Belief of the Salaf concerning the Quran

Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him). mentions in “Fataawa Kibaar ‘Ulama’ al-Ummah” p. 45:

The belief of the Salaf concerning the Quran is like their belief in all the names and attributes of Allah, which is a belief that is based on what is indicated by the Book of Allah and the sunnah (teachings) of His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). We all know that Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, has described the Quran as being His Word and that it was sent down from Him. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And if anyone of the Mushrikoon (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) seeks your protection then grant him protection, so that he may hear the Word of Allah (the Quran), and then escort him to where he can be secure.” [9:6].

Undoubtedly what is meant by the Word of Allah here is the Noble Quran.

And He, may He be exalted, says:

“Verily, this Quran narrates to the Children of Israel most of that about which they differ.” [27:76].

So the Quran is the Word of Allah in both wording and meaning. Allah spoke it in a real sense and gave it to Jibril (peace be upon him) the trustworthy, then Jibril brought it down to the heart of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), so that he might be one of the warners, in a plain Arabic tongue.

The Salaf believe that the Quran was revealed; Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, revealed it to Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) piecemeal, i.e., bit by bit, over twenty-three years, in accordance with the wisdom of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted.

Moreover, some of the revelation was revealed for a specific reason for which it was sent down, and some of it was revealed without a specific reason. And some of it was revealed to tell of something that happened to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his companions. Some of it was revealed concerning shar‘i (legal) rulings, according to what the scholars have said concerning this matter.

Then the Salaf say that the Quran is from Allah in the first place and it will return (to Him) at the end of time. This is the view of the Salaf concerning the Noble Quran.

It is clear to us that Allah has described the Noble Quran in superlative terms. He has described it as wise (hakeem), noble (kareem), great (‘azeem), and glorious (majeed). These qualities, in terms of which Allah has described His Book, may be attainable by one who adheres to this Book and acts upon it both inwardly and outwardly. Allah will give him some share of glory, greatness, wisdom, honour and authority that is not given to the one who does not adhere to the Book of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted. Hence I call all Muslims, rulers and ruled, scholars and ordinary folk, to adhere to the Book of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, both inwardly and outwardly, so that they may attain honour, happiness and glory, and prevail in the east and in the west.

عقيدة السلف في القرآن الكريم كعقيدتهم في سائر أسماء الله وصفاته ، وهي عقيدة مبنية على ما دل عليه كتاب الله وسنة رسوله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وكلنا يعلم أن الله سبحانه وتعالى وصف القرآن الكريم بأنه كلامه ، وأنه منزل من عنده ، قال تعالى : ( وَإِنْ أَحَدٌ مِنْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ اسْتَجَارَكَ فَأَجِرْهُ حَتَّى يَسْمَعَ كَلَامَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ أَبْلِغْهُ مَأْمَنَهُ ) التوبة/6 ، والمراد بلا ريب بكلام الله هنا القرآن الكريم ، وقال تعالى: ( إِنَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَقُصُّ عَلَى بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَكْثَرَ الَّذِي هُمْ فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ ) النمل/76 ، فالقرآن كلام الله تعالى لفظاً ومعنىً ، تكلم الله به حقيقة ، وألقاه إلى جبريل الأمين ، ثم نزل به جبريل على قلب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ليكون من المنذرين ، بلسان عربي مبين .


ويعتقد السلف أن القرآن منزل ، نزله الله عز وجل على محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم منجماً ، أي : مفرقاً ، في ثلاث وعشرين سنة حسب ما تقتضيه حكمة الله عز وجل .
ثم إن النزول يكون ابتدائياً ، ويكون سببياً ، بمعنى : أن بعضه ينزل لسبب معين اقتضى نزوله ، وبعضه ينزل بغير سبب ، وبعضه ينزل في حكاية حال مضت للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وأصحابه ، وبعضه ينزل في أحكام شرعية ابتدائية على حسب ما ذكره أهل العلم في هذا الباب .


ثم إن السلف يقولون : إن القرآن من عند الله ابتداءً وإليه يعود في آخر الزمان ، هذا قول السلف في القرآن الكريم .


