Taleem Institute

Halloween originated from a Pagan festival called Samhain, which was celebrated by the Ancient Celts of Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. The Christian festival of ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ occurred around the same time as Samhain, with elements of the latter festival mixing with the former. Halloween is largely a celebration for Pagan idolators, and satan-worshippers, witches, and the like. It is associated with evil, devils, demons, and dark, sinister acts. None of these are approved of in Islam. Even some Christians are distancing themselves from Halloween.

Today, Halloween is largely a commercialized festival. Children, teenagers, and even adults go around dressed in crazy costumes, scary and skimpy, partying, tricking ‘n’ treating, or pranking innocent people, getting drunk, and disorderly conduct. In short, it is a night of nuisance! (Imagine what the police and medics must deal with…)

As Muslims, we direct our efforts to please Allah (The One True God) alone. This means having good intentions, doing good, and keeping away from evil. Muslims have a long-standing enmity with the devil, Satan. Satan (may he be cursed) was disobedient to Allah. And Satan was an enemy to our father, Adam- The first man.

Satan’s mission is to lead us to destruction and hellfire. As Muslims, our ongoing battle with Satan means we must avoid his misleading paths to evil (may he be cursed). Satan calls us towards idol worship, self-harm, violence towards others, mischief, the pursuit of impure desires, destroying society among many other vices.

Muslims fight the Satan away, by remembering Allah, The Creator of all. So as Muslims, we would rather be good citizens by maintaining peace and tranquillity in the community. Sure, we love to give gifts, and we love sharing food, but just not on a night of notoriety.

May Allah protect us from Satan the accursed. May Allah guide us all back to the straight path that leads to His pleasure alone. Wasallallahu alaa nabiyina Muhammad. Aamin

Assalamu Alaikum,

We pray this message reaches you in the best state of health and Emaan. ​Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Madrasah is closed now. We will be reopening our Madrasah soon Insha’Allah. Until then Taleem Online Lessons are available via Skype & Zoom. For further details please contact our team.

We have made alterations to our weekend timetable to maximize students’ learning experience. The weekend sessions will be extended to ensure students benefit from their studies.

We are going to have 2 sessions during the weekend. Parents have the option to choose their preferred session. This means students can attend either Morning or Afternoon session which we will cover 5 different subjects: Qur’an, Tajweed, Islamic, Du’a, Salaah, and Arabic studies.

For any queries please contact us directly and we will ensure we respond efficiently. For the latest updates please check our notice board.

We strive to ensure that we meet the expectations of our respected parents. Priority is given to the learning of Islamic fundamentals ensuring that our students benefit from their studies. We value the continued support of all parents and carers.

Taleem Institute Presents,

Faith In Allah According to Holy Qur’an

Join us for a live Family Event and Q&A session with Imam Khidir Hussain (Imam & Khateeb of Masjid Ayesha, Tottenham).

🗣️ Imam Khidir Hussain
👤 Open to all
📅 Sunday 31st January 2021
🕗 5 PM – 6:00 PM

To register, please message us on What’s App 07713761414 with your full Name and Email address. For any queries, please call/text on 07713761414

Or, Email us at info@taleeminstitute.com

Please share with your friends and family InshaAllah!

Assalamu Alaykum,
We hope this message finds you in the best of health and eman.

Alhamdulillah, at Taleem Institute, We have been providing online Quran, Tajweed classes to our students, anytime and anywhere in the world.

Our Online Quran education Services include:
1- Basic Qaidah
2- Learning Quran with Tajweed
3- Hifz Quran
4- Duas & Salaah Studies
5- Islamic Studies

We have New Qualified Male & Female teachers recruited due to the demand for our online Quran courses.

For more info, please contact us on

E- info@taleeminstitute.com
M- +447713761414

 

Ramadan is a time where Muslims all over the world refrain from food, drink, and physical relations during daylight hours. While most people tend to focus on the food aspect of Ramadan, this holy month is a great opportunity for Muslims to transcend animalistic needs and instincts and focus on spiritual growth.

Here are some tips that make your Ramadan a truly special month!

Avoid Negative People

We all have toxic people in our lives. They are the people who are naysayers, make fun of your goals, or plain don’t like you. Well, try to avoid those types of people this Ramadan. Not only will it make you happier, but there is also a bonus of avoiding the huge sin of backbiting. It will also help you hunker down and focus on achieving your goals for Ramadan too.

Eat Suhoor (pre-fasting meal before dawn)

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Researchers have shown that people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight. Can you imagine the benefits of eating a nice balanced suhoor before you embark on your fast? Eating suhoor ensures you will have the energy to face the day of fasting and free your mind to reflect on deeper thoughts.

Have a Plan

While these tips are generally helpful, we should all have specific goals in mind for Ramadan. Is it to complete the Quran? Pray every night of tarawih at the masjid? Whatever your goal may be, make sure to map out a plan of success. For example, if you want to complete the Quran, break up the Quran into blocks each day to read. If you want to be at the masjid every night, make sure you plan out your meals and arrange for things in your home to be taken care of. Whatever your plan is, ask for help so that you can reach your Ramadan goals inshallah.

Avoid Idle Talk and Engage in Dhikr

Take this month of Ramadan do avoid chit chats and rather focus on the tasks you need to attend to. This does not mean to be unfriendly but avoid unnecessary conversations. This allows you to stay focused on what you need to accomplish and efficient in your tasks which is an ideal win-win deal! Doing dhikr also keeps remembrance of Allah close at hand too.

Go Easy on Iftar (post-fast meal)

While it’s normal to want to binge eat after you break your fast, try to avoid overindulging. While traditional foods for breaking fast are deep-fried, just eat a few dates and drink some milk. This way you can pray without having a bloated belly! After that, you can try some light protein with a few veggies. That way, you get healthy nutrients, and you can avoid losing lean muscle mass.

Do you want to raise children who grow into happy, connected, proud, and strong Muslim adults? I am sure your answer is a definite, yes. As Muslim parents, that is exactly what we all want for our children. While there are many methods, we can employ to guide our children in the right direction, one of the best aspects to focus on while they are still young is building their Muslim identity.

These days, being a practicing Muslim is becoming challenging. Muslims and the religion of Islam are targeted with negativity—we along with our religion are ridiculed, put under scrutiny almost daily from the media, books, individuals, and even organizations who only exist to spread false information about Islam and Muslims. According to research done by New America, an organization dedicated to “developing legal, political and technological tools to build democratic capacity and enable solutions to grow and spread,” there have been 675 violent incidents committed against Muslims in the United States from 2012 to 2018. The U.S. is not the only western country that has witnessed an increase in violent crimes against Muslims. In 2017 the number of “anti-Muslim crimes” rose to an average of four per day in London alone. In an article published by Duke University’s The Chronicle, journalists reveal why the media’s portrayal of Muslims is negative. Nermeen Shaikh from Democracy Now! is quoted in the article as saying:

“There is an association between Muslims and violence that seems almost natural now.”

It is no surprise, then, that our Muslim youth are making the decision to be Muslims by mouth only or leave the Dīn altogether. The false and negative reports they see and read about, in addition to doubts and whispers caused by the Shayṭān, leads them to distance themselves from Islam and Muslims. There is an unfortunately large number of Muslims who are lost and confused about what it means to be Muslim. For some people, Islam has become something to ‘outgrow.’ It was only a few days ago that this exact word came up in a conversation I was having with someone. “Some of my Muslim friends have kind of outgrown practicing Islam,” I was told. Though I should not have been shocked — so-called “religion” in general, especially Islam, are under attack these days in popular culture and many people are leaving religion altogether – it still did. The Pew Research Centre says that 23 percent of adults raised as Muslims in the US no longer identify themselves as Muslims.

Some Muslims think practicing Islam is something to outgrow; it is for this reason that it is absolutely crucial that we put our focus, time, and energy into not only educating our children about Islam but also building and developing a strong sense of Muslim identity in them. What can a strong Muslim identity do for them?

Why having a strong identity is important

Having a strong sense of identity—a sense of who you are, your morals, values, and purpose—has numerous advantages. When a person knows who they are and where they come from, they have better self-esteem and confidence. They have positive thoughts about themselves.  Some studies have even shown that having a strong identity is linked to having better mental and emotional health. In the article, Why a Strong Sense of Self Brings Good Mental Health, author Orion Jones analyses a study in which, “researchers have found that building and clarifying one’s personal identity is an important phase in feeling fulfilled as an adult and retaining good mental health.” When one has a strong sense of who they are, no one can confuse them about what they are supposed to do in their lives.  No one can make them feel bad about themselves or their beliefs and they will not be afraid to stand up for themselves.

I remember when I was in middle school, my friends and I would get bullied for how we dressed because we wore our hijabs. Some of the students were relentless. They would even find out things about Muslims and try to use that to make fun of us. One day, one of my classmates came up to me with his group of friends and started laughing about how Muslims use water to clean themselves (I was baffled as to how anyone would think using water was bad).

Had I not been confident about our way of doing things and had my mother not explained to me that water is the best purification for us, I would have felt bad about using water and would have thought he was right. Alḥamdulilāh we did not let him bother us, we came back with rebuttals as to why our way was better and he eventually stopped giving us a hard time since he saw no one else was laughing with him.

What do we need to do to strengthen our children’s Muslim identity?

Teach your children the foundations of Islam — the five pillars of Islam; to love Allāh; His prophets and all good things. Teach them that Muslims are not only a certain type of people from specific countries but that Muslims live all over the world, have different complexions, and come from different cultural backgrounds. They also have different languages. Teach them that Islam is a beautiful religion Allāh has chosen for Muslims so that we may be purified physically, emotionally, and mentally. Though it may seem so, it is not too much for a small child to grasp.

Every night select a different āyah from the Qur’ān and a ḥadīth.  For example, if you want to teach your children how Muslims are from all over the world, read them the following:

“O mankind, indeed, We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”[6]

Explain to your children who Allah loves most and who is most honorable in His eyes. Explain to them what it means to be Muslims and the beautiful qualities of Muslims. Share with them the abundant aḥadīth of the beautiful characteristics and behaviors Muslims should strive to have that the Prophet Muḥammad (SAW) came to perfect and was a perfect exemplar of.  Every day or night teach and discuss a good deed we can do to please Allāh. Tell them what a true Muslim is: someone who forgives easily; who purifies themselves; who remembers Allāh much; who is not stingy but helpful; someone who is good to their parents and neighbours, and so on. Select a ḥadīth or Quranic verse for each topic so that they associate that good deed characteristic with Islām and Muslims.

Also read: 40 Hadiths for Raising Children

Here are some aḥadīth and āyahs of the Qur’ān that are great to discuss with children to teach them about the values and morals a Muslim is supposed to have:

Sulaiman b. Surad reported: Two people abused each other in the presence of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa Sallam) and the eyes of one of them became red like embers and the veins of his neck were swelling. The Prophet said, “Verily, I know a word he could say to calm himself: I seek refuge in Allāh from the cursed Satan.”[7]

How you simplify whatever concept you are trying to make them understand is up to you. I would advise though, that if your child is very young (three-to-four years old) share these lessons to them in the form of a story and always start with “since” or “because we are Muslims…”

For example: “Since we are Muslims, when we get very angry, we should do what the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) told us to do.” When the child is curious and asks what he responded with “We Muslims have to say aʿūdhu billāhi min al-shayṭān al-rajīm.”

Below is another one of my favorite aḥadīth to share with children:

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “None of you truly believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”[8]

The more you remind your children of this ḥadīth, the more you will witness them wanting to share their toys, snacks, or whatever else that is valuable to them.

Make Islām part of your and your children’s lives. After all, in Islām we are encouraged to be happy and satisfied with our dīn. In one of the morning and evening duas, we are told to say every morning and evening, “I am pleased with Allāh as my Lord, with Islām as my dīn and with Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) as my Prophet.”[9]

Let your children not only hear you talking about Islām lovingly, let them witness you practicing it.  Avoid contradictions.  Do not tell them to do something just to do the opposite of that. We as the parents must be the example they need. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “No baby is born but upon the Fitra (sound, natural disposition inclining towards Islām). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist.”[10] When children see the adults in their lives happy and satisfied with being Muslims, they too will be happy about being Muslims and will likely grow up loving Islām. They will be resilient against any negativity they go through in life because of their īmān and they will be aware of what is right and wrong.  No one will be able to confuse them, inshāAllāh. Not even the Shayṭān himself. As Allāh said in the Glorious Qur’ān,

“Verily, those who have Taqwa, when an evil thought comes to them from Shayṭān, they remember (Allāh), and (indeed) they then see (aright).”[11]

If we truly want our children to grow up to be happy and satisfied with their Dīn and understand their Dīn, we have to put an enormous amount of effort in educating them about Islām and building their Muslim identity. And we must never forget that all that we do is dependent upon tawfīq from Allāh, so we must also remain steadfast in making duʿā’ for them daily.

 

 

 

 

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his father, his child and all the people.”[1]

In this series we embark on a journey to increase our knowledge of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), to view him as the Sahāba viewed him, and to love him as we should.

In the last article, we began with an exploration of the stature and physical characteristics of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). This time we learn of some of the qualities and virtues he was known for, inshāAllāh.

Aḥmad b. ʿAbdah al-Dabbī al-Baṣrī narrated to us, as did ʿAlī b. Ḥujr and Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad b. al-Ḥusayn – i.e. Ibn Abī Ḥalīmah – with different wordings but the same meaning; from ʿĪsā b. Yūnus; from ʿUmar b. ʿAbdullāh the servant of Ghufrah; from Ibrāhīm b. Muḥammad – one of the sons of ʿAlī b. Abū Ṭālib (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) – that when ʿAlī (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) described the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) he would say,

“The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was neither extremely tall nor very short, rather he was of a medium stature. His hair was neither curly nor completely straight, rather in between. He was not overweight, nor was his face so fleshy as to be completely round, rather it was only slightly round. He was white skinned, having a reddish tinge. His eyes were large with jet black pupils and his lashes, long. His joints were large as was his upper back. He did not have hair all over his body but had a line of fine hair extending from his chest to his navel. His hands and feet were large and sturdy. When he walked, he moved briskly as if descending a slope. When he turned, he would turn his whole body. Between his two shoulders was the Seal of Prophethood for he was the Seal of the Prophets. He had the most giving of hearts, he was the most truthful of people in speech, the best of them in temperament, and the most sociable amongst them. Whoever unexpectedly saw him would be awestruck and whoever became acquainted with him would love him. Those who described him would say, ‘I have never seen anyone, before him or after him, who was comparable to him.

He was not overweight, nor was his face so fleshy as to be completely round, rather it was only slightly round.

al-Muṭahham: meaning having a puffed up, fleshy face or being overweight in general. However, the word can also have the opposite meaning of having a slender and fragile build.Tirmidhī in this work ostensibly preferred the meaning of being overweight.

al-Mukaltham: someone who is chubby cheeked, or someone whose face is so fleshy that it is completely round.It is this second meaning that was cited by Tirmidhī himself.

Umm Maʿbad described the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) with her words, ‘I saw a radiant man with a luminous face and handsome physique, unspoiled by fleshiness and not tainted by leanness.

Muslim records on the authority of Jābir ibn Samurah that a man asked him, ‘Was the face of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) like a sword?’ He replied, ‘No, it was like the sun and the moon, it was round.Abū ʿUbayd said, ‘He did not mean that it was completely round, rather that it had a sense of softness and serenity about it.al-Ḥārith b. ʿAmr said, ‘I went to the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) while he was at Minā or ʿArafah and people would visit him. Some Bedouins came to him and as soon as they looked at his face they said, “This is a blessed face!”

The various aḥadīth quoted in this work and elsewhere give us a detailed picture of his (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) face. He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) had a handsome face with a slightly rounded quality and not long. He had a wide brow and thick curved eyebrows that did not quite meet in the middle. Between them was a vein that would throb when angry. His eyes were large, with jet black pupils and a reddish tinge in the white of eye, and his lashes were long. His cheeks were smooth and not raised. He had a long, slightly arched nose which shone with a light that would seem to elevate it, whoever did not carefully look at it would think he had a large nasal bridge. He had a wide mouth and white teeth with a gap between the incisors. He had a thick and full beard covering one side of his face to the other. Allāh’s peace and blessings be on him!

His eyes were large with jet black pupils and his lashes, long.

This will be discussed in more detail in a later ḥadīth.

His joints were large as was his upper back.

al-Mushāsh: joints of the bones. The meaning is the same as that mentioned in ḥadīth #5, i.e. he (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) had stout limbs.

al-Katid: the meeting point of the shoulders as cited by Tirmidhī himself, i.e. the upper part of the back (kāhil). The meaning is the same as that mentioned in ḥadīth #3 that he (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was broad shouldered.

He did not have hair all over his body, but had a line of fine hair extending from his chest to his navel

This description also holds true for someone who has hair on parts of his body and hence does not contradict the description that he (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) had hair on his shins, forearms and upper chest.

Bayhaqī records the ḥadīth, “He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) had a line of hair extending from his navel to chest, and he had no other hair on his chest or stomach.” This ḥadīth is further clarified by the ḥadīth, “He had a line of hair extending from his upper chest to his navel, apart from that, his chest and stomach were bare. The upper part of his chest, his forearms, and shoulders had a lot of hair on them.”

When he turned, he would turn his whole body

He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was, therefore, not a person who stole glances. He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was not in the habit of turning his head towards someone who addressed him; instead, he would turn his whole body to a person who addressed him, showing him that he had his complete attention. After finishing the discussion, he would turn his whole body away. Otherwise, he would frequently just glance at things that he was not addressing. Abū Hurayrah reported that, ‘When he turned (to you), he turned his whole body, and when he turned away, he would turn his whole body away,’ as did al-Barāʾa.

Between his two shoulders was the Seal of Prophethood

A discussion of this follows later inshāAllāh.

He had the most giving of hearts

He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was neither stingy nor miserly. He would never withhold anything of this world, and he would never conceal any knowledge concerning his Lord. His generosity did not require great effort, neither was it hard upon him, resulting as it did from the purity of his soul and gentleness of spirit.  Bukhārī records on the authority of Ibn ʿAbbās that ‘the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was the most generous of people, and he was never so generous as he was in the month of Ramaḍān when he met with Jibrīl. Jibrīl would meet him every night of Ramaḍan and revise the Qurʾān with him. He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was more generous than a brisk breeze.’

He had the most giving of hearts because of its righteousness and the immense good contained therein. His heart was bursting with every fine, beautiful moral and quality and goodness would pour out of it. Some of the People of Knowledge said, ‘There is no place in the entire world that contained more good than the heart of Allāh’s Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam): all good was gathered together and put in it.’Bukhārī records on the authority of Anas that although the eyes of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) slept, his heart would always be awake.

Another valid interpretation of this sentence is that he (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) had the largest heart, i.e. his heart never held back or grieved him. This view is supported by the report of Ibn Saʿd with this isnād with the words, ‘He was the most giving of people and had the largest of hearts.’

It is also said that it means that he had the best of hearts, i.e. he was free of all lowly traits and how could this be otherwise when Jibrīl cut open his heart, took out of a morsel of flesh, placed it in a golden tray, and washed it with Zamzam water?

He was the most truthful of people in speech

This was something that even his enemies testified to, and not one of his opponents could ever say that they had witnessed him lying – not even once – let alone the testimony of all his friends and followers! His enemies fought him, employing all means at their disposal, yet none of them ever accused him of lying: not a serious lie or even a minor, insignificant one! Miswarah b. Makhramah said, ‘I asked Abū Jahl, my uncle, “Uncle! Did you ever accuse Muḥammad of lying before he came with his message?” He replied, “Son of my sister, by Allāh, while he was still young, Muḥammad would be called al-Amīn (the truthful) by us. Even when his hair started turning white, he would still not lie.” I asked, “Uncle of mine! So why don’t you follow him?” He replied, “Son of my sister, we and Banū Hāshim were always competing with each other for nobility: they fed people and so we did too, they gave others drink and so we did too, they granted protection and so we did too. We’ve kept pace with each other like two race horses, then they said, ‘A Prophet has arisen from us,’ how could we possibly compete in this?”

Allāh, Most High says, consoling him (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam)“We know that what they say distresses you. It is not that they are calling you a liar; the wrongdoers are just denying the signs of Allāh. Messengers before you were also denied but they were steadfast in the face of the denial and injury they suffered until Our help arrived. There is no changing the Words of Allāh and news of other Messengers has come to you.”

The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was asked who the best of people was to which he replied, “The one who has a heart that is makhmūm and a truthful tongue.” When asked what a makhmūm heart was, he replied, “A heart that is fearful and clean: It has no sin in it, no transgression and no envy.”  ʿĀʾishah stated, ‘There was no trait more abhorrent to Allāh’s Messenger than lying.’Abū Bakr would say, ‘Beware of lying because lying is at odds to the true faith.’Iyās b. Muʿāwiyah said, ‘The most dignified quality of a man is truthfulness of tongue and whoever is devoid of the nobility of truthfulness has been stricken with the loss of the best of his manners.’

Ibn al-Qayyim said, ‘Truthfulness is the greatest of stations of the people, from it sprout all the various stations of those traversing the path to Allāh; and from it sprouts the upright path which if not trodden, perdition is that person’s fate. Through it is the hypocrite become distinguished from the believer and the inhabitant of Paradise from the denizen of Hell. It is the sword of Allāh in His earth: it is not placed on anything except that it cuts it; it does not face falsehood expect that it hunts it and vanquishes it; whoever fights with it will not be defeated; and whoever speaks it, his word will be made supreme over his opponent. It is the very essence of deeds and the wellspring of spiritual states, it allows the person to embark boldly into dangerous situations, and it is the door through which one enters the presence of the One possessing majesty. It is the foundation of the building of Islām, the central pillar of the construction of certainty and the next level in ranking after the level of Prophethood.’

Another understanding of this sentence is that his (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) tongue was the most eloquent of tongues, precisely and clearly pronouncing the letters of the Arabic language, and eloquently formulating the best of phrases. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “I have been granted the most eloquent, complete and pithy speech,” “I have been granted pithiness in speech,” and “I have been granted the keys to speech.” Umm Maʿbad said, ‘His speech was sweet and clear, like string beads shed from their string; he spoke neither too little nor too much.’

The best of them in temperament

He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was easy going, gentle and compassionate. He responded to anyone who called him, judged those who required judgement, fulfilled the need of those who asked of him – never preventing them from asking him and never letting them depart disappointed or empty-handed. When his Companions desired a matter from him, he would agree with them and follow them; if he wanted to do something, he would consult them. He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) would accept the good from them and overlook their mistakes.

And the most sociable of them

He would interact with those with him in the best of ways: he would never frown at them, treat them harshly or turn away from them. He would not point out slips of the tongue nor reprimand a person for any coarseness in speech or the likes, and he would make excuses for them as much as possible. Whoever mixed with him would think that he was the most beloved person to him due to the attention, kindness and sincere advice he received. There is no better way of dealing with people than this.

In some texts the wording is ‘the best of them in lineage’ and both descriptions hold true of him (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam).  The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “I was passed through the best generations of the children of Ādam, generation after generation, until I reached the generation in which I came.” The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) is also reported to have said, “Allāh chose Kinānah from amongst the descendants of Ismāʿīl, He chose the Quraysh from amongst the descendants of Kinānah, from the Quraysh he chose Banū Hāshim, and me from Banū Hāshim.”

Whoever unexpectedly saw him would be awestruck

This was due to his exceptional qualities, his heavenly sense of gravity, dignity, appearance and deluge of spirituality. Carrying oneself with an air of dignity and self-respect (mahābah) is a quality that can be confused with arrogance (kibr), yet it is the former that engenders a sense of awe. Ibn al-Qayyim explains why,

‘Dignity and self-respect arise from a heart that is filled with the glorification of Allāh, with love of Him and magnification of Him. When the heart is filled with this, it is inundated with light and tranquillity descends upon it. The person is clothed with the garments of gravity and dignity, and he inspires reverence in others. His face displays a sense of sweetness and pureness. Hearts love him and stand in awe of him; they are drawn to him and are comforted by his presence. His speech is light, his entrance is light, his leaving is light, and his actions are light. When he is quiet, a sense of dignity and gravity overcomes him; and when he speaks, he captures the heart, ear, and sight. As for arrogance, it arises from self-conceit and transgression, from a heart that is filled with ignorance and oppression. Servitude leaves such a person and displeasure descends upon him. When he looks at people, he looks askance; and when he walks amongst them, he struts. He deals with them as one who gives himself preference in all things rather than giving them preference. He does not begin by giving people the salām, and if he replies to a salām, he acts as if he has granted them a great favour. He does not display a cheerful face to them and his manners do not accommodate them. Allāh has protected His beloved (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) from all of these vile mannerisms.’

Whoever accompanied him and got to know him would love him

This would occur to the point that that he became more beloved to him than his father, his child, and indeed the whole of mankind. This was because he obviously possessed all the qualities effectuating love such as perfect morals and manners, compassion and kindness and innate humility. He was a person who would captivate hearts and unite them.

Those who described him would say i.e. by way of generalisation because of the inability to truly describe his beauty and perfection in detail.

“I have never seen anyone, before him or after him, who was comparable to him.”

Who amongst us does not have an issue that keeps him up at night? Who amongst us does not shed tears of grief? If such tears are not for your own welfare, then they are for the welfare of your children, spouse, parents, relatives, friends, for your Aqsā Masjid, or for your Ummah at large. If you find no need to shed a tear for yourself at present, Alḥamdulillah, but the realities of life state that you soon will, just as I soon will, for ahead of us is old-age, illnesses, unexpected worldly challenges, and a brand new life of joy or misery that begins with death.

Allāh says in the Qur’ān:

وَخُلِقَ الْإِنْسَانُ ضَعِيفًا

“And mankind was created weak”[1]

And Allāh said:

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ فِي كَبَدٍ

“We have certainly created man into hardship.”[2]

Since no human being – righteous or otherwise – is spared of such worldly hardships, people’s efforts in treating them vary enormously. Whilst some may resort to perpetual whining, isolation, binge drinking, intoxicants, promiscuous relations, or even suicide, others employ a technique altogether different. They have realised that the cure to every ailment and solution to every problem is not only available, but is also actively offered to those who desire it.

In the face of every episode of joy or misery, affluence or bankruptcy, victory or defeat, at once they raise their hands to The One – The Only One – who truly wants to listen and who has an answer as well, and in those moments they find bliss in conversation with Allāh.

It could be argued that there has never been a time in history when the Muslim has been more in need of begging from Allāh than today; illnesses are rife, access to sin is unprecedented, relationships barely survive, confusion has become the norm, Al-Aqsā is weeping, and the deplorable political scene for Muslims is seemingly ever-worsening.

We need to call upon Allāh, we need to beg Him for relief, we need Him to show Him that we’re desperate, and what better way to do so than using the very words that He has taught us to use?

In this series we do not offer a mere short-lived īmān boost, nor a mere encouragement to make duʿā’, but a life-changing experience where conversing with The King becomes a need that has no replacement. Having said that, I can promise in confidence – insha’Allāh – that if we were to approach this series with seriousness and sincerity, our relationship with Allāh will be transformed for good and our attitude towards difficulties will be revolutionised.

From the very outset, create a file/database whereby you add to it each Qur’ānic and Prophetic Duʿā’ as they come, all 40 of them, making an effort to memorise them and putting them into practice on a nightly basis as you try to recall as much of the meanings that we shall study as you can. How can you expect your heart to otherwise rest?

Before we start, however, let us ask:

Why Duʿā’?

Duʿā’ and a promise from Allāh

Allāh never fails in His promise, and should we assume otherwise our belief in Allāh requires revisiting urgently. He has promised to give support to the believers, to replace the one who leaves a prohibited matter for Allāh’s sake with something better, to aid those who rely upon Him, and so on. One of the many promises of Allāh is:

وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ

And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Indeed, those who are too arrogant for My worship will enter Hell in humiliation.[3]

It is a matter of cause and effect, thus when the former is acted upon, then the latter is a promised outcome.

Duʿā’ and the removal of middlemen

Allāh said:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ

And when My servant asks you about Me, then indeed, I am near. I answer to the Du’ā of the supplicant when he calls upon Me…” [4]

This Āyah has appeared in the context of fasting. In Sūrah al-Baqarah, there is an entire collection of Āyāt dedicated to Ramaḍān amongst them this Āyah shows up, seemingly unrelated to the context. This, of course, is not accidental. Instead it is as if we are being told that duʿā’ during one’s fast, and specifically during the month of Ramaḍān, has an even greater status and likelihood of being answered. In the month of Ramaḍān, therefore, as well as during one’s fasting throughout the year, we are to exert an even greater effort in finding our hearts during those frequent moments of passionate duʿā’.

There is something more incredible still. The format of this āyah never appears in the Qur’ān except in the context of Du’ā. There were many questions that people asked the Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) to which Allāh responded to them in the Qur’ān with “Say to them…”. Consider the following examples:

Allāh said:

يَسْأَلونَكَ عَنِ الْأَهِلَّةِ قُلْ هِيَ مَوَاقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَالْحَجِّ

“They ask you concerning the new moon. Say: They are times appointed for (the benefit of) men, and (for) the pilgrimage..” [5]

Allāh said:

وَيَسْأَلونَكَ مَاذَا يُنْفِقُونَ قُلِ الْعَفْوَ

“And they ask you as to what they should spend. Say: What you can spare..” [6]

Allāh said:

يَسْأَلونَكَ عَنِ الشَّهْرِ الْحَرَامِ قِتَالٍ فِيهِ قُلْ قِتَالٌ فِيهِ كَبِيرٌ

“They ask you concerning the sacred month about fighting in it. Say: Fighting in it is a grave matter..” [7]

Allāh said:

يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ قُلْ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ

“They ask you as to what is allowed to them. Say: The good things are allowed to you..” [8]

Allāh said:

يَسْأَلونَكَ عَنِ الْأَنْفَالِ قُلِ الْأَنْفَالُ لِلَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ

“They ask you about the spoils of war. Say: “The spoils are for Allāh and the Messenger…” [9]

Allāh said:

يَسْأَلُكَ النَّاسُ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ

“People ask you concerning the Hour, say: “The knowledge of it is with Allāh only..” [10]

However, when the Qur’ān relayed the question pertaining to duʿā’, the answer was not introduced with “say” rather “And when My servant asks you about Me, then indeed, I am near”. There absolutely no middleman standing between you and Allāh as you call upon Him. So direct and personal is this relationship that even the statement of “say to them” is not needed.

Duʿā’ and true nearness  

Almost every time the nearness of Allāh is made mention of, it happens to be in the context of duʿā’.

Allāh said:

إِنَّ رَبِّي قَرِيبٌ مُجِيبٌ

“My Lord is near and answering.” [11]

Allāh said:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ

“And when My servant asks you about Me, then indeed, I am near. I answer to the Du’ā of the supplicant when he calls upon Me…” [12]

The same theme is found in the Sunnah, where the Prophet (sallAllāhu ʿalayhi wasallam) said:

“The servant is nearest to his Lord during prostration, so increase your Du’ā during it.” [13]

 Duʿā’ and your worth

قُلْ مَا يَعْبَأُ بِكُمْ رَبِّي لَوْلَا دُعَاؤُكُمْ

Say, “What would my Lord care for you if not for your supplication?” [14]

In other words: Who would we be were it not for our duʿā’, in both of its forms; (1) The Duʿā’ of worship and (2) The Duʿā’ of requests? In the absence of them, Allāh has no interest in man. People measure their worth using an array of different benchmarks. As for you, as a Muslim, measure your worth in light of this āyah.

Duʿā’ is the worship

The Prophet (sallAllāhu ʿalayhi wasallam) said:

“Supplication is the worship.” [15]

There is no expression in the Sunnah that speaks of any act of worship like this except  duʿā’. Praying, fasting, reciting Qur’ān, giving Da’wah etc., are all acts of worship, but none have been described as being “the worship”. This was reserved for the worship of duʿā’. In fact, in revisiting the āyah that speaks of duʿā’, cited above, we see it is concluded with “Indeed, those who are too arrogant for My worship will enter Hell in humiliation”.[16]

 Duʿā’ is win-win

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“There is nothing more honourable to Allāh than Duʿā’”  [17]

Again, no other act of worship is spoken about or praised in a similar manner to this. Therefore, putting aside whether your duʿā’ is answered immediately or delayed, or whether you see the effects of your duʿā’ today or not, the fact that Allāh has inspired you to raise your hands and call upon Him means that He has inspired you to put forward one of the dearest acts of worship in existence. And Allāh will never leave the hands of the supplicant empty.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“Verily your Lord is generous and shy. If His servant raises his hands to Him, He becomes shy to return them empty.” [18]

If somebody knocks on your door and begs persistently whilst you are able to give, most of those with a gram’s worth of decency would be too embarrassed to withhold. To Allāh belongs the greatest example, for “if His servant raises his hands to Him, He becomes shy to return them empty”, a shyness that befits His Majesty and Glory, a shyness of limitless generosity, a shyness of fearless spending.

As such, the people of duʿā’ have qualified for a win-win situation, benefitting from that which has occurred and that which has yet to occur!

The Prophet (sallAllāhu ʿalayhi wasallam) said:

“Du’ā will benefit you from things that have come down from the heavens and things that are yet to come down, so – O Servants of Allāh – make as much duʿā’ as you can” [19]

Duʿā’ benefits you in things that have already happened: a car crash that has taken place; a relationship that has broken down; an addiction you have become prey to; an enemy that has targeted you, and so on. But it also benefits you in things that are yet to come, like a car crash that was on its way, a relationship that was going to break down, an addiction that you were going to cross roads with, or an enemy who was making his way towards you.

Realising this, the people of  duʿā’ do not wait for calamities to then knock on Allāh’s door, rather duʿā’ is a part of their daily routine, whilst seeking Allāh’s help from their existing challenges they prepare safety buffers – via their duʿā’ – in preparation for the trials of tomorrow.

Just how short have we been falling towards this act of worship? With the will of Allāh, let us begin to rectify this today. In the next part, we will discuss mannerisms of duʿā’ before our study of specific supplications in future parts, inshāAllāh.

Alḥamdulillāh, only a couple of months ago we were blessed to complete the month of Ramadān; the month in which we fast seeking Allāh’s pleasure and forgiveness, and the month in which He revealed His Book to the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). Many would have spent their nights in prayer, listening to the words of the Qur’ān being beautifully recited, and spent their days reciting those verses themselves.

Yet have you ever wondered – what does Allāh actually want us to do with the Qur’ān?

Is the aim to simply recite it, with the correct pronunciation? Or is it to memorise as much as possible and hold it in our hearts? Others might suggest the best option is to listen to proficient reciters who may soften our hearts with their voices and make us remember our Creator.

In fact, if you were given just 24 hours with the Qur’ān on condition you would never access it again, on which of the above would you choose to spend that precious time? Perhaps many would opt to recite as much as possible before they lose the opportunity forever.

Whilst there is reward in all of the aforementioned, these are all means to the ultimate goal; as Allāh tells us Sūrah Sād:

كِتَـٰبٌ أَنزَلۡنَـٰهُ إِلَيۡكَ مُبَـٰرَكٌ۬ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوٓاْ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُوْلُواْ ٱلۡأَلۡبَـٰبِ

“[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.”[1]

Allāh praises this book saying that it is “mubārak”; it contains so much good for all. And then He tells us the reason He sent it – the letter “lām” is to show the wisdom behind it – the reason given is to reflect over its verses. But this is not a philosophical reflection, rather it is in order to take heed and be affected by what has been revealed, such that you take action and change your life.

This does not happen for everyone though; it happens to “ulul-albāb” – those who have understanding. Allāh does not use simply  the word “intellect” because He is talking about a particular kind of intellect, one that is pure, innocent and untainted. So those who can take heed are not simply Arabic speakers, but those individuals who have a pure mind.

As a reason for revealing the Qur’ān, recitation, listening or memorising are not explicitly mentioned. Reading is not the goal itself. For example, consider the person who repeatedly reads without understanding – this is not the point of the Qur’ān and they end up missing out on the underlying message and intended guidance.

Therefore first and foremost, Allāh gave us the Qur’ān so that we may ponder over it. In fact, Allāh directly mentions reflecting over the Qur’ān in four cases in total; two of these are addressing the disbelievers and the two are addressing the hypocrites. In Sūrah Muḥammad, Allāh speak of the hypocrites:

Do they not ponder over the Qur’ān or do their hearts have locks?” [2]

If Allāh rebukes the hypocrites for not pondering over His verses, what then should He expect from us believers who seek refuge from having an ounce of hypocrisy!? A locked heart cannot receive guidance and nourishment; no light can enter and hence the individual will live in darkness, not truly knowing right from wrong.

The scholars of the past have held that it is in fact obligatory to ponder over the Qur’ān and for every Muslim to have at least some level of reflection.

A final point on the importance of pondering over the Qur’ān is to self-reflect. Muslims are united in their pride over the Qur’ān – this great Book that no other can come close to matching, with expert reciters around the world, and one which no other nation has the like of.

Allāh speaks of a previous nation who too carried a book this way, who rather than reflect and implement its rulings, simply carried it as a source of pride:

“The example of those who were entrusted with the Torah and then did not take it on is like that of a donkey who carries volumes [of books]. Wretched is the example of the people who deny the signs of Allāh. And Allāh does not guide the wrongdoing people.” [3]

May Allāh protect us all from following this example, and instead enable us to develop a strong relationship with the Qur’ān – to read and reflect over it, and thus be impacted by it so that we increase in righteous deeds and remembrance and glorification of our Lord.

Tadabbur versus Tafsīr

We now surely understand the need to reflect over Allāh’s words. However, non-Arabic speakers may wonder; can this be done using a translation of the Qur’ān?

Let us briefly consider the technicalities; there are two terms to define – tafsīr and tadabbur.

The root word of “tafsīr” translates to “to uncover, to explain, to clarify”. The technical definition of it is to uncover and explain the meanings of the miraculous words of the Qur’ān, as intended by Allāh.

Tafsīr comes in various levels of detail, from basic to multiple-volume works, and that which comes in between. To extract the intended meanings of the Qur’ān naturally requires a qualified person; one with in-depth knowledge of the Arabic language, along with several other elements of knowledge.

At a basic level, being provided with a meaning you understand is to be provided with a tafsīr – and this includes simple translations of the Qur’ān, as these are ultimately the result of a qualified person attempting to provide the meaning of the Qur’ān (in another language), based on his/her understanding. Of course, the translation in question would have to be generally accepted by the scholars as a valid one, rather than relying on every and any attempted translation.

Furthermore, we have translations available of works that are a bit more detailed too, such as Ibn Kathīr or Al-Jalalayn. Thus despite the possible lack of Arabic knowledge, we still have the tools we need to understand the Qur’ān, to a reasonably large extent.

The next word to define is “tadabbur”, which comes from “dubr”, that is: the back or end of something. It is often defined as pondering or reflecting over the Qur’ān, as you reach the end of a verse and then revisit it repeatedly, extracting benefits from it.

Ibn al-Qayyim said “The person is looking at the first of it and the last of it and then after that, he returns to once again look over and over again.” That is why the word tadabbur is on the Arabic verb pattern which implies repetition – i.e., one can look over and over again, and derive the consequences of the meaning.

Every verse of the Qur’ān contains guidance. Tadabbur is to search out that guidance and objective behind the message of each verse.

The main key to tadabbur is to ask “why” – why did Allāh say a verse in this place, or say it here instead of somewhere else? And “what” – what is Allāh telling me here, what does He want me to do or learn?

There is a famous conversation between one of the scholars of the salaf, al-Asma’ī, and a Bedouin. The Bedouins were generally less educated and somewhat rough, living outside the city; yet their minds were not tainted and remained innocent. The Bedouin asked al-Asma’ī about what the people of his land do, and was told that they had the speech of al-Rahmān.

The Bedouin had not heard of the Qur’ān and hence asked al-Asma’ī to recite it for him. He then recited from Sūrah al-Dhāriyāt and when he reached the verse:

“Then by the Lord of the heaven and earth, indeed, it is truth – just as [sure as] it is that you are speaking.” [4]

The Bedouin was shocked and said “Glory be to Allāh, who is the one who has angered Allāh to make him take an oath to tell it is the truth!” He was moved; he reflected and reached a conclusion that Allāh was angry when speaking in this verse. He was affected by the Qur’ān despite not previously knowing anything of it.

Guidelines for Tadabbur

We now understand the difference between tafsīr and tadabbur; but notice that for tafsīr, only those qualified can produce it, whereas for tadabbur, it is open to all. Anyone can reflect and derive benefits, and as stated, it is obligatory for us to do.

With the above said, we still need a framework or conditions or otherwise we may end up speaking without knowledge. First of all, as previously mentioned, we need to have the correct mindset and approach.

The verse from Sūrah Sād mentioned previously referred to “those of understanding”; to truly benefit, we need to approach the Qur’ān with a pure mind. The opposite is those who approach it with pre-conceived ideas and therefore either seek to back up those ideas, or critique Allāh’s words. Hence all they will receive is misguidance.

As Allāh says in Āli ʿImrān:

“It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise – they are the foundation of the Book – and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allāh. But those firm in knowledge say, “We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord.” And no one will be reminded except those of understanding.” [5]

Those who approach the Qur’ān to critique it find things which put people to trial and create discord. The believers however, read the same verses and say “We believe, all of it is from our Master”. We approach it as believers, and thus even if we do not understand everything, we will still find guidance from it.

Perhaps a lot of us do not approach it to criticise, but how many of us are actually on the other side of the spectrum where we should be – looking at it with sincere belief, seeking guidance from each verse? Let us aim to rectify this straight away and build pondering over the Qur’ān into our daily routine of recitation.

Next, consider some general guidelines to apply during the process:

  1. Firstly, one must understand the verse correctly. Reflection must be upon a correct meaning (including from a translation). If that meaning is unclear or unknown, it would be best to move on to the next verse or otherwise ask a knowledgeable person for help.
  2. Secondly, remember that the aim of tadabbur is to derive guidance and benefit from the meaning of the verse in question, and not to introduce a new meaning.
  3. Lastly, once points of benefit have been derived, these should be used for one’s own reflection and manifestation into good deeds. It is perhaps better to avoid sharing such reflections with others unless first checked with a qualified person – unless the derived benefit is something well-known already.

An example of tadabbur

Let us take the second verse of al-Fātihah:

ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

The first part “Alhamdulillāh” means “thanks and praise belongs exclusively to Allāh.” This is a basic tafsīr.

The word “al-hamd” encompasses both “thanks” and “praise” i.e. two different things within the same word.  But why did Allāh not then say two separate words for each? Upon reflection, we could deduce that if separate words were used, one might think sometimes Allāh deserves one and other times He deserves the other. But by using one word, it shows He deserves both together, at all times.

Additionally, sometime we praise without genuinely meaning it, in essence, just to flatter. Or it even can be done in a sinister way. But with the word Allāh has used, “al-hamd”, it can only be genuine.

The second part, “Rabbil-ʿālamīn” is often translated as “Lord of the worlds”. Breaking it down further, “Rabb” means “lord / creator / master”, while “ʿālamīn” means worlds (of nations, e.g. human beings, jinn).

Thus Allāh says He is the master of all. What lessons can we deduce?

If Allāh is the master, who are we? We must be the servants. We can deduce this in the second verse of His Book; it is how He introduces Himself to us and we need to know our position. Once this position is known and understood, only then are we ready to receive  and instruction.

To conclude, let today be the day we establish daily reflection of the Qur’ān into our lives. Perhaps by allocating a short period of time per day or a number of verses to ponder over, or by arranging a weekly gathering to do it collectively with a small group.

We pray that our tadabbur prevents us from having locked hearts. Āmīn.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his father, his child and all the people.”[1]

In this series we embark on a journey to increase our knowledge of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), to view him as the Sahāba viewed him, and to love him as we should.

Last week, we began with an exploration of the stature and physical characteristics of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). This week we learn of some of the qualities and virtues he was known for, inshāAllāh.

Shamāʾil al-Muḥammadiyyah

Abū Mūsā Muḥammad b. al-Muthanna narrated that Muḥammad b. Jaʿfar narrated to that Shuʿbah narrated that Simāk b. Ḥarb said that he heard Jābir b. Samurah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) saying,The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) had a wide mouth; eyes, the white of which had a red tinge; and lean heels.[2]Shuʿbah said, ‘I asked Simāk what the meaning of “wide mouth” was and he replied, “A large mouth.” I asked him what the meaning of “Ashkal eyes” was and he replied, “Wide eyes.” I asked him what the meaning of “manhūs heels” was and he replied, “Of little flesh on the heels.”’9- حدثنا أبو موسى محمد بن المثنى، حدثنا محمد بن جعفر، حدثنا شعبة، عن سماك بن حرب قال، سمعت جابر بن سمرة يقول:كانَ رَسُولُ اللهِ ضَلِيعَ الفَمِ، أَشْكَلَ العَينَينِ، مَنْهُوسَ العَقِبِ،قال شعبة: قلت للسماك: ما ضليعُ الفم؟ قال: عظيم الفم. قلت: ما أشكلُ العينين؟ قال: طويل شِق العينين، قلت: ما منهوس العقب؟ قال: قليل لحم العقب

Shuʿbah said: I asked Simāk what the meaning of  ‘wide mouth’ was and he replied, ‘a large mouth.’

This is the opinion of the majority, and it is also said that the meaning is ‘having large teeth,’ but this is incorrect.

I asked him what the meaning of ‘ashkal eyes’ was and he replied, ‘wide eyes.’

Qaḍī ʿIyāḍ said, ‘This is an error on the part of Simāk and the correct position is the position agreed upon by the scholars and all those who explained the difficult words occurring in the aḥādīth: shaklah is a redness in the white of the eye and this is an extremely praiseworthy feature in the view of the Arabs; shahlah is a redness in the black of the eye.[3] Bayhaqī records on the authority of ʿAlī that, “He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) had large eyes, long eyelashes and his eyes had a tinge of red.”’[4]

Hāfiẓ al-ʿIrāqī said, ‘This feature is one of the signs of Prophethood. When he (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) journeyed to Syria with Maysirah and the monk asked about him, amongst the things that Maysirah said was, “His eyes have a red tinge to them”, to which the monk said, “That is him, that is him!”’

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was said to have extremely keen eyesight, more so than those around him. Suhaylī records that he (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) could see ten stars of the Pleiades and in al-Shifā it is mentioned that he could see twelve.[5]

Hannād b. al-Sarrī narrates that ʿAbthar b.  al-Qāsim narrates that Ashʿāth – i.e. b. Sawwār heard from Abū īsḥāq that Jābir b. Samurah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said,I saw the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) on a clear, moonlit night wearing a red ḥullaand I paused and looked at him and then the moon and found that, in my view, he was more beautiful than the moon.[6]10- حدثنا هناد بن السري، حدثنا عبثر بن القاسم، عن أشعث (يعني ابن سوار) ، عن أبي إسحاق، عن جابر بن سمره قال:رَأَيتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ فِي لَيلَةِ إَضْحِيانٍ، وَعَلَيهِ حُلَّةٌ حَمْراءُ، فَجَعَلْتُ أَنْظُرُ إِلَيهِ وَإِلى القَمَرِ، فَلَهُوَ عِنْدِي أَحْسَنُ مِنَ القَمَرِ

I saw the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) on a clear, moonlit night

Some narrations mention that it was the eighth night of the month,[7] “wearing a red ḥulla,” this incident had such an impact on him that he was able to recollect it as if he (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was actually standing there before him. The clothes struck him and were a further cause to ponder his (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) beauty.[8]

I paused and looked at him

What is meant here is his (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) face, “and found that, in my view,” not just his view because every Muslim who looks at him (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) through the light of faith and love sees him like this, unlike those who are blind. Allāh informs us, “You see them looking at you but not seeing.”[9] What we see depends on how we look and the strength of our vision. For this reason, disbelievers were unable to see his beauty and perfection as their sight was marred by disbelief.[10]

Some narrations of this ḥadīth have, “in my eyes”[11] in place of, “in my view.”[12]

He was more beautiful than the moon

His physical beauty coupled with his spiritual beauty. The moon, a luminous orb of white radiance hanging in an otherwise dark, majestic heaven is being compared to his (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) face. Even then, this comparison falls short and fails to convey his true beauty; it is employed merely to make the point. Allāh adorned His Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) with a beauty that far surpassed that of the moon,[13] and the light of his (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) face is intrinsic to it, never leaving it. The light of the moon, however, is something that does not belong to it, it is borrowed; sometimes it fades and sometimes it disappears altogether. As such, he (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) is more beautiful than the moon on a clear night.[14] Not only this, but Ibn Abī Hālah chose to compare his face to the moon because he (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) appeared when the world was steeped in the darkness of disbelief and he filled it with light just as the moon lights up the night.[15]

Kaʿb b. Mālik said that when he (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was happy, “his face lit up like it was the halo of the moon.”[16] Bukhārī records on the authority of Kaʿb b. Mālik who said that, ‘when the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was happy, his face would light up as if it was a piece of the moon.’[17] Ibn ʿUmar said that when he (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was pleased, his face lit up as if a wall-mounted mirror reflecting sunlight.[18] Rubayyiʿ bint Muʿawwidh said, “Were you to see him (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) you would have thought the sun had risen.”[19]

11.          Sufyān b. Wakīʿ narrates that Ḥumayd b. ʿAbdur-Raḥmān al-Ruwwāsī [or al-Ruʾāsī] narrates that Zuhayr said that Abū Isḥāq reports a man asked Barāʾa b. ʿªzib (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu),‘Was the face of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) like a sword?’ He replied, ‘No, it was like the moon.’[20]11- حدثنا سفيان بن وكيع، حدثنا حميد بن عبد الرحمن الرواسي، عن زهير، عن أبي إسحاق قال، سأل رجل البراء بن عازب:أَكانَ وَجْهُ رَسُولِ اللهِ مِثْلَ السَّيْفِ؟ قالَ: لا، بَلْ مِثْلَ القَمَرِ

Was the face of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) like a sword?

i.e. in beauty and lustre. The question was also posed regarding the shape of his face as indicated by the wording of Ismāʿīlī, ‘Was the face of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) elongated like a sword?’[21]

No, it was like the moon

In its radiance and beauty as well as having a round quality rather than being long.[22] This understanding is strengthened by the ḥadīth of Kaʿb b. Mālik previously quoted who said that, ‘when the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was happy, his face would light up as if it was a piece of the moon.’ Indeed the aḥādīth prove that, “he was more beautiful than the moon,” and that, “were you to see him (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) you would have thought the sun had risen,” as already quoted.[23] The moon is more radiant, permanent and imparts far more benefit than the sword; as such the comparison was altered to that of the moon.[24]

Muslim records on the authority of Jābir b. Samurah that a man asked him, ‘Did the face of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) resemble a sword?’ He replied, ‘No, it was like the sun and the moon, it was round.’[25] Abū ʿUbayd said, ‘He did not mean that it was completely round, rather that it had a sense of softness and serenity about it.’[26] This understanding is strengthened by the report that, “he had smooth cheeks that were not raised.”[27] So his (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) face was brighter than the sun, and more radiant and beautiful than the moon.[28]

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