The Stages through which Fasting was Prescribed

Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-Uthaymeen rahimahullaah said in his explanation of ‘Bulooghul-Maraam‘ ‘Fathu Dhil-Jalaali wal-Ikraam‘ vol. 7 pge. 9:

And know that the obligation of fasting was in three stages.

So first fasting the day of `Aashooraa (the 10th day of the first month in the Islamic calendar, Muharram) was made obligatory, then fasting the month of Ramadaan was prescribed for those who wished to fast it, then fasting the month of Ramadaan was made obligatory specifically [upon everybody; individually] – meaning: fasting it is a must.

(1) As for the first stage: then the proof for it is the Prophet sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam commanding his Companions to fast `Aashooraa.[1]

(2) And as for the second stage: then the proof for it is the saying of Allaah – the Exalted and Most High –:

وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ ۖ فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ ۚ وَأَن تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

Sooratul-Baqarah; (2):184

[[Meaning: And as for those who can fast with difficulty, they have a choice either to fast or to feed a poor person for every day. But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast is better for you – if only you knew.]]

Then this was abrogated by the verse that came after it; and it was not permitted [to break the fast] except for the sick person and the traveler.

(3) And as for the third stage: then the proof for it is His saying in the following verse:

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ

Sooratul-Baqarah; (2):185

[[Meaning: The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur·aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion between right and wrong. So whoever of you is resident and sees the crescent on the first night of the month, he must fast that month, and whoever is ill or upon a journey, then an equal number of other days.]]

So these are the three stages; and the wisdom in that is: fasting contains something of difficulty upon the souls – so the legislation gradated; bit by bit – because everything that is difficult upon the souls then Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, through His Wisdom and His Mercy, causes it to become binding upon the servants bit by bit.

[1] Agreed upon. As occurs in al-Bukhaaree no. 1892 & Muslim no. 1125 from a narration of `Aaishah and Ibn `Umar radiyAllaahu `anhum.

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Glad Tidings Upon the Arrival of the Month of Ramadaan

On the authority of Aboo Hurayrah radiyAllaahu `anhu that he said: the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam used to give glad tidings to his Companions, saying:

“The month of Ramadaan has come to you; a blessed month that Allaah has prescribed upon you that you fast it. In it the gates of Paradise are opened, and the gates of the Hellfire are shut, and in it the devils are chained up. In it is a night that is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its goodness has indeed been deprived.” Reported by Ahmad and an-Nasaa·ee.[1]

And it has been reported: “Ramadaan has come to you – the most noble of all months – so it is welcomed.”[2]

The month of fasting has come with blessings * So how noble a visitor that has come

And upon the authority of `Ubaadah radiyAllaahu `anhu in connected form:

“Ramadaan has come to you, a month of blessings that Allaah covers you within; so he sends down Mercy, and the sins are wiped out, and in it the supplications are answered. Allaah looks at your competing within it, and He boasts of you to His Angels – so show Allaah good from yourselves – for verily the miserable one is he who is deprived of Allaah’s Mercy within it.” Reported by at-Tabaraanee, and its narrators are reliable.[3]

And it occurs in al-Bukhaaree and Muslim from a narration of Aboo Hurayrah radiyAllaahu `anhu that the Prophet sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam that he said:

“When Ramadaan enters, the doors of the Heavens are opened, and the doors of the Hellfire are shut, and the devils are chained up.”[4] And in the wording of Muslim: “The doors of mercy are opened.”[5] And also reported by Muslim from a narration of Aboo Hurayrah in connected form: “When the month of Ramadaan comes the doors of Paradise are opened, and the doors of the Fire are shut, and the devils are chained up.”[6]

And he radiyAllaahu `anhu narrated that the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam said:

“When it is the first night of Ramadaan; the devils and the arrogant, oppressive jinn are shackled, and the gates of the Fire are shut – without a single one being opened. And the gates of Paradise are opened – without a single one being shut. And a caller calls: ‘O seeker of good; come forward!’ and ‘O seeker of evil; abstain! For there are those whom Allah frees from the Fire. And that is every night.'” Reported by al-Tirmidhee, an-Nasaa·ee and al-Haakim.[7]

Explanation of Shaykh Ibn Baaz rahimahullaah

All praise is for Allaah, and may peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allaah, and upon his family, his Companions, and those who follow his guidance.

