Blessings of living in a Muslim country

From the blessings of living in a Muslim country is the ability to pray anywhere, at anytime and hearing the adhaan everywhere, 5 times a day, at the right time.

I was in a hospital in Madeenah in the waiting room at Maghrib time and wondering where the nearest Masjid was. Suddenly I heard the beautiful sound of the adhaan playing out loud on the hospital loudspeakers, echoing throughout the hospital. I got up to look for a place to pray thinking they must have a musalaa, so I went to the main reception to enquire. When I reached there I was surprised to see the workers had already laid out temporary prayer carpets to pray in the hall in the main entrance so we made a jamaa’ and prayed together.

Even though they close the shops at prayer time in Saudi Arabia, usually people spread out and go to different masaajid but in the hospital it felt different. In addition to the hospital being full of verses from the Quran reminding people health is from Allaah and He is the One who cures, it was beautiful to see doctors, pharmacists, cleaners, the sick and the healthy all praying side by side, stopping whatever they were doing to answer the call to prayer.

“And establish prayer and give zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience].” (Quran 2:43)


Allaah is above the Heavens, not “in” the Heaven

When the early generations (salaf), the leading scholars (imams) and all the Sunni scholars say that Allah is “above the Throne” or that He is “in heaven [fi’s-samaa’], above all things”, they are not saying that there is something that encompasses Him or contains Him, or that there is some place where He is, , glorified and exalted be He far above that. Rather He is above all things, and He has no need of all things; rather all things are in need of Him. He is far above all things, and He is the One Who is holding the Throne and the bearers of the Throne, by His might and power. Every created being is in need of Him, and He has no need of the Throne or of any created being.

With regard to what we see in the Qur’an and Sunnah of the words Do you feel secure that He who [is] in the heaven would not …”[ al-Mulk 67:16], and the like, some may understand from it that the word samaa’ (heaven) refers to the lofty created things, the Throne and everything beneath it, so they say that the phrase “in  heaven (fi’s-samaa’)” means “above the heaven (‘ala’as-samaa’)”, similar to the verse (interpretation of the meaning), “Say, Travel in (fi) the land” [al-An‘aam 6:11] meaning travel on the land.

There is no need for all this discussion; rather the word samaa’ refers to anything that is high or lofty, and it does not refer to any specific physical entity. The phrase fi’s-samaa’ [translated as “in heaven”] refers to being up or above, as opposed to being down or beneath.

So Allah is the Exalted, the Most High, and His is all highness and exaltedness; He is above the Throne, and there is none but Him, the Exalted, the Most High, glorified and exalted be He.

Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (16/100-101)Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

What is meant by Allah being in heaven [fi’s-samaa’] is that He is above the heavens, so the word fi (lit. in) in this instance means ‘ala (above), as is seen in the verse in which He, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “Say, Travel in (fi) the land” [al-An‘aam 6:11]. Here fi (in) means ‘ala (on).

It may be that fi (in) refers to time or place; in this case the word samaa’ (translated above as heaven) refers to being high or exalted. In that case, what is meant is that Allah is on high.

The meaning of time or place is not appropriate in the phrase fi’s-samaa’ if what is meant by samaa’ is the physical entity or firmament, because that may give the impression that the sky or heaven (as-samaa’) is encompassing Allah, and this meaning is wrong, for Allah is too great to be encompassed by anything that He has created.

Majmoo‘ Fataawa ash-Shaykh al-‘Uthaymeen (4/283)

Lost in ‘Arabic to English’ Translation

Arabic is such a beautiful language. I can use one word to explain an entire sentence in English.

Even in some cases, in the Arabic language, letters are removed from words to make it easier on the tongue.

Here is an example in the Quran in Surah Hud, chapter 11, verse 28 where Allaah is mentioning what Nuh (alayhi salam) said to his people. It takes 7 words in the English language to translate this 1 word in Arabic.

