IX. QUESTIONS ON DHIKR

(REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH)

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Salafis" accuse us of deviation and heresy because we sit and recite dhikr -- loud or silently -- together: the kalima tayyiba, and astaghfirullah, and the Fatiha and other Suras, and salawat on the Prophet, and la ilaha illallah, and Allah's beautiful Names. Some of them object because it is loud and they claim it should be silent; others object because it is silent and they claim it should be loud; others object because it is in a group and it should be done individually; others object because they claim our emphasis on dhikr is excessive and we should raise funds or study or hold conferences or make jihad instead; others object because some people are affected by the dhikr so as to sway or move this way or that instead of sitting still, so they want everyone to sit absolutely still; others object because we sometimes perform dhikr in dim surroundings rather than in a glaring light; others object to reciting the name ALLAH by itself and claim it is an innovation, so that we should only say: YA Allah. Finally, they also accuse us of innovation and misguidance because we sometimes use dhikr-beads which we carry in our hands. What is the position of Ahl al-Sunna on all these points?


DHIKR IS THE GREATEST OBLIGATION

AND A PERPETUAL DIVINE ORDER

 

 

Dhikr of Allah is the most excellent act of Allah's servants and is stressed over a hundred times in the Holy Qur'an. It is the most praiseworthy work to earn Allah's pleasure, the most effective weapon to overcome the enemy, and the most deserving of deeds in reward. It is the flag of Islam, the polish of hearts, the essence of the science of faith, the immunization against hypocrisy, the head of worship, and the key of all success.

 

There are no restrictions on the modality, frequency, or timing of dhikr whatsoever. The restrictions on modality pertain to certain specific obligatory acts which are not the issue here, such as Salat. The Shari`a is clear and everyone knows what they have to do. Indeed, the Prophet said that the People of  Paradise will only regret one thing: not having made enough dhikr in the world! Are not those who are making up reasons to discourage others from making dhikr afraid of Allah in this tremendous matter?

 

            Allah says in His holy Book: "O Believers, make abundant mention of ALLAH!" (33:41) And He mentions of His servants "Those who remember their Lord standing, and sitting, and lying on their sides" (3:191), in other words at all times of the day and night. He said: "The creation of heaven and earth and the changes of night and day are signs for people who have wisdom: -- consider who is described as having wisdom -- Those who remember (and recite and call) Allah standing up, sitting, and lying on their sides" (3:190-191). `A'isha said, as narrated by Muslim, that the Prophet mentioned/remembered Allah at all times of the day and night.

 

            The Prophet said: "If your hearts were always in the state that they are in during dhikr, the angels would come to see you to the point that they would greet you in the middle of the road." Muslim narrated it. Imam Nawawi in his Sharh sahih muslim commented on this hadith saying: "This kind of sight is shown to someone who persists in meditation (muraqaba), reflection (fikr), and anticipation (iqbal) of the next world."

 

Mu`adh ibn Jabal said that the Prophet also said: "The People of Paradise will not regret except one thing alone: the hour that passed them by and in which they made no remembrance of Allah." Narrated by Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman (1:392 #512-513) and by Tabarani. Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id (10:74) said that its narrators are all trustworthy (thiqat), while Suyuti declared it hasan in his Jami` al-saghir (#7701).

 

Allah placed His remembrance above prayer in value by making prayer the means and remembrance the goal. He said:

 

·         "Lo! Worship guards one from lewdness and iniquity, but verily, remembrance of Allah is greatest/more important." (29:45)

 

·         "He is successful who purifies himself, and remembers the name of his Lord, and so prays." (87:14-15)

 

·         "So establish prayer for My remembrance." (20:14)

 

Ibn Hajar in his Fath al-bari (1989 ed. 11:251) relates Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-`Arabi's explanation that there is no good deed except with dhikr as a precondition for its validity, and whoever does not remember Allah in his heart at the time of his sadaqa or fasting, for example, then his deed is incomplete: therefore dhikr is the best of deeds because of this.

 

Dhikr is, therefore, something of tremendous importance.  Abu Hurayra said that the Prophet said, Peace be upon him: "The earth and everything in it is cursed, except for dhikr and what attends dhikr, and the teacher and the student." Narrated by Tirmidhi who said it is hasan, Ibn Majah who said the same, Bayhaqi, and others. Suyuti cites it in al-Jami` al-saghir from al-Bazzar's similar narration from Ibn Mas`ud and he declared it sahih. Tabarani also narrated it in al-Awsat from Abu al-Darda'.

 

By the words "the world and everything in it" is meant here all that claims status or existence apart from Allah, instead of in Him. In fact, all creation does dhikr because Allah said that all creation does praise to Him constantly, and tasbih is a kind of dhikr. Allah said of the Prophet Yunus, when the whale swallowed him: "Had he not been one of My glorifiers (musabbihin), he would have remained inside the whale's stomach until Judgment Day."  (37:143-144)

 

The hadith of the Prophet just cited also stresses the importance of following a teacher of knowledge, without which one incurs curse instead of blessing. This is what Abu Yazid al-Bistami meant when he said: "Whoever has no shaykh, his shaykh is shaytan." It is confirmed by two other hadiths of the Prophet:

 

·         Abu Bakrah said: I heard the Prophet say: "Become a learned person (`alim), or a student of knowledge (muta`allim), or an auditor of knowledge (mustami`), or an amateur of knowledge (muhibb), but do not be the fifth one for you will perish." al-Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa'id (1:122): "Tabarani narrated it in al-Mu`jam al-saghir (2:9), al-Mu`jam al-awsat, and al-Mu`jam al-kabir, also al-Bazzar [in his Musnad], and its narrators are considered trustworthy." It is also narrated by Abu Nu`aym in Hilyat al-awliya' (7:237) and al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad (12:295). Sakhawi said in al-Maqasid al-hasana (p. 88 #134): "Ibn `Abd al-Barr said: The fifth one is enmity towards the scholars and contempt of them, and whoever does not love them shows contempt for them or is on the brink of having contempt for them, and there lies destruction." See Ibn `Abd al-Barr's Jami` bayan al-`ilm wa fadlih (1:30).

 

·         The Prophet said: al-baraka ma` akabirikum, "Blessing is with your elders." Narrated by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, al-Hakim who said it is sahih, and Ibn Daqiq al-`Eid confirmed him. Another narration has: "When the young teach the old, then blessing has been lifted." See Sakhawi's al-Maqasid al-hasana (p. 158-159 #290).

 

The one who engages in dhikr has the highest rank of all before Allah. The people who call on Allah without distraction have been mentioned in Qur'an, as well as the effect that calling has on their hearts: "In houses which Allah has allowed to be raised to honor and for His Name to be remembered in them; He is glorified there day and night by men whom neither trade nor sale can divert from the rememberance of Allah" (24:36-37), and: "Those who believe, and their hearts find satisfaction in the rememberance of Allah: By remembering Allah, truly satisfaction comes to the heart" (13:28).

 

During the night of Isra' and Mi`raj, the Prophet was taken up to a point where he heard the screeching of the Pens (writing the divine Decree). He saw a man who had disappeared into the light of the Throne. He said: "Who is this? Is this an angel?" It was said to him, no. He said: "Is it a Prophet?" Again the answer was no. He said: "Who is it then?" The answer was: "This is a man whose tongue was moist with Allah's remembrance in the world, and his heart was attached to the mosques, and he never incurred the curse of his father and mother." Shaykh Muhammad `Alawi al-Maliki cited it in his collated text of the sound narrations on that topic entitled al-Anwar al-bahiyya min Isra' wa mi`raj khayr al-bariyya.

 

In Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, and Ibn Hibban declared it fair (hasan): A man came to the Prophet and said, "O Rasulallah, the laws and conditions of Islam have become too many for me. Tell me something that I can always keep (i.e. in particular, as opposed to the many rules and conditions that must be kept in general)." By reading that the man said there were too many conditions to keep, one must understand that he was unsure that he could keep them all. He wanted something that he would be sure to uphold. The Prophet said: "(I am advising you in one thing:) Keep your tongue always moist with dhikrullah."

 

It is well-known in Islam that the best work in the path of Allah is jihad. Yet the Prophet, Peace be upon him, placed dhikr even above jihad in the following authentic hadiths.

 

Abu al-Darda' narrates: The Prophet once asked his companions: "Shall I tell you about the best of all deeds, the best act of piety in the eyes of your Lord, which will elevate your status in the Hereafter, and carries more virtue than the spending of gold and silver in the service of Allah or taking part in jihad and slaying or being slain in the path of Allah? The dhikr of Allah." Related in Malik's Muwatta', the Musnad of Ahmad, the Sunan of Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and the Mustadrak of Hakim. Al-Bayhaqi, Hakim and others declared it sahih.

 

Abu Sa`id narrates: The Prophet was asked, "Which of the servants of Allah is best in rank before Allah on the Day of Resurrection?" He said: "The ones who remember him much." I said: "O Messenger of Allah, what about the fighter in the way of Allah?" He answered: "Even if he strikes the unbelievers and mushrikin with his sword until it broke, and becomes red with their blood, truly those who do dhikr are better than him in rank." Related in Ahmad, Tirmidhi, and Bayhaqi.

 

`Abd Allah ibn `Umar said that the Prophet used to say: "Everything has a polish, and the polish of hearts is dhikr of Allah. Nothing is more calculated to rescue from Allah's punishment than dhikr of Allah." He was asked whether this did not apply also to jihad in Allah's path, and he replied: "Not even if one should ply his sword until it breaks." Bayhaqi narrated it in Kitab al-da`awat al-kabir as well as in his Shu`ab al-iman (1:396 #522), also al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (2:396) and Tibrizi mentions it in Mishkat al-masabih, at the end of the book of Supplications.

 

 

Meanings of Dhikr

 

The word dhikr has many meanings.  It means:

 

- Allah's Book and its recitation;

 

- Prayer;

 

- Learning and teaching: The author of Fiqh al-sunna said in his chapter on dhikr:

 

Sa'id ibn Jubayr said, "Anyone engaged in obeying Allah is in fact engaged in the remembrance of Allah." Some of the earlier scholars tied it to some more specified form. `Ata said, "The gatherings of dhikr are the gatherings where the lawful and the prohibited things are discussed, for instance, selling, buying, prayers, fasting, marriage, divorce, and pilgrimage."

 

Qurtubi said, "Gatherings of dhikr are the gatherings for knowledge and admonition, those in which the Word of Allah and the Sunna of His Messenger, accounts of our righteous predecessors, and sayings of the righteous scholars are learned and practised without any addition or innovation, and without any ulterior motives or greed."

 

- Invocation of Allah with the tongue according to one of the formulas taught by the Prophet or any other formula;

 

- Remembrance of Allah in the heart, or with both the heart and the tongue.

 

We are concerned here with the last two meanings, that of mention of Allah, as in the verse, "The believers are those who, when they hear Allah mentioned, their hearts tremble" (8:2), and the Prophet's saying in Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah from Ibn Jubayr: "The best dhikr is La ilaha illallah." The Prophet did not say, "the best dhikr is making a lecture"; or "giving advice"; or "raising funds." We are also concerned here with the meaning of remembrance through the heart, as in the verse: "The men and women who remember Allah abundantly" (33:35). The Prophet both praised and explained what is in the latter verse when he said, as it is related in Muslim, "The single-hearted are foremost." When he was asked, "O Messenger of Allah, who are the single-hearted?" he replied, "The men and women who remember Allah abundantly." The Prophet further elucidated the role of the heart in effecting such remembrance when he said to Abu Hurayra: "Go with these two sandals of mine and whoever you meet behind this wall that witnesses that there is no god except Allah with certitude in his heart, give him glad tidings that he will enter Paradise." (Narrated by Muslim.)

 

Dhikr may sometimes mean both inner remembrance and outward mention, as in the verse "Remember Me, and I shall remember you" (2:152) when it is read in the light of the hadith qudsi, "Those that remember Me in their heart, I remember them in My heart; and those that remember Me in a gathering (i.e. that make mention of Me), I remember them (i.e. make mention of them) in a gathering better than theirs." We return to the explanation of that important hadith further below. Suffice it to say that, broadly speaking, there are three types of dhikr: of the heart, of the tongue, and of the two together.

 

Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1989 ed. 11:251) explained that what is meant by dhikr in Abu al-Darda's narration of the primacy of dhikr over jihad is the complete dhikr and consciousness of Allah's greatness whereby one becomes better, for example, than those who battle the disbelievers without such recollection.

 

In another hadith narrated by Bukhari, the Prophet compared doers of dhikr among non-doers, to those who are alive among those who are dead: mathalu al-ladhi yadhkuru rabbahu wa al-ladhi la yadhkuru rabbahu mathalu al-hayyi wa al-mayyit. (Book of da`awat ch. 66 "The merit of dhikrullah") Ibn Hajar comments it thus in his Fath al-Bari (1989 ed. 11:250):

 

What is meant by dhikr here is the utterance of the expressions which we have been encouraged to say, and say abundantly, such as the enduring good deeds -- al-baqiyat al-salihat -- and they are: subhan allah, al-hamdu lillah, la ilaha illallah, allahu akbar and all that is related to them such as the hawqala (la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah), the basmala (bismillah al-rahman al-rahim), the hasbala (hasbunallahu wa ni`ma al-wakil), istighfar, and the like, as well as invocations for the good of this world and the next.

 

            Dhikrullah also applies to diligence in obligatory or praiseworthy acts, such as the recitation of Qur'an, the reading of hadith, the study of the Science of Islam (al-`ilm), and supererogatory prayers.

 

            Dhikr can take place with the tongue, for which the one who utters it receives reward, and it is not necessary for this that he understand or recall its meaning, on condition that he not mean other than its meaning by its utterance; and if, in addition to its utterance, there is dhikr in the heart, then it is more complete; and if there is, added to that, the recollection of the meaning of the dhikr and what it entails such as magnifying Allah and exalting Him above defect or need, it is even more complete; and if all this takes place inside a good deed, whether an obligatory prayer, or jihad, or other than that, it is even more complete; and if one perfects one's turning to Allah and purifies one's sincerity towards Him: then that is the farthest perfection.

 

            Fakhr al-Din al-Razi said: "What is meant by the dhikr of the tongue is the expressions that stand for tasbih, tahmid, and tamjid -- exaltation, praise, and glorification. As for the dhikr of the heart, it consists in reflection on the proof-texts that point to Allah's essence and His attributes, on those of the obligations including what is enjoined and what is forbidden so that one may examine the rulings that pertain to them, and on the secrets of Allah's creation. As for dhikr of the limbs, it consists in their being immersed in obedience, and that is why Allah named prayer: "dhikr" when He said: "When the call is proclaimed on Jum`a, hasten earnestly to the dhikr of Allah" (62:9). It is reported from some of the Knowers of Allah that dhikr has seven aspects:

                        ·         dhikr of the eyes, which consists in weeping (buka');

                        ·         dhikr of the ears, which consists in listening (isgha');

                        ·         dhikr of the tongue, which consists in praise (thana');

                        ·         dhikr of the hands, which consists in giving (`ata');

                        ·         dhikr of the body, which consists in loyalty (wafa');

                        ·         dhikr of the heart, which consists in fear and hope (kawf wa raja');

                        ·         dhikr of the spirit, which consists of utter submission and acceptance (taslim wa rida')."

 

 

Loudness in dhikr

 

The Prophet praised a man who was awwah -- literally: one who says ah, ah! -- that is: loud in his dhikr, even when others censured him. Ahmad narrated with a good chain in his Musnad (4:159) from `Uqba ibn `Amir: "The Prophet said of a man named Dhu al-bijadayn: innahu awwah, He is a man who says ah a lot. This is because he was a man abundant in his dhikr of Allah in Qur'an-recitation, and he would raise his voice high when supplicating."

 

Allah said of the Prophet Ibrahim: "Verily, Ibrahim is awwah and halim" (9:114, 11:75), that is, according to Tafsir al-jalalayn: "Crying out and suffering much, out of fear and dread of his Lord." [halim = merciful, gentle.] The Prophet prayed to be awwah in the following invocation: rabbi ij`alni ilayka awwahan, "O Allah, make me one who often cries out ah to you." Narrated by Tirmidhi (book of da`awat #102, hasan sahih), Ibn Majah (Du`a' #2), and Ahmad (1:227) with a strong chain [Yahya ibn Sa`id al-Qattan < Sufyan al-Thawri < Shu`ba < `Amr ibn Murra < `Abd Allah ibn al-Harith < Taliq ibn Qays al-Hanafi < Ibn `Abbas] with the following wording:

 

The Prophet used to supplicate thus: "O my Lord! help me and do not cause me to face difficulty; grant me victory and do not grant anyone victory over me; devise for me and not against me; guide me and facilitate guidance for me; make me overcome whoever rebels against me; O my Lord! make me abundantly thankful to You (shakkaran laka), abundantly mindful of You (dhakkaran laka), abundantly devoted to You (rahhaban laka), perfectly obedient to You (mitwa`an ilayka), lowly and humble before You (mukhbitan laka), always crying out and turning back to You (awwahan muniban)!...."

 

 

Gatherings of Collective, Loud Dhikr

 

The hadith qudsi already quoted, "Those that remember Me in a gathering," makes gatherings of collective, loud dhikr the gateway to realizing Allah's promise "Remember Me, and I shall remember you."  It is no wonder that such gatherings receive the highest praise and blessing from Allah and His Prophet, Peace be upon him, according to many excellent and authentic hadiths.

 

In Bukhari and Muslim: The Prophet said that Allah has angels roaming the roads to find the people of dhikr, i.e. those who say La ilaha illallah and similar expressions, and when they find a group of people (qawm) reciting dhikr, they call each other and encompass them in layers until the first heaven. (This is to say, an unlimited number of angels are going to be over that group. He didn't say: "when they find one person." Therefore it is a must to be in a group to get this particular reward.) Allah asks His angels, and He knows already (but He asks in order to assure it and make it understandable for us) "What are my servants saying?" (He did not say "servant," but `ibadi, "servants" in the plural.) The angels say: "They are praising You (tasbih) and magnifying Your Name (takbir) and glorifying You (tahmid), and giving You the best Attributes (tamjid)." (Can you say that all this is a lecture or a study group? Can you say that this is silent? Rather, this is saying "Alhamdulillah" and all kinds of other dhikr.) Allah says: "Have they seen Me?"  The angels answer: "O our Lord! They did not see You." He says: "(They are praising Me without seeing Me,) what if they see Me!" The angels answer: "O our Lord, if they saw You, they are going to do more and more worship, more and more tasbih, more and more takbir, more and more tamjid!" He says: "What are they asking?" Angels say: "They are asking Your Paradise!" He says: "Did they see Paradise?" They say: "O our Lord, no, they have not seen it." He says: "And how will they be if they see it?" They say: "If they see Paradise, they are going to be more attached and attracted to it!" He says: "What are they fearing and running away from?" (When we are saying, "Ya Ghaffar (O Forgiver), Ya Sattar (O Concealer)," it means that we are fearing Him because of our sins. We are asking Him to hide our sins and forgive us.) They say: "They are fearing and running away from hellfire." He says: "And have they seen hellfire?" They say: "O our Lord, no, they did not see hellfire." He says: "And how will they be if they see fire and hell?" They say: "If they see your fire, they are going to be running from it more and more, and be even more afraid of it." (Now listen to this carefully:) And Allah says: "I am making you witness (and does Allah need witnesses? He needs no witness since He said: "Allah is sufficient as witness" (4:79, 4:166, 10:29, 13:43, 29:52). Why make the angels witnesses? Does Allah change His word? "Making you witness" here means, "Assuring you") that I have forgiven them." (Why has Allah forgiven them? Because, as the beginning of the hadith states, they are a group of people reciting the Names of Allah and remembering Him with His dhikr.) One of the angels says: "O my Lord, someone was there who did not belong to that group, but came for some other need." (That person came for some other purpose than dhikr, to ask someone for something.) Allah says: "Those are such a group that anyone who sits with them -- no matter for what reason -- that person will also have his sins forgiven."

 

            The late Imam Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad (d. 1416/1995) said in his book Miftah al-janna (cf. transl. Mostafa Badawi, Key to the Garden, Quilliam Press p. 107-108):

 

This hadith indicates what merit lies in gathering for dhikr, and in everyone present doing it aloud and in unison, because of the phrases: "They are invoking You" in the plural, and "They are the people who sit," meaning those who assemble for remembrance and do it in unison, something which can only be done aloud, since someone whose dhikr is silent has no need to seek out a session in someone else's company.

 

This is further indicated by the hadith qudsi which runs: "Allah says: I am to my servant as he expects of Me, I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in his heart, I remember him to Myself, and if he remembers me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly better than his..." (Bukhari and Muslim) Thus, silent dhikr is differentiated fron dhikr said outloud by His saying: "remembers Me within himself," meaning: "silently," and "in an assembly," meaning "aloud."

 

Dhikr in a gathering can only be done aloud and in unison. The above hadith thus constitutes proof that dhikr done outloud in a gathering is an exalted kind of dhikr which is mentioned at the Highest Assembly (al-mala' al-a`la) by our Majestic Lord and the angels who are near to Him, "who extol Him night and day, and never tire" (21:20).

 

The affinity is clearly evident between those who do dhikr in the transcendent world, who have been created with an inherently obedient and remembering nature, namely the angels, and those who do dhikr in the dense world, whose natures contain lassitude and distraction; namely, human beings. The reward of the latter for their dhikr is that they be elevated to a rank similar to that of the Highest Assembly, which is a sufficient honor and favor for anyone.

 

Allah has bestowed a special distinction upon those who remember Him. Muslim and Tirmidhi narrate on the authority of Abu Hurayra who said: "While on the road to Mecca the Prophet passed on top of a mountain called Jumdan (= frozen in its place), at which time he said: Move on (siru)! Here is Jumdan Mountain: and the single-minded (al-mufarridun) are foremost. They said: Who are the single-minded, O Messenger of Allah? He said: The men and women who remember Allah unceasingly (al-dhakirun Allah kathiran wa al-dhakirat)." Muslim related it in his Sahih, beginning of the book of Dhikr.

 

            The mountain has overtaken the people because the mountain is reciting dhikr also. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya in Madarij al-salikin explains that the term mufarridun has two meanings here: either the muwahhidun, the people engaged in tawhid who declare Allah's Oneness as a group (i.e. not necessarily alone), or those whom he calls ahad furada, the same people as (single) individuals sitting alone (in isolation). From this example it is evident that in the explanation of Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, sittings of dhikr can be in a group, and can be all alone. In another explanation of mufarridun also cited by Ibn Qayyim, the meaning is ‘those that tremble from reciting dhikrullah, entranced with it perpetually, not caring what people say or do about them.' This is because the Prophet said: udhkur Allaha hatta yaqulu majnun "Remember / mention Allah as much as you want, until people say that you are crazy and foolish" (Narrated by Ahmad in his Musnad, Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, and al-Hakim who declared it sahih); that is: do not care about them!

 

The mufarridun are the people who are really alive. Abu Musa reported, "The likeness of the one who remembers his Lord and the one who does not remember Him is like that of a living to a dead person." (Bukhari)

 

Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet said: "When you pass by the gardens of Paradise, avail yourselves of them." The Companions asked: "What are the gardens of Paradise, O Messenger of Allah?" He replied: "The circles of dhikr. There are roaming angels of Allah who go about looking for the circles of dhikr, and when they find them they surround them closely." Tirmidhi narrated it (hasan gharib) and Ahmad.

 

Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri and Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, peace by upon him, said, "When any group of men remember Allah, angels surround them and mercy covers them, tranquility descends upon them, and Allah mentions them to those who are with Him." Narrated by Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Bayhaqi.

 

Muslim, Ahmad, and Tirmidhi narrate from Mu`awiya that the Prophet went out to a circle of his Companions and asked: "What made you sit here?" They said: "We are sitting here in order to remember / mention Allah (nadhkurullaha) and to glorify Him (wa nahmaduhu) because He guided us to the path of Islam and he conferred favors upon us." Thereupon he adjured them by Allah and asked if that was the only purpose of their sitting there. They said: "By Allah, we are sitting here for this purpose only." At this the Prophet said: "I am not asking you to take an oath because of any misapprehension against you, but only because Gabriel came to me and informed me that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, was telling the angels that He is proud of you!" Note that the hadith stated jalasna -- we sat -- in the plural, not singular. It referred to an association of people in a group, not one person.

 

Shahr ibn Hawshab relates that one day Abu al-Darda' entered the Masjid of Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) and saw people gathered around their admonisher (mudhakkir) who was reminding them, and they were raising their voices, weeping, and making invocations. Abu al-Darda' said: "My father's life and my mother's be sacrificed for those who moan over their state before the Day of Moaning!" Then he said: "O Ibn Hawshab, let us hurry and sit with those people. I heard the Prophet say: If you see the groves of Paradise, graze in them, and we said: O Messenger of Allah, what are the groves of Paradise? He said: The circles of remembrance, by the One in Whose hand is my soul, no people gather for the remembrance of Allah Almighty except the angels surround them closely, and mercy covers them, and Allah mentions them in His presence, and when they desire to get up and leave, a herald calls them saying: Rise forgiven, your evil deeds have been changed into good deeds!" Then Abu al-Darda' made towards them and sat with them eagerly. The hafiz Ibn al-Jawzi relates it with his chain of transmission in the chapter entitled: "Mention of those of the elite who used to attend the gatherings of story-tellers" of his book al-Qussas wa al-mudhakkirin (The Story-tellers and the Admonishers) ed. Muhammad Basyuni Zaghlul (Beirut: dar al-kutub al-`ilmiyya, 1406/1986) p. 31.

 

The above shows evidence for the permissibility of loud dhikr, group dhikr, and the understanding of dhikr as including admonishment and the recounting of stories that benefit the soul. And Allah knows best.

 

 

Types and frequency of Dhikr

 

Because dhikr is the life of the heart, Ibn Taymiyya is quoted by his student Ibn Qayyim as saying that Dhikr is as necessary for the heart as water for the fish. Ibn Qayyim himself wrote a book, al-Wabil al-sayyib, on the virtues of dhikr, where he lists more than one hundred such virtues, among them (Quoted in Maulana M. Zakariyya Kandhalvi, Virtues of Dhikr (Lahore: Kutub Khana Faizi, n.d.) p. 74-76:

 

- It induces love for Allah.  He who seeks access to the love of Almighty Allah should do dhikr profusely.  Just as reading and repetition is the door of knowledge, so dhikr of Allah is the gateway to His love.

 

- Dhikr involves muraqaba or meditation, through which one reaches the state of ihsan or excellence, wherein a person worships Allah as if he is actually seeing Him.

 

- The gatherings for dhikr are gatherings of angels, and gatherings without dhikr are gatherings of Satan.

 

- By virtue of dhikr, the person doing dhikr is blessed, as also the person sitting next to him.

 

- In spite of the fact that dhikr is the easiest form of worship (the movement of the tongue being easier than the movement of any other part of the body), yet it is the most virtuous form.

