My Lord! Increase me in knowledge

I was reading the chapter of good manners in the sahih bukhari collection when i came across these sayings of the Prophet.

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 38 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira
Allah’s Apostle said, “While a man was walking on a road. he became very thirsty. Then he came across a well, got down into it, drank (of its water) and then came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. The man said to himself “This dog is suffering from the same state of thirst as I did.” So he went down the well (again) and filled his shoe (with water) and held it in his mouth and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He said, “(Yes) There is a reward for serving any animate (living being).”


Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 41 :
Narrated by Anas bin Malik
The Prophet said, “If any Muslim plants any plant and a human being or an animal eats of it, he will be rewarded as if he had given that much in charity.”


Inspired by this verse, i watched a documentary on camels. It was amazing. The culling of camels happening in australia is sad and i don’t support it. However, this documentary has some great information and facts about camels which makes us appreciate the creation of God.

Many Muslims are of the belief that they should only say “Walaikum” when greeted by Non Muslims. If you analyse the hadith, it clearly is talking about a certain group of Jews who greeted the Prophet by saying “as-Sam-u-Alaikum” i.e Death be upon you. Which is why the Prophet replied with “Walaikum” i.e. And upon you too.

A’isha reported that some Jews came to Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) and they said: Abu’l-Qasim (the Kunya of the Holy Prophet), as-Sam-u-Alaikum (Death be upon you), whereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Wa Alaikum (On you too). A’isha reported: In response to these words of theirs, I said: But let there be death upon you and disgrace also, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: A’isha, do not use harsh words. She said: Did you hear what they said? Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Did I not respond to them when they said that; I said to them: Wa’Alaikum (let it be upon you). (Hadith – Sahih Muslim, Book 026, Number 5386)

Even being greeted with “Death be upon you”, the prophet told Aisha, Do not use harsh words. If he wanted he would have replied with the same greeting – Death be upon you. But he omitted the word “Death” because he didn’t want to use harsh words even when retaliating. This is the character the Prophet wanted to set for us.

What the Quran Says

A. “When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally [Quran, 4:86]

B. “And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in
humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, ‘Salaam !’ (Peace).”’ [ Quran, 25:63]

C. “And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: ‘to us our deeds, and to you yours; Salaam u alaikum (peace be to you): we Seek not the ignorant. ‘ ” [ Quran, 28:55]


The conclusion that can be derived is that this rule cannot be applied to general non muslims. When a non muslim greet you with no wrong intention in his heart and finds out that we do not want to say the word “Peace” to him. We not only present the wrong image of Islam, we close doors to inviting them to Islam.


A more elaborate and well written article can be found here


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This always worked for me. Give it a shot – Next time you get angry on a person, just imagine how would you feel if that person died tomorrow or that person’s family member/loved one died. Would you still be angry? Would you regret that you were angry at him? If the answer that is yes, then continue being angry. But if it is a no, then why stay angry? What if this really happened to that person. Think about this, and you will see a change in your behavior.

Why have we disconnected nature with remembrance of God? Why do we plan to go to lakes, parks, beaches or any beautiful place with only worldly enjoyment in mind? On the other hand, we have associated being religious or remembrance of God, with being inside a mosque, in prayer, or listening to lectures. We have failed to observe and appreciate the beauty of the God’s creation around us. I try to spend more time outdoors – hiking mostly, and trust me every time i am out in a beautiful place, I feel spiritually elevated, fascinated by the beauty of the Creator. That level of faith can sometimes not be attained sitting in a room. It saddens me that we do not encourage going out, appreciating and reflecting upon the beauty of God’s creation around us.

Many verses in the Quran encourage us to travel, observe and reflect upon the creations of God around us, For example:

Say: “Travel through the Earth and see how He began the Creation. Then, Allah makes the latter Creation. Allah is capable of (doing) everything” (Al-‘Ankaboot, 29: 20).

 “It is He Who sends down rain from the skies: with it We produce vegetation of all kinds: from some We produce green crops, out of which We produce grain, heaped up at harvest; out of the date-palm and its sheaths come clusters of dates hanging low and near: and gardens of grapes, and olives, and pomegranates. … Behold! In these things there are signs for people who believe…” (Quran 6:97-98)

“Lo! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and (in) the difference of night and day are tokens (of His Sovereignty) for men of understanding” (Al-Imran 3:190)

He has created so many things for us to see, learn, take lessons but we miss out on them. Once in a while, try to take out sometime for yourself. Surround yourself with nature. Free your mind from all worries. Go somewhere with no distractions. Observe the things around – From the smallest things like patterns and shapes on insects to huge trees and lakes. Then praise God. And trust me, there will be a huge difference in that praise and the one we quickly do after prayer running our hands through finger sections. I believe God will reward us when we strive to see the beauty of his creation, and praise him. Even if you can’t go out, watch documentaries on Science and Nature. That is an excellent way to gain knowledge about what God has created. Knowledge that we as believers of God should strive to have.

