Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Al-Fitrah

Assalamu alaikum, below are all of my notes for Lesson 179 of the Book of Funerals where we studied Hadeeth 679-682. Shaykb Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq delivered this lesson on Friday 11th January 2008.

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باب: إذَا أَسلَمَ الصّبِيّ فَمَاتَ, هَلْ يُصَلّى عَلَيهِ وَهَلْ يُعرَضُ عَلَى الصّبِيّ الإِسلاَمُ

CHAPTER 38. Chapter when the child embraces Islam and then dies, should Salat al-Jinazah be performed over the child and should Islam be presented to the child?

679. عَنْ أَنَسٍ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: كانَ غُلاَمٌ يَهُودِيّ يَخْدُمُ النّبِيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَمَرِضَ, فَأَتَاهُ النّبِيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَعُودُهُ, فَقَعَدَ عِنْدَ رَأْسِهِ, فَقَالَ لَهُ: (أَسْلِمْ). فَنَظَرَ إِلَى أَبِيهِ وَهُوَ عِنْدَهُ, فَقَالَ لَهُ: أَطِعْ أَبَا الْقَاسِمِ صلى الله عليه وسلم, فَأَسْلَمَ, فَخَرَجَ النّبِيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَهُوَ يَقُولُ: (الحَمْدُ للهِ الّذِي أَنْقَذَهُ مِنَ النّارِ). رواه البخاري: 1356 .

679. Narrated Anas رضى الله عنه : A young Jewish boy used to serve the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and he became sick. So the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم went to visit him. He sat near his head and asked him to embrace Islâm. The boy looked at his father, who was sitting there; the latter told him to obey Abu Qasim صلى الله عليه وسلم and the boy embraced Islâm. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم came out saying: All the praises and thanks be to Allâh Who saved the boy from the Hellfire. (2:438O.B.)

Hadeeth 679 – the hadeeth isn’t clear how old the child was. However, the word Ghulam as in this hadeeth can mean someone in his teenage years i.e. a young lad. It appears he was close to maturity as he would come and serve the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). He was employed to serve the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) on occasions – someone must have paid him. He remained a Jew and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) went to visit him when he learnt he was ill. The child was very ill and close to death. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) spoke to him and invited him to embrace Islam. The boy looked at his father who told him to obey Abu Qasim (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Abu Qasim was the qunya of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) as his eldest son was Qasim who passed away, and the Jews would often refer to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) as Abu Qasim. The boy embraced Islam and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said ‘May that Allah be glorified and praised who saved the boy from the fire’.

680. عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: (ما مِنْ مَوْلُودٍ يولدُ إِلاّ يُولَدُ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ, فَأَبَوَاهُ يُهَوّدَانِهِ, أَوْ يُنَصّرَانِهِ, أَوْ يُمَجّسَانِهِ, كما تُنْتَجُ الْبَهِيمَةُ بَهِيمَةً جَمْعَاءَ, هَلْ تُحِسّونَ فِيهَا مِنْ جَدْعَاءَ). ثُمّ يَقُولُ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ: (فِطْرَةَ اللهِ الّتِي فَطَرَ النّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لاَ تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللهِ ذلِكَ الدّينُ الْقَيّمُ). رواه البخاري: 1359

680. Narrated Abu Huraira رضى الله عنه : Allâh's Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said, Every child is born on Al-Fitrah but his parents convert him to Judaism, Christianity or a Fire-worshipper, as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal. Do you find it mutilated? Then Abu Huraira رضى الله عنه recited the holy Verses: Allâh's Fitrah (i.e. Allâh's Islâmic Monotheism) with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Khalqillah (i.e. the Religion of Allâh Islâmic Monotheism). That is the Straight Religion but most of men know not. (V.30:30). (2:441O.B.)

Hadeeth 680 – after narrating this hadeeth Abu Hurairah (رضى الله عنه) would recite the following verse of the Holy Qur’an (from Surah Rum):

فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

Wherefore set thou thy face towards the true religion uprightly. And follow thou the constitution of Allah according to which He hath constituted mankind. No altering let there be in Allah's creation. That is the right religion, but most men know not.

The Shaykh mentioned that this is a very famous hadeeth but he fears that many people partially misunderstand it.

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said that there is no child except that it is born upon fitrah. However, contrary to popular belief, the Shaykh says that not every child is born a Muslim. Each child is born upon nature i.e. fitrah and then his parents make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian or of any other religious persuasion.

The Shaykh mentioned that more about why the Shaykh says not every child is born a Muslim will become clearer when we study Chapter 47 - What is said regarding the (dead) children of Al Mushrikân. (باب: مَا قِيلَ فِي أَولاَدِ المُشْرِكِين).

