Sunday, March 27, 2011

Demonstrations are part of the Sunnah

by Hassan Choudhury

I recently read a strange article arguing demonstrations were unIslamic [the link is ahlusunnahwaljamaah(dot)com/2011/02/10/islamic-ruling-on-protests-demonstrations/]. It even has 20 reasons why that is the case. This is dangerous.
Mujahid, on the authority of Ibn Al-’Abbas (RA) related that he had asked ‘Umar (RA) why he had been given the epithet of Al-Farouque (he who distinguishes truth from falsehood). He (RA) replied: After I had embraced Islam, I asked the Prophet (SAW): ‘Aren’t we on the right path here and Hereafter?’ The Prophet (SAW) answered: ‘Of course you are! I swear by Allâh in Whose Hand my soul is, that you are right in this world and in the hereafter.’ I, therefore, asked the Prophet (SAW) ‘Why we then had to conduct clandestine activism. I swear by Allâh Who has sent you with the Truth, that we will leave our concealment and proclaim our noble cause publicly.’ We then went out in two groups, Hamzah leading one and I the other. We headed for the Mosque in broad daylight when the polytheists of Quraish saw us, their faces went pale and got incredibly depressed and resentful. On that very occasion, the Prophet (SAW) attached to me the epithet of Al-Farouque. Ibn Mas’ud (RA) related that they (the Muslims) had never been able to observe their religious rites inside the Holy Sanctuary except when ‘Umar embraced Islam. Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, page 48 [referencing Ibn Hisham; Tareekh 'Umar bin Al-Khattab, p.13; Mukhtasar As-Seerah p.103]

This was a demonstration.

Here’s a refutation against the 20 points given.

1. Free mixing between men and women

What about unmixed demonstrations?

2. brings about more harm than good e.g. violence (between police and protesters) and killing and harming the countries economy (shops close and tourists may leave for example)

Tourists? Islam was revealed to take creation away from obedience to and worship of their desires into the obedience and worship of Allah SWT – this is la illaaha illallaah. The shara’ defines the harm, the benefit, the good and the bad not the mind and desires of man.

In fact, the shara’ defines speaking out against the tyrant ruler as the best jihad. Ibn Majah on the authority of Abu Saeed, Ahmad and Ibn Majjah and Tabarani and Baihaqi on the authority of Abu Umamah, Ahmad and Nisa’i on the authority of the tabie Tariq Ibn Shihab all narrated that the Messenger (saw) said: “The best of Jihad is a word of truth in the face of a tyrant ruler”.

Worse, these are not Islamic rulers since the entire nidham (system) of Islam is gone. Dar ul-Islam doesn’t come, cannot come with a colonial system which tries to keep the Muslims silent with a ruler with an Islamic name and a few Islamic laws. Only the people with the weakest understanding of the reality would argue this is Dar ul-Islam. We all live in Dar ul-Kufr.

3. imitating the kuffaar (as Muslims copied demonstrations from them as there is no mention of demonstrations in Islam)

This is dangerous and sinister falsehood against the Sunnah as proved by the evidence I began with from Mujahid about Umar (RA) gaining the title Al-Farouque.

Where is the imitation of the kuffar?

4. bidah (innovation as the prophet nor the sahaba demonstrated)

Please see my response to point 3. The bid’ah is to deny demonstrations.

5. not following the way of the salaf (the early and best generations of Muslims) who never protested

Please see my response to point 3. Denying demonstrations is against the way of the salaf (RA). Also the story of Imam Ahmad’s Mihna (trial) is well-known to contain the part where an ocean of students sit outside the palace demonstrating their love and concern for their Imam.

6. cooperating upon sin and misguidance (Muslim calling to, supporting and join demonstration which are haram so they are all cooperating upon a sin and misguidance)

Calling it cooperating upon sin and misguidance assumes the act is sin and misguidance when it is actually the Sunnah.

