Nov 18, 2014


pp. 14-19


A general oath of allegiance was taken from us by the Messenger of Allah (ص), that we follow the Muhammadan Sunnah in all our sayings, actions and beliefs, even if we did not understand that matter (by taking) the evidence from the Book and sunnah or ijma‘ and qiyas so that it will enable us to act accordingly to it. Thereafter we will look into (the fact that) if that matter (in question) is considered as good (istihsan) by some ‘ulama in respect of which we sought the permission of the Messenger of Allah (ista’dhana), then we will perform it by way of propriety (adab) with that scholar. And all that are (done in their entirety as part of) fear of innovation in respect of the purified shari‘ah, then we will be among the group of misguided a’immah. Indeed I had consulted him (ص) in respect of the saying of some of them: that it is necessary for the musalli (one who performs his salah) to utter in the sujud sahw (prostration for forgetfulness): سبحان من لا ينام ولا يسهو (subhana man la yanamu wa-la yas-hu) [glory be to One Who does not sleep nor forgets], and he (ص) said that it is good. Then it will not be hidden that the seeking of permission from the Messenger (ص) shall be according to the status in which the servant is, during the course of his intention to act. But if he is from the people who meet up with him (ص) in the state of wakefulness and direct meeting (mushafahah) just as it is the status of people of kashf, then he should seek his permission (directly), if not he should seek permission in his heart and awaits to see what Allah (ت) creates for him in his heart concerning the goodness of doing (that act) or leaving (it). 
I heard my master ‘Ali al-Khawwas (رح) as saying: “It is not the intent of the akabir in their exhortation on action (being) in agreement with the Book and the sunnah, except the participation (mujalasah) of Allah and His Messenger (ص) in respect of that matter and nothing else. For certainly they know that the Truth (ت) will not keep His company with them except in an act which He Himself and/or His Messenger (ص) legislated. As for that which was innovated then there will never be participation of the Truth (ت) nor His Messenger (ص) in respect of it, instead the one who keep company in it are the one who innovated among the knowledgeable one or the ignorant one. Then it will be known that it is not the aim of the People of Allah (ت) to acquire reward [alone] and nothing other than it in the Hereafter through their ‘ibadah. This is because, they, in these two abodes, are [like] slaves and the servant does not possess anything with the master in the world and the hereafter, whereas he certainly eats, adorns and enjoys through the wealth of his master [both] the warp and weft are from His favor. Even if the Truth (ت) granted him anything it is certainly an obligation on him to free himself from it [and turns] towards his Rabb, since it is not permitted for him to view His possession for him even for a single moment. Therefore, due to this spectacle they removed from their entire ‘ibadah the defects of the self, thus becoming pleased with their Rabb with an absolute pleasure and He becoming pleased with them with an absolute pleasure:

"That is the favor of Allah which He bestows on whomsoever He wishes. And Allah is the possessor of Great Favor" [62(al-Jumu'ah):4]. 

Know, my brother, that whosoever ascertained by acting according to this covenant he shall be among the leaders of ahl al-sunnah wa ’l-jama‘ah in his time, and whosoever is not changed by that he has indeed wronged him. I do not know of anyone in Egypt who has ascertained by acting according to this covenant and tied his statements, actions and beliefs with the Book and Sunnah except some individuals among the ‘ulama’ like al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Tajuri al-Maghribi and his like, may Allah be pleased with them all.

I say: Indeed Allah (ت) has assisted me in acting according to it in respect of my statement and actions. Then [indeed] he has said lie, by Allah, one who has casted aspersion by relating me to innovation that contravenes the majority of the ahl al-sunnah wa ’l-jama‘ah. In fact this is what the self of an innovator is, unless he meant the innovation in respect of a thing that has been permitted (mubahat) in the shari‘ah through the rule of generality, then there is no harm in that, because in this matter, there are [only] few among the ‘ulama’ who are safe from that, let alone those other than them, just as we have observed. Therefore know this, and safeguard your hearing and sight from impeding the rights of the ‘ulama’, and do never pay attention to the statements of those who envy the ‘ulama’ unless you have met with one of them [the ‘ulama’] and had discourse with him about that [particular] innovation [he is accused of]. If you see that he has indeed adopted that innovation as a practice, then you know that it is an innovation and that he insists on practicing it, only then should you should warn people against him, out of sincere concern for him and the Muslims, and so that none of them, the innovator and those who follow him, fall into sin.  Beware of warning others against following a particular 'alim because of what you have heard from one of his enviers, the truth of which you have not ascertained by meeting with the said scholar, for perchance he is innocent of what he is accused of and you will incur the sin of waylaying the path of the seekers from following the shari‘ah. Then in that case you will be accused of cautioning others against following the Muhammadan Sunnah! This phenomenon is very common with contemporaries in our time: thus you see everyone warning people against someone, while claiming that [only] they are the people of the Path and the Sunnah and the Community. Thus the matter becomes mixed up, as a result that not anyone of them [scholar] is followed! May Allah, by His Grace and Generosity, protect us and our companions from such a situation. Amin!

