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Archive for February 2010

37. Roohullaah – The ‘Spirit’ of Allaah

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[This is a continuation of the previous post on mysticism & Fanaa]

Support for the mystic belief in the re-unification of the human soul with Allaah has also been falsely deduced from some of the verses of the Qur’aan itself. The following verses in which Allaah said:

(Quran Chapter 32. As Sajdah ayat 9)

Then He (Allaah) fashioned him (Aadam) and blew in him from His spirit

(Quran Chapter 15. Al Hijr ayat 29)

When I fashioned him and blew into him of My Spirit

have been used as evidence for the belief that every human being contains within his body a part of God. The portion of Allaah’s “spirit” which Allaah breathed into Aadam has supposedly been inherited by all of his descendents. Thus, it is believed among mystics that this divine eternal spirit within man yearns to reunite with its origin from whence it came. However, this is not the case.

Possessive pronouns (my, your, his, her, our) in Arabic, as in English, have two general meanings depending on the context in which they are used. They may describe an attribute or a possession which is (or is not) a part of its owner. For example, in Allaah’s command to Prophet Moosaa (Moses)

(Quran Chapter 20. Taaha ayat 22)

Put your hand inside your shirt and it will come out shining unharmed…

both the “hand” and “shirt” belonged to Prophet Moosaa but his hand was an attribute which was a part of him, while his shirt was a possession which was not a part of him. The same is the case relative to God with regards to His attributes and His creation. For example, in the case of divine mercy wherein He says

(Quran Chapter 2. Al Baqarah ayat 105)

Allaah gives His mercy specifically to whomsoever He wishes…

Allaah’s mercy is one of his attributes and not a part of His creation. On the other hand, Allaah sometimes refers to created things as “His” to emphasize the fact that He created them. Yet others are referred to as His to indicate the special position of honor with which He views them. For example, with respect to the She-Camel sent as a test to Prophet Saalih’s people, the Thamood, Allaah quoted Prophet Saalih as saying

(Quran Chapter 7. Al A‘raaf ayat 73)

This is Allaah’s camel sent to you as a sign. So allow it to graze in Allaah’s earth

The camel was miraculously sent as a sign to the Thamood who did not have any right to deny it from grazing, because the whole earth belongs to Allaah. Similarly is the case of the Ka’bah about which Allaah made a covenant with Prophets Ibraaheem (Abraham) and Ismaa’eel (Ishmael):

(Quran Chapter 2. Al Baqarah ayat 125)

…and we commanded Ibrahim (Abraham) and Ismail (Ishmael) that they should purify My House (the Ka’bah at Makkah) for those who are circumambulating it, or staying (I’tikaaf), or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in prayer).

As for the spirit (Rooh), it is one of Allaah’s creations. Allaah states in the Qur’aan

(Quran Chapter 17. Al Israa’ ayat 85)

They ask you concerning the Rooh (spirit), tell them the Spirit is from my Lord’s command; and you have not been given except a very small amount of knowledge

Elsewhere in the Qur’aan He said: (Quran Chapter 3. Ale Imraan ayat 47)

If Allaah has decided a thing, He only has to command: Be, and it is

And He also said: (Quran Chapter 3. Ale Imraan ayat 59)

He (Allaah) created him (Aadam) from clay then said: Be, and he was.

The command is “be” for all of creation. Therefore, the spirit is created by Allaah’s command. Islaam does not consider God to be an incorporeal Spirit, as do some religions like Christianity. He has neither corporeal body nor is He a formless spirit. He has a form befitting His majesty, the like of which no man has ever seen or conceived.