ولا يخفى علينا أن الله تعالى وصف القرآن الكريم بأوصاف عظيمة ، وصفه بأنه حكيم ، وبأنه كريم ، وبأنه عظيم ، وبأنه مجيد ، وهذه الأوصاف التي وصف الله بها كلامه تكون لمن تمسك بهذا الكتاب ، وعمل به ظاهراً وباطناً ، فإن الله تعالى يجعل له من المجد ، والعظمة ، والحكمة ، والعزة ، والسلطان ، ما لا يكون لمن لم يتمسك بكتاب الله عز وجل ، ولهذا أدعو من هذا المنبر جميع المسلمين حكاما ًومحكومين ، علماء وعامة إلى التمسك بكتاب الله عز وجل ظاهراً وباطناً ، حتى تكون لهم العزة ، والسعادة ، والمجد ، والظهور في مشارق الأرض ومغاربها ” انتهى .


فضيلة الشيخ ابن عثيمين رحمه الله .
“فتاوى كبار علماء الأمة” ص (45)

 

 

Knowing the Arabic language is an Obligation

Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said in Iqtida’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem ( 2/207)

وأيضاً – فإن نفس اللغة العربية من الدين، ومعرفتها فرض واجب، فإن فهم الكتاب والسنة فرض، ولا يفهم إلا بفهم اللغة العربية، وما لا يتم الواجب إلا به فهو واجب.

Moreover, the Arabic language is part of this religion, and learning it is obligatory and essential. Understanding the Qur’aan and the Sunnah is an obligation, and they cannot be understood except by understanding the Arabic language.  Whatever it takes to complete an obligation is in itself an obligation.

ثم منها ما هو واجب على الأعيان، ومنها ما هو واجب على الكفاية، وهذا معنى ما رواه  أبو بكر بن أبي شيبة  حدثنا  عيسى بن يونس ، عن  ثور ، عن  عمر بن زيد : كتب عمر إلى أبي موسى رضي الله عنه: (( فتفقهوا في السنة، وتفقهوا في اللغة وأعربوا القرآن، فإنه عربي ))، وفي حديث آخر عن عمر رضي الله عنه أنه قال: (( تعلموا العربية فإنها من دينكم، وتعلموا الفرائض فإنها من دينكم ))

Then from them are things which are obligatory on all individuals (fard ‘ayn), and others which are obligatory on the community or ummah (fard kifayah, i.e., if some people fulfil them the rest are relieved of the obligation).

This is the meaning of the report narrated by Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah who said: ‘Eesa ibn Yoonus told us from Thawr from ‘Umar ibn Yazeed that ‘Umar wrote to Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (may Allah be pleased with him) and said:

‘Learn the Sunnah and learn Arabic; learn the Qur’an in Arabic for it is Arabic.’

According to another hadeeth narrated from ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), he said:

‘Learn Arabic for it is part of your religion, and learn how the estate of the deceased should be divided (fara’id) for these are part of your religion.’

وهذا الذي أمر به عمر رضي الله عنه من فقه العربية وفقه الشريعة، يجمع ما يحتاج إليه، لأن الدين فيه أقوال وأعمال، ففقه العربية هو الطريق إلى فقه أقواله، وفقه السنة هو فقه أعماله.

This command of ‘Umar, to learn Arabic and Shari’ah, combines the things that are needed, for religion involves understanding words and actions. Understanding Arabic is the way to understand the words of Islam, and understanding the Sunnah is the way to understand the actions of Islam.

“اقتضاء الصراط المستقيم” (2/207)

The Status of Knowledge

Allaah created man and provided him with the tools for acquiring knowledge, namely hearing, sight and wisdom. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And Allâh has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allâh)

[al-Nahl 16:78]

Islam is the religion of knowledge. The first aayah of the Qur’aan to be revealed enjoined reading which is the key to knowledge. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists).

He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood).

Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.

Who has taught (the writing) by the pen.