 

- Dhikr is a form of Sadaqa -- charity. Abu Dharr al-Ghifari said: "The Messenger of Allah said: "Sadaqa is for every person every day the sun rises." I said: "O Messenger of Allah, from what do we give sadaqa if we do not possess property?" He said: "The doors of sadaqa are takbir (i.e. to say: Allahu Akbar, Allah is Greatest); Subhan Allah (Allah is exalted high); al-hamdu lillah (all praise is for Allah); La ilaha illallah (there is no god other than Allah); Astaghfirullah (I seek forgiveness from Allah); enjoining good; forbidding evil.... These are all the doors of sadaqah from you which is prescribed for you, and there is a reward for you even in sex with your wife." Narrated by Ahmad and Ibn Hibban, and there is something of similar effect in Muslim.

 

All words of praise and glory to Allah, extolling His Perfect Attributes of Power and Majesty, Beauty and Sublimeness, whether one utters them by tongue or says them silently in one's heart, are known as dhikr or remembrance, of Allah. He has commanded us to remember Him at all times. Allah says:

 

            ·         "O you who believe! Celebrate the praises of Allah, and do so often; and glorify Him morning and evening." (33:41-42)

 

If anyone remembers Allah, He remembers that person:

 

            ·         "Remember me, I shall remember you." (2:152)

 

Remembrance of Allah is the foundation of good deeds. Whoever succeeds in it is blessed with the close friendship of Allah. That is why the Prophet, peace be upon him, used to make remembrance of Allah at all times. When a man complained, "The laws of Islam are too heavy for me, so tell me something that I can easily follow," the Prophet told him, "Let your tongue be always busy with the remembrance of Allah." [Narrated by Ahmad with two sound chains, also Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah through other chains, and Ibn Hibban who declared it sahih as well as al-Hakim.]

 

Remembrance of Allah is also a means of deliverance from Hell Fire. Mu'adh reported, "The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, 'No other act of man is a more effective means for his deliverance from the chastisement of Allah than the remembrance of Allah." (Narrated by Ahmad.)

 

Ahmad also reports that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "All that you say in celebration of Allah's Glory, Majesty, and Oneness, and all your words of Praise for Him gather around the Throne of Allah. These words resound like the buzzing of bees, and call attention to the person who uttered them to Allah. Don't you wish to have someone there in the presence of Allah who would call attention to you?"

 

 

The required amount of dhikr is as much as possible

 

Allah ordered that He should be remembered abundantly. Describing the wise men and women who ponder His signs, the Qur'an mentions:

 

            ·         "Those who remember Allah standing, sitting and on their sides," (3:191), and

            ·         "Those men and women who engage much in Allah's praise. For them has Allah prepared forgiveness and a great reward." (3:191, 33:35)

 

The author of Fiqh al-Sunna mentioned that Mujahid explained: "A person cannot be one of 'those men and women who remember Allah much' as mentioned in the above verse of the Qur'an, unless he or she remembers Allah at all times, standing, sitting, or lying in bed," and that when asked how much dhikr one should do to be considered as one of "those who remember Allah much" (33:35), Ibn as-Salah said that "much" is "when one is constant in supplicating, in the morning and evening and in other parts of the day and the night as reported from the Prophet, peace be upon him."

 

Concerning the above Qur'anic verses `Ali ibn Abu Talha relates that Ibn `Abbas said, "All obligations imposed upon man by Allah are clearly marked and one is exempted from them only in the presence of a genuine cause. The only exception is the obligation of dhikr. Allah has set no specific limits for it, and under no circumstances is one allowed to be negligent of it. We are commanded to "remember Allah standing, sitting and reclining on your sides" (3:191), in the morning, during the day, at sea or on land, on journeys or at home, in poverty and in prosperity, in sickness or in health, openly and secretly, and, in fact, at all times throughout one's life and in all circumstances."

 

We see by the above evidence that there is no such thing as too much dhikr. The Prophet is related to say: "He who loves something mentions it much." (Narrated by Abu Nu`aym in the Hilya and Daylami in Musnad al-firdaws. Sakhawi cites it in al-Maqasid al-hasana p. 393 #1050 and does not comment upon it.) We love Allah and His Prophet, and therefore we mention Allah and His Prophet. No one may declare a limit to such mention except those who do not have such love, such as the enemies of Islam.

 

Imam Ghazali said in the fortieth book of his Ihya' entitled "The Remembrance of Death and The Afterlife" (p. 124 in the translation of T.J. Winter, `Abd al-Hakim Murad):

 

It is man's soul and spirit that constitute his real nature... Upon death his state changes in two ways. Firstly he is now deprived of his eyes, ears and tongue, his hand, his feet and all his parts, just as he is deprived of family, children, relatives, and all the people he used to know, and of his horses and other riding-beasts, his servant-boys, his houses and property, and all that he used to own. There is no distinction to be drawn between his being taken from these things and these things being taken from him, for it is the separation itself which causes pain....

 

If there was anything in the world in which he had found consolation and peace, then he will greatly lament for it after he dies, and feel the greatest sorrow over losing it. His heart will turn to thoughts of everything he owned, of his power and estates, even to a shirt he used to wear, for instance, and in which he took pleasure.

 

However, had he taken pleasure only in the remembrance of Allah, and consoled himself with Him alone, then his will be great bliss and perfect happiness. For the barriers which lay between him and his Beloved will now be removed, and he will be free of the obstacles and cares of the world, all of which had distracted him from the remembrance of Allah. This is one of the aspects of the difference between the states of life and death.

 

On the same topic Imam Habib al-Haddad said (Key to the Garden p. 104):

 

Time and days are a man's capital, while his inclinations, desires, and various ambitions are the highway robbers. The way in which one profits on this journey lies in succeeding in coming to Allah and in attaining everlasting happiness, while one loses by being veiled from Allah, and being consigned to the painful torment of the Fire.

 

            For this reason the intelligent believer transforms all his breaths into acts of obedience, and interrupts them only with the dhikr of Allah.

 

 

The importance of silent dhikr

 

The author of Fiqh al-sunna writes:

 

The purpose of dhikr is to purify hearts and souls and awaken the human conscience. The Qur'an says:

 

                        ·         "And establish regular prayer, for prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds, and remembrance of Allah is the greatest thing in life, without doubt." (29:45)

 

In other words, the remembrance of Allah has a greater impact in restraining one from shameful and unjust deeds than just the formal regular prayer. This is so because when a servant opens up his soul to his Lord, extolling His praise, Allah strengthens him with His light, increasing thereby his faith and conviction, and reassuring his mind and heart. This refers to:

 

                        ·         "those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah, for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction." (13:28)

 

And when hearts are satisfied with the Truth, they turn to the highest ideals without being deflected by impulses of desire or lust. This underscores the importance of dhikr in man's life. Obviously it would be unreasonable to expect these results just by uttering certain words, for words of the tongue unsupported by a willing heart are of no consequence. Allah Himself has taught us the manner in which a person should remember Him, saying:

 

                        ·         "And do bring your Lord to remembrance in your very soul, with humility and in reverence, without loudness in words, in the mornings and evening, and be not of those who are unheedful." (7:205)

 

This verse indicates that doing dhikr in silence and without raising one's voice is better. Once during a journey the Prophet, peace be upon him, heard a group of Muslims supplicating aloud. Thereupon the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Give yourselves a respite, you are not calling upon someone deaf or absent. Surely He Whom you are calling upon is near you and He listens to all. He is nearer to you than the neck of your mount." [Muslim]

 

This hadith underlines the love and awe a person should feel while engaged in dhikr.

 

It is related from Sa`d that the Prophet said: “The best dhikr is the hidden dhikr, and the best money is what suffices.” Ahmad narrates it in his Musnad, Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, and Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman. Nawawi said the hadith was not firmly established.

 

            In the Fatawa fiqhiyya of al-Haytami (p. 48): He was asked about Nawawi's saying at the end of the chapter entitled "Dhikr Gatherings" in his Commentary on Sahih Muslim: “Dhikr of the tongue with presence of the heart is preferable to dhikr of the heart [without].” Ibn Hajar said: “It is not because dhikr of the heart is an established worship in the lexical sense [i.e. consisting in specific formulae] that it is preferable, but because through it one intently means, in his heart, to exalt and magnify Allah above all else. That is the meaning both of the aforementioned saying of Nawawi and of the saying of some that "There is no reward in dhikr of the heart." By denying there is a reward in it, one means "There is no reward in the words, which are not uttered"; and by establishing that there is reward in it, one means "in the fact that the heart is present," as we have just said. Consider this, for it is important. And Allah knows best.”

 

            According to the Naqshbandi masters, dhikr in the heart is more useful for the murid or student for it is more efficient in shaking the heart from indifference and awakening it. Shah Naqshband said: "There are two methods of dhikr; one is silent and one is loud. I chose the silent one because it is stronger and therefore more preferable."

 

            Shaykh Amin al-Kurdi said in his book Tanwir al-qulub (Enlightenment of Hearts) p. 522:

 

Know that there are two kinds of dhikr: "by heart" (qalbi) and "by tongue" (lisani). Each has its legal proofs in the Qur'an and the Sunna. The dhikr by tongue, which combines sounds and letters, is not easy to perform at all times, because buying and selling and other such activities altogether divert one's attention from such dhikr. The contrary is true of the dhikr by heart, which is named that way in order to signify its freedom from letters and sounds. In that way nothing distracts one from his dhikr: with the heart remember Allah, secretly from creation, wordlessly and speechlessly. That remembrance is best of all: out of it flowed the sayings of the saints.

 

            That is why our Naqshbandi masters have chosen the dhikr of the heart. Moreover, the heart is the place where the Forgiver casts his gaze, and the seat of belief, and the receptacle of secrets, and the source of lights. If it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is unsound, the whole body is unsound, as was made clear for us by the Chosen Prophet.

 

Something that confirms this was narrated on the authority of `A'isha: "Allah favors dhikr above dhikr seventyfold (meaning, silent dhikr over loud dhikr). On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will bring back human beings to His account, and the Recording Angels will bring what they have recorded and written, and Allah Almighty will say: See if something that belongs to my servant was left out? The angels will say: We left nothing out concerning what we have learnt and recorded, except that we have assessed it and written it. Allah will say: O my servant, I have something good of yours for which I alone will reward you, it is your hidden remembrance of Me." Bayhaqi narrated it.

 

Also on the authority of `A'isha: "The dhikr not heard by the Recording Angels equals seventy times the one they hear." Bayhaqi narrated it.

 

 

On Seclusion (khalwa, `uzla)

 

Silent dhikr is the dhikr of the servant who secludes himself away from people. Narrated Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri: A bedouin came to the Prophet and said, "O Allah's Apostle! Who is the best of mankind?" The Prophet said, "A man who strives for Allah's Cause with his life and property, and also a man who lives (all alone) in a mountain path among the mountain paths to worship his Lord and save the people from his evil." (English Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 501) [Arabic: Ja'a a`rabiyyun ila al-nabi faqala ya rasulallahi ayyu khayru al-nas? qala rajulun jahidun bi nafsihi wa malih...]

 

Abu Sa`id al-Khudri said: I heard the Prophet say: "There will come a time upon the people when the best property of a Muslim man will be his sheep which he will take to the tops of mountains and to the places of rainfall to run away with his Religion far from trials. (English Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 502) [Arabic: ya'ti `ala al-nasi zamanun khayru mali al-rajuli al-muslim...]

 

Malik narrates in his Muwatta': that Humayd ibn Malik ibn Khuthaym was sitting with Abu Hurayra in his land of al-`Aqiq when a group of the people of Madina came to him. They dismounted and came to him. Humayd said: Abu Hurayra said [to me]: "Go to my mother and say to her: Your son sends his salam and asks you to send us a little food." I went and she gave me three loaves of bread and some olive oil and salt. I carried it to them. When I put it in front of them Abu Hurayra said: "Allahu akbar. Praise be to Allah Who has sated us with bread after the time when our only food was the two black ones: water and dates." The people did not leave anything except they ate it. When they went away, he said: "Son of my brother: be kind to your sheep, wipe their mucus from them, improve their pastures, and pray in their vicinity, for they are from the animals of Paradise. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, there will soon come a time upon people when the flock of sheep will be dearer to its owner than the sons of Marwan [= human company?]."

 

Muslim and Tirmidhi narrate on the authority of Abu Hurayra who said: "While on the road to Mecca the Prophet passed on top of a mountain called Jumdan (= frozen in its place), at which time he said: Move on (siru)! Here is Jumdan Mountain: and the single-minded (al-mufarridun) are foremost. They said: Who are the single-minded, O Messenger of Allah? He said: The men and women who remember Allah unceasingly (al-dhakirun Allah kathiran wa al-dhakirat)." Muslim related it in his Sahih, beginning of the book of Dhikr.

 

The version in Tirmidhi has: The Prophet said: "The single-minded (al-mufarridun) are foremost. They said: What are the single-minded? He said: Those who dote on the remembrance of Allah and are ridiculed because of it (al-mustahtirun bi dhikr Allah), and whose burdens the dhikr removes from them (yada`u `anhum al-dhikru athqalahum), so that they come to Allah fluttering (fa ya'tun Allaha khifaqan)."

 

al-Mundhiri said in al-Tharghib wa al-tarhib [The Encouragement to Good and the Discouragement from Evil]: "These are the ones who are fired up with the remembrance of Allah (al-muwalla`un bi dhikrillah)."

 

Nawawi writes in Sharh Sahih Muslim, Bk. 48, Ch. 1, Hadith 4: "Some pronounced it mufridun (= those who isolate themselves)... Ibn Qutayba and others said: The original meaning of this is those whose relatives have died and they have become single (in the world) with regard to their passing from them, so they have remained remembering Allah the Exalted. Another narration has: They are those who are moved at the mention or remembrance of Allah (hum al-ladhina ihtazzu fi dhikrillah), that is, they have become fervently devoted and attached to His remembrance. Ibn al-`Arabi said: ‘It is said that "a man becomes single" (farada al-rajul) when he becomes learned, isolates himself, and concerns himself exclusively with the observance of Allah's orders and prohibitions.'"

 

Dhikr in isolation or seclusion (khalwa) is corroborated by the hadith in Bukhari: "Seven people will be shaded by Allah..." The seventh is: "A person who remembers Allah in seclusion (dhakara Allaha khaliyan) and his eyes get flooded with tears."

 

In Tirmidhi: `A'isha relates: "In the beginnings of Allah's Messenger's Prophethood, at the time Allah desired to bestow honor upon him and mercy upon His servants through him, he would not have any vision except it came to pass as surely as the sun rises. He continued like this for as long as Allah wished. Most beloved to him was seclusion (al-khalwa) and there was nothing he loved more than to be alone in seclusion." Tirmidhi narrates it and said: hasan sahih gharib. Bukhari and Muslim narrate something very similar through different chains and the word khala' is used instead of khalwa.

 

Ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Bari in the commentary on Bukhari's chapter on seclusion:

 

Ibn al-Mubarak relates in Kitab al-raqa'iq from Shu`ba from Khubayb ibn `Abd al-rahman from Hafs ibn `Asim that `Umar said: "Take your part of fortune from seclusion." And what a good saying is al-Junayd's saying, may Allah grant us the benefit of his baraka: "Undergoing the difficulty of seclusion is easier than mixing with society unscathed." al-Khattabi said in his "Book of Seclusion" (Kitab al-`uzla): "If there were not in seclusion other than safety from backbiting and the sight of what is forbidden but cannot be eliminated, it would have been enough of an immense good." Bukhari's title [Chapter on Seclusion As Rest From Keeping Company Towards Evil] refers to the hadith cited by al-Hakim from Abu Dharr from the Prophet with a fair (hasan) chain: "Isolation is better than to be sociable in committing evil." However, what is usually retained is that it is a saying of Abu Dharr or Abu al-Darda'. Ibn Abi `Asim cited it... al-Qushayri said in his Risala: "The method of the one who enters seclusion is that he must have the belief that he is keeping people from his evil, not the reverse, for the former presupposes belittlement of himself, which is the attribute of the humble, while the latter indicates that he considers himself better than others, which is the attribute of the arrogant."

 

Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi writes in Sharh Sahih Tirmidhi, Book 45 (da`awat), Ch. 4:

 

If it is said that the times have become so corrupt that there is nothing better than isolating oneself, we say: one isolates oneself from people in one's actions, while he keeps mixing with them with his physical body, however, if he cannot succeed, then at that time he isolates himself from them physically but without entering into monasticism (ya`taziluhum bi badanihi wa la yadkhulu fi al-rahbaniyya) which is condemned and rejected by the Sunna.

 

 

Dhikr with the name "ALLAH"

 

Allah said in His Book: "And mention the name of your Lord and devote yourself to Him with a complete devotion" (73:8). Qadi Thana'ullah Panipati said in his Tafsir Mazhari (10:111): "Know that this verse points to the repetition of the name of the Essence (ism al-dhat)," that is: "Allah." The same meaning is intimated also by the end of verse 6:91 in Surat al-An`am: "Say ALLAH. Then leave them to their play and vain wrangling."

 

The Prophet said: "The Hour will not rise before Allah, Allah is no longer said on earth." And through another chain: "The Hour will not rise on anyone saying: Allah, Allah." Muslim narrated both in his Sahih, Book of Iman (Belief), chapter 66 entitled: dhahab al-iman akhir al-zaman "The Disappearance of Belief at the End of Times."

 

Imam Nawawi said in his commentary on this chapter: "Know that the narrations of this hadith are unanimous in the repetition of the name of Allah the Exalted for both versions, and that is the way it is found in all the authoritative books." (Sharh Sahih Muslim, Dar al-Qalam, Beirut ed. vol. 1/2 p. 537)

 

Imam Muslim placed the hadith under the chapter-heading of the disappearance of belief (iman) at the end of times although there is no mention of belief in the hadith. This shows that saying "Allah, Allah" stands for belief. Those who say it show belief, while those who don't say it, don't show belief. Therefore those who fight those who say it, are actually worse than those who merely lack belief and do not say "Allah, Allah."

 

Nawawi highlights the authenticity of the repetition of the form to establish that the repetition of the words "Allah, Allah" are a sunna ma'thura (practice inherited from the Prophet and the Companions) as it stands. Ibn Taymiyya's claim that the words must not be used alone but obligatorily in contruct, e.g. with a vocative form ("Ya Allah"), therefore contradicts the Sunna.

 

It is noteworthy that the Siddiqi translation of Sahih Muslim mistranslates the first narration cited above as: "The Hour (Resurrection) would not come so long as Allah is supplicated in the world" and the second as "The Hour (Resurrection) would not come upon anyone so long as he supplicates Allah." This is wrong as translations go, although it is right as a commentary, since saying Allah, Allah is supplicating Him, as is all worship according to the hadith of the Prophet: "Supplication: that is what worship is." (Tirmidhi and others narrate it.) However, concerning accuracy in translation, the word form highlighted by Nawawi must be kept intact in any explanation of this hadith. It is not merely "supplicating Allah." It is saying: Allah, Allah according to the Prophet's own words.

 

One who knows that the dhikr "Allah, Allah" has been mentioned by the Prophet himself, is not at liberty to muse whether it was used by the Companions or not in order to establish its basis. It suffices for its basis to establish that the Prophet said it. And yet, it is established that Bilal used to make the dhikr Ahad, Ahad while undergoing torture. Ibn Hisham says in his Sira: Ibn Ishaq narrates [with his chain of transmission] saying: "Bilal was a faithful Muslim, pure of heart... Umayya ibn Khalaf used to bring him out in the hottest part of the day and throw him on his back in the open valley and have a great rock put on his chest; then he would say to him: You will stay here until you die or deny Muhammad and worship al-Lat and al-`Uzza. He used to say while he was enduring this: Ahad, Ahad -- One, One!" Ibn Hajar cites it in al-Isaba (1:171 #732).

 

One who knows that Allah, Allah is a dhikr used by the Prophet, is not at liberty to object to similar forms of dhikr such as HU and HAYY and HAQQ. "To Allah belong the most beautiful names, so call Him by them" (7:180). As for the hadith of the ninety-nine names, it does not limit the names of Allah to only ninety-nine, as Nawawi made clear in his commentary of that hadith.

 

 

Dhikr "Hu", "Hayy", "Haqq"

 

- "Hu" and "Hayy" are respectively a pronoun and a name of Allah Almighty in the Qur'an according to ayat al-Kursi:

 

            Allahu la ilaha illa HU AL-HAYY al-Qayyum (2:255)

 

Allah! There is no god except HE, the LIVING the Self-Subsistent

 

- "Haqq" is one of the names of Allah in the hadith in Bukhari and Muslim enumerating the ninety-nine Names (see below).

 

Furthermore, the Prophet prayed to Allah with the following invocations:

 

(a) "Labbayka ilah al-Haqq" [At your command, O the God of Truth]. It is narrated in the book of Hajj in al-Nasa'i's Sunan, and in the book of Manasik in Ibn Majah's.

 

(b) "Anta al-Haqq" [You are Truth]. Bukhari and Muslim.

 

- Allah said: "Wa lillahi al-asma' al-husna fad`uhu biha" : To Allah belong the Most beautiful Names, so call Him with them (7:180). These names are not confined to ninety-nine, as Nawawi explicitly stated in his commentary on the hadith in Bukhari and Muslim whereby the Prophet said: "Inna lillahi ta`ala tis`atan wa tis`ina isman, mi'atan illa wahidan, man ahsaha dakhala al-jannat...": "There are ninety-nine names which belong to Allah, one hundred less one, whoever memorizes (or recites) them enters Paradise..." Nawawi and others showed that the meaning of this hadith -- and Allah knows best -- is not: "There are only ninety-nine names," but "There are ninety-nine well-known names," or "There are ninety-nine names which suffice to enter Paradise if memorized."

 

- The Prophet used to call Allah by ALL His Names: "Allahumma inni ad`uka bi asma'ika al-husna kulliha": O Allah, I invoke You with all of Your beautiful Names. Narrated by Ibn Maja, book of Du`a; and by Imam Malik in his Muwatta', Kitab al-Shi`r.

 

 

Dhikr in Dim Surroundings

 

- Allah said to the Prophet: "Wa min al-layli fa tahajjad bihi nafilatan laka" : "And some part of the night awake for it, a largess for thee" (17:79), and He said: "Lo! the vigil of the night is a time when impression is more keen and speech more certain." (73:6).

 

The superiority of prayer at night is known in all books of hadith and fiqh because of the elimination of worldly distractions at that time. That is why Imam Ghazali wrote on that topic: "The root of thought is the eye... He whose niyyat (intention) is fine and who aims high cannot be diverted by what occurs in front of him, but he who is weak falls prey to it. The medicine is to cut off the roots of these distractions and to shut up the eyes, to pray in a dark room, not to keep anything in front which may attract attention and not to pray in a decorated place. For this reason, the saints used to worship in dark, narrow and unspacious rooms." Ihya' `Ulum al-Din, Book of Salat.

 

 

Movement during dhikr

 

We have already mentioned above the version of the hadith of Muslim whereby the Prophet praised the mufarridun or those who are single-minded in their remembrance of Allah: Nawawi said:

 

Another narration has: "They are those who shake or are moved at the mention or remembrance of Allah (hum al-ladhina ihtazzu fi dhikrillah), that is, they have become fervently devoted and attached to His remembrance."

 

Imam Habib al-Haddad said in Key to the Garden (p. 116):

 

Dhikr returns from the outward feature which is the tongue to the inward which is the heart, where it becomes solidly rooted, so that it takes firm hold of its members. The sweetness of this is tasted by the one who has taken to dhikr with the whole of himself, so that his skin and heart are softened. As Allah said: "Then their skins and their hearts soften to the remembrance of Allah" (39:23).

 

The "softening of the heart" consists in the sensitivity and timidity that occur as a result of nearness and tajalli [manifestation of one or more divine attributes]. Sufficient is it to have Allah as one's intimate companion!

 

As for the "softening of the skin" this is the ecstasy and swaying from side to side which result from intimacy and manifestation, or from fear and awe. No blame is attached to someone who has reached this rank if he sways and chants, for in the painful throes of love and passion he finds something which arouses the highest yearning....

 

The exhortation provided by fear and awe brings forth tears and forces one to tremble and be humble. These are the states of the righteous believers (abrar) when they hear the Speech and dhikr of Allah the Exalted. "Their skins shiver" (39:23), and then soften with their hearts and incline to dhikr of Him, as they are covered in serenity and dignity, so that they are neither frivolous, pretentious, noisy, or ostentatious. Allah the Exalted has not described them as people whose sense of reason has departed, who faint, dance, or jump about.

 

 

More Hadiths on the Virtues of Dhikr

 

Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said: "When a servant of Allah utters the words la ilaha illallah (there is no god except Allah) sincerely, the doors of heaven open up for these words until they reach the Throne of Allah, so long as its utterer keeps away from the major sins." (Narrated by Tirmidhi, who says it is hasan gharib. al-Mundhiri included in al-Targhib 2:414)

 

Abu Hurayra also reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Renew your faith." "How can we renew our faith?" they asked. The Prophet replied: "Say always: la ilaha illallah." (Narrated by Ahmad with a fair chain of authorities)

 

Jabir reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "The best remembrance of Allah is to repeat la ilaha illallah and the best prayer (du'a) is al-hamdu lillah (all praise belongs to Allah)." (Narrated by Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and Hakim who declared its chain sound)

 

Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said: "There are two phrases that are light on the tongue but heavy on the scale of rewards and are dear to the Gracious One. These are: subhan Allah wa bi hamdihi, "Glorified is Allah with all praise to Him," and subhan Allah al-`azim, "Glorified is Allah, the Great." (Narrated by Bukhari, Muslim, and Tirmidhi)

 

Abu Hurayra  also reported that the Prophet said: "I love repeating: subhan Allah, wa al-hamdu lillah, wa la ilaha illallah, wallahu akbar: "Glorified is Allah, and Praise be to Allah, and There is no God but Allah, and Allah is most Great," more than all that the sun shines upon." (Narrated by Muslim and Tirmidhi)

 

Abu Dharr reported that the Prophet said: "Shall I tell you the words that Allah loves the most?" I said: "Yes, tell me, O Messenger of Allah." He said: "The words dearest to Allah are: subhan Allah wa bi hamdihi "Glorified is Allah with all praise to Him." (Narrated by Muslim and Tirmidhi)

 

In Tirmidhi's version, we also find the following: "The words most dear to Allah which He has chosen for His angels are: subhana rabbi wa bi hamdihi subhana rabbi wa bi hamdihi, "Glorified is my Lord with all praise to Him, Glorified is my Lord with all praise to Him!"

 

Jabir reported that the Prophet said: "Whoever says: "Glorified is Allah, the Great, with all praise to Him" will have a palm tree planted for him in Paradise." (Narrated by Tirmidhi, who said it is hasan)

 

Abu Sa`id reported that the Prophet said: "Perform the enduring goods deeds (al-baqiyat al-salihat) more frequently." They asked, "What are these enduring good deeds?" The Prophet replied: Takbir [allahu akbar], Tahlil [la ilaha illallah], Tasbih [subhan allah], al-hamdu lillah, and la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah. (Narrated by Nasa'i and Hakim, who said its chain is sahih.)