When Allaah refers to the blowing of a spirit from Himself into prophets Aadam and ‘Eesaa, special honor is given to their created spirits due to the prominence of Prophet Aadam’s position in relation to the rest of mankind and to clarify the confusion concerning Maryam’s virgin birth of Prophet ‘Eesaa. Even Allaah’s attribution of the act of blowing to Himself is, in fact, a clarification of His will and supreme power, for it is the angels who actually insert and extract the souls into man. Thus a better translation of the first two verses would be

(Quran Chapter 32. As Sajdah ayat 9)

Then He fashioned him, and breathed into him the soul (created by Allaah for that person)…

(Quran Chapter 15. Al Hijr ayat 29)

So, when I have fashioned Him completely and breathed into Him (Adam) the soul which I created for him…

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Written by S Ibrahim

Feb 21, 2010 at 12:46 pm

36. Fanaa or Nirvana – The Union of Man With God

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A look at various lists of the most prominent so-called saints, reveals names like that of al-Hallaaj who claimed divinity in his infamous pronouncement “Anal-Haqq” [I am the Reality] when Allaah already said

(Quran Chapter 22. Al Hajj ayat 6)

That is so, because Allaah is the Reality and it is He who gives life to the dead, and it is He who is able to do All things.

What led this individual to make such a pronouncement was his belief in a principle very similar to the ultimate state of being in Buddhism known as “ Nirvana”[Sanskrit term meaning “blown out”]. In this state, according to a branch of Buddhist thought, the ego disappears and the human soul and consciousness are extinguished.

This concept also forms the core of a philosophy known as “mysticism”. Mysticism is defined as an experience of union with God and the belief that man’s main goal lies in the seeking that union. Plato wrote Symposium in which mention is made of various ladders of ascent. A parallel concept can also be found in Hinduism’s identification of Atman (human soul) with Brahman (the impersonal Absolute). St. Pachomius (290-346 CE) established the first set of rules for Christian monasticism and founded nine monasteries in the Egyptian desert.

A group of Muslims who didn’t like the Sharee‘ah (Islamic Law), developed a parallel system which they named the Tareeqah (the way). Just as the ultimate goal of the Hindu was unity with the world soul and of the Christian mystic union with God; the ultimate goal of this movement became Fanaa, the dissolution of the ego, and Wusool, the meeting and unification of the human soul with Allah in this life.

A series of preliminary stages and state which had to be attained were defined. They were called Maqaamaat (stations) and Haalaat (states). A system of spiritual exercises was also designed for the initiate in order to bring about this “meeting.” These exercises of Dhikr often involved head and body movements and sometimes even dance, as in the case of whirling dervishes. All of these practises were attributed to the Prophet through chains of narration in order to validate them, but there does not exist any authentic support for them in any of the classical books of Hadeeth.

A multiplicity of systems evolved, and orders, similar to those among Christian monks, appeared named after their founders, like the Qaadiri, Chishti, Nakhshabandi, and Teejaani orders. Along with that, volumes of legends and fairy tales were spun around the founders and the outstanding personalities of these orders. And, just as Christian and Hind monks chose special isolated structures (i.e. monasteries) in which to house their communities, the Sufi orders developed similar housing schemes called Zaawiyahs (lit. corners).

Thank Almighty, Now you know where the concepts and practices of Tareeqa came from. The bottom-line is tareeqas have nothing to do with the Islam the Prophet taught. The unislamic practices don’t become Islamic just because they wear a cap or have a beard. BTW, orthodox Jews have longer beards and wear caps all the time.

For more info on Sufism and Burdah, please click here. Please note that i haven’t read all posts in that blog, nor necessarily agree with all the contents of that blog.

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35. Saint / Walee, Sainthood, Walayath

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The literal translation of Walee is “ally” or “friend”. It can refer to Allaah Himself, Satan, close relative, etc.

(Quran Chapter 2. Al Baqarah ayat 257)

Allaah is the Walee (protector or guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light. but as for those who disbelieve, their Auliyaa (supporters and helpers) are Tâghût [false deities and false leaders, etc.], they bring them out from light into darkness…

(Quran Chapter 4. An Nisaa’ ayat 119)

and whoever takes Shaitaan (Satan) as a Walee (protector or helper) instead of Allaah, has surely suffered a manifest loss.

The usage which concerns us most is “ Awliyaa Allaah” close friends of Allaah. In the Qur’aan Allaah has designated among mankind certain types of  individuals whom He considers especially close to Himself.