Different Names for Surah al-Fatihah

Surah al-Fatihah, the first chapter of the Quran has various names. The mufasir, Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) mentions in his Tafseer:

This Surah is called Al-Fatihah, that is, the Opener of the Book, the Surah with which prayers are begun. It is also called, Umm Al-Kitab (the Mother of the Book), according to the majority of the scholars. In an authentic Hadith recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who graded it Sahih, Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«الْحَمْدُ للهِ رَبَ الْعَالَمِينَ أُمُّ الْقُرْآنِ وَأُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَالسَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي وَالْقُرْآنُ الْعَظِيمُ»

(Al-Hamdu lillahi Rabbil-`Alamin is the Mother of the Qur’an, the Mother of the Book, and the seven repeated Ayat of the Glorious Qur’an.)

It is also called Al-Hamd and As-Salah, because the Prophet said that his Lord said,

«قَسَمْتُ الصَّلَاةَ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ عَبْدِي نِصْفَيْنِ، فَإِذَا قَالَ الْعَبْدُ:الْحَمْدُدِلله رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ، قَالَ اللهُ: حَمِدَنِي عَبْدِي»

(`The prayer (i.e., Al-Fatihah) is divided into two halves between Me and My servants.’ When the servant says, `All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of existence,’ Allah says, ‘My servant has praised Me.’)

Al-Fatihah was called the Salah, because reciting it is a condition for the correctness of Salah – the prayer. Al-Fatihah was also called Ash-Shifa’ (the Cure).

It is also called Ar-Ruqyah (remedy), since in the Sahih, there is the narration of Abu Sa`id telling the the story of the Companion who used Al-Fatihah as a remedy for the tribal chief who was poisoned. Later, the Messenger of Allah said to a Companion,

«وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ أَنَّهَا رُقْيَةٌ»

(How did you know that it is a Ruqyah)

Al-Fatihah was revealed in Makkah as Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah and Abu Al-`Aliyah stated. Allah said,

﴿وَلَقَدْ ءاتَيْنَـكَ سَبْعًا مِّنَ الْمَثَانِي﴾

(And indeed, We have bestowed upon you the seven Mathani) (seven repeatedly recited verses), (i.e. Surat Al-Fatihah) (15:87).

Minhaj: Sharh of Saheeh Muslim | المنهاج في شرح صحيح مسلم بن الحجاج

al-Minhaj is a sharh (explanation) of Saheeh al-Muslim by Abu Zakaria Muhiyuddin Yahya ibn Sharif al-Nawawi (rahimahullah). The full name of the book is: المنهاج في شرح صحيح مسلم بن الحجاج.  It is a masterpiece in the field of hadeeth and took several years to complete. It is the most famous and relied upon explanation of Saheeh Muslim, which by consensus of the scholars is the second most authentic compilation of hadeeth after the Saheeh of Imam al-Bukhari.

Imam Nawawi’s methodology in his book is he would put the hadeeth in full with the complete chain and then mention some of the details of the narrators such as their names, lineage and deaths. He then goes onto explain the hadeeth and any rulings connected to it.

We were blessed to study parts of this excellent sharh in our third semester in Madeenah University with Shaykh Abdurrahman al-Saadee.

There are various prints available, the best one being the 6 volume edition by Dar-Far. Although there is now a new print which is the one below which I have yet to check but it looks interesting.

Qadr and dealing with Doubts

Yesterday in Masjid al-Nabawi, Shaykh Sulayman al-Ruhaylee (حفظ الله) was asked a question about Qadr; the questioner wanted to know why does Allaah do such and such & why does He do this & this etc.

The shaykh answered by saying this is سوء الادب مع الله – bad mannerisms with Allaah. We don’t need to know the wisdom behind everything. Everything Allaah does is either a blessing or an act of justice.

I think this is a good way to deal with some of the shubahaat that a lot of people ask these days as knowing the apparent wisdom behind it will not benefit them anyway. What is more important is strengthen their relationship and Emaan in Allaah so they can get to a point where they hear and obey. Allaah will not be asked about what He does, however we will be.

لَا يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُونَ
“He is not questioned about what He does, but they will be questioned.” (Quran 21:23)


al-Aqeedah al-Wasatiyyah | العقيدة الواسطية

Al-Aqeedah Al-Waasitiyyah is a book of Aqeedah written by Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah. It deals with the belief of Ahlus Sunnah in regards to Allaah’s Names and Attributes and also with belief in the unseen and the Sahabah (radiAllaahu anhum)

There are many shuruhaat (explanations) available by scholars from them Ibn Uthaymeen. There is also a simple sharh available by Saleh al-Fawzan, however the best sharh I have read is the compilation by Shaykh  who uses the works of Ibn Taymiyyah to explain Aqeedah al-Wasatiyyah.