 

`Abd Allah ibn Mas`ud reported that the Prophet said: "During the Night Journey I met Ibrahim who said to me: O Muhammad, convey my greetings to your Community, and tell them that the Paradise is of pure land, its water is sweet, and its expanse is vast, spacious and even. And its seedlings are:

 

subhan allah: Glory to Allah

wa al-hamdu lillah: and Praise to Allah

wa la ilaha illallah: and there is no god but Allah

wallahu akbar: and Allah is greatest.

 

(Narrated by Tirmidhi and Tabarani whose version adds: "There is no power nor strength save through Allah.")

 

Samura ibn Jundub reported that the Prophet said: "The dearest phrases to Allah are four: subhan Allah, wa al-hamdu lillah, wa la ilaha illallah, wallahu akbar: "Glorified is Allah, and Praise be to Allah, and There is no God but Allah, and Allah is most Great," There is no harm in beginning them in any order you choose while remembering Allah." (Narrated by Muslim)

 

Ibn Mas`ud reported that the Prophet said: "If anyone recites the last two verses of Surat al- Baqara at night (2:285-286), they will suffice for him." (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim). That is, these two verses will bring him a reward equivalent to that of a night prayer, and will safeguard him from any hurt during that night. Ibn Khuzayma in his Sahih mentioned it under the chapter "The Recitation of the Qur'an Equivalent in Reward to a Night Prayer."

 

Abu Sa`id al-Khudri narrated that the Prophet asked: "Can anyone of you recite a third of the Qur'an during the night?" The Companions considered this difficult and they said: "Who among us can do so, O Prophet of Allah?" Thereupon the Prophet said: "Allah, the One, the Eternally-Besought [i.e. surat al-Ikhlas] is a third of the Qur'an." (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)

 

Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said: "Whoever says: la ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lah, lahu al-mulku wa lahu al-hamd, wa huwa `ala kulli shay'in qadir -- There is no god but Allah, alone, without partner. His is the sovereignty, and His the praise, and He has power over everything -- a hundred times a day will have a reward equivalent to the reward for freeing ten slaves. In addition, a hundred good deeds will be recorded for him and a hundred bad deeds of his will be wiped off, and it will be a safeguard for him from Satan that day until evening, and no one will be better in deeds than such a person except he who does more than that." (Narrated by Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i and Ibn Majah)

 

In the version of Muslim, Tirmidhi, and Nasa'i, we find this addition: "Whoever says: subhan Allah wa bi hamdihi -- Glorified is Allah with all praise to Him -- a hundred times during a day, will have all his sins wiped off even if they were as numerous as the foam on the surface of the sea."

 

 

Istighfar

 

Anas reported that he heard the Prophet saying that Allah says, "O son of Adam, whatever you asked Me and expect from Me I forgave -- respecting that which you owed to Me -- and I don't care (how great this was). O Son of Adam, even if your sins pile up to the sky and then you seek My forgiveness I will forgive you, and O son of Adam, even if you have an earthful of sins but you meet Me without associating any other thing with Me I will forgive you." (Narrated by Tirmidhi who said it is hasan sahih.)

 

`Abd Allah ibn `Abbas said: "If one supplicates without fail for forgiveness from Allah, He finds a way out for him to get out of every distress and difficulty, and gives him sustenance through ways utterly unthought of." (Narrated by Abu Dawud, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and Hakim, who said its chain of authorities is sound.)

 

Juwayriyya bint al-Harith, one of the wives of the Prophet, reported that one day the Prophet left her apartment in the morning as she was busy observing her dawn prayer in her place of worship. He came back in the forenoon and she was still sitting there. The Prophet said to her: "You have been in the same place since I left you?" She said: "Yes." Thereupon the Prophet said: "I recited four words three times after I left you and if these are to be weighed against what you have recited since morning these would outweigh them, and these words are:

 

subhan allahi wa bi hamdihi `adada khalqihi wa rida nafsihi wa zinata `arshihi wa midada kalimaihi

 

"Glory to Allah and praise to Him to the number of His creation and to the extent of His pleasure and to the extent of the weight of His Throne and to the extent of ink used in recording words for His Praise." (Muslim and Abu Dawud)

 

Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet told them, "A servant of Allah said: ya rabbi laka al-hamdu kama yanbaghi li jalali wajhika wa li `azimi sultanik. My Lord! All praise belongs to You as much as befits Your Glory and Sublime Majesty. This was too much for the two angels to record. They did not know how to record it. So they soared to the heaven and said: Our Lord! Your servant has said something which we don't know how to record. Allah asked them -- and, of course, He knew what the servant had said: What did My servant say? They said: He said: My Lord! All praise belongs to You as much as befits Your Glory and Sublime Majesty. Allah said to them: Write it down as My servant has said until he should meet Me and I reward him for it." (Narrated by Ibn Majah)

 

Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn al-As said: "I saw the Prophet counting the glorifications of Allah on his right hand's fingers." (Narrated by Tirmidhi who said hasan gharib, Nasa'i, Abu Dawud, and Ahmad.)

 

Yusayra bint Yasir reported that the Prophet commanded them (the Emigrant women) to be regular in remembering Allah by saying tahlil (la ilaha illallah) and tasbih (subhan allah) and taqdis (allahu akbar) and never to be forgetful of Allah and His Mercy, and to count them on their fingers, for the fingers will be questioned and will speak. (Narrated by Ahmad, Tirmidhi who said it is gharib, Abu Dawud, and al-Hakim. Shawkani in Nayl al-awtar 2:316 said that Suyuti declared sound (sahih) its chain of transmission.)

 

 

Use of dhikr-beads (masbaha, sibha, tasbih)

 

Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas reported that once the Prophet saw a woman who had some date-stones or pebbles which she was using as beads to glorify Allah. The Prophet said to her, "Let me tell you something which would be easier or more excellent for you than that." So he told her to say instead:

 

subhan allahi `adada ma khalaqa fi s-sama',

subhan allahi `adada ma khalaqa fi al-ard,

subhan allahi `adada ma khalaqa bayna dhalik,

subhan allahi `adada ma huwa khaliq,

Allahu akbaru `adada ma khalaqa fi al-sama',

Allahu akbaru `adada ma khalaqa fi l-'ard,

Allahu akbaru `adada ma khalaqa bayna dhalik,

Allahu akbaru `adada ma huwa khaliq,

al-hamdu lillahi `adada ma khalaqa fi al-sama',

al-hamdu lillahi `adada ma khalaqa fi l-'ard,

al-hamdu lillahi `adada ma khalaqa bayna dhalik,

al-hamdu lillahi `adada ma huwa khaliq,

la ilaha illallahu `adada ma khalaqa fi al-sama',

la ilaha illallahu `adada ma khalaqa fi al-ard,

la ilaha illallahu `adada ma khalaqa bayna dhalik,

la ilaha illallahu `adada ma huwa khaliq,

la hawla wa la quwwata illa billahi `adada ma khalaqa fi al-sama',

la hawla wa la quwwata illa billahi `adada ma khalaqa fi al-ard,

la hawla wa la quwwata illa billahi `adada ma khalaqa bayna dhalik,

la hawla wa la quwwata illa billahi `adada ma huwa khaliq.

 

"Glory be to Allah as many times as the number of what He has created in Heaven,

Glory be to Allah as many times as the number of what He has created on Earth,

Glory be to Allah as many times as the number of what He has created between them,

Glory be to Allah as many times as the number of that which He is creating."

and then repeat all of the above four times but substituting "Glory be to Allah" by:

 - "Allah is the most great" in the first repetition,

 - "Praise be to Allah" in the second repetition,

 - "There is no god but Allah" in the third repetition, and

 - "There is no change and no power except with Allah" in the fourth repetition. (Narrated by Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi who said it is hasan, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, al-Nasa'i, and al-Hakim, who said it is sahih according to the criterion of Muslim. Dhahabi concurred.)

 

Safiyya bint Huyayy the Prophet's wife said: The Prophet came in to see me and in front of me there were four thousand date-stones with which I was making tasbih [counting subhan Allah]. He said: "You make tasbih with so many! Shall I teach you what surpasses your number of tasbih?" She said: "Teach me!" He said: "Say: Subhan Allah `adada khalqihi -- Glory to Allah the number of His creation." Narrated by Tirmidhi who said it is gharib, and both al-Hakim and Suyuti declared it sahih.

 

Allah says in His Holy Book to His Holy Prophet, "Remind people, for reminding benefits them" (51:55). The reminder of Muslims has various forms, public and private. A public form of this reminder is the adhan. The masbaha or sibha or tasbih, or dhikr-beads, has had since the earliest Companions the function of a private reminder. It is for that reason that the tasbih was called by them mudhakkir or mudhakkira -- "reminder," and there is a narration traced to the Prophet whereby he said: ni`ma al-mudhakkir al-sibha: "What a good reminder are the dhikr-beads!" Shawkani narrates it from `Ali ibn Abi Talib as evidence for the usefulness of dhikr-beads in Nayl al-awtar (2:317) from Daylami's narration in Musnad al-firdaws with his chain, and Suyuti cites it in his fatwa on dhikr-beads in al-Hawi li al-fatawi (2:38).

 

The statement propagated nowadays by "Salafis" whereby counting dhikr on beads is an innovation, is undoubtedly false. The use of beads for counting dhikr is definitely established as a practice allowed by the Prophet and a Sunna of the Companions. This is proven by the sahih hadith of Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, who related that the Prophet once saw a woman using some datestones or pebbles (nawan aw hasan), and did not prohibit her to use them. This hadith is found in Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nisa'i, Ibn Maja, Ibn Hibban, and Hakim. Dhahabi declared it sahih. Another sahih hadith to that effect was related by Safiyya, who was seen by the Prophet, Peace be upon him, counting "Subhan Allah" on four thousand date stones. This hadith is found in Tirmidhi, Hakim, and Tabarani, and was confirmed as sahih by Suyuti. It is also related from the Prophet's freedman, Abu Safiyya, that a mat would be spread for him (Abu Safiyya) and a basket made of palm leaves brought which was filled with pebbles with which he would make tasbih until mid-day. Then it would be taken away, and then brought back after he had prayed, and he would make tasbih again until evening. This is narrated in Ibn Hajar's Isaba (7:106 #652) with his chain, who says that Bukhari narrates it [in his Tarikh], as well as al-Baghawi through two chains. Shawkani cites it, as seen below.

 

Shawkani said in Nayl al-awtar (2:316-317):

 

The Prophet justified the counting of dhikr on the fingers by the fact that the fingers will be questioned and will speak, that is, they will witness to that effect. It follows that counting tasbih on them, because of this aspect, is better than using dhikr-beads or pebbles. But the two other hadiths [of Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas and Safiyya bint Huyayy] indicate the permissibility of counting tasbih with date-stones and pebbles, and similarly with dhikr-beads because there is no distinguishing factor between them in the Prophet's stipulation to the two women concerning it, and no disapproval of it. As for directing to what is better: this does not negate permissibility (la yunafi al-jawaz). There are reports to that effect.

 

            It is related in Hilal al-Haffar's monograph through Mu`tamar ibn Sulayman from Abu Safiyya the Prophet's freedman that a mat would be spread for him (Abu Safiyya) and a basket made of palm leaves brought which was filled with pebbles with which he would make tasbih until mid-day. Then it would be taken away, and then brought back after he had prayed, and he would make tasbih again until evening. Imam Ahmad narrates it in Kitab al-zuhd [with his chain].

 

Ahmad also narrates from al-Qasim ibn `Abd al-Rahman that Abu al-Darda' had a bag filled with date-stones and that whenever he prayed the noon prayer he would bring them out one by one and make tasbih on them until they were finished.

 

Ibn Sa`d in his Tabaqat narrates [with his chains] that Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas used to count tasbih on pebbles, and that Fatima bint al-Husayn ibn `Ali ibn Abi Talib used to make tasbih with a thread stringed with knots, and that Abu Hurayra made tasbih with a string of pebbles (al-nawa al-majmu`).

 

`Abd Allah the son of Imam Ahmad narrated in Zawa'id al-zuhd that Abu Hurayra had a thread stringed with one thousand knots and that he would not sleep until he had counted tasbih on them.

 

al-Daylami narrates in Musnad al-firdaws through Zaynab bint Sulayman ibn `Ali, and from Umm al-Hasan bint Ja`far from her father from her grandfather from `Ali, and it is traced back to the Prophet: "What a good reminder are the dhikr-beads!"

 

Suyuti related reports with their chains in his monograph on the subject entitled al-Minha min al-sibha and it is part of his collected fatwas. He says towards the end of it: "It is not related from any one of the Salaf nor the Khalaf that it is forbidden to count tasbih on the sibha (dhikr-beads). On the contrary, most of them used to count tasbih on it, and they did not consider it disliked."

 

The Indian hadith scholar Zakariyya al-Khandlawi similarly relates in his book Hayat al-sahaba that Abu Hurayra said: "I recite istighfar (formula of asking forgiveness) 12,000 times daily" and that, according to his grandson, he had a piece of thread with 1,000 knots and would not go to sleep until he had said subhan allah (Glory to Allah) on all of these knots. According to her grand-daughter through Imam al-Husayn, Fatima also used to count her dhikr on a thread with knots.

 

Mawlana Zakariyya continues, "It is well-known that many other Companions of the Prophet, Peace be upon him, used beads in their private devotions, such as Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas himself, Abu Safiyya the slave of the Prophet, Abu Sa`d, Abu Darda', and Fatima, May Allah be pleased with them all. Stringing or not stringing the beads together does not make any difference."

 

It is well-established that counting dhikr is a Sunna of the Prophet, Peace be upon him. He himself advised his wives, `Ali, and Fatima to count tasbih (subhan allah), tahmid (al-hamdu lillah), and takbir (allahu akbar) thirty-three times each before going to bed at night. Ibn `Amr relates that he saw the Prophet, count the times he said subhan allah on his right hand. This does not mean that it is not allowed to use the left also, as the Prophet simply said: "Count [the dhikr] on your fingers."

 

Imam Suyuti recounted in one of his fatwas entitled al-Minha fi al-sibha (The profit derived from using dhikr-beads) the story of `Ikrima, who asked his teacher `Umar al-Maliki about dhikr-beads. `Umar answered him that he had also asked his teacher Hasan al-Basri about it and was told: "Something we have used at the beginning of the road we are not desirous to leave at the end. I love to remember Allah with my heart, my hand, and my tongue." Suyuti comments: "And how should it be otherwise, when the dhikr-beads remind one of Allah Most High, and a person seldom sees dhikr-beads except he remembers Allah, which is among the greatest of its benefits."

 

As for Albani's statements against the dhikr-beads, his rejection of the hadith ni`ma al-mudhakkir al-sibha (see his Silsila da`ifa #83), and his astounding claim that whoever carries dhikr-beads in his hand to remember Allah is misguided and innovating, then we direct the reader to their refutation in Mahmud Sa`id's Wusul al-tahani bi ithbat sunniyyat al-sibha wa al-radd `ala al-albani (The alighting of mutual benefit and the confirmation that the dhikr-beads are a Sunna, and the refutation of Albani).

 

The claim that the dhikr-beads come from Buddhism or Christianity is not countenanced by the ulama but is only one of the Hungarian Jewish scholar Ignaz Goldziher's  (d. 1921 CE) legacies to orientalist literature.

 

 

Refutation of a dubious objection: the weak report against dhikr in Darimi's Sunan

 

"Salafis" sometimes adduce the following weak narration in their attacks against collective dhikr:

 

al-Darimi in the Muqaddima of his Sunan narrated from al-Hakam ibn al-Mubarak who narrates from `Amr ibn Salima al-Hamadani:

 

We used to sit by the door of `Abd Allah ibn Mas`ud before the Morning Prayer, so that when he came out we would walk with him to the mosque. (One day) Abu Musa al-Ash`ari came to us and said: "Has Abu `Abd al-Rahman come out yet?" We replied No. So he sat down with us until he came out. When he came out, we all stood along with him, so Abu Musa said to him: "O Abu `Abd al-Rahman! I have just seen something in the mosque which I considered wrong, but all praise is for Allah, I did not see anything except good in it." He inquired: "What is it?" Abu Musa replied: "If you live you will see it. I saw in the mosque people sitting in circles awaiting the Prayer. In each circle they had pebbles in their hands and a man would say: Repeat allahu akbar a hundred times. So they would repeat it a hundred times. Then he would say: say la ilaha illallah a hundred times. So they would say it a hundred times. Then he would say: say subhanallah a hundred times. So they would say it a hundred times." Ibn Mas`ud asked: "What did you say to them?" Abu Musa said: "I did not say anything to them. Instead I waited to hear your view on it." Ibn Mas`ud replied: "Would that you had ordered them to count their evil deeds and assured them that their good deeds would not be lost!" Then we went along with him until he came to one of these circles whereby he stood and said: "What is this I see you doing?" They replied: "O Abu `Abd al-Rahman! These are pebbles upon which we are counting takbir, tahlil and tasbih." He said: "Count your evil deeds instead. I assure you that none of your good deeds will be lost. Woe to you, O Umma of Muhammad, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, how quickly you go to destruction! Here are your Prophet's Companions available in abundance (mutawafirun). And there are his clothes which have not yet decayed and his bowl which is unbroken. By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! Either you are following a Religion that is better guided than the Religion of Muhammad sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, or you are opening a door of misguidance." They said: "O Abu `Abd al-Rahman! By Allah, we only intend good!" He said: "How many are there who intend good but do not achieve it. Indeed Allah's Messenger said to us: A people will recite the Qur'an but it will not pass beyond their throats. By Allah! I do not know, but perhaps most of them are from among you." Then he left them. `Amr ibn Salima said: We saw most of those people fighting against us on the day of Nahrawan, on the side of the Khawarij.

 

The chain of the above report contains `Amr ibn Yahya al-Hamadani -- `Amr ibn Salima's grandson -- and he is da`if. Ibn Ma`in saw him and said: "his narrations are worth nothing"; Ibn Kharrash said: "he is not accepted"; Dhahabi listed him among those who are weak and whose hadith is not retained in al-Du`afa' wa al-matrukin (p. 212 #3229), Mizan al-i`tidal (3:293), and al-Mughni fi al-du`afa' (2:491); and al-Haythami declared him weak (da`if) in Majma` al-zawa'id, chapter entitled Bab al-`ummal `ala al-sadaqa.

 

            Furthermore, even if the report were not weak, it would not constitute evidence to support an innovative stance against gatherings of dhikr, or against gathering for dhikr in a circle, or against counting dhikr, or against using pebbles for counting dhikr! The reason is that a single weak report can never overrule something which is established by many sound reports which we have already cited, such as the following:

 

On collective gatherings for dhikr:

 

Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri and Abu Huraira's report from the Prophet: "When any group of men remember Allah, angels surround them and mercy covers them," etc.

 

Abu Hanifa narrates from Musa ibn Kathir from `Umar ibn al-Khattab that the latter saw some people saying la ilaha illallah and allahu akbar and he said: "That is it, that is it (hiya hiya)." He was asked: "What is it?" He said: "The affirmation of godwariness (kalima al-taqwa), and they are the most deserving of it, and they are its people."

 

`Ata' said - may Allah the Exalted have mercy on him: "Whoever sits in a gathering in which Allah is remembered, Allah will remit for him ten evil gatherings of his."

 

Shahr ibn Hawshab's relation of Abu al-Darda' joining a gathering of dhikr in the Masjid of Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem).

 

On gathering for dhikr in a circle:

 

Muslim, Ahmad, and Tirmidhi narrate from Mu`awiya that the Prophet went out to a circle of his Companions who were making dhikr and tahmid (saying: al-hamdu lillah) and to whom he said: "Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, is telling the angels that He is proud of you!"

 

Ibn `Umar's report from the Prophet: "When you pass by the gardens of Paradise, avail yourselves of them." The Companions asked: "What are the gardens of Paradise, O Messenger of Allah?" He replied: "The circles of dhikr."

 

On counting dhikr by the hundreds:

 

Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said: "Whoever says: la ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lah, lahu al-mulku wa lahu al-hamd, wa huwa `ala kulli shay'in qadir -- There is no god but Allah, alone, without partner. His is the sovereignty, and His the praise, and He has power over everything -- a hundred times a day will have a reward equivalent to the reward for freeing ten slaves," etc. and in another version: "Whoever says: subhan Allah wa bi hamdihi -- Glorified is Allah with all praise to Him -- a hundred times during a day, will have all his sins wiped off even if they were as numerous as the foam on the surface of the sea."

 

On using pebbles while counting dhikr:

 

The Prophet said: ni`ma al-mudhakkir al-sibha: "What a good reminder are the dhikr-beads"; Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas reported that once the Prophet saw a woman who had some date-stones or pebbles which she was using as beads to glorify Allah. The Prophet did not rebuke her for doing so; Safiyya bint Huyayy the Prophet's wife said: The Prophet came in to see me and in front of me there were four thousand date-stones with which I was making tasbih [counting subhan Allah], and he did not rebuke her; from the Prophet's freedman, Abu Safiyya: a mat would be spread for him and a basket made of palm leaves brought which was filled with pebbles with which he would make tasbih until mid-day. Then it would be taken away, and then brought back after he had prayed, and he would make tasbih again until evening; Abu al-Darda' had a bag filled with date-stones and that whenever he prayed the noon prayer he would bring them out one by one and make tasbih on them until they were finished; Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas used to count tasbih on pebbles; Fatima bint al-Husayn ibn `Ali ibn Abi Talib used to make tasbih with a thread stringed with knots, and that Abu Hurayra made tasbih with a string of one thousand knots and would not sleep until he had counted tasbih on them.

 

Shawkani said in Nayl al-awtar (2:316-317):

 

The Prophet justified the counting of dhikr on the fingers by the fact that the fingers will be questioned and will speak, that is, they will witness to that effect. It follows that counting tasbih on them, because of this aspect, is better than using dhikr-beads or pebbles. But the two other hadiths [of Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas and Safiyya bint Huyayy] indicate the permissibility of counting tasbih with date-stones and pebbles, and similarly with dhikr-beads because there is no distinguishing factor between them in the Prophet's stipulation to the two women concerning it, and no disapproval of it. As for directing to what is better: this does not negate permissibility (la yunafi al-jawaz). There are reports to that effect....

 

Suyuti related reports with their chains in his monograph on the subject entitled al-Minha min al-sibha and it is part of his collected fatwas. He says towards the end of it: "It is not related from any one of the Salaf nor the Khalaf that it is forbidden to count tasbih on the sibha (dhikr-beads). On the contrary, most of them used to count tasbih on it, and they did not consider it disliked."

 

 

            All the above shows that the meaning of the report narrated by Darimi can never be adduced to contest the lawfulness of gathering for dhikr, or sitting in a circle of dhikr, or counting dhikr, or using pebbles to count dhikr, and whoever says this is ignorant of the Sunna on this issue. If it is authentic, then the key to Darimi's report which the "Salafis" have misunderstood -- either from ignorance or from feigned ignorance -- lies in the following passages:

 

- Abu Musa al-Ash`ari's words: "I have just seen something in the mosque which I considered wrong, but I did not see anything except good in it";

 

- Ibn Mas`ud's words: "Here are your Prophet's Companions available in abundance";

 

- Ibn Mas`ud's words: "Allah's Messenger said to us: A people will recite the Qur'an but it will not pass beyond their throats. By Allah! I do not know, but perhaps most of them are from among you."

 

- `Amr ibn Salima's words: "We saw most of those people fighting against us on the day of Nahrawan, on the side of the Khawarij."

 

            It is clear that Abu Musa's reaction was mixed because on the one hand he disapproved of the people themselves but not of their dhikr, but the reason for the disapproval is left unsaid, while Ibn Mas`ud alludes to it by blaming the people in question for their isolationist stance away from the Companions This is confirmed by Ibn Mas`ud's citing of one of the most famous hadiths concerning the Khawarij -- Separatists -- and it is known that these Separatists considered themselves more pious than all the Muslims and better than even the Companions. This is again confirmed beyond the shadow of a doubt by `Amr ibn Salima's explicit identification of the people in question as allies of the Khawarij on the day of Nahrawan. This shows that the view of Abu Musa and the condemnation of Ibn Mas`ud are directed against the fact that the people in question were Separatists, not that they were making dhikr. The scandal of separating oneself from the Companions is underlined by Ibn Mas`ud's exclamation: "Here are your Prophet's Companions available in abundance." The hadith master Abu Zur`a al-Razi (d. 262) said: "At the time the Prophet's soul was taken back, the Companions who had narrated from and/or heard him directly (including his tacit presence) numbered 114,000." This is related by the hadith master Ibn Jama`a in his book al-Manhal al-rawi fi mukhtasar `ulum al-hadith al-nabawi (The quenching spring: Abridged manual of the sciences of the prophetic hadith), 3rd ed., ed. Muhyiddin `Abd al-Rahman Ramadan (Damascus: Dar al-fikr, 1406/1986) p. 113.

 

The Khawarij are those from among the tribes of Banu Hanifa, Banu Tamim, and Wa'il in the Najd area of Eastern Arabia who committed baghi (rebellion) against Amir al-Mu'minin, Sayyidina `Ali, and opposed the larger group of Muslims. They declared both `Ali and Mu`awiya disbelievers and declared licit their blood and property as well as the blood and property of those with them. They made the land of the former a land of war and declared their own land an abode of faith. They only accepted from the Prophet's Sunna what agreed with their own doctrine and deduced evidence for their doctrine from what was not perspicuous in the Qur'an. They used to transfer the Qur'anic verses meant to refer to unbelievers and make them refer to the believers as predicted by the Prophet [See Bukhari, English ed. 9:50]. Ibn `Abbas debated them until four thousand returned to the truth. They were the first to separate from the Congregation of Muslims. The Prophet referred to them as "The dogs of the people in Hell" [A sound narration related through various chains by Ibn Majah, and Ahmad] and he ordered to fight and kill them by saying: "They will pass through Islam like an arrow passes through its quarry. Wherever you meet them, kill them!" [Bukhari and Muslim].

 

A final note on the Khawarij of our time. Imam Muhammad ibn `Abidin (d. 1252/1836) said in his Hashiyat radd al-muhtar `ala al-durr al-mukhtar (3:309), Chapter entitled Bab al-Bughat [Chapter on Rebels]:

 

The name of Khawarij is applied to those who part ways with Muslims and declare them disbelievers, as took place in our time with the followers of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab who came out of Najd and attacked the Two Noble Sanctuaries (Mecca and Madina). They (Wahhabis) claimed to follow the Hanbali school, but their belief was such that, in their view, they alone are Muslims and everyone else is a mushrik (polytheist). Under this guise, they said that killing Ahl al-Sunna and their scholars was permissible, until Allah the Exalted destroyed them in the year 1233/1818 at the hands of the Muslim army.