My master Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili (رض) used to say, “The ‘ibadah of a faqir will not be perfected until he begins to witness the Lawgiver in every act of ‘ibadah he performs” meaning he [the faqir] will perform the ‘ibadah  in the presence of the Lawgiver, either through spiritual unveiling or direct witnessing, and not merely through [mere] faith and veiling. Then he said, “If someone says, ‘What is your proof for that?’ We say to him: ‘I once saw the Prophet (ص) and said to him, “O Messenger of Allah! What is the reality of following you in works that are in accordance with your shari‘ah?” Then he said, “It is that you do an act while witnessing the shara‘ (law) during it and after it.”’”

Whosoever desires to act upon this covenant must have a comprehensive knowledge of the proofs used by all the schools of law, both the existing and the extinct, as well as knowledge of the legal opinions of their scholars, to such an extent that scarcely a single proof or opinion of theirs, be it for something obligatory, forbidden, or allowed, escapes his knowledge. Then after that he will require a truthful Shaykh to whom he can surrender (or submit) himself and who will subject him to spiritual trainings and struggles till he can remove every blameworthy quality from him and adorn him with praiseworthy qualities, so that he will be able to keep the company of Allah and His Messenger (ص). This is because the majority of people claim to be in the company of Allah and His Messenger (ص), even though in reality they are soiled with impurities that prevent them from entering the presence of Allah and the presence of His Messenger, resulting in they increasing themselves in respect of distance and remoteness.  Therefore strive, O, my brother, to cleanse your heart’s mirror from rust and grime, and purify yourself from all vices so that there remain within you not a single quality that prevents you from entering the Presence of Allah (ت) or the Presence of the Messenger of Allah (ص). If you send abundant regards and salutations upon him (ص) you might reach the station of witnessing him (ص). This is the way of Shaykh Nur al-Din al-Shuni, Shaykh Ahmad al-Zawawi, Shaykh Muhammad b. Dawud al-Manzalawi, and a group of Shaykhs from the Yemen. Thus one of them will continue sending regards upon Allah’s Messenger and auguments it till he is purified of every single sin, and he begins to meet with the Prophet (ص) and converse with him in a state of wakefulness whenever he wishes. Anyone who has yet to meet with the Messenger of Allah (ص) in this manner has not yet sent abundant regards and salutations upon him (ص) in the amount that is required for attaining this station.

Shaykh Ahmad al-Zawawi informed me that he was not able to keep the company of the Messenger of Allah (ص) in a state of wakefulness until he spent an entire year paying fifty thousand regards [upon the Prophet (ص)] day and night. Shaykh Nur al-Din al-Shuni told me the same, and said that he spent several years paying thirty thousand regards [upon the Prophet] each day.

I heard my master ‘Ali al-Khawwas (رح) say, “A servant will not attain perfection in the station of divine gnosis (العرفان) until he begins to keep the company of the Messenger of Allah (ص) anytime he likes.” He continued, “Those of the Salaf [pious predecessors] who kept the Prophet’s (ص) company directly and in a state of wakefulness include Shaykh Abu Madyan - the master of the group - and Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahim al-Qunawi, Shaykh Musa al-Zuli, Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili, Shaykh Abu al-‘Abbas al-Mursi, Shaykh Abu al-Su‘ud b. Abi al-‘Asha’ir, my master Ibrahim al-Matbuli, and Shaykh Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, the latter of whom said, ‘I saw the Prophet (ص) and kept his company in a state of wakefulness some seventy-odd times!’”

As for my master Ibrahim al-Matbuli, it is not possible to count how often he encountered the Prophet (ص), for he would be in his company in all of his states, and he would often say, “I have no Shaykh other than the Messenger of Allah (ص)!” And Shaykh Abu al-‘Abbas al-Mursi would say, “Had I been veiled from the Messenger of Allah for even a single moment I would not count myself among the believers!”

