Monthly Archives: August 2014

Love for the Ummah

Salam Alaykum,

Ya Nabi Salam Alayka, Ya Rasul Salam Alayka, Ya Habib Salam Alayka, Salawatu Allah alayka, 

The Nasheed fading into the night, the crackle and sparks of the lit camp fire joining it. The smoke rising momentarily covering the sight of the amazing star constellations, for a moment captivating the 20 urban boys between 7 and 13 sitting around the fire.

Gönüllerde hasretin var, Yürekler aşkınla çarpar, Sensiz dünya bizlere dar, Selam sana ey kuddusi yar…

Holding their stick-bread into the fire, listening, joining in the singing and getting lost in the flickering of the fire. I love them, Wallahi I love them all for the sake of Allah. Those that know how to be annoying at times. Those defying my orders of sleeping in their beds preferring huddling on the floor with their blankets, hiding under them from the scary caretaker. As well as those that are just plain sugar.

In the last two post that I uploaded here on the DhikrCave I talked about the love of family and keeping and protecting the ties of kinship. The term family in our use today incorporates much more than just those family members tied to us by blood, but also friends. The slang fam and its use is an example of that, incorporating close friends under the wing of the term family.

In Islam we are not just tied by the ties of kinship, of family but also by something stronger. The rope of Allah (swt.), as He says in the Quran:

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided [3:103]

We love all those that try to do as He (swt.) commands, they are to us like blood brothers and sisters. As the Prophet (saw.) said:

“A believer is the mirror of his brother. A believer is the brother of another believer. He protects him against loss and defends him behind his back.”

[Al-Adab Al-Mufrad | Hasan]

In this world where everyone is so concerned about themselves, we’ve lost the feeling of the Ummah. Instead we care about ourselves, marry within our little communities, and stand up only for those issues that concern us personally. The Messenger of Alllah (saw.) said:

The believers are like one person; if his head aches, the whole body aches with fever and sleeplessness.

[Sahih Muslim]

Do we lose sleep over our brothers and sisters in Syria, in Palestine, in Somalia, in the Central African Republic? If we don’t then there is something wrong with us.

It was narrated by Anas (ra.), that the Prophet (saw.) said:

“None of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [At-Tirmidhi | Sahih]

Do we make dua’ for our brothers and sisters all over the world, or do we just talk about change? Pray for change and be part of the change. We cannot abandon our Muslim family like we cannot abandon our blood relations, we have to care for them like we care about our blood brothers and sisters, our blood mothers and fathers. We have to stand as one nation, as believers. Standing together like we do in Salah. Feet to feet, shoulder to shoulder, no matter the nationality or status of the person next to us.

Wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman

 

Keeping the ties of kinship

Salam Alaykum,

My greater family has always been spread over the continents. I’m a little jealous of the kinds of family gatherings some of my friends and brothers have. The roots of most of my family lie in Africa, in Nigeria to be specific. My maternal grandparents are Nigerians and my paternal grandfather was Nigerian. (May Allah have mercy on him)

My paternal grandmother however was German and as the daughter of a mother who had 8 children (if I remember right) my German side of the family is pretty big. While they are centred in Frankfurt am Main it’s spread all over Germany and maybe even abroad. The thing is, I don’t really know any of them. I met them once at a funeral, it was bizarre to me to have and see third cousins, cousins first removed and so on.  A couple of years ago my father showed me some pictures of my grandmother, I don’t remember what she looks like any more.