(Quran Chapter 10. Yunus ayat 62-63)

No doubt! Verily, the Awliyaa’ of Allaah [i.e. those who believe In the Oneness of Allaah, fear Allaah much, and love Allaah much], no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve, those who believe and have Taqwa (piety)

Allaah explains for us that the criterion for “Walaayah” (divine friendship) is Eemaan (faith) and Taqwaa (piety) and these qualities are shared by all true believers. Among the ignorant masses, the main criterion for Walaayah (“Sainthood”) is the performance of miracles which are commonly called Karaamaat.

(Quran Chapter 49. Al Hujuraat ayat 13)

…Verily, the most honorable of you with Allaah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaqûn (pious)…

Most people with this belief don’t care about the faith and practises of the “miracle” performers. He can be a drunkard, womanizer, performed no prayer at all. Yet, if he did some karaamath, he is considered a Wali. Some who have been designated “saints” held heretical beliefs and practises, while others were known to have abandoned the religious rituals, and, yet others were even involved in licentious and vulgar behaviour. However, nowhere has Allaah made the working of miracles a stipulation for being His Walee.

Miracles are not the measure of righteousness or closeness to God, because evil Jinns too can perform miracles. We believe that Dajjal will perform miracles (So, is Dajjal a Walee?). During Pharoah’s time, Magicians performed some magic and Prophet Moosa was scared. Devils can perform magic.

Why can’t we designate certain pious people as “Wali”?

Only Allah knows what is in hearts. Man can only judge people by each other’s outward deeds which may be misleading. Allaah made that abundantly clear in the following verse

(Quran Chapter 2. Al Baqarah ayat 204)

and of mankind there is he whose speech may please you (O Muhammad ), in this worldly life, and he calls Allaah to witness as to that which is in his heart, yet he is the most quarrelsome of the enemies

Similarly, we don’t have authority to call someone a martyr (Shaheed / Shahid). Ibn ‘Abbaas said that he was told by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab that on the day of (the battle) of Khaybar, some of the Prophet’s companions came and said, “ So and so is a martyr and so and so is a martyr,” but when they came to a man about whom they said, “ So and so is a martyr,” Allaah’s messenger declared, “ By no means! I have seen him in hell in a cloak which he took (from the spoils) dishonestly.” Allaah’s messenger then said, “Go, Ibn al-Khattaab, and announce among the people three times that only the believers will enter paradise.” [Saheeh Muslim 1/209]

The Prophet Muhammad specified among his companions (Sahaabah) some whom he gave glad tidings of paradise in this life. However, such pronouncements were based on revelation and not his own ability to judge the hearts.

Written by S Ibrahim

Feb 20, 2010 at 10:44 pm

34. Magic

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Magic may be defined as “the art that purports to control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural”, or  “The practice of using charms, spells, or rituals to attempt to produce supernatural effects or control events in nature”, or “The exercise of sleight of hand or conjuring for entertainment”

Two types of Magic

  1. Trickery: Sleight of hand (Card games, vanishing acts, rabit from a hat, etc). Much of the magic is of this type
  2. Working with evil Jinns (Shaytan): A few people around the world practice this. Since modern science denies anything supernatural, many deny this. Jinns, like human beings, have some power. Ganesh idols drinking milk, statues moving around, golden calf mooing etc can all be explained by this type

Westerners divide magic into White (good) and Black (Evil). From a Muslim’s perspective, it’s all the same: evil. The term Shihr makes no distinction between branches of magic (sorcery, witchcraft, divination, etc)

Magic and miracles may appear same. During Pharoah’s time, the magicians performed magic, when they threw the sticks that appeared as snakes. Moses (AS) did miracle, and the magicians realized it’s not magic. And so, they became Muslims. Ibn Thaymiah (RA) wrote a book “Differences between the Friends of Allah, and the friends of Shaytan”

Magic does exist, but they can’t harm without Allaah’s permission:

(Quran Chapter 2. Al Baqarah ayat 102)

They followed what the Shayaatin (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) In the lifetime of Sulaimaan (Solomon). Sulaimaan did not disbelieve, but the Shayaatin (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Haarût and Maarût, but neither of These two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, “We are Only for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).” and from These (angels) people learn that by which they Cause separation between man and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allaah’s leave. and they learn that which harms them and profits them not. and indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no share in the Hereafter. and How bad indeed was that for which they sold their ownselves, if they but knew.