The Shaykh said that based on the ahadeeth there is great theological discussion regarding the status of children who die out of Islam. If every child was born a Muslim then there would never be this discussion.
The Shaykh asked that if every child was born Muslim, then why should Islam be presented to any child except after puberty?

What is the meaning of fitrah in this case if it doesn’t mean Islam? The Shaykh explained that it means ‘natural state’ which is one of purity and cleanliness unaffected by external factors. If one was left in this natural, uncorrupted and pristine state then they would surely be guided to the beauty and truth of Islam. The natural state is such that it brings a person close to Islam and that person is more receptive and inclined towards religion. There is a primordial instinct and recollection of Allah and the truth of Islam. However, the Shaykh explained that it is not Islam itself.

There is a hadeeth of Saheeh Muslim that can help one understand this issue more. Once the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was on a journey and they heard a shepherd calling out and they heard him calling out ‘Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar’. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said ‘He is upon Fitrah’. The man then said the shadahah (testimony of faith). The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said ‘Now he has saved himself from the fire’. The first statement did not make him a Muslim it was the natural instinct which stirred within him and he said ‘Allah is the Greatest’. The latter statement made him a Muslim.

In the realm of the spirits, long before our birth, Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) asked us all the question ‘Am I not your Lord?’ We have all already testified to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) that He is our Lord and Master. Hence, it is our instinct. This is part of our fitrah.

When a child is born, external factors do come into play e.g. a different religion or even a lack of religion around the child has an impact. The child remains in a natural state until they make a decision and conscience choice with regard to religion.

We should remember that the discussion here is not related to the ultimate destiny of the child i.e. in the akhira. Currently, the discussion is related to the dunya and applying the laws of Islam for the child e.g. burial, funeral prayer etc.

Some ulema have adopted the opinion that Fitrah means Al-Islam, however this is not the view of the vast majority of the scholars since it would render all other related discussions meaningless.

The verse that Abu Hurairah (رضى الله عنه) would recite (see above) contains the words ‘No altering let there be in Allah's creation’ – what this means is that we should not contribute towards the corruption of a child’s natural state that would affect the child in recognising Allah.

باب: إذَا قَالَ المُشرِكُ عِنْدَ المَوتِ: لاَ إلهَ إلاّ الله

CHAPTER 39. When a pagan says Lâ ilâha illAllâh at the time of his death.

681. عَنِ المسيّب بن حَزْنٍ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: لَمّا حَضَرَتْ أَبَا طَالِبٍ الْوَفَاةُ, جَاءَهُ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم, فَوَجَدَ عِنْدَهُ أَبَا جَهْلٍ بْنَ هِشَامٍ, وَعَبْدَ اللهِ بْنَ أَبِي أُمَيّةَ بْنِ المُغِيرَةِ, قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لِأَبِي طَالِبٍ: (يَا عَمّ, قُلْ لاَ إِلهَ إِلاّ اللهُ, كَلِمَةً أَشْهَدُ لَكَ بِهَا عِنْدَ اللهِ). فَقَالَ أَبُو جَهْلٍ وَعَبْدُ اللهِ بْنُ أَبي أُمَيّةَ: يَا أَبَا طَالِبٍ, أَتَرْغَبُ عَنْ مِلّةِ عَبْدِ المُطّلِبِ, فَلَمْ يَزَلْ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَعْرِضُهَا عَلَيْهِ, وَيَعُودَانِ بِتِلْكَ المَقَالَةِ, حَتّى قَالَ أَبُو طَالِبٍ اَخِرَ ما كَلّمَهُمْ: هُوَ عَلَى مِلّةِ عَبْدِ المُطّلِبِ. وَأَبى أَنْ يَقُولَ: لاَ إِلهَ إِلاّ اللهُ. فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: (أَمّا وَاللهِ لأَسْتَغْفِرَنّ لَكَ مَا لَمْ أُنْهَ عَنْكَ). فَأَنْزَلَ اللهُ تَعَالَى فِيهِ: (ما كانَ لِلنّبِيّ). الاَيَةَ. رواه البخاري: 1360

681. Narrated Al Musaiyyab bin Hazn رضى الله عنه : When the time of the death of Abu Tâlib approached, Allâh's Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم went to him and found Abu Jahl bin Hishâm and 'Abdullah bin Abi Umaiyya bin Al Mughira by his side. Allâh's Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said to Abu Tâlib, O uncle! Say: Lâ ilâha IllAllâh (none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh) a sentence with which I shall be a witness (i.e. argue) for you before Allâh. Abu Jahl and 'Abdullâh bin Abi Umaiyya said, O Abu Tâlib! Are you going to denounce the religion of 'Abdul Muttalib? Allâh's Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم kept on inviting Abu Tâlib to say it (i.e. Lâ ilâha illAllah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh')) while they (Abu Jahl and 'Abdullah) kept on repeating their statement till Abu Tâlib said as his last statement that he was on the religion of Abdul Muttalib and refused to say, Lâ ilâha illAllâh (none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh). Then Allâh's Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said, I will keep on asking Allâh's Forgiveness for you unless I am forbidden (by Allâh) to do so. So Allâh revealed (the Verse) concerning him (i.e. It is not (proper) for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allâh's Forgiveness for the Mushrikun even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of the Fire) (V.9:113). (2:442O.B.)

