Attributes”.

قال ايضا ::

The Imam said further:

 وهو كلام في غاية التحقيق إلا أن ترك التأويل مطلقا وتفويض العلم إلى الله أسلم

“And so the highest degree of what can be spoken in this regard has been examined with the exception that one is to abandon interpretation in the absolute and consign the meaning of it to Allah and that is the safest position”.

وقال ايضا ::

And still further, the Imam uttered:

فمذهب السلف في هذا وأمثاله السكوت عن الخوض في معناه وتفويض علمه إلى الله تعالى كما مرت الإشارة إليه أول الكتاب

“So the way of the First Three Generations in this regard and other affairs connected to it is silence from disputation in the meaning of it, consigning the meaning of it to Allah, Exalted be He, just as was indicated moments ago in the beginning of this book”.

وقال ايضا :::

And finally, the Imam remarked:

وكان مع ذلك لا بد للنصوص من معنى بقوا مترددين بين الإيمان باللفظ وتفويض المعنى وهي التي يسمونها طريقة السل.

“And with all of that, it is necessary that when reading the explicit texts on this topic, that the people remain on the position that includes having Iman in the wording of the texts while consigning the meaning of it to Him and this is that which has been called the Way of the First Three Generations”.

As written by the Shaikh, Mustafa Hamdu `Ulayyan.


[1] d.1033 (AD1623). He is Mar`ii ibn Yusuf ibn Abi Bakr ibn Ahmad ibn Abi Bakr Al-Karmi. Considered by his peers to be a master of all sciences, this Palestinian marja` was the premier scholar of Egypt in his time but studied with the great scholars of Sham as well. Although concentrating his energies on creed and fiqh, he covered many of the most trying issues of his time, such as the widespread use of coffee and cigarettes. He was renowned as a defender of righteouness and an enemy to sin. cf. Ibn Humaid’s As-Suhub ul-Wabilah, pp.463-467.

[2] Aqawil uth-Thiqat, p.60

[3] Surat ul-Baqarah (2), ayah 210