Sunday, 24 September 2017

The Influence of the Scholars | Taking Lesson from the Mi’raj

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

In the Seerah of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), we read the beautiful experience and miraculous journey of the Mi’raj. The journey from Makkah Shareef to Baitul Muqqaddas (Jerusalem) is known as Isra and the miraculous journey to the seven heavens and beyond is known as the Mi’raj. …Whilst every aspect of the Isra and Mi’raj offers great lessons, there is a lesson that comes to mind considering these times that we live in and the responsibilities and the trust that devolves upon those who have knowledge of Deen and who are in a position where they are able to influence the people.

Our respected Muhadditheen have quoted Ahadith wherein Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) related that during this journey he (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was offered wine and milk to drink. Some say that this was at Masjid-al-Aqsa and others say it was in the heavens, near Sidratul Muntahah. When Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) accepted the milk, Hazrat Jibra’eel (Alaihis Salaam) said: “You have adopted that which is Al-Fitrah[1]. Had you taken the wine, your Ummah would have certainly gone astray.”[2]

Allah Ta’ala blessed Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) with a disposition which was pure and unadulterated and thus he (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) inclined to what is good and pure. Milk is pure and nourishing. …Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) explained that like milk provides nourishment and serves as a food and drink, similarly, the Deen of Islam offers complete spiritual nourishment.

Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is Sayyidul Ambiyaa[3], Khaatamun Nabiyyeen[4] and Imamul Muttaqeen[5]. If he (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) adopted the wrong action, then as Hazrat Jibra’eel (Alaihis Salaam) had said, it would have had such an influence – such a great effect – on the entire Ummah, that the Ummah would have gone astray. 

There is a great lesson in this incident for those who are known as scholars, and for those who preach, and for those who sit on the Mimbars, and for people like myself who give Bayaans, Wa’az and Nasihah. A lot depends on such people. In whichever direction they go, the Ummah will follow. There will be a large following in whichever direction these people go.

If a Scholar goes in the right direction, there will be a following in that direction and if he goes in the wrong direction, then too, there will be a following in the wrong direction. Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Aashiq-e-Ilaahi Bulandshahri (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) had said: “This statement of Hazrat Jibra’eel (Alaihis Salaam) makes evident that the character and deeds of a leader have a direct impact on his followers.”

It is not that everyone in the Ummah will just naturally and instinctively follow Haq (the truth).  If that was the case, we would not find so many people in the Ummah of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wsallam) following nafs and shaytaan. …Are we not following nafs and shaytaan in our lives? How often we place our own desires before the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala? …So many engage in sins recklessly – as if sins are the aim and objective of this worldly life (Na uzu Billah).

…Whether Haq or Baatil, there will be followers. Look at shaytaan! He too has a following!

The Scholars are supposed to be the leaders of the Ummah of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). They are assigned with the great trust and immense responsibility of conveying this message of Deen, of Haq. They are to show us the direction towards Jannah and also lead us in that direction – by practically implementing the Commandments of Allah Ta’ala and keeping clear of all the Prohibitions of Allah Ta’ala. Now, if the Scholars are going to go in the direction of Jahannum, then there will be a number of people who will follow them and who will say to Allah Ta’ala on the Day of Judgment: “Maulana Saheb, Qari Saheb, Mufti Saheb, Haji Saheb, Tablighi Saheb, Khanqah Saheb – and all these people of Deen, were showing us the direction to Jahannum. They were our leaders and we followed them.” …But this will not be an excuse. 

We, who are categorised as Scholars, should keep in mind the Hadith wherein Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever initiates a good practice in Islam and is emulated by others in doing so will get the reward of it and the reward of all those who act upon it without their rewards being diminished in any respect. And whosoever initiates an evil practice in Islam and is emulated by others will bear the sin of it and the sin of all those who act on it without their burden being diminished in the least.”[6]

One of the outstanding qualities of one who has knowledge is his fear of Allah Ta’ala:

إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللّٰهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمٰؤُاْ

 “…It is only those who have knowledge among his slaves that fear Allah…”
[Surah Fatir 35 : 28]

If a person has much knowledge but there is no obedience to Allah Ta’ala and there is an absence of the fear of Allah Ta’ala, he will not be categorised amongst the ‘Ulama or Ahle-Ilm.

So if the Scholars give leeway in respect to any of the Muharramaat (prohibitions), there is no doubt that the Ummah will very freely move in the direction of sins. And this is what we find happening today. Hazrat Mufti Rasheed Ahmad Saheb Ludhyaanwi (Rahmatullahi Alaih) had explained that when the people of learning set a wrong precedent, the consequences are very severe:

1.)    Accountability before Allah Ta’ala will be harsher.
2.)    The wrongdoing by the Scholars emboldens the masses to engage in sin.
3.)    The masses will consider sin as permissible.