Cooperating with the tyrant is the sin and misguidance, if only you knew. On the authority of Abdullah Bin Masood (may Allah be pleased with him), he said: “There will be rulers over you, who will leave the sunnah like this,” and he SAW pointed to the origin of his finger. “If you were to leave these rulers alone, they will bring great affliction and disaster. There has been no previous ummah except that the first thing they left from their religion was the sunnah, and the last to be left was the salat , and were not these rulers shy and afraid from people, they would not pray”. (Narrated by Al-Hakim and he said this is a saheeh hadith on the condition of both Bukhari and Muslim).

7. wasting time and money on a sinful innovated act

Again, calling it wasting time and money on a sinful innovated act assumes it is wasting time and money on a sinful innovated act when it is actually the Sunnah.

Why not read Riyad as-Saliheen, Book of Miscellany, Chapter 23 on Enjoining Good and forbidding Evil, which has many evidences to correct you?

`Abdullah bin Mas`ud (RA) reported: Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Nay, by Allah, you either enjoin good and forbid evil and catch hold of the hand of the oppressor and persuade him to act justly and stick to the truth, or, Allah will involve the hearts of some of you with the hearts of others and will curse you as He had cursed them”.
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].

Also Abdullah bin Mas`ud (RA) reported: Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Never a Prophet had been sent before me by Allah to his people but he had, among his people, (his) disciples and companions, who followed his ways and obeyed his command. Then there came after them their successors who proclaimed what they did not practise, and practised what they were not commanded to do. And (he) who strove against them with his hand is a believer; he who strove against them with his heart is a believer; and he who strove against them with his tongue is a believer; and beyond that there is no grain of Faith”.
[Sahih Muslim].

Also Abu Bakr (RA) went to a lady from the Ahmas tribe called Zainab bint Al-Muhajir and found that she refused to speak. He asked, “Why does she not speak.” The people said, “She has intended to perform Hajj without speaking.” He said to her, “Speak, for it is illegal not to speak, as it is an action of the pre-islamic period of ignorance. So she spoke and said, “Who are you?” He said, “A man from the Emigrants.” She asked, “Which Emigrants?” He replied, “From Quraish.” She asked, “From what branch of Quraish are you?” He said, “You ask too many questions; I am Abu Bakr.” She said, “How long shall we enjoy this good order (i.e. Islamic religion) which Allah has brought after the period of ignorance?” He said, “You will enjoy it as long as your Imams keep on abiding by its rules and regulations.” She asked, “What are the Imams?” He said, “Were there not heads and chiefs of your nation who used to order the people and they used to obey them?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “So they (i.e. the Imams) are those whom I meant.”
Bukhari Volume 5, Book 58, Number 175, narrated Qais bin Abi Hazim.
Also [Hadith number 2068 in Jami'al Usul by Ibn Al-Atheer.]

8. inconveniencing others (blocking the road or preventing people from passing by for example)
More than the implementation of kufr?

A man who thinks like this should be warned to stop his aggression against the Sunnah and fix his heart. As Ibn al-Qayyim wrote in a’alaam al-Muwaqi’een:

“The Shaitan has misled most people by beautifying for them the performance of certain voluntary acts of worship such as voluntary prayers and voluntary fasting while neglecting other obligatory acts of worship such as enjoining the good and eradicating the evil, to the extent that they do not even make the intention of performing them….For the essence of our religion is to perform what Allah SWT ordered us to do.
The one who does not perform his obligations is actually worse than the one who performs sins. Anyone having some knowledge about the revelation of Allah, the guidance of the Prophet and the life of the companions would see that those who are pointed at today as the most pious people are in fact the least pious…

Indeed, what deen and what good is there in a person who witnesses the sanctities of Allah SWT being violated, His Hudood not applied, His religion abandoned, the Sunnah of His Messenger SAW shunned, and yet remains still with a cold heart and a silent tongue – a dumb Shaitan. In the same way the one who talks falsehood is a speaking Shaitan. Isn’t the misfortune of Islam due only to those who whenever their food and positions are secure, would not care about what happens to the religion? The best among them would offer a sorry face.