Then to proceed:

There are a huge number of narrations established from the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam – regarding this noble month – the month of Ramadaan, indicating its great status; and that this month is the month of solace, and the month of beneficence, and the month of giving in charity, and the month of hastening to perform acts of obedience, and competing with regards to the various types of good.

A month in which the doors of the Heavens are opened, and in which the doors of Hellfire are shut. In it the devils are chained up. A month that Allaah made its fasting obligatory, and standing in its nights supererogatory. In it the doors of Paradise are opened, and the doors of Hellfire are shut, and the doors of the Heavens and the doors of mercy are opened, – and in it a caller calls out: “O seeker of good; come forward! and: O seeker of evil; abstain! For there are those whom Allah frees from the Fire. And that is every night.”

So it is befitting that the believing man and the believing woman compete in this good, and hasten during this noble month to perform acts of obedience. For it is a tremendous month, and there is not a month that passes by the Muslims better than it, and there is not a month that passes by the hypocrites worse than it – because of their lack of doing good within it, and their failure to give it its due right.

So the believer hastens to the performance of good, and differs with the people of hypocrisy regarding it; so he strives in obedience to Allaah and in performing the obligatory acts, and abandoning the prohibited affairs, and he hastens towards the various forms of good – from charities, and remembrance of Allaah by tasbeeh (i.e. saying ‘SubhaanAllaah‘ “I declare Allaah free of all imperfections”), and tahleel (i.e. saying ‘Laa ilaaha illaa Allaah‘ “There is none that has the right to be worshipped except Allaah alone”), and takbeer (i.e. saying ‘Allaahu akbar‘ “Allaah is the Greatest”), and reading the Qur·aan, and being plentiful with all types of good – especially reading the Qur·aan.

For this is the month of the Qur·aan, so it is befitting that the believer is plentiful in reading the Qur·aan within this month. Every letter is a good deed, and every good deed is multiplied tenfold. [So he should read] while reflecting and contemplating – just as Allaah the Exalted and Most High said:

كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

Soorah Saad; (38):29

[[Meaning: This is a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, O Muhammad, that they may reflect upon its verses and so that those of understanding would be reminded.]]

And He – the Exalted – said:

إِنَّ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَهْدِي لِلَّتِي هِيَ أَقْوَمُ

Sooratul-Israa·; (17):9

[[Meaning: Verily, this Quran guides to that which is most just and right.]]

And He the Mighty and Majestic said:

وَهَٰذَا كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ مُبَارَكٌ فَاتَّبِعُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

Sooratul-An`aam; (6):155

[[Meaning: And this is a blessed Book which We have revealed, so follow it and fear Allah that you may receive mercy.]]

So it is befitting that the believer gives concern to this Mighty Book, the Qur·aan; and that he reflects upon it, and is plentiful in reading it. And the Prophet sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam used to revise the noble Qur·aan every night with Jibreel in this noble month; and in the final year [of his life] he revised it twice. So in this is an encouragement upon studying and revising the Qur·aan, and giving it concern, and being plentiful regarding that – due to that which it contains from tremendous good, and much reward. Every letter is a good deed, and every good deed is multiplied tenfold.

Likewise it is befitting that the believer is plentiful in giving in charity within it, and that he gives solace to the poor and the needy. The Prophet sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam said:

“Whoever provides food for a fasting person to break his fast with within it [i.e. Ramadaan]; then that will be a cause for his sins to be forgiven for him, and for his neck to be freed from the Fire, and for him is the like of his reward [i.e. the fasting persons].”[8]

And the Prophet sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam said:

“Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allaah’s reward, then all his past sins will be forgiven.”[9]

And: “Whoever stands [in prayer] in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping for Allaah’s reward, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.”[10]

And: “Whoever stands [in prayer] on the night of pre-decree out of sincere faith, and hoping for Allaah’s reward, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.”[11]

And the Prophet sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam said: Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – said:

“Every [righteous] action of the son of Aadam will be multiplied for him, a good deed will be multiplied ten times up to seven hundred times. Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – said: Except for fasting; for it is for Me, and I will reward for it, for [the fasting person] abandons his desires, and his food and his drink for My sake. There are two joys for the fasting person: the joy when he breaks his fast, and the joy when he meets his Lord.”[12]