Actually I don’t know much about any part of my family in general and that is something I hope to rectify soon. For my own curiosity, but also as Abu Hurairah (ra.) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw.) said:

“Learn enough about your lineage to facilitate keeping your ties of kinship. For indeed keeping the ties of kinship encourages affection among the relatives, increases the wealth, and increases the lifespan.” [Tirmidhi | Hasan]

Family and keeping the ties of kinship is important in Islam, granted we are talking here more about the family that is nearest to you. About your mother and father of course, then your siblings, aunts and uncles. Especially the maternal aunt is to be treated with kindness as the Prophet saw. said, narrated by Al-Bara’ ibn Azib:

“The maternal aunt holds the same status as the mother.” [At-Tirmidhi | Sahih]

In a Hadith Qudsi Allah swt. warns us and tells us what the fate of a person not maintaining the ties of kinship is. Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf (ra.) narrates that he heard the Prophet (saw.) saying:

 “Allah, the Almighty and Exalted, said, ‘I am the Merciful (ar-Rahman). I have created ties of kinship and derived a name for it from My Name. If anyone maintains ties of kinship, I maintain connection with him, and I shall cut off anyone who cuts them off.’”

[Al-Adab Al-Mufrad | Sahih]

This Hadith also shows us the importance that Allah (swt.) gave the womb which He named after Himself and the ties that bind us through it. It is the vehicle of our coming into this world. The mother is the one that  nurtures us, as Allah (swt.) wills it, within the womb and outside of it.

There are so many Ahadith in relation to keeping family ties such as:

  ‘Abdullah bin Amr (ra.) narrated that: the Prophet said: “Merely maintaining the ties of kinship is not adequate. But connecting the ties of kinship is when his ties to the womb are severed and he connects it.” [At-Tirmidhi | Sahih]

Jubair bin Mut’am (ra.) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw.) said:
“The one who severs the ties of kinship will not enter Paradise.” [Bulugh ul Maram, Agreed upon]

Disagreements are normal within a family but they should never reach the level of these splitting the family. It is the duty of each member of the family to try and reconcile the parties in such a case. In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (ra.)

The Messenger of Allah (saw.) said, “It is not permissible for a believer to forsake his (Muslim) brother for more than three days. If three days have passed, he should meet him and greet him; and if other responds to it they will both share the reward; but if he does not respond, he will bear his sin and the one who (has taken the initiative to) greet (the other) will be absolved of the sin of forsaking (one’s brother in Faith).

It is of utmost importance to make all the the effort one can to reconcile families, siblings and brothers and sisters in Islam. Here we aren’t talking about our relationship to our parents. If these are terse, we should do everything possible to fix that relationship as soon as possible. The love and reverence towards once parents is second only, to the love due to God and the Prophet (saw.). In the Qur’an kindness to the parents is often mentioned right after the obedience to Allah (swt.).

“And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment.” [17:23]

Parents, for the most of us are the first and most authoritative people in our lives. Obedience to them, of course in everything that does not contradict Islam, is linked to the obedience of the most authoritative being in our existence, our Creator. If we can not be obedient, respectful, loving and kind to our parents, what is our relationship to God going to be like? It is like a training ground if you will.

As much as Allah (swt.) has given massive rights towards our parents. They, according to Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan, they are supposed to be applied to ourselves and not weapons against children.  Allah (swt.) didn’t say that parents are always right, but that we have to respect them. Part of having a good relationship with your parents is having good conversations with them and being able to ask them and question them. Yusuf as. is the best example of that. A child willing to ask his father for advice, talk about his dream of all things. He wasn’t afraid of being written off by his father.

Today we are afraid of talking to our parents, afraid of asking for advice, talking about myself here mainly being afraid that they would kill you in the most imaginative ways you could think of. We need to be able to have meaningful conversations with our parents about anything. Conversations, that last longer than 5 minutes. May Allah (swt.) help us with that and keeping the ties of kinship. May Allah (swt.) strengthen our relationships with our parents, our spouses, our siblings, our extended families and our brothers and sisters in faith. Amin.

Wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman

Family love

Salam Alaykum,

our families are strange aren’t they? In many cases we would avoid, the constituents of our families, if we were to randomly meet on the street and not bound by the ties of kinship. We have different interests, different temperaments, different ways of handling a situation and still we are brothers, sisters, brother and sister, cousins etc.

We didn’t choose our family, they were divinely ordained for us. There were given to us and we to them, but for what reason? I believe it is to love each other, to guide each other, to be there for one another and to learn from one another.

