My Lord! Increase me in knowledge

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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.”


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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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 )

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


Every time i read the quran, i learn something new from it. This verse which i read a few days ago really affected me in the way i think and deal with people. I always questions myself if i fall in this category.

“Woe unto the defrauders: Those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, demand full measure, And when they have to give by measure or weight to (other) men, give less than due. “(Quran, Chapter 83, Verse 1-3)

The word “woe” means misfortune, grief or misery. And this is a curse from God to people who don’t deal with justice. This is not just about commercial dealings, but also social dealings like being stingy in giving time, honour, respect or other services to people, and demanding more in return from others.


About being just in dealings

It has been ordered at several places in the Quran to be just.

“And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight. That is good and better in the end. (17:35)

“And give full measure and full weight with justice. We burden not any person, but with that which he can bear.” (6:152)


Infact, This was one of the evils that the nation of Shuaib (Jhetro) committed.

And unto Madyan We sent their brother Shuaib. He said: O my people! worship God; there is no god for you but he. And give not short measure and weight. Verily I see you in prosperity, and verily I fear for you the torment of a Day encompassing. And, O my people! give full measure and weight with equity, and defraud not the people of their things, and commit not mischief on the earth as corrupts. (Quran, Chapter 11, Verse 84 – 85)

Abu Malik alAsh’ari reported that the Prophet (saws) said: “Four practices of the ‘Jaahiliyah’ (pre-Islamic days of Ignorance) will continue to be practiced by my Nation:

  1. taking pride in one’s parentage,
  2. giving a person a father other than his own genealogical father (ie. cursing of one’s lineage),
  3. believing that rain is caused by some stars,
  4. and wailing over the dead.”

Related by Muslim and Ahmad.


Narrated AbuHurayrah:

The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: God, Most High, has removed from you the pride of the pre-Islamic period and its boasting in ancestors. One is only a pious believer or a miserable sinner. You are sons of Adam, and Adam came from dust. Let the people cease to boast about their ancestors. They are merely fuel in Hell; or they will certainly be of less account with God than the beetle which rolls dung with its nose. (Abu Dawud, Book 41, Number 5097)

What the Quran says

“…and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night)”  [Quran, 2:187]

 The white and black thread?

In a Hadeeth (narration) on the authority of ‘Adiyy ibn Haatim he said, “When the verse in which Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {And eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread at dawn.} [Quran 2:187] was revealed, I took two strings, one black and the other white, and kept them under my pillow and went on looking at them throughout the night but could not make anything out of it. So, the next morning I went to the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) and told him the whole story. He said: ‘That verse means the darkness of the night and the whiteness of the dawn.’” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

The following images are taken from here

In the image above, its too soon to stop eating. “Al fajr al kazib” as the image is captioned, means “the fake dawn”.


The red line has now spread horizontally and that marks the end of eating time for a person who fasts and beginning of fajr prayer time.  “Al fajr as sadiq” means “the true dawn”

The call for prayer (adhan) does not necessarily mean the end of pre-dawn meal (suhoor)

Narrated ‘Aisha: Bilal used to pronounce the Adhan at night, so Allah’s Apostle? said, “Carry on taking your meals (eat and drink) till Ibn Um Maktum pronounces the Adhan, for he does not pronounce it till it is dawn.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 142)


 Narrated Talq ibn Ali al-Yamami: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: Eat and drink; let not the white and ascending light prevent you from (eating and drinking); so eat and drink until the red light spreads horizontally. (Abu Dawood, Book 13, Number 2341)

If one of you hears the call [to prayer] while the vessel is still in his hand, let him not put it down until he has taken his need of it.” [Abu Daawood, Al-Haakim, Saheeh]


Why do people stop eating suhoor early then?

People who stop eating well in advance and go to extremes to forbid others from eating until dawn are going against the quran and hadith mentioned above. It is due to misunderstanding of hadith. From a hadith, we learn that prophet once stopped eating and there was an interval enough to recite 50 verses. It is estimated to be 10 – 15mins. The Prophet (peace be upon him) simply ate it that time, he didn’t order anyone to stop eating. Infact, he encouraged people to delay suhoor as seen in the hadith mentioned above.                                                                         

Narrated Anas:

Zaid bin Thabit said, “We took the Suhur with the Prophet. Then he stood for the prayer.” I asked, “What was the interval between the Suhur and the Adhan?” He replied, “The interval was sufficient to recite fifty verses of the Quran.” (Sahih Muslim, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 144)

Below is a Scholar’s has answered to this

Taken from IslamQA –

This hadeeth indicates that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to eat suhoor this amount of time before the adhaan, not that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) started to fast and stopped eating and drinking this amount of time before Fajr. There is a difference between the time of suhoor and the time of stopping eating and drinking. This is clear, praise be to Allaah. It is like saying, “I ate suhoor two hours before Fajr.” This does not mean that you started fasting from that time, rather you are simply stating what time you ate suhoor. 