And he sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam would say to his Companions when Ramadaan entered:

“Ramadaan has come to you, a month of blessings that Allaah covers you within; so he sends down mercy, and the sins are wiped out, and in it the supplications are answered. Allaah looks at your competing within it, and He boasts of you to His Angels – so show Allaah good from yourselves – for verily the miserable one is he who is deprived of Allaah’s Mercy within it.”[13]

And he sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam said:

“Whoever does not leave off false speech and acting in accordance with it, and foolishness; then Allaah is not in need of him leaving off his food and drink.”[14]

So it is obligatory upon the believer that he abstains from the prohibitions of Allaah. Sins are forbidden in every place and time; however during this noble month it is obligatory that a person is even more vigilant regarding them, and that the believer strives to safeguard his fasts, and protects them from all of the sinful affairs – such as: backbiting, and tale-carrying, and oppressing the people, and transgressing the bounds regarding anything of theirs; such as their wealth or their souls – and other than that from the sinful affairs, such as: eating from wealth attained by usury, and cheating in transactions, and backbiting, and tale-carrying, and eating from wealth attained by usury, and other than that from which Allaah has forbidden.

So the believer is cautious regarding all of the prohibitions of Allaah, and distances himself from them. He hopes in the reward of Allaah, and is fearful of the punishment of Allaah. He strives to perform that which Allaah has obligated; so he performs the [obligatory] prayers in congregation and is constant upon them in all of their five appointed times. He is righteous and obedient to his parents, and he keeps the ties of kinship. He calls to Allaah, and enjoins the good and forbids the evil. He is cautious of every evil and he strives regarding every good – especially in this noble month, the month of fasting, the month of giving in charity, the month of standing in prayer, the month in which the good deeds are multiplied.

So the believer strives to take advantage and make use of these days and these nights by fasting and standing in prayer. And the Prophet sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam has said:

“Whoever stands [in prayer] in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping for Allaah’s reward, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.”[15]

And he sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam led the people in prayer three nights in Ramadaan, until the people gathered, then he left it off – out of fear that it would be made obligatory upon them.

Then during the caliphate of `Umar radiyAllaahu `anhu he gathered the people behind a single imaam; as they used to pray in multiple congregations until he gathered them behind a single imaam and led them in prayer. So occasionally he prayed twenty-three units, and occasionally he prayed twenty-one units.

So the affair of the believer in this regard is ample and wide; whether he were to pray eleven, or thirteen, or twenty-three – all of that has been made easy, and all praise is for Allaah.

And the Prophet sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam said:

“Prayer of the night is in twos.”[16] and he did not specify a set limit.

However if a person were to pray eleven or thirteen units as the Messenger sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam prayed – then that is better. And if he were to pray twenty-three, as the Companions did; or he were pray more than that, then this matter is something which is extensive – and all praise is for Allaah. Because the Messenger did not restrict it to a known number of units, however he would conclude it by praying a single unit. And [likewise] whether a person was to pray it at the start of the night or at the end of the night, or at the middle of the night – this is a broad, spacious affair – and all praise is for Allaah.

However it is recommended regarding the last ten that one remains awake just as the Prophet sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam would remain awake in the last ten.

As for the first twenty nights then the Sunnah (Prophetic way) is that one prays some of the night and sleeps – following the example of the Prophet sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam in that regard.

However it is obligatory that a person is cautious of all sins throughout all of the days and nights, and it is legislated that you safeguard your time by spending it in obedience to Allaah, by making tasbeeh (i.e. saying ‘SubhaanAllaah‘ “I declare Allaah free of all imperfections”), and by making tahleel (i.e. saying ‘Laa ilaaha illaa Allaah‘ “There is none that has the right to be worshipped except Allaah alone”), and by reading, and making remembrance [of Allaah], and seeking forgiveness, and by prayer, and the rest of the acts of worship. This time [in Ramadaan] you safeguard it, and are ardent upon it – such that none of it is lost or wasted. So it is maintained; either in obedience to Allaah, or in those things that are permissible.

Be warned and careful that none of it is wasted in that which Allaah has prohibited, such that it harms you in this life and in the Hereafter.

We ask Allaah to grant us all success, just as we ask Him to allow us – and yourselves – to complete its fasting and its standing in prayer. And we ask Allaah that he permits us – and yourselves – to hasten to good and to abstain from evil during it; indeed He is all-Hearing, Near.