But if there was a shortcoming in one of the things their heart is attached to like their rank or money, they would sacrifice and strive and strain and struggle and use the three levels of prevention (their hands, tongues and hearts) according to their capability.

These people, besides deserving the anger of Allah, are afflicted with the greatest calamity without even knowing it: They have a dead heart. Indeed the more alive a person’s heart is, the stronger its anger for the sake of Allah and the more complete his support to Islam and Muslims”

If you can’t or won’t support the work for Islamic Revival then remain silent. It is better for you.

9. chanting silly slogans that are sometime haram

What about demonstrations that don’t?

10. playing instruments and sing to pass the time

What about demonstrations that don’t?

11. provides a platform for those with little knowledge of the shariah to speak and gain followers

Is it because those with years of studying sacred knowledge have abandoned the obligation of enjoining al-ma’ruf and forbidding munkar? How then can these people attack those who follow the Sunnah and attempt to save society from drowning in sin?

Imam Ahmad recorded that An-Nu`man bin Bashir said that the Prophet (SAW) gave a speech in which he said, while pointing to his ears with two of his fingers:

“The parable of the person abiding by Allah’s order and restrictions in comparison to those who violate them, or sit idle while they are being violated, is that of those who drew lots for their seats in a boat. Some of them got seats in the lower part, which is the most rough and worst part, and the others in the upper. When the former needed water, they had to go up to bring water and that troubled the others, so they said, `Let us make a hole in our share of the ship and get water, saving those who are above us from troubling them, so, if the people in the upper part let the others do what they suggested, all the people of the ship would be destroyed, but if they prevented them, both parties would be safe”.

Recorded by Al-Bukhari, in the Book of Partnerships, and also recorded by At-Tirmidhi through a different route of narration.

12. missing the five prayers sometimes as there may be no space to pray

What about demonstrations where people pray? Haven’t you been watching Egypt?

13. enmity (hatred) towards some people without due right just because they did not attend the demonstration or are against it

Unless, of course, they deserve the anger of Allah SWT because they spent years studying knowledge but still left the entire society open to punishment.

Abu Dawud has narrated on the authority of Qays b. Abi Hazm: “That Abu Bakr (RA), after he had glorified and praised Allah SWT, said: O people! You read this ayah but you do not understand it: “O you who believe! Guard your own souls: If you follow the right guidance none can hurt you from those who have gone astray” [5:105]

‘I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say: “The people when they see the tyrant and do not restrain his hands, Allah will be about to punish them all”. And I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say: “Any people amongst whom sins are committed, and they could change them but they did not (change), Allah will be about to bring a punishment which engulfs all.”
[Abu Dawud: Book of Battles/3775]

14. wasting others time with no shariah right (the paramedics on stand by in case there is a violent incident, police and army monitoring the crowd could be doing better things with their time like arresting criminals and protecting the country)

Better things than speaking out against the implementation of kufr?

Imam Ahmad from Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will enjoin righteousness and forbid evil, or Allah will send a punishment upon you from Him; you will supplicate then to Him, but He will not answer your supplication”.

Also see Ibn Kathir’s tafsir of Qur’an 8:25

15. women going out wearing adornment and make-up

What about demonstrations that don’t have this?

16. sometime shouting slogans that are incorrect and sinful; sometimes begging the kufr for help outside their embassy’s etc or through use of slogans and placards

What about demonstrations that don’t?

17. holding up pictures or effigies of people

What about demonstrations that don’t?

18. using slanderous and insulting words that are not permitted in shariah

What about demonstrations that don’t?

19. backbiting, cursing, slandering and exposing the sins of the people you protest against or those who do not support your protest (I am talking about when those who you are protesting against are Muslim or those who oppose the protest are Muslim)

What about demonstrations that don’t include backbiting, cursing, slandering?
It is not the demonstration that exposes the sins. The tyrant who openly commits kufr exposes himself.