He has taught man that which he knew not”

[al-‘Alaq 96:1-5]

In Islam, knowledge comes before action; there can be no action without knowledge, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“So know (O Muhammad) that Laa ilaaha ill-Allâh (none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh), and ask forgiveness for your sin, and also for (the sin of) believing men and believing women”

[Muhammad 47:19]

Allaah warns every Muslim against speaking without knowledge, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And follow not (O man, i.e., say not, or do not, or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge. Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those ones will be questioned (by Allâh)”

[al-Israa’ 17:36]

Emphasizing the status of knowledge and the scholars, Allaah calls upon the scholars to bear witness to His Oneness, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Allâh bears witness that Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness); (He always) maintains His creation in justice. Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the All‑Mighty, the All-Wise”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:18]

Knowledge and fear of Allaah may be attained by knowing His signs and creation. The knowledgeable are those who know that, hence Allaah praises them by saying (interpretation of the meaning):

“It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allâh”

[Faatir 35:28]

The scholars occupy a noble status in Islam, and which is higher than the position of others in this world and in the Hereafter. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Allâh will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge”

[al-Mujaadilah 58:11]

Because of the importance of knowledge, Allaah commanded His Messenger to seek more of it. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and say: ‘My Lord! Increase me in knowledge’”

[Ta-Ha 20:114]

Allaah praises the scholars, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say: ‘Are those who know equal to those who know not?’ It is only men of understanding who will remember (i.e. get a lesson from Allâh’s Signs and Verses)”

[al-Zumar 39:9]

Those who have knowledge are the quickest of people to understand the truth and believe in it:

“And that those who have been given knowledge may know that it (this Qur’aan) is the truth from your Lord, so that they may believe therein, and their hearts may submit to it with humility”

[al-Hajj 22:54 – interpretation of the meaning]

Islam calls us to seek knowledge. The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made seeking knowledge an obligation upon every Muslim, and he explained that the superiority of the one who has knowledge over the one who merely worships is like the superiority of the moon over every other heavenly body. He said that the scholars are the heirs of the Prophets and that the Prophets did not leave behind dinars and dirhams (i.e., money), rather their inheritance was knowledge, so whoever acquires it has gained a great share. And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that seeking knowledge is a way to Paradise. He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, Allaah will make a path to Paradise easy for him.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, 10)

Islam calls us to learn all kinds of beneficial knowledge. Branches of knowledge vary in status, the highest of which is knowledge of sharee’ah, then knowledge of medicine, then the other fields of knowledge.

The best of all branches of knowledge are the sciences of sharee’ah through which man comes to know his Lord, and his [His?} Prophet and religion. This is the knowledge with which Allaah honoured His Messenger; He taught it to him so that he might teach it to mankind:

“Indeed, Allâh conferred a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves, reciting unto them His Verses (the Qur’ân), and purifying them (from sins by their following him), and instructing them (in) the Book (the Qur’aan) and Al‑Hikmah [the wisdom and the Sunnah of the Prophet (i.e. his legal ways, statements and acts of worship)], while before that they had been in manifest error”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:164 – interpretation of the meaning]

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When Allaah wishes good for a person, He makes him understand the religion.” (Agreed upon. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 69)

Concerning the matter of paying attention to the Qur’aan and learning and teaching it, the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of you is the one who learns the Qur’aan and teaches it.” (Agreed upon. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4639)

There is no goodness in knowledge which is not confirmed by action, or words which are not confirmed by deeds:

“O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do?

Most hateful it is with Allâh that you say that which you do not do”

[al-Saff :2-3]

The ummah needs knowledgeable people at all times and in all places. A nation without knowledge and scholars will live in illusions and sink in darkness. If a person knows what Allaah has prescribed ..?? {where does this go?} Whoever conceals this knowledge and deprives the ummah of it, Allaah will place on him a bridle of fire on the Day of Resurrection, and he will deserve to be cursed, except for the one who repents. Allaah says (interpretation of the  meaning):

“Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allâh and cursed by the cursers.

Except those who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth which they concealed). These, I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful”

[al-Baqarah 2:159-160]

Knowledge brings a great reward. The one who points the way to something good is like the one who does it. When the knowledgeable person dies, his reward with Allaah does not cease when he dies, rather it continues to increase so long as people benefit from his knowledge. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When a man dies, all his deeds come to an end except for three – an ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge or a righteous son who will pray for him.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1631)

If the scholar spreads his knowledge among the people, he will have a reward like that of those who follow him. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever calls people to right guidance will have a reward like that of those who follow him, without it detracting from their reward in the slightest, and whoever calls people to misguidance will have a burden of sin like that of those who follow him, without it detracting from their burden in the slightest.” (Narrated by Muslim, 2674)

Proper understanding of Islam is one of the best of good characteristics with which a Muslim may be honoured, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When Allaah wishes good for a person, He makes him understand the religion.” (Agreed upon).