And may peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allaah, and upon his family and his Companions.

[From ‘Wadhaaif Ramadaan‘ of `Abdur-Rahmaan bin Muhammad bin Qaasim d. 1392H rahimahullaah, which is a summary of ‘Lataaiful-Ma`aarif‘ of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali d. 795H rahimahullaah. Shaykh ibn Baaz d. 1420H rahimahullaah has an audio explanation of this summary, which has been transcribed and published.]


[1] Reported by Imaam Ahmad nos. 7148, 8991, 8992, 9497; & an-Nasaa·ee no. 2106; & `Abdur-Razzaaq 8383; & Ibn Abee Shaybah 1/3; & Ishaaq ibn Raahawayh 1 &2; & Ibn Abdul-Barr in ‘at-Tamheed’ 16/154. Shaykh al-Albaanee rahimahullaah said ‘Saheeh’, authentic.

[2] Reported by al-Bayhaqee in ‘Shu`abul-Eemaan’ 3/314 no. 3637 with the wording: ‘The most noble of months is the month of Ramadaan’; from a narration of Aboo Sa`eed al-Khudree radiyAllaahu `anhu – and al-Bayhaqee said: “In its chain of narration is weakness”.

And he reported it as a saying of Ibn Mas`ood radiyAllaahu `anhu with the wording: ‘The most noble of the months is Ramadaan, and the most noble of the days is Friday” 3/314 no. 363; & at-Tabaraanee in ‘al-Kabeer’ no. 9000.

[3] al-Haythamee said in ‘Majma`uz-Zawaa·id’ 3/257-258 no. 4783: “Reported by at-Tabaraanee in ‘al-Kabeer’.

[4] Reported by al-Bukhaaree no. 1899; & Muslim no. 1079.

[5] Reported by Muslim no. 1079.

[6] Reported by Muslim no. 1079.

[7] Reported by at-Tirmidhee no. 682; & Ibn Maajah no. 1642; & an-Nasaa·ee no. 2107; & al-Haakim in ‘al-Mustadrak’ 1/586 no. 1532. Shaykh al-Albaanee rahimahullaah said regarding this narration: ‘Saheeh’, authentic.

[8] Reported by Ibn Khuzaymah 3/191-192 no. 1787; and al-Bayhaqee in ‘ash-Shu`ab’ 7/215-217 no. 3336; & al-Asbahaanee in ‘at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb’ 2/349-350 no. 1753. And reported with a similar wording by at-Tirmidhee no. 807; & Ibn Maajah no. 1746.

[9] Agreed upon. Reported by al-Bukhaaree no. 38 & Muslim no. 760.

[10] Agreed upon. Reported by al-Bukhaaree no. 2009; & Muslim no. 759.

[11] Agreed upon. Reported by al-Bukhaaree no. 2014; & Muslim no. 760.

[12] Agreed upon. Reported by al-Bukhaaree nos. 1894 and 5927; & Muslim no. 1151.

[13] al-Haythamee said in ‘Majma`uz-Zawaa·id’ 3/257-258 no. 4783: “Reported by at-Tabaraanee in ‘al-Kabeer’.

[14] Reported by al-Bukhaaree no. 1903.

[15] Agreed upon. Reported by al-Bukhaaree no. 2009; & Muslim no. 759.

[16] Agreed upon. Reported by al-Bukhaaree no. 995; & Muslim no. 749.

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Reward for Returning Home from the Mosque

Imaam Muslim reports in his ‘Saheeh‘ (no. 251) from a narration of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alaihi wa sallam said:

“Shall I not guide you to that by way of which Allaah wipes out sins and elevates the ranks? They said: ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allaah.’ He said: Perfecting the ablution despite the hardship and dislike [that a person may find], and taking many steps towards the mosque, and waiting for the next prayer after observing a prayer, that is just like holding the frontier [i.e. at the time of war].”

Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen rahimahullaah in his explanation of ‘Saheeh Muslim‘ said:

((Should I not guide you to that by which Allaah wipes out sins and elevates the ranks)) :

i.e. of a person in paradise.

((They said: Yes, O Messenger of Allah. He said: Perfecting the ablution despite the hardship & dislike)) :

i.e. [due to] severe cold, or due to hot water, or pain in ones body, etc.