20. and sometimes committing acts of aggression against the property of innocent people (destroying their shops or breaking their windows, or starting fires in public facilities)

What about demonstrations that don’t?

May Allah SWT Protect the ummah from those who are trials for us as they encourage cowardice in the face of kufr, silence at the removal of shari’ah rule, weakness with western interference, softness at the dishonouring of our women, carelessness at the obliteration of our unity through their ignorant forbidding of what is clearly taken from the blessed Sunnah. Ameen.

About the Author
Hassan Choudhury, a writer and author focusing on Islam and issues of interest to Muslims in the West. He presents less and less on the Islam Channel focusing now on public speaking and activism. His work can be found on his personal blog

Friday, March 25, 2011

Understanding the principles of Tafseer - part 1

This abridged tafsir based on the book ‘tayseer ila usul it-tafsir’ by Shaykh Ata bin Khalil Abu Rishta describes the initial phase of Prophet Mohammed (saw) mission to convey the message of Islam to take humanity from darkness to light. The tafsir of the ayat vividly illustrates how Allah (swt) communicated in the Arabic language challenging the belief, customs and values of the Arabs. Their resistance turned to denial then to open hostility yet the Arabs could not refute the truthfulness of Allah (swt) speech delivered in a language in which the Arabs were masters.
Bismillah irrahmaniraheem
الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله وعلى آله ومن ولاه, وبعد:
Allah sent Muhammad with the message of Islam to take the people from the darkness into the light with the permission of their Lord, to the path of al-‘Azeez al-Hameed.
Alif Lam Ra. [This is] a Book which We have revealed to you that you may bring forth men, by their Lord’s permission from utter darkness into light—to  the way of the Mighty, the Praised One,” [Ibraheem 1]
He made his miracle صلاوات الله و سلامه عليه and the proof of his prophet-hood a blessed book from Allah, the Qur’anal-Kareem, the speech of Allah al-‘Adheem, which
“Falsehood shall not come to it from before it nor from behind it; a revelation from the Wise, the Praised One.”[Fusilat 42]
Allah sent it down in the language of the Arabs, from the letters of their speech, addressing them with a clear Arabic tongue, calling them to become believers in it, understand it and adhere to it; but, they found that it did not recognize for them their desires nor did it give their idols any weight, nor did it give any legitimacy to their wickedness and corruption as they used to do. On the contrary, it ridiculed their idols, condemned their cruelty, oppression and tyranny, bringing equality between the slave and the master, the near and the far, the Arab and non-Arab, except for who is most pious, so he is purest,
“O people, truly your lord is one and your father is one. There is not superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, nor of a non-Arab over an Arab, except according to taqwa. Nor for red over black, nor black over red, except according to taqwa.”
All of you are from Adam and Adam is from dust,
“O you men! surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honourable of you with Allah is the most pious; surely Allah is Knowing, Aware.” [al-Hujarat 13]
When they heard what Rasul Allah (saw) came with, they comprehended and knew that it was from Allah, the speech of Allah and not the speech of man. They were the people of the language and its masters, it is their tongue and their instinct, it is their product and their goods, and with it in their markets they would compete and with its blades they would debate.
Except that they stopped at that which they heard, then they thought and evaluated, so how could they be equal to their slaves?!… and how can they live without servants?!… then how can they be masters if they are not tyrants and oppressors demonstrating their power, the fierce who does not fear anyone?!… how and how?!…
At this, they denied it, after they had comprehended it.
“They said, you are only a man like us, and ar-Rahman did not send down anything, you only lie” [Yasin 15], so they turned their backs arrogantly, increasing in their insolence wandering blindly.
They thought that the matter would end at that, as they were greater in number and more vociferous. They will say that what Muhammad brings is only
“The stories of the ancients– he has got them written—so these are read out to him morning and evening” [al-Furqan 5],
“And when Our verses are recited to them, they say: We have heard indeed; if we wanted we could say the like of it; this is nothing but the stories of the ancients” [al-Anfal 31], and that they could recite as he recites, then they turned their backs arrogantly laughing.