Reading Qur’aan, learning it and teaching it, are among the best deeds, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There should be no envy (hasad) except between two people, a man to whom Allaah has given (knowledge of?) the Qur’aan, so he recites it night and day, and a man to whom Allaah has given wealth, so he spends it (in good deeds) night and day.”  (narrated by Muslim, 815)

 

taken from Usool al-Deen al-Islami by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem al-Tuwayjri

Arabic Exam for Mustawa Awal

A basic summary of the arabic learnt during mustawa awal and what the exam entails in the ma’had of Madeenah University.

Nahw: mudaf/mudaf alyh, sifaa’/mansoof, harf jar

Vocub: Basics like everyday use chair, table, family, food etc.

Convos: University life,, Restuarant, Family

Comprehension: umrah, Hijrah, Quran, Restuarant, Fish shop lol

The exam was 3 questions per paper, one for each of the different sections: Tadreebat, Ta’bir, Kitabaah

A typical exam question is: Fill in the blank / Order the sentence.

Fiqh – Select your Madhab

In Madeenah University, when you enter the actual faculty (well Shariah) you will be studying from a book called “Bidayatul Mujtahid” by Ibn Rushd. This is a primer text that specialises in comparative fiqh across all four the madhaahib – it was designed to prepare the mujtahid but is not for begginers. The senior students advice everyone to choose a madhab before and learn it before starting on comparitive fiqh.

I have chosen the Hanbali madhab as it is the one I had studied the most before being accepted in Madeenah University, even though I was bought up on the Hanafi madhab. As with all branches of knowledge, fiqh should be learnt in stages. For the hanbali madhab you start with a primer and work your way up. The methodolgy of the famous hanbali jurist, Ibn Qudamah was to start with Umdatul Fiqh and make your way up.

  1. Umdatul Fiqh
  2. Al Muqni
  3. Kaafi

Umdatul fiqh deals with the madhab without any evidences to get the student to know the madhab and how to perform the actions of worship. Al Muqni is for intermediate level and deals with differences of opinion within the madhab whole staying within the hanbali madhab itself. Kaafi is to familiarise the students with the fiqh and the methodolgy used to extract the rulings.

That was the particular methodology of Ibn Qudamah but there is a popular mukhtasar of Al Muqni by Abu al-Naja al-Hajjaw’ called “Zad al Mustaqni”. This particular book has a brilliant sharh by the contemporary scholar Shaykh Salih Uhtyameen called “Sharh al Mumti” which is the methodology I have chosen.

Timetable for Level One Arabic

Below is my timetable for Level 1 arabic in Madeenah University Ma’had. inshaAllaah I will post my timetable for each term so one may see what subjects are studied and benefit by implementing a similiar timetable and curriculm. Each term consists of 3 months including mid term and end of term exams.

 

 

Tadreebat: This is the core of the Madeenah books which we find in the west – the majority of it is nahw (grammar)
Ta’beer: This is explanation and speaking – it contains conversations and vocabulary
Quran: Self explanatory: hifdh and qirah (memorisation and reading). In first term we have to memorise from surah Alaq to surah Nas.
Kitabah: This is how to write

Time Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
7:30am Tadreebat Tadreebat Qira’ah Ta’beer Quran
8:25am Tadreebat Qira’ah Tadreebat Tadreebat Ta’beer
9:15am Quran Qira’ah Tadreebat Tadreebat Ta’beer
9:35am Qir’ah Kitabah Quran Qira’ah Tadreebat
10:25am Ta’beer Quran Ta’beer Ta’beer Tadreebat
11:20am Ta’beer Tadreebat Kitabah Quran Kitabah
10:30pm Tadreebat Kitabah Ta’beer Quran Tadreebat

 

Books for the Seeker of Knowledge

Books which the student of knowledge should attain and study from. This is also advice on studying in levels from the basics to the more advanced. The advice is taken from Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, p. 92

1 – ‘Aqeedah (basic tenets of faith):

1-    Thalaathat al-Usool

2-    Al-Qawaa’id al-Arba’ah

3-    Kashf al-Shubahaat

4-    Al-Tawheed

These four books were written by Shaykh al-Islam Imaam Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab (may Allaah have mercy on him).