Know that the station of keeping company with the Messenger of Allah (ص) is very rare. I once witnessed a man came to my master ‘Ali al-Marsifi and said, “O my master! I have reached such a station that I can see the Messenger of Allah (ص) in a state of wakefulness whenever I wish!” my master ‘Ali said to him, “O, my son, there are 174,000 stations between a servant and the station you describe; please tell us about [at least] ten of these stations.” Hearing that, the [pretentious] claimant did not know what to say, and [thus he stood] exposed. Therefore understand this.
 We have certainly sent down distinct verses. 
 And Allah guides whom He wills to a straight path. [24(al-Nur):46]

Let us now cite a number of prophetic traditions that encourage following the Qur'an and the Sunnah. I say, and with Allah's strengthening of our means (التوفيق):

It is narrated by Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Hibban in his rigorously authenticated collection, while al-Hafiz al-Mundhiri says it is a sound hadith, on the authority of al-‘Irbad b. Sariya (رض) who said, وعظنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم موعظة وجلت منها القلوب وذرفت منها العيون ، فقلنا يا رسول الله كأنها موعظة مودع فأوصنا ، فقال : أوصيكم بتقوى الله والعمل والسمع والطاعة ، وإن تأمر عليكم عبد حبشي مجدع الأطراف ؛ فإن من يعش منكم فسيرى إختلافا كثيرا ، فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء الراشدين المهديين من بعدي عضوا عليها بالنواجذ ، و إياكم ومحدثات الأمور ، فإن كل بدعة ضلالة وكل ضلالة في النار  “The Prophet (ص) once exhorted us with a sermon, due to which hearts were moved and eyes flowed with tears. We said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! It is as if you are delivering us a farewell sermon, so please counsel us!’ He said, ‘I counsel you to have Godfearingness [taqwa] and pious works, and to hear and obey even if an Abyssinian slave was to rule over you. Whosoever among you lives shall see many differences, so see to it that you adhere to my way, and the way of the rightly guided Caliphs after me - bite onto it with your molar teeth! And beware of matters newly invented, for every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.’”

The meaning of   عضوا عليها بالنواجذ that is اجتهدوا على وجه البدعة ، والزموا السنة واحرصوا عليها ، كما يلزم العاض على الشئ بنوادجذه خوفا من ذهابه وتفلته "striving against the way of innovation while holding to the sunnah and mindful of it, just as it is required on the biter of a thing with his molar teeth fearing of losing it or slipping it, and النواجذ : is the canine teeth (الأنياب) whereas it also said that it [refers to] the wisdom teeth (الأضراس)

It is narrated by Ibn Abi al-Dunya and al-Hakim, both of whom said that the chain is valid and is a marfu‘ hadith [that the Prophet (ص) is reported to have said], من أكل طيبا وعمل في سنة وأمن الناس بوائقة دخل الجنة . قالوا : يا رسول الله إن هذا اليوم في أمتك كثير ؟ قال : وسيكون في قوم بعدي - يعني قلائل   “Whosoever eats what is pure, acts in accordance with the sunnah, and leaves people safe from his harm, he will surely enter Paradise.” The Companions asked, “But, O Messenger of Allah, there are many such people in your ummah today!” The Prophet (ص) said, “They will be among the people to come after me.” meaning a few.

Al-Bayhaqi narrated a marfu‘ hadith: من تمسك بسنتي عند فساد أمتي فله أجر مائة شهيد “Whosoever holds fast to my sunnah during the decay of my ummah will have the reward of one hundred martyrs.”

Al-Hakim narrated, and said that it is a valid chain according to the conditions of the two imams [al-Bukhari and Muslim], a marfu‘ hadith, الإقتصاد في السنة أحسن من إجتهاد في البدعة  “(Being) economical in the [practice of] sunnah is better than striving in [reprehensible] innovation.”

Al-Bukhari and Muslim and others narrated a marfu‘ hadith that ‘Umar b. al-Khattab (رض) once kissed the Black Stone and said, إني لأعلم أنك حجر لا تضر ولا تنفع ، ولولا أني رأيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقبلك ما قبلتك  “I know that you are a stone that can neither harm nor benefit, and had I not seen the Messenger of Allah (ص) kissing you I would not have kissed you!”

Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban both narrated in their valid collections, on the authority of Mu’awiya b. Qurra, on the authority of his father, who said, لقيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في رهط فبايعناه وإنه لمطلق الأزرار  “I was with a group of people when I [first] met the Messenger of Allah (ص), and we paid our allegiance to him and his shirt was unbuttoned.” ‘Urwa b. ‘Abdullah said, “After that I never saw Mu’awiya or his son in winter or summer except that their shirts were unbuttoned.”