 

 

Invoking blessings on the Prophet (salawat)

 

Allahumma salli `ala muhammadin wa `ala ali muhammadin wa sallim. O Allah, send blessings upon Muhammad and upon the Family of Muhammad, and grant them peace!

 

            Sakhawi in al-Qawl al-badi` (p. 179), chapter on the salawat after adhan says:

 

`Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As said that he heard the Prophet say: "When you hear the mu'adhdhin, repeat his words after him, then invoke blessings upon me. Whoever invokes blessings upon me once, Allah bestows blessings upon him ten times. Then ask Allah for the wasila to be granted to me. It is a position in Paradise which may not be granted to any but one of Allah's servants, and I dearly hope that I will be that servant. Whoever asks Allah the wasila for me, my intercession is guaranteed for him.

 

            Sakhawi continues: "It is narrated by Muslim and the Four (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Nasa'i) except Ibn Majah, and also by Bayhaqi, Ibn Zanjawayh, and others."

 

            We have already expounded elsewhere on the fact that there is no such thing as invoking too much salawat on the Prophet and that we should be clear of anyone who makes such a claim. We will only mention here some evidence on this topic by way of a reminder.

 

            Abu Hurayra narrated that the Prophet said: "Dust for the face of the one before whom I am mentioned, and he does not invoke blessings upon me." A sound hadith narrated by Tirmidhi (hasan gharib) and al-Hakim.

 

Abu Hurayra also reported that the Prophet said: "If people sit in an assembly in which they do not remember Allah nor invoke a blessing on the Prophet, it will be a cause of grief for them on the Day of Judgment." Narrated by Tirmidhi, who graded it hasan.

 

The author of Fath al-`allam said: "This hadith proves that it is incumbent on one to remember Allah and invoke blessings on the Prophet while sitting in an assembly, for whether we take the words "cause of grief" to mean torment of fire or any other chastisement, obviously a punishment is incurred only when an obligatory act is neglected or a forbidden act is committed, and here it is both the remembrance of Allah and the invoking of blessings on His Prophet that are apparently incumbent."

 

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali said in his book on love of Allah and love of the Prophet entitled Istinshaq nasim al-uns min nafahat riyad al-quds (Inhaling the breeze of intimacy from the whiffs of the gardens of sanctity):

 

Love for the Prophet is on two levels: The first level is obligatory. This is the love that requires one to accept whatever the Prophet brought from Allah and to receive it with love, pleasure, esteem and submission, without seeking guidance from any other source whatsoever.... The second level is superior. This type of love requires following his example in an excellent way and fulfilling the following of his Sunna with respect to his behavior, manners, voluntary deeds, superogatory actions, eating, drinking, dressing, excellent behavior with his wives and other aspects of his perfect manners and pure behavior. It also includes learning about his life and days. It also includes the heart trembling when mentioning him, saying prayers and blessings upon him often out of what resides in the heart of love for him, esteem for him and respect for him. It also includes loving to listen to his words and preferring them over the words of the rest of creation. And one of the greatest aspects of this love is to follow him in his abstinence of this world, to suffice with little, and to desire and pine after the everlasting Hereafter.

 


EXCERPTS ON THE REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH

FROM `ABD AL-RAHMAN AL-SUFURI'S (d. 894)

NUZHAT AL-MAJALIS WA MUNTAKHAB AL-NAFA'IS

(The Pleasant Gatherings and the Select Precious Matters)

 

 

Allah, the Exalted, said: "Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest!" (13:28). If it is asked: How is the meaning of this verse reconciled with that of His saying: "They only are the true believers whose hearts feel fear (wajilat = tremble or shake) when Allah is mentioned" (8:2), the answer is that in the latter the purpose of Allah's mention is to bring to mind His greatness and the intensity of His vengeance against those who disobey Him. This verse was revealed at a time when the Companions had a disagreement concerning the spoils of the battle of Badr. Therefore the mention or the remembrance of what is fearsome became appropriate. As for the former verse, it concerns whoever Allah guided and who has turned to Allah with love. Therefore the mention of Allah's mercy became appropriate.

 

The two meanings of fearsomeness and mercy are reunited in Surat al-Zumar: "Allah hath now revealed the fairest of statements, a Scripture consistent, wherein promises of reward are paired with threats of punishment, whereat doth creep the flesh of those who fear their Lord, so that (thumma = and then) their flesh and their hearts soften to Allah's reminder (or: to the celebration of Allah's praises; or: to Allah's remembrance)" (39:23), meaning, to Allah's mercy and generosity.

 

The Prophet said: "He who remembers Allah much, Allah loves him," and he said: "The night that I was enraptured to my Lord I passed by a man extinguished within the light of Allah's Throne. I asked, Who is this, and is he an angel? I was told No, and I asked again, Is it a Prophet? I was told No, and I said, Who then? It was said: This is a man who, while he was in the world, his tongue was constantly moist with the mention of Allah and his heart was attached to the mosques."

 

On the authority of Mu`adh ibn Jabal, the Prophet said that Allah said: "No servant of Mine mentions Me in himself except I mention him in an assembly of My angels, and he does not mention Me in an assembly except I mention him in the Highest Company."

 

On the authority of Abu Hurayra who said that while on the road to Mecca the Prophet passed on top of a mountain called Jumdan, at which time he said: "Move on, for here is Jumdan which has overtaken the single-minded." They said: "What are the single-minded (mufarridun)? He said: "The men and women who remember Allah much" (33:35). Muslim related it.

 

The version in Tirmidhi has: "It was said: And what are the single-minded? He replied: Those who dote on the remembrance of Allah and are ridiculed because of it, whose burden the dhikr removes from them, so that they come to Allah fluttering!"

 

Al-Mundhiri said in al-Targhib wa al-tarhib (The encouragement to good and the discouragement from evil]: "The single-minded and those who dote on the dhikr and are ridiculed for it: these are the ones set afire with the remembrance of Allah."

 

The Prophet said:

 

"The-one-who-mentions-or-remembers-Allah among those who forget Him is like a green tree in the midst of dry ones";

 

"The one who mentions or remembers Allah among those who forget Him, Allah shows him his seat in Paradise during his life";

 

"The one who mentions or remembers Allah among those who forget Him is like the fighter behind those who run away";

 

"The one who mentions or remembers Allah among those who forget Him, Allah looks at him with a look after which He will never punish him";

 

"The one who mentions or remembers Allah among those who forget Him is like a light inside a dark house";

 

"The one who mentions or remembers Allah among those who forget Him, Allah forgives him his sins to the amount of every eloquent and non-eloquent speaker," that is, the number of animals and human beings;

 

"The one who mentions or remembers Allah in the marketplace, will have light in every hair of his on the Day of Resurrection."

 

The Sufis say that:

 

- dhikr has a beginning, which is a truthful application;[1]

- it has a middle, which is a light that strikes;

- its has an end, which is a piercing difficulty;

- it has a principle, which is purity;

- it has a branch, which is loyalty;

- it has a condition, which is presence;

- it has a carpet, which is righteous action;

- it has a peculiar characteristic, which is the Manifest

Opening [cf. 48:1].

 

Abu Sa`id al-Kharraz[2] said: "When Allah desires to befriend a servant of His, He opens the door of dhikr for that servant. After the latter takes pleasure in dhikr, He opens the door of proximity for him. After that, He raises him to the meetings of intimacy and after that he makes him sit on a throne of Oneness. Then He removes the veils from him and He makes him enter the abode of Singleness and unveils Majesty and Sublimity to him. When the servant beholds Majesty and Sublimity, he remains without "he". He becomes extinguished, immune to the claims and pretensions of his ego, and protected for Allah's sake."

 

Someone else said: "Dhikr is the medicine (lit. tiryaq = triacle) of the sinners, the familiarity of the estranged, the treasure of those who practice reliance, the repast of those who possess certitude, the adornment of those who are connected, the starting-point of knowers, the carpet of those brought near Him, and the intoxicant of lovers."

 

The Prophet also said: "Remembrance of Allah is firm knowledge of one's belief, immunity from hypocrisy, a fortress against satan, and a guarded refuge from the fire." It was mentioned by al-Layth al-Samarqandi.

 

Ibn al-Salah was asked about the measure by which the servant is estimated to be among "those who remember Allah much" (33:35). He said: "If he perseveres in the forms of dhikr inherited in the Sunna morning and evening and in the various times and occasions, then he is of those who remember Allah much."

 

Musa  said: "O my Lord! Are you near, so that I may speak to you intimately, or are you far, so that I may call out to you?" Allah inspired to him: "I am sitting next to the one who remembers Me." He said: "O my Lord, we are sometimes in a state of major impurity and we hold You in too high regard to dare remember You at that time." He replied: "Remember me in every state." Ghazali mentioned it in the "Ihya".

 

(`Abd al-Rahim ibn al-Hasan) al-Isnawi (al-Shafi`i, 1305-1370 CE) said in his Alghaz (Riddles): "A man in a state of minor impurity is forbidden from certain forms of dhikr, as illustrated by the nullification of the act of worship incurred when entering such a state during the Friday sermon, because ritual purity is a condition for its validity."

 

Someone related in Qushayri's Risala (Treatise on tasawwuf) that he entered a jungle and found a man remembering Allah while attended by a huge beast. He asked: "What is this?" The man replied: "I have asked Allah to empower one of His dogs to watch me in case I became heedless from remembering Him."...

 

 

On the Dhikr of Inanimate Objects

 

"The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein praise Him, and there is not a thing but hymneth his praise; but ye understand not their praise. Lo! He is ever Clement, Forgiving." (17:44)

 

Ibrahim al-Nakha`i[3] said concerning Allah's saying: "There is not a thing but hymneth his praise" (17:44): "Everything praises Him, including the door when it squeaks." Someone else said: "The verse is general, and it applies particularly to the one endowed with speech, as in Allah's saying: "Everything was destroyed,"[4] whereas the houses of `Ad were not destroyed, and in His saying concerning Sheba (Balqis) : "And she has been given from all things" (27:23) whereas she had not been given anything from Sulayman's kingdom.

 

It was also said that the verse (17:44) has a universal meaning whereby the one endowed with speech glorifies Allah by word, while the silent one glorifies through his state. This is by virtue of his being in existence: he testifies to His Maker through having been made.

 

I have seen in Taj al-Din Ibn al-Subki's Tabaqat al-shafi`iyya al-kubra -- may Allah be pleased with him, that the interpretation favored by our school (Shafi`is) is that all things make glorification through actual utterance, because such a thing is not impossible and it is indicated by many proof-texts. Allah the Exalted said: "We have placed the mountains under his dominion, they praise Allah at nightfall and at sunrise" (38:18). The mountains' glorification through actual utterance does not necessitate that we hear it. I have seen in al-Wujuh al-musfira `an ittisa` al-maghfira [The Faces Made Radiant By the Vastness of Mercy] the following commentary: "It is more likely that they literally glorify, except that this phenomenon is hidden from the people and is not perceived except through the rupture of natural laws. The Companions heard the glorification of food and other objects placed before the Prophet.

 

Concerning Allah's saying at the end of the verse: "Lo! He is ever Clement, Forgiving" (17:44): it applies to the state of those addressed by the verse in three ways. First, in the vast majority of cases people are distracted from glorifying Allah the Exalted, unlike the heavens and the earth and all that is therein: these distracted ones become in need of clemency and forgiveness. Second, they do not understand the praise of all these objects, and this may be because they do not sufficiently contemplate and reflect upon them: they then become in need of clemency and forgiveness. Third, the fact that they do not hear the praises may cause them to feel contempt towards these objects and drive them to deny the rights of creation: they again become in need of clemency and forgiveness.

 

Without doubt he who beholds with full understanding the glorification of things in existence, honors and magnifies them in respect to this glorification, even if the Lawgiver ordered him to disdain them in another respect.

 

The author of al-Wujuh al-musfira cited the following story: "One of Allah's slaves sought to perform the purification from going to stool with stones. He took one stone, and Allah removed the veil from his hearing so that he was now able to hear the stone's praise. Out of shame he left it and took another one, but he heard that one praising Allah also. And every time he took another stone he heard it glorifying Allah. Seeing this, at last he turned to Allah so that He would veil from him their praise to enable him to purify himself. Allah then veiled him from hearing them. He proceeded to purify himself despite his knowledge that the stones were making tasbih, because the one who reported about their tasbih is the same Law-giver who ordered to use them for purification. Therefore in the concealment of tasbih there is a far-reaching wisdom."

 

This is true, and I also saw in Fakhr al-Din Razi's Tafsir that what the scholars have agreed upon is that whoever is not alive is not empowered with speech, and it has been firmly established that inanimate objects praise Allah through the medium of their state. And Allah knows best.[5]

 

 

Six Benefits of Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah)

 

 

1. The Ranks of Dhikr

 

One of the commentators of Qur'an said concerning Allah's saying: "But among them are some who wrong themselves and among them are some who are lukewarm, and among them are some who outstrip others through good deeds, by Allah's leave" (35:32) that they are respectively the rememberer by tongue, the rememberer by heart, and the one who never forgets his Lord.

 

Ibn `Ata' Allah[6] said: "The one who utters the Word of Oneness needs three lights: the light of guidance, the light of sufficiency, and the light of divine help. Whoever Allah graces with the first light, he is immune (ma`sum) from associating a partner to Allah; whoever Allah graces with the second light, he is immune from committing great sins and indecencies; and whoever Allah graces with the third light, he is protected (mahfuz) from the corrupt thoughts and motions that typify those given to heedless actions. The first light belongs to "the ones who wrong themselves," the second to "those that are lukewarm," and the third to "the ones who outstrip others through good deeds."

 

Al-Wasiti[7] was asked about the remembrance of Allah, may Allah have mercy on him. He said: "It is the exiting from the battlefield of heedlessness into the outer space of direct vision (mushahada) on the mount of victory over fear and intensity of love."

 

One of the special attributes of the remembrance of Allah is that it has been placed in direct correspondence with Allah's own remembrance of us. Allah the Exalted said: "Remember Me, and I shall remember you" (2:152). Musa said - peace be upon him: "O my Lord, where do you dwell?" He replied: "In the heart of my believing servant."[8] The meaning of this is the heart's rest brought about by His remembrance.

 

Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyya[9] said - may Allah be well pleased with him: "Verily the angels lower their gaze in the presence of the rememberer of Allah, just as the people lower their gaze before lightning."

 

 

2. Remittance of Sins Through Dhikr

 

It is related that a servant of Allah will join the gatherings of dhikr with sins the like of mountains and then rise and leave one such gathering with nothing left of them to his name. This is why the Prophet called it one of the groves of Paradise when he said: "If you pass by the groves of Paradise, be sure to graze in them," and someone said: "What are the groves of Paradise?" to which he replied: "The circles of dhikr."

 

`Ata' said - may Allah the Exalted have mercy on him: "Whoever sits in a gathering in which Allah is remembered, Allah will remit for him ten evil gatherings of his."

 

Abu Yazid al-Bistami was told - may Allah be well pleased with him: "I have entrusted you with a secret for which you shall render Me an account under the Tree of Bliss (shajarat tuba)," whereupon he said: "We are under that tree as long as we remain in the remembrance of Allah."

 

It is related on `Ali's authority - may Allah be well pleased with him - that Allah manifests Himself (yatajalla) to the rememberers during dhikr and the recitation of Qur'an. The Prophet said: "No group gathers and remembers Allah seeking nothing other than Him except a caller from heaven calls out to them: Arise forgiven, for your bad deeds have been turned into good ones!" Abu al-Darda' said that the Prophet said: "Allah verily will raise on the Day of Resurrection people bearing light in their faces, carried aloft on pulpits of pearl, whom the people will envy. They are neither prophets nor martyrs." Upon hearing this a Bedouin Arab fell to his knees and said: "Show them to us (ajlihim), O Prophet of Allah!" - that is: "describe them for us." He replied: "They are those who love one another for Allah's sake alone. They come from many different tribes, countries, and cities. They gather together for the remembrance of Allah the Exalted, remembering Him."

 

Someone said concerning Allah's saying with reference to Sulayman -- peace be upon him: "I verily will punish him with hard punishment" (27:21) that it means: "Verily I shall drive him far from the gatherings of dhikr"... Al-Junayd said -- may Allah be well pleased with him -- concerning Allah's saying: "And (He is the One) Who causeth me to die, then giveth me life again" (26:81), that this means: "He causes me to die with heedlessness (of Him), then He causes me to live with remembrance (of Him)." Al-Hasan al-Basri said -- may Allah have mercy on him: "No people sit remembering Allah the Exalted with one of the people of Paradise in their midst except Allah grants him to intercede for all of them."

 

 

3. Dhikr of the Frogs

 

Dawud said - peace be upon him: "I shall praise Allah with a kind of praise that none among his creatures ever used before." Thereupon a frog called out to him: "Do you pride yourself before Allah for your praise, while for seventy years my tongue has been moist from remembering Him, and I have eaten nothing in the past ten nights because I kept busy uttering two words?" Dawud said: "What are these two words?" The frog replied: "O Praiser of Thyself with every tongue, O remembered One in every place!"

 

It is related in Nuzhat al-nufus wa al-afkar [The Recreation of Minds and Thoughts] that an angel once said to Dawud: "O Dawud, understand what the frog is saying!" whereupon he heard it saying: "Glory and praise to You to the farthest boundary of Your knowledge!" Dawud said: "By the One Who made me a Prophet, verily I shall sing my Lord's praise in this way." The commentators have said that the frogs' words are: "Glory to the King, the Holy One!" (subhan al-malik al-quddus) while al-Baghawi has: "Glory to my Lord Most Holy!" (subhana rabbi al-quddus), and of `Ali's words - may Allah be well pleased with him - is "Glory to the One Who is worshipped in the abysses of the sea!"

 

 

4. Dhikr of the Prophet Jonah

 

`Ali said - may Allah be well pleased with him: "In the time of Jonah - peace be upon him - was a frog which had lived past the age of four thousand years. It never rested from glorifying Allah. One day it said: "O my Lord, no-one glorifies You like I do!" Jonah said: "O my Lord, I say what it says!" and he said: "Glory to You by the number of times each of your creatures says "Glory to You," and glory to You by the number of times each of Your creatures does not say "Glory to You," and glory to You according to the expanse of Your knowledge and the light of Your countenance and the adornment of Your throne and the reach of Yours words!"

 

 

5. The Plagues of Egypt

 

The frog in a dream represents the righteous person. The frog poured water over Ibrahim's fire - peace be upon him - to help put it out. As for a multitude of frogs, they represent punishment.

 

The Exalted said: "So We sent them the flood and the locusts and the vermin and the frogs and the blood -- a succession of clear signs. But they were arrogant and became guilty" (7:133). Al-Razi said: "... The nation of Pharaoh said to Musa - peace be upon him: "Whatever signs you bring us, to us it is nothing other than mere magic and we shall not believe in you." Musa invoked Allah against them, and Allah sent down the flood upon them day and night. They sought help from Pharaoh, who sought help from Musa, who sought help from Allah. Allah then withheld the rain from them and sent down the winds. The earth grew vegetation and fruit in over-abundance. When they saw this they said: "Is this what we were anxious about? It is a great good for us!" and they disbelieved again. Allah then sent the locusts upon them, and they ate up all the vegetation until hardship became extreme and the sun was covered by the swarm of locusts. They sought help from Musa who sought help from his Lord. Allah then sent a wind which hurled the locusts into the sea. At this they said: "Whatever is left from what we had planted is enough for us," and they disbelieved again. Allah then sent the lice upon them. Sa`id ibn Jubayr said this is the maggot which issues from wheat. Tha`labi said it is a kind of tick. `Ata' al-Khurasani said it is the well-known lice, and it was also said that it means mosquitoes, and also wingless locusts. They did not leave a single green leaf except they ate it, and something like smallpox smote the bodies of the people. They sought help from Musa who sought help from his Lord. Allah sent a hot wind which burnt the lice. They still did not believe, so Allah sent upon them a swarm of frogs as thick as a pitch-dark night. The frogs entered their plantations, their food, and their beds cubit by cubit. They sought help from Musa again, and he sought help from his Lord. Allah caused the frogs to die and he sent down rain which carried them to the sea. They still disbelieved. Allah then sent down blood upon them so that their rivers ran red with blood. It is also said that Allah inflicted a state of permanent nosebleed upon them. For seven days they drank blood. Then they said: "O Musa, if you remove the filth (al-rijz) from us verily we shall pledge our belief for you." [Cf. 7:134: "If thou removest the terror from us we verily will trust thee and will let the Children of Israel go with thee."] Sa`eed ibn Jabir said that the "filth" (or "terror") was a sixth kind of punishment which is the plague, while others said that it is an expression for the five kinds already mentioned. Al-Razi said - and this is the strongest opinion: "Wahb said that they underwent each affliction for a period of forty days."

 

 

6. Lengthening the Pronunciation of LA ILAHA ILLALLAH

 

Ibn `Abbas said -- may Allah be well pleased with him and his father -- that the Prophet said: "The day Allah created the heavens and the earth He created an angel and ordered him to say: "There is no god except Allah alone" (LA ILAHA ILLALLAH). The angel lengthens his delivery as he utters it and will not rest from this until the trumpet is blown." One of the Companions said that whoever says: "No god except Allah" and lengthens his pronunciation intending thereby to magnify Allah, Allah will remit four thousand grave sins for him, and if he did not commit four thousand, Allah will remit the difference for his family and neighbors. It is related in the hadith: "Whoever says "No god except Allah" and lengthens his pronunciation intending thereby to magnify Allah, four thousand of his sins are struck thereby from the register of his sins." Hence it is praiseworthy to lengthen one's pronunciation upon uttering it, as Nawawi said, may Allah the Exalted have mercy upon him. The Prophet also said: "Whoever lengthens his pronunciation upon saying "No god except Allah," Allah will make him dwell in Paradise in the Abode of Majesty by which he has named Himself when He said: "There remaineth but the countenance of thy Lord of Might and Glory" (55:27), and Allah will grant him to behold His gracious countenance."

 

Anas ibn Malik said - may Allah be well pleased with him - from the Prophet: "O human beings! Whoever says "No god except Allah" in astonishment at something, Allah creates from each letter of his utterance a tree with as many leaves as the days of this world, each leaf asking forgiveness for him and praising Allah on his behalf until the Day of judgment."... It has been related that this phrase has on the side of Iblis the effect which a gangrenous sore would have on the side of a human being. al-Qadi `Iyad[10] relates in the "Shifa" from Ibn `Abbas that written on the door of Paradise is the inscription: "There is no god but Allah alone, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah: Whoever says this, I shall not punish him."

 

I saw the following account as part of the explanation of Allah's saying: "And speak (O Musa and Aaron) unto him (Pharaoh) a gentle word" (20:44). Musa said: "O Lord, how can a word be gentle?" Allah replied: "Say to him: "Would you like a good compromise? You have followed your own self for four hundred and fifty years; follow our intent but for one year, and Allah will forgive you all your sins. If not one year, then one month; if not, one week; if not, one single day; if not, one single hour. If you do not (wish to humor us) for all of an hour, then say in a single breath: "There is no god but Allah" so that I shall be able to bring peace to you."

 

After Musa conveyed the message, Pharaoh gathered his armies and said to them: "I am your Most High Lord!" (79:24) At this the heavens and the earth shook and pleaded before Allah the Glorious and Exalted that Pharaoh be put to death. Allah said: "He is like the dog: only the stick is good for him. O Musa, cast your staff" (cf. 7:117, 27:10, 28:31). Musa cast his staff (which became a huge snake or dragon) and the magicians (of Pharaoh's court) immediately submitted. Pharaoh fled to his bedchamber. Musa said: "If you don't come out, I shall order it to enter where you are." Pharaoh said: "Give me a little respite." Musa answered: "I have no permission to respite you." But Allah the Exalted inspired to him: "Respite him, for verily I am the Clement, I do not hasten to punish."

 

Pharaoh began to relieve himself forty times a day while previously he would relieve himself only once every forty days. Musa gave him a respite. When the day came Pharaoh exceeded his bounds and rebelled. Allah therefore "seized him and made him an example for the afterlife and the former" (79:25); that is, He punished him with drowning because of his former word ("I am your Most High Lord") and He punished him with Gehenna because of his latter word, when he said: "I know not that ye have a god other than me" (28:38). Ibn `Abbas said: "This is the former word, while the other came later, and between them lay forty years."

 

I saw mentioned in the book Zumrat al-`ulum wa zuhrat al-nujum (The Array of the Sciences and the Brightness of Stars) from the Prophet: He said: Gabriel told me: I stood in wait before Allah at the time Pharaoh said: "And what is the Lord of the Worlds?" (26:23) whereupon I outstretched two of my wings to smite him with punishment, but Allah the Exalted said: "Wait, O Gabriel! He hastens to punish who fears the lapse of time."

 

It was also mentioned in that book that when Pharaoh said: "I am your Lord the Most High" (79:24) Gabriel wanted to shake the earth from under his feet, but when he sought permission from his Lord the Exalted He did not give it to him and ordered him to ignore Pharaoh instead.

 

Al-`Ala'i[11] said in his explanation of the sura of the Story (al-qasas) that Iblis entered Pharaoh's presence as the latter was in the bath and said: "O Pharaoh, I enticed you with every transgression, but I never told you to claim absolute Lordship!" Then he gave him forty lashes and left him in anger. Pharaoh said to him: "O Iblis, should I take back this claim?" He replied: "It would not be right for you to take it back after making it."

 

A group of the disbelievers of Quraysh gathered among whom was the Pharaoh of this Community -- Abu Jahl -- at Abu Talib's house during the latter's last illness. Abu Jahl said to him: "You know what has taken place between us and your brother's son. Therefore obtain what is rightfully ours from him and what is righfully his from us before you die." Abu Talib called the Prophet and said: "O my nephew, these are the nobility of your people, so leave them be and they shall leave you be." He replied: "Do they agree to obey me if I ask them to say but one word?" Abu Jahl said -- may Allah curse him: "Nay, we shall obey you if you ask us to say ten!" The Prophet then said: "Say: La ilaha illallah," whereupon they said: "Are you asking us to reduce all our gods to only one? Truly you are asking us for the strangest thing!" and they dispersed. Abu Talib said: "O Muhammad, you have asked them for nothing excessive." That is: You have not asked them for anything difficult.

 

Concerning Allah's saying: "Judge aright between us and be not unjust (lit. do not exceed the proper bounds)" (38:22) -- that is: Do not swerve in your judgment -- the Prophet hoped that his uncle would profess Islam, so he said to him: "Say it (the phrase: There is no god but Allah alone), so that I will be permitted to intercede for you on the Day of the Rising." Abu Talib replied: "Were it not that people -- that is: the Quraysh -- might think that I said it out of fear (of death), indeed I would say it."

 

Al-Razi said in his explanation of the sura of Cattle (al-An`am): "Abu Talib said: "Ask me to say other than this because your people hate it." The Prophet replied: "I will never say other than this even if they were to dislodge the sun from its place and put it in my hand." They said: "Then stop cursing our gods, otherwise we will curse you and Him Who orders you to do this," whereupon Allah's saying was revealed: "Revile not those unto whom they pray beside Allah lest they wrongfully revile Allah through ignorance" (6:108).