When reading the Story of Moses as. in the Qur’an we get to know Aaron as. (Harun) his brother. He was given Prophet hood as a Mercy to Musa (as.) as we have been told by Allah (swt.):

“And We gave him out of Our mercy his brother Aaron as a prophet.” [19:53]

“And indeed We gave Musa (Moses) the Scripture [the Taurat (Torah)], and placed his brother Harun (Aaron) with him as a helper;” [25:35]

So that Harun (as.) could help, support and stand beside Musa (as.) in his magnanimous task of opposing Pharao. The person who thought of himself as the Lord of all Lords, as god.

We learn siblings are supposed to help one another, to stand up for and to support each other. They are there as a mercy to us, to make things easier, to advance each other in life and in religiosity, to compete against each other in doing good.

Conflict and small rivalries are normal between siblings however they should never degenerate to outright hostility. To my recollection there are two cases in particular in the Qur’an where we can learn to what hostilities between siblings can lead to. In the case of Yusuf (as.) his older brothers banded together to throw him into a dried out well and in the case of of Cain and Abel or as the Qur’an refers to them as Ibnu Adam it ends in one killing the other.

These are extreme situations but are there for us to learn from them, to show us where jealousy and rivalries can lead us, even between siblings. Especially then when they are always compared against each other. They are different, don’t expect them to be exactly the same even if they are twins.

Back to Moses and Aaron (as.), enraged by the sons of Israel’s worship of the calf Moses turns on his brother as the one he left in charge. Musa (as.) grabs Harun by his collar demanding to know, how he could have allowed this to happen. To which…

“He said, “Son of my mother – let go of my beard and my hair! – I was afraid you would say, “You have caused division among the children of Israel and have not headed what I said.”” [20:94]

O son of my mother, reminding him gently, lovingly that they are siblings. Soothing him before asking him to not hurt him, then explaining what would have happened if he had done something. This is the recipe of talking to anyone who is enraged, beginning with something disarming before  going into whatever needs to be said.

Let’s talk about sisters, off the top of my head the story of Safurah and her sister come to mind. We meet these two in the story of Musa (as.) as he flees from Pharao having accidentally killed a person while trying to diffuse a fight. As he takes rest under a tree and desperately makes  dua’, he notices two sisters struggling with keeping their herd of sheep from the water as a direct result of the dua’ as the Qur’an tells us. He approaches them to ask what is wrong with them. They in a confident unified front tell him, that they would not mix with the men while tending to their sheep so would rather wait further back until they finished. They end with saying that he should not try anything with them, that their father is a big sheikh. Here we see the sisters confident, strong and not to be messed with. Later on however we see as one sister returns, that she is as the Qur’an described walking shyly. It may even be inferred that she was stuttering slightly, repeating herself , rambling.

We learn that sisters are to give each other strength and confidence, they should back each other up and protect each other.

The Qur’an talks a lot about mothers and the respect and obedience that is owed to her as the vehicle of Allah (swt.) bringing us into this world. The Qur’an mentions the pain with which she bore us, the times she fed us in some case to her pain. We can never repay our mothers for what they have done for us, sacrificed for us. In all of our love and obedience to our parents it is however forbidden to obey their call to Polytheism (Shirk) or anything that is Haram. As we have seen from Abraham (as.) and his father. Even in this case, Allah (swt.) teaches us to be kind and loving to them as Abraham (as.) was in his reply to his father. Allah (swt.) also records another conversation between a father and his son, this one between Luqman (as.) and his son. In which he gives his son advice, the Qur’an highlighting his title as Luqman the wise. We learn that fathers especially are to guide their children, to be there for them, to give advice to them and be on good terms with them so that that advice is taken.

Throughout the Qur’an we see how family members should or shouldn’t interact. Where our actions can lead us, and how to diffuse situations. At the heart of a family is the love that Allah (swt.) put there, about his grandson the Prophet saw. said: “Oh Allah, I love him, so love him and love those who love him.”

Wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman