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Understanding the Essence of Deen


(Highlights of Mufti Ebrahim Salejee’s majlis - Saturday 18th April)

1. Someone had asked about the sunnat namaaz as to whether they should be performed at home or at the musjid. I explained that in the time of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) the sunnats were normally performed in the homes, and they were encouraged to do the sunnats in the homes. Hence, you can imagine that if a person performed his fardh and went home, then someone is reaching home in 3 minutes and someone in 6 minutes. Thus, the interval between the fardh and sunnats was tolerated. Therefore, to say that one must perform the sunnats straight away, and if one does not then it is bid‘ah, then this claim in itself is bid‘ah. However, after some time the bid‘atis and others started to leave out the sunnats that are emphasised.  Hence, the ‘Ulama had advised that the sunnats should be performed in the musjid so that it may be a form of encouragement for others.

2. Sometimes it happens that we take an extremist view and we don’t realise that there are so many ahaadeeth that condone a certain practice, but the problem is that we do not know how to fit and apply the hadeeth. Overall, the problem is that we do not have sufficient association with our elders. Generally, those with extremist views didn’t have a lengthy association with their elders. Those who have a long association and keep going and coming, then they understand what needs to be placed where. Shaikh Abdul Wahhaab from Najd had the same problem. He may have had the knowledge and good intentions, but because of his lack of association with his elders, he was unable to apply his knowledge correctly.

When he did not have the association of his elders as was desired then on one occasion he came across the hadeeth which stated that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) performed hajj on a camel. Hence, he proclaimed that this is a sunnat and he came to the Haram Shareef riding his camel to perform tawaaf, but his camel then messed the Haram Shareef.  This was a mu’jizah (miracle) of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that his animal did not soil the Haram, and he had to do his hajj in this way, because he had to teach the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), as there were many Sahaabah who were there for the first time. Further, everyone would have wanted to be near Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Hence, how would Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) have coped with the crowd in such a restricted area. Therefore, to understand and see things in perspective is not everyone’s work.

3. The way we do du‘aa (in a congregational manner) after the fardh salaah is not supported by a single hadeeth. As far as the azkaar and masnoon du‘aas are concerned then they are established from very strong authentic ahaadeeth. Islam is going to be spreading everywhere and you will need something to make the congregation sit after namaaz and read the du‘aas. Therefore, the one way was to raise the hands and engage in the du‘aa. Hence, the only thing that is not established is the congregational form of du‘aa as we do it. However, if we have to announce today that this is bid‘ah then it will result in the musjids becoming like what happens in the Haramain, where as soon as salaam is done many people  get up and move on. Overall, the raising of the hands and making du‘aa is established from the sunnat. Only the aspect of doing it together has to be corrected. Therefore, the mizaaj of the sunnat has to be learnt from our elders.

4. In Bukhaari Shareef, a hadeeth appears in which Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) sent a Sahaabi, Ibnul Lutbiyyah to collect zakaat. On his return, he tells Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that this amount is what was given as zakat, so take it and this amount was given to me as a gift. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was disturbed by this and asked him that if you sat at home would you have received this? So, to a certain extent it amounts to bribery; in future collections the collector will be lenient in calculating and collecting their zakat. When you analyse this then the picture of the world is the same – that your appearance and name must be Islamic, immaterial of whether the spirit is Islamic or not. It must be an Islamic school, Islamic bank, Islamic this and so forth. When we phoned different Islamic schools and asked how much of Islam is taught there, then some said that it is taught for one hour in the day, and some said once a week. So is this fair that the name Islam is used but there is hardly any Islam there? The difference between us and the people of the past is that despite them not having much Islamic knowledge and outward Islam, but they had true Islamic values. They would not take loans unnecessarily. They would explain that without it you are able to continue life comfortably and you will be able to sleep peacefully, you can go to the musjid with respect and honour and you will not suffer from any type of anxiety.

5. The essence of Islam is i’raadh ‘anid dunya – to be disinterested from the dunya. On the other hand, the Islamic banks that we have make people interested in the dunya. A person may not be able to afford a car, but since the bank is offering an ‘Islamic’ plan he goes for it, but this goes against the essence of Islam. One needs to ask, “Is it conforming to Islamic ethos?” What has happened to the Muslim public is that they are now crippled.

6. Then you get another sector in the public who have a little more wealth. They will spend their money in going for ‘umrah etc. But here again we need to understand what is the Islamic ethos and spirit. The spirit is that look after yourself, then your close relatives etc. It never said that if you got extra then go for ‘umrah. How will it apply to us? You may have a little extra wealth and you have children who will get married after a few years. And the style nowadays is that the wives want to live separately from the in-laws. So instead of using that money for ‘umrah, invest it in some property for the children so that the day they get married they will have a place to live. Until their marriage some rental can be collected from that property as well. If one does not do so, then the marriage will be delayed just because of looking for a place.

7. Therefore, there is the need to link up and follow the advice of these mashaayikh, for they will put you into a program that will help in turning you away from this world. Otherwise, we will also be part of this whole cycle. The wife will tell you that how can you carry on driving the same old car. As a result, you will try to do something on the side. Then if it is not the wife then the children will repeat the same lesson. If it is not them then it is peer pressure. Thereafter, by getting these extras you feel that you are bringing ‘izzat and honour to yourself, whereas it is a form disgrace for you.  So the solution is to live within your means. If people only begin to spend according to their means then the banks will close down because 95 percent of the time they are living off our greed, not our needs. Therefore, we need to learn how to live and where to spend. The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) had even asked about these aspects, as to where to spend. In one place in the Quraan, Allah Ta‘ala says that spend whatever is surplus after your needs. In another place, Allah Ta‘ala shows sequence, spend on those closest to you and so forth. So the problem we have is self-imposed and within ourselves but we do not want to get out of it. Then in order to service this habit we have to send our children for studies and toil more.

8. The Quraan and hadeeth teach us to be kind to our neighbours and fellow humans, and this is the source of barkat and blessing. But then who do we believe, our eyes or the wordings of the Quraan and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)? Our eyes will tell us that we will be losing out, yet the hadeeth says that we will gain barkat. Therefore, when we become hated then that is why we are being hated. If we practise the same teachings of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then that Jew and non-Muslim who is watching will understand that there is something in Islam. Even if he does not accept Islam, but he will still have that love and respect for the Muslims, that this is how Islam teaches that business should done. Everybody says that we should be making istighfaar and coming on to a’amaal, we will read Qunoote Naazilah for a few days and that’s all. However, are we showing that courtesy and love? These were the qualities and ways of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). When he started and had the first encounter with wahi, at that time Hadhrat Khadeejah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) comforted Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) with words that you are seeing to the needs of underprivileged etc. So who was Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) doing all this for? All or most of them were disbelievers for Islam had only started then. So if we are going to be a loving nation then we should live and let live. You will then think in this way that I have a neighbour and he is not enjoying good business, so let me send my customers to him and let him have some business. However, our mentality today is that we will say that the other shop owner has come to steal my business, and we will have a big sale and cut the prices just to attract more customers and make him suffer. After all, is this in keeping with the spirt of Islam or not?

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