((and taking many steps towards the mosque, and waiting for the next prayer after observing a prayer)) :

Waiting [for the prayer] with ones heart and body; so waiting with ones body is that a person remains in his place of prayer until the next prayer; and as for waiting with ones heart then that is: whenever a person finishes from one prayer he [eagerly] awaits the next prayer; when will it come? So that he can stand before his Lord. [This is] due to his love of the prayer. Allaah has made the prayer a coolness for his eyes [i.e. a comfort for him]. And this is a sign of his true faith, as the Prophet sallAllaahu alaihi wa sallam informed. And Allaah has said:

وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ

Sooratul-Baqarah; (2):143

Allah would never cause your faith to be in vain.

The scholars have said: [Meaning]: You prayers towards Jerusalem.

((that is just like ‘ar-Ribaat’ – holding the frontier [at the time of war]))

Ibnnul Atheer said in his ‘an-Nihaayah fee Ghareebil Hadeeth‘: In origin it means establishing war against the enemy by fighting, and tying the war steeds and preparing them [for battle]. So he sallAllaahu alaihi wa sallam likened these righteous acts and forms worship [i.e. perfecting the ablution in times of hardship, taking many steps to the mosque, and waiting from one prayer to the next] to Jihaad.

He said: al-Qutaybee said: It means: being constant upon and adhering to purification, prayer, and worship.

an-Nawawee said: “In origin it means devoting oneself to something; so it is as if he dedicated himself to this act of obedience. Or it could be held to mean: This is the best type of striving, just as it is said: ‘The best type of Jihaad is striving against one’s own self’. Or it could be held to mean: This is a type from the types of Jihaad that is made easy and possible [for everyone to do]. And all of these sayings are good.”

Shaykh Abdul Muhsin al-Abbaad – may Allaah preserve him – said in his explanation of ‘Aadaab al-Mashy Ilas-Salaah‘, (vol. 5, pge. 121 of his ‘Majmoo‘):

And this reward, just as it is for going to the mosque, then it is also for returning [from the mosque after the prayer].

It occurs in ‘Saheeh Muslim‘ (no. 663) from a narration of Ubayy bin Ka’b radiyallaahu anhu said:

“There was a man – and I do not know of any other man whose house was farther than his from the mosque – he never missed the prayer (in congregation). It was said to him – or I said to him -: It you were to buy a donkey you could ride upon it In the dark nights and in the burning hot sand. He said: I do not like my house to be situated by the side of the mosque, for I (eagerly) desire that my steps toward the mosque and back from it, should be written for me until I return to my family. Upon this the Messenger of Allaah said: Allaah has gathered all of that (reward) for you.”

Imaam an-Nawawee rahimahullaah said in his explanation of Muslim:

“It contains an establishment of a person receiving reward for the footsteps for his returning from the prayer, just as he receives [the reward] for [every footstep he takes] going [to the prayer].”

Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen rahimahullaah said in his explanation of Riyaadus-Saaliheen, vol. 2 pge. 200:

In it is a proof that [taking] many steps to the mosques is from the ways of [attaining] much good, and that if a person eagerly seeks and hopes for Allaah’s reward by doing that, then Allaah will write for him the reward for his coming to the mosque, and for his returning [home] from it.

And in Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen’s explanation of ‘Saheeh Muslim‘ vol. 3 pge. 710 he said:

In it is a proof that a person is rewarded for his intention even regarding his returning from the mosque [when going back] to his family. So he has two rewards: (1) Before the prayer [i.e. walking to the mosque], and (2) After the prayer [i.e. returning from the mosque]. This is due to his seeking and intending Allaah’s reward by way of that.

Shaykh al-Fawzaan – may Allaah preserve him – was asked:

Q: Retuning home after prayer: Is it an act of worship?

A: Yes, it has been reported that his going to and returning from [the mosque] to his house are written for him. Yes.

See: http://www.alfawzan.af.org.sa/node/12000

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The Permissible Types of Backbiting – Imaam an-Nawawee

Imaam an-Nawawee rahimahullaah says in his book ‘Riyaadus-Saalihen’

256 – Chapter: What is Permissible From [the types] of Backbiting

Know that backbiting is permissible if it is due to a valid reason approved by the Islamic legislation, and it is not able to be attained [i.e. the valid reason] except by way of backbiting.