They did not expect that the proof would be established against them, and who could defeat them?! Rather, who could even debate with them?! If Muhammad said a word, they would say ten. If he raised his voice a little, they would gather for him loud shouting bellowing voices,
“The likeness of those who are kafir is that of someone who yells out to something which cannot hear – it is nothing but a cry and a call. Deaf – dumb – blind. They do not use their intellect.” [al-Baqarah 171]
They related falsehood to confront the true stories, thinking that with those falsifications the truth would get lost in the crowd.
Yet, the matter came not as they desired, and from where they had not reckoned. It was said to them, if you are truthful in your claims that what Muhammad recites is just a man’s saying; that if you wanted, then you would say like he says; so the arena is in front of you and the battlefield is at your fore. This Qur’an is a witness, not absent. You hear its verses and comprehend its words. Its letters are from the same letters that you utter, so come on, bring the like of it. If you can do that and bring the like of this Qur’an, then the matter is as you said.
“Say: If men and jinn should come together to bring the like of this Qur’an, they could not bring the like of it, even if they were helpers one of another” [al-Isra’ 88]
But, they did not do so. Instead, they turned back on their heels confused. So, from one angle they knew that it was Allah’s words, as was pronounced by the truthful and trustworthy one, as they were the people of the language and its masters, yet from another angle they were not able to admit to that. For their idols, their dreams, their corrupted and corrupting interests will, if they did that, become as dust blown by the wind in a storm. They would be unable to grab anything of what they had gained. That is the great loss. So, they turned round in a circle and immediately began searching maybe they could find what would lengthen by a few days the period until the announcement of their failing in the challenge, thus delaying the establishment of the proof against them. They found, as was evident in their actions, that bringing the like of the whole Qur’an is a difficult thing, so the burden was lightened a little when it was said to them:
“Or, do they say: He has forged it. Say: Then bring ten forged chapters like it and call upon whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful.” [Hud 13]
But, they could not do that, so they returned to their original remarks. The comprehensive proof completely conquered them:
“Or do they say: He has forged it? Say: Then bring a chapter like this and invite whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful.” [Yunis 38]
You, and every helper from the creation that you can muster, from wherever and whatever it is. Yet again, they could not do so. The proof was the final proof and the last word:
“And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful. But if you do not and never shall you do [it], then fear the fire of which men and stones are the fuel; prepared for the unbelievers.” [al-Baqarah 23-24]
You will not only be unable to do it now, but you will never ever be able to do it for all eternity. The Qur’an is the speech of Allah الحقّ. The speech of man does not come close to his kingdom, nor do the words of the Jinn ascend to approach it. It is الحقّ the truth that the falsehood does not come near to, not from the front nor from behind; a revelation sent down from a wise praised one.
That was enough for them to become believers, except that Shaytan got the better of them, desires destroyed them,
“The love of desires, of women and sons and hoarded treasures of gold and silver and well bred horses and cattle and tilth, is made to seem attractive to men; this is the provision of the life of this world; and Allah is He with Whom is the good goal [of life].” [aal-‘Irman14] They gave a lower status to knowledge, were haughty and stubborn, remaining on their kufr (disbelief) while they knew fully well.
This compounded their confusion and brought them bewilderment on top of bewilderment.
How could the masters convince the masses that this Qur’an is not the speech of Allah? How can they turn them away from it, so that they do not follow it?
They gave great importance to the issue and seriously searched for a way out of this predicament. However, their destruction was in their plans, so instead of making clear a way out, their predicament got even worse,
“To Him is due the true prayer; and those whom they pray to besides Allah give them no answer, but [they are] like one who stretches forth his two hands towards water that it may reach his mouth, but it will not reach it; and the prayer of the unbelievers is only in error.”[ar-Ra’d14]
They entered with kufr and exited with it, establishing the proof against themselves, instead of raising for themselves a proof.