Hadeeth 681 - This hadeeth refers to the time when the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) paternal uncle, Abu Talib, was on his deathbed. Abu Talib looked after the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) from the age of eight. He cared for him and protected him. Abu Talib was not a rich man but was noble. The Arabs would recognise the difference between nobility and wealth; not every rich man was a noble man amongst them. Abu Talib’s nobility and lineage meant that he was held in high regard amongst the Quraish and this served to protect the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم).

At this time, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was in his 50th year, and this was three years before the hijrah. This was known as the Year of Sorrow for Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Within a short time, he lost both his uncle and his wife, Khadijah (رضى الله عنها). They were both stalwart pillars of support for Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم).

When the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) arrived, with the intention of presenting Islam once more to Abu Talib (as he lay on his deathbed) some people from the Quraish were already there including Abu Jahl and Abdullah ibn Abi Umaiyya. The Prophet said to him ‘Oh my uncle! Say Lâ ilâha illallâh so that I may intercede on your behalf before Allah’. Abu Jahl, a persecutor of the believers, stood there with Abdullah ibn Abi Umaiyya who was also a staunch enemy of the Muslims at the time. They said ‘Oh Abu Talib! Your nephew is presenting Islam to you. Will you embrace Islam and turn away from the religion of your father, 'Abdul Muttalib, and forefathers?’. Both sides were pulling him i.e. on one side the invitation of Islam and on the other side Abu Jahl and the others kept reminding him to stay on the religion of his forefathers. Eventually Abu Talib said ‘Upon the religion of Abdul Muttalib’. In another narration, it is narrated that Abu Talib said that he would have only have said it to cool the eyes of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), however, but not if the Quraish would taunt him after his death. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) then said to Abu Talib that he would keep on praying for his uncle’s forgiveness unless Allah forbade him from this. The verse of the Qur’an mentioned in the hadeeth was revealed which forbids the Muslims to pray for forgiveness for the pagans even if they are one’s close relatives.

Abu Jahl died in the battle of Badr five years later. However, Abdullah ibn Abi Umaiyya embraced Islam just before the conquest of Makkah and he died later fighting in one of the battles with Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Abdullah ibn Abi Umaiyya was actually the half brother of Umm Salama (رضى الله عنها), the wife of Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم). He was also a cousin brother of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Umm Salama’s (رضى الله عنها) mother was different to that of Abdullah ibn Abi Umaiyya although they had the same father, Abi Umaiyya.

There were four uncles of Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that were alive when Islam was proclaimed. Two believed and the two that didn’t were Abu Lahab and Abu Talib. Their real names were Abdul Uzza and Abdul Munaf respectively. The other two uncles were Hamza and Abbas. They both had desirable Islamic names and both embraced Islam. However, the two uncles that had names which were undesirable Islamic names did not accept Islam i.e. Abdul Uzza and Abdul Munaf (which were considered good names by the pagans). The Shaykh mentioned the effect of names on a child and that we should give our children good Islamic names.

Imaan is not accepted when a person begins to see glimpses of the akhirah when death is certain i.e. at the very, very last moment as this is no longer imaan.

Chapter 40 - Chapter of Preaching of the Speaker Close to the Grave and his Companions being Seated Around Him

باب: مَوعِظَةُ المُحَدّثِ عِندَ القَبْرِ وَقُعُودِ أَصْحَابِهِ حَوْلَه

With this chapter heading, Imam Bukhari (رحمة الله عليه) is suggesting that it is permissible for a scholar to be seated with students, for example, around a grave and preach if there is a genuine reason. One of the genuine reasons would be if the speaker was imparting good advice or counsel to the students.