Our Akaabir always considered that their actions must not affect the Deen in any way. They were very particular about their actions. They looked at the bigger picture and did not compromise on Deen.  As Scholars, there has to be concern for the safety of the Ummah and of humanity at large. We should think of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam)'s deep concern for the Ummah, his tears for the Ummah, and his repeated Dua for: "Ummati, Ummati" 

The incident of Isra and Mi’raj is very clear: Had Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) adopted that one single action, the Ummah would have gone astray.  Those who hold some kind of influence should realise that their actions can ultimately “make” this Ummah or “break” this Ummah.

May Allah Ta’ala grant us the concern. May Allah Ta’ala grant us Taqwa and Istiqaamah on Siraatul Mustaqeem. May Allah Ta’ala make us true flagbearers of this beautiful Deen and true representatives of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

By Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh)

[1] A natural, pure state
[2] Sahih Muslim
[3] Sayyidul Ambiyaa : Master of the Messengers (of Allah Ta’ala)
[4] Khaatamun Nabiyyeen : Seal of the Messengers (of Allah Ta’ala)
[5] Imamul Muttaqeen : The leader of the pious
[6] Sahih Muslim

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Photography and Picture-Making

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

By Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh)

Nowadays, we find that photography and videoing have become accepted in all circles, yet Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said“Those involved in picture-making will be subjected to the worst forms of punishment on the day of Qiyamah.”[1] ...In another Hadith, Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (Radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Those involved in picture making will be severely punished on the Day of Qiyamah and Allah Ta’ala will say to them, ‘Give life to what you have created!’.”[2] We also know the Fatwa of our respected Imams of Fiqh and the majority of past and present Scholars. They prohibited pictures of anything animate. 

Photography carries within it so much of evil and it erupts into so many more sins. …Like a volcano erupts and spews out rocks, gases, ash and lava, which cause great harm and destruction, photography has led to an eruption of Fitan and spews out immodesty, obscenity and a host of other evils. There is no doubt that photography plays a key role in the destruction of man’s spirituality, modesty and morality. I receive so many emails and letters, and from the correspondence, it is clear that many, many people – young and old – are caught up in pornography and other sins, stemming from photography. …I have mentioned previously that the porn- industry and filthy films are all based on pictures. This gives rise to rape, incest, child porn and other vices. Islam cuts at the root of the evil by prohibiting picture-making and photography[3]Whatever we see today, of various Fitan, is due to the Shar’i prohibitions being flouted and disregarded.

Our Shaykh, Hazrat Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) had said that despite the deep love that the Sahaba-e-Kiraam (Radhiyallahu ‘Anhum) had for Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), not one of them drew any image of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). 

…From amongst the Sahaba-e-Kiraam (Radhiyallahu ‘Anhum), some could have sketched images of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) … when he was at Badr, at Uhud … in his armour; when digging the trench at Khandaq, when Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was entering Makkatul Mukarramah at the time of its conquest; when Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was on the plains of Arafah, hands raised, imploring and begging of Allah Ta’ala … So many pictures could have been drawn, to "capture the moment", to keep those "memories alive" and so that we, the latter of the Ummah, may also see a picture or pictures of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), but not one Sahabi (Radhiyallahu ‘Anhum) drew such pictures. 

Since picture-making, in any form, is prohibited, they did not compromise on obedience to Allah Ta'ala and His Rasul (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam). Their condition was: "We hear and we obey."  This is what we have to learn to nurture and imbibe within ourselves: When we hear the Command of Allah Ta'ala; when we hear the Command of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam), we should willingly submit and obey. 

We are told to follow the Sahaba-e-Kiraam (Radhiyallahu ‘Anhum) for guidance. Rasulullah Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: “My Companions are like the stars, whichever of them you follow you will be rightly guided.”[4] ...The Sahaba-e-Kiraam (Radhiyallahu anhum) set a precedent and a beautiful example for us. We need to follow in their noble footsteps. 

May Allah Ta’ala grant us the concern, and grant us obedience to Him and His Rasul (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam). May Allah Ta'ala grant us Istiqaamah on Siraatul Mustaqeem.

by Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel Saheb (RA)

[1] Sahih Al-Bukhari / Sahih Muslim
[2] Sahih Muslim / Sahih Al-Bukhari
[3] It is prohibited to draw or take pictures of, or carve or sculpt, living, animate beings, like people, birds, animals, and so forth. 
[4] Musnad ‘Abd Ibn Humaid (see the Muntakhab, Hadith: 781) Jami’u Bayanil ‘ilmi wa fadhlihi, (Vol.2 pg.181)