I have been always wanting to go to a shia mosque. It saddens me that sunnis and shias have separate mosques and rarely intermingle. Shias are our brothers in faith. They believe in the same God, the same Prophet, the same Quran and i wanted to prove myself that i can pray with them and so can they with us. I was a bit nervous as to how i will be welcomed there. I had all sorts of questions in my mind – will they question my ways? will i get stares? will i be allowed to pray with them? I live in toronto and i went to this mosque called The Islamic Shia Ithna-Asheri Jama’at of Toronto (ISIJ of Toronto). It is pretty much located on the outskirts of the city. Its a huge place. Not just a mosque, a center with many activities and services for the community. I went into the mosque and sat down. I started observing everyone and noticed there prayers were not very different from  the prayers of sunnis. There was a class for kids going on which is why there were a lot of kids there. One of them was distributing tasbih ( prayer beads in a string, called misbaha in arabic) to everyone. He gave one to me too and i stopped looking here and there and just got busy zikr which was amazing. Finally, it was prayer time and everyone stood up to form rows. I was at the back behind the kids and since there was space in the front row, one of the imams or mosque management person invited me to come to the first row. Everyone had a stone in front of them on which they put their forehead when they prostrate. I didn’t. We finished the zuhr prayer and sat down for sometime and there was a very brief speech from the imam. Then we prayed asr. After that everyone got up, shook hands with the imam (including me), greetings were exchanged and left. I didn’t notice or hear any act of shirk (associating partners to God) as many people accuse them of. Many of their prayer actions are valid even from sunni sources of hadiths. I will not go into prayer details in this post. Before leaving, I met with one of the management persons and told him that i am not a shia, but it was a nice experience to come here. And he said it is the house of Allah, doesn’t matter from which sect you are from, you are welcome to pray. I then left with a smile of face, and peace in my heart with a feeling that i am not a sunni or a shia but just a muslim!

I heard Anas bin Malik saying, “Abu Talha had more property of date-palm trees gardens than any other amongst the Ansar in Medina and the most beloved of them to him was Bairuha garden, and it was in front of the Mosque of the Prophet . Allah’s Apostle used to go there and used to drink its nice water.” Anas added, “When these verses were revealed:–‘By no means shall you Attain righteousness unless You spend (in charity) of that Which you love. ‘ (3.92) Abu Talha said to Allah’s Apostle ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Allah, the Blessed, the Superior says: By no means shall you attain righteousness, unless you spend (in charity) of that which you love. And no doubt, Bairuha’ garden is the most beloved of all my property to me. So I want to give it in charity in Allah’s Cause. I expect its reward from Allah. O Allah’s Apostle! Spend it where Allah makes you think it feasible.’ On that Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Bravo! It is useful property. I have heard what you have said (O Abu Talha), and I think it would be proper if you gave it to your Kith and kin.’ Abu Talha said, I will do so, O Allah’s Apostle.’ Then Abu Talha distributed that garden amongst his relatives and his cousins.”

(Sahih Bukhari – Volume 2, Book 24, Number 540 )

Narrated by Abu Huraira:

A man came to the Prophet and asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! Which charity is the most superior in reward?” He replied, “The charity which you practice while you are healthy, niggardly and afraid of poverty and wish to become wealthy. Do not delay it to the time of approaching death and then say, ‘Give so much to such and such, and so much to such and such.’ And it has already belonged to such and such (as it is too late).”

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 24, Number 500

Defending the Prophetic Honour

Imam Sheharyar Shaikh

 Ever since the wretched movie “Innocence of the Muslims” that denigrated the Prophet (s) made public knowledge three weeks ago, the result has been a spiral of mob violence and civil unrest in major Muslim cities around the world. To the rest of us, the over-the-top reaction has been more of a shock than the offense itself. The ongoing Muslim reaction to the movie in terms of mob protests held globally is unequivocally wrong because it harms Muslims and their interests, it contravenes the pure Islamic teachings on the issue and it turns the attention of the Muslims away from what needs to be done to uphold the honour of the Prophet (on whom be blessings and peace) in the world.