5-     Al-‘Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah which deals with Tawheed al-Asmaa’ wa’l-Sifaat (The Oneness of the Divine names and attributes). This is one of the best books written on this topic, and it is worth reading and studying.

6-    Al-Hamawiyyah

7-    Al-Tadmuriyyah

These two books are more comprehensive than al-Waasitiyyah. These three books were written by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah.

8-     Al-‘Aqeedah al-Tahhaawiyyah, by Shaykh Abu Ja’far Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Tahhaawi

9-     Sharh al-‘Aqeedah al-Tahhaawiyyah by Abu’l-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Abi’l-‘Izz

10-Al-Durar al-Saniyyah fi’l-Ajoobah al-Najdiyyah, compiled by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Qaasim (may Allaah have mercy on him)

11-Al-Durrah al-Madiyyah fi ‘Aqeedah al-Firqah al-Mardiyyah by Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Safaareeni al-Hanbali.

This book contains some general statements which go against the madhhab of the salaf, such as his saying, “Our Lord is not an essence or an attribute or a physical entity, exalted be He.”

Therefore the seeker of knowledge has to study it with a shaykh who is well versed in the ‘aqeedah of the salaf, so that he can explain the general statements in it that go against the ‘aqeedah of the righteous salaf.

2 – Hadeeth

1-     Fath al-Baari Sharh Saheeh al-Bukhaari, by Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqallaani (may Allaah have mercy on him).

2-     Subul al-Salaam Sharh Buloogh al-Maraam, by al-San’aani, and his book Jaami’ bayna al-Hadeeth wa’l-Fiqh

3-     Nayl al-Awtaar Sharh Muntaqaa al-Akhbaar by al-Shawkaani

4-     ‘Umdat al-Ahkaam by al-Maqdisi. This is an abridged book; most of its ahaadeeth are narrated in al-Saheehayn so their authenticity does not need to be researched.

5-     Al-Arba’een al-Nawawiyyah, by Abu Zakariyya al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him). This is a good book because it includes etiquette and a good methodology, and important basic principles, such as the hadeeth, “Part of a person’s being a good Muslim is his leaving alone that which does not concern him.”

(Narrated by Imaam Ahmad, 1 – 201; al-Tirmidhi, 2318; classed as hasan by al-Nawawi in Riyaadh al-Saaliheen, 73; classed as saheeh by Ahmad Shaakir in al-Musnad, 1737)

This principle – if one made it the path upon which one walks – would be sufficient. Another principle is given concerning when one should speak, “Whoever believes in Allaah and the Last Day, let him say something good or else remain silent.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Adab; Muslim, Kitaab al-Luqtah, Baab al-Diyaafah).

6-     Buloogh al-Maraam, by al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqallaani. This is a very useful book, especially because it mentions the narrators, and quoted the opinions of others scholars, who said whose hadeeth is saheeh and whose is da’eef, and he comments on the hadeeth to say whether they are saheeh or da’eef.

7-     Nukhbat al-Fikr  by al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqallaani. This is considered to be a comprehensive work. If the seeker of knowledge understands it completely then he will have no need of many other books of mustalah (the science of hadeeth). Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) has a useful way of writing, which involves examining every issue in depth and categorizing the topics he discusses. If the seeker of knowledge reads it he will find it stimulating, because it is based on making one think. I say: it is good for the seeker of knowledge to memorize it because it is a useful summary of the science of mustalah (science of hadeeth).

8-     The Six Books (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Muslim, al-Nasaa’i, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah and al-Tirmidhi). I advise the seeker of knowledge to read them often, because that will serve two purposes: reviewing the main sources of Islam and reviewing the names of hadeeth narrators. If you often review the names of hadeeth narrators, then whenever you come across the name of one of the narrators of al-Bukhaari in any isnaad, you will know that this is one of the narrators of al-Bukhaari, so you will benefit from this knowledge of hadeeth.