[translators note: Meaning: That a person has no other choice but to backbite in each of the following cases].

And that is in six cases:

(1) Complaining about oppression.

So it is permissible for an oppressed person to complain to the ruler, and the judge, and other than them – from those that have authority, or ability -, to aid him against his oppressor. So he says: “So-and-so oppressed me with such and such.”

(2) Seeking somebody’s help in changing an evil, and correcting sinful affairs by changing them into that which is legislated and good.

So he says to a person who can help him in that: “So-and-so does such-and-such; so prevent him from that.” And the like of that. And one’s intent in this case should be to reach the goal of removing the evil – and if he intends other than that, then it is forbidden to do so.

(3) When seeking a verdict.

So a person says to the scholar: “My father, or my brother, or my partner, or so-and-so oppressed me; is that [oppression] permissible for him to do? And what can I do to end such, and regain my rights, and prevent any [further] oppression?” And the like of these questions. So this is permissible if there is a need – however that which is safer and  better is that a person says: “What do you say regarding a man, or a person, or a partner, that does such-and-such?” Because that way the goal is attained without specifying who it is. Even still, it is permissible to specify; as we will make further mention of in the narration of Hind inshaaAllaah.

(4) Warning the Muslims from evil, and advising them.

And that is of various different types:

  • From them: Criticizing those who have been criticized from the narrators (in the chains of narration) and witnesses (in a court of law). And that is permissible according to the consensus of the Muslims. Rather it is obligatory if there is a need to do so.
  • And from them: Seeking advice when looking to get married to a person, or having shares  with him (in a business etc), or when entrusting somebody with something (such as money, gold etc), or when dealing with someone, or other than that, or when looking to move in to a residence –a person asking regarding his prospective neighbors. And it is obligatory upon the one being asked that he does not hide anything regarding that person’s situation. Rather he mentions the negative points, with the intention of advising the questioner.
  • And from them: If he sees a person of knowledge and understanding of the religion who frequents an innovator, or an open sinner – and takes knowledge from them – and it is feared that the person of knowledge & understanding will be negatively affected. [In such a case] it is upon him to advise him by making clear [that person’s] situation; with the condition that his intention is to advise. And this is from the things that people fall into error regarding, so it may be the case that that which leads a person to do such [backbiting] is envy and animosity, and the devil disguises that to him, and makes him think that it is advice. So [a person should] take note and be shrewd regarding this.
  • And from them: That a person has a position of authority but he does not carry out that which is obligatory upon him; such as if he is inappropriate for that position (unqualified), or he transgresses the bounds of his authority (i.e. he takes advantage of his position of power), or he is negligent, and the like of that. In this case it is obligatory to inform the ruler so that he is removed from that position, and someone who is suitable is appointed in his place. Or he [the ruler] knows of his situation so that he can be dealt with accordingly, and so he [the ruler] is not deceived by him. Rather he [the ruler] strives to admonish him, and encourage him with being upright, or he changes him [for someone else that is suitable].

(5) That a person is open with regards to his sin, or his innovation.

Such as the one who openly drinks wine, or steals other people’s things, or takes taxes [from people’s wealth] oppressively, or he takes charge of affairs of falsehood (such as innovations etc) – in [the like] of these cases it is permissible to mention about him that which he does openly, and it is forbidden to mention other than that from [his] faults – except if there is another [valid] reason to mention them [from the other five points].

(6) For the sake of identification.

So if a person was well- known by a ‘nickname’ such as ‘al-A`mash’ (the one who has severely impaired vision), or by ‘al-A`raj’ (the one who walks with a limp), or by ‘al-Asamm’ (the one who is deaf), or by ‘al-A`maa’ (the one who is blind), or by ‘al-Ahwal’ (the one who is cross-eyed); and other than that [from the nicknames] then it is permissible to identify them with that. However it is forbidden to call a person with such nicknames if the intent is to lower them. And if it is possible to identify them with other than that, that is better and foremost.

So these aforementioned six reasons the scholars have mentioned; most of them are agreed upon [between the scholars]. And the proof for them are the famous narrations.

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Do you Order Righteousness of the People and Forget Yourselves? – Ibn Rajab

Ibn Rajab[1] rahimahullaah mentions in his ‘Lataaiful-Ma`aarif’:

“A man said to Ibn Abbaas radiyAllaahu `anhumaa: “I want to enjoin the good and forbid the evil.”