 

If it is said: "To curse the idols is among the most meritorious acts of obedience to Allah; why then did Allah forbid it?" The answer is: Allah forbade it because cursing them might lead to the gravest of transgressions -- exalted is Allah far above the saying of wrong-doers -- namely cursing Allah and His Messenger, and it is an obligation to take precautions against it.

 

 

Allah's Similes For the Phrase of Oneness

 

Allah compared the Phrase of Declaring Oneness (kalima al-tawhid):

 

- to water because water cleanses: similarly this phrase cleanses from sins;

- to soil because the soil gives forth much in exchange for a single seed: similarly this phrase multiplies its return;

- to fire because fire burns and this phrase burns sins;

- to the sun because the latter sheds light on the worlds, and this phrase illumines even the grave;

- to the moon because it dispels the darkness of night, and this phrase sheds light with the same certainty;

- to the stars because they are guides for travellers, and this phrase is a guide for the people of misguidance to follow the right way;

- to the date palm when He said: "A goodly tree, its root set firm, its branches reaching into heaven, giving its fruit at every season by permission of its Lord" (14:24-25).

- The date palm does not grow in every land; similarly this phrase does not grow in every heart.

- The date palm is the tallest fruit tree: similarly the root of this phrase is in the heart and the top of its branches are under the Throne.

- The value of the fruit does not diminish because of the pit: similarly the value of the believer does not diminish despite the disobedience lodged between himself and Allah the Exalted.

- The bottom of the date palm is thorns while its top is moist dates; similarly the initial stages of this phrase are duties, and whoever fulfills them reaches the fruit which is to behold Allah the Exalted.

 

The Phrase of Oneness is the key to the Garden of Paradise; "every key must have teeth,"[12] and its teeth are to forsake all that is forbidden and do what is ordained. Allah the Exalted says: "Therefore know that there is no god but Allah alone" (47:19) and the Prophet said: "Whoever said: There is no god but Allah alone, taking care that it is unalloyed (mukhlisan bihi) and from the heart, enters Paradise." It was asked in what being-unalloyed (ikhlas) consisted. He said: "In barring one from what Allah the Exalted has declared forbidden." The Prophet also said: "O Abu Hurayra! Every good deed on your part shall be weighed on the Day of Rising except the Witnessing that there is no god but Allah alone, for verily it can never be placed in the Balance."

 

The king of the Byzantines wrote to our Master `Umar ibn al-Khattab - may Allah be well pleased with him: "O Commander of the Faithful, Allah's Messenger has related to me that you have a certain tree whose fruit grows like the ears of donkeys, then splits into clusters more beautiful than pearls, then turns green so that it resembles emerald, then reddens and yellows like fragments of gold and ruby, and when it ripens it is more delicious than the soft honey-cake (faludhaj), and when it dries it is nourishment for the dwellers and provision for the travellers. If he spoke the truth, then verily this is a tree from Paradise!" `Umar ibn al-Khattab wrote back: "Yes, he spoke the truth, and this is also the tree under which `Isa was born (cf. 19:23) and therefore it never invokes another god together with Allah."

 

Al-Razi said that there is a relation and a resemblance between the palm tree on the one hand and animals and human beings on the other which does not exist between the latter and the other types of trees; this is why the Prophet said: "Honor your stepmother the palm tree for she was created from the remainder of Adam's clay." This is because when Adam fell to earth his hair grew long and his body became soiled, whereupon Gabriel came with scissors, cut his hair and nails, removed the dirt from his body, and buried everything in the ground. Then Adam slept and when he woke up he saw that Allah had created the palm tree by his side: its body-- that is its trunk -- was from his body, its fiber or luffa was from his hair, and its stalks were from his nails. It drinks from the top down while other trees drink from the bottom up.

 

Our Master `Ali said -- may Allah be well pleased with him: "The first tree that stood on the face of the earth is the palm-tree." Allah the Exalted mentioned it in the Qur'an : "Tall date-palms with shoots of fruit stalks, piled one over another" (50:10).[13]

 

The Prophet used to tell people to eat balah or green dates together with tamr or dried ripe dates [14] for when the sons of Adam eat them shaytan is angry and says: "The sons of Adam are eating the new together with the old!" This is because green dates are cold and dry while dried ripe ones are hot and moist, and each possesses benefits that complement those of the other. The Prophet would join together cucumbers, rutab or fresh ripe dates, sha`ir or barley bread, and tamr or dry ripe dates, as well as mix cold water with honey and drink it on an empty stomach. All this makes for lasting good health, because good health endures when (foods of) hot and cold (elements) are joined. Physicians forbid eating fish together with eggs, or fish together with yogurt, and they forbid drinking honey with cold water after eating fish or before sleep, also drinking water after sexual intercourse, and entering the bath after drinking milk. Al-Samarqandi said in "Bustan al-`arifin" (The Orchard of Gnostics): "Whoever enters the bath on a full stomach and becomes afflicted with colic has no-one to blame but himself."

 

The Prophet said: "Let the one who fasts break his fast with rutab or fresh ripe dates," for fasting weakens the stomach and the liver, and sugar reaches the liver fastest because it likes sugar and accepts it, especially rutab. The Prophet said: "When the (time of) rutab comes, wish me well, O `A'isha."

 

Tamr or dry ripe dates are the best food in any land. The pith of the palm (jummar) confines the stomach and helps against jaundice and fever. Adding to its benefit is the consumption of ginger preserve following it. Finally, there is nothing better than rutab for the menstruating woman, and nothing better than honey for the sick.

 


X. QUESTIONS ON WHAT CONSTITUTES ISLAM AND THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE KALIMAT AL-SHAHADA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it better to delay the aspiring Muslim's utterance of the kalima al-shahada (Phrase of Witnessing) on the grounds, as some claim, that its utterance is null and void or at best insufficient and incomplete unless one first achieves knowledge of  its meaning and implications, and acts upon it?


FORTY HADITHS ON

"WHOEVER SAYS LA ILAHA ILLALLAH

ENTERS PARADISE"

 

 

It is our obligation to make things easy in matters of religion and not to turn away those whom Allah causes to knock at our door in search of the acts that lead to salvation. Allah said that He did not create the jinn and humankind except to worship Him, and Ibn `Abbas explained that "worship" in this context meant knowledge. And the beginning, middle, and end of knowledge in Allah's sight is to know that there is no god except Him, and He said: "Know that there is no god but Allah" (47:19). Therefore, any non-Muslim in whom Allah has placed the desire to say the kalima tayyiba of Shahada must be encouraged to say it on the spot and without further delay. As for its perfect understanding, even several lifetimes might not suffice to reach it, nor have any of the Imams of Shari`a predicated one's Islam upon it. This is because true understanding of tawhid -- oneness of Allah -- is not the province of actions but of belief, which lies hidden in the heart.

 

            This is our method by which thousands and thousands have entered and continue to enter Islam in the Americas and Europe, and praise for it belongs to Allah who brings whomever He will, and no one can stop it nor delay it in the least. We therefore disown and denounce the method of those mosques and their leaders whereby non-Muslims are made to linger in their state and ordered to read and study before they can say shahada. Let them say it right away! For who knows if they or we will see the next second: did they not hear that the Prophet said "Your breaths are counted"?

 

            As for knowledge of the meanings and implications of the shahada, as we have said, it comes later, as it does even for older or native Muslims. Perhaps it is some of the latter that had better look whether their own shahada is "null and void or at best insufficient," and we pray that Allah corrects and guides them. They want to see a tree bearing fruit before they even plant the seed, and Allah said: "Do you not see how Allah gave as the parable of a good word (the kalima tayyiba) a good tree that is firmly rooted and its branches reach the sky. It bears fruit at all times, under orders from its Lord. So does Allah explain parables for men that they may take heed" (14:24-25). Thus the utterance of la ilaha illallah is the seed, the tree, and the fruit all at once depending on the context of its utterance in life.

 

            More importantly, it is established in countless hadiths that the mere utterance of the shahada carries immense blessing, namely the Prophet's promise that he who utters such a tremendous phrase shall enter Paradise. We have collected forty authentic hadiths on this topic and have mentioned the Arabic wording of some of them:

 

1. The Prophet said: "Whoever says: there is no god but Allah enters Paradise." Tabarani narrated it from Abu Dharr in the Kabir (7:55), Ibn Hibban in his Sahih (31), al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (4:251), al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (2:422), al-Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id (1:18), Ibn `Adi (7:2639), Abu Nu`aym in the Hilya (7:174), and al-Bazzar from `Umar.

 

2. The Prophet said: "Whoever says there is no god but Allah enters Paradise even if he commits adultery and even if he steals (i.e. even if he commits great sins)." (Nasa'i, Tabarani and others from Abu al-Darda' -- sahih)

 

3. The Prophet said: "Whoever witnesses that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger, Allah forbids the Fire from touching him." Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim from `Ubada ibn al-Samit.

 

Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari, book of riqaq ch. 14 (1989 ed. 11:324) says that the hadiths of "Allah forbids the Fire from touching him" are even more explicit than those of "Allah will enter him into Paradise" in establishing that the one who declares Allah's oneness is saved even if he does not heed the orders and the prohibitions.

 

4. The Companions were talking about Malik ibn Dukhshum, and they wished that the Prophet would curse him so that he should die or meet some calamity. The Prophet said: "Does Malik ibn Dukhshum not testify to the fact that there is no god but Allah and that I am the messenger of Allah?" They said: "Yes, he no doubt says this but it is not in his heart." The Prophet replied: "No-one ever witnesses that there is no god but Allah and that I am Allah's Messenger and then enters the Fire nor is consumed by it." Anas said: "This hadith impressed me so much that I ordered my son to write it down and he did." Muslim narrates it.

 

5. The Prophet said that Allah will save a man of his community the record of whose sins fills 99 books, each book extending as far as the eye can see. Against all this will be weighed the one good deed that he has, which is his witnessing that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, and it will outweigh all the rest. The Prophet then said: "Nothing is of any weight with Allah's Name."

 

            [The hadith begins: innallaha sayukhallisu rajulan min ummati...] Narrated from `Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`Asi by Ahmad, Tirmidhi (Iman 17 - hasan gharib), al-Hakim, and Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman.

 

            These are among the hadiths that the Wahhabi and "Salafis" are bent on destroying through the manipulation of their meanings, like the Mu`tazila did with the hadiths of intercession, because these hadiths do not fit their views. They assert therefore that whoever "only" witnesses to Allah's oneness is still not safe from the Fire -- contrary to the very words of the Prophet -- until he meets the following conditions added by them:

 

a) he must first acquire the full knowledge of the meanings of the kalima tayyiba (!)

b) his actions must first verifiably fulfill all the demands of the kalima tayyiba both inwardly and outwardly (!)

 

            One example of these false views of the "Salafi" propagandists is given in the commentary on Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab's Kitab al-tawhid by his grandson `Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab in the latter's book Fath al-majid sharh kitab al-tawhid (7th ed. Muhammad al-Fiqqi, 1377/1957), a notorious Wahhabi reference-book, a kind of anthology of errors replete with heresies. In the following excerpts, observe how the Wahhabi/Salafis twist the meanings of these foundational hadiths about the sufficiency of the kalima tayyiba in order to make them say the exact opposite of their explicit meanings by interpolating the condition that one must necessarily act, and that, contrary to what the Prophet said, saying the kalima tayyiba is not enough for one to enter Paradise! A gross lie committed against the Prophet, and the Prophet said: "Whoever lies about me (i.e. about what I said) intentionally, let him prepare himself for the Fire."

 

            In the excerpt, the author pretends to address the hadith of the Prophet: "Whoever witnesses that there is no god but Allah alone, without partner, and that Muhammad is his servant and messenger, and that `Isa (Jesus) is Allah's servant and his messenger and His word (i.e. His direct order) which He cast upon Mary and a spirit which came from Him, and that the Paradise is real, and the Fire is real: Allah will enter him into Paradise regardless of his deeds" (Bukhari and Muslim from `Ubada ibn al-Samit).

 

 

THE EXCERPT

 

 

`Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab says in his Fath al-majid  (p. 35):

 

The Prophet's words: "Whoever witnesses that there is no god but Allah alone" mean: Whoever utters them in full knowledge of their meaning and in active compliance with their demand, both inwardly and outwardly. For it is a must, in the two witnessings, to have knowledge, certainty, and actions on the basis of what they refer to, as Allah said: "Know then that there is no god except Allah" (47:19) and "Except they who witness to the truth  in full knowledge" (43:86). As for he who utters "There is no god but Allah alone" without knowing what it means, nor certainty, nor actions in compliance with its demand such as repudiating shirk and purifying one's words -- both those of the tongue and those of the heart -- and one's deeds -- both those of the heart and those of the organs -- then such a witnessing is useless by consensus.[15]

 

 

            The evidence is clear. The Prophet said in his hadith: "Whoever says," "whoever witnesses," and "whoever accepts." He did not say, as the above writer asserts, "Whoever utters them in full knowledge of their meaning and in active compliance with their demand, both inwardly and outwardly"!

 

            This is not to say that full knowledge and compliance are not necessary or meritorious; however, they are not part of the Prophet's statement, nor are they meant by the Prophet's statement, as confirmed by the other hadiths which stress that the non-compliance of great sinners will not reverse their entry into Paradise. One great proof of this is that the Prophet was content to ask for his uncle Abu Talib's mere utterance of the shahada on his death-bed, without further condition (See below #10-11, 40), and that is what Abu Bakr reported when he said:

 

I asked Allah's Messenger what basic thing was necessary for salvation and he replied: "Whoever accepts the Word which I brought and which I offered to my uncle Abu Talib and which he rejected: this Word constitutes salvation for him."

 

It is narrated by Ahmad, Tabarani in al-Awsat, Abu Ya`la, and al-Bazzar.

 

            The whole point of the Prophet (rejected by "Salafis") in these paramount hadiths is that the utterance of the kalima tayyiba is sufficient for one to enter Paradise; and the whole point of the Salafis is to cancel this and position themselves in the place of the Prophet to declare that the one who utters the kalima tayyiba is still a disbeliever! As we see day in and day out in their propaganda, this aberration is the cornerstone of the "Salafi" heresy which the scholars of Ahl al-Sunna have warned about even before the time of Jamal Effendi al-Zahawi who said at the end of his denunciation of the Wahhabi heresy entitled al-Fajr al-sadiq: "May Allah the Exalted fight the Wahhabis, because they are intent on establishing reasons to declare Muslims unbelievers. They have shown that takfir (declaring Muslims to be disbelievers) is their highest ambition."

 

            The following is further evidence that Allah has let it be sufficient for one's salvation that one utter but once in life the kalima (phrase) of shahada (witnessing) that "There is no god but Allah alone" which in Arabic is la ilaha illallah. It is important to reiterate this point of belief often, as one of the heresies propagated today by the sect who call themselves "Salafis" consists in stubbornly denying the sufficiency of the Kalima tayyiba and add to it various conditions, refusing to facilitate its utterance by potential Muslims although the Prophet clearly stated that its utterance was sufficient for one to enter Paradise.

 

            In the well-known hadith of the Great Intercession related from Abu Hurayra in the last book (Tawhid) of Sahih al-Bukhari, Allah four times tells His Prophet, Peace be upon him: "Ask and you shall receive, intercede and you shall have intercession." The Prophet then intercedes and his intercession is accepted when all other prophets are powerless to intercede. His intercession is accepted in four successive instances:

 

- For those who have a grain of faith in their heart;

- For those who have a mustard-seed of faith in their heart;

- For those who have less than that of faith in their heart;

- FOR ANYONE WHO EVER SAID: "LA ILAHA ILLALLAH."

 

            Allah swears to this last part. This is conclusive evidence that to say la ilaha illallah with not even less than a mustard-seed of faith in the heart will acquire its speaker the intercession of the Prophet and salvation from the Fire.

 

6. Bukhari narrates in his Sahih (Volume 9, Book 93, Number 601): Ma`bad ibn Hilal al-`Anazi relates: Some of us from Basra gathered and went to Anas bin Malik in company with Thabit al-Bunani so that he might ask Anas about the Hadith of Intercession on our behalf. Anas was in his palace, and our arrival coincided with his late morning (Duha) prayer. We asked permission to enter and he admitted us, sitting on his bed. We said to Thabit, "Do not ask him about anything else first but the Hadith of Intercession." He said, "O Abu Hamza! Here are your brethren from Basra coming to ask you about the Hadith of Intercession." Anas then said:

 

The Prophet talked to us saying: On the Day of Resurrection the people will surge one group after another like waves, and then they will come to Adam and say: "Please intercede for us with your Lord." He will say: "I am not fit for this. You should go to Ibrahim as he is the Intimate Friend (khalil) of the Beneficent." They will go to Ibrahim and he will say: "I am not fit for this, but you should go to Moses as he is the one to whom Allah spoke directly." So they will go to Musa and he will say: "I am not fit for this, but you should go to `Isa as he is a soul created (directly) by Allah, and His Word (Be!)." They will go to `Isa and he will say: "I am not fit for this, but you should go to Muhammad."

 

            They will come to me and I will say: "I can do it." Then I will ask for my Lord's permission and it will be given; then He will inspire me to praise Him with such praises as I cannot fathom. So I will praise Him with those praises and will fall down prostrate before Him. Then it will be said: "O Muhammad, raise your head and speak, for you will be heard; ask, for your will be granted your request; intercede, for your intercession will be accepted." I will say: "O Lord, my Community! My Community!" And then it will be said: "Go and take out of the Fire all those who have in their hearts faith the weight of a barley grain."

 

            I will go and do so and return to praise Him with the same praises, and fall down prostrate before Him. Then it will be said: "O Muhammad, raise your head and speak, for you will be heard; ask, for your will be granted your request; intercede, for your intercession will be accepted." I will say: "O Lord, my Community! My Community!" And then it will be said: "Go and take out of the Fire all those who have in their hearts faith the like of a small ant or a mustard-seed."

 

            I will go and do so and return to praise Him with the same praises, and fall down prostrate before Him. Then it will be said: "O Muhammad, raise your head and speak, for you will be heard; ask, for you will be granted your request; intercede, for your intercession will be accepted." I will say: "O Lord, my Community! My Community!" And then it will be said: "Go and take out of the Fire all those who have in their hearts the smallest iota of faith." I will go and do so.

 

            When we left Anas, I said to some of my companions: "Let us pass by al-Hasan (al-Basri) who is hiding himself in the house of Abi Khalifa and request him to recount to us what Anas ibn Malik has just told us." So we went to him and we greeted him and he admitted us. We said to him: "O Abu Sa`id! We came to you from your brother Anas ibn Malik and he related to us a Hadith about the intercession the like of which I have never heard." He said: "What is that?" We told him of the Hadith and at the end we said: "He stopped at this point." He said: "What then?" We said: "He did not add anything after that." He said: "Anas related the Hadith to me twenty years ago when he was a young fellow. I don't know whether he forgot or if he did not like to let you depend overly on what he might have said." We said, "O Abu Sa`id! Do tell us." He smiled and said: "Man was created hasty. I only mentioned it because I was going to inform you of it. Anas told me the same as he told you and said that the Prophet added:

 

I will then return for a fourth time and praise Him similarly and prostrate before Him the same as before. And then it will be said: "O Muhammad, raise your head and speak, for you will be heard; ask, for your will be granted your request; intercede, for your intercession will be accepted." I will then say: "O Lord, allow me to intercede for whoever said: la ilaha illallah." Then Allah will say:

 

By My Power,

by My Majesty,

by My Supremacy,

and by My Greatness,

I shall take out of the fire whoever said: la ilaha illallah.

 

7. This is confirmed by another well-known hadith whereby the Prophet said: "My intercession is for those people of my Community who commit major sins." Narrated by Tirmidhi, Qiyama 11; Abu Dawud, Sunna 31; Ibn Maja, Zuhd 37; and Ahmad 3:213.

 

8. Adhana fi al-nasi anna man shahida an la ilaha illallah wahdahu la sharika lahu mukhlisan dakhala al-janna. "It was proclaimed among the people that whoever witnesses that there is no god except Allah, alone, without partner, enters Paradise." Narrated by Ibn `Adi on the authority of `Umar.

 

8a. Man shahida an la ilaha illallah dakhala al-janna. "Whoever witnesses that there is no god but Allah alone enters Paradise." al-Bazzar narrates it from `Umar.

 

9. Bashshir al-nasa annahu man qala la ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lahu wajabat lahu al-janna. "Announce to the people the tidings that whoever says: No god except Allah alone, without partner, Paradise is guaranteed for him." Narrated by al-Nasa'i from Sahl ibn Hunayf and Zayd ibn Khalid al-Jahni.

 

10. `Uthman ibn `Affan said: I heard Allah's Messenger say: "Verily, I know a phrase which no servant utters truthfully from his heart except the Fire is made unlawful for him." `Umar ibn al-Khattab said: "I shall tell you what that phrase is. It is the kalima of sincerity with which Allah has empowered Muhammad and his Companions, the kalima of fear of Allah which Allah's Prophet enjoined upon his uncle Abu Talib on his deathbed: the witnessing that there is no god but Allah." Ahmad related it in his Musnad (1:63 #449).

 

11. Sa`id ibn al-Musayyib relates: When the death of Abu Talib approached, Allah's Apostle came to him and said: "Say: la ilaha illallah, a word with which I will be able to defend you / argue for you / witness on your behalf before Allah." Narrated by Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 78, Number 672. Muslim also narrates it in his Sahih. Even the "Salafis" have precluded themselves from arguing with the meaning of the above hadith, as they have mentioned it in the introduction to their rendering of the Holy Qur'an (Khan-Hilali translation).

 

12. Mafatih al-janna shahadatu an la ilaha illallah. "The keys to Paradise are the witnessing that there is no god but Allah." Ahmad related it from Mu`adh and Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa'id: "The men in its chain has been declared trustworthy (thiqa) although there is interruption in the transmission." It is confirmed by the next hadith.

 

12a. Li kulli shay'in miftahun wa miftahu al-jannati shahadatu an la ilaha illallah. "Everything has its key, and the key to Paradise is the witnessing that there is no god but Allah." Narrated by Tabarani from Mu`qal ibn Yasar. Wahb confirmed its authenticity as related in one of the chapter-titles in Bukhari's Sahih.

 

13. Ibn `Abbas narrated in his Commentary that the Prophet said concerning the meaning of the verse: hal jaza'u al-ihsani illa al-ihsan -- "Is the reward of goodness anything other than goodness?" (55:60): "Allah says: Can there be any other reward than Paradise in the Hereafter for one whom I blessed in his worldly life with the recitation of the kalima of la ilaha illallah?" `Ikrima and al-Hasan also said that the reward of la ilaha illallah cannot be anything but Paradise.

 

14. "If anyone comes on the Day of Resurrection who has said la ilaha illallah sincerely with the intention to win Allah's pleasure, Allah will make Hellfire forbidden for him." Narrated by Bukhari, vol. 8 p.288 #431.

 

            Tirmidhi comments on the preceding hadith: "It is narrated from al-Zuhri that he was asked about the Prophet's saying whereby "Whoever says la ilaha illallah enters Paradise" and he said: "This was only in the beginning of Islam, before the revelation of obligations and the orders and prohibitions." The hafiz Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi (d. 543) comments on this in `Aridat al-ahwadhi (10:105): "There is no justification for Ibn Shihab's (al-Zuhri) explanation." This is confirmed by the hadith of `Utban ibn Malik. Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari, Riqaq ch. 14 (1989 ed. 11:324) mentions that the opinion of al-Zuhri and of Sa`id ibn al-Musayyib that the hadith "Whoever says la ilaha illallah applied only in the beginning of Islam was incorrect since the hadith of Abu al-Darda' and Abu Dharr whereby the Muslim enters Paradise "even if he commits adultery or steals" and the Prophet mentioned this precisely to contradict the logic of those who say that great sins will prevent entry into Paradise.

 

15. Lan yuwafiya `abdun yawma al-qiyamati yaqulu la ilaha illallah yabtaghi biha wajh Allah illa harrama Allahu `alayhi al-nar. "No servant is true to his word on the Day of Resurrection, saying: No god but Allah in order to seek Allah's good pleasure, except Allah will make the Fire unlawful for him." Narrated by Ahmad and Bukhari from `Utban ibn Malik.

 

16. "The best of my sayings and of the sayings of all Prophets before me is: There is no god but Allah alone, without partner, to Him belong all sovereignty and glory, and He has power over all things." Narrated by Tirmidhi from `Amr ibn Shu`ayb, from his father, from his grandfather (hasan gharib).

 

17. Afdalu al-a`mali al-imanu billahi wahdah, thumma al-jihad, thumma hujjatun mabrura, tufdilu sa'ir al-a`mali kama bayna matla` al-shamsi ila maghribiha. "The best deed is belief in Allah alone, then fighting in the way of Allah, then pilgrimage that is accepted: these outweigh all deeds the distance of East to West." Narrated by Ahmad from Ma`iz with a sound chain.

 

18. Alaysa yashhadu an la ilaha illallah wa anni rasulullah? Qalu innahu yaqulu dhalika wa ma huwa fi qalbihi. Qala la yashhadu ahadun an la ilaha illallah wa anni rasulullah fa yadkhulu al-nara aw tut`imuhu. Qala anas fa a`jabani hadha al-hadith fa qultu li ibni uktubhu fa katabahu. It is narrated on the authority of `Utban ibn Malik that he came to Madina and said: Something was wrong with my eyesight, so I said to the Prophet: "It is my ardent desire that you should grace my house with your presence and pray there so that I should take the spot where you prayed as a place of worship." (Another version also in Muslim has: I sent for the Prophet the message: "Come and lay for me a place for worship [khutta li masjidan]." Imam Nawawi said: It means: "Mark for me a spot that I can take as a place for worship by obtaining blessing from your having been there [mutabarrikan bi atharika].") So the Prophet came there, with those of the Companions whom Allah wished. He entered (my home) and performed prayer. Then the Companions began to talk among themselves about Malik ibn Dukhshum, and they wished that the Prophet would curse him so that he should die or meet some calamity. After the Prophet finished praying he said: "Does Malik ibn Dukhshum not testify to the fact that there is no god but Allah and that I am the messenger of Allah?" They said: "Yes, he no doubt says this but it is not in his heart." The Prophet replied: "No-one ever witnesses that there is no god but Allah and that I am Allah's Messenger and then enters the Fire or consumes it." Anas said: "This hadith impressed me so much that I ordered my son to write it down and he did." Narrated by Muslim. Imam Nawawi says about: "In this hadith is evidence for obtaining blessings through the relics of saints (al-tabarruk bi athar al-salihin)."

 

19. al-imanu bid`un wa sab`una baban fa adnaha imatat al-adha `an al-tariq wa arfa`uha qawlu la ilaha illallah. "Belief is seventy and some branches. Its lowest branch is the removal of harm from the road while its highest is to say: There is no god but Allah." Narrated by Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad.