Inuvik is an arctic town in Canada’s Northwest Territories with a population of about 3,500 people. It’s located right at the tip of North America facing the Arctic Ocean. With a polar climate and harsh living conditions, one wouldn’t expect to find a town there, let alone a town with Muslims. But there is a Muslim community there and a growing one, too. So much so that the trailer that was being used as the mosque ran out of room and this community now needed a new masjid.

Building a masjid in the Arctic, however, is far more complicated than it is anywhere else. The scarcity of skilled labour and material makes the cost of such a project skyrocket and this undertaking is simply impossible for a small community of a 100 people. Their situation is akin to that of the Muslims in Edmonton, who despite all odds managed to erect Canada’s first masjid in 1938. With faith in God anything is possible. At a time like this, the Inuvik Muslims could have simply prayed for a masjid to be shipped over. And that’s exactly what they were about to get.

Enter, the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation. The Zubaidah Tallab Foundation is a charity based out of Manitoba. The remarkable individuals at this organization decided to give the Inuvikans a hand and took it upon themselves to ensure that the masjid got built. After evaluating the cost of locally building the masjid, they came up with a plan which at first sight would easily be dismissed as insanity. Build the masjid in Winnipeg and ship it 4,000 kilometres away to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories.

As insane as that may sound, this was the most economical way of getting the masjid built. Part of the masjid’s journey was going to be on roads (2400km) and part on water (1800 km). The goal was to get the mosque on to the last barge heading towards Inuvik for the season. Not only was this going to be a logistical nightmare but it was to be a race against time as well. With receding water levels in the Mackenzie River, the shipping company decided to push up the departure date by 3 weeks.


The 1,500 square-foot masjid was built in Winnipeg and started its journey on a semi-trailer. The over-sized trailer made its way through back roads and country highways, struggling to make it to the barge in time, it was delayed further by Labour Day celebrations and highway regulations. To complicate matters even more, the bridge across Reindeer Creek proved too narrow for the trailer.

The driver had to remove the back wheels and a second truck was brought in to balance the back of the flatbed as the masjid was moved carefully across bridge. But this wasn’t the biggest scare. All hopes and dreams came close to being shattered when the masjid almost fell off the trailer into a creek near the Alberta border.

The organizers managed to request the shipping company to hold the barge for two extra days and perhaps by divine intervention, the barge was delayed further due to poor weather. With lots of prayer and a little bit of luck, the trailer managed to get to the barge just in time. The masjid was loaded on to the barge and set off for its journey towards the North Pole.

The barge arrived in Inuvik, on September 24th2010. After an excruciating 3-week journey, the little masjid arrived at its destination; all in one piece. The Inuvik Muslims gathered around the port to witness the historical event. They chanted prayers to praise and thank God as they waited. Some jumped around with joy while others were overwhelmed with gratitude and came to tears.

Numerous finishing touches needed to be added and it took about a month to get the mosque ready for use. Fathallah Fargat, a carpenter from St. Catherines, Ontario was inspired by the story and traveled all the way to Inuvik to help set up the masjid. He even helped build a 10-meter minaret to accompany the newly erected masjid.

The Midnight Sun Masjid, as it is now called, was inaugurated on November 10th 2010 to become North America’s northern most masjid. All in all, the entire project cost about $300,000. The Zaid Tallabah Foundation, which still has outstanding payments to make, is looking to raise another $21,000.

The Inuvik masjid is a stellar example of what can be accomplished by unity, hard work and faith in God. For those let down by the petty attacks on masjid around the West, this story should rejuvenate your spirit and give you hope. If people can manage to build a masjid in the Arctic, then building one anywhere else should be far from impossible.

The word “hijab” literally means “covering”, “separation”. In today’s world, it has become a common term used to describe the islamic dress code specially for women. The purpose of hijab goes beyond the physical covering and dress code. It is connected to purification of the heart and being preserving modesty and a sense of shame.

“O you Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you. But the raiment of righteousness – that is the best. Such are among the Signs of God, that they may receive admonition!”
[Quran, Chapter 7, Verse 26)

 Apart from our clothes, there is a covering of shame which is more superior and is for both man and woman because the above verse is directed to “Children of Adam”. Modesty is a primary requirement enjoined on us both males and females. Unfortunately, it is stressed more on females and the male counterpart is often neglected. Many males pick on women who don’t cover heads or who aren’t dressed properly but at the same time can’t control staring at other women.

I would like to bring to their attention, that we men (including myself) have an obligation to lower our gazes just as we think it’s an obligation on women to dress modestly.

 “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and God is well acquainted with all that they do.”

[Quran, Chapter 24, Verse 30]

Hadith reference

Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Avoid sitting on roadsides.” His Companions said: “O Messenger of Allah (PBUH), there is no other alternative but to sit there to talk.” Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “If you have to sit at all, then fulfill the rights of the road.” They asked: “What are their rights?” Thereupon he said, “Lowering the gaze (so that you may not stare at unlawful things); refraining from doing some harm to others, responding to greeting  and commanding the good and forbidding the evil.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Ever wondered why sometimes, in one prayer calendar you find asr prayer time is later than the other? Specially in the west, where people rely mostly on prayer calendar for timings, you find people often confused between the two asr prayer times.  It is because of the difference in the opinions of schools of thought. Most school of thoughts (maliki, shafi’, hanbali’) agree that asr time starts when the shadow of an object is equal to itself. But hanafi school of thought says that it should be prayed when the shadow of an object is twice its height. There are hadiths that prove both opinions are valid. I personally support the first view because i find more evidence in the hadith supporting it. I however respect the other view too.

 But lets keep the school of thought aside and go directly to the prophet’s hadith. Instead of blindly following an opinion, lets go to the source – hadith, because that is where all the imams of different schools of thought have taken from and adviced us to take from too.

Abu Dawood Book 2, Number 0393:

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas:

The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: Gabriel (peace_be_upon_him) led me in prayer at the House (i.e. the Ka’bah). He prayed the noon prayer with me when the sun had passed the meridian to the extent of the thong of a sandal; he prayed the afternoon prayer with me when the shadow of everything was as long as itself; he prayed the sunset prayer with me when one who is fasting breaks the fast; he prayed the night prayer with me when the twilight had ended; and he prayed the dawn prayer with me when food and drink become forbidden to one who is keeping the fast.

On the following day he prayed the noon prayer (zuhr) with me when his shadow was as long as himself; he prayed the afternoon prayer(asr) with me when his shadow was twice as long as himself; he prayed the sunset prayer at the time when one who is fasting breaks the fast; he prayed the night prayer with me when about the third of the night had passed; and he prayed the dawn prayer with me when there was a fair amount of light.

Then turning to me he said: Muhammad, this is the time observed by the prophets before you, and the time is anywhere between two times.

This hadith clearly tells us that the prophet prayed asr at both times.  On first day he prayed when his shadow was equal to himself and second day when his shadow was twice as his height. This proves that both times are valid. According to my understanding, this is for our convenience and to show us the flexibility in our religion. There are reports where prophet delayed prayer because it was too hot. And reports where he combined both prayers and prayed when zuhr time was ending and asr was starting.

Ibn ‘Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) combined the prayers as he set on a journey in the expedition to Tabuk. He combined the noon prayer with the afternoon prayer and the sunset prayer with the ‘Isha’ prayer. Sa’id (one of the rawis) said to Ibn ‘Abbas: What prompted him to do this? He said: He wanted that his Ummah should not be put to (unnecessary) hardship.

There is a short time frame (usually 30 – 40 mins) when the shadow moves from once the height to twice the height. One view is that zuhr time ends by then. But some scholars have said during this time, it will not be late to pray zuhr as well as not early to pray asr. It is the ending of zuhr and starting of asr. So, this is a time shared between zuhr and asr prayer.

About strictly sticking to one school of thought?

Saying that you should only stick to one school of thought and not follow the other is baseless. By doing this, you are giving the opinions of a certain imam priority over the words of prophet. People who dont pray behind others following a different school of thought are splitting up the muslims. These Imams respected each other and even prayed behind each other. Although these four imams were blessed with tremendous knowledge, they were no prophets or angels. They were humans who could make mistakes. Don’t blindly follow them. We are followers of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and should strive to learn his way, instead of blindly following  a certain imam who came years after. Why have we stopped going to the source? (Quran and hadith) and started relying on what we hear from people around? Before labeling yourself hanafi or shafei and dividing up yourselves, just think what the prophet was? And ask yourselves if there would be any difference in Islam if these four Imams never came?

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