3 – Books of fiqh:

1-     Aadaab al-mashiy ila’l-Salaah by Shaykh al-Islam Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab (may Allaah have mercy on him)

2-     Zaad al-Mustaqni’ fi Ikhtisaar al-Muqni’ by al-Hajjaawi. This is one of the best texts of fiqh. It is a blessed book, brief and comprehensive. Our shaykh, ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) told us to memorize it, even though he had memorized the text of Daleel al-Taalib.

3-     Al-Rawd al-Murbi’ Sharh Zaad al-Mustaqni’ by Shaykh Mansoor al-Bahooti

4-     ‘Umdat al-Fiqh by Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him)

5-     al-Usool min ‘Ilm al-Usool. This is an abridged book which serves as an introduction for the seeker of knowledge.

4 – Faraa’id (laws of inheritance)

1-     Matn al-Rahbiyyah by al-Rahbi

2-     Matn al-Burhaaniyyah by Muhammad al-Burhaani. This is a useful and comprehensive abridged book dealing with all the laws of inheritance. I think that al-Burhaaniyyah is more comprehensive than al-Rahbiyyah in some ways, and it gives more information.

5 – Tafseer

1-     Tafseer al-Qur’aan al-‘Azeem by Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him). This book is good for tafseer based on reports and it is useful and trustworthy. But it does pay much attention to matters of grammar and style.

2-     Tayseer al-Kareem al-Rahmaan fi Tafseer Kalaam al-Mannaan by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him). This is a good, easy and trustworthy book, and I recommend it.

3-     Muqaddimah Shaykh al-Islam fi’l-Tafseer. This is an important introduction.

4-     Adwaa’ al-Bayaan by al-‘Allaamah Muhammad al-Shanqeeti (may Allaah have mercy on him). This is a comprehensive book covering hadeeth, fiqh, tafseer and usool al-fiqh.

6 – General books on some subjects:

1-     On (Arabic) grammar: Matn al-Ajroomiyyah. This is an abridged book.

2-     Also on Arabic grammar: Alfiyyah Ibn Maalik; this is a summary of the science of grammar.

3-     On Seerah (Prophet’s biography): The best book that I have seen is Zaad al-Ma’aad by Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him). This is a very useful book in which he mentions the biography of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) from all angles, then he discusses many rulings.

4-     Rawdat al-‘Uqalaa’ by Ibn Hibbaan al-Busti (may Allaah have mercy on him). This is a useful book despite its brevity. He compiled a large amount of useful material and stories of the scholars, muhadditheen and others.

5-     Siyar A’laam al-Nubalaa’ by al-Dhahabi. This book is very useful and the seeker of knowledge should read and refer to it.

Arabic – Level One

In Madeenah University there is a arabic department for non arabic speakers – this is known as the “Mahad”. There are 4 levels: mustawa awal, mustawa thani, mustawa thalith, mustawa rab’i.

You can enter at whatever level you have learnt upto or start from the beggning. This is a pre requesite to the kulyah (faculty) and prepares the student of knowledge on his way to studying in the actula university.

Classes are mixed from all nationalities. There are 4 main books one goes through in level 1:

Tadreebat (this is grammer mainly)

Ta’beer (mainly conversation)

Qir’ah (comprehension)

Kitaabah (writing)

In adition to this you do hifdh of Quran – from Juzz Amma – surah Nas to Al Khalaq)

 

Arabic – The Gateway to Knowledge

The following are a few statements of the Salaf and Scholars of the present encouraging the learning of the Arabic language

Al Hafith Ibn Battah mentioned concerning Imam Ahmed:

…Saleh ibn Ahmed narrated:
A man that was present (during the trials and debates of Imam Ahmed about the Quran being created or not) informed me:

I followed him for three days of trials and debates while they were debating with him and speaking to him.  He never made a mistake in Arabic grammar!  I never thought a person could possess such strength and a strong heart.

Ibn Battah continued to write:

…on the authority of Abu Bakr Al Marruthee, he said:

Abu Abdullah (Ahmed bin Hanbal) would not make grammatical mistakes.  I was informed that while he was being debated with in front of the ruler, he did not make a grammatical mistake!