 

20. Man kana akhir kalamihi la ilaha illallah dakhala al-janna. "Whoever breathes his last with the words: la ilaha illallah, enters Paradise." Narrated from Mu`adh by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and al-Hakim.

 

Imam Nawawi in his book al-Tarkhis fi al-ikram bi al-qiyam li dhawi al-fadl wa al-maziyya min ahl al-Islam (p. 84) said:

 

The hadith master Abu al-Baqa' told us: Hafiz Abu Muhammad informed us: Abu Tahir al-Silafi informed us: Abu `Ali al-Burdani said: I heard Hannad ibn Ibrahim al-Nasafi saying: I heard Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al-Qattan saying: I heard Abu `Abd Allah `Umar ibn Ahmad Ibn Ishaq al-`Attar saying: I heard Abu `Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Muslim ibn Warah al-Razi saying: I and Abu Hatim Muhammad ibn Idris al-Razi were present with Abu Zur`a al-Razi at the time of his death, so I said to Abu Hatim: "Come, let us remind him to say the shahada." Abu Hatim said, "I would be ashamed before Abu Zur`a to remind him of  the shahada; but come, let us recall the hadith, perhaps when he hears it he will say it." I started and said:

 

Muhammad ibn Bashshar told us:

Abu `Asim al-Nabil told us:

from `Abd al-Hamid ibn Ja`far --

 

then I got confused about the hadith as if I never heard it or read it. So Abu Hatim started and said:

 

Muhammad ibn Bashshar told us:

Abu `Asim al-Nabil told us:

from `Abd al-Hamid ibn Ja`far --

 

then he too got confused as if he never read it or heard it before. Then Abu Zur`a, may Allah be pleased with him, spoke and said:

 

Muhammad ibn Bashshar told us:

Abu `Asim al-Nabil told us:

`Abd al-Hamid ibn Ja`far told us:

from Salih ibn Abi `Urayb:

from Kathir ibn Murrah:

from Mu`adh ibn Jabal, may Allah be pleased with him, he said:

 

the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said: "Whoever speaks as his last words: la ilaha illallah" --

 

then Abu Zur`a's spirit came out with the letter ha' (the last letter of the word Allah) before he could say "he will enter Paradise." That was in the year 262.

 

21. Man mata wa huwa ya`lamu annahu la ilaha illallah dakhala al-janna. "Whoever dies knowing full well that there is no god but Allah, enters Paradise." Narrated by Muslim and Ahmad from `Uthman.

 

22. Idhhab bi na`layya hatayni fa man laqita min wara'a hadha al-ha'it yashhadu an la ilaha illallah mustayqinan biha qalbahu fa bashshirhu bi al-janna. The Prophet said to Abu Hurayra: "Go with these two sandals of mine and whoever you meet behind this wall that witnesses that there is no god except Allah with certitude in his heart, give him glad tidings that he will enter Paradise." Narrated by Muslim from Abu Hurayra. The latter then met `Umar, who prevented him from announcing this to the people and the Prophet agreed with him on the grounds that they would then rely upon it to the exclusion of everything else. The prevention of this news from reaching the ears of the ignorant is confirmed by the hadith of Mu`adh and that of `Ubada ibn al-Samit through al-Sunabihi, both narrated by Muslim in the same chapter (Book of iman ch. 10).

 

23. Man shahida an la ilaha illallah wa anna Muhammadan rasulullah harrama Allahu `alayhi al-nar. `Abd al-Rahman ibn Usayla al-Sunabihi said: When I entered upon `Ubada ibn al-Samit at the time of his death I burst into tears so he said: "Why are you crying? By Allah, if I were asked to testify I would testify for you, and if I were given intercession I would intercede for you, and if it were in my power I would certainly help you! By Allah, I never heard a hadith from Allah's Messenger in which there was benefit for you except I narrated it to you, all but one: and I shall narrate it to you now since I am about to breathe my last. I heard Allah's Messenger say: "Whoever witnesses that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger, Allah forbids the Fire from touching him." Muslim and Tirmidhi narrated it. Qadi `Iyad said: "In this hadith is the proof for the permissibility of keeping certain types of knowledge away from the common people due to the inability of their minds to understand it correctly, as long as it does not concern an obligation of religion or stipulations for punishment." Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim (Iman Ch. 10 #47).

 

24. Ya Mu`adh ibn Jabal ma min ahadin yashhadu an la ilaha illallah wa anni rasulullah sidqan min qalbihi illa harramahu allahu `ala al-nar. Qala ya rasulallah afala ukhbiru al-nasa fayastabshiru? Qala idhan yattakilu. The Prophet said: "O Mu`adh ibn Jabal! No one witnesses that there is no god but Allah and that I am Allah's Messenger truthfully from his heart except Allah has made him unlawful for the Fire." Mu`adh said: "O Messenger of Allah, shall I not tell the people so that they will be glad?" He replied: "If you do, they will rely on it (and leave everything else)." Narrated by Muslim, Ahmad and Bayhaqi from Anas. Muslim says: "Mu`adh narrated it at the time of his death to avoid sinning (by keeping it to himself)."

 

25. As`adu al-nasi bi shafa`ati yawma al-qiyama man qala La ilaha illallah khalisan mukhlisan min qalbihi. Abu Hurayra inquired from the Prophet: "O Messenger of Allah, who will be the most fortunate of people to receive your intercession on the Day of Resurrection?" The Prophet replied: "O Abu Hurayra, I knew, because of your love of what I say, that no one other than you would ask me of this hadith. The most fortunate of people to receive my intercession on the Day of Resurrection are those who said: la ilaha illallah purely and sincerely from the heart." Narrated by Bukhari from Abu Hurayra.

 

26.  Usama ibn Zayd killed an idolater in battle after the latter had said: "There is no god but Allah" (la ilaha illallah). When news of this reached Allah's Messenger he condemned Usama in the strongest terms and he said to him: "How can you kill him after he said La ilaha illallah?" He replied: "But he said it with the sword hanging over his head--" The Prophet said again: "How can you kill him after he said La ilaha illallah?"  He replied: "O Messenger of Allah, he said it in dissimulation (taqiyyatan)." The Prophet said: "Did you split his heart open (to see)?" and he did not cease to reprove him until Usama wished that he had not entered Islam until after he had killed that man so that he might have been forgiven all his past sins through belief. Narrated by Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Tayalisi, Abu Dawud, Nasa'i, al-`Adni, Abu `Awana, al-Tahawi, al-Hakim, and Bayhaqi.

 

27. al-Miqdad said: I asked, "O Messenger of Allah, suppose I and one of the idolaters battled and he cut off my hand, then I was positioned to strike him and he said: la ilaha illallah! Do I kill him or spare him?" He said: "Spare him." I said: "Even if he cut off my hand?" He said: "Even so." I asked him again two or three times whereupon he said: "If you kill him after he says la ilaha illallah then you are like him before he said it, and he is like you before you killed him." Narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Nasa'i, Shafi`i in his Musnad, and Bayhaqi in the Shu`ab.

 

28. Innallaha la yu`adhdhibu min `ibadihi illa al-marid wa al-mutamarrid `ala Allah wa aba an yaqula la ilaha illallah. The Prophet said: "Allah does not punish, of his servants, except the rebel against Allah who refuses to say: there is no god but Allah." Ibn Majah narrated it.

 

29. afdalu al-dhikri la ilaha illallah. The Prophet said: "The best remembrance of Allah is to say: There is no god but Allah." Tirmidhi (hasan), Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman, from Jabir ibn `Abd Allah.

 

30. al-tasbih nusfu al-mizan, wa al-hamdu lillah tamla'uhu, wa LA ILAHA ILLALLAH laysa laha duna Allahi hijabun hatta tukhlisu ilayh. The Prophet said:            "Saying subhan allah (glory to Allah) is half the balance and saying al-hamdu lillah (all praise belongs to Allah) fills it, and there is no veil between la ilaha illallah and Allah Himself (i.e. it is not even weighed in the Balance), it reaches Him directly." Narrated by Tirmidhi from `Abd Allah ibn `Umar. Suyuti in al-Jami` al-saghir said it is sound (sahih).

 

31. Kunna `inda al-nabiyyi sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam fa qala hal fikum gharib? ya`ni ahl al-kitab qulna la ya rasulallah fa amara bi ghalqi al-abwabi wa qala irfa`u aydikum wa qulu la ilaha illallah! farafa`na aydina sa`atan thumma qala al-hamdu lillah! allahumma innaka ba`athtani bi hadhihi al-kalimai wa wa`adtani `alayha al-jannata wa anta la tukhlifu al-mi`ad! thumma qala abshiru fa innallaha qad ghafara lakum. Ya`la ibn Shaddad relates that his father Shaddad ibn Aws told him as `Ubada ibn al-Samit was present and confirmed it: "We were sitting with Allah's Messenger and he asked if there was any stranger -- the narrator said: i.e. People of the Book -- in the gathering. We said that there was none. He said: Shut the door, raise up your hands and say: "There is no god but Allah." We raised our hands and recited the kalima tayyiba for some time. He then exclaimed: "al-hamdu lillah! O Allah, You have sent me with this word and have ordered me to teach it and have promised me Paradise for it, and You do not take back Your promise. Be glad, for Allah has forgiven you!" The chain of this hadith is fair (hasan). Narrated from Ya`la ibn Shaddad's father and `Ubada ibn al-Samit by Ahmad, Nasa'i, Tabarani, al-Hakim, al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib, and others. al-Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa'id: "The sub-narrators in its chain are trustworthy."

 

32. `Abd Allah ibn Salam  relates: As we were travelling with Allah's Messenger he heard the people asking: "Which action is the best, O Allah's Messenger?" He said: "Belief in Allah, fighting in Allah's way, and pilgrimage that is accepted." After this he heard a call coming from a valley saying: "I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah" whereupon he said: "And I bear witness to the same, and I bear witness that no one bears witness to the same except he clears himself of shirk (associating a partner to Allah)." Ahmad and Tabarani in al-Awsat relate it with a sound chain, as stated by Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id.

 

33. The Prophet came out and heard the adhan. When he heard the mu'adhdhin say: la ilaha illallah, he said: khala`a al-andad, which means: "He (the speaker) has disowned (the existence of) partners (to Allah)." Ibn Abi al-Dunya narrated it, and Suyuti cites it in his commentary of verse 2:18 in al-Durr al-manthur.

 

34. Yakhruju min al-nari man qala la ilaha illallah wa kana fi qalbihi min al-khayri ma yazinu sha`ira, thumma yakhruju min al-nari man qala la ilaha illallah wa kana fi qalbihi min al-khayri ma yazinu badhra, thumman yakhruju min al-nari man qala la ilaha illallah wa kana fi qalbihi min al-khayri ma yazinu dharra. "There will come out of the Fire whoever said: There is no god but Allah, and there is in his heart a bead's worth of goodness; then there will come out of the Fire whoever said: There is no god but Allah, and there is in his heart a grain's worth of goodness; then there will come out of the Fire whoever said: There is no god but Allah, and there is in his heart an atom's worth of goodness." Related by Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Tirmidhi (hasan sahih), Bayhaqi, Nasa'i, Tabarani, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Khuzayma from Anas.

 

35. Mu`adh ibn Jabal said that the last he spoke with the Prophet he asked him: "What action is most beloved to Allah?" And the Prophet replied: "That you die with your tongue still moist with the mention (dhikr) of Allah." Related by Tabarani and al-Bazzar (hasan). Note that hadith #29 stipulates that the best dhikr is La ilaha illallah.

 

36. Ala unabbi'ukum bi khayri a`malikum wa azkaha `inda malikikum wa arfa`iha fi darajatikum wa khayrin lakum min infaqi al-dhahabi wa al-waraqi wa khayrin lakum min an talqu `aduwwakum fa tadribu a`naqahum wa yadribu a`naqakum qalu bala qala dhikrullah. The Prophet said: "Shall I tell you something that is the best of all deeds, constitutes the best act of piety in the eyes of your Lord, will elevate your status in the hereafter, and carries more virtue than the spending of gold and silver or taking part in jihad and slaying and being slain in the path of Allah? It is the dhikr or remembrance and mention of Allah." Narrated from Abu al-Darda' by Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ibn Abi al-Dunya, al-Hakim (sahih), al-Dhahabi (who confirmed al-Hakim), and others.

 

37. Ma `amila adamiyyun `amalan anja lahu min `adhabi al-qabri min dhikrillah. The Prophet said: "A human being cannot do anything that is more effective in saving him from the punishment of the grave than the dhikr or remembrance of Allah." Narrated from Mu`adh ibn Jabal by Ahmad. Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa'id that the sub-narrators in its chain of transmission are the men of sound hadith, although the Tabi`i link is missing; however, Tabarani narrated it through a second chain which is entirely sound (sahih). Also narrated with the word al-`abd (Allah's servant) instead of adamiyyun (a human being) by Malik in his Muwatta', Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim (sahih), and al-Dhahabi (who confirmed al-Hakim).

 

38. Anas reports that the Prophet was once asked the same question as Mu`adh in hadith #35, and he replied: "Knowledge of Allah." It was then asked: "And which action adds to this in merit?" He repeated: "Knowledge of Allah." They said: "We ask about actions and you answer concerning knowledge?" The Prophet said: "A few actions are greatly useful as long as there is knowledge; while a lot of actions are useless if there is ignorance." Anas said: "He spoke of this at length." Ibn `Abd al-Barr reports it in Fadl al-`ilm with a weak chain. See also Ithaf al-sadat al-muttaqin (1:85), Suyuti's al-Durr al-manthur (2:221), and al-Mundhiri's al-Tarhib wa al-Targhib (3:525).

 

            This hadith is confirmed by hadith #37 and by the first phrase of hadith #17 whereby "the best deed is belief in Allah alone." The hadith is further confirmed by our decisive knowledge that the purpose of creation is knowledge of Allah, as indicated by Ibn `Abbas's explanation of the verse wa ma khalaqna al-jinna wa al-insa illa li ya`budun "I did not create the jinn and humankind except to worship (= know) Me" (51:56) and the verse fa`lam annahu la ilaha illallah "Know that there is no god except Allah" (47:19).

 

39. Wal-ladhi nafsi bi yadihi law ji'a bi al-samawati wa al-ardi wa man fihinna wa ma baynahunna fa wudi`na fi kaffati al-mizani wa wudi`at shahadatu an la ilaha illallahu fi al-kaffati al-ukhra la rajahat bihinna. "By Him in Whose hand is my soul, if the heavens and the earth and all that are in them and everything that is in between were brought and placed in one pan of the Balance, and the witnessing that there is no god but Allah were placed in the other, the latter would outweigh the former." Related by Tabarani and by Suyuti in al-Durr al-manthur. Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id stated that the sub-narrators in its chain are trustworthy, but that the Tabi`i link is missing.

 

40. After the passing of the Prophet from this world Abu Bakr said to the Companions: "I asked Allah's Messenger what basic thing was necessary for salvation and he replied that whoever accepts the Word which I brought and which I offered to my uncle Abu Talib and which he rejected: this Word constitutes salvation for him." Related by Ahmad (1:6), Tabarani in al-Awsat, Tayalisi in his Musnad, Ibn Sa`d in his Tabaqat (2/2:84-85), Abu Ya`la, Ibn Abi Shayba, Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman (1:107-108 #92-93) and al-Bazzar. See above, hadiths #10-11. This hadith is sound although in Ahmad the link between al-Zuhri and Abu Bakr and `Uthman is not named other than "a man from the trustworthy people among the Ansar," while Bayhaqi's and Tayalisi's narration from al-Zuhri is from Sa`id ibn al-Musayyib from `Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As.

 


THE PROPHET'S MERCY

TOWARDS THE DISBELIEVERS

 

 

·         Ibn `Abbas narrates that the Quraysh said to the Prophet: "Invoke for us your Lord so that He will turn al-Safa mountain into gold for us. Then we will believe." The Prophet said: "Will you do truly?" They said yes. Then he began to invoke. Jibril came to him and said: "Your Lord sends His greeting to you and says: If you wish al-Safa shall become gold for them, and then whoever among them disbelieves I shall punish him with a kind of punishment I have never inflicted on anyone in all the worlds; and if you wish, instead I will open for them the gate of repentence and mercy." The Prophet said: "Nay, the gate of repentence and mercy!"

 

            Imam Ahmad narrates it in his Musnad (1:242) and Ibn al-Jawzi cites it in al-Wafa' (p. 434, ch. 4 of Abwab sifatihi al-ma`nawiyya). Imam Suyuti cites it in Asbab al-nuzul as an explanation for the circumstances in which was revealed verse 6:109: "They swear their strongest oaths by Allah that if a special sign came to them they would believe. Say: Certainly all signs are in the power of Allah but what will make you realize that if signs came, they will not believe?"

 

·         Abu Hurayra said: The Prophet was asked: "O Messenger of Allah, invoke Allah's curse on the disbelievers." He replied: "I was not send as an invoker of curses. I was sent only as a mercy."

 

Muslim narrates it in his Sahih, in the book entitled Kitab al-birr wa al-sila.

 


XI. QUESTIONS ON

JANAZAT AL-GHA'IBIN

(FUNERAL PRAYER IN ABSENTIA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it permissible to perform the funeral prayer for all absent Muslims indiscriminately in the light of Albani's statement: "It [funeral prayer over every Muslim in absentia] is among the innovations in religion of which none doubts among those who know the Sunna of the Prophet and the school (madhhab) of the Salaf"?[16]


JANAZAT AL-GHA'IBIN IS PERMITTED

FOR ONE AND ALL

 

 

It would be enough for one to know that the Salaf had more than a single madhhab to realize the strangeness of Albani's opinion cited above. It is known that al-Shafi`i and Ahmad -- who were of the Salaf -- and their schools permitted the funeral prayer in absentia for one and all indiscriminately. The above fatwa is all the more peculiar in light of the fact that it concludes a section of the book which begins with the author's own declaration that "The janaza prayer is lawful over... those who died in a country which have no one to pray over them in their presence: over such, a group [sic] of the Muslims pray in absentia (Salat al-gha'ib), because of the Prophet's prayer over the Negus."[17] He then reduces this general permission of his to a selective one whereby the prayer in absentia may be offered for some but not all. What is his proof for this?

 

a) First he quotes Ibn al-Qayyim's words whereby: "It was not part of the Prophet's guidance or his Sunna to pray on every single dead in absentia, for a great deal of the Muslims died in absentia and he did not pray over them, and it is true that he prayed the funeral prayer over the Negus."[18]

 

b) Then he avers that "when the rightly-guided caliphs and other caliphs died, none of the Muslims prayed the funeral prayer in absentia over them, and if they had, the reports about it would have been transmitted from them from every side."

 

            Neither statement constitutes proof that the janaza in absentia for all Muslims indiscriminately "is among the innovations in religion of which none doubt among those who know the Sunna of the Prophet and the school (madhhab) of the Salaf." For Ibn al-Qayyim's own school contradicts him since Ibn Qudama in the Mughni `ala mukhtasar al-Khiraqi explicitly precluded any condition to the funeral prayer in absentia: it is permissible indiscriminately of number, social status, or whether the absent ones died in a Muslim environment or not.[19] The same universality is stated by Ibn al-Jawzi before him in his book of comparative fiqh entitled al-Tahqiq fi ahadith al-khilaf in the section entitled: "The funeral prayer in absentia may be performed with the proper intention, contrary to (the opinions of) Abu Hanifa and Malik."[20] Fiqh al-Sunna does not say otherwise.[21] Nor does the rightly-guided caliphs' omission of something, even less that of the Caliphs who succeeded them, constitute proof that it is against the Sunna, especially when there is plain evidence to the contrary from the Prophet himself, even on a single occasion, provided the Sunna instituted by him has not been abrogated, which it has not. At most the two purported proofs suggest that it is not obligatory to pray the janaza in absentia for every Muslim.

 


PERMISSIBILITY OF JANAZAT AL-GHA'IBIN:

NAWAWI

 

 

The permissibility of performing the funeral prayer in absentia -- i.e. for Muslims who died elsewhere in the world -- rests on the following hadiths narrated by Muslim in his Sahih (Kitab al-jana'iz, ch. 22: "On Saying Allahu akbar Over the Remains"). They are cited with excerpts from Nawawi's Commentary on them:

 

1. Abu Hurayra narrated that the Prophet announced to the people the death of the Negus on the same day that he died, then he came outside with them to the (open air) place of prayer and said "Allah is greatest!" four times.

 

            Nawawi said in his Commentary on Sahih Muslim:[22] "al-Shafi`i and those who agree with him see in this hadith a proof for praying over the absent dead."

 

            "There is in the hadith an evident miracle of the Prophet's due to his proclamation of the Negus's death on the same day that the latter died in Abyssinia. "

 

            "There is also in the hadith the desirability of proclaiming the death of someone, but not in the pre-Islamic fashion which means to glorify and so forth."

 

            "Abu Hanifa may have cited the words "he came outside to the place of prayer" as proof that the funeral prayer is not prayed inside the mosque. However, our school (Shafi`i) and that of the great majority of the scholars is that it is permissible to perform it inside the mosque... The coming out is interpreted to signify greater publicity and to show the people this great miracle of the Prophet's. There is also the (desirable) increase in the number of worshippers. It offers no proof whatsoever that the prayer cannot be prayed inside the mosque. What the scholars have considered prohibited is to bring the remains into the mosque."

 

2. Abu Hurayra narrated that the Prophet announced to the people the death of the Negus -- the leader of the Abyssinians -- on the same day that he died, saying: "Ask forgiveness for your brother." Ibn Shihab (al-Zuhri) said: "Sa`id ibn al-Musayyib also narrated to me that Abu Hurayra narrated to him that the Prophet arranged them in rows in the place of prayer and prayed saying "Allah is greatest!" four times.

 

3. Jabir ibn `Abd Allah narrated that the Prophet prayed over As-hama the Negus saying: "Allah is greatest!" four times.

 

            Nawawi said: "Ibn Qutayba said that the meaning of As-hama in Arabic is `Atiyya. The scholars have said that al-Najashi -- the Negus -- is the title of every king of the Abyssinians, while As-hama is the name of the righteous king that lived in the time of the Prophet... and Ibn `Abd al-Barr said: "The Consensus has taken place around four takbirs. That is the agreement of the jurists and those who give legal decisions in all Muslim countries, based on the sound narrations.""

 

4. Jabir ibn `Abd Allah said that the Prophet said: "Today one righteous servant of Allah has died: As-hama." Jabir continued: "Then he rose and led us in prayer over him."

 

5. Jabir ibn `Abd Allah said that the Prophet said: "A brother of yours has died. Therefore rise and pray over him." Jabir continued: "We stood up and he arranged us in two rows."

 

            Nawawi said: "His words: "Therefore rise and pray over him" indicate the obligatoriness (wujub) of the funeral prayer, which is a collective obligation (fard kifaya) according to the Consensus."

 

            "The correct position in our school (Shafi`i) is that the obligation of the funeral prayer is fulfilled by the prayer of a single man. It has also been said that the condition of fulfillment is that two men offer it; it has been said three; and it has been said four."

 

6. `Imran ibn Hisayn narrated that the Prophet said: "Your brother al-Najashi (the Negus) has died. Therefore pray over him." `Imran continued: "Then he stood up and he arranged us in rows behind him, and he prayed over him." Muslim narrated it.

 

            Nawawi said: "The number of salams is not mentioned in Muslim's narrations. However, al-Daraqutni mentioned it in his Sunan and the Consensus of scholars has been to refer to the latter. Their majority said that one gives a single salam. Sufyan (al-Thawri), Abu Hanifa, al-Shafi`i, and a number of the Salaf said that one gives two salams."

 

            "The scholars differ whether the imam says salam loud or not. Abu Hanifa and al-Shafi`i say the former, while two opinions are narrated from Malik."

 

            "The scholars differ whether the hands are raised for each takbir. The school of al-Shafi`i stipulates the raising of the hands in each one. This is what Ibn al-Mundhir, who opts for it, reports from Ibn `Umar, `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz, `Ata', Salim ibn `Abd Allah, Qays ibn Abi Hazim, al-Zuhri, al-Awza`i, Ahmad, and Ishaq (ibn Rahawayh or Rahuwyah). Ibn al-Mundhir reports from al-Thawri, Abu Hanifa, and the latter's school that the hands are raised only in the first takbir. From Malik are reported three opinions: the hands are raised in all four; the hands are raised in the first only; the hands are not raised in any of the four."

 


PERMISSIBILITY OF JANAZAT AL-GHA'IBIN:

IBN QUDAMA

 

 

Ibn Qudama said in al-Mughni, Kitab al-jana'iz, section entitled "Whoever misses the prayer offers it at the grave":

 

[Position of the Hanbali school:] The funeral prayer over the dead who are in another locality is permissible with the proper intention. One faces the Qibla and prays as in the presence of the body, regardless whether the absent dead is in the direction of the Qibla or not, or whether the distance between the respective countries warrants shortening the prayer during travel or not. This is also Shafi`i's position. According to Malik and Abu Hanifa, it is not permissible. (Ibn Abi Musa did relate from Ahmad another opinion which resembles theirs.) For -- according to them -- one of the prerequisites of the funeral prayer is the presence of the body, since the prayer is not allowed to take place within the locality where the body is not present.

 

            Supporting our position is what was narrated whereby the Prophet proclaimed the death of the Negus, the leader of the Abyssinians, the day that he died and led the Companions in prayer in the place of prayer outdoors, in which he uttered four takbirs. The hadith is agreed upon. If it is objected that it is possible that the earth was contracted so that the Prophet could see the Negus' remains, we reply that this was not reported, and if it had been the case he would have certainly told us.

 

            Also supporting our position is that we follow the Prophet (indiscriminately) as long as it is not established that he alone is concerned (i.e. that it concerns a practice allowed exclusively for him). Since it is not permissible to pray over the janaza from a far distance, even if one can see him, therefore, if the Prophet had seen the Negus, the funeral prayer (in absentia) would have been particular to the Prophet himself. However, he lined up the Companions and led them in prayer.

 

            If it is objected: "There was no one among the Abyssinians to pray over him," we reply: Then your school (Hanafi and Maliki) does not provide for the funeral prayer in such a case, for you do not allow the prayer over the victim of drowning, the prisoner of war (who dies while in captivity by non-Muslims), and the one who dies in the wilderness, even if there is no one to pray over them. Furthermore this is far-fetched, because the Negus was the king of the Abyssinians and had entered Islam and shown his Islam. Therefore it is unlikely that there was no one to pray over him.

 

Section #1: If the dead person is in one of the two extremities of the city, it is not allowed for someone who resides on the other side to pray over him in absentia. He has to go to the side of the city where the body is. The author [`Umar ibn al-Husayn al-Khiraqi, d. 334] said that this was the preference of Abu Hafs al-Barmaki. The reason is that it is possible in such a case to be in the presence of the janaza and perform the prayer over him or at the grave. However, Abu `Abd Allah ibn Hamid prayed over a man who died on one side of Baghdad while he himself was on the other side. The dead man was far away, and the prayer in absentia therefore became permissible for him as if he prayed over someone in a different city. The permissibility in this case is related to the city where he resides.