So he said to him: “If you do not fear these three verses exposing you; then do so. Otherwise, begin with yourself.”

Then he recited:

أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ

“Do you order righteousness of the people and forget yourselves.”

[Sooratul Baqarah; (2):44]

And His saying – He the Most High:

لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِندَ اللَّهِ أَن تَقُولُوا مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ

“Why do you say that which you do not do? It is most hateful to Allaah that you say that which you do not do.”

[Sooratus-Saff; (61):2-3]

And His saying – regarding the story of Shu`ayb `alayhis-Salaam – (where he said to his people):

وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُخَالِفَكُمْ إِلَىٰ مَا أَنْهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ

“And I do not intend to differ from you in that which I have forbidden you.”

[Sooratul-Hood; (11):88]

[Source: ‘Lataaiful Ma`aarif fil-Mawaasim al-`Aam min al-Wadhaaif’ of Ibn Rajab; al-Maktab al-Islaamee edtn. pge. 41]


[1] Zayn ud-Deen Abil Faraj Abdur-Rahmaan bin Shihaab ud-Deen Ahmad bin Rajab al-Hanbalee, al-Baghdaadee, ad-Dimishqee [736H-795H] – rahimahullaah

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ISIS Burning the Jordanian Pilot – Shaykh `Abdul Muhsin al-`Abbaad

Shaykh `Abdul-Muhsin al-Abbaad – may Allaah preserve him – was asked on Thursday 16th Rabee`uth Thaanee 1436H, (coinciding with 5th February 2015CE):

Q: What do you say regarding that which Daa`ish (ISIS) have carried out by their burning of the [Jordanian] pilot; using as evidence [both] the speech of Shaykhul-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah, and their saying that it is permissible to seek vengeance from the enemy due to His saying:

وَإِنْ عَاقَبْتُمْ فَعَاقِبُوا بِمِثْلِ مَا عُوقِبْتُم بِهِ

And if you punish (your enemy, O Believers), then punish them with the like of that with which you were afflicted. [Sooratun-Nahl (16):126]

What is your advice? May Allaah preserve you.

A: These people are oppressive criminals, their actions are vile; and before this [incident] they would kill a person by slaughtering him with a knife – just as a sheep is slaughtered.

All of this is from exceeding the [legislated] bounds in seeking retaliation, and exceeding the bounds with regards to oppression, and carrying out a gruesome killing.

We say: this is not allowed – for no one punishes with fire except the Lord of the fire.

And killing – for those that deserve to be killed – is to be carried out in a way that is not sinful, & does not contain committing a forbidden act – there should be nothing impermissible involved.

These people [ISIS] themselves are not even upon uprightness, having with them matters that are ugly & go against the religion of Islaam.

Their origin that they [ISIS] are upon – is the same way as the Kharijites – those that declare the people to be disbelievers, and [they hold] that the people of major sins will remain in the Fire eternally.

This is from their actions, and their doing; and vengeance is not to be sought by committing forbidden acts.

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Patience at the Time of Calamities

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ أُولَٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth, lives, and of fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, Those who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allaah, and indeed to Him we shall return.” Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the rightly guided.”

[Sooratul-Baqarah (2):155-157]

Imaam Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Naasir as-Sa`dee rahimahullaah mentions in his explanation of the Quraan, ‘Tayseer al-Kareem ar-Rahmaan‘:

Allaah – the Most High – informed us that He will certainly test His servants with tribulations, so that the truthful ones are distinguished from the liars, and the impatient from the patient – this is the way of Allaah with His servants.

And because joy, if it were constant for the people of belief, without there being trials & tribulations – then there would be mixing (between the true believers and other than them); and in that would be corruption.

However, through the Wisdom of Allaah, the people of good are distinguished from the people of evil.

This is the benefit of calamities –  (they are) not to remove the believers’ faith, nor to turn them away from their religion, as Allaah will not cause His servants’ faith (eemaan) to be in vain.

In this verse Allaah mentions that He will try His servants with:

((Something of fear)) meaning: fear of the enemy.

((And of hunger)) meaning: with a small amount of it; because if He were to try them with fear in its entirety, or hunger in its entirety – they would perish. And calamities are for the purpose of purification, not destruction.