We live in times in which the worst enemy of the Muslims may well turn out to be another Muslim. Such is the case with the foolish reaction to a filthy movie that allegedly first appeared in 2011. It was run only once in a theatre in California, until the current wave of protests popularized it to an astronomical level. Ask yourselves: did this garbage of a movie deserve to have around 20,000,000 views on YouTube? What a shame. We Muslims made it happen. Just as we lent popularity to the infamous novel The Satanic Verses and the Danish Cartoons satirizing the Prophet (s) months after they were published. A true lover of the Prophet (s) finds nothing more disturbing than our Prophet (s)’s name slung in mud by our own stupidity. If this wasn’t enough the damage done to public property of other Muslims was inexcusable. Banks were robbed, shops were ransacked, public buses and private cars were torched and diplomatic enclaves were vandalized in broad daylight. And if that wasn’t enough, over 2 dozen Muslims lost their lives as the mobs pitted themselves against the security personnel. Allahu Akbar! Is this the behaviour befitting a people who claim to hold the divine message? Worse, we have shown ourselves to the world as nothing more than Pavlov’s dogs – ready to jump, stand, run and bark at the ringing of a bell held by an external hand.


The criminally corrupt governments in the Muslim world find the public unrest a perfect reason to relay to their western paymasters how necessary it is to keep them in power if their masters want Muslim masses in control. Besides, what better way than to divert the frustrations of masses deprived of food, electricity, clean water, education, legal justice and healthcare than to have them unleashed on the streets to raise havoc? Their passions were further sanctioned by the official declaration of Friday as the ‘Day of the Love of the Prophet’ in Pakistan.   


“Fitnah (civil disorder) lies asleep” the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Allah curses the one who awakens it”. According to Islam the resulting mob protests in the Muslim world were criminal and completely unjustified. Shame on the religious figures who fed fuel to the fire by giving unnecessary exposure to the movie, thereby popularizing it globally. They stand worthy of condemnation:


لَوۡلَآ إِذۡ سَمِعۡتُمُوهُ قُلۡتُم مَّا يَكُونُ لَنَآ أَن نَّتَڪَلَّمَ بِہَـٰذَا سُبۡحَـٰنَكَ هَـٰذَا بُہۡتَـٰنٌ عَظِيمٌ۬


And why did they not, when they heard of it, say: “It is not right for us to discuss it. Glory to You (O Allah), it is an immense slander.” (24:16)


Are these imams and religious figures holier than the pious sahabah who never went on a mad rampage upon witnessing the Prophet (s) being disrespected by his enemies? The people of Ta’if bloodied the Prophet (s) during his call to them, but neither the Prophet nor the sahabah ever vandalized Ta’if. The Medinan hypocrites left no opportunity to hurt the Prophet (s), but the Prophet (s) or the sahabah never harmed them in revenge. The Prophet even hid the names of the hypocrites from public knowledge. The American Ambassador J Christopher Stevens including three other US foreign service officers were killed in Libya. Why no respect was shown to the Prophetic instruction of protecting another country’s ambassador (الرسل لا تقتل – “Ambassadors shall not be killed”)? This was the Prophet’s teaching. Is there a surprise over the presence of a frieze in the judges’ chamber of the US Supreme Court of a man holding the holy Quran, representing none other than the Prophet (s) himself?  Who are these people that flout all injunctions of our religion, harm Muslims in revenge and give Islam a bad name? Now we hear that some local elements such as Zafar Bangash, Palestine House and some pro-Iranian groups of Toronto are about to exploit the anti-movie sentiments by holding a protest in front of the American embassy on Saturday, September 21, 2012. Stupidity knows no borders.   


What do we really need to do to uphold the honour of the Prophet (s) around the world? We need to bring his beautiful seerah into our own lives. This is what the Prophet (s) would have wished for the Muslims today. I do not believe for a second that he would have allowed the reactive violence or protest marches as are occurring right now to take place. Enough with protests! Haters will hate, as they have always hated. While the Prophet (s) was called the vilest of names by his enemies, as listed in the Quran, do we forget that Allah himself takes personal responsibility of dealing with the Prophet (s)’s mockers?


إِنَّا كَفَيۡنَـٰكَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَہۡزِءِينَ


We are sufficient for you against the mockers (15:95)


It is time to shun angry protests in the name of Islam and the Prophet (s). Let us think constructively on how we are going to present Islam to the world community undergoing rapid globalization. Let us build media outlets that do effective da’wah and counter anti-Islamic propaganda. Let us establish world class institutions of Islamic higher learning that wrestle with the challenges of modernity. Let us bring the Prophet (s) in our lives by following his blessed life. Let us share his seerah, so the rest of the world finds a newfound respect and love for this man who came only to deliver them on the Day of Judgment.


Inshallah, the doors of North American Muslim Foundation always open for constructive recourse to the problem of deliberate and provocative denigration of Islamic symbols and figures bound to occur again and again – as we now see in the case of the cartoons emerging from France.


Will we then pay heed?   

Sheharyar Shaikh is the former President of North American Muslim Foundation.  He is currently the Imam of Masjid Qurtabah. He specializes in Quranic exegesis with contemporary Islamic thought and modernity

This person, his vision, mentality, hard work and contribution to humanity is very inspiring and heart touching. This video about him bought tears in my eyes. I wish to meet this person and to volunteer with him someday.

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