 

Section #2: The allowed time span for the funeral prayer in absentia is one month, like the funeral prayer over the grave. This is because it is not sure that the remains do not decompose after that time. Ibn `Aqil said concerning the one eaten by a wild beast and the victim of fire: It is possible not to pray over them due to their disappearance in a different fashion than the one who is missing or the victim of drowning, for something remains over which to pray in the case of the latter. Finally, the prayer can be done over one of those who belong in one of these categories short of ritual washing as long as he is recognized, just as is done for the absent one who is in a far place. In such cases they are exempt from washing due to impediments. This is similar to the case of the one who is living but unable to wash nor perform dry ablution (tayammum): he must perform prayer according to his condition.[23]

 


XII.  QUESTIONS ON IHDA' AL-THAWAB LI AL-MAYYIT (DONATING ONE'S REWARD TO THE DECEASED)

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have heard from "Salafi" sources that, contrary to the teaching of Ahl al-Sunna that we know, it is wrong to:

a) donate the reward of Qur'an-recital to the dead, or

b) to address the dead upon burial such as with the kalima tayyiba -- LA ILAHA ILLALLAH MUHAMMADUN RASULULLAH, or

c) to recite from the Qur'an upon the grave, although the Prophet said to read Ya Seen over the dead.

What is the understanding of the reliable scholars of the Umma on these three questions?


IHDA' THAWAB AL-QUR'AN ILA AL-MAYYIT

DONATING THE REWARD OF QUR'AN-RECITAL

TO THE DECEASED

 

 

The condemnation by those who call themselves "Salafis" of the donation of the reward of Qur'an recitation to the deceased is another proof of an exaggerated and sectarian approach that deviates from the method and teachings of Ahl al-Sunna while claiming to uphold them, and we ask Allah for His protection from error. It is reminiscent of the Mu`tazila position whereby nothing we do can benefit the dead. Thus, in his book on the rulings that pertain to funerals (Talkhis ahkam al-jana'iz) published by "Jam`iyyat ihya' al-turath al-islami," Shaykh Nasir al-Din Albani lists among the rejected innovations in religion: "the recitation of the Qur'an for the dead and over them" (p. 104 #123, #126) and "recitation of the Fatiha for the dead" or of "Ya Seen over the graves" (p. 105 #147, #148) and "donation to the deceased Muslims of the reward of acts of worship such as the recitation of the Qur'an" (p. 106 #160) and many other such statements, all of which are false and rejected.

 

Donation of all kinds of acts of worship, among them Qur'an-recital, can and do benefit the dead, just as the simple supplication of a Muslim does. The Salaf believed the dead were helped and relieved by the living, as shown by the du`a of Abu Hurayra for the dead: allahumma in kana muhsinan fa zid fi ihsanihi wa in kana musi'an fa tajawaz `an sayyi'atihi -- "O Allah, if he did good, then increase his goodness, and if he did evil, then forgive his evil deeds." Malik narrated it. Moreover it is established that the best supplication is the Fatiha itself. We present in the following pages the authentic teaching of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a whereby recitation of the Qur'an for the dead and over them is ordered by the Prophet, especially Surat Ya Seen, and donation to the deceased Muslims of the reward of acts of worship such as the recitation of the Qur'an is not only permitted but recommended.

 

            There are three parts to this answer in following with the tripartite phrasing of the question:

 

a) reciting from the Qur'an upon the grave (qira'a `ala al-qabr);

b) donation of the reward of Qur'an-recital to the dead (ihda' al-thawab);

c) instructing the dead after burial (talqin al-mayyit).

 

 

a) reciting from the Qur'an upon the grave (qira'a `ala al-qabr):

 

 

The Prophet said: iqra'u `ala mawtakum ya seen "Read Ya Seen over those of you who are dying/deceased." It is narrated by Abu Dawud in his Sunan (Jana'iz), al-Nasa'i in his Sunan (`Amal al-yawm wal-layla), Ibn Majah in his Sunan (Jana'iz), and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih (Ihsan), and he declared it sound (sahih).

 

`Abd al-Haqq ibn al-Kharrat al-Ishbili (d. 582) in his book al-`Aqiba (p. 255 #576) said: "The meaning of this hadith may be that the recitation is done over the person at the time the person is dying; or that it be done at his grave." al-Qurtubi said the same according to Suyuti who adds: "I say: the vast majority of the scholars take the former meaning, while Ibn `Abd al-Wahid al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali [and others] take the latter in the monograph he compiled on the topic. Both apply." Sharh al-sudur p. 312. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya in Kitab al-ruh (Madani ed. p. 18-19) also prefers the former meaning ("dying").

 

The Prophet said: "Ya Seen is the heart of the Qur'an, no man reads it desiring Allah and the afterlife except he is forgiven.  Read it over your dying/deceased." Ahmad relates it in his Musnad (5:26) as part of a longer narration whose chain contains two unnamed narrators.

 

`Ata' ibn Abi Rabah said: I heard Ibn `Umar say: I heard the Prophet say: "When one of you dies do not tarry, but make haste and take him to his grave, and let someone read at his head the opening of Surat al-Baqara, and at his feet its closure when he lies in the grave." al-Tabarani narrates it in al-Mu`jam al-kabir, but Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa'id (3:44) that the latter's chain contains Yahya ibn `Abd Allah al-Dahhak al-Babalti who is weak. However, the hadith is confirmed by the practice of `Abd Allah ibn `Umar as narrated through sound chains (see below). al-Khallal also narrates this hadith in his al-Amr bi al-ma`ruf (p. 122 #239).

 

It is related that al-`Ala' ibn al-Lajlaj said to his children: "When you bury me, say as you place me in the side-opening (lahd) of the grave: Bismillah wa `ala millati rasulillah -- In the name of Allah and according to the way of Allah's Messenger -- then flatten the earth over me, and read at the head of my grave the beginning of Surat al-Baqara and its end, for I have seen that Ibn `Umar liked it." Narrated by Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (4:56), Ibn Qudama in al-Mughni (2:474, 2:567, 1994 ed. 2:355), al-Tabarani in al-Kabir, and Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa'id (3:44) that the latter's narrators were all declared trustworthy.

 

Abu Bakr al-Khallal (d. 311) in al-Amr bi al-ma`ruf (p. 121 #237) relates the above with the following wording: "flatten the earth over me, then read at the head of my grave the Opening of the Book, the beginning of Surat al-Baqara, and its end, for I have heard Ibn `Umar instruct it." Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya cites it in Kitab al-ruh (Madani ed. p. 17) from Khallal's narration in al-Jami` but without mention of the Fatiha.

 

`Ali ibn Musa al-Haddad said: "I was once with Ahmad ibn Hanbal at a funeral in the company of Muhammad ibn Qudama al-Jawhari. After the dead was interred a blind man came up and recited [from the Qur'an] beside the grave. 'O So-and-so,' Ahmad said to him, 'Recitation at the graveside is an innovation (bid`a)!' But when we left the cemetery Muhammad ibn Qudama asked Ahmad, 'O Abu `Abd Allah, what is your opinion of Mubashshir ibn Isma`il al-Halabi?' 'A sound authority,' he said, 'have you written anything down from him?'... 'Yes,' he replied, 'Mubashshir ibn Isma`il related to me on the authority of his father, on the authority of Abd al-Rahman ibn al-`Ala' ibn al-Lajlaj, on the authority of his father, that he had requested that upon his death the opening and closing verses of the Chapter of the Cow should be recited over his grave, saying: I heard Ibn `Umar requesting that this be done.' Thereupon, Ahmad said to him, 'Return to the man, and bid him recite'." Narrated by al-Ghazali in his Ihya, book of "The Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife," trans. T.J. Winter [`Abd al-Hakim Murad] (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1989) p. 117. al-Khallal narrates it in al-Amr bi al-ma`ruf (p. 122 #240-241), Ibn Qudama in al-Mughni (2:567, Beirut 1994 ed. 2:355) and Qal`a'ji in Fiqh Ibn `Umar (p. 618). Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya cites it in Kitab al-ruh (Madani ed. p. 18) from Khallal's narration in al-Jami`. Ghazali prefaces the relation with the words: "There is no harm in reciting the Qur'an over graves."

 

Nawawi said in Kitab al-adhkar (Ta'if ed. p. 212 #493): "We also narrated in Bayhaqi's Sunan (4:56-57) with a fair (hasan) chain that Ibn `Umar liked for the beginning and the end of Surat al-Baqara to be recited over the grave after burial."

 

Shawkani in Tuhfat al-dhakirin (p. 229) cited al-Jazari's instruction in al-Hisn al-hasin: "Let one recite over the grave, after burial, the beginning of Surat al-Baqara and its end." This is based on Ibn `Umar's words narrated by Bayhaqi in his Sunan (4:56): "I like that it be read over the grave the beginning of Surat al-Baqara and its end." Shawkani comments: "Nawawi declared its chain fair (hassana isnadahu), and even if it is only Ibn `Umar's saying, such as this is not uttered on the basis of mere opinion. It is possible that because of what he learned of the benefit of such recitation generally speaking, he then deemed it desirable that it be read over the grave due to its merit, in the hope that the deceased benefit from its recitation."

 

Mujalid said: al-Shu`bi said: "The Ansar, if someone died among them, would go to his grave and recite the Qur'an there." al-Khallal narrates it in al-Amr bi al-ma`ruf (p. 123 #244) with a chain that contains Sufyan ibn Waki` who is weak according to Haythami, but from whom Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad took over eighty narrations. Furthermore Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya also cites it as evidence in Kitab al-ruh (Madani ed. p. 18).

 

Ya`qub ibn al-Sayyid `Ali al-Hanafi said: "[One visiting the graves] should read Surat Ya Seen or whatever is easy for him to recite from Qur'an. Know that Abu Hanifah, May Allah have mercy upon him, considered it blameworthy (makruh) to recite Qur'an at the cemetery, but not Muhammad, May Allah have mercy upon him." Mafatih al-jinan sharh shir`at al-Islam p. 580.

 

Qadi Khan al-Hanafi said in his Fatawa: "Whoever recites from the Qur'an over the graves: if he intends thereby that the familiarity of the sound of the Qur'an reach them, then let him recite. If he did not intend that, then Allah hears the Qur'an wherever you recite it." Suyuti mentions it in Sharh al-sudur (p. 312).

 

al-Za`farani said: "I asked al-Shafi`i about reciting Qur'an at the graveside and he said: la ba'sa bihi -- There is no harm in it." al-Khallal narrates it in al-Amr bi al-ma`ruf (p. 123 #243), Suyuti in Sharh al-sudur (p. 311), and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya in Kitab al-ruh (Madani ed. p. 18).

 

Ibrahim ibn Rahawayh said: "There is no harm in reciting the Qur'an in cemeteries." al-Khallal narrates it with his chain (p. 123 #245).

 

Imam Ahmad said the same. Ibn Qudama relates it in al-Mughni (1994 ed. 2:355).

 

al-Khallal said: Abu `Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham al-Bazzar -- our most trustworthy shaykh -- narrated to me: "I saw Ahmad ibn Hanbal pray behind a blind man who was reciting Qur'an over the graves." Ibn Qudama relates it in al-Mughni (1994 ed. 2:355) as well as al-Khallal himself with his chain in his book al-Amr bi al-ma`ruf (p. 123 #242).

 

Nawawi said: "Whoever visits a grave, let him greet its dweller, recite some Qur'an, and make an invocation for the deceased." al-Nawawi, Minhaj al-Talibin, end of Kitab al-Jana'iz.

 

He also said in al-Majmu` sharh al-muhadhdhab: "It is desirable (yustahabb) that one who is visiting the graves recite from the Qur'an what is easy for him to recite, after which, that he invoke Allah on their behalf. Shafi`i stipulated it and his companions all agreed with him." In another place he says: "If they conclude the recitation of the Qur'an over the grave it is better." Suyuti mentioned both excerpts in his Sharh al-sudur (p. 311).

 

Nawawi also said in his Sharh Sahih Muslim (al-Mays ed. 3/4:206): "The scholars have declared desirable -- mustahabb -- the recitation of the Qur'an over the grave."

 

al-Qurtubi said: "As for reciting over the grave, then our companions (Malikis) are categorical that it is lawful, and others say the same." Suyuti mentioned it in his Sharh al-sudur (p. 311).

 

al-Jaziri said: "Someone who visits the grave must engage in du`a and supplication. He must reflect upon those who died and he must recite Qur'an for the dead, for the more correct view is that this benefits the dead." al-Jaziri, al-Fiqh `ala al-madhahib al-arba`a (2:540).

 

One of the false rulings given by Albani in his Talkhis ahkam al-jana'iz (p. 102 #90) concerning recitation at the graveside is that it is an innovation -- he claims -- to recite upon throwing the first earth into the grave: minha khalaqnakum and upon throwing the second: wa fiha nu`idukum and upon throwing the third: wa minha nukhrijukum taratan ukhra "From it (the earth) We created you // and into it We return you // and from it We shall bring you out once more" (20:55). The proof that this is a hasty and careless ruling is:

 

   1.   Even if the chain of the hadith stating that the Prophet did it, which al-Hakim narrated in his Mustadrak -- followed by his student Bayhaqi -- was declared weak by Ibn Hajar, it does not remove the possibility that the hadith is authentic, and this possibility precludes its practice from being an innovation or being called one.

 

   2.   Albani's ruling that it is an innovation is itself an innovation, for none of the verifying scholars of Ahl al-Sunna declared what he declared although they looked at the same evidence: Not al-Hakim, nor Bayhaqi, Ibn Hajar, Ibn al-Jazari, Shawkani, and Nawawi.

 

   3.   Not only did Nawawi not declare it an innovation but he declared it mustahabb according to the vast majority of the authorities in the Shafi`i school, as Shawkani reported in his Tuhfat al-dhakirin (p. 229) and Nayl al-awtar (4:81) without contradicting him, although he did report Ibn Hajar's grading in the latter.

 

Nawawi said in Kitab al-adhkar (Ta'if ed. p. 211-212):

 

The Sunna for whoever is at the graveside [at the time of burial] is to throw earth with his hand three times into the grave at the side of the head.

 

          A large group of our companions [in the Shafi`i school] said: "It is desirable -- mustahabb -- that one recite upon throwing the first earth into the grave: minha khalaqnakum and upon throwing the second: wa fiha nu`idukum and upon throwing the third: wa minha nukhrijukum taratan ukhra "From it (the earth) We created you // and into it We return you // and from it We shall bring you out once more" (20:55).

 

          It is desirable that after burial they sit at graveside for the duration of slaughtering a camel and distributing its meat, and that during that time the sitters busy themselves with reciting Qur'an, supplicating for the deceased, exhortation, and the stories of the People of Goodness as well as the states of the saints... We narrated in Sahih Muslim [book of iman] from `Amr ibn al-`As that he said: "After you bury me, stay around my grave for the duration of slaughtering a camel and distributing its meat, so that I may share your familiar company and examine what I should reply to my Lord's envoys [the angels of the grave]."

 

            We also narrated in Sunan Abi Dawud [Jana'iz #3221] and al-Bayhaqi [al-Sunan al-kubra 4:56; also al-Hakim's Mustadrak 1:370]: from `Uthman that the Prophet, whenever he finished burying the deceased, would stand over him and say: "Ask forgiveness for your brother, and ask for him to be made firm, for he is presently being questioned."

 

            al-Shafi`i and his companions said: "It is desirable -- yustahabb -- that they recite something of the Qur'an at the graveside," and they said: "If they recited the entire Qur'an it would be good."

 

            We also narrated in Bayhaqi's Sunan (4:56-57) with a fair (hasan) chain that Ibn `Umar liked for the beginning and the end of Surat al-Baqara to be recited over the grave after burial.

 

 

It is worthy to note that the `Aqida al-tahawiyya states:

 

Point 89: There is benefit for dead people in the supplication and alms-giving of the living.

 

This is an established part of belief transmitted to us by the Khalaf from the Salaf. The above is taken from Iqbal Ahmed Azami's translation of `Aqida al-tahawiyya. Now, because Albani has rejected this as an innovation it seems that the "Salafis" are willing to improve the `aqida of Imam al-Tahawi (and the Salaf) by modifying the text to reflect their belief! This can be seen in Suhaib Hassan's translation of `Aqida al-Tahawiyya entitled The Muslim Creed, in which he translates:

 

Point 89: The dead benefit from the deeds of their lives, such as prayer and acts of charity [The Muslim Creed, Suhaib Hasan, 1991 ISSN 0952-7834] !

 

Shaikh Hasan has completely mistranslated the above, to imply the opposite of what is actually meant so that it is in conformity with his sect's beliefs. One would like to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he made a mistake, but one wonders how such a grave mistake could be made in such a short, fundamental text, and then allowed to go to print by Suhaib Hasan who is an experienced and meticulous translator since his specialty is hadith, which is more technical yet. Therefore, in our opinion, this is a clear case of deliberate tampering. To Allah is our return!

 

Tahawi's original text says:

 

Wa fi du`a' al-ahya' li al-amwat wa sadaqatihim manfa`atun li al-amwat

 

Point 89: In the supplication of the living  and their acts of charity there is benefit for the dead.

 

It is clear that in his translation, Suhaib Hasan changed the words "the supplication of the living" to "the deeds of their lives."

 

We have already seen the tampering committed by "Salafis" on the text of Nawawi's al-Adhkar. This is only one additional example of the corruption, in broad daylight, of classical Ahl al-Sunna texts by the hand of the "Salafiyya", for reasons best known to themselves. Our reliance is upon Allah.

 

 

b) donation of the reward of Qur'an-recital to the dead (ihda' thawab al-qur'an ila al-mayyit):

 

 

al-Kamal ibn al-Humam al-Hanafi in Fath al-qadir stated that every single act of worship including Qur'an-recital can be donated to the deceased. The Hanafi faqih `Uthman ibn `Ali ibn Mihjan al-Zayla`i said: "There is nothing rationally far-fetched in the reaching of someone else's reward to the dead because it is nothing more than the placing of what he possesses of reward at someone else's disposal, and it is Allah Who is the One Who conveys it, and He is able to do that. Nor is this specific to one type of act at the exclusion of another." Ibn `Abidin said in his Hashiyat al-durr al-mukhtar that in visiting the graves one may recite:

 

·         Surat al-Fatiha

·         Surat al-Baqara: beginning, ayat al-Kursi, and amana al-rasul

·         Surat Ya Seen

·         Surat al-Mulk

·         Surat al-Takathur

·         Surat al-Ikhlas 12 or 11 or 7 or 3 times

·         Then let him say: allahumma awsil thawaba ma qara'tuhu ila fulan aw ilayhim: O Allah, convey the reward of what I have recited to So-and-so [one or many].

 

Hasanayn Muhammad Makhluf mentioned all these sayings in his Fatawa shar`iyya (2:277-279, 2:308).

 

Makhluf also reports (2:300) that among the later Malikis the preferred position is that the reward of Qur'an recitation does reach the deceased, as stated by Ibn Farhun according to Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani in his Risala, and Ibn Rushd states that there is no objection on the permissibility of donating the reward.

 

Imam Suyuti states in Sharh al-sudur bi sharh hal al-mawta wa al-qubur (p. 310):

 

There is disagreement as to the reward of recitation reaching to the dead. The vast majority of the Salaf as well as the Three Imams consider that it does reach them, while our Imam, al-Shafi`i, differs. His basis was the verse: wa an laysa li al-insani illa ma sa`a: "Man can have nothing but what he strives for" (53:39). However, the former replied to this objection in several ways:

 

(a) The verse is abrogated by Allah's saying: wa al-ladhina amanu wa ittaba`athum dhurriyyatuhum: And those who believe and whose families follow them in Faith, -- to them We shall join their families: nor shall We deprive them of the fruit of anything of their works: yet each individual is in pledge for his deeds (52:21). This verse enters the children into Paradise because of the righteousness of the parents.

 

(b) The verse "Man can have nothing but what he strives for" is specific to Ibrahim's and Musa's nations. As for this Community which has been granted mercy, then it has both what it strove for and what was striven for on its behalf. This is the saying of `Ikrima (Ibn `Abbas's freedman and the transmitter of his Tafsir. Bukhari included 139 of his narrations in his Sahih. He died in Madina in 104).

 

(c) What is meant by "man" in that verse is the disbeliever. As for the believer, then he has both what he strove for and what was striven for on his behalf. This is the saying of (the Tabi`i) al-Rabi` ibn Anas (d. 139).

 

(d) Man can have nothing but what he strives for according to divine justice (`adl); as for what comes through divine munificence (fadl), then it is permissible for him that Allah increase him in anything whatsoever. This is the saying of al-Husayn ibn al-Fadl (al-Bajali, one of Bayhaqi's (d. 458) shaykhs. Qurtubi often cites him in his Tafsir).

 

(e) The meaning of the verse is: "Man will have nothing counted against him except what he strove for."

 

            They used as proof of the reward of recitation reaching to the dead, the analogy of all that is sent in the way of supplication (du`a), charity (sadaqa), fasting (sawm), pilgrimage (hajj), and manumission (`itq): since there is no difference in the transfer of reward whether it is for pilgrimage, charity, endowment (waqf), supplication, or recitation. They have also used the hadiths that will be mentioned, and even if these are weak, yet their collected import is that the donation of reward has a basis in the Law. Another proof they have used is the fact that the Muslims never ceased at any time in history to gather and recite (the Qur'an) for their dead without anyone objecting, and this constitutes consensus (ijma`). All the above was mentioned by the hadith master (hafiz) Shams al-Din ibn `Abd al-Wahid al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali in a monograph he compiled on the topic.

 

Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Marwazi said: "I once heard Ahmad ibn Hanbal say, 'Whenever you enter a cemetery, recite the Opening Chapter of the Book, the Two Refuge-taking Chapters, and [the chapter which begins] {Say: He is God, the One}. Make the reward of all this over to the people of the cemetery, for it will reach them.'" Narrated by `Abd al-Haqq ibn al-Kharrat al-Ishbili (d. 582) in his book al-`Aqiba, also by al-Muhibb al-Tabari and Suyuti in Sharh al-sudur (p. 312). See also Ghazali's Ihya, book of "The Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife," trans. T.J. Winter [`Abd al-Hakim Murad] (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1989) p. 117.

 

Ibn `Abbas narrates: The Prophet once passed by two graves and said, "These two persons are being tortured not for any major sin. One of them never saved himself from being soiled with his urine, while the other used to spread calumnies." The Prophet then took a green date-palm stalk, split it into two pieces, and fixed one on each grave. They said, "O Allah's Apostle! Why have you done so?" He replied, "I hope that their punishment might be lessened until these two pieces become dry." Bukhari and Muslim narrated it. (Cf. (English Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 4, Number 217.)

 

Nawawi said in commenting on the above in his Sharh Sahih Muslim (al-Mays ed. 3/4:206): "The scholars have declared desirable -- mustahabb -- the recitation of the Qur'an over the grave due to the above hadith, because if relief from punishment is hoped for through the glorification of date-palm stalks, then the recitation of the Qur'an is more deserving yet, and Allah knows best."

 

Qurtubi said: "It is also said that the reward of recitation goes to the reciter while the reward of listening goes to the deceased, whence mercy reaches him. Allah said: If the Qur'an is recited, listen to it and be silent, perhaps you will be granted mercy (7:204). It is not unlikely that in Allah's munificence the reward of both the recitation and the audition reach him, and, added to that, the reward of whatever is donated to him from the recitation even what is not heard, such as charity and supplication... Some of our scholars have inferred a proof for the deceased's benefit in the recitation of Qur'an at the grave from the hadith of the date-palm stalk which the Prophet split and fixed (above the graves) saying: Perhaps their punishment might be lessened until these two pieces become dry." al-Khattabi said: "Among the People of Knowledge this is understood on the basis that all things make glorification as long as they are in their original state, or their verdancy and freshness; until they lose their moistness or greenness, or they are cut off from their root." Other than Khattabi said: "If the glorification of the stalk lightens their punishment, what about the recitation of the Qur'an by the believer? This hadith also constitutes a legal basis for the planting of trees at the site of graves." Among the Companions it is established that Abu Barza al-Aslami [as narrated by Ibn `Asakir through Hammad ibn Salama] and Burayda [as narrated by Ibn Sa`d] asked to be buried together with two fresh stalks. Suyuti mentioned this in Sharh al-sudur (p. 312-313).

 

Ibn al-Jawzi said, as reported by Ahmad ibn Qudama al-Maqdisi in his abridgment entitled Mukhtasar minhaj al-qasidin (p. 448): "Let whoever visits the graves face towards the deceased in his grave, recite something from the Qur'an, and donate it to him, and let the visit be on the Day of Jum`a."

 

Nawawi said: "There is consensus among the scholars that du`a [invocation] for the dead benefits them, and that its reward reaches them. They have adduced Allah's saying: "And those who came (into the faith) after them say: Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who were before us in the faith" (59:10) and other well-known verses with the same import, as well as the well-known narrations such as the Prophet's saying: "O Allah, forgive the people of Baqi` al-Gharqad" [i.e. the cemetery of the Companions] and others. There is disagreement among the scholars as to whether the reward of reciting Qur'an reaches the dead. It is well-known that Shafi`i and some Shafi`i scholars said it did not, while Ahmad ibn Hanbal and another group of scholars among whom are Shafi`is said that it did reach the dead. It is up to the reciter to say at the end of his recitation: O Allah, bring the reward of what I have recited to So-and-so. And Allah knows best." Nawawi, al-Adhkar (Mecca ed. 1992 p. 208; Ta'if ed. p. 215 #500). These words of Nawawi make it patently clear that he did not consider ihda' al-thawab an innovation, rather he declared it permissible.

 

Ibn Taymiyya in his Majmu` al-fatawa (24:300, 24:317) said: "The sound position is that the deceased gets the benefit of all kinds of bodily worship whether prayer, fasting, or recitation, just as he gets the benefit of acts of monetary worship such as sadaqa and its like and just as if one supplicated on his behalf."

 

Ibn Abi al-`Izz al-Hanafi, who adopted the doctrines of Ibn Taymiyya, said in his commentary on Tahawi's `Aqida (1995 ed. 2:664-673):

 

Ahl al-Sunna agree that the dead benefit from the striving of the living in two matters: the first is what the dead one himself caused to take place during his life, and the second is the invocation of Muslims on behalf of the dead, their asking forgiveness for them, giving charity, and performing pilgrimage....

 

          As for the reward of such bodily worship as fasting, reciting Qur'an, and dhikr reaching the dead, there is disagreement. Abu Hanifa, Ahmad, and the vast majority of the Salaf agree that it reaches the dead, while the more known position of the schools of al-Shafi`i and Malik is that it does not... Some of the innovators among the Ahl al-kalam [i.e. the Mu`tazila] have adduced as proof for the complete lack of benefit for the dead such ambiguous verses as: "Man can have nothing but what he strives for" (53:39), and "Nor are you requited except for what you used to do" (36:54), and "For the soul is only what it has earned, and against it only what it has deserved" (2:286) and that the established hadith whereby the Prophet said: "When a human being dies his work ceases, except for three things..." shows that the Prophet said that one only benefits from what one has brought about during his life, and as for the rest then he is cut off from it....