((And a loss of wealth)) This encompasses all types of loss that wealth may undergo, from catastrophes, such as pandemics, flooding, being misplaced, or taken by oppressive people – whether they be oppressive kings or highway robbers; and other than that.

((And lives)) i.e. the passing of loved ones, from one’s children, relatives, friends & companions, or those illnesses that affect the servant in his body, or the bodies of those beloved to him.

((And fruits)) i.e. [the loss of] cereal crops, fruits of the date-palm tree, and of all other trees, vegetables etc. by the cold (affecting them), or by hailstones, or burning, or an army of locusts & their like.

So these aforementioned matters will most certainly occur, because the all-Knower, the all-Aware informed us of such, so they took place just as He informed.

So when these calamities befall, the people split into two categories regarding them: the impatient one and the patient.

As for the impatient, then he gathers between two calamities:

  1. Losing his beloved, i.e. the calamity itself.
  2. He misses out on something greater than that; the reward contained in carrying out the command of Allaah to have patience.

So such a person only has the loss (of his close one), while at the same time being forbidden from the reward. His faith (eemaan) decreases; and patience, being pleased, and being thankful all pass him by. Instead he is discontent, (and this indicates) a severe deficiency (in him).

As for the one whom Allaah grants patience to at the time of calamity, and he restrains himself from showing discontent in his speech or action, rather he awaits the reward with Allaah for such, while being aware that which he attains from the reward of having patience is greater and more tremendous than the calamity that has befallen him; because this calamity becomes a way for him to achieve that which is better and of more benefit – then this person has carried out the command of Allaah and succeeded with the reward.

Due to this, He – the Most High – said:

((Give glad tidings to the patient)) meaning: Give them glad tidings that they will be rewarded without being taken to account.

So those who are patient – they are the ones who gain glad tidings, and a great bounty.

Then He described those who are patient with His saying:

((Those, who – when a calamity befalls them)) and it [the calamity] is everything that causes the heart to feel pain, or the body, or both – from those things that have been mentioned.

((They say: Indeed we are Allaah’s)) meaning: we belong to Allaah, and are under His plan and His Command & Control. We own nothing – not our own selves, nor our wealth – so if He tests us with something from that then He is the Most Merciful, and has caused such to take place in relation to those that He owns, and their wealth. So no one objects to Him, the Most High, regarding that.

Rather from the servants’ complete servitude is knowing that the trial is from The King, the All-Wise, Who is more merciful to His servants than they are to their own selves.

Due to that, the servant is pleased and content with that which has come from Allaah, and he thanks Him for His management of the affairs for that which is better for His servant, and he [the servant] does not know [that such a calamity is better for him].

And as we are owned by Allaah, we will indeed return to Him on the day of Resurrection. So every person will be rewarded in accordance with his action. Therefore, if we are patient and await the reward that is with Allaah, we will receive our reward in full with Him.

As for if we are impatient and despondent, we do not achieve except feeling discontent, while missing out on the reward. So acknowledging the fact that the servant belongs to Allaah, and will return to Him is from the greatest reasons of attaining patience.

((Those are the ones)) those described with the patience mentioned.

((Upon whom are blessings from their Lord)) meaning: Praise, and a commendation of their condition [i.e. of having patience].

((And mercy)) tremendous mercy, and from His mercy is that He causes them to have patience by way of which they attain the full reward.

((And it is those who are rightly guided)) Those that know the truth, and here it means their having knowledge that they belong to Allaah, and will surely return to Him. And they act in accordance with that, by having patience for the sake of Allaah (and hoping for His reward).

And in this verse is an indication that the one who does not have patience, then for him is the opposite of that. So he is dispraised by Allaah, and punished, misguided, and at loss.

So how great is the difference between the two parties, and how little is the stress and fatigue of the patient one. And how great is the pain of the despondent, impatient person.

These two verses contain in them:

  • Preparing ourselves for calamities before they occur, so that they seem lighter and easier if they come about.
  • (And in these verses) is how to face a calamity if it took place, and that is with patience.
  • And in these verses is a mention of what aids a person upon patience, and what is for the patient from reward.
  • And from these verses we come to know that the state of the impatient is opposite to that of the patient.

And these calamities and tests are the way of Allaah that have occurred before, and you shall not find a change in Allaah’s course.

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