This verse tells us that Prophet Sulaiman wasn’t the one who taught magic (A refutation against Jews’ Cabala), that learning magic is an act of disbelief and haraam (forbidden), and that the learners of magic will be in Hell

Prophet (PBUH) was affected by the spell of a Jew Labeeb Ibn ‘Asam [al-Bayhaqi, Bukhari (7/660), Muslim (3/5428)]. But, that didn’t affect revelations. He became forgetful; he thought the objects that were closer were far away, and vice versa. Allah probably allowed this effect to teach us the magic exists, and that he is a human

Possession: A person, who commits sacrilegious acts, opens himself for Jinn to enter his body. Going beyond physical exercises in Yoga, contemplating in Temples, going to Chi “tasks” in Kung fu etc can open the doors for Jinn to enter. You can walk on burning coals; talk about far away people; etc. All these can happen with a contract with Jinn (You follow Jinn’s requests to commit shirk, and it performs your requests). Jinns can’t be controlled.

Islamic Ruling on Magic: If you learn the tricks (like “hand is faster than eyes”), only to explain and not to fool, then it is OK. All other magic is haraam. Magic was also prohibited in Torah, and here is the punishment

‘A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist (wizard) among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.’ (Leviticus 20:27)

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33. Astrology

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The Arabic term Tanjeem comes from Najm (Star), and it refers to the field of star and planetary calculations. The three categories of Tanjeem are

  1. Astrological Causation: Humans, animals etc are influenced by heavenly bodies / stars. This belief is a Shirk. Started at least in 3rd milleniem BC in Greek. Horoscope (your marriage will last because your zodiac is xxx and her sign is yyy) is an example
  2. Muslim version: Same thing as above, but they add “By the will of Allah”. A form of entertainment in royal courts started in later Umayyad caliphs – court astrologers. Other forms include comedians, dancing girls, Hanafi scholar Vs Shafi scholar debates (Maliki madhab was in Hijaz) for intellectual entertainment of king, and a prize for winning scholar. There is a difference between saying Insha Allah after making a weather forecast, and saying it after predicting something using Zodiac signs. A shirk doesn’t become Halal by saying Bismillah or Insha Allaah
  3. Astronomy: Using stars & planetary formations for directions (e.g: North Star), determine seasons (in earlier times). This is a legitimate use.

What is the proof that Astronomy (#3) is acceptable?

(Quran Chapter 6. Al An’am ayat 97)

It is He who has set the stars for you, so that you may guide your course with their help through the darkness of the land and the sea…

Astrology is a branch of fortunetelling, and is not to be confused with Astronomy. Astrology destroys Tawheed Asma was-sifat of Allah, because you give the attributes of Allah to humans (knowing future) or to heavenly bodies. Please see the previous posts for proofs. I don’t want to repeat the verses & Hadeeths in every post. Here is one that is explicit:

Hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas in which the Prophet(pbuh) said, “Whoever acquires knowledge of any branch of astrology, has acquired knowledge of a branch of magic.The more he increases in that knowledge, the more he increases in sin.” (Sunan Abu Dawood, Vol. 3,p. 1095,no. 3896)

Written by S Ibrahim

Feb 15, 2010 at 10:14 pm

32. Fortunetelling

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Fortunetelling has the same objective as charms & omens: Avoid evil, and bring good. There is an array of practices, which look different, but have the same bottom-line. Reading tea-leaves [Drinking tea is good for health, but don’t try to see your future after drinking it], horoscopes, crystal ball, palmistry/palm-reading, wish bone, randomly touching a verse of Quran [Reading Quran is good, but trying to know your future by touching a verse of Quran is Shirk too. The intention matters], Zodiacal signs, Bio-rhythm computer programs, I-Ching, etc

Two groups of practitioners:

1. Those that prey upon gullible masses. People will remember the 1 prediction that happened, and forget the 99 that didn’t happen. Everything you hear and see goes into subconscious, and when anything happens, it triggers that memory “Ah! He told me that”. Ask him “What else he said?”