Abu Bakr Al Marruthee also said:

Ibn Abee Hassan -the scribe- mentioned to me:

While Abu Abdullah was incarcerated he requested from me (to borrow) the book of Hamzah (a book on Arabic grammar).  I gave it to him and he read/reviewed it before being questioned and debated.
(source: Al Ibaanah 2/249 and on)

I (Mustafa) say: Without a doubt, this illustrates the importance the salaf gave to speaking correct grammar.  It also shows the strength of Imam Ahmed, and his courage.  It would be very difficult for an individual to focus on correct speech, knowing he may very well be living the last days of his life!  This also shows his wisdom, not to make a grammatical mistake in order that the people of deviation would not have a proof to say: He doesn’t understand Arabic!  The likes of this is mentioned in the below statement of Shiekh Hammad Al Ansari. Allah knows best.

Sheikh ul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said:

The Salaf would admonish their children for making Arabic grammatical mistakes.  Due to this, we are ordered, whether it be an obligation or a recommendation, to preserve the Arabic (grammatical) laws, and to correct the tongues that have deviated from the correct speech.  By doing so, we preserve the methodology of understanding the Quran and the Sunnah.  We also preserve the following of the Arab in their manner of (correct) speech.  If people were left with their grammatical mistakes, this would be considered a great deficiency and despicable mistake.
(source: Majmoo’ Al Fatawa 32/252)

Shiekh ul Islam (rahimahullah) also mentioned a statement of Imam Ash Shafi’ee (rahimahullah), he said:

…this is because the (language) that Allah choose is Arabic.  He revealed His glorious book (The Quran) in this language and He made it the tongue of His final and last prophet, Muhammed -sallahu alahi wa salem.  Therefore, we say: it is befitting for everyone that has the ability to learn this language to do so, this is because it should be the most desired language to learn.  At the same time, it is not forbidden for people to speak with other than the Arabic language.
(source: Iktidah As Siralt Al Mustaqeem 1/521)

Imam Adh Dhahabee (rahimahullah) mentioned:

That which a scholar needs to be is:

-Taqiyan (have taqwah)
-Thakiyah (have intelligence)
-Nahwiyan (firm in Arabic grammar)
-Lugawiyan (firm in Arabic language)
-Zakiyan (pure in action and/or intentions)
-Hayiyan (shy)
-Salafiyan (follow the way of the Salaf As Saleh)….
(source: Siyar ‘Alam An Nubalah 13/380)

Imam Adh Dhahabee (rahimahullah) also mentioned the following story:

On the authority of Al Mughirah bin Abdur Rahman, he said: Abdul Azeez Ad Darawirdee accompanied a group of people to visit my father for the purpose of reading a book to him.  Ad Darawirdee read the book for them but he possessed a poor (Arabic) tongue and made many despicable mistakes.  My father said to him: Woe be to you oh Darawirdee! You are in need of correcting your tongue before looking into this affair (hadeeth), more so than anything else.
(source: Siyar ‘Alam An Nubalah 8/368)

Shiekh Hammad Al Ansari (rahimahullah) said:

When a Muwahid (person implementing Tawheed) makes a mistake in Arabic grammar, he is accused of not understanding (his religion).

The Shiekh’s son commented:

Meaning: It is befitting for a person upon the Sunnah to learn the sciences of the Arabic language in order not to make grammatical mistakes.
(source: Al Mejm’oo 2/557)

Sheikh Muhammed bin Saleh Al Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) said:

From the benefits of learning the Arabic language is correction of the tongue with the Arabic tongue which the speech of Allah was revealed in.  Because of this, understanding the Arabic language is extremely important.  But the sciences of the Arabic language are difficult in the beginning and become easy thereafter.  It is the example of a house made of cane (the likes of sugar cane), but its door is made of steel.  Meaning, it is difficult for one to enter, but once one does, is then made easy.  Due to this, I encourage the student to learn the foundations of the language in order to make the rest easy for him/her.
(source: Sharh Al Ajromiyah pg.9)

The aforementioned speech of Ibn Taymiyyah reminds us of the statement of Umm Abdellah Al Wadie’yah concerning her father, the beloved Sheikh Muqbil bin Hadee Al Wadi’ee.