What is the best way to get accepted into Madeenah University?

I have been asked this question by young brothers about 1,004,039 times: What is the best way to get accepted into Madeenah University?

Unfortunately what I’ve noticed with many brothers is that they think that simply just coming to Madinah University will make them a scholar. They have a misconception that when they enrol into the Islamic University, they will suddenly be given the memory of Imam al-Dhahabi and when they graduate they will have the intelligence of Ibn Taymiyyah and during their studies they will be writing books and compilations like Imam Nawawi. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

For all the brilliant students of knowledge you see graduating from Madeenah University and benefitting the Ummah, there are many weaker students who didn’t utilise their time in the best way.

Madeenah is not the only place to study, you can study anywhere in the world. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; if you don’t get into Madeenah University, don’t think you can’t study the deen. If you really want to study abroad, you can go to Egypt, Mauritania, Yemen or elsewhere. Knowledge is not restricted to a certain place. The Prophet ﷺ said in an authentic hadeeth on the authority of Abu Hurayrah: “Whoever treads a path of knowledge, Allaah will make easy for him the path to paradise.” This path of knowledge can be in London, New York or any path where you seek authentic knowledge intending the pleasure of Allaah.

And most importantly, make use of what classes and lessons are available to you right now, locally. Regardless of where in the world you study the deen, it takes sabr, ijtihad & tawfeeq from Allaah. If you didn’t bother studying while you were in Manchester, you probably won’t bother studying while you are in Madeenah.

p.s Since this is a Madeenah University related post: Our university has finally updated/modernised it’s logo for the first time since it opened. They have now gone for a blue and yellow theme. In my opinion, the new logo is a big improvement and much more modern. So props to them I guess.

Knowledge ‪necessitates‬ humility

Knowledge ‪necessitates‬ humility. In our recent lesson with Shaykh Mukhtar al-Shinqitee (hafidhahullah) last Thursday, we were waiting for the shaykh to arrive to his chair in Masjid al-Nabawi.

As is the norm now, I noticed the Shaykh seems to come from a certain direction and he is always swarmed by students (even while he is walking to the lesson) who are constantly asking him questions and for advice. So as I was waiting, I looked back in the direction that he usually comes from and I was pleasantly surprised to see my Fiqh teacher in the faculty of Shariah, Shaykh AbdurRahman bin Muhammed al-Saeed, sitting cross legged behind me also waiting for the shaykh and to benefit from the lesson. Bear in mind that Shaykh AbdurRahman al-Saeed is a professor in Fiqh in the Islamic University of Madeenah (we were studying from Umdatul Ahkaam – a Fiqh book) and probably knew the masaail and rulings that were covered inside out, but he was still humble enough to sit as a student.

It is reported that Ibrāhīm b. Adham (rh) – said: “The one who seeks knowledge sincerely is the one who becomes more lowly to himself, strives more in worship, fears Allāh more, yearns for Allāh more, and becomes more humble amongst people.” (Al-Bayhaqī, Shuʿab Al-Īmān 1653.)

First ever meeting at the Islamic University of Madeenah

So today was officially the first day back for students at the Islamic University of Madeenah. After a long 3 month summer break, followed by a week known to students as Usboo Mayat (“Dead Week” – don’t ask) and then an extra day off for national day (again, don’t ask), it’s finally time time for us to start University studies again.

Since it’s first day of studies in 1439h, I thought it was appropriate to post this picture of signatures from scholars present at the first ever meeting at the Islamic University of Madeenah. You can see some giants, amongst them: Shaykh Abdul Aziz bin Baz, Shaykh Naasirudeen al-Albaani, Shaykh Muhammed al-Ameen al-Shinqitee amongst others, many of whom have passed away. RahimahumAllaah. It is not the University itself which imparts the knowledge but the scholars; firstly through the tawfeeq of Allaah and then secondly through their dedication in serving the deen.

May Allaah grant us ikhlaas, bless us in our studies and grant us beneficial knowledge.