2. Those who work with Jinn (Jinn are a creation of Allah which co-exists with man on the earth and may have occult powers): They can tell the fortune teller about your family, public info etc. Your Qareen Jinn will feed info to these fortunetellers

Islam opposes any form of association with those who practice fortunetelling.

Prophet said “The Salaah (daily prayer) of whoever approaches a fortuneteller and asks him about anything will not be accepted for forty days and nights” [Saheeh Muslim vol.4. Saiyah reported from Hafsah]

The punishment in this hadith is simply for approaching the asking the astrologer, even if one does it for fun.

Various forms of approaching a fortuneteller: Physical visit, read the books and writings of fortunetellers in papers/magazines, listen to them on radio, watch them on television, browsing them on the Web etc. Don’t even do it for fun or curiosity.

Belief in Fortune Tellers makes a Muslim a disbeliever.  Prophet said, “Whoever approaches an oracle or fortuneteller and believes what he says, he has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad.’ [Sunan Abu Dawood vol.3, Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi. Narrators: Abu Hurayrah & al-Hasan]

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31. Omens, Knowledge of future

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Definition of Omen: a circumstance, phenomenon, etc that is regarded as a sign of a future event, either good or evil. A phenomenon supposed to portend good or evil

The creation, maintenance and eventual destruction of the universe and its contents are by Allah’s command, and both good and bad occur according to Allah’s will. However, man has always wondered “Is there any way of knowing before hand whether good times or bad times are coming?” For, if there is a way of knowing ahead of time, misfortune could then be avoided and success could be ensured.

Pre-Islamic Arabs used to consider the direction in which birds and animals moved to be a sign of impeding good or bad fortune and would plan their lives around such signs. The practice of reading good and bad omens in bird and animal movements was referred to as Tiyarah

Prophet said “Whoever does Tiyarah, or has it done for himself, … is not one of us” (Tirmidhee). That means, he is not a Muslim.

Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al ‘Aas reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said,”Whoever is prevented from doing something by Tiyarah, has committed shirk.” The companions asked, “What is its atonement?” He replied, “Say: ‘Allaahumma laa khayra illaa khayruk wa laa Tayra illaa Tayruk wa laa elaaha ghayruk.’ (‘Oh Allah, there is no good except Your good, nor birds except Yours, and there is no god beside You’).”  (Collected by Ahmed and at-Tabaraanee)

There are many forms of Omens: Black cats, knock on wood, Friday the 13th, etc

In Islam, only Allah has absolute knowledge of everything and knows the secrets of tomorrow. Allah does not reveal the secret of tomorrow to any man except His prophets, as needed.

(Quran Sura al-Jinn 72:26-27)

26. “(He Alone) the All-Knower of the Ghaa’ib (unseen) and He reveals to none his Ghaa’ib (unseen).”

27. except to a Messenger (from mankind) whom He has chosen (Allaah informs him of unseen as much as He likes), and Then He makes a band of watching guards (angels) to march before him and behind him.

(Quran Sura Luqman 31:34)

Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone), He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allaah is All­Knower, All­Aware (of things).

(Quran Sura A’raaf 7:188) Allaah commanded our prophet Muhammad (PBUH), to declare to mankind thus:

Say: “I have no power over any good or harm to myself except as Allah wills. If I had knowledge of the unseen I should have multiplied all good and no evil should have touched me I am but a warner and a bringer of glad tidings to those who have faith”

(Quran Sura Al An’am 6:50)

Say (O Muhammad ): “I don’t tell you that with me are the treasures of Allâh, nor (that) I know the unseen; nor I tell you that I am an angel. I but follow what is revealed to me by inspiration.” say: “Are the blind and the one who sees equal? will you not then take thought?”

Now you know that even Prophet Muhammad had no access to the knowledge of future. Do you think you are better than him, and has a chance to know future? Whoever claims to know the future is attributing to himself/herself one of the attributes of Allah, i.e. The Knower of unseen and hidden things.

And the worst thing is: By trying to predict the future, people think they can prevent the destiny. In a way, they believe they have the ability to stop Allaah’s wishes/actions.

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Written by S Ibrahim

Feb 10, 2010 at 1:00 am

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