Ibn Khuzaymah narrated, in his valid collection, as did al-Bayhaqi, on the authority of Zayd b. Aslam who said, “I once saw Ibn ‘Umar praying with his shirt unbuttoned (محلولة أزراره). I asked him about that and he said, رأيت رسول صلى الله عليه وسلم يفعله ‘I saw Messenger of Allah (ص) doing it.’”

Imam Ahmad and al-Bazzar narrated on the authority of Mujahid and others who said, “We were once with Ibn ‘Umar on a journey. He passed by a certain place and swerved (فحاد عنه) away from it. When asked why he did that, he replied, رأيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فعل هذا ففعلته  ‘I saw the Messenger of Allah (ص) doing [just] that, so I did it [too].’” And his saying حاد (turn) that is تنحى عنه وأخذ يمينا أو شمالا (turning away by taking to the right or the left).

Al-Bazzar narrated that Ibn ‘Umar would come to a tree situated between Makkah and Madinah and take a nap (فيقيل) underneath it and he informed [me] that النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يفعل مثل ذلك "the Prophet (ص) used to do like that".

Imam Ahmad and others narrated that Ibn ‘Umar once hobbled (أناخ) his camel in a [particular] place and went to ease himself. He then informed others that the Prophet (ص) had eased himself in that exact location. He said, أحببت أن أقضي حاجتي في موضع قضى فيه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حاجته “And so I desired to ease myself in the same place the Messenger of Allah (ص) did so.”

I say: the reason why Ibn ‘Umar followed the Prophet (ص) in this is because the perfected ones (الكمل), when they ease themselves, are shy of the ground upon which they sit, for fear that it might be an honored place that should not be used for easing oneself. However, when Ibn ‘Umar saw the Messenger of Allah (ص) easing himself in that location he said to himself “Were it not for the fact that the Messenger of Allah (ص) knew that this is a suitable spot, he would not have eased himself here.”

Al-Hafiz says that the traditions from the Prophetic companions, may Allah be pleased with them, in respect of they following him [i.e. the Prophet (ص)] and they imitating his sunnahs are many indeed. Allah knows best!

Post Script

I have avoided the translation of the term 'alim and its plural ‘ulama’ to mean scholars because the term ‘ulama’ connotes those who act according to their knowledge and who reminds others of the hereafter.

The usage of the term shari' (lawgiver) applies to both the Almighty Allah in the haqiqi sense and the blessed Prophet (ص) in the majazi sense. Thus it is important to give due consideration to this term and what it demands without questioning the degree of authority attached to it. For we see among the Qur'aniyyun (the Koranites) who claim that only Allah's word must be given importance, as the statements of the Prophet (ص) are full of contradiction as can be observed in conflicting ahadith.

The statement of Umar (رض) on the Black Stone is significant as it conveys the level of importance Muslims attach to the practice of the Prophet. Even though one may dispute the kissing of the black stone as tantamount to stone worship, Muslims are expected to follow the Prophet in (a) form and substance,and (b) letter and spirit, regardless of whether one intellectually agrees with it or not. There are some Prophetic practices that could be followed in form alone and while others in substance alone, whereas there are some sunnah of the Prophet that must be followed in both respect, but there are no sunnah that is to be followed that does not fall under these two categories. That is why the Prophet (ص) has said in respect of emulating his sunnah: ذروني ما تركتكم فإنما هلك من كان قبلكم بكثرة سؤالهم ، فإذا أمرتكم بشيء فأتوا منه ما استطعتم "Leave me with what I have left you with, for certainly people before you were annihilated due to their increased questioning. Therefore, if I have commanded you with a thing perform it as much as you can". This hadith is narrated by both Imam Ahmad in his Musnad and Ibn Majah. One needs to understand this hadith correctly, as the chance to misunderstand the meaning of the hadith is greater by hastening to accuse the Prophet of discouraging people to raise question which runs contradictory to the Qur'an wherein Allah exhorts those who do not know to ask those who know, if they really do not know. What the Prophet has said is the asking of irrelevant questions, or asking question for the sake of question.  With regards to the Black stone placed in the Ka'bah, Rufus Camphausen has equated it with female sexuality in his Encyclopedia of Erotic Wisdom. Such a comparison is blasphemous and highly uncalled for. If this is the case then tomorrow another perverted illustrator will conclude that the minaret is phallic. These are satanic imagination!

The word مطلق الأزرار could mean both free from buttoning (unbuttoned) or absolutely buttoned. Here the text connotes that the Prophet (ص) did not button his shirt.

No comments:

Post a Comment