682. عَنْ عَلِيّ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: كُنّا فِي جَنَازَةٍ فِي بَقِيعِ الْغَرْقَدِ, فَأَتَانَا النّبِيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم, فَقَعَدَ وَقَعَدْنَا حَوْلَهُ, وَمَعَهُ مِخْصَرَةٌ, فَنَكّسَ, فَجَعَلَ يَنْكُتُ بِمِخْصَرَتِهِ, ثُمّ قَالَ: (ما مِنْكُمْ مِنْ أَحَدٍ, ما مِنْ نَفْسٍ مَنْفُوسَةٍ, إِلاّ كُتِبَ مَكَانُهَا مِنَ الجَنّةِ وَالنّارِ, وَإِلاّ قَدْ كُتِبَ: شَقِيّةً أَوْ سَعِيدَةً). فَقَالَ رَجُلٌ: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ, أَفَلاَ نَتّكِلُ عَلَى كِتَابِنَا وَنَدَعُ الْعَمَلَ, فَمَنْ كانَ مِنّا مِنْ أَهْلِ السّعَادَةِ فَسَيَصِيرُ إِلى عَمَلِ أَهْلِ السّعَادَةِ, وأَمّا مَنْ كَانَ مِنّا مِنْ أَهْلِ الشّقَاوَةِ فَسَيَصِيرُ إِلَى عَمَلِ أَهْلِ الشّقَاوَةِ قَالَ: (أَمّا أَهْلُ السّعَادَةِ فَيُيَسّرُونَ لِعَمَلِ أَهْل السّعَادَةِ, وَأَمّا أَهْلُ الشّقَاوَةِ فَيُيَسّرُونَ لِعَمَلِ أَهْل الشّقَاوَةِ). ثُمّ قَرَأَ: (فَأَمّا مَنْ أَعْطَى وَاتّقى). الاَيَةَ. رواه البخاري: 1362

682. Narrated 'Ali رضى الله عنه : We were accompanying a funeral procession in Baqi'l Gharqad. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم came to us and sat and we sat around him. He had a small stick in his hand then he bent his head and started scraping the ground with it. He then said, There is none among you, nor any person created, but has a place either in Paradise or in Hell assigned for him and it is also determined for him whether he will be among the blessed or wretched. A man said, O Allâh's Messenger should we not depend on what has been written for us and leave the deeds as whoever amongst us is blessed will do the deeds of a blessed person and whoever amongst us is wretched will do the deeds of a wretched person? The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, The good deeds are made easy for the blessed, and bad deeds are made easy for the wretched. Then he recited the Verses: As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allâh and fears Him. And believes in Al-Husna ((the best) i.e. either Lâ ilâha illAllâh (none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh) or a reward from Allâh i.e. Allâh will compensate him for what he will spend in Allâh's way or bless him with Paradise). We will make smooth for him the path of ease (goodness). (V.92: 5-7) (2:444O.B.)

Hadeeth 682 – this incident occurred after the sahabah had buried someone and then the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) entered the graveyard and the sahabah sat down around him. Baqi'l Gharqad is now known as Jannat-al-Baqi, the graveyard of Madinah. Gharqad is a type of tree and Baqi'l Gharqad means ‘The Plain of Gharqad’.

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) spoke to the companions and mentioned that when a soul is created, it is already decreed whether the soul is destined for Jannah or Jahannum. According to this narration only one man spoke. However, according to other narrations many people spoke asking the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) what the meaning of this was. They wanted to know that if it was already decreed, then why should one strive and try and do good deeds. Instead, should each person not rely on their ultimate destiny and the Book of Deeds. If it is already written that one will go to Jannah or Jahannum then why should one try and change this decree?

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) replied to this succinctly by saying as for the people of good fortune, they shall be eased unto the deeds of the people of good fortune. As for the people of evil, they shall be eased unto the deeds of the people of evil. The Shaykh said that simply this means that no one knows what Allah has written for a person as that is in the realms of the spirits and only Allah has knowledge of that. In the dunya, we have to try. Our destinies are decreed but so are our efforts. If we have been decreed to be people of good fortune then Allah will enable us to perform the deeds of good people, and these will also be part of our Qadr.

Good deeds lead to further good and evil deeds lead to further evil. We should be grateful if Allah allows us to do good – this is all part of the Qadr of Allah.

In one beautiful hadeeth of Tabarani, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) says ‘Do good and if you are still overwhelmed, then know that this is the Book of Allah and its decree’. We can but try!
The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) recited the following verses of Surah Lail as mentioned in the hadeeth:

فَأَمَّا مَن أَعْطَى وَاتَّقَى

Then as for him who giveths and feareth Him.

وَصَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنَى

And testifieth to the Good,

فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْيُسْرَى

Unto him therefore We shall indeed make easy the path to ease.
(92: 5-7)

These verses show that good begets good.

The Shaykh mentioned that Allah has only given us limited understanding and capacity with regards to certain things. We can only understand such things to a superficial level in the context of the dunya. Hence, we may not be able to understand things such as Qadr completely.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

He said "this hadith doesn't mean that every child is born a Muslim..."

Your statement "the Shaykh says that not every child is born a Muslim"

The second statement doesn't mean the same as the first! The first corrects the notion that children aren't born Muslims while the second implies some are born Muslims. It's a subtle implication - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAmSNRKwANE (it would be great if you quoted him verbatim)

Umar Saeed said...

Thanks for sharing the beautiful information. May Allah guide us to the right path and help us to seek maximum knowledge from Hadiths and live in a Islamic way. Ameen!!