 

          But the proof that the dead benefits from other than what he has brought about in his life is in the Book, the Sunna, the Consensus, and the sound analogy.... [After citing several proofs he says:] As for the reaching to the deceased of someone else's reward for fasting, it is narrated in the two Sahihs [also Abu Dawud, Ahmad, and al-Nasa'i] from `A'isha that the Prophet said: "Whoever dies without making up an obligatory fast that he had missed, let his patron (wali) fast on his behalf.... The Lawgiver pointed, with the reaching of the reward of fasting, to the reaching of the reward for Qur'an-recitation and other such types of bodily worship. It is made plain by the fact that to fast is merely to restrain the ego from food through intention, and the Lawgiver has prescribed that its reward will reach the dead: what about the reward of recitation which is both work and intention?.... The recitation of Qur'an and its voluntary, unpaid donation to the dead do reach him, just as the reward of fasting and pilgrimage reach him.

 

Mulla `Ali al-Qari in his commentary on Imam Abu Hanifa entitled Sharh al-fiqh al-akbar (p. 194-197) said:

 

Among them (the rulings that pertain to barzakh) is the ruling that the supplications of the living and the donations on their behalf (sadaqa) benefit the dead and raise their positions, contrary to the Mu`tazila who said that the qada' or divine decree does not change for the dead and that every soul has only what it gained (in life) and cannot acquire what someone else does: the answer to this is that the immutability of qada' for the dead does not preclude the benefit of the supplication of the living on their behalf, for such benefit may well be part of the qada' in the first place. Furthermore it may be that the benefit of the living in making the du`a is itself for an action they did in the world and for which they will get the reward in the hereafter.

 

            In addition to all the above the supplication for the dead is established in sound hadith, especially in Salat al-janaza, and the Salaf transmitted it, and the Khalaf agreed upon it, and if there was no benefit in it for the dead it would be in vain, whereas many verses of the Qur'an comprise invocation for the dead such as: "O my Lord! grant them mercy as they raised me when I was young" (17:24), "O my Lord! forgive me and my parents and whomever enters my house a believer, and all believers males and female" (71:28), "O our Lord! forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith" (59:10). It is related from Sa`d ibn `Ubada that he said: "O Messenger of Allah! Umm Sa`d -- in Nasa'i: my mother -- died, what is the best donation (sadaqa) [on her behalf]?" The Prophet replied: "Water." Sa`d dug a well and said: "This is for Umm Sa`d." Abu Dawud and al-Nasa'i [with a sound chain] narrated it [also Ibn Majah and Ahmad with a sound chain]...

 

            al-Qunawi said: "The principle inferred from this among Ahl al-Sunna is that any person can donate the reward of their work to another, whether prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, charity (sadaqa), or other than that." al-Shafi`i permitted this in charity and acts of monetary worship (`ibada maliyya) as well as pilgrimage, and if someone recites over the grave then the deceased obtains (only) the reward of listening to the Qur'an, but he objected to the bestowability of the reward of Qur'an-recital to the dead, as well as that of prayer, fasting, and all non-monetary acts of obedience and worship. The position of Abu Hanifa and his companions is that donation is permitted and that the reward (of recitation) does go to the deceased.

 

            Those who object cite the verse: "Man can have nothing but what he strives for" (53:39) and the hadith: "When a human being dies his work ceases, except for three things: an ongoing sadaqa, knowledge of his from people derive benefit, and a righteous child of his who supplicates for him." [Muslim Tirmidhi, and others.]

 

            The answer is: The verse is a proof for us, because the one who donates the reward of his work to another strives in conveying such reward to the other: therefore he obtains what he strove for according to that verse, and he does not obtain it except through the reaching of the reward to the one to whom he donates it. Thus the verse is a strong proof for us, not against us! As for the hadith, then it indicates that the work of the deceased stops and we hold this to be the case also, however, the issue is only the reaching to him of another's reward. The One who causes the reward to reach the dead is Allah, because the dead do not hear by themselves, and their nearness and distance is all one and the same with relation to Allah's power, and He said: "Call upon Me and I shall respond to you" (40:60)...

 

Shaykh Muhammad Makhluf said: "As for reciting the Qur'an for the deceased, whether at his grave or far from it, scholars disagree as to whether the reward for it reaches him. The scholarly majority hold that it does reach him, and this is the truth, especially if the reciter afterwards donates the reward of what he has read to the deceased. In such a case the reciter also receives the reward for his recital without this diminishing anything from the reward of the deceased." Fatawa shar`iyya wa buhuth Islamiyya (2:303). From Nuh Ha Mim Keller's Reliance of the Traveller (w35.0).

 

Sheikh Nuh Ali Salman said: "The position of Hanafis and Hanbalis is that a Muslim is entitled to donate the reward of any kind of worship he performs to whomever he wishes of the Muslim dead. As for Shafi`is and Malikis, they distinguish between acts that are valid to perform in another's stead and those that are not, the former being valid to donate the reward of to the deceased, while the latter are not, though the later scholars of the Shafi'i and Malikis incline toward the validity of donating the reward of any kind of worship whatever to the dead. The Hanafis and Hanbalis adduce the following evidence to support their position:

 

(1) Bukhari and Muslim relate that the Prophet sacrificed two rams of predominantly white color, one for himself and the other for his Community. The evidence therein is that the Prophet sacrificed animals and donated the reward to his Community, which includes both the living and the dead, both those who existed in his time and those who came after.

 

(2) Anas relates that he said to the  Prophet: "O Messenger of Allah, we give in charity, perform the pilgrimage, and supplicate for our dead. Does this reach them?" He replied, "Yes, indeed it reaches them, and they rejoice thereat just as one of you rejoices at the gift of a tray of food."

 

(3) The Prophet said: "Whoever dies with an obligatory fast to perform, his responsible family members may fast in his stead."

 

(4) The Prophet said: "Recite Ya Seen [Qur'an 36] over your dead."

 

(5) Allah Mighty and Majestic has informed us that the angels ask forgiveness for believers, as He says: "The angels glorify their Lord with praise and ask forgiveness for those on earth" (42:5) and He praises believers who ask forgiveness for their brethren, by saying: "...And those who come after them say, 'Lord, forgive us and our brethren who have preceded us in faith'" (59:10).

 

(6) And the Prophet used to supplicate for those he performed the funeral prayer over -- the evidence in all of the above being that supplications are an act of worship, for the Prophet said: "Supplication is the marrow of worship," while the above texts clearly show that supplications benefit others besides the one who makes them, even when the other does not ask for the supplication to be made for him.

 

The foregoing provides evidence that the deceased benefits from all types of worship, whether monetary (with one's money) or physical (with one's body), since fasting, pilgrimage, supplications, and asking forgiveness are all physical acts of worship, and Allah Most High conveys the benefit of them to the deceased -- and so it must also be with other works." Nuh `Ali Salman, Qada' al `ibadat wa al-niyaba fiha, Maktaba al-Risala al-Haditha, Amman, 1403/1983 (p. 400-403). From the Reliance of the Traveller (w35.0).

 

 

c) instructing the dead after burial (talqin al-mayyit)

 

 

Abu Umama al-Bahili said: Allah's Messenger said: "When one of you dies and you have settled the earth over him, let one of you stand at the head of his grave and then say: O So-and-so, son of So-and-so [name of the mother]! for he will hear him even if he does not reply. Then let him say a second time: O So-and-so, son of So-and-so [name of the mother]! whereupon he will sit up (in his grave). Then let him say: O So-and-so, son of So-and-so [name of the mother]! At this the other one will say: Instruct me, and may Allah grant you mercy! even if you cannot hear it (wa lakin la tasma`un) -- or [in Ibn Hajar's narration]: even if you cannot notice it (wa lakin la tash`urun). Then let him say: Remember the state in which you left this world, which is your witnessing that there is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger; that you are pleased with Allah as your Lord, Islam as your religion, Muhammad as your Prophet, and the Qur'an as your book. At that Munkar and Nakir [the angels of the questioning in the grave] hold each other back, saying: Let us go; there is no need for us to tarry here, for he has been instructed correctly what to say. [In Tabarani's and Ibn Qudama's narration:] And Allah will accept his argument without the two of them." A man said: O Messenger of Allah, what if his mother's name is not known?" He replied: "Then let him say: Son of Hawwa' [Eve]."

 

It is narrated by Ibn Qudama in al-Mughni (1994 ed. 2:319) who mentions that Ibn Shahin narrates it in Kitab dhikr al-mawt with his chain. Ibn Hajar in Talkhis al-habir (2:143) said that Tabarani narrates it with an adequate chain (isnaduhu salih) which, despite its weakness, is consolidated by the witnessing of sound hadiths, and that Dia' al-Din declared it strong (qawwah) in his Ahkam. Shawkani also narrates it in Nayl al-awtar (4:89-90) from the narration of Sa`id in his Sunan from Rashid ibn Sa`d and Damara ibn Habib, and he mentions that `Abd al-`Aziz al-Hanbali also narrated it in his al-Shafi. Shawkani's citation of Sa`id's narration is not traced back to the Prophet and its wording is: "They used to like (kanu yastahibbun) that it be said to the dead...", "they" referring to the Companions, and Shawkani added that Shafi`i's companions also considered it mustahabb -- desirable.

 

Among the Hanafis Ibn `Abidin stated in his Hashiyat al-durr al-mukhtar that instructing the deceased after burial is lawful and that it is useful to make him firm and keep him company with a reminder according to what has been mentioned in the reports. Hasanayn Muhammad Makhluf mentioned it in his Fatawa shar`iyya (2:272). See also Ibn `Abidin's Shifa' al-`alil.

 

Nawawi in al-Adhkar (Ta'if ed. p. 212-213 #494) said:

 

A very large number of our companions [i.e. of the Shafi`i school] declared that it is desirable -- mustahabb -- to instruct the deceased after burial, and among those who prescribed it are Qadi Husayn in his Ta`liq, his companion Abu Sa`d al-Mutawalli in his book al-Tatimma, the Shaykh, the Imam, the Zahid Abu al-Fath Nasr ibn Ibrahim ibn Nasr al-Maqdisi, Imam Abu al-Qasim al-Rafi`i, and others... The Shaykh and Imam Abu `Amr ibn al-Salah was asked about this instruction to the dead and he said in his Fatawa: "The talqin is what we choose and what we practice."

 

Ibn Qudama in al-Mughni (1994 ed. 2:319) cites among those who practiced talqin al-amwat or declared it desirable -- mustahabb:

 

·         Abu al-Mughira

·         Abu Bakr ibn Abi Maryam al-Tabi`i

·         Rashid ibn Sa`d al-Tabi`i

·         Hamza ibn Jundub al-Tabi`i

·         Hakim ibn `Umayr al-Tabi`i

·         The shuyukh of the above-named, i.e. among the Companions

·         Ibn `Iyash

·         al-Qadi Abu Ya`la ibn al-Farra'

·         Abu al-Khattab

 

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya adds Imam Ahmad to the above list of those who consider it good to instruct the deceased, as stated in the following passage of his Kitab al-ruh (Madani ed. p. 20-21):

 

Another proof of this [the dead hearing the living] is also the practice of people (`amal al-nas) formerly and to the present time of instructing the dead in his grave (talqin al mayyit fi qabrihi). If the dead did not hear that and did not benefit by it there would be no advantage in it and it would be done in vain. Imam Ahmad was asked about it and he considered it good (istahsanahu) and adduced for it a proof from usage (ihtajja `alayhi bi al-`amal).

 

            There is also related on this subject a weak narration which al-Tabarani related in his Mu`jam from Abu Umama, who said:... [see above]. Although this hadith has not been established (lam yathbut), nevertheless the continuity of its practice in every country and time without objection is sufficient warrant for its performance. For Allah certainly never caused a custom (`ada) to persist so that a people who encompass the eastern and western parts of the earth, and who are the most perfect of peoples in intelligence, and the most comprehensive of them in sciences, should agree to address one who neither hears nor reasons, and approve of that, without some mistrustful one of that people disapproving it! But, the first established it for the last (sannahu al-awwalu li al-akhir), and the last imitates the first therein (wa yaqtadi fihi al-akhiru bi al-awwal). And were it not that the one who is addressed hears, this act would have the status of address to earth and wood and stone and the non-existent -- and this, even if one person might approve of it, the learned would unanimously abhor it and condemn it.

 

            Abu Dawud related in his Sunan with a chain to which there is no objection: The Prophet attended the funeral of a man, and when he was buried he said: "Ask confirmation for your brother, for he is now being questioned." So he gave information that he was being questioned at that time. And since he was being asked, then he could hear the dictation. And it is valid on the Prophet's authority that the dead one hears the beating of their sandals when they turn to leave.

 

            `Abd al-Haqq [Ibn al-Kharrat al-Ishbili] related on the authorities of one of the saints that he said: "A brother of mine died and I saw him in my sleep. I said: O brother, what was your state when you were placed in your grave? He said: Someone kept coming to me with a bright flame of fire. If it had not been that someone made du`a for me I would have perished."

 

            Shabib ibn Shayba said -- he was one of the Tabi` al-tabi`in: "My mother enjoined me at her death saying: O my son, when you bury me, stand at my grave and say: O mother of Shabib, repeat: la ilaha illallah. So when I buried her, I stood at her grave and said: O mother of Shabib, repeat: la ilaha illallah. Then I departed. When night came I saw her in my sleep and she said: O my son, I was on the point of perishing but for the expression: la ilaha illallah overtaking me. So you have observed my last wish, O my son.

 

            Imam Ahmad's proof from usage as reported by Ibn Qayyim is in conformity with one of the legal bases used by the scholars of usul and hadith and is the reason why the Shafi`i master Ibn al-Salah considered talqin a Sunna also. This is explained by the hadith master Ibn Hajar in his book al-Ifsah `ala nukat Ibn al-Salah as quoted by Imam Lucknawi in al-Ajwiba al-fadila (p. 231):

 

One of the factors for accepting a hadith [as authentic] to which our shaykh [al-`Iraqi] made no objection is the agreement of the scholars on acting upon the prescription of that hadith. This renders it accepted, to the point that acting upon it may be considered required [wajib]. This was stated explicitly by a group of the Imams of Legal Principles (usul). One example is Imam al-Shafi`i's statement: "And what I said -- that is: concerning the fact that water becomes impure when impurity takes place in it -- when the taste of the water or its smell or its color changes: it is narrated from the Prophet according to a criterion the like of which does not make a narration firmly established among the scholars of hadith, however, it is the saying of the commonality, and I don't know any among them that holds otherwise.

 

Shaykh Nuh `Ali Salman said as reported in The Reliance of the Traveller (p. 921-924 w32.1-32.2):

 

Instructing the deceased (talqin) is when a Muslim sits besides the grave of his fellow Muslim after burial to speak to him, reminding him of the Testification of Faith "There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah," and certain other matters of belief, such as that death is real, paradise is real, hell is real, and that Allah shall raise up those who are in their graves -- and praying that the deceased will prove steadfast when the two angels question him. It does not have a particular form, but rather anything that accomplishes the above is called "instructing the deceased." The following evidence may be adduced for its validity in Sacred Law:

 

(1) The rigorously authenticated (sahih) hadith that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) ordered that the bodies of the idolaters slain on the day of Badr be thrown into a well whose interior was encased with stones, then he approached the well and began calling the unbelievers by their names and fathers' names, saying: "O So-and-so son of So-and-so, and So-and-so son of So-and-so: it would have been easier if you had obeyed Allah and His Messenger. We have found what our Lord promised to be true; have you found what your Lord promised to be true?" To which `Umar said: "O Messenger of Allah, why speak to lifeless bodies?" And he replied: "By Him in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, you do not hear my words better than they do."

 

(2) The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "When a servant is laid in his grave and his friends have turned away from him and he hears the footfalls of their sandals, two angels come to him, sit him upright, and ask him: "What were you wont to say [i.e. what did you use to say] of this man Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace)?" The believer will answer: "I testify that he is the slave of Allah and his Messenger," and it will be said: "Look at your place in hell, Allah has changed it for a place in paradise," and the man will behold both of them..."

 

(3) `Uthman ibn `Affan (Allah be well pleased with him) relates that when the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to finish burying someone, he would stand by the grave and say, "All of you, ask Allah to forgive your brother and make him steadfast, for he is now being asked."

 

(4) Abu Umama said: When I die, do with me as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) ordered us, saying: "When one of your brothers die and you have smoothed over the earth upon his grave, let one of you stand at the head of the grave and say: "O So-and-so son of So-and-so [note: the latter "So-and-so" is feminine, naming the deceased's mother] -- for he will hear, though he cannot reply -- and then say: "O So-and-so son of So-and-so," and he will sit upright; and then say: "O So-and-so son of So-and-so," and he will say: "Direct me, Allah have mercy on you," though you will not hear it, but should say: "Remember the creed upon which you departed from this world, the testification that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, and that you accepted Allah as your Lord, Islam as your religion, Muhammad as your Prophet, and the Koran as your examplar." For then the two angels Munkar and Nakir will take each other's hand and say: "Let us go, what is there to keep us beside someone who has been instructed how to make his plea?" A man said: "O Messenger of Allah, what if one does not know the name of his mother?" and he answered, "Then he should mention his descent from his mother Eve, saying: "O So-and-so son of Eve...."

 

            Tabarani related this hadith in his al-Mu`jam al-kabir, and Ibn Hajar `Asqalani has said that "its chain of transmission is sound" (isnaduhu salih) in Talhis al-habir fi takhrij ahadith al-Rafi`i al-kabir (2:143). Some scholars have said that this hadith is not well authenticated (da`if), while others have gone to the extreme of calling it a forgery.

 

            The first three of the above hadiths, all of them rigorously authenticated (sahih), show that:

 

(1) a dead person hears the words of a living person speaking to him and even the sounds and movements around him;

 

(2) the dead are questioned in their graves;

 

(3) and that it is legally valid after burial for a living person to ask Allah to forgive the deceased and make him steadfast for the questioning of the two angels.

 

            As for the fourth hadith, scholars have felt comfortable with it (ista'nasa bihi al-`ulama'), saying that if the deceased can hear, we should let him hear these words which he is in the direst need of in such circumstances, and even if the hadith that has conveyed them is not well authenticated, its content is valid and true (madmunuhu kalamun haqqun sahih).

 

            The foregoing is what has been said about instructing the deceased (talqin), so whoever does it cannot be blamed, since they have something of a case for it; and whoever does not cannot be blamed, because they do not consider the case sufficient. In any event, we should be anxious to promote love and brotherhood between Muslims, and not divide the ranks with questions like this, for the important thing is our belief in the oneness of Allah, and the unity of the Islamic Community.

 



                [1]Truthfulness should not be confused with sincerity, since it is possible to act with sincerity but not to reach truthfulness, as Nawawi explained in his commentary to the second of his "forty hadiths" (hadith about islam, iman, ihsan). Ibn al-Jawzi relates in "Sifat al-Safwa" (4:98): "Mansur said: I heard Musa ibn `Isa say: I heard my uncle say: I heard Aba Yazid (al-Bistami) say: "If one time I could utter purely LA ILAHA ILLALLAH (there is no god except Allah alone), I would not care about anything after that' (law safat li tahlilatun ma balaytu ba`daha bi shay')."

                [2]Abd al-Hakim Murad: Ahmad ibn `Isa Abu Sa`id al-Kharraz (d. 277/890-1) was an important Sufi who, according to Huwjiri, was "the first to explain the doctrine of annihilation (fana') and subsistence (baqa')." He was the close companion of Dhul-Nun, Bishr al-Hafi, and al-Sari al-Saqati, and was renowned for the emphasis he placed on `ishq, the passionate love of Allah, and upon the scrupulous observance of the Law. Sources: Sulami, Tabaqat al-Sufiyya 223-228; Qushayri, al-Risala 1:161-162; Brockelmann, 1:646.

                [3]`Abd al-Hakim Murad: I. ibn Yazid al-Nakha`i (d. c96/714-5) was a devout and learned scholar of Kufa who opposed the writing of hadith as an unjustified innovation. He studied under al-Hasan al-Basri and Anas ibn Malik, and taught Abu Hanifa, who may have been influenced by his extensive use of personal judgment (ra'y) in matters of jurisprudence. Sources: Ibn Hibban, Mashahir `ulama al-amsar 101; M.M. Azami, Studies in Early Hadith Literature 65-66; Ibn al-Jazari, Ghayat al-nihaya 1:29.

                [4]"Destroying all things by commandment of its Lord. And morning found them so that naught could be seen save their dwellings. Thus do we reward the guilty folk." (46:25)

                [5]Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani said that Mawlana Shaykh Abd Allah al-Daghistani said that even when removing an obstacle from the road such as a stone according to the saying of the Prophet "Belief has seventy-odd branches, the lowest of which is to remove something harmful from the road," the God-wary one does not indifferently kick the stone away but picks it up and displaces it by hand out of respect for its glorification of Allah.

                [6](Nuh Keller, Victor Danner:) Abu al-Fadl Ibn `Ata' Allah (d. 709/1309) of Alexandria, Egypt: One of the great sufi imams and a Maliki jurist, author of the Hikam (Aphorisms), Miftah al-falah (The Key to Success), al-Qasd al-mujarrad fi ma`rifat al-ism al-mufrad (The Pure Goal Concerning Knowledge of the Unique Name), Taj al-`arus al-hawi li tadhhib al-nufus (The Bride's Crown Containing the Discipline of Souls), `Unwan al-tawfiq fi adab al-tariq (The Sign of Success Concerning the Discipline of the Path), the biographical al-Lata'if fi manaqib Abi al-`Abbas al-Mursi wa shaykhihi Abi al-Hassan (The Subtle Blessings in the Saintly Lives of Abu al-`Abbas al-Mursi and His Master Abu al-Hasan), and others, five of which were transmitted with their chains by the hadith master and historian al-Sakhawi (d. 902/1497) to the Shadhili commentator Ahmad Zarruq (d. 899/1493).  Ibn `Ata Allah was the student of Abu al-`Abbas al-Mursi (d. 686/1288), the second successor of Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili, and the shaykh of the Shafi`i imam Taqi al-Din al-Subki. He related from al-Shadhili the following saying: "This path is not monasticism, eating barley and bran, or the garrulousness of affectation, but rather perseverance in the divine commands and certainty in the divine guidance." Some sources: al-Zirikly, al-A`lam 1:221; `Asqalani, al-Durar al-kamina 1:273; Subki, Tabaqat al-shafi`iyya 9:23.

                [7](A.Hakim Murad:) Muhammad ibn Musa al-Wasiti (d. 320/932): A Sufi who associated with al-Junayd and al-Nuri in Baghdad and who later moved to Merv where he died. He was also an authority on fiqh. Sources: Qushayri, Risala 1:174; Sulami, Tabaqat 302-307.

                [8]Ibn Majah narrates from Abu `Anbasa, and Tabarani from Abu `Utba that the Prophet said: "Allah has vessels from among the people of the earth (lillahi aniyatun min ahli al-ard), and the vessels of your Lord are the hearts of His righteous servants, and the most beloved of those to Him are the softest and the most sensitive." al-Jarrahi said in "Kashf al-khafa" that this was the basis of the saying attributed to the Prophet: "The heart of the believer is the house of Allah." al-Qari said that the latter, though not a saying of the Prophet, was correct in meaning. Imam Ahmad narrates in his Kitab al-zuhd from Wahb ibn Munabbih: Allah opened the heavens to Ezekiel until he beheld the very Throne, whereupon he said: "Glory to Thee, what greatness is Thine, O my Lord!" Allah said: "Verily the heavens and the earth are unable to encompass Me, and the devoted, soft heart of My faithful servant is able to encompass Me." Imam Ghazali mentioned it in his Ihya' `Ulum al-din.

                [9]Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn `Ali ibn Abi Talib (c15 H- 73), named ibn al-Hanafiyya: A saintly son of sayyidina `Ali. He took hadith from him and from several other Companions including Jabir ibn `Abd Allah, the last of the Companions who died in Madina. Sources: Ibn `Adi, al-Kamil 2:113b; Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib al-tahdhib 9:354 (M.M. Azami). The Prophet gave sayyidina `Ali special permission to name him both Abu al-Qasim and Muhammad, which he otherwise forbade: Tirmidhi (#2846) and Abu Dawud (Adab #4967).

                [10]Abu al-Fadl `Iyad ibn Musa al-Yahsubi al-Maliki (d. 544 H) of Andalusia and Fes, Morocco. The imam of his time in the sciences of hadith, and a scholar of tafsir, fiqh, Arabic grammar and language, and Arab genealogy. He wrote many books including a commentary on the Sahih of Muslim which Nawawi used in his own great commentary. Ibn Farhun in Dibaj al-dhahab says of his book al-Shifa: "No-one disputes the fact that it is totally unique nor denies him the honor of being the first to compose such a book. Everyone relies on it and writes about its usefulness and encourages others to read and study it. Copies of it have spread East and West." (Qadi `Iyad, Muhammad Messenger of Allah: Al-shifa' of Qadi `Iyad, trans. Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley, Granada, Spain: Madinah Press, 1991, p. 511).

                [11]Author of a massive commentary on Bukhari's "Sahih" entitled `Umdat al-Qari.

                [12]A saying by Wahb ibn Munabbih reported by Bukhari in the title of the first chapter of the Book of Funeral Prayers (Jana'iz).

                [13](Cf. 6:99, 6:141, 18:32, 19:23, 19:25, 20:71, 26:148, 54:20, 55:11, 55:68, 69:7, 80:29).

                [14]The various names of the date corresponding to its different stages are: tal`, khalal, balah, busr, rutab, and tamr or suyyab.

                [15]`Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab, Fath al-majid sharh kitab al-tawhid, 7th ed., ed. Muhammad al-Fiqi (Cairo: maktabat al-sunna al-muhammadiyya, 1377/1957) p. 35.

                [16]M. Nasir al-Din al-Albani, Talkhis ahkam al-jana'iz (s.n.: Jam`iyyat ihya' al-turath al-islami, n.d. [reprint of the 1st edition, Amman : al-Maktabat al-Islamiyah, 1982]) p. 48.

                [17]Ibid. p. 44, 47.

                [18]Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Zad al-ma`ad (ed.? 1:205-206).

                [19]Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni (Beirut, 1414/1994 ed.) 2:323.

                [20]Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Tahqiq (Beirut, 1414/1994 ed.) 2:14.

                [21]Sayyid Sabiq, Fiqh al-Sunna (Cairo, 1408/1987 ed.) 1:352.

                [22]Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim (al-Mays ed.) 7/8:25-28.

                [23]Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni (Beirut, 1414/1994 ed.) 2:323.