She wrote:

My father would admonish us (her and her older sister) if we made a mistake in Arabic grammar.  He would say: Don’t be like the people of Sa’daa, they learn Arabic for several years until they reach the level of ‘Al Mugnee al Labeeb’ (famous book in Arabic grammar), yet they continue to speak similar to the normal layman.
(source: Nubtha Muktesirah pg.52)

Sheikh Muqbil (rahimahullah) also mentioned:

The sciences of the Arabic language (nahoo) are from the important forms of knowledge that are incumbent upon the Muslims to focus on.  This is because the enemies of Islam seek to divert the Muslims away from the language of their religion and busy them with what has less importance in their religion. And Allah is the Helper.
(source: Ershad Thawil Fitan pg.65)

He likewise said:

If a student becomes strong in the Arabic language, this will make learning other subjects easy for him.
(source: Intro. to Al Hilal Adh Dhahabiya pg.8)

Seeking Knowledge – Lessons from the story of Mūsā and Khidr

From the greatest forms of worship a Muslim can perform, is seeking knowledge purely for Allāh’s sake. Over the last few decades, Muslims in the West have become increasingly active in seeking knowledge, whether it be in the traditional ways of sitting with scholars and enrolling in institutions, or utilising newer technologies for learning. However, like all other acts of worship, seeking knowledge has guidelines and a methodology which we must follow set out by the One for whose sake we seek knowledge. Amongst the sources we can learn these guidelines from is none other than the final revelation sent down to mankind, the Qur’ān, and one story in particular offers much for those seeking knowledge in the 21st century to reflect on. This is the story between a messenger of Allāh, Mūsā (peace be upon him) and Khidr.

There are many Islamic texts that highlight the importance and virtues of knowledge. In fact, as the Messenger of Allāh (peace be upon him) said: “Seeking knowledge is an obligation on every Muslim”[1]. From the texts that highlight the virtues of knowledge, Allāh says in the Qur’ān: “Allāh raises those who believe and have knowledge in degrees”[2]; and the Messenger of Allāh (peace be upon him) said: “The angels lower their wings over the seeker of knowledge, being pleased with what he does. The inhabitants of the heavens and the earth and even the fish in the depth of the oceans seek forgiveness for him.”[3]

Before we begin the story and extract the benefits, let us acknowledge the station of the one seeking the knowledge. Mūsā (peace be upon him) is from the greatest Prophets of Allāh. We know his position and superiority over not only some of the other Prophets, but also mankind in general. Allāh referred to him as from the “ulul-‘azam”[4] – the five major Prophets with exceptionally “strong will” – these are namely: Nūh, Ibrāhīm, Mūsā, ‘Īsā and Muhammed (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon them all). Mūsā was also a Prophet and Messenger upon whom revelation descended, Allāh spoke to him directly and as a result he became known as the Kalīm of Allāh.

So the story begins at the time of Mūsā with Banī Isrā’īl gathered around him, as mentioned in Sahīh al-Bukhāri. Mūsā’s people ask him if there is anyone on Earth more knowledgeable than him to which Mūsā replies that he thinks there is none on Earth more knowledge than him, on account of him being a Prophet. Allāh then reveals to Mūsā that despite him being a Prophet, there is a slave of His that is more knowledge than him.

Even before the journey has begun, we can extract the first benefit. A person should never be impressed with himself no matter how much knowledge he has. As students of knowledge, we should always remain humble. The reality is when a person attains more knowledge, he actually realises how little knowledge he has.

An individual has to refer back to Allāh because all knowledge comes from Allāh. No matter how much we try, we will never acquire knowledge except by the permission of Allāh. The knowledge that we do have should make us constantly ask Allāh to bestow more knowledge on us. Take note of what Allāh told the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Say: My Lord, increase me in knowledge.”[5]

Upon being told that there is someone with more knowledge than him, Mūsā set out to find this person so he may learn from him. From this, we learn the virtues of travelling to acquire knowledge. When Mūsā heard someone has more knowledge than him, he quickly went out to search for that knowledge. When one goes out to seek knowledge, for every step taken, it is recorded in his or her book of good deeds.

Also from the benefits of Mūsā travelling to seek knowledge, we learn that a person should be keen on acquiring knowledge from the scholars. They are the ones whom knowledge should be taken from. Mūsā was Prophet of Allāh and the Kalīm of Al-Rahmān but despite that, when he heard Khidr had some knowledge that he did not, he immediately went out to seek that knowledge.

Continue reading Seeking Knowledge – Lessons from the story of Mūsā and Khidr