They said: “they are nothing but Muhammad’s words”, but how when Muhammad’s words differ from that which he recites? And how when Muhammad is illiterate while his people read and write, yet they are incapable of bringing the like of it? It is therefore not a valid statement that they are Muhammad’s words, so they put this accusation behind them and left it.
They said: “a man who is not from us teaches him” and mentioned a foreign Christian, yet they had it turned on their heads:
“And certainly We know that they say: It is a man that teaches him. The tongue of him whom they incline to is notably foreign, and this is clear Arabic tongue.” [an-Nahl103]
So, they put that behind them and left it.
Then, they said: “It is nothing but narrated magic, charming words”, however they found that the proof was established against them, as it was an evidence of their inability, such that the book in front of them appeared to be magic due to its strength and greatness. Also, the proof was against them, as magic has a reality well known to them due the their extensive experience with it, and they knew the difference between the utterances of the magician and these great words.
They were about to drop this statement, if they hadn’t found that they were able to convince some of the general public with their saying: “don’t you see that the entering of a family member into Islam is what makes the son, if he became Muslim, leave worshipping the idols of his father, therefore Islam divides between them, as if it were magic?”
They found that this was more useful for misguiding than other ways, so they relied upon it:
“Then he said: This is naught but enchantment, narrated [from others]”. [al-mudathir 24]
However, it was as if they jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.
Whoever listens to Allah’s words recited is absolutely certain that what he hears is not magic, therefore they agreed among themselves to come between the people and them listening to the Qur’an:
“And those who disbelieve say: Do not listen to this Qur’an and make noise therein, perhaps you may overcome.” [Fusilat 26]
They made noise to disturb it until no-one would hear it from Rasul Allah, rather the situation reached the point where they met with the riders, talking to them about the magic of Muhammad (saw) sometimes with temptation and other times with fear, afraid that they might hear it and realise that it is from Allah, as they themselves had become aware. They did this so that neither the Bedouin Arabs, the travellers nor the residents would become believers, such that they delay, if they could, the emergence of Islam and the raising of its banner. They did it to obstruct, without increasing the army of ar-Rahman and the elevation of His word, yet they should have known that there is no way for that to come to them, if they were intelligent.
This is how they proceeded; on the one hand they were pulled by their recognition that this Qur’an is Allah’s speech, such that even their leaders would go secretly to the house of Rasul Allah (saw) to listen at night to what was being recited of the verses of the Qur’an, and الذكر الحكيم (the Wise Reminder). If they saw some of the others while they were returning, they agreed to never return again, so that the general public would not see them. But, they did return, the Qur’an had captured their hearts, so one of them would say: “It is so graceful, and so sweet, its lowest part is abundant and its highest part is fruitful, confirming that it is not the words of man.”
That is from one side; they were pulled by their recognition that this Qur’an is Allah’s speech. On the other hand, they were pulled by their idols, that which their forefathers were on, their interests and their lusts.
Whoever had a pure nature, a clean mind, became aware, repented, believed and became pious/fearful.
Whoever’s eyes were blinded and he settled lower than low, while his corrupt world ascended for him to the highest levels, remained wandering in his insolence prostrating to and clasping his idols. Like this, he became a believer whoever believed and a disbeliever whoever disbelieved… he raced to Iman(what makes a believer a believer) whoever raced, and procrastinated whoever procrastinated until the Islamic state was established in Madinah (المدينة المنورة). Islam was spread throughout the Arabian Peninsula then that light extended to end the oppression of the great states of the time. Persia was shattered, the Romans were cut apart and the Islamic state became great. Justice was spread as a companion of the Jihad, the flag of Islam was raised, the flag of لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله (there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger). The conquests widened and the earth radiated with Islam and the army of Islam.
Based on the book ‘tayseer ila usul it-tafsir’ by Shaykh Ata bin